Trump Derangement Syndrome infecting Mormon brains

Ivanka Trump and her children were harassed this morning by a man for political reasons while she was flying on coach on JetBlue from NY to Florida.  Here is what happened:

According to the report, a man – holding a child of his own – began yelling at her and “jeering” at the young kids.

“Your father is ruining the country,” he reportedly told her, while questioning why she was on the flight instead of flying privately.

Daily Mail identified the man as Dan Goldstein, a lawyer from Brooklyn. Before boarding the flight, Goldstein’s husband, Matthew Lasner, tweeted: “Ivanka and Jared at JFK T5, flying commercial. My husband chasing them down to harass them. #banalityofevil”

I mention this report because it is the latest in a long line of crazy incidents involving unhinged responses to the president-elect.  I am saddened to report that there are even members of the Church of Jesus Christ who are opposed to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir  performing at Trump’s inauguration.  Shame on them.

This issue should not be controversial.  It is only the hyper-politicized culture — akin to college campuses with safe spaces and trigger warnings — that allows it to be controversial.  Trump is the legally elected president of the United States.  The Inauguration Committee invited them to perform and they accepted.  The MoTab choir has performed multiple times in front of Democrat and Republican presidents:

The choir has previously sung at the inaugurals of five other U.S. presidents, including the official swearing-in ceremonies for George H. W. Bush (1989), Richard M. Nixon (1969) and Lyndon B. Johnson (1965). They performed in inaugural parades for George W. Bush (2001), George H. W. Bush (1989) and Ronald W. Reagan (1981).

When the choir sang its signature song “Battle Hymn of the Republic” during the inaugural parade for President Reagan in 1981, he dubbed the choir “America’s Choir.” President George H. W. Bush called the choir “a national treasure” during his swearing-in ceremony in front of the Capitol in 1989.

Over the years, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has performed on other occasions for five additional U.S. presidents. The choir sang in the Salt Lake Tabernacle for Jimmy Carter in 1978 and John F. Kennedy in 1963. Gerald Ford heard the choir sing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in 1974. White House performances included a 1958 appearance for Dwight D. Eisenhower and an occasion for William Howard Taft in 1911.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has performed in multiple Communist countries that have values significantly worse that the Trump administration.  The choir brings the Spirit of the Lord, which is a necessary thing now and at all times.

The MoTab choir performing at Trump’s inauguration is not an endorsement of the man.  It is simply an agreement to perform at a high profile event and is completely in line with past decisions by the choir.

How would a decision not to perform ever be justified?  The MoTab choir is willing to perform in Communist dictatorships that have killed and imprisoned hundreds of thousands, but not in front of the legally elected president of the United States?  Such a decision would be impossible to defend.  But even worse, it would create a precedent where all future MoTab performances are judged by politics.  Let’s say Hillary Clinton is elected in 2020 — would the MoTab be justified in refusing to perform for her because of political reasons?  (For the record, I would never vote for Hillary, but I would have no problem with the MoTab performing for her, and I would look on such an event with pride).

It does no good for Mormons who oppose many things about Trump (as I do) to become unhinged on minor issues like this.  If Trump tries to implement a registry of U.S. citizens based on religion (which I doubt is going to happen), then let’s scream bloody murder.  If Trump tries to restrict the First Amendment, then let’s complain loudly.  But it makes Mormons look petty and contentious to spend their time complaining when the MoTab choir does something that should not be controversial — and is in line with precedent.

The deranged behavior by Trump opponents — including Mormons opposed to the MoTab’s decision to perform at the inauguration — is alarming and embarrassing.  There are appropriate times to be political and there are times that are completely inappropriate.  This is one of those times where such behavior is inappropriate.  It makes Mormons look like the crazy guy harassing Ivanka Trump on a plane, and believe me this is not an image I want for the Church or its members.

This entry was posted in General by Geoff B.. Bookmark the permalink.

About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

36 thoughts on “Trump Derangement Syndrome infecting Mormon brains

  1. I know it’s highly hypothetical, but consider if MoTab would sing also at the celebratory inauguration of a Hitler or Lucifer himself. Would it still be good? Could they still “share the gospel” at these celebrations of evil coming to great power? Did choirs of angels sing when a third of God’s children were cast out of heaven with Satan? Do they ever sing when evil triumphs? I think that is why many of our fellow Mormons are so concerned with this.

