A Huge Thank You To Each MoTab Singer Who Has Decided To Stay And Sing

If I didn’t have the worst singing voice known to mankind, and I was talented enough to earn a spot with the Tabernacle Choir, I would sing with all my heart at the Presidential Inauguration. Here’s why.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is America’s choir. Of course they should sing at the Presidential Inauguration. They are not necessarily singing for Donald Trump. They are singing for America. But even if they were singing for Donald Trump… would it be so much worse than so many of the other immoral men that have graced that presidency and defiled that White House with their immoral actions, extra-marital affairs, and perpetual dishonesty?

motab1

Look… I’ll be honest. I didn’t vote for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or anyone else on my ballot when it came to president for that matter. I loathed… no, I gagged on both choices. I did vote… but when it came to voting for President, I was completely paralyzed while standing at the booth. Judge me if you will… but I couldn’t bring myself to throw my support behind any candidate. I did not view either of them as leaders I would want to follow. I pride myself on choosing good leaders to follow… and so I withheld my vote on principle alone. Many people would argue that was stupid, and that I could have at least voted for the lesser of two evils. Maybe they’re right, but I made a personal political decision to stay neutral.

That was politics… but when it comes to being a missionary, or as Christ said, “letting your light so shine” before mankind… we are required to be “no respecter of persons” as the scripture states. I may not vote Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president, but I would still knock on their door, Book of Mormon in hand, smile on my face, light of Christ in my heart… and love for whoever decided to open that front door. I would mow their lawn, paint their fence, help them move furniture, feed their horses or sing at their inauguration any day of the week if it meant that I could in some way bring the Spirit of the Lord into their lives.

Is there anyone in the presidential congregation that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir could sing for that is worse than King Lamoni, or the pre-converted missionaries that eventually went and preached to King Lamoni. What if Ammon and Aaron were like, “No… we’re not going to go to Lamoni and the Laminites because they are the very vilest of sinners.” Instead… they went to them because they were the very vilest of sinners. (Mosiah 28:3-4) Christ said over and over again that the “whole need not the physician… but they that are sick.” Also… “I came not to call the righteous to repentance, but the wicked.”

Who at that inauguration could be worse than Paul as he stood by and held the clothes of his buddies while they murdered the disciple Steven? (Acts 7:55-56)  Yet… we quote Paul in the churches of America possibly more than any other apostle. Who knows when someone might repent and change. One thing is certain… withdrawing one’s self from an opportunity to let their light shine is not in harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ. He needs lights on a hill… not candles under a bushel.

So here we are in the world… this great church… with this great choir. But one of the Mormon Tabernacle choir singers decided to make a public statement and quit on principle. What we have now is one person who has stolen the show and is receiving a great deal of fame and attention while each of the other members of the Mormon Tabernacle choir who have decided to sing for America and let their light shine for all the world to see, are overlooked, forgotten, and possibly even shamed by people. 

So let me just give a huge thank you to all of the brave and loving Mormon Tabernacle Choir singers who are bringing their time, talents, and abilities to the American people regardless of their political views or judgments on other people’s personal righteousness. The spirit that comes from your voices might just be the antidote to all that is wrong with our country. Some key person somewhere might be touched by your faith and service… and maybe… just maybe that person or group of people will be instrumental in protecting and defending the gospel in the Latter-days.

 

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    • Desiato

      I have to disagree with you here, Greg. I do enjoy your columns (and usually agree with them). But the MoTab is not America’s choir. That’s a misguided view with roots in our deep desire to be accepted into the mainstream of American culture, an action which always has negative consequences. The MoTab is the LDS Church’s choir. Everything they do reflects on the Church, and by extension, its members.

      At Trump’s inauguration, they will not be singing for America. They will not be singing to commemorate the peaceful transition of power in our country. They will be singing for Trump and validating him in the process.

      There is a reason virtually every musical artist has declined to perform at Trump’s inauguration, including those who performed for GW Bush. They understand that performance at Trump’s event strongly implies approval of the man. There’s no escaping that appearance. I still hold out hope that the Choir will reconsider their decision.

      • Hey no worries. 🙂 Thanks for your comment. I don’t think most people would agree that they are singing for Trump or that the church is in any way endorsing Trump. But hey… I could be wrong.

