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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm Not a Prophet--I Just Play One on TV

Actually, I don't even play one on TV. Some folks may think a storyteller/philosopher is some kind of prophet, but my track record of success in that department probably shows that prophecy is not one of my spiritual gifts.

However, I am reasonably astute at observing and predicting human nature. In that spirit, I have a couple predictions regarding the upcoming presidential election. No, I'm not a political pundit. Merely a political junkie. Some folks hate it when I write about politics. But in an election year, it's just too tempting. And if it's not already obvious, I'll mention again that I'm not an Obama fan. To many my prediction will not seem original in the least. Others have certainly suggested it. But usually, after it's suggested, it's immediately dismissed. I'm not so sure this one should be dismissed: 

1. Hillary Clinton will become President Obama's running mate. Whaaat, you say? What about gaffe-prone Joe Biden? What about the bitter fueding between Hillary and Barack that lingers from the 2008 campaign? Trust me. It doesn't matter. Barack made her his Secretary of State, for crimminy's sake! We sometimes forget how quickly political infighting evaporates. Heck, Newt Gingritch is already campaigning for Mitt! Who'd a thunk!? And NO ONE is better positioned to claim the mantle for the Democratic Party five years from now than Hillary Clinton--especially if she becomes the VP. I personally wonder if this strategy has been in the works all along, discussed in back rooms just prior to Hillary's acceptance of the (seemingly) lesser position of Secretary of State. Don't underestimate how the Secretary of State accolade could be viewed in a future bid for the White House. No one could now claim--as they did in 2008--that she has no foreign policy experience. Whether she's done a poor job as Secretary of State--too often interjecting politics into some dicey foreign environments--is another matter. Taking the Secretary of State post was an investment that will have been utterly wasted if it is never cashed in. The pay off (it's hoped) will come as Hilary is announced as the VP for this election--2012. Then comes the optimal payoff--when the 2016 election cycle rolls arounds, and  no contender will remotely compare to her in experience and positioning. Only a successful Republican candidacy and presidency can undermine this inevitability. With Romney polling so close to Obama in recent weeks, closing the gap in many swing states, and rising in popularity polls, drafting Hillary to the DNC ticket may be the only trick left up the President's sleeve. The announcement will come at a strategic moment during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Sept 3-6.

A few months ago I looked at footage of Hilary giving a speech overseas. She looked overweight, haggard, and exhausted. Rumors are flying that she's grown weary of politics and may seek the relative tranquility of private life after Obama's first term. Don't believe it. Since that time I've noticed that she's lost weight and seems to be taking better care of herself. Yes, it may seem trivial, but no one would deny that physicality and grooming play a significant role in a candidate's appeal. Continue to watch her appearance improve over the summer. Now the 2nd prediction: 

2. The Democrats will soon exploit and ridicule--in a much BIGGER way--Joseph Smith's famous prophecy that the Latter-day Saints will save the Constitution at a time when it is hanging by a "brittle thread." The vast majority of Americans have never heard of this prophecy--not to mention many Latter-day Saints! The statement is mentioned in numerous journals and recollections by Joseph Smith's contemporaries. The Church has actually come out with a statement distancing itself from an enhanced prophecy written in the journal of certain individuals 50 years after the fact called the "White Horse Prophecy." However, Joseph's statements about the Constitution and the role the Saints will one day play in its rescue are unrelated. His statements on the matter are readily available online for any party interested in gleaning the details. Whether or not the conditions are now ripe for such a "rescue" to take place is an intruguing--but separate--question. There's no doubt that many Americans feel that a loss of Constitutional "purity" is knocking at the door. Our nation's traditional understandings of the founding document, they feel, are EXACTLY what's at stake. Many feel Pres. Obama has trampled the Constitution under foot. Or burned it in effigy. Take a look at this popular painting if you have doubts. It's true that Joseph Smith's statement does not specifically say that one Mormon on a white horse will ride in and rescue the Constitution. His prophecy, as reported by Brigham Young, Eliza R. Snow, and others, declares that the Latter-day Saints as a people will save the Constitution. Can this prophecy be reasonably interpreted to mean that a Latter-day Saint must be at the helm? Perhaps. However, for the purposes of attacking Mitt during this election, I don't think it matters.

