A singer from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has resigned because she could never look at herself "in the mirror again with self respect," after the group accepted to sing at President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration.
In a letter addressed to the president of choir and its members, which was posted on Facebook on Thursday, Jan Chamberlin wrote that she had "spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony," and had "reflected carefully on both sides of the issue, prayed a lot, talked with family and friends, and searched my soul" before making her decision.
Her post had been shared more than 1,800 times and had garnered more than 2,300 comments by Friday afternoon.
"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’ve tried to tell myself that it will be alright and that I can continue in good conscience before God and man," Chamberlin wrote.
"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," she continued.
Chamberlin, who said she was with the choir for five years, went on to explain that Trump's tactics and rise to power were similar to those used by Hitler, writing that Hitler also identified "a problem," found "a scapegoat target to blame," and agitated the population with a "combination of fanaticism, false promises, and fear..."
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Chamberlin for comment about her decision to resign.
“We’re honored to have the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform in the 58th Inauguration, their sixth time participating in inaugural ceremonies, and we look forward to their uplifting performance," Boris Epshteyn, Director of Communications for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, told BuzzFeed News in an email.
On Friday, in another post on Facebook, Chamberlin said she was called a "bigot, selfish, self righteous, closed minded," among other negative names, after publicly declaring her decision to resign.
A petition started by Randall Thacker, who was previously a president for a support organization for gay Latter-day Saints, argued that the choir's attendance "does not reflect the values of Mormonism and does not represent its diverse 15-plus million members worldwide." The petition gathered 19,000 signatures by Thursday, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The newspaper, citing a church spokesperson, said that choir members' participation in the choir and in the inauguration was voluntary, and that only a few members of the choir would be attending the event. Around 215 choir members are expected to perform. Those who do not wish to participate can remove their name from a lottery system used to choose singers for the inauguration.
The choir has performed at the inauguration or swearing in ceremonies for five previous presidents, including George H. W. Bush, Lyndon Johnson, George W. Bush, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Trump's transition team for c
Earlier this month, the owners of the The Rockettes — an iconic New York based dance group also performing at the inauguration — announced last week that its dancers were not required to participate in the inauguration performance, despite earlier reports of an email stating the contrary after rumors of a boycott.
Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2
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