        • Weloveeveryone

          Thanks Greg for this post – I agree with it, although to some degree I understand with the sentiment of Desiato. However, this practice of boycotting Trump (or boycotting Israel, or punishing bakers) is unhealthy I think. I was totally upset with Obama’s victory as president but would never have had the Choir boycott singing at an inauguration of Obama if they would have been invited. The opportunity to provide some good influence can come in many ways. We have religious freedom issues that are real in this country. What an opportunity to make connections and relationships which can help spread the gospel and general goodness and hopefully influence Trump for good.

      • Jellystone

        “It was President Reagan who first referred to the Choir as ‘America’s Choir'”‘: https://www.mormontabernaclechoir.org/articles/why-is-mormon-tabernacle-choir-americas-choir.html

      • Planetary

        The reason every musical artist has declined is because their Hollywood(Communist) masters give the orders. Any musical act that sings will never have a career again. Hollywood is satanically evil. Evil beyond belief. MoTab Choir must sing to let the world know their are still some righteous people in the world.

      • Malty17

        Your opinion is noted. That said, I am not a Trump fan, but completely disagree with your conclusion. The choir is singing at a national ceremony NOT for an individual. Had they chosen NOT to perform, they would be taking political sides and become political.

        Note: The MTC has been called “America’s Choir” and is listened to by LDS and non-LDS people for almost a century. My father shared stories with me about how he and his friends were on the beach (surfers) and loved it when Battle Hymn of the Republic came on the radio.

        • Desiato

          A Presidential inauguration is definitely a ceremony for an individual. One person gets sworn into office. Seems pretty singular to me.

          But here’s the bigger indicator: take a look at who has performed at Democrat inaugurations and who has performed at Republican inaugurations over the past 30 years and you’ll see it’s almost completely partisan. In general, Dem supporters perform at Dem inaugurations, and GOP supporters perform at GOP inaugurations.

          It’s a partisan event.

          • Malty17

            OK, we will agree to disagree. I agree with the statement by the choir, that states that they are not endorsing anyone, but feel privileged to be performing at the event.

            The inauguration is about the office of president. The winner of the election is sworn in at this national event–an event that has been around for over 200 years. Yes, there will be more Trump supporters at the event, but there will also be others — including the Clintons–not because they support Trump, but because it is a national event.

          • Northwest

            I would guess the choir sings when they’re invited.

      • Heather Dunford

        I agree with Desiato, (and disagree with Greg this time). The LDS church is an international church. Our choir should not be “America’s Choir”, but should be a choir for the world-wide church and people. I don’t see how singing at a presidential inauguration is apolitical. As an international church (and with an international community appalled at President Trump) this will do more harm than good as far as our missionary efforts are concerned. I applaud the former choir member who would not “throw roses at Hitler, or sing for him either”. I couldn’t either.

        • Northwest

          This has nothing to do with Hitler.

      • One gay Mormon

        As a choir member myself, I can say that most of us are doing this for America and not for Trump. The Choir goes whenever they’re invited. It’s up to the president-elect and the administration. I can’t control others’ perceptions any more than you can. But perhaps we can spread how other Choir members actually feel. Hopefully we can agree that God can make something good of this, even if it blesses one person in some way.

        Just realizing I’m posting as “One Gay Mormon!” Well…that should tell about the diversity we have in the Choir!

    • Goto

      Ugh!!

    • Gregory

      Melinda Neist you are absolutely correct, significant and relevant. Cynthia Jones you are mean. The diaper pin says a lot.

      The ex-MoTab member either fell for the lies and hysteria propaganda or is deluded, or both.

      I am proud to have voted for Trump. You will thank me later Greg. I didn’t fall for the lie that perfection is required to be president. I didn’t want the Supreme Court to be stacked with any more anti-constitutionalists and many other vital reasons.

      It was definitely a vote against the absolute evil and corruption of Hillary and Bill.

      Trump tapped into frustrated abused masses of the American people despite the MASSIVE coordinated effort from the immoral sellouts in the Main Stream Media, the Silicon valley giants and the media mogul pedophiles and demons out of Hollywood.

      The songs of the righteous are a prayer unto the Lord and every decent opportunity The Mormon Tabernacle Choir gets benefits all who hear their prayers.

