Mitt Romney, Mormon: This I know

View Photos: “I know that Mormonism can foster thoughtful deliberation and humanity; are these also features of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism?” asks … Continued


View Photos: “I know that Mormonism can foster thoughtful deliberation and humanity; are these also features of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism?” asks Joanna Brooks. GALLERY: View more scenes from life in Mormon America.

Most Americans are a bit gun-shy when it comes to talking about faith and politics. And it’s no wonder, given that for the last few decades we’ve seen religion used as a political weapon on sensitive personal issues, like the most recent entanglement that seems to be rolling back the clock on contraception for women.

As the landmark election of President Obama in 2008 presented an important opportunity to discuss race in America, this year presents another important opportunity: to improve the quality of our national conversation on religion, as America contemplates the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney.

Many Americans admit that they know little to nothing about Romney’s Mormonism, a faith rooted in nineteenth-century American Protestantism that has developed its own distinctive body of scripture, Christian theology, and culture. As a Mormon myself, I would like more Americans to recognize our tradition and its history as a part of the American story. But for now, our story remains split between Mormons imagined as murderous renegades, bearded polygamists, and clean-cut company men, reflecting a great divide between the sensational and the sanitized images Mormonism.

I would like to see a more substantial national conversation about the diverse ways contemporary Mormons–including a potential future President of the United States–live our faith. Yet, whether by dint of his pragmatic personality or official campaign strategy, candidate Romney continues to studiously avoid discussion of his religion, preferring instead to stress only the elements of his faith that align with campaign priorities. Asking what impact Mitt Romney’s practice of Mormonism would have on his presidency is a legitimate question Mormons and non-Mormons alike should want to know.

This I know: Mitt Romney is the product of a time in Mormon history when the faith completed its transition from regional upstart to global corporate church. The late 20th century LDS Church culture that formed and rewarded Romney strongly emphasized disciplined messaging, individual obedience, allegiance to hierarchy, and cultural conservatism in the service of institutional growth. This corporate-institutional Mormonism discouraged and sometimes stigmatized critical inquiry and free expression.

Which makes me want to know if Romney ever found himself wrestling with LDS Church positions, for example, in the years prior to 1978 when the church banned the ordination of African-Americans. If so, how did he reconcile his conscience with discriminatory institutional mandates? How did Romney deliberate for himself the question of women’s rights when the LDS Church invested in political opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment in the ‘70s and ‘80s? Is Romney giving thought to issues of LGBT understanding and acceptance, a source of deep deliberation for many LDS people today?

Did LDS bureaucratic culture shape Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital as a by-the-book decision maker who falls in line with corporate and institutional agendas? Does he consider minority perspectives? How does he relate to people who disagree with him? Who loses when Romney wins?

Voters also deserve to understand the range of faith-based positions Mormons take on matters of foreign and economic policy and where Mitt Romney falls on this spectrum. Will Romney invoke religion only as a rationale on social issues like same-sex marriage and reproductive rights, or will he also consult his faith when it comes to war and torture? What about issues other people of faith characterize as matters of human dignity, like access to affordable health care, worker protections, or immigration policy? Does Romney consult his faith as he weighs the balance between people and profits? These and many other issues do indeed register in Mormon history and doctrine.

There are some matters on which Romney has diverged from LDS Church positions. For example, LDS Church leaders have advocated moderate immigration reform measures that honor immigrant families, while Romney has expressed support for punitive measures like Arizona’s SB 1070. The LDS Church has also made efforts to reach out to and cooperate with Islamic relief agencies. Do Romney’s foreign policy positions and his choice of foreign policy advisors suggest an LDS faith-informed approach to global politics, or one shaped more by neo-conservatism?

These are tough questions. But they are questions that move our national conversation about religion beyond sound bites and simple answers to a deeper level of reflection on the impact personal faith has on conscience, institutional loyalties, national priorities, and power. Which brings us back to a central question: I know that Mormonism can foster thoughtful deliberation and humanity; are these also features of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism?

If Romney really is just the by-the-book decision maker who always finds himself in harmony with the priorities of large corporations–religious or financial–voters should know that. Understanding how a president would deliberate and make tough decisions is a legitimate question that needs to be asked by us all: not just by people of faith, but by voters and journalists alike.

Joanna Brooks covers Mormonism, faith, and politics for ReligionDispatches.org and hosts her own column at askmormongirl.com. She is also a founding participant in FaithSource, a new initiative by Auburn Seminary to bring diverse voices of faith into the mainstream media.

