SALT LAKE CITY — A female member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has resigned rather than perform at President-elect Donald Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration.
After singing with the world-famous choir for five years, Jan Chamberlin announced via Facebook Thursday afternoon that she had submitted her resignation to the choir because she could not "in good conscience" sing for a man she compared to Adolf Hitler.
"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," Chamberlin wrote in her Facebook post before citing several reasons to remain with the choir. "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."
Chamberlin wrote that performing at this national event will make it "appear that the choir is endorsing tyranny and fascism" and would "severely damage" the choir's image.
"For me, this is a HUGELY moral issue," Chamberlin wrote. "I only know I could never 'throw roses to Hitler.' And I certainly could never sing for him. ... My heart is shattered and broken but my conscience is clear. And THAT, really is all that matters."
As new of her decision spread, Chamberlin responded to critics and supporters with another Facebook post, encouraging more positive dialogue that reflected standing up for freedom, morals and values.
Chamberlin did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.
LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said "participation in the choir, including the performance at the inauguration, is voluntary" and that only a limited number of choir members will be permitted to participate, the Inaugural committee has informed the choir, Hawkins said.
Because membership information about the Choir is not public, Hawkins could not confirm details or provide information about other Choir members. He did refer to a previous statement indicating the general response to the announcement has been mixed, with people expressing both opposition and support.
"The Choir’s participation continues its long tradition of performing for U.S. presidents of both parties at inaugurations and in other settings, and is not an implied support of party affiliations or politics. It is a demonstration of our support for freedom, civility and the peaceful transition of power," Hawkins said.
Trump's inauguration will mark the sixth time the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has performed for a president of the United States. And so the tradition continues, said Ron Jarrett, the choir's president.
"Singing the music of America is one of the things we do best," Jarrett said in blogpost on the choir's website. "We are honored to be able to serve our country by providing music for the inauguration of our next president."
Others have voiced support for the choir singing at the inauguration. One Deseret New reader commented: "It is for the office, and is a good gesture to reach out respectfully to try and heal the great divide that so many are working hard to maintain and even widen. Had the choir been asked, they would have gladly performed at President Obama's inaugurations. It is fair to ask why they were not invited."