    • Planetary

      I like the article but you should have voted for Trump. Thankfully you did not vote for Evan McMuffin. There have been some strange rumors about that guy. The LDS church does have some awful politicians IMHO.

      • Leslie Martin Wiley

        Amen. McMullin — WTH was up with him? That was the strangest thing.

        • Marilyn

          It wasn’t strange at all. I was happy to vote for Evan McMullin. If you have researched his positions on the issues at all, you know that he stands for some very important principles that some people in this country have completely forgotten. Check him out at evanmcmullin.com/principles.

    • Pilar Arce

      I am agree with the article,
      but not about Trump being a bad person. I got to know him better in his
      rallies, books, and testimonies of people who are close to him in work,
      business, etc. I know with all my heart that Donal Trump, as imperfect
      as he is and all of us are, have a lot of love to give and he is going
      to be one of the best presidents of the USA, not because he is going to
      do so much good, but because all of that comes from his heart. I can’t
      wait to see he as the President. In his Utah rally, sister Cherie pray
      and a lot of Mormons support him and voted for him. Are they bad or good
      because that? not. I think he is a very good man, am I wrong because
      someone think different? no. If people think he is a bad man, and even
      compares him with Hitler is their opinion and I respected, but in anyway
      affect my conviction and my support for this great man. He is very
      eager to forgive, and is a loyal friend. I am really sad that so many
      mormons were telling that those who support Trump should give up their
      Temple recomendations, etc, etc. They banned so many people and business
      becuase they decided to support Trump, it is getting a persecution to
      those who think different, and that is really sad. But because I
      respected the point of view of everyone I and so many who support Trump
      didn’t ban business or singers, I still think they are talented and
      imperfect people like me, that see things different. The difference is
      that one side shows respect the other not, and that makes me really sad.
      But I am so glad the Tabernacle is going to sing, like I said before,
      they have the Prophet permission and that is enough.
      Greetings

      • Leslie Martin Wiley

        I was a “never Trump”, but about a month before the election had an epiphany and felt at peace supporting Trump. I consider that a gift as I’m pretty active and engaged in politics and had been pretty upset with everything and didn’t know how I was going to be able to vote before that. I am hopeful. I think there are those that are flat out SORE LOSERS and they do not WANT Trump to be successful and will do what they can to be sure that isn’t the case and any success he does have they will deny, marginalize, etc. I’m ready for PEACE in this country, racial and class divides to stop being fanned, etc. Hate is still *pouring* out of liberals and also quite frankly some conservatives. Some people honestly just don’t like to lose while others are delicate snowflakes that can’t live in the world unless they can define the vacuum they live in.

        • Jan

          One of my sons had an epiphany too…much like yours.

      • Uipo Saena

        Thank-you for your inspired insights. You see to cast a vote is an honor & a privilege given to a citizen as part of exercising his/her given right to any democratic election & process, having said that, mr Greg in my humble opinion has NO right to express his opinions as he had expressed his excuses & reasonings of why he didn’t vote, to put it very simple, you decided not to vote for reasons you’ve laid out, disqualified you to share any of your views. The gospel of Jesus Christ and all the events, miracles, and His entire mission on earth was still based on individuals choices but the multitude made all of their choices on tangibles meaning miracles witnessed by the multitudes, in your your case, because of the choice you’d made to sit out perhaps the most important election of our lifetime, was such a coward and selfish “NO CHOICE” decision you made therefore disqualified you from expressing any of your opinions.
        I’m a Polynesian man, immigrated to this great country, educated at BYU-H, learned of the Constitution of the United State of America, written by
        brave leaders and the founders of our country, loved the freedom
        To exercise human rights, earn a living and raising a family and abide by those religious principles and values, and vote based on your true convictions and inspired conscious through studying, pondering, praying, relying on His spirit, qualify me to share my views to the matter. God bless…oh and yes, I sure voted for Donald J Trump and Mike Pence!

    • Mike Wallgren

      Thanks for sharing this, Greg. Your thoughts are spot-on. I am a member of the Tabernacle Choir myself, and had the fortune of being selected in our lottery to represent the Choir at the inauguration. I did not vote for Trump, and have been very outspoken against his character and policies for the past year. I still have some very grave concerns about his presidency. With that said, the Choir absolutely had to accept this invitation in order to maintain political neutrality. And let’s be clear – a decision like this would absolutely not be made without the approval of the First Presidency, and therefore must be in line with overall Church policy. It would contradict the Church’s neutrality policy to not have accepted the invitation, since they have accepted such invitations in the past, and will do so again in the future. This event is about the office, and honoring another peaceful transition of power in our republic, which we should not take for granted. As you also mention above, it is very important to take every opportunity to serve and broadcast the message of the Gospel to the world.