  • dougtheavenger

    To all religious critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have this to say…

    Christian doctrine (Mormon and non-Mormon) declares the following.

    1. Jesus is co-eternal and co-equal with God the Father. (John 1)
    2. Jesus was begotten of the Father before all worlds. (Nicene creed)

    If these two points of doctrine seem to conflict with eachother, it is because God has not fully revealed their meaning..yet.

    To all non-religious critics of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have this to say…

    Facts You Should Know About Mormon History and Belief before Shooting Your Mouth Off
    1. 1830 – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is formally organized with six members. Today it has more than 14 million members.
    2. 1832 – A runaway slave named Elija Able is baptized and ordained to the priesthood. He serves multiple missions to Canada where he will be safe from the Fugitive Slave Laws. He is probably the first black Mormon.
    3. 1833 – Joseph Smith recieves a revelation that will become section 101 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Vers 79 says “Therefor it is not right that one man should be in bondage to another.”
    4. 1838 – Mormons are expelled from Missouri under threat of extermination (Executive Order 44). A petition of complaints against them makes no mention of polygamy but complains that Mormons invited “free negroes and mulattoes” to join them in Missouri.
    5. 1844 – Joseph Smith runs for president with a plan to free all slaves by 1850. He is murdered the same year.
    6. 1852 – Utah passes the most liberal divorce laws in the United States and possibly the world.
    7. 1869 – The Utah territorial legislature which is dominated by Mormons votes to give women the vote. At the time, only Wyoming had female suffrage.
    8. 1887 – The federal government takes the vote away from Utah women (Edmunds-Tucker Act)
    9. 1890 – Polygamy is discontinued by the Church of Jessu Christ of Latter Day Saints. Eternal marriage remains an central belief in Mormon life

  • XVIIHailSkins

    I love that you only addressed this to the ‘religious critics.’ Take comfort in knowing that your faith is ‘co-equally’ ridiculous and irrational as any other.

  • SODDI

    If mormon ethics are like Romney’s ethics, then mormons are very dishonest people indeed.

    Their church is as dishonest as the day is long.

  • TLUnrine1

    MORMONS AREN’T DISHONEST. They can’t be, they are covered with Mormon Immunity under their Lying For The Lord Doctrine.

    It is acceptable to lie, if it furthers your cause.

    Us Christians have Prov 12:22 – - The Lord detests lying lips…

  • TLUnrine1

    Should you have included that Mormons (esp Smith) were chased out of Ohio after embezzling the life savings of the Mormons and non-Mormons who put their Money in Smith’s Illegal Mormon Bank.

    An incident which developed into the first schism in the Mormon Church with Mormons declaring Smith isn’t NO LONGER a prophet, and formed their own branch of Mormonism..

    What about 9/11/1957 – - Mormons attack and kills over 120 unarmed men, women, and children, and attempt to cover it up blaming the attack on Indians.

    I could go on, but you get the point, selective memory of Mormons.

    Like forgetting that Joe Smith had over 30 wives, including 9 who were married to other men, when Smith took them over as his own wife, and these were prior to his death, not after.

  • TLUnrine1

    You forgot some dates in Mormonism, all related to First Vision stories:

    1827 – Joseph Smith Sr and Josep Smith Jr give the Toad-to-Man First Story talk to Willard

    Chase, who repeats in a 1833 affidavit – this is the earliest First Vision of conster Joe.

    1827 – Martin Harris gives an account of the First Vision story to Rev John A Clark, which

    was written about later in 1842 in the book Gleanings By The Way. This version an angel

    tells Joey where to look for the buried plates, but he must get married in Pennsylvania

    first and have a child.

    1830 – First Vision story related to Peter Bauder in an interview of Joseph Smith, later

    printed in his book The Kingdom and the Gospel of Jesus Christ printed in 1834. In the

    interview, Joey made no reference to meeting God or Jesus Christ, told him an angel told

    him where the gold plates were located, had to return in a year, and after translating, the

    angel took the gold plates back.

    It has been noted in the 1830 version, that after this unsuccessful interview by Joey, that

    religious aspects started to appear in later First Vision acccounts.

    1832 – this is the first First Vision revision which started to incorporated Christian

    religious aspects, bible readings, forgiveness, praying. Smith first mentions heavy study

    of the scriptures since age 12, first mention of all churches being wrong, he seen Jesus

    Christ in this version only, NO GOD, just Christ.

