This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The political caucuses are over in Utah. Bernie Sanders whipped Hilary Clinton, and Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump. Then they all left town. Praise the Lord.
As near as my investigative journalism skills can tell, none of the candidates was allowed to speak in any LDS wards or other church facilities. The LDS Church doesn't want to be seen as playing political favorites.
The LDS Church has told its members to vote their consciences. This is all well and good unless, like me, you don't have much of a conscience.
But how offended would you be if any of the candidates were speaking in your LDS ward today?
Clinton: "When Lehi and Nephi set sail from Benghazi …"
Trump: "I know many, many Mormons. They love me. I could probably shoot a Mormon and not be arrested."
Sanders: "When I'm president, the entire country will adopt the United Order."
Cruz: "Your most esteemed leader Glenn Beck prophesied that I would save the country."
Although my write-in candidacy for president isn't doing well, I did have a few remarks prepared in case it happened.
Kirby: "Brothers and sisters, if you elect me president I will round up all the other candidates, have them Tasered and buried alive in a sewer."
You're right, this isn't a very loving message, but I mean it from the heart. It's the best I can do with a conscience like mine.
Since none of the current candidates got to speak in the LDS tabernacle, maybe the LDS Church has gotten a bit more circumspect about who they let talk from Mormon pulpits.
Most of the time, political harangues sneak into church on their own, usually during a sacrament meeting talk gone horribly awry, or during testimony meeting when someone advocates for a particular candidate.
The first time I was paying enough attention to recognize this happening was when somebody tearfully testified to Jimmy Carter being the most Christlike candidate the country had ever seen.
Since then, I've heard overt political messages issued from the pulpit advocating/denouncing entitlements, welfare, capital punishment, various wars, taxes, homosexuality, feminism, and population control.
As ridiculous as politicking in a church sounds, it's happened before in Utah. On Sept. 23, 1960, presidential candidate Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy spoke INSIDE the LDS Tabernacle on Temple Square. The place was packed. Yes, with Mormons. Who applauded.
Vice President Richard Nixon, Kennedy's opponent, spoke in the LDS Tabernacle a couple of weeks later (Oct. 10). LDS Church President David O. McKay, as a staunch Republican, even expressed hope that Nixon would win.
He didn't. Utah handed Nixon our four measly electoral votes, but Kennedy won the election.
Not that it did either of them any good. President Kennedy returned to the tabernacle three years later (Sept. 26, 1963) and gave another stirring speech. Fifty-seven days later, he had a date with a bullet in Texas.
Nixon eventually became president as well. But his presidency would end far more ignominiously, thanks to Watergate.
Come to think of it, maybe we should have let the current candidates talk in the tabernacle.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley