A Guest Post by Michael Terence Worley. Michael shares some personal insights and opinions about Donald Trump's popularity and some lessons to be learned. Please note that I am not personally taking any position on a candidate at this time but only sharing a perspective that I think you will find interesting. ~ Kathryn 

Two questions: Why is Donald Trump so popular? And what lesson can we take from this?

To the first: to the low-to-medium-information voter, Donald Trump is everything President Obama is not.
Trump is white; Obama is black.
Trump is outspoken; Obama is scrupulously politically correct.
Trump portrays himself as a war hawk; Obama has spoken as a dove.
Trump claims to oppose Obamacare; Obama championed it.
Trump is Christian and anti-Muslim; Obama, while Christian, is erroneously considered a Muslim by some.
Trump says illegal immigration is causing rape and murder; Obama has striven to provide amnesty for many illegal immigrants

There are more comparisons, but these suffice.

In this context, Trump's fallacies (disparaging Prisoners of War, making crazy remarks, etc.) make more sense. Trump is striving by appearing, to low-to-medium-information voters, to be everything Obama is not. And when these voters have as a goal to get someone who is not Obama in, they are more likely to tolerate or embrace his rhetoric.

This is why Trump's controversial remarks have succeeded: Trump is succeeding because people hate Obama.

Trump's comments are scary. His rhetoric violates the gospel principle of charity, and he has signaled he is open to policies that violate religious freedom. Worse still, precisely because he is an actor—acting as a “not-Obama”—we can have no clue what he will do in office.

But this post is not designed to convince people not to vote for Trump.  Instead, the rise of Trump in and of itself illustrates an important lesson we all can take from this: follow the LDS prophets and apostles.

Now, you might be asking yourself: This post began by talking about people who hate Obama being a cause of what led to Trump's popularity. Are you suggesting that following the LDS Apostles includes not cultivating a hate of President Obama like the one some Trump supporters have? That is exactly what I am saying. Let me explain.

Jesus taught us to " Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)

I'm not asserting that President Obama is our enemy, or is persecuting anyone (that is beside the point.) I'm suggesting that an application of this doctrine was taught to us at the end of the last election cycle, and if the nation as a whole had followed this application, Trump would not be a leader in the polls right now.

When President Obama beat Mitt Romney in 2012 (despite 78% of the vote of members of the LDS Faith voting for Mr. Romney), the prophets and apostles released a statement that said:

"We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times."

It is hard to hate someone you pray for. Very hard.

If the nation had followed the course the prophets had invited us to do, Republicans in our nation would strongly disagree with-- but not hate-- our president. Trump, thus, would not have been able to tap into this anger as he began his campaign.

If the nation as a whole follows the prophets, yes, even big problems like Trump can go away.

This post is intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine or policy.

Deseret News:  In our opinion: Trump unmatched as a candidate in blatant contempt for basic 1st Amendment freedoms

Photo: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/

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