The Church does not tell us who to vote for, nor does it teach us to give preference to LDS candidates in any country. The Church does not endorse a party, either, even though you may hear that many members in a country belong to the same party. There are good Latter-day Saints in both major parties in the United States, and in many other countries as well.
The Church states: “The Church does not endorse political parties or candidates, nor does it permit the use of its buildings for political purposes. The Church does not participate in politics unless there is a moral question at issue, in which case the Church will often speak out.”
With this in mind, how should you, as a Latter-day Saint, prepare for elections? If you have voted responsibly in the past, you will probably continue making the same preparations for this election you always do. You might just be adding an extra step or two.
When you learned to pray for guidance, you were told to study your problem out in your mind and make choices before going to God for approval or correction. This is what you should do in deciding how to vote as well. Study the issues and the candidates carefully, making sure you use reliable sources. Weigh their beliefs and actions against your own beliefs, both politically and morally. It’s unlikely you will find a perfect match, but you’ll want to do the best you can. Taking part in government is a serious responsibility. Church leaders have said, “Members of the Church are under special obligations to seek out and then uphold those leaders who are wise, good, and honest (see D&C 98:10).”
Once you’ve found someone you feel comfortable giving a position of leadership to, then take your choice to Heavenly Father. God doesn’t endorse candidates either, so it’s very likely you could pray about a candidate and feel approval to vote for him or her, while your neighbor could get the same response about a different candidate. Getting a positive response doesn’t necessarily mean God prefers that candidate, only that Heavenly Father considers him or her acceptable for you personally to vote for.
For instance, if you prayed to know what career to choose, your answer would be right for you, but not for someone else, and it’s likely there are several careers Heavenly Father would consider appropriate for you; His confirmation would only be that your choice was one of those appropriate options. In the same way, there may be several candidates who could take care of the country, and your choice is only one of them.
Elder Shirley D. Christenson, an emeritus Seventy, said:
“Citizens of every land, where permitted, should vigorously cherish their right to vote and should act upon that privilege at every opportunity by supporting wise and honorable candidates. Good and wise leaders elected by and working cooperatively with responsible citizens will seek to protect their freedoms. Failure to actively support such candidates with one’s vote may result in leaders who are elected, as Mosiah said, by “the lesser part of the people” who may “desire that which is not right” (Mosiah 29:26). What a sacred privilege and responsibility is ours to participate with other like-minded people to ensure that basic freedoms are preserved wherever we reside” (“I, the Lord God, Make You Free,” Ensign, February 2006).
As new or old members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we must exercise our sacred privilege and duty to vote — safely and responsibly.
This article was originally published in December 2007. Changes have been made for relevance and consistency.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.