    1834 – 1835 – Joey Smith and Oliver Cowdery both co-authored a First Vison story printed

    in the Messenger and Advocate, a Mormon publication. FIrst ever mention of a revival,

    first mention of a angel visiting his bedroom, told about gold plates and location.

    1835 – Joseph Smith talking to a Jewish Minister, Joshua. His vision had in the Grove, he

    seen first one personage, then came another personagle, and also had many angels

    appearing (mini-version of the Tabernacle Choir maybe).

    1838 – An actual account by Joseph Smith, was not printed until 1842, this became the

    official version.

  • SODDI

    If you’re a christian, I wouldn’t boast of your religion’s history of unimpeachable honesty.

    “Tinky Winky is gay!” Jerry Falwell

  • coltakashi93

    Joanna Brooks us a stimulating, thoughtful voice in the world of Mormons commenting on current society. She is also a Democrat who does not support Mitt Romney’s election to the presidency. Her thesis that highly successful business people like Romney think “by the book” shows a deep miscomprehension of how business leaders deal with the many uncertanties of structuring and running companies that have enough difference from their competitors that they can overtake them in revenue and earnings. If doing what Romney did could be taken from a “book”, every business leader would be as.rich as Romney. But earnings that far outstrip the average growth of the economy and the stock market come from the intelligent application of information beyond what most people are capable of. And anyone whose pension is in one of the many funds invested with Bain Capital and its counterparts should be thankful for that superior insight.

    we should remember that churches are very different structures from businesses, universities (where Profesdor Brooks works) and government. Most religion is inherently conservative, based on texts that were written when the English language did not exist. To the extent they hold themselves out as being answerable to deity for their doctrines and practices, they are not townhall meeting simple majority governments. They are not menus, but instead are a meal whose recipe has been handed down from an authoritative source. So how a person reconciles.herself to her church does not determine how she will set and achieve goals within a business, a school, or a larger political society of diverse viewpoints. Each ofbthose diverse human societies has diffetent ways to reach collective decisions and fulfill its missions. Thete is no need to extrapolate from a church relationship how a person will act in a national relationship because we can simply observe the actual behavior in the public context where the rest of us deal with him.

    Senator Harry Reid i

  • coltakashi93

    Frankly, I am disappointed that Professor Brooks has asked a question about reaching into Mitt Romney’s mind before the 1978 revelation to Spencer Kimball that opened priesthood ordination too black Mormons. Romney has daid repeatedly that he had the same feeling that every other Mormon I knew had when they heard the announcement: sheer joy and relief from a heavy burden, of a rule that was inconsistent with the openness of Mormons to the ordination of every other race and ethnicity, including Asians like myself, Polynesians, American Indians and Hispanics. It was an anomaly that really had.no clear doctrinal foundation, just speculation that I and many other Mormons were leery of. There was never any question that the Church supported equal civil rights for all people. It was never a part of the Southern slaveholding culture, which was hostile to all things Mormon and the Northerners and Englishmen who were its members. Utah did not have segregated churches or schools.or drinking fountains.

    The more intriguing question is why so many people of African ancestry, not only in America but also in Ghana and Nigeria, were so attracted to Mormonism despite that anomaly. As Profesdor Brooks has pointed out, thete are close to 400,000 Mormons in Africa now, some 100,000 in Haiti and the Dominican Republuc, a million Mormons in Brazil including many blacks, and about 200,000 black Mormons in the US. There are white Mormons with black bishops and stake presidents, and white Mormons go to black communities in the US and abroad inviting people to become Mormons.

    The US Civil Rights Act ended official racial discrimination only in 1964. Yet we don’t see politicians who are notbMormon being pressed to explain why they didn’t head to Canada when they realized their state and coubtry discriminated against blacks, or Hispanics, or Indians, or Asians.

    During World War II some 100,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were unconstitutionally imprisoned without trial. They responde

  • fkratzor1

    Suggesting that we vote for Mr. Romney because he has made money for shareholders as a venture capitalist is a stretch. There are plenty of this ilk that I wouldn’t want in the White House.

    And despite your assertion, the LDS church is a business. It has salesman (missionaries), policies (the Book of Mormon and the rest) advertising, research (FARMS), internal policing, corporate executives (Quorum of Twelve) and a president (prophet). The product they sell is “updated” salvation with new “revelation” offering their brand of glorious afterlife, and do all of this business in a tax exempt environment.