Obama surrogates have already attacked the Church in various ways. This effort is very much ongoing. Don't expect Obama himself to engage in such attacks (at least at first), but I believe he holds no grudge if surrogates become extremely aggressive on this front. Here's the point: Publicizing and ridiculing the specific prophesy about Mormons thinking they will save the Constitution seems inevitable, especially if Romney is still leading or tied in the polls in late summer. The fact that Church has distanced itself may not matter. Obama surrogates will publicize it in a last ditch effort to keep their man in power. Any effort to elevate this prophecy in the public discourse would be intended to tell voters (especially Christian voters) that a vote for Romney is an admission that Joseph Smith could be a true prophet. Thus, a vote for Romney may, in fact, be a vote against Christianity! Certain influential Evangelicals have already expressed that they want no part of any vote that might elevate the standing of Joseph Smith or the Church he founded. If Obama publicizes this little-known prophecy of Joseph Smith, preachers and pastors from other faiths might try to persuade their fellow Christians that voting for Mitt would offer a victory for Smith's whacky religion. In short, advocates of Pres. Obama may attempt to convince Americans that a Mitt Romney presidency could damage the foundations of mainstream Christianity. Would you vote for Mitt if you believed such a vote might hurt the cause of Jesus Christ? Sure, folks like Hannity and Limbaugh would attempt to poo-poo this idea. But might the fallout in the short term--so long as this attack is perfectly timed--be just enough to turn the tide of the election?

The Church and its representatives can authoritatively proclaim that there is no particular doctrine in our Church that supports the idea that Mitt Romney fulfills Joseph Smith's prophecy, but will that be enough? I'm really not sure. I find it interesting that only about 85% of Latter-day Saints support a Mitt Romney presidency. Obama actually has 90% support among African American voters. Who'd have thought that race outranked religion in galvanizing supporters? Anyway, those are the current facts of the ground.

So why post a blog about these things? Is it possible that I'm actually giving ideas to the opposition? Trust me, these facts are already being bandied about in various blogs and posts. I'm a firm believer that issues like the two I have just mentioned should come out earlier rather than later. It should be vetted, discussed and--if possible--nullified or rendered impotent before opponents can somehow take advantage of the all-important issue of strategic political timing. Considering the deep-seated prejudices that continue to percolate against the LDS Church, Obama's team may have already decided that a well-timed publicity campaign regarding this prophesy and how it threatens mainstream Christianity is just the ticket for Obama to "keep the ticket."

Now, keep in mind, there's no need to get too uptight about my personal predictions. I could be wrong. I've been totally wrong before. Refer again to my first paragraph of this blog. Nevertheless, it's sometimes a valuable exercise to attempt to think like the opposition.

I welcome any thoughts or comments that others might add on these issues.


  1. Your 2nd prediction is one that I have been thinking a lot about lately. I have talked about this prophecy with my husband. thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject.

  2. I think you're right on! And I think we all need to go "political" and yank our friends' heads out of the sand. Most of them have no idea what's going on outside their own yards. I know my grown children are so busy raising kids they don't pay attention and are not concerned about our future as a free nation.
    Thanks for this blogpost, Chris
    Jeanette W

  3. Most of the young population are only concerned with what their favorite celebrity thinks. It's unfortunate but our youngsters are going to play a pivotal role in how things turn out and I just don't think it's going to be a good direction when celebrities hold more sway than God does.

  4. It's interesting how the wolves can band together so quickly to attack the sheep while the sheep feel no sense of distress. The sheep feel content to continue to graze at the very onslaught of danger lurking in their backyard. I believe your on target with both ideas. I found it very interesting that according to several notable news sources, that on 05/29/2012, Obama awarded 13 people the highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom. That in and of itself is not so proclaiming, but look at who is who on the list: Madeline Albright (former Secretary of State), Senator John Glenn (former astronaut), Bob Dylan (long time singer/song writer). I personally am not a huge Dylan fan, but many of these folks are American Red White and Blue icons. We need to wake up and see the danger stalking us. We can do plenty to set the facts straight about LDS people and church beliefs. Getting back to basics could never be more important, ie: being good neighbors, setting Christ like examples, living our religion, being true witnesses of the Savior. I sound sentiment as I do so firmly believe, "God is in control." Thank you Chris,
    William & Lynette M

    1. Hi Chris,
      You are so correct on this. So many Americans and LDS have absolutely NO clue as to what's going on. My late husband and I didn't like Obama from the start, so voted for Mitt. We've known for years about Joseph Smith's prophecy. We, as stalwart Saints should band together and fight for this wonderful Country and Constitution. We are the ONLY Church who can and will save Our remarkable and inspired Constitution.
      Teri Rodeman

  5. Hey Chris,

    I am a long, long time fan of your writing, though I think this is my first comment on your blog.

    First of all, no way Clinton will be the VP. It is as fun a prospect as Condie being Veep to Romney, but neither one will happen. I think that the talk about her retiring actually is accurate, though I will happily eat my words if your weight-loss based prognostications prove true.

    Secondly, I have seen a couple of articles on the White Horse thing, but I really doubt it will feature prominently in the campaign, even via surrogates. Religious arguments like this just don't have much currency with the left, and evangelicals on the right are united enough against Obama that I don't think they'll bite either.

