Elder Ballard on the Inauguration

January 21, 2009 | 71 comments
By

“We need to exercise our prayers and help [President Obama] accomplish the great objectives that he has set.”

Discuss.

Tags: ,

71 Responses to Elder Ballard on the Inauguration

  1. Gregory Taggart on January 21, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    I agree. I’ve included President Obama in my prayers every night since the day he won the election, just like I prayed every night for President Bush.

    But if your desire for discussion goes to the “help him accomplish the great objectives that he has set” part of Elder Ballard’s quote, then I should explain that my prayers concentrate more on helping the president, whoever s/he is, make wise decisions in striving towards their objectives. In other words, I like much of the big picture that Obama talks about painting, but I’m concerned about some of the brush strokes he may use.

  2. DavidH on January 21, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    When the Brethren have spoken, the debate is over. QED :)

  3. Adam Greenwood on January 21, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Prayer for the officers of the Republic, especially for the representatives of the people and for the chief magistrate, strikes me as a duty every citizen of the Republic has.

  4. Marc Bohn on January 21, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    You’re ignoring the most interesting part of the quote Adam, what Ballard is admonishing us to pray for and help do, namely, to “accomplish the great objectives that [President Obama] has set.”

  5. Frank McIntyre on January 21, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Marc,

    That means we should only pray for him to accomplish the _great_ objectives. Not the other, less-great, ones.

  6. Marc Bohn on January 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Which are which.

  7. Frank McIntyre on January 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    For example, “I am proud of the wonderful things Marc has accomplished, despite his condition” means that I am proud of, specifically, the wonderful things, not that all the things Marc does are wonderful.

    Though they may be. I won’t judge.

  8. kevinf on January 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    I included the President’s name on the prayer roll at the temple last night. I have personally prayed for both Pres. Bush and Pres. Obama, but have to admit, in the interest of full disclosure, that I did not ever put Pres. Bush on the prayer rolls before. Even though he may have needed it more, shameless liberal that I am.

    As to the do part, it would have been helpful to realize before Monday that the MLK day was a day of national service. We could have organized something in our ward or stake in support of that.

  9. aloysiusmiller on January 21, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I pray for the country and its leaders all the time. But I only pray the the meta-objective: freedom and righteousness. If Obama isn’t for those two I will pray that we are protected from him.

    I won’t be praying for a bailout, a stimulus or even food for everyone (from the government anyway). I also won’t be praying for slave (universal) healthcare.

  10. aloysiusmiller on January 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I might have asked, does Elder ballard still have an interest in an auto dealership in SLC?

  11. Marc Bohn on January 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Do all economists talk in circles Frank? If so, perhaps Jim F. is right about that “dismal science” thing…

  12. Frank McIntyre on January 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Here’s some clips from his speech:

    “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”

    “Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met.”

    “On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”

    Down with pettiness! Down with worn-out dogmas!

    Those are all great objectives. And accomplishing them will no doubt require a lot of prayer and Divine aid.

    But no, Marc, in case you were wondering, I doubt Elder Ballard was calling for us to adopt Obama’s campaign platform as our public policy goals.

  13. Frank McIntyre on January 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    “Do all economists talk in circles Frank?”

    No, Marc, all circles talk in economists.

  14. Marc Bohn on January 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Perhaps you would have been better suited to law.

  15. Frank McIntyre on January 21, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    It’s a thought.

  16. gst on January 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Yeah, Marc, I’m sure that what Elder Ballard meant is that all Mormons should all pray that every one of President Obama’s policy objectives is achieved.

  17. Adam Greenwood on January 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    You’re ignoring the most interesting part of the quote Adam, what Ballard is admonishing us to pray for and help do, namely, to “accomplish the great objectives that [President Obama] has set.”

    I kinda doubt President Ballard means public funding of abortion on demand. Inaugurals generally and wisely try to be above the day-to-day political fray, and I’m sure President Ballard was aiming his remarks at the kind of thing President Obama talked about in his inaugural: peace, freedom, honor, virtue, hope, responsibility.

  18. Steve Evans on January 21, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Quit putting words in the mouths of the Brethren, Adam! Repulsive.

  19. Adam Greenwood on January 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Steve E.,
    technically we’re all just putting words in the mouth of the Brother.

  20. Steve Evans on January 21, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    I will be praying for slave healthcare (#9). Lord knows they could use it.

