Woman quits Mormon Tabernacle Choir prior to Trump inauguration to preserve ‘self-respect’

Jan Chamberlin (left) wrote in an email to choir president Ron Jarrett and the rest of the choir: "I cannot continue with the recent turn of events. I could never look myself in the mirror again with self respect." Photo Courtesy: Facebook

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 30, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has submitted her resignation after it was announced the group will perform next month at Donald Trump’s Presidential Inauguration.

Jan Chamberlin discussed her decision in an email to choir president Ron Jarrett and the rest of the singers:

“I cannot continue with the recent turn of events. I could never look myself in the mirror again with self respect.”

Chamberlin also posted the letter on Facebook in the early hours of Thursday morning. The post had received 2,300 comments and 1,500 shares as of 11 a.m. Friday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced last Thursday that the Tabernacle Choir had accepted an invitation to sing at the swearing-in ceremony during the presidential inauguration at the United States Capitol on Jan. 20 in Washington.

The Church released a statement on Friday:

“Only a limited number of Choir members are participating (the number is limited by the Inaugural committee), and none are required to participate.”

The choir has performed at such events five times before.

Chamberlin, who has been with the choir for five years, wrote that her decision was not easy:

“Since ‘the announcement,’ I have spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony. I have reflected carefully on both sides of the issue, prayed a lot, talked with family and friends, and searched my soul.

“I’ve tried to tell myself that by not going to the inauguration, that I would be able to stay in Choir for all the other good reasons. I have highly valued the mission of the choir to be goodwill ambassadors for Christ, to share beautiful music and to give hope, inspiration, and comfort to others.

“I’ve tried to tell myself that it will be alright and that I can continue in good conscience before God and man.”

But, Chamberlin wrote, she cannot continue given the recent turn of events:

“I also know, looking from the outside in, it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and fascism by singing for this man. And Choir’s wonderful image and networking will be severely damaged and that many good people throughout this land and throughout the world already do and will continue to feel betrayed. I believe hereafter our message will not be believed by many that have loved us and adored what we have stood for.”

Chamberlin also wrote about her personal reasons for joining the Tabernacle Choir to begin with, which, she says, are the same reasons she is leaving it.

“When I first auditioned and entered Choir, it was to follow deep personal impressions, and to honor my late father, who was among the best of men,” she wrote. “Now I must leave Choir for the same reasons. My father (who was an expert Air Force bomber) hated tyranny and was extremely distraught over the holocaust. He and Mom both loved people greatly.

“I have deep patriotic feelings for this country and for the freedoms of people everywhere throughout the world. I am troubled by the problems we face which seek to destroy our love for liberty and respect for humanity internationally.

“History is repeating itself; the same tactics are being used by Hitler (identify a problem, finding a scapegoat target to blame, and stirring up people with a combination of fanaticism, false promises, and fear, and gathering the funding). I plead with everyone to go back and read the books we all know on these topics and review the films produced to help us learn from these gargantuan crimes so that we will not allow them to be repeated. Evil people prosper when good people stand by and do nothing.”

Chamberlin can’t be part of that, she wrote:

“I only know I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler.’ And I certainly could never sing for him. Much love to you all. I wish you all blessings and happiness. My heart is shattered and broken…………. but my conscience is clear. And THAT, really is all that matters.”

This performance will mark the sixth time the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has sung at an inauguration. These inaugural events include the official swearing-in ceremonies for George H. W. Bush (1989), Richard M. Nixon (1969), and Lyndon B. Johnson (1965). They also performed in inaugural parades for George W. Bush (2001), George H. W. Bush (1989), and Ronald W. Reagan (1981), according a news release from the LDS Church provided when it was announced the choir would perform.

“The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has a great tradition of performing at the inaugurals of U. S. presidents,” said Jarrett in the posted announcement. “Singing the music of America is one of the things we do best. We are honored to be able to serve our country by providing music for the inauguration of our next president.”

Reagan, in 1981, dubbed the Choir “America’s Choir.” George H. W. Bush called the Choir “a national treasure” during his swearing-in ceremony in front of the Capitol in 1989.

The full text of Chamberlin’s letter is as follows:

Dear Family and Friends,
This is the message I have sent to Choir:

Dear President Jarrett and Choir,

Today is my birthday. (Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you………..)

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I submit my resignation to you and to Choir. I’m am praying that Jesus will help me get through this email before I totally break down.

I thank you all for 5 very meaningful years. There are many memories and experiences which I will cherish and hold dear in my heart.