    We are not voting for Harry Reid and I don’t care about him. What I care about is what Mr. Romney holds as truth. The more I read about the fantastical claims made by Joseph Smith, the more interested I become.

    And don’t you think many other humas are going to dig into the historical beginnings of the faith of one of the most powerful individuals on the planet, should he win? It shapes the window through which he views the world.

    PS. Thank you for not using the “No Religious Test Clause” as an argument of why no one in the electorate should question Mr. Romney’s religion.

  • Kent French

    To: Those who post anti- Mormon comments.
    Those who want to know more about Mormons.
    Those who want to know more about Mitt Romney.

    As an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I see nothing wrong or funny about my wearing underclothing which serves as a daily reminder to me to be true to the sacred covenants I have made at my baptism and in the Temple to be a faithful follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly to mock my commitment to God in this or any other manner is wrong.

  • Kent French

    All of this is very serious, and it is a subject to look into rather than to dismiss and joke around about. If you are a seeker of the truth then go to the Church rather than to a bunch of anti-Mormons and ex Mormons with axes to grind. For the most part they are armed with false information and lies from the early to mid 1800s when the anti-Mormons of that day persecuted our people even unto death. I know about those persecutions because three of my ancestors lost their lives including my great grandfather’s four year old brother. I guess what I am saying is those lies and half truths from the 1800s were perpetuated by men filled with hate, and who loved to make a lie. What’s more, they can lead to murder again if they are taught as truth. They were deadly before, and they can be deadly again.

    In fact, in 1838 the Mormons were expelled from the slave state of Missouri under threat of extermination! See Executive Order 44 issued by Gov. Boggs. You might ask why would he issue such an order? Well, in this case the anti-Mormons complained about something that was true. They said the Mormons had invited “free negroes and mulattos” to join them in Missouri. Their actions sound like the KKK don’t they?

    I have three ancestors who died as a result of that persecution, and other family members who almost lost their lives as well. For instance, when my great grandfather was 12 years old he and his mother were driven out of their home in Illinois, and forced to walk across the Mississippi River into Iowa. It was February, and it was so cold that the river had frozen over solid. To my knowledge, it hasn’t done so since.

    I surmise that they had to leave at gunpoint with just the clothes on their back like so many others were forced to do, but I don’t have those details.

    They ended up in what was called Poor Camp where they nearly starved to death along with everyone else who was there. In answer to the prayers of those starving Latter-day Saints the Lord sent quail into t

  • Kent French

    In reference to the Book of Mormon:
    About 600 B.C. God commanded the tribes of Israel to keep two scriptural histories rather than one as they had done in the past. The “Stick of Judah” (the Bible record) was still to be kept by the tribe of Judah, but the new record, the “Stick of Ephraim”, was to be kept by the tribe of Joseph. Thus, God also referred to it as the “Stick of Joseph”.

    This new record was soon hidden from the world when the Prophet Lehi, and a few others from the tribe of Joseph were led by God to the Western Hemisphere. However, God declared to the Prophet Ezekiel that he would bring forth the Stick of Joseph to be joined with the Stick of Judah prior to the gathering of the twelve tribes of Israel in the latter days. Thus, God said that these two sacred records “shall become one in mine hand”. See Ezekiel 37:15-21 in the Old Testament.

    Today, we know the Stick of Joseph as the Book of Mormon. It covers a period of history from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D., and contains the writings of some of the greatest prophets who ever lived. As a companion book to the Bible (the Stick of Judah) it provides another Testament, and a second sure witness to both Jew and gentile that Jesus is the Christ! So be careful, you are dealing with God.

    As to how many people viewed or held the golden plates upon which the Book of Mormon was written – there were twelve of them. Nine were allowed to touch and turn the plates thereof. In addition, the three witnesses who’s testimonies appears in the front of the book all bore death bed testimonies as to the divinity of the Book of Mormon with their last few breaths. Think of it, do you really want to dismiss off hand those deathbed testimonies? If so, you are a lot further away from passing into the next life than I am.

  • Kent French

    I hope my posts will give you some insight into Mitt Romney. From what I can see, as a Mormon he has led a very active and honorable life. Certainly, having been a Bishop, Stake President and Missionary he has devoted a large portion of his life to helping everyday people like you and me at a very personal level. But that’s not all, did you know that when he was C.E.O of Bain Capital he shut everything down at the corporation and had everyone devote their full time and attention to finding a missing youth of one of his Associates? They located that young person two days later. This alone should tell you more about Mitt Romney’s heart than anything else.

