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Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Tabernacle Choir Will Sing at President Trump's Inauguration

I wanted to do this post tonight to focus on two things. First, a personal note. I had my meeting as anticipated today with Trent Ginnett, my former TL at the American Fork ROI branch who is now a project manager at the Cedar Hills ROI branch. As he indicated yesterday when we spoke on the phone, the interview and filling out the paperwork was merely a formality. He said he was glad to have me on his campaign, and said he had no doubt I would do well there. He also reiterated his intention to do whatever he could to make this work for me.

I was also privileged to run into several of my former coworkers from American Fork who had moved to Cedar Hills with the various campaigns which Trent oversees. They all expressed their absolute excitement for my being able to rejoin them, and they all said to let them know if they could do anything to help me during this transition period. I was overwhelmed by their expressions of support.

And, happily enough for me, the woman who helps Trent oversee the campaign for which I will be working was formerly a TL for the Young Living project, and she was the one who initially greeted me upon my arrival today, indicating that they were having a team meeting at the moment and that Trent would be with me soon. It was overwhelming to me. I am absolutely overjoyed at the way this all happened, and even though I do wish that this had all happened when I originally lost my job in American Fork, I recognize that I needed this time to recommit to the excellent work ethic I had displayed when I started the original job, and recommit to doing what it takes to make this new opportunity work for all concerned now. The timing of it all cannot be called anything other than miraculous, and I am the most unworthy recipient of this miracle that we so desperately need.

Now to the main reason for this post. I wanted to voice my opinion on an announcement from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir today. The announcement, which was made by the choir president, was that, after several more popular and secular entertainment personalities had declared their intention to reject the invitation to perform at the inauguration of US President-Elect Donald Trump, the Choir had, as has been their tradition in the past, accepted such an invitation. The announcement was met with mixed reaction from the members of the Church.

Most, like I am now doing, expressed their admiration to the Choir for putting aside any political motivations and for accepting the invitation, as they have in years past. But not more than a few have come out in protest against this announcement. They said that the Choir's acceptance of this invitation is politically-motivated, and that in a Church that professes to practice political neutrality as an institution, it was the wrong move. Some are saying that the Choir should have distanced themselves from a candidate who has been in many ways so unsavory, so controversial, and even highly critical of the Church, its members, its doctrine, and its practices.

I couldn't disagree more. The Choir's acceptance of this invitation is not in any way unprecedented. They have marched in inaugural parades plenty of times in the past, and have accepted numerous invitations from past presidents to sing at the inaugural ceremony.

As for being politically motivated, I could perhaps see more merit in the argument had the Church come out in voicing a full-scale opposition for such a controversial candidate. But, true to form, and, as should not be surprising to anyone, they stayed out of voicing an opinion of any kind, regardless of how that might have influenced or impacted the results of the election.

Speaking personally for myself, I am honored that Donald Trump has had the sense and graciousness to extend an invitation to a world-famous religious choir. And that honored feeling is only heightened by the Choir's gracious acceptance of the invitation, especially in light of the refusal of personalities with equal secular popularity to have anything to do with this event.

To any of my readers who might be feeling that this was a wrong move on the Choir's part, I would implore you with all the energy of my soul to consider what an honor this is for the Choir to be recognized and chosen in spite of Donald Trump's expressed ambivalence towards most of what the Church stands for. Regardless of your personal feelings on this issue, political candidates have, regardless of party affiliation, expressed their admiration for and appreciation of the Choir. In fact, it was Republican President Ronald Reagan who first dubbed the Choir as "America's Choir."

Clearly, in spite of any hard feelings Trump may still harbor about the Church, he at least has the sense and decency to recognize that the Choir is an important icon in America's musical history, and that speaks volumes of his actions, whatever personal feelings might exist about his political motivations and moral character.

I think I have made it abundantly evident that I fear for America's safety and well-being under President Donald Trump, and, even with that in mind, this gesture gives me hope that Trump may yet prove to be, even in the smallest part possible, the great president he has the potential to become. For me, I am always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. In this one respect, I may have been too harsh on Trump's ability to be sensible.

While I still worry how America will fare under the leadership of a man who, until today, seemed to have no sense of morality, common decency, or sensibility, I am hopeful that there is still a chance he could grow into this opportunity.

I mean, look at me. I'm the one who lost the one job I was able to get after two solid years of looking because I didn't take it seriously. And it wasn't until I was in a position to have a change of attitude and perspective that the right opportunity fell into my lap, coincidentally with another branch of the company which had originally hired me. If that says nothing of the Lord's ability to soften and change the human heart, which I have often said is the greatest miracle of all, I don't know what does. And I cannot share the feeling that the Choir did wrong. This decision can only be good for the image of the Church in the eyes of the president-elect of the United States, and I am proud to belong to a Church that professes political neutrality and seizes opportunities to improve its image in the public eye. In so many ways, I have never been more proud to belong to this Church.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If any of you do comment on what I have said here, I would caution you that, in this matter, any politically or religiously controversial comments will be promptly deleted upon their being made. With that in mind, please let me know your thoughts.