Since “the announcement”, I have spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony. I have reflected carefully on both sides of the issue, prayed a lot, talked with family and friends, and searched my soul.

I’ve tried to tell myself that by not going to the inauguration, that I would be able to stay in Choir for all the other good reasons.

I have highly valued the mission of the Choir to be good- will ambassadors for Christ, to share beautiful music and to give hope, inspiration, and comfort to others.

I’ve tried to tell myself that it will be alright and that I can continue in good conscience before God and man.

But it’s no use. I simply cannot continue with the recent turn of events. I could never look myself in the mirror again with self respect.

I love you all, and I know the goodness of your hearts, and your desire to go out there and show that we are politically neutral and share good will. That is the image Choir wishes to present and the message they desperately want to send.

I also know, looking from the outside in, it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and fascism by singing for this man.

And Choir’s wonderful image and networking will be severely damaged and that many good people throughout this land and throughout the world already do and will continue to feel betrayed. I believe hereafter our message will not be believed by many that have loved us and adored what we have stood for.

I know that I too feel betrayed.

Tyranny is now on our doorstep; it has been sneaking its way into our lives through stealth. Now it will burst into our homes through storm.

I hope that we and many others will work together with greater diligence and awareness to calmly and bravely work together to defend our freedoms and our rights for our families, our friends, and our fellow citizens. I hope we can throw off the labels and really listen to each other with respect, love, compassion, and a true desire to bring our energies and souls together in solving the difficult problems that lie in our wake.

In the show ‘Wicked,’ the Wizard makes a really interesting statement. He says “I create conflict to stay in power.” This scenario can keep us perpetually distracted and at odds with each other and keep us from working together to solve important issues. This also allows those in office to do whatever they want to unchecked. I believe this has been done to us, both cunningly and intentionally. I believe we have a lot more in common than we have in difference, and if we will listen to each other, we can learn a great deal from one another.
And we can learn to work together to defend our freedoms with sensibility and integrity.

When I first auditioned and entered Choir, it was to follow deep personal impressions, and to honor my late father, who was among the best of men. Now I must leave Choir for the same reasons. My father (who was an expert Air Force bomber) hated tyranny and was extremely distraught over the holocaust. He and Mom both loved people greatly.

I have deep patriotic feelings for this country and for the freedoms of people everywhere throughout the world. I am troubled by the problems we face which seek to destroy our love for liberty and respect for humanity internationally.

History is repeating itself; the same tactics are being used by Hitler (identify a problem, finding a scapegoat target to blame, and stirring up people with a combination of fanaticism, false promises, and fear, and gathering the funding). I plead with everyone to go back and read the books we all know on these topics and review the films produced to help us learn from these gargantuan crimes so that we will not allow them to be repeated. Evil people prosper when good people stand by and do nothing.

We must continue our love and support for the refugees and the oppressed by fighting against these great evils.

For me, this is a HUGELY moral issue. “ as he died to make men holy, let us live to make free” (The first time I heard this beautiful piece, I was 11 years old; my brother Jim was singing in Honor Choir. IT’S message sent inspirational electricity through my soul and penetrated every fiber of my being. THIS is Choir’s true message, and we don’t want it lost by giving the opposite message).

James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” This scripture has been resonating with me a lot lately.

I only know I could never “throw roses to Hitler.” And I certainly could never sing for him.

Much love to you all. I wish you all blessings and happiness.

My heart is shattered and broken…………. but my conscience is clear. And THAT, really is all that matters.

Respectfully,

Jan Chamberlin

(Happy birthday dear Jannie………… happy birthday…………………………….to…………………. you…………………………………………….

9 COMMENTS

  1. SAD! IMHO, this is not patriotic dissent. I am an Obama supporter (2x) and involved in Non-Profit Management Organization in support of people’s rights. I consider myself to be in the trenches, so to speak. However, when I celebrated Obama’s victory and noticed much dissent among my conservative colleagues, I encouraged them to make a distinction between political opposition and patriotic support. Many intended to resign from Military and other positions out of protest toward Obama and what they felt he stood for. However, more mature opponents of Obama wisely decided that there is indeed a difference between political opposition and mature patriotic duty, like celebrating victory, but maintaining good sportsmanship and graciousness in defeat.

    Sometimes attitudes after defeat best show the character of a person. It is easy to gloat and feel on top when you win something big, but takes a lot of restraint, maturity and character of soul to loose gracefully and return to square-one. What are you teaching the upcoming generations about participation in a Democracy in which there are invariably more than one viewpoint? It is hard to be tolerant of the intolerant, and yet, tolerance is what we preach, correct??

