2020 election prediction from the person who correctly called 2016

In May 2016, I predicted Donald Trump would be the next president. You can read it here. So readers are anxious to know what I think will happen in November 2020.

The answer: Trump will win again. Republicans will keep the Senate, and there is a 50-50 chance of the Republicans winning the House.

This is not necessarily a brave prediction. Anybody following the betting markets knows that Trump is expected to win among the people willing to put money on it.

Yes, yes, I know that Biden is way ahead in many crucial polls. I am predicting that the country will become less enthusiastic about Biden as he emerges from his basement. I am also predicting that the Democrats will suffer from their love for endless lockdowns during the COVID-19 crisis. I predict they will get more blame for the economic downturn than Trump.

But here is the thing about making predictions: sometimes you are wrong. For those who don’t understand my tongue in cheek sense of humor, please note that I was absolutely sure Mitt Romney would win in 2012, and I was very, very wrong on that prediction. Win some, lose some.

God’s Truth v Our Opinions

I’ve been bemused in the past several weeks (actually years) to hear folks debate as though their pronouncements change Truth.

This is not to pretend that I know Truth in its fullness. Mastery of Truth is the domain of God. Or for those doubting that there is a God, hypotheses regarding Truth are the domain of those who can objectively measure some aspect of Truth.

I’m going to avoid talking about the current pandemic in this post. But I will liken our many internet discussions to two discussions occurring in my extended family.

The more present example of grossly wrong opinion comes to me from my autistic child, who persistently asserts that I am her brother-in-law, that I and my husband are not her parents, and other bizarre assertions that fly in the face of objective, provable truth. Her memories of past events are often distorted. Sometimes her recollections are so vastly distorted that it strains imagination.

Her perception of current realities can be frustrating. When I encourage her to shower, for example, she’ll almost always challenge me. “How do you know [I need to shower]?!?!?” she will yell at me. The response is often a variation of “Darling, because I can smell/I can see.”

This kind of obtuseness was frustrating enough when she was in grade school. Now that she’s an adult, it is still frustrating.

And yet I love her.

Another example is my relative Riley. 1 After much effort and expense [and after Riley had sent roughly $1.2M to scammers], the family was able to get Riley protected by orders of guardianship and conservatorship. But as is Riley’s right, they are petitioning for these protective orders to be terminated. While Riley has been under conservatorship and guardianship, their health has improved and they assert they have not suffered further losses to scammers. Riley believes this improvement and lack of loss means everything is better. They are willing to incur tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to free themselves from protection.

This is frustrating. And yet we love Riley.

Though I will not draw the parallels between my two domestic situations and larger concerns about Truth, I hope these parables of my reality will prick any excessive self-confidence you may be nurturing. For an instant, imagine that certain confident pronouncements you make could be as wrong as pronouncements voiced by my child or by Riley.

I submit that a key tenet regarding Truth is that God loves all of us. Or that even if there were no God, we ought still act as though an omniscient, omnipotent being will hold us to account for hateful thoughts and deeds regarding ourselves and others.

I also submit that another key tenet of Truth is that there is one sole truth (albeit complex and multi-faceted). Your opinion about truth has no power to alter that truth. Those who act contrary to objective, known evidence will not have the luxury of being lauded by God or history for their obtuse ignorance.

Now I’m off for a bit of self-reflection regarding which of my cherished convictions are in painful conflict with God’s Truth and which actions are inconsistent with God’s Love…

Notes:

  1. Not their real name.

The Problems with Progressives in the Church

This is a guest post by Hanna Seariac, who recently graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Classical Studies. She is a MA student at BYU in Comparative Studies and seeks to become a religious author and an apologist for the Church. 

Ex-Mormons often get much wrong about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but something they get right is that the progressive movement in the Church does not reflect the teachings and doctrines of the Church. Progressive Mormonism, not to be confused with members of the Church who happen to identify as liberal or progressive politically, represents a small section of the Church who often do not uphold the doctrinal sexual ethics that exist.

These Progressive Mormons often attack and denounce The Family: A Proclamation to the World, but ignore that it qualifies as doctrine. Proclamations exist to reaffirm doctrine and act as documents to regulate the Church. Not upholding these documents is in direct conflict with the temple recommend interview questions, which ask us if we sustain the leaders of the Church as well as the doctrine that the Church teaches.

Clearly, a document signed by the free will and choice of every member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and First Presidency (including Elder Holland and Elder Uchtdorf) represents doctrine not just because the Church simply states that it does on their website, but it is the unanimous voice of the Lord’s Church.

While the Church can potentially err on policy, asserting that the Church errs on doctrine (i.e. eternal truths) is antithetical to its nature and structure.

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The upside of COVID-19: the end of many leftist narratives

As we ponder the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are dying worldwide from COVID-19, there is one bit of good news from this historically pivotal event:  many of the most pernicious leftist narratives are being destroyed right in front of our eyes.   I always try to see the positive in negative events, and in the long run, there will be positives to take away from this dark and dreary time.

With that in mind, here is a partial list of left-wing narratives that have been completely destroyed in the last few months.

1)The left cares about working people.  The United States is approaching 40 million jobs lost during the pandemic, and the vast majority of people who have lost their jobs are working class and middle class people.   Most of the managerial class and the professional class (and of course government workers) have been able to keep their jobs.  And yet left-wing commentators and politicians want to continue the lockdown indefinitely.  They can barely muster any concern for the unemployed during this period – everything is based on the childish claim that if you want people to be employed you somehow care about the stock market more than lives.

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Soft Hearts – A Parable

The scriptures urge us to make our hearts soft, warning of those who are hard hearted.

How is this done?

It might be useful to think of the humble roll, which starts off deliciously soft right out of the oven, but which can become unacceptably hard all too soon.

The secret to soft rolls is simple, yet little practiced.

It turns out flour absorbs and retains moisture much better if the flour is mixed with an equal weight of boiling water. This liquid/flour mix 1 is created using liquid and flour already intended for the recipe.

In the case of the roll, softening part of the flour in this manner will allow the roll to remain soft much longer than rolls created using traditional recipes.

In our lives, we can remain soft-hearted no matter our prosperity if we earnestly seek to serve God and keep God’s commandments. 2 This will involve serving others, mourning with those who mourn, and comforting those who stand in need of comfort. 3

But there are times when it is easier to bask in our prosperity, with foreseeable results. We become callous and cruel, yet still imagine that we are somehow right with God.

When we, like bits of flour, are immersed in the spiritual/emotional/social equivalent of boiling water, it is an opportunity for us to absorb from these trials a more profound softening of our hearts.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell spoke of this, describing how suffering from leukemia affected him. He wrote, “The Spirit whispered, ‘I have given you leukemia that you might teach my people with authenticity.'” 4

These are trying times for all of us. May we emerge from this time better able to make and honor a covenant to serve God and keep God’s commandments.

Notes:

  1. This mix is referred to as a “water roux” or by the Asian terms tangzhong or yu-dane (湯種) .
  2. c.f. Mosiah 18:10, also Mosiah 21: 31-32.
  3. c.f. Mosiah 18:9.
  4. Neal A. Maxwell, A Disciple’s Life, p. 562.