      • nweb

        Good luck at the inauguration! I think it is an awesome opportunity and if I had it, I would take it.

      • Grateful for you Mike. 🙂

    • Susan Movey

      I believe that no matter how wrong she may have been, we need to love her anyway. The Lord said to love one another.. not love one another only if they agree with us. At first, when this story all came to light, I was not happy. But after giving it some thought and reading some of the comments, I have come to the decision to not judge her. She will need to work it out with the Lord just as we will need to work out with the Lord, our own problems. In the meantime, though, loving one another would probably be the best way to handle this. I imagine right now, she could use a friend… People, how much better are we, if we point fingers at her ? I am not saying she was right and I’m not saying she was wrong. She made her choice and that is that. Move forward with faith and let’s practice the love the Savior has shown us.

      • Desiato

        The problem is that you are still judging her. Look at your language. “I have come to the decision not to judge her. She will need to work it out with the Lord…” You HAVE judged her. You say she needs to repent. You are having your cake and pretending you didn’t.

        It could be you that needs to repent. “No matter how wrong [you] might have been, we need to love [you] anyway.” Sound familiar? It goes both ways, dear Sister.

        It could be that it’s me who needs to repent. We can’t be sure. Maybe we should all be a little less judgy.

        • GV

          Every single one of us need to repent …… there was but one who needed no repentance. This whole conversation is ridiculous…….it has no bearing on our eternal salvation.

          • Desiato

            I am looking beyond just my own salvation – I’m looking at the public perception of the Choir, and thus the Church and its members, by muddying its reputation by validating Trump. It matters. The Choir can be a wonderful missionary tool. Its effectiveness can also be diminished by such a public endorsement of an obviously immoral man.

    • moracle

      Melinda Neist, I wish you were an American… We need more thoughtful people like you here.

    • L Christine

      I have a question out of curiosity, just to feel out the boundaries: What if the North Korean leader asked the choir to sing at a government-sponsored event commemorating his leadership? Not comparing Trump to him, just trying to understand how far the choir should take its duties.

      • Renee

        If that opened the doors to proselyting in North Korea then I wouldn’t have an issue with that. Jonah went to Nineveh, and the sons of Mosiah to the Lamanites after all.

        • Heather Dunford

          We have missionaries in the Philippines. Would you have them sing for Duerte?

          • Desiato

            I would ask it this way: Knowing what you know about Duerte, would you have the Choir sing at his inauguration?

        • Desiato

          But of course, realizing who Kim Jong-un is, you know it wouldn’t open any missionary doors in Korea. It would just be the Choir being exploited by a megalomaniac.

        • Renee

          I would have the choir sing for anyone if the prophet felt that is where they needed to go. I find that when I think I know better than the Lord I have my priorities all messed up.

          • Desiato

            Well, once we have any indication (beyond mere speculation) that President Monson directed this, we can talk.

            Even if he did, I’d be careful using the terms “the prophet” and “the Lord” interchangeably. Brigham Young taught us the importance of not making that mistake. They aren’t the same. One can make mistakes, whereas the other is infallible.

    • Phillip Behling

      I love this. We all should. And remember all we know about Trump is what the media shows us about him after they run it thru their clown filter. They are putting him in the worse possible light. And yes it’s his future we need to be most concerned about. The new York times told lies about the Mormons here in Utah those lies led to Johnsons army coming to Utah in 1857. The country would have been better of then and now without the new York times. Does anyone talk about that? I did just lately in my blog. I also has some interesting experiences with protesters and such. Here is my blog. Flipslife.com.

    • nweb

      I’ve seen a couple of comments from choir members now, and I think that is what makes me the saddest about all of this. That the now ex-choir member had the gall to say the things she did and didn’t think it would hurt those that she has sung alongside for I don’t know how long with her words. Just because someone is singing at his inauguration doesn’t mean they voted for him, but she seems to be of that opinion. And then with the things she called Trump, it seems to me she was implying that anyone who voted for him must be exactly like him. I would just feel very hurt and betrayed by her right now, if I had been in the choir with her.