  2. Bryce, I think you ought to be embarrassed that you would put down in writing a comparison between Trump and Hitler or Lucifer. Such a position is simply nonsensical. I could make a very cogent argument that Hillary is significantly more evil than Trump — and I think most readers would agree — but comparing her to Hitler or Lucifer is simply childish. Both of them could have been elected president. One of them was. I didn’t vote for either of them, but now that one of them is being inaugurated it is a good thing for the Church and for the Mo Tab choir to get exposure at such an event. And refusing to sing would have proved significantly more problematic given the precedents of MoTab participation in past events.

  3. Well, Bryce, the MoTab didn’t perform at either of Obama’s inaugurations so I guess they don’t perform when real evil comes to great power.

  4. I am pretty sure the Mo Tab choir was not invited to either of Obama’s inaugurations, but I am certain that if they had been invited they would have gone. Obama’s administration has been evil in many ways, yet it has not be an administration that you can reasonably compare to Hitler or Lucifer. This is the problem with such crazy talk: it turns the MoTab choir — and the Gospel itself — into a political football game where you root for the people you like and boo the people you don’t like. I simply don’t agree that this is appropriate behavior for the Mo Tab.

  5. I am saddened to report that there are even members of the Church of Jesus Christ who are opposed to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing at Trump’s inauguration.
    . . . .
    It does no good for Mormons who oppose many things about Trump (as I do) to become unhinged on minor issues like this.

    Your post might be construed as suggesting that any Mormon who is uncomfortable with MoTab performing at this event, is by definition “unhinged”. Was that your intent?

    Also, I think Bryce raises an interesting point. Do you endorse Donald J. Trump as “honest”, “wise”, and “good” in accordance with the litmus test set down by D&C 98:10? If he is not, then ought we not to be in mourning even though we may happen to like some of the guy’s political views?

  6. JimD, yes, that was my intent. I think it is I made that pretty clear in the post. In addition to being “unhinged,” it is hypocritical, contentious and inappropriate. The guy has been elected president. The MoTab choir has performed at other inaugurations. It is not a controversial issue.

    I have no problem with you or anybody else being in mourning about a Trump presidency. There are many other candidates I would have preferred. You cannot cite D&C 98:10 without being completely hypocritical about every other president elected in the last century (at least). W. Bush was certainly not “wise” about a lot of things. Clinton was a proven liar in 1992 before he was elected. Obama has been evil in many ways. Hillary was significantly more evil than Trump. I could go on, but I hope you get the point.

  7. For the record, I don’t think Obama was an evil president–just a bad one. And, yes, I also believe the MoTab would have performed at either of his inaugurations if they were invited. Sadly, if they had, many Mormons on the right would have made the same inane analogies as Bryce and other Mormons on the left are making now. Trump Derangement Syndrome is just as toxic as Obama Derangement Syndrome.

  8. James Stone, you are completely correct. I had multiple friends in 2008 and 2009 trying to convince me that Obama was preparing FEMA camps for conservative opponents. My response was the same then as it is now: let’s judge Obama on what his policies are. Unfortunately, his policies were mostly bad. Trump will have some good policies and some bad ones. Let’s condemn the bad policies and praise the good ones.

  9. You know, Geoff; by labeling anyone who disagrees with them as unhinged per se, Trump supporters do sort of reinforce the prejudices of those who would compare Trump to a totalitarian dictators.

    Godwinesque statements aside, Donald Trump is a bad guy and we all know it. His failings are both more revolting and more widely known from the get-go than Dubya’s ever were. Either we believe that “when the wicked rule, the people mourn” (D&C 98:9)–or we don’t.

    It’s easy to mock how the Dems turned on a dime from “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” to “He’s our President, and you’re a kook!!!” when Obama was inaugurated in 2009; but eight years later here are Republicans–even Latter-day Saints–doing the exact same thing.

  10. JimD, I chose my language deliberately. I already know more than 30 Mormon Trump opponents who have sent me private messages regretting of their over-the-top hateful language about Trump over the last few months. (These are mostly conservatives, btw — the left is still unhinged about Trump but I predict some of them will even calm down in the months ahead). This does not mean that I or anybody else is a Trump supporter. I repeat that I did not vote for him and I am glad I didn’t for the reasons you cite.

    But my point is that we literally become unhinged, crazy and hypocritical when we do things like compare Trump to Hitler. And by the way, it is an insult to the millions of Hitler’s victims to compare the two. We also become unhinged, crazy and hypocritical when we start trying to politicize the MoTab choir. Most of the people I respect who are behaving this way now will eventually look back at this period of their life with regret.