  21. Ray on January 21, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    #20 – Steve beat me to it, so all I will do is say, “Amen . . . and Amen.”

  22. MikeInWeHo on January 21, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Is it me, or has T&S gone a little loco of late?

  23. DavidH on January 21, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I will say that, if one of the Brethren had this about Bush’s “great” objectives shortly after Bush’s second inauguration, I would really be squirming and pulling out the quotes about the lack of infallibility of the Brethren.

  24. DavidH on January 21, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    “had said this”

  25. Adam Greenwood on January 21, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    A little self-awareness is a dangerous thing, DavidH. So’s a lot.

  26. Rob Perkins on January 21, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    What I remember is the dismay in President Hinckley’s voice, when he announced in 2001, during General Conference, that the tactical missiles were flying into Afghanistan.

    I don’t think that men of peace could have spoken about Bush’s great objectives, among which was to prosecute an expeditionary and preemptive war (for whatever noble and ideological reasons) without being spectacularly misunderstood.

  27. mpb on January 21, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Mike (#22) — it’s not just you…

  28. Jonathan Green on January 21, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Would another Prop 8 post help settle things down?

  29. Timj on January 21, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Is the link down? I can’t access it.

  30. John Taber on January 21, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Re #10: Elder Ballard at some point sold his car dealership interests to his partner, Nathan Wade. My grandparents handled customer relations for Ballard Wade / Nathan Wade, and my grandfather affectionately referred to Elder Ballard as “Russ”.

  31. Frank McIntyre on January 21, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Rob, I remember that speech differently than you.

  32. Rob Perkins on January 21, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Frank, I’m not talking about the general conference talk GBH gave during the runup to Iraq. I’m talking about the short announcement on the first day of hostilities against the Taliban regime.

    The talk in general conference struck me as more of a “Noone will be excommunicated over this” kind of message.

  33. Frank McIntyre on January 22, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Here’s the link to the general conference address he gave when the bombs dropped in Afghanistan. He cites Captain Moroni. Certainly there is dismay, but little sign that he is opposed to the decision,

    http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-225-27,00.html

  34. Rob Perkins on January 22, 2009 at 3:24 am

    Frank, I’m still thinking of a different talk; one he gave a year or two later which touched on the buildup to the Iraq war.

    I’m also opposed to the kind of reading of a talk or speech, which supposes that full-hearted support for a government action is implied, if it lacks clear opposition to that action. That sort of reading carries the same characteristic as the calls for the Church to offer some body of apologetic words for its historically racist policies, as though the acts repudiating the error were not sufficient.

    (If that’s not what you mean, then find. I should try for a comment about Prop 8, just to make it a sort of controversy trifecta, no?)

  35. Frank McIntyre on January 22, 2009 at 11:16 am

    “I’m still thinking of a different talk”

    This is clearly the one he gave in 2001 that you reference in 26, but you are correct that he gave others about Iraq.

    “I’m also opposed to the kind of reading of a talk or speech, which supposes that full-hearted support for a government action is implied, if it lacks clear opposition to that action.”

    I heartily disavow any reading that gives that impression. You spoke of his “dismay” at the bombs and linked it to how no man of peace could talk of Bush’s “great objectives”. I was not entirely sure what you meant, but it sort of sounded like you were suggesting that President Hinckley was opposed to the action in Afghanistan. I see no evidence of that and a fair bit to the contrary in his talk. It seems fairly likely to me from this talk that he personally supported the Afghanistan action, while regretting its necessity. Of course, as you recall, almost everyone supported the Afghanistan action.

  36. sam on January 22, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Frank, I agree with you. President Hinckley, in the aforementioned speech given on the day he announced the Afghanistan bombing, seemed very much to be in support of it, or at least was sympathetic to the necessity of it. So many members just didn’t hear this, though. It baffles me. It makes me worry that perhaps a basic understanding of spoken English is disappearing amongst us.

  37. Rameumptom on January 22, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Pres Obama has not been handed a nice world, like Reagan left for Bush I.

    I pray that Pres Obama will guide the nation towards success in reclaiming freedoms lost in the last 8 years, reestablish our economy on sound principles, finally get us to become independent on energy, and teach respect for all sides by listening to them and seeking wise compromises.

  38. Rob Perkins on January 22, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    #35: No, Frank, it is not the talk I was thinking of. I referred only to the opening announcement about the missiles being fired.