    It appears that we have raised a generation of self-centered and immature people, who are sore losers regarding anything not going their way. I remember Hillary goading Trump about accepting the outcome of the upcoming election results, and now I am embarrassed at our own inability to do exactly that ourselves. It pains me the same as would the outcome of a well-played soccer game, but where the losers begin to riot and hurt people due to the final score being not what they wanted and worked for. Where has our maturity and sportsmanship gone?

    There are PLENTY of opportunities to oppose President Trump in the coming years if you choose to take them, but not like this. If you don’t believe in the divine position of your organization (The Tabernacle Choir and its sponsor the LDS), then leave, but not publicly. In your heart, if you believe in the Mormons’ doctrine, you may be making a grave personal mistake. Either way, it appears that setting yourself up as a public spokesperson by using the clout of the Tabernacle Choir is selfish, immature, and poor sportsman-like. If you must to it, do it quietly so as NOT to become a trashy public spokesperson, which you have no inherited right to do – GROW UP by setting a more mature example of support for your country, dissent for your political views, and overall good sportsmanship. And please quit embarrassing those of us who may be patriotic, but mature dissenters. Good grief!!

  2. My father’s grandmother was Joseph Smith’s niece I know how people misunderstood him. Trump is not president yet – To spread lies about him is really not Christian or intelligent to be doing.

  3. There are thousands of other female singers who would “die,” so to speak, to have this woman’s position. If she can’t square it , fine ! ! ! Just the theory portion of the test discourages most people; less than 1% make it , and you’re going against MA’s, PhD’s, and extremely gifted, experienced, talented people, PLUS you have to be a “Temple Mormon.” . Which is something most people can’t achieve. (Follow all of the 10 Commandments, do your church jobs, tithe, be totally honest in all things.) I feel sorry for this woman, she is having issues and needs rest and a doctor’s care. The Hitler comments are way “out there,” besides
    just generally being inappropriate, and it’s unfortunate she is having these struggles before she gets help. Now we’ll hear all manner of urban legends not only about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
    but about the Missionaries, sisters in the Church, etc. Hey, I SAY —- common’ bring it ! ! ! If you think we’re a cult (I became a Mormon as an extremely independent single woman), you are ALWAYS welcome,
    at our services, dinners, family activities, dances, single activities, etc AND BE SURE to ASK QUESTIONS.

  4. (identify a problem, finding a scapegoat target to blame, and stirring up people with a combination of fanaticism, false promises, and fear, and gathering the funding) Is exactly where our country was headed BEFORE Trump won the election.

  5. We have to end this mania of making judgments without first carrying the burden of that person we are judging. The Savior was so clear in his teachings, when he spoke of who has no sin to cast the first stone.? Means that you will be equal to her, and for this reason that you are here on earth. I made so many mistakes, and wonder if the Savior had given up on me?or the world what my life would be now, that is why the Savior of the world Was chosen, he has the keys and the right to make his own judgment after all he died for each one of us, that’s what I’ve learned in my whole life in the Church. Today is a new year that we can think of, if anyone in this life Needs to change,?!this person is me,.and thinking Humanity will make a huge difference. Happy new year and full of much love and that’s what we need. The rest, the Savior cares.

    • I so agree, there are none of us that walk on the face of this earth that are without sin. She is to set an example of our Lord and Savior, which she didn’t do. Most of Americans that are Christians like myself we all believe that the Lord had his hand in this because all the Christians came out and prayed and voiced their opinions loud and clear. We couldn’t have someone so evil as Hillary and who doesn’t seem to be a Christian. Trump has talked repeatedly that he wants to put God back into this country in every aspect. May will all pray for Trumps success and humble ourselves and ask the Lord for his hand and guidance daily & in all things.

  6. As a Latter Day Saint myself I am very saddened that Jan Chamberlin did this. For her to say that she didn’t intent for it to go viral is a flat out lie. She is old enough to know that if you put anything on face book your taking a chance on it going viral. She seems to be judging Donald Trump which is something the church talks about all the time we should never do. I have been a member of the church my entire life 57 1/2 years and if she is a liberal like Harry Reid I would distance myself anyway. We are not suppose to be dishonest in our dealings and we are not to judge. Seems like for some reason she needed attention. I hope that the world doesn’t look at her as an example of the church because that is not what we are about. Remember the Church is perfect the people are not.

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