    It does nobody any good to exaggerate the threat that Trump is, especially before he has even been inaugurated. In a rare lucid moment, Bill Maher realized that liberals’ crying wolf about *all* Republicans makes the populace ignore real threats. Maher’s point is that people should be more concerned about Trump, but I will turn it around and say that a few months or years from now you and most people reading this blog will say that their concerns about Trump were overblown. When everybody is Hitler — and in the mind of the left all Republicans are — then nobody is.

    Don’t worry, I am certain I will be criticizing Trump plenty over the coming months and years. I am very touchy about civil liberties, and I do believe Trump has said some horrific things in that regard, and if those words become policy I will be complaining about it big time. I believe that dissent really is the highest form of patriotism, but we should dissent about real things that matter and not try to politicize the Mo Tab choir.

  11. JimD, you have made a LOT of really good comments in the past on this blog, so I feel a necessity to help you understand better where I am coming from. Above, I cited the 30 or so mostly conservative Mormons (and others) who have contacted me privately regarding regretting their Trump hate. In many cases, these people have said they were completely swayed by anti-Trump propaganda and the general media hatred of Trump for most of 2016, but when they actually did their own due diligence they found out that the media narrative was simply false. They really regretted that they had believed the propaganda and had fallen for the false narrative.

    Scott Adams’ blog is very interesting. If you have never read it, I highly recommend it.

    Adams’ point is that we all live in our own movie where logic is trumped by emotion. We think we are all logical but we almost never are. Adams was a Trump supporter because he saw that most of his friends and neighbors in California were literally being hypnotized to hate Trump. Whenever he would bring up actual facts with them, they had no answer except to repeat things like “Trump is Hitler.”

    Of course your response could be that Trump supporters were hypnotized too, and Adams would agree with you in some ways. I have certainly seen examples of that.

    But I can only cite my own experience. Many of my anti-Trump friends have admitted they were literally hypnotized during the election to have an over-the-top emotional response to Trump. None of my anti-Hillary friends have had the same experience. All of them dislike her now even more than than did in early November.

    I truly believe that we are going to see a lot more of this in the coming months. I think a huge number of Trump haters are going to grudgingly admit that they were *way* too emotional in 2016. And they are going to admit, yeah, Trump has done a few good things and has not really acted very Hitler-like at all. This does not excuse Trump truly appalling behavior during the campaign, but again the key issue is how he governs. I would like people to concentrate on that.

  12. I agree with much of what you say, Geoff; but I think it’s unfortunate that Bryce’s overall point got lost amongst all the outrage on behalf of Holocaust victims. His underlying questioned seemed to be: Is there some threshold, beyond which you would say “yes, this particular national leader is so morally problematic that I am deeply uncomfortable with my religion aiding and abetting the celebration of his assuming power”?

    If such a threshhold does indeed exist, then the next logical questions are a) where exactly that threshold lies; and b) why we are so sure that Trump is not on the wrong side of that threshold.

    On the other hand, if there is no such threshold, and it’s OK for the Tabernacle Choir to sing at the inauguration of any leader–why not just concede that yes, that really would apply even in the most extreme of cases? Yeah, it gives your opponent a cheap sound byte; but I think unflinching logical consistency tends to be a more persuasive response than Godwin-shaming.

  13. Geoff B,

    I think the fact that you “chose [your] language deliberately” contributes to the problem. I am one who was uncomfortable when I read about the Choir’s scheduled performance, but examined why I was uncomfortable and determined that it was unfounded: picking and choosing which invitations to accept would turn into a tacit endorsement of those inaugurations they attend. And, whatever I think of the president-elect, he won the election.

    Now I go online and read that you believe that I am “still unhinged about Trump” because I was uncomfortable. You are deliberately lumping me (and many others) together with those who are far more extreme–and yes, even unhinged. Broad strokes do nothing but increase hyper-partisanship. Just as there is nuance on the right, there is nuance on the left (and even in the middle).

    Crying wolf about *all* Democrats makes the populace ignore real threats.

  14. JimD wrote:

    “Is there some threshold, beyond which you would say “yes, this particular national leader is so morally problematic that I am deeply uncomfortable with my religion aiding and abetting the celebration of his assuming power”?

    I would say that there are no prominent national politicians that I would have a problem with today. I think Hillary is literally the most corrupt national presidential candidate in U.S. history, yet if she had won I would have no issue with the Mo Tab singing at her inauguration. Keith Ellison — a socialist anti-semite who may become the leader of the DNC — may be the worst national politician around right now, but if he were elected president, I would still have no problems. I have a lot of moral issues with a long list of Republican warmongers — from Tom Cotton, to John McCain to Lindsey Graham to Evan McMullin — but I would not have a problem with any of them either. Let me imagine the worst person I can think of — say Lena Dunham or Michael Moore just to throw out a couple names. If they ran for president and were elected, I still would not have a problem with the Mo Tab singing at their inaugurations.

    In some apocalyptic future, we may get an actual Hitler-type of leader. But I think when that happens we will have much more to worry about than who sings at the inauguration.

  15. Ender2K, if you were uncomfortable but ended up agreeing with me, then, hey, we have no problems right? 🙂

    But seriously, point taken.

    Ultimately, you are correct: “picking and choosing which invitations to accept would turn into a tacit endorsement of those inaugurations they attend. And, whatever I think of the president-elect, he won the election.”

  16. Thank you 1000 times for saying this. The hyperbole is ridiculous at this point. He won, get over it and move on. The MoTab will do a great job, and many more people will be exposed to the LDS Church as a result of their performance.

  17. Our Mormon Tabernacle Choir is about sharing the gospel. The choir is one of the best missionary tools we have. I grew up listening to them long before missionaries came to our home. Please remember brothers and sisters that this is not about us, but about sharing God’s love with the world. The choir has sung for many presidential inaugurations. It is a great honor to be invited. More importantly, it is a great missionary opportunity — one they can’t easily pass up. To pass up this opportunity would be cutting off their nose to spite their face. We are asked to pray for the leaders of our country — no matter what their party affiliation. We are to show love. We are to forgive others. Let’s support our great choir and the Church by doing just that.

  18. To be honest, I think that the MoTab would have sung at Hitler’s inauguration if they were invited. Unless there was some revelation from Heaven that they shouldn’t, then no one at his time would have known how evil he was to become. Trump might be a jerk, but he isn’t a murderer. Besides, there are also many times in the Scriptures when the people of God served the most wicked of leaders. Paul spoke well of Rome at times over Israel. Even missionary work in the Book of Mormon was done among Lamanites who wanted to destroy the Nephites. Besides, I don’t think the truly evil would invite the MoTab to perform anyway.

  19. “Besides, I don’t think the truly evil would invite the MoTab to perform anyway”

    Which explains why they didn’t sing in the last two… If I had performed I could have gotten rid of him just by smiling at him.

  20. My mother in law just retired from the choir last year. When I asked her about this, she confirmed that they were not asked to perform for an Obama inauguration, but said they gladly would have, if asked.

  21. ‘The MoTab choir performing at Trump’s inauguration is not an endorsement of the man.’

    The ABC bakery providing a cake for the Adam and Steve wedding is not an endorsement of the act.”

    Consistency please. That’s all. Shame on us.

  22. Chad, the primary concern with ABC baker being *forced* to provide a cake for Adam and Steve is free association. The fashion designers and artists refusing to associate with the Trumps should have the right to do business with whomever they please. We should not *force* them to sell their art or fashion designs to anybody, much less people they don’t like politically. The same courtesy should apply to a baker or florist. Consistency please.

  23. I think it is possible the title of this post may have contributed to the tone of the comments. I presumed the title might be for an essay explaining why it was wrong for the Choir to sing at the inauguration.

    Perhaps a better title might have been “He’s the President. Please recite AoF 12 stop the hystrionics.”

  24. “Consistency please. That’s all. Shame on us.”

    You mean like “Love Trumps Hate”?

    Consistency please.

  25. Kind of makes you think, what does that say about Trump? about Obama? Not much. Maybe it’s Trump’s way of extending an olive branch. But, hey, It’s just one performance and, at the same time, it’s an honor. Did Obama snub the MoTab? There’s lots of great performers to choose from and the MoTab just didn’t make the cut. Not even Tiger makes the cut of every single tournament he plays. Life goes on.

    For me, even though I didn’t vote for Trump (nor for Clinton), I applaud their participation. It is a performance, not a political endorsement. Yuge difference.

  26. Geoff, by removing free expression from the calculus and reducing everything to free association; aren’t we a) running roughshod over the bakers’ own explanations of their actions; and b) basically telling them that instead of taking a principled stand over issues of divine law, children’s welfare, social good, etc.; these bakers are really acting out of mere dislike–a.k.a. “animus”–towards the people against whom they discriminate; and thus repeating Justice Kennedy’s mistake in his Obergfell opinion?