    #36: I detected no sympathy to the necessity in Hinckley’s words. He was explaining that these things happen, that Islamofascism is as old, at least, as Gadianton’s original band, and telling us not to react with fear. Evincing that Church members don’t understand spoken English is insulting.

  39. Frank McIntyre on January 22, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    “I detected no sympathy to the necessity in Hinckley’s words.”

    OK, well that tells me something about you :). Maybe we can take it up some other time.

  40. Rob Perkins on January 22, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    It tells you almost nothing about me, especially my stance on the military actions this century or what I think we might have done instead of what we did.

  41. Frank McIntyre on January 22, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    It tells me something about how you read texts.

  42. Rob Perkins on January 22, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Well, bearing in mind that I watched the talk and the announcement in October 2001 over satellite, and didn’t read it until they day you posted a link, you’ve still learned nothing about how I read texts.

    I’m tired of hijacking this thread.

  43. gst on January 22, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Rob, I have just been handed a note that says that a McIntyre missile attack is on it’s way to your house. Sucka.

  44. Steve Evans on January 22, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Frank’s missile attack dismays me. Maybe if we read texts better like Economists this would never have happened. We live in perilous times.

  45. gst on January 22, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    I’m comfortable with the notion that it was necessary.

  46. Steve Evans on January 22, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Your Frank and straightforward talk encourages me, gst.

  47. Frank McIntyre on January 22, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Rob,

    We’re obviously missing something here. If you are done talking that’s fine, but you read the text of the talk yesterday or today and then said:

    “I detected no sympathy to the necessity in Hinckley’s words.”

    So how does that not tell me about how you read texts, since you just told me how read the text?

  48. Raymond Takashi Swenson on January 22, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    The White House web page has apparently posted an announcement that President Obama is embracing most of the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender political agenda, including giving official Federal recognition to same-sex “domestic partnerships” as legally equivalent to marriage under Federal law. That includes making the armed forces specifically endorse such sexual behavior as acceptable. We are going to see people in the military being told in their offcicial training that the sexual morality being taught by their own religious leaders is wrong. There will be some kind of confrontation over the ability of military chaplains to teach the doctrines of their churches that are directly opposed to such a policy. And bishops and parents will have to take into consideration counseling against voluntary military service, especially for younger enlisted people, when the military becomes an organization that is inherently (and by necessity) coercive and regimented and tells teenagers to not only accept homosexuality as appropriate but not to criticize it in any way.

    The fact is that the majority of people who join the military come from families with more traditional religious and moral values, and it is precisely those people who are going to be offended by the military telling their sons and daughters to regard the teachings of their parents about sexual morality as evil and bigoted. You can be sure that the people who form the core of Obama’s support are not going to take up the slack in volunteering for the armed forces. And at the top end, a lot of military officers and senior non-coms are going to retire early or resign rather than have to mouth words that they believe are lies.

    What we will have left is a military that actively discriminates against people who have strong religious beliefs about this issue.

  49. Alison Moore Smith on January 22, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    President Obama is embracing most of the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender political agenda, including giving official Federal recognition to same-sex “domestic partnerships” as legally equivalent to marriage under Federal law.

    That’s change we can believe in.

  50. SLO Sapo on January 22, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Raymond, I suspect that when African-Americans were fully integrated into the armed forces, there was a lot of similar fear and hand-wringing, based on “traditional religious and moral values”. And we know the initial transition was pretty tough for many involved. But they got over it and moved on, and race has become pretty much a non-issue in the armed forces. The same will happen with LGBT recognition. It’s gonna be fine. Don’t fret so much.

  51. Alison Moore Smith on January 22, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    SLO Sapo, are there moral absolutes or are ALL issues deemed moral ones simply cultural artifacts that we need to get over and be enlightened about?

    If you say yes to the former, which issues do you deem to be of actual moral import? If you say yes to the latter, it’s gonna be an interesting ride for most of us.

  52. Adam Greenwood on January 22, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    And we all know that Mormons are racist homophobes. They should just shut up and get over it. Thank goodness the military is going to help force them to. Etc.

  53. SLO Sapo on January 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Alison, I guess I would have to say yes and yes. There ARE moral absolutes, but the older I get, the more I believe there are fewer of them than I once thought. The idea that same-sex relations are immoral under all circumstances has created so much cognitive dissonance that it seems to be falling into your category of “cultural artifact”.