  • Kent French

    I am an everyday Mormon who is actively engaged in my faith. If you want to know how I and my fellow Mormons think and conduct our lives. I can tell you quickly. However, before I extol our virtues, I want to remind you that if sins stunk there would be few people who would go to any church or any other public gathering. Remember, Jesus Christ led the only perfect life, and that is why he and he alone was able to atone for our sins.

    We Mormons are far from perfect, but those of us who live our religion are striving to keep the commandments of Jesus Christ, make wise choices and do better until we leave this frail existence. We are pretty good at doing so. About 48% of us are in church every Sunday, and about 70% or more of our youth are there as well.

    We do our best to read in the scriptures and study and pray every day, and serve our fellow men. Thus, we are constantly striving to draw nearer to our Savior by applying his teachings to our lives. As a result we are probably the happiest people on the face of the earth. To get a taste of what I am talking about go to mormon.org. There you can read thousands of profiles posted by our members. My profile is there as well. Just search for Brother French.

    Personally, on the wall above my computer desk I have placed a seven word daily reminder of how I want to conduct my life. A man who I taught as a youth came up with it last February and e-mailed it to me. It says:

    Keep
    Covenants
    Commitments
    Commandments
    God’s way
    Every day
    All day

    I hope these my posts answered your questions about Mormons, and what kind of people we are.

  • fkratzor1

    What do the symbols on your underclothing represent?

  • fkratzor1

    I totally reject the death bed testimonies of the rest of the “smitten” who were trying to get this thing going. I wonder how many others in that area were doing similar things in addition to their treasure hunting? And if, as you say, you’ve discovered the “updated” secrets to eternal bliss, why do people leave your church?

  • fkratzor1

    Surely you jest.

  • Kent French

    Like I said, if you were closer to death you might place a higher value on death bed testimonies. By the way, those great men were not trying to get this thing going. With the help of Jesus Christ they got it going! Today, we have more than 14 million members.

    To answer your question, people probably leave our church for the same reasons that others leave their churches. However, from what I have seen a higher percentage of our members remain active. As I posted, about 47% of our members are at church each Sunday and about 70% of our youth.

  • Kent French

    I hope everybody reads my post and your answer.

  • fkratzor1

    Simply because you have 14 million adherents, doesn’t make it any more true than it was in 1830. Take a look at any list of recent religions worldwide to see how many people they attract, and I’m fairly certain they are devout in their particular belief.

    How many people with college educations living in the USA that didn’t grow up in the LDS church do you recruit each year? How many leave? That would be an interesting statistic.

  • fkratzor1

    I didn’t bring up your underclothing. I read somewhere that the symbols were masonic in their history.

  • Kent French

    I don’t know the answer to that question, but in most wards I have lived in there have been quite a few. My present Bishop is one and he has a PHD.

  • Kent French

    I think I will move on to greener pastures. You know it is real easy to find and locate the Lord’s church. There are three simple Yes or No questions to ask. They are:

    1. Is Jesus Christ personally guiding your church by revelation? Answer – Yes (See the Book of Acts)

    2. Does the Prophet who stands at the head of the Church hold the same keys to the kingdom of heaven that Christ gave to Peter?
    Answer – yes (See Matthew 16:18-19)

    3. Are those who hold the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priestood in the Church called to the Priesthood in the same manner as Aaron (that is by revelation through a living Prophet of God)?
    Answer – yes (See Hebrews 5:1, 3-6, 10, Exodus 28:1)

    Good luck to you. I am out of here.

  • fkratzor1

    I also want to add that I have absolutely nothing against people of your faith. I am and have always been (52 years) a religious non believer. This is the road less travelled. I also only grew an interest in the Mormon religion after reading ‘No man knows my history” as Romney entered the election. Then away I went to every imaginable site including lds.org. I don’t believe in magic but I do believe in people and I believe that all of the goodness that flows from the people within your faith and from all good people everywhere comes from within, nothing else required.

  • Erica Blair

    I pretty much totally disagree with the idea that his religion matters all that much to politics. The ‘This I know: Mitt Romney is the product of a time in Mormon history when the faith completed its transition from regional upstart to global corporate church…[yadda yadda]…” part of this essay I took particular issue with.

    It’s poisoning the well. Ad hominem abusive circumstantial, as it were. It’s the same kind of nonsense people threw around about Obama and his pastor.