      From what I understand, the entire choir is not going, so in order to participate, you had to ask for that chance. She could have so easily just not even put her name in the lottery. I don’t approve of her methods at all. Go ahead, remove yourself from the choir, privately. No need to make a public post on a social media site and then try to claim you were just trying to get the word out to your friends and family and had no intention for the post to go viral. Facebook has this wonderful thing called Messenger. The fact that they were singing at the inauguration was already a hot topic, she knew exactly what was going to happen.

      So I’m with Greg. Thank you to the many choir members who see this opportunity for what it is.

      • Planetary

        She was probably paid to do the things she did. The LDS church has some awful politicians so it would not surprise me if they put her up to this. That woman is a Communist and a feminist.

        • my_two_cents_worth

          Yeah, that’s it, paid conspiracy.

        • nweb

          Wait- you’re saying the LDS church PAID her to do this? That makes no sense at all. Why would they agree to sing at his inauguration, then pay to have a choir member make an apology tour about it? That’s crazy.

          It’s a voluntary position anyway, so I don’t know why she would paid to leave something she wasn’t paid for participating in.

          • Planetary

            No I am not saying the LDS church paid her. That would be crazy. I am saying one of the politicians such as Harry Reid, Evan McMuffin, Mike Lee, Mitt Romney or somebody else could have persuaded her to make a big stink about Donald Trump. She could have politely declined but she had to throw stones and make a huge deal out of it. Evan McMuffin suddenly deciding he wants to run for President is very suspicious also. That is what I am saying.

      • my_two_cents_worth

        “That the now ex-choir member had the gall to say the things she did and
        didn’t think it would hurt those that she has sung alongside for I don’t
        know how long with her words.”

        Why would it lest they ran into issues with their own conscience?

        • nweb

          I explained it further in my comment- I said that in her post, she made it sound like she felt that anyone singing at his inauguration approves of him and his life choices. The same names she was applying to Trump, she is applying to anyone singing at his inauguration or who may have voted for him. I don’t know anyone who likes to be compared to Hitler or finds that flattering. Would you?

          I imagine friendships were formed in the choir. You don’t have to have a guilty conscience over anything to feel betrayed when someone you have formed a relationship with is now making the media circuit rounds, saying that she ‘couldn’t go quietly’, but then also says, “I really wasn’t trying to get any attention.” She has taken it upon herself to release statements about how she feels about it, now appearing on MSN, and she makes it sound as if the choir should feel the same way she does, and if they don’t, they’re horrible. She’s talking out of both sides of her mouth- she says she respects others opinions, believes in not judging others, that we are to love our fellow men- ALL OF THEM- and then compares Trump to Hitler? Come on, I’m younger than she is, and I know that Trump is not even close to being the horror that man was. He’s a lot of things, but a replica of Hitler he is not.

          I didn’t vote for Trump. I don’t agree with much of the choices he has made and I don’t agree with a lot of what he campaigned on- at least not the way it was presented, if you can call what he had to say any kind of presentation. I’m honestly baffled that he’s president.

          I also did not vote for Clinton. There is not a thing she has ever had to say that I agree with.

          But my voting choice aside, I know several people who made the choice to vote for Trump or Clinton. And I know that while their preferred candidate may not be the greatest shining example, the people I know who voted for them are. For their own personal reasons, they chose to vote for him or her. Most of them managed to do it without making a big stink about it or offending people left and right.

          Having someone who once belonged to an organization with you now leaving that organization and doing all she can to bad-mouth said organization is a betrayal and it does cause hurt feelings.

          • my_two_cents_worth

            She expressed the same concerns thousands of other members of the church have expressed–that sending the Choir to sing at Trumps inauguration implies, like it or not, that the Church is endorsing someone who is the antithesis of LDS values about family, charity, and compassion. If other members of the Choir don’t like that assessment let them speak out; if their conscience is troubling them, do what Jan did. But, remember, right or wrong, “you” are known and often judged by the company you keep.