  54. Marc Bohn on January 22, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Just a note, Mitt Romney circa 1994 was in favor of lifting the ban on gays in the military ;)

  55. Marc Bohn on January 22, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    And technically he didn’t come out against the idea during his presidential campaign, instead he said “‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ has worked well. We’re in the middle of a conflict. Now is not the time for a change in that regard, and I don’t have a policy posture as to allowing gays in the military to serve there openly.”

  56. John C. on January 22, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    “The fact is that the majority of people who join the military come from families with more traditional religious and moral values, and it is precisely those people who are going to be offended by the military telling their sons and daughters to regard the teachings of their parents about sexual morality as evil and bigoted…What we will have left is a military that actively discriminates against people who have strong religious beliefs about this issue.”

    Raymond,
    I haven’t yet read the statement but my question is what is the military asking folks to do here? My understanding of don’t ask/don’t tell was that you could be fired from the military for being gay if you told someone in the military. Saying that you can’t fired someone in the military for admitting to being gay teaches sexual immorality how? It discriminates against people with strong religious beliefs how? I don’t see the connection to the conclusions you are drawing.

  57. Mark Brown on January 22, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    we all know that Mormons are racist homophobes. They should just shut up and get over it.

    Pres. Hinckley condemned racism and homophobia among Mormons specifically on multiple occasions. I’m glad he didn’t shut up.

  58. Marc Bohn on January 22, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Mark Brown – Perhaps his sarcasm is misplaced, but you can’t think for a moment that Adam’s comment was serious (I know sometimes it’s hard to tell… but this ain’t one of those times).

  59. aloysiusmiller on January 23, 2009 at 1:26 am

    Yeah, gays are just like blacks. Just ask any black man.

  60. Tom D on January 23, 2009 at 2:40 am

    Re: #22 and #27 I must agree that the quality of discourse at Times and Seasons has gone down. I do appreciate the valiant efforts of those who try to keep things civil and even humorous here. I have seldom agreed with all of the opinions expressed on this site, but I do make an effort to remember that everyone is a child of God and usually members of the Church — even if they are spouting the doctrines of men and the devil :-). Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but repeated assertion of views I don’t agree with isn’t likely to change my mind on the subject.

    Sometimes I think that our society is descending into the discord recorded in 3 Nephi chapters 6 and 7, if so, I suppose that is good because the Second Coming of the Savior may be near, but I can’t say that I enjoy the strife and hatred. The whisperings of the Spirit and the prophesies of the Book of Mormon and the Bible do give me hope that no matter what happens many people will yet come to a knowledge of the truth, the Church of Jesus Christ will never again be taken from the earth, and it (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) will be led by prophets of God until He comes who’s right it is to rule and reign even the Lord Jesus Christ. Be that day sooner or later, in it I will rejoice.

    For the record now, I am certain that Elder Ballard wasn’t endorsing the Democratic platform (or even Obama’s which isn’t quite the same), but he was asking us to pray for our new president and be good citizens. There is nothing wrong with being in the Loyal Opposition if that is what you think is right, so long as you are reasonably polite and keep the commandments (Matt 5:43-47, Article of Faith 10, D&C 134).

  61. Marc Bohn on January 23, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Tom D – This post made no political statement, but rather sought comments and reaction to an interesting soundbite. That said, T&S has always had a range of contributors from across the political spectrum. Perhaps you could do with re-acquainting yourself with the Church’s repeated statements on its political neutrality (see here and here) and keep in mind that especially when Saints from abroad are factored in the Church is no monolith politically.

  62. Tom D on January 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Marc,

    I agree that the Church does indeed do its best to be neutral politically. I wasn’t disputing that. You seemed to be goading for reactions in #4, #6, #11, etc. I obliged with my two bits. Aren’t you happy :-D ?

    However, my main comment wasn’t about that at all. I was commenting rather on the quality of discussion at Times and Seasons. I am seeing more argument and less thoughtful discussion over the last few months. This isn’t surprising. It’s really just the nature of the internet: small sites get discovered and flooded, original posters get bored or busy and move on, small groups go on offense, etc. Things generally degrade with time (see the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics), but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to improve the world. It just means that it will take work.

    I’m well aware of the fact that there are a variety of different views on all subjects among members of the Church. I have lived all over the US and served a mission in Europe. I certainly don’t agree with all views, but hopefully we can agree to disagree. I appreciate the spectrum of views that we get on the Bloggernacle. I especially enjoy the general civility of discussion. In much of the rest of the internet the different parties seem to be congregating to different sites with fewer and fewer common links between them. I think this can be bad. I’d like to encourage people to keep up civil and polite discussion here and elsewhere on the internet.

    I am not a newcomer to either this site, the internet, or the world at large. I just didn’t comment much until a few months ago. Between working a job and raising a family I still don’t have much time. I prefer reading to writing, but I’m trying to let my light shine a bit more.

  63. Adam Greenwood on January 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    was commenting rather on the quality of discussion at Times and Seasons. I am seeing more argument and less thoughtful discussion over the last few months.

    Were you with us in the early days? We’ve always had heat with our light. We obey the laws of thermodynamics on this blog.

  64. Tom D on January 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I’ve been reading hear for at least 5 years (I think) and you’re right. I may be remembering the past too rosily. Still, I’d like to see less waste heat and more light, but perhaps I just need to read my scriptures more and blogs less :-). I’ve been enjoying the Nate Oman posts analyzing Nephi’s use of the Exodus story. I’ve been kicking myself for not thinking more deeply about this before. I have also enjoyed many other posts here and the sidebar links. Please keep up the good work– and the civility (though sarcasm can be pretty fun sometimes…)

  65. American Yak on January 24, 2009 at 1:51 am

    @MikeInWeHo #22: Wait. You hadn’t noticed?

    I, for one, am not drinking the Kool Aid.

  66. Matt on January 25, 2009 at 10:17 am

    The purpose of this comment is to see how it will change the Recent Comments sidebar.

  67. Marc Bohn on January 25, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Always the bomb thrower, aren’t you Matt?

  68. ceejay on January 25, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    A question:
    Why wouldn’t we want GLBTs in the military?
    Is it because I wouldn’t ask my daughter to shower with a bunch of men? I wouldn’t ask a young man to shower with a bunch of women? I wouldn’t ask a man to shower with a bunch of gays?

    48. response
    “[Obama planning to give] …official Federal recognition to same-sex “domestic partnerships”
    Elder Clayton: the church “does not oppose civil unions or domestic partnerships,” that involve benefits like health insurance and property rights.
    (http://deseretnews.com/article/content/mobile/1,5620,705260852,00.html?printView=true, published November 6 2008, accessed November 12 2008)

    What is it that offends?

    “We are going to see people in the military being told in their official training that the sexual morality being taught by their own religious leaders is wrong.”
    –Silver lining: some religious leaders are wrong in their teaching of sexual morality; especially in how people should treat others with homosexual temptations.

    Regarding the military becoming a downward spiral recruitment organization: racial desegregation would’ve been a bigger “deal breaker”, and yet “the deal” is not broken, right? Or maybe we’re still learning from that social experiment? I’m probably just ignorant about the lessons that were learned, but I’m happy to read more.

  69. ceejay on January 25, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    “the great objectives”
    Helping people be happy, safe, healthy and dignified. I hope we’re all aiming for those goals with whatever tools we have at our disposal.

    Maybe Elder Ballard was privately imagining that Obama had biten off more than he could chew without divine help.

    I personally hope that Obama breaks many campaign promises, but that he learns the best way to run the country in the first month. He seems like a smart guy, so I’m holding my breath starting… NOW.

  70. mary on January 27, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Apostles Ballard and Uchtdorf were at the Inauguration for themselves as the rest of us standing in line with tickets from Bennett’s office in Utah. We spoke with them. They were there
    not as representatives from the Church but just as Democrats supporting Obama. They were not invited dignitaries or sent by the Church. They were genuinely happy to be there.

  71. Alison Moore Smith on January 27, 2009 at 1:59 am

    Deja vu.

    As Aluwid posted on the other thread:

    Elder M. Russell Ballard and I were very pleased to have been able to attend today’s historic inauguration of the 44th president of the United States of America. In doing so, we represented President Thomas S. Monson and the entire Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” President Uchtdorf said.

    Church Leaders Attend President Obama’s Inauguration

    The article further states:

    It is always an honor for the Church to be represented at the inauguration of a new president,” said President Thomas S. Monson.

WELCOME

Times and Seasons is a place to gather and discuss ideas of interest to faithful Latter-day Saints.