    As a side note, I wonder what Obama policies make you - and Mr. McNaughton, the artist - think the Constitution is so threatened? I hear a lot of that kind of rhetoric, but it seems extremely overblown.


  6. You may be right on with the Obama/Clinton ticket, but I believe that Mitt Romney, who I will NOT vote for, will distance himself from the supposed "White Horse" prophecy if it becomes an issue. Mitt may find himself in a real fight for the nomination if Ron Paul's people are able to put their plans in place - which I do hope for. At the very least, Mitt may have Ron Paul as a running mate - too early to tell. But it would be just as silly to vote for Mitt just because he is Mormon as it would be to vote against him for being Mormon. And I say that as a Mormon.

    Also, the statements about saving the Constitution tend to get confused, as if that means the USA will be saved, as it is now. That will not happen unless the people choose correctly. The Saints will uphold the Constitution, but the Republic is lost!

  7. I think that your opinions are well thought out and spot on. I wish that I was able to sway more people to see the evils that lurk within our government. I was discussing this with a co-worker and she is convinced that the political machine is corrupted by gadianton robbers who seek power through intrigue and deception. I do think there is still hope, but I can't seem to muster any more hope unless America as a nation repents and turns to God more. That is what I pray for; I even pray for President Obama, for the Lord can use a misguided man and still accomplish much good but only if people follow the true and living God.

    Thanks for keeping the faith and inspiring more people for the cause

    Chris (a great name btw) Babcock

  8. I am a teenager but have been pretty heavily invloved in government and politics for several years. I know it is important, so I do alot to stay informed and have learned alot about how government works. But at the same time I know most people think politics are boring and don't see any importance in following it. So, I just think it is really cool you post important stuff like this on your blog, because I think you get the attention of lots of people who otherwise wouldn't care. Keep it up! I love reading it and that you can influence so many people to think about what is going on around us. I am often reminded of the scripture that says Christ will come as "a thief in the night" when I think about the ignorance of so many in the United States, and the trap we are falling into as a nation. I also love reading Joseph Smith-Matthew.

    You have some interesting predictions. I havent thought of a Obama/Clinton ticket before... It is possible, but I think they really hate each other too much. I don't know if Hillary could stand to be a sidekick. And I completely agree with you about other Christians not voting for Romney. I have lived in the South for a long time and it is completely true that many (if not most) Christians will not vote for Romney just based on the fact that he is LDS, without even knowing about the prophecy that you mentioned. So much so, that my mom doesn't think that Romney will be able to take any of the southern states.

    On another note, I am so excited for Thorns of Glory! I love all your books-the fun and exciting parts, and the spiritual parts. The characters are great and you are just an amazing author. Thanks so much for all you do!

  9. Walker said, "What Obama policies make you ... think the Constitution is so threatened? I hear a lot of that kind of rhetoric, but it seems extremely overblown."

    To name just one area of policy, have you looked at the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)? These laws effectively abrogate the fourth and fifth amendments so that you cannot be sure those rights will be guaranteed all the time. In other words, if some officer somewhere decides you're worthy of suspicion, it's legal for them to detain you as long as they want, without stating why, and without telling anyone where they're keeping you.

    It's a really dangerous precedent, but we often naively assume that government officers will only use those powers against "bad people." But even if a current leader or administration doesn't misuse a law, the point is that our leadership rotates, and later leaders don't feel bound by the intentions of the ones who created the law. Laws get misused this way all the time, especially to punish political enemies completely unrelated to criminal activity. This is why Thomas Jefferson said our leaders must be "bound down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

    Another major concern is that the U.S. keeps going to war without Congressional declaration of war. The Constitution requires this precisely because the Founders knew that political leaders with a powerful standing army at their command cannot resist the temptation to use it. If a combat is worth fighting, it should begin properly and Constitutionally, by vote of Congress, which allows thorough discussion of the pros and cons. But since this has the annoying trait of reducing (as it should) the ease and speed with which military involvement can be taken, government officers have used all kinds of maneuvering to ignore this part of the Constitution for decades.

  10. Hey Nathan. Thanks for the reply to my question. I actually agree with your points on the Patriot Act and the circumvention of the War Powers clause. Those are the two areas in which I have been, I think, the most disappointed with Obama, as he has not reversed Bush's positions here - as he promised - but has instead seemed to double down in defense of unlimited executive power.

    Then again, this trend toward unfettered executive privilege did not begin and will not end with Obama. Many political scientists actually credit Reagan - remember Iran/Contra - for starting the massive expansion of executive power that has continued through every administration since his. Why then all the animosity toward Obama? If Romney is elected and continues the same consolidation of power, will BYU artists start painting pictures of him trampling upon and burning the Constitution? Methinks probably not.