Editor’s note: In the final week, we’re going to be sharing a series of perspectives from Latter-day Saints on why they’re voting for Joe Biden. This is the second, from Amanda Howell.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the South, I have always felt a little on the outside. Often the only member of my church in my class, it was my responsibility to represent how “Mormons” are indeed Christians. I had to discuss misconceptions both reasonable and irrational about my faith with classmates who believed many negative things about it.

Now I find myself in a similar situation, having to explain to members of my church and other Christians why I am voting for Joe Biden. Once again, some questions are reasonable and others are based on profound misrepresentations. Claims that no one could be a conservative and vote for a Democrat remind me of when I was told no one could be Christian AND “Mormon.”

In brief: I am supporting Joe Biden because he stands for family values and self-reliance.

Biden’s life exemplifies strong commitment to his family. He has always been a faithful, loving husband and father. He regularly attends church and has shown how much his faith means to him. He supports our religious freedoms because they are also his religious freedoms. He learned early in life about self-sufficiency and the importance of working hard, including as a single father. Biden had to work for all he has and so understands how things are for the vast majority of us who are striving for self-reliance in a struggling economy.

Health coverage is vital for families and crucial for self-reliance. Due to pre-existing conditions, my mother had to depend on employer-based insurance while I was growing up. Even with an “excellent” plan, however, she had to make constant calls to have necessary treatments covered. The same insurer refused to pay for a medically-necessary surgery I went through as a teenager. Despite doctors’ letters and the work of multiple lawyers, we had to borrow $24,000 to pay for the surgery. There was no possibility of “shopping around.” Through the ACA, Joe Biden guaranteed basic protections for pre-existing conditions, better coverage of preventive medicine, and better access to mental healthcare and prescriptions. He knows that too many families are still struggling under the ACA and has a plan, published on his website, to improve it.

Biden’s concern for working families like mine is rooted in his compassion and empathy for others. He can listen to problems and help find practical ways to resolve them, rather than following political ideology. He works across the aisle and hears all sides, instead of drumming up fear and discontent to get his way. He will support our troops because he knows as a military father about the sacrifice they make. He will support families because he knows personally about the hardships we sometimes face.

I am tired of other politicians’ vain repititions professing to be pro-life while doing nothing to resolve the reasons women seek abortions in the first place. I trust Biden to do more to help women avoid unplanned pregnancies and thereby most abortions, which is the more effective approach, rather than just hide them via untracked self-induced abortions, as restrictions do. While I do not agree with every part of the Democrat platform, that’s okay, because I know that Biden will truly represent all Americans, not just those who vote for him. He will unite our country in this difficult time in a way no self-obsessed, reality TV star ever could.

Amanda Howell is a mother of 4 from Raleigh, NC. She is active in her church, community, and with an international advocacy non-profit of women of faith.

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Image: Covid-19 case map in the United States as of October 31, 2020 with title “We are better than this.”

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