By Billy Kirkland
I may have never met McKay Coppins or have worked for the Atlantic, but I have lived a very blessed life. I was born in the freest and most upwardly mobile country in the world. I was also born a member of the Church of Latter-day Saints.
Having grown up in the Church, I attended early morning seminary every day, served an honorable full-time two-year mission for the Church, and was married in the LDS Temple in Atlanta. But aside from being a husband, father, and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the greatest honor in my life has been to serve President Donald J. Trump and the American people.
Unlike Coppins, my knowledge of the President’s respect for Americans of faith is not based on second-hand anonymous sources, but what I personally experienced and witnessed with my own eyes.
During my time in the White House, there was never an instance when the President, Vice President, or senior staff did not respect my faith. In fact, I was able to educate and grow the relationship the President and Vice President have with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and broader LDS community because of their keen interest in doing right by our community.
Both the President and Vice President have met with Church leadership, including members of the First Presidency. For the first time in the event’s history, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints not only attended the National Day of Prayer event at the White House but were also given key roles leading prayer.
The President has also recognized the many contributions the Latter-day Saints have made to this country, as evidenced by having the Secretary of Interior deliver an official Presidential message at the Days of 47 Pioneer Day Celebration.
History tends to repeat itself, and that is no different in today’s modern Latter-day Saint world. Much like the Pharisees and Sadducees of old, we are revisited with such instances today, where it is clear a person’s character is defined by their actions. President Trump is the most pro-life President in history, a staunch supporter of school choice, protected the most vulnerable among us including those affected by human trafficking, appointed hundreds of conservative judges and soon-to-be three Supreme Court Justices, and is the greatest defender of religious freedom in my lifetime.
Simply put, President Trump has been a Godsend to the faith community.
The Latter-day Saints of the past might not have wanted to trek west to the Utah territory or struggle to build a thriving society there. The saints of that time also may not have wanted to join the Mormon Battalion and trek south to Arizona to defend the United States during the Mexican-American War – but their sense of duty and commitment to their values prompted them to take action.
And while some Latter-day Saints may have previously been skeptics, after nearly four years of results, it’s clear we are blessed to have been given President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Michael R. Pence to lead our nation.
I sometimes think how funny it is who He chooses to qualify. I am one of many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that firmly believes the Lord qualified Donald Trump and Mike Pence to lead our country in this unique time in our history.
Billy Kirkland is a former Special Assistant to the President, active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and proud member of the Navajo Nation.