Could Donald Trump’s candidacy really be a fulfillment of prophecy?
I think it might be. Just not the good kind.
Mosiah 29:21-24 states:
And behold, now I say unto you, ye cannot dethrone an iniquitous king save it be through much contention, and the shedding of much blood.
For behold, he has his friends in iniquity, and he keepeth his guards about him; and he teareth up the laws of those who have reigned in righteousness before him; and he trampleth under his feet the commandments of God;
And he enacteth laws, and sendeth them forth among his people, yea, laws after the manner of his own wickedness; and whosoever doth not obey his laws he causeth to be destroyed; and whosoever doth rebel against him he will send his armies against them to war, and if he can he will destroy them; and thus an unrighteous king doth pervert the ways of all righteousness.
And now behold I say unto you, it is not expedient that such abominations should come upon you.
We might well replace the word king with president or ruler in its generic sense. I think this is how most Mormons would commonly interpret the scripture.
And these verses are scarily accurate in describing what a Trump presidency would look like.
“He has his friends in iniquity”
It’s not yet clear who Trump’s “friends” might be, but he will need an ally as Vice President, allies in his cabinet, and so on. Power attracts the power-hungry, so the volunteers will come from somewhere. And Trump seems much more likely than any presidential candidate to appoint actual friends of his to these powerful positions, rather than competent professionals who might actually know what they’re doing. I mean, he thinks running a real estate empire has prepared him for the presidency. There are some skills that cross over incidentally, but the two jobs are not the same. The United States of America can’t just declare bankruptcy and move on the the next investment without real consequences.
“He keepeth his guards about him”
As a presidential candidate, Trump already has a Secret Service detail guarding him. That guard would continue to protect him as president. This is as it should be; we don’t want presidential assassinations. Just because Trump is a despicable person doesn’t make murdering him any less wrong. But Mosiah’s point is that such guards make it harder to get rid of a bad ruler, and that is still salient.
And because of Trump’s narcissism, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get paranoid at some point and dramatically expand the amount of protection around himself.
“He teareth up the laws of those who have reigned in righteousness before him”
To a certain extent, this is standard practice for both political parties, especially where executive orders are concerned. And we do want our laws to change to reflect the will of the people. Trump seems to take this to a new extreme, however. He not only wants to tear up Obamacare, he’s willing to tear up NATO and our free trade agreements with other nations. (I know I’ve veered from talking about laws to talking about treaties, but according to Article VI of the US Constitution, “all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State notwithstanding.”)
“He trampleth under his feet the commandments of God”
I wrote a whole book about how Democratic policies follow God’s commandments better than Republican ones. It’s available on Amazon for $3.99. As for Donald Trump specifically, he brags about breaking the law of chastity, and he is consistently demeaning to women, Hispanics, Muslims, and basically anyone who disagrees with him. And sure, Bill Clinton also broke the law of chastity, but he at least felt guilty enough about it to hide it. That does almost nothing to credit him, but he’s not the one running for President this year. Hillary Clinton is. And as far was we know, she hasn’t broken that law. (Why they stayed together afterwards is their own business . . . but shouldn’t we be glad to see a marriage not end in divorce?)
“And he enacteth laws . . . after the manner of his own wickedness”
This, for me, is the clincher. By his own admission, Donald Trump loves to sue people. It’s how he gets back at people he feels have wronged him. And now, he wants to change libel laws so that it’s easier to sue news organizations! Despite the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press that has been upheld by judges on both sides of the political spectrum. If that’s not a law “after the manner of his own wickedness,” I don’t know what is! Look for more proposals like this in the future.
“It is not expedient that such abominations should come upon you”
The rest of the verses I quoted above will apply if and when Trump is sworn into office. I don’t want to let it get that far. He’s not our president yet, and he doesn’t have to be! The next few chapters of the Book of Mormon give us an example of how this election could play out. We’re not yet to the day of the election, when the people will “assemble . . . themselves together throughout all the land, every man according to his mind, whether it were for or against [Trump] . . . having much dispute and wonderful contentions one with another” (Alma 2:5). I believe we’re one chapter before that, where the two groups are beginning to persecute each other:
Yea, they did persecute them, and afflict them with all manner of words, and this because of their humility; because they were not proud in their own eyes, and because they did impart the word of God, one with another, without money and without price. . . .
Nevertheless, there were many among them [the persecuted] who began to be proud, and began to contend warmly with their adversaries, even unto blows; yea, they would smite one another with their fists. (Alma 1:20-22)
This just happened on June 3rd. As the Washington Post reported:
Protesters jumped on cars, pelted Trump supporters with eggs and water balloons, snatched signs and stole “Make America Great” hats off supporters’ heads before burning the hats and snapping selfies with the charred remains. Several people were caught on camera punching Trump supporters.
As I’ve said before, Trump is a candidate that appeals to nothing but our base, natural-man tendencies. We should not be surprised when violence is the result. In the example from Alma, it was the good guys—members of the church—who were throwing the punches. So it was on June 3rd. But once they crossed that line, they stopped being good (see verse 24). No matter how important the cause, violence is not justified in a free society. But the parallel is nearly exact.
The Book of Mormon was written for our day. We have the example of Alma and Amlici in its pages because the very same type of event is happening right in front of our eyes. I hope and pray that our 2016 election does not lead to the same violence and bloodshed as the insurrection of Amlici in the Book of Mormon. I think that we Americans are better than that. And I like to think that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are more aware of their own scriptures than that. (As one blogger noted, Mountain West Mormons could be the demographic group that denies Trump the presidency.)
I hope we understand our scripture well enough to liken it to our day (1 Nephi 19:23). Please prove that we do.