The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, sometimes colloquially referred to as MoTab or Tab Choir, is a 360-member, all-volunteer choir. The choir is part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and its funding is provided by the sale of albums, concert tickets, licensing of recorded performances, and donations. Many Latter-day Saints and others are against The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s plans to sing at Donald Trump’s inauguration and they have signed an online petition, which has collected about 15,000 signatures in a short notice.
Initiator of the online petition is a lifetime Mormon, Randall Thacker. "I've sensed a lot of grief around this issue, and I wanted to provide a place to express that," said Thacker, who is a past president of Affirmation, a support organization for gay Latter-day Saints. "I'm happy to see my gut was right when it told me so many people felt the same way," he added.
The petition states:
“We as signers of this petition, believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ decision to allow the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to perform at the upcoming presidential inauguration of Donald Trump DOES NOT reflect the values of Mormonism and does not represent its diverse 15+ million members worldwide.
We also believe that an official LDS organization performing at a presidential inauguration gives the perception that the LDS Church and its diverse 15+ million members worldwide support an incoming president’s agenda, values and behaviors.”
The inauguration is planned for Jan. 20 when Donald J. Trump will swear-in at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. and the performance of this choir would, according to the petition, "harm this spectacularly talented and beloved choir's image." LDS leaders announced last week that the choir would perform. Not all 360 singers will make the trip, but church officials have said about 215 are expected to volunteer. Their previous performances include singing at swearing-in ceremonies for George H. W. Bush (1989), Richard Nixon (1969) and Lyndon Johnson (1965). It performed in inaugural parades for George W. Bush (2001), George H. W. Bush (1989) and Ronald Reagan (1981).
One of the signatories of the petition asks: “Did you see me protesting when the Mo Tab Choir performed at the inaugurations of either George W. Bush or his father? No, you did not. Those men did not trade in hatred, racism, sexism, and the systematic persecution of religious minorities.”
Carol Lynn Pearson, author of No More Good-Byes and The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy, asked a simple question: “Would Jesus sing at Trump’s inauguration?” She continued: “I’m going to pretend that the Choir will join the festivities in Washington and proudly sing the little song I wrote that is in the official church songbook for children and is sung every week by Mormon children across the world, a song that celebrates what Jesus would do.”
A New York rabbi, who also signed the petition, said he holds an affinity for Mormon values, including "honesty, truth and benevolence." "Donald Trump continues to trample upon these values," the rabbi wrote. "For the majestic and glorious Mormon Tabernacle Choir to celebrate his inauguration would be an endorsement of how he disregards the values that define Mormonism."
Photo Credits: The Salt Lake Tribune