    • Jon Soules

      I’m a former MoTab Choir member, Jon Soules (T-81), 1995-2016. This same thing happened when the choir went to Bush II’s inauguration. These protests are about the individual singer and not about any grand principle that “needs to be shared with the world.” Those that resigned in protest before are largely forgotten, and the memory is that the MoTab performed once again for a POTUS.

      It doesn’t matter who the President is, it matters that the Lord’s church is asked to represent the good of our country in a worthwhile and uplifting manner. It doesn’t matter what an individual choir member thinks (that’s something that is clear and omnipresent in the MoTab), it matters that the group is collectively a very powerful missionary force to move ahead the Lord’s work on the earth – to help Him bring to pass the “immortality and eternal life” of His children.

      Making this about politics is misdirected – and it’s probably a good thing those that want to do that are now gone. The Lord needs unity in the MoTab, and obedience to those that lead it. Without that, it wouldn’t have lasted for more than 150 years and likely will roll forward until the Savior comes again (now that will be some inauguration!).

      Onward and upward, MoTab!!

      • Desiato

        It’s already political. We’re not making it that way.

        Let’s face some hard facts: The MoTab was not Trump’s first (or second, or third) choice. All the musical performers on Trump’s wish list refused to perform at his inauguration because they didn’t want to validate him and his views. THEY see it as political. So Trump finally asked the MoTab because he figures, well, the Mormons are solid Republicans, and they are nice people, so they won’t turn me down.

        It is precisely because I respect the Choir so much that I object so vehemently to aligning ourselves with such a morally bankrupt individual.

        • Northwest

          Pride, the great stumbling block.

    • Desiato

      I never said the Church called the MoTab Amercia’s Choir. I said simply that it isn’t America’s Choir. Just because Reagan said it doesn’t make it true. He also said he wasn’t involved in a scheme to trade military arms to Iran for aid to the Contras in Nicaragua. We found out that was also a lie 🙂

      Millions of people in this country think singing at a person’s inauguration DOES validate that person. The national conversation we are having right now about this subject has proven that. Just because YOU don’t believe that doesn’t make all of them wrong. You can’t legitimately make a blanket statement like “Performance at an inauguration has never been interpreted as approval of the man.” That’s simply your opinion, and NOT the opinion of many, many people. They think it is.

    • Desiato

      I didn’t miss the point at all. But I would like you to consider one point: this worldwide church we belong to has more members outside of the U.S. than inside. To call the MoTab “America’s Choir” is an insult to every member of the Church outside this country. You are effectively telling those members the MoTab is not their choir. If I was a member living outside the U.S. I would find that pretty insulting. Those members have every right to consider it theirs.

      • Northwest

        The choir originated in America. That’s all it means. Choose not to be insulted/offended.

        • Desiato

          Sorry, not even close. The restored church originated in America, yet we (properly) refer to it as a worldwide church.

          I’m not offended, because I live here. Unlike you, I am actually considering how others (i.e. members living in other countries) feel when we exclude them. American provincialism can have negative consequences.

    • Wilson Hansen

      Not an endorsement…just an association, you really don’t want your church’s name in the same headline as his name. Public perception is everything, and the Mormon church has damaged itself plenty the last couple of years. Not a great PR move…

    • Michael Scrimsher

      Most don’t folk don’t even known about the 1965 event as the
      Choir was specially invited (fairly late in the game, I might add) by sitting Lyndon
      Johnson, who had a good relationship with DO McKay, even though politically the
      2 were far apart. Ironically, Johnson
      was the only Democratic president to win Utah’s Electoral College votes in a long
      time, and Utah hasn’t since voted Democratic since. The 1965 event, with the Telstar satellite
      just launched, was the first presidential inaugurations to be broadcast via TV
      live overseas, so the 1965 event was quite the PR opportunity for the Church
      and the Choir. The book DO MacKay and
      the rise of Global Mormonism has all the details, very worth reading. So there
      is ample precedent that when the choir is invited to sing at the inauguration of
      a US president, they will perform.

      • Desiato

        You make a good point. But I think you’d agree the political scene is completely different today. In 1965, performance at an inauguration would not be viewed as political. In fact, it would not be viewed by many people at all. How many people were able to watch a live event that occurred in the middle of the day on a workday? Today, with our vastly increased media coverage, repeated broadcasts, and highly politicized landscape, performing at an inauguration is seen as an endorsement by lots of people.