  27. The has been a high level of vitriolic speech from members opposing this. How can you possibly not see they are unhinged. When people say they are ashamed of the church, question the wisdom of our leaders because they don’t like the president elect. There is a huge problem. How can the hearts of those that want to cause division be softened if the Lord can’t be present in some way. We had two extremely flawed candtates to choose from with little difference between them from my perspective. I did not vote for either. Maybe I resigned myself to one of them winning where as Clinton supporters never even entertained the thought she might loose. The church is filled with people that affiliate with all political spectrums. Even the apsostle have had democrats including some that strongly called people to repentance. Let the choir be a voice for reason in a world that is not so reasonable and peaceble speech has left decades ago. Vitrolic words did not start with Trump.

  28. I can see how this is not an endorsement, that they are just accepting an invitation like they would for any president. I believe that his describes their intent when they accepted the invitation. But this reasoning ultimately does not matter, because the non-Mormon world will, by and large, interpret it as an endorsement. The day it was announced, a non-Mormon African American friend of mind told me the subject came up at an extended family gathering of his, and this is exactly how this was interpreted: as an endorsement of Donald Trump by the Mormons. No caveat can remove this impression.

  29. Joe d, one of the things that we learn in life is that we can only control ourselves — we can’t control how people choose to respond to us and what people do to us. I have found out that some people just don’t like me, even if I like them, and there’s simply nothing I can do about it. You just gotta keep on going through life trying to do the best you can. This also applies to institutions you are part of. I can’t control how people choose to respond to this news event. In my own small way I am trying to show that there is nothing controversial about the MoTab choir singing at Trump’s inauguration — because they have done it at many other inaugurations in the past. I guess I would say that you should tell your friend that the MoTab choir would have performed at Clinton’s and Obama’s inauguration if asked. But they weren’t asked. And if that is not good enough, well, maybe your friend will change his mind with time.

  30. I am not worried about my friend’s perception of me, and he does not necessarily see it as an endorsement because of our conversations–though I guess he’d still see it as evincing a deficit in aversion that doesn’t speak well to our priorities. I used his family’s reaction as an example of how many people, particularly minorities, are likely perceiving this decision. This perception is entirely predictable. As a Latter Day Saint, I am motivated to do the mental work to look for the nuance in the church’s behavior. I also understand the church’s unique approach to political neutrality. Most will not do that kind of work. The mismatch between the message’s intent and its likely reception is vast–to the point we come off as an ally to a man many perceive as a KKK enabler and existential threat. Those who are labeled here as “unhinged,” (hyperbolic designation for those engaged in hyperbole) are concerned about reception, about the association made in the minds of audiences. Those less concerned focus on a Mormon self interpretation (which is idiosyncratic to Mormons) while dismissing the message likely received by masses that fall outside of this circle.

  31. “The mismatch between the message’s intent and its likely reception is vast–to the point we come off as an ally to a man many perceive as a KKK enabler and existential threat. Those who are labeled here as “unhinged,” (hyperbolic designation for those engaged in hyperbole) are concerned about reception, about the association made in the minds of audiences.”

    Given that 62 million people or so voted for Trump (I was not one of them), the “likely reception” is that these people will be fine with the MoTab choir singing, and there are probably millions more other nonpolitical people who couldn’t care less. I would venture to say there are probably millions of people who voted for Hillary who are not unhinged and deranged, and they are also OK with the MoTab choir singing. It is a vocal minority of, yes, unhinged people with Trump Derangement Syndrome who actually care about this issue. And for the people who do care, my message is: get over it and stop trying to politicize a church choir.

    The Church and the choir should do what is right even if it upsets people. You can’t please everybody all the time. There are more than a billion Muslims who believe that Mohammed was the last prophet and are pretty upset at the idea that we believe there are additional prophets today. And there are some strange evangelicals who continue to protest at every General Conference. We are a peculiar people with beliefs that are at odds with what other people believe. And sometimes these beliefs also leak into politics in ways that upset people (gay marriage, gender issues, feminism, etc). You don’t stop doing what is right just because people decide to get upset about it.

  32. What would have been the explanation for refusing the invitation to sing at the inauguration?

    Was there any other entity (group, performer) who was invited to participate and Pade a “principled” decision to refuse? (I don’t watch the news, so I honestly don’t know.)

  33. Jesus said strait is the gate and narrow is the way and few there be that find it. I understand that life is fraught with ambiguous choices, that outcomes are rarely clear and that we just keep iterating, repenting and iterating. Why is this lesson so hard? Have we turned all choices in to binary black/white, good/evil?

    The Left is good at this. It’s not uncommon in the Church. I think it is called virtue signaling. Its nauseating no matter where it comes from.

Comments are closed.