    The reality is that yes, while your cirmustances and your upbringing and your background and what you believe and who you associate with, etc. all affect who you turn out to be, it is a poor substitute for who you ARE, and the ‘this person is a product of [whatever]‘ argument has been a jumping off point for prejudice and unfounded conclusions about people for forever.

    I care about Romney’s religious beliefs as much as I care about Obama’s, which is to say extremely little. You don’t interview a candidate for a job by finding out every little past thing he’s done or personal/relationship/religious beliefs. You interview them for ONE SPECIFIC PURPOSE: Can they do the job better than the other candidates?

    Being the president is a JOB. The only thing I want to know about any candidate is whether or not he will do a better job than the other candidates at the task that must be done. If and only if that task had something to do with religion, would I ever care about someone’s religious background.

  • sfcanative

    Anyone who . . . believes the Garden of Eden and the beginning of mankind occurred in Independence, Missouri . . . believes Christ’s advance team will announce the looming ’2nd Coming’ at a Mormon temple and city in Missouri called New Jerusalem where prophets from all dispensations will gather with Mormon church leaders and members . . . believes going to the highest degree of heaven will require the practice of polygamy . . . believes god likely has multiple wives for the purpose of populating worlds without end . . . believes as man is god once was, as god is man may become . . . believes in order to go to heaven and be in god’s presence you must gain approval from Mormonism founder Joseph Smith . . . believes blacks are cursed by god with a dark skin for things they did in the pre-mortal life . . . believes American Indians are descendants of a Middle Eastern people and have a dark skin because god cursed them as explained in the Book of Mormon . . . believes a sixteen year old farm boy in Upstate New York was visited by God, Christ and angels, told all churches were of the anti-Christ, then later was told of a hidden box of golden plates which he translated into the ‘Book of Mormon’ some seven years later . . . believes those gold plates were later returned to an angel in a vast cave where an abundance of similar records were stored . . . believes 3 Nephites from the time of Christ as described in the Book of Mormon walk the earth today ministering to Mormons . . . believes God lives on a planet near the star Kolob with a human spokesman in Salt Lake City . . . believes special Masonic handshake rituals in the Mormon temple entitle that person to an exclusive pathway past the sentinels leading to heaven . . . doesn’t have my vote for President of the United States.

    By all means, go to mormon.org and lds.org to hear, see and read what they have to say about their new and improved 21st century organization. Then visit exmormon.org to get the rest of the many m

  • harkers

    I wonder if JFK as the first Catholic to run for POTUS face this kind of hate??! No wonder the SS was assigned to protect Romney early in the primary. WAPO sure knows how to bring out the worst America has to offer. Just how far will they go to re-elect a man fathered by the hate filled Rev Wright??!

  • evgolightly

    Equating President Obama’s infrequent visits to a particular Christian church and Romney’s devout commitment to a secretive new religion is a false argument.

    President Obama was FULLY vetted for two years, attended three religious forums and was questioned ad nauseum about his beliefs and values. Why is Romney off limits?

    There are many unanswered questions voters deserve to know. If he chooses to hide, we will draw our own conclusions.

  • evgolightly

    There is no religious test to run for president, but there are a million other tests to landing the job. Mitt Romney’s devout Mormonism deserves scrutiny, and this off limits approach isn’t doing him any favors.

    Citing Kennedy is a false equivalency. Kennedy was a casual observer of Catholicism; Romney was a LEADER of this secretive faith — the equivalent of a Cardinal. How can anyone expect the most inquisitive electorate on earth to be satisfied with the veil of secrecy surrounding his beliefs?

    I have questions. Everyone I speak with has questions. He was 32 years old and already a Bishoo when the church president decided to reverse the “mark of Cain” belief concerning blacks. Doesn’t this mean Bishop Romney TAUGHT this belief? There is no record of him opposing it…

    There is no record of him opposing ANYTHING taught by that church. Ever. And some of those teachings are very concerning.

  • evgolightly

    PRESIDENT Obama has been with us for nearly four years. He disowned his now retired pastor before being elected and spoke at length about his faith. President Obama NEVER dodged a question the way Romney has.

    Elder Romney is deeply involved in his faith, and he is much too guarded for comfort.

  • persiflage

    Here’s what we know about the presidency – it’s not at all about religion, but has everything to do with competence for the job. Romney is glaringly unqualified in that area. This is a rich man that needs a serious reality check on the exigencies of life in the middle class.

    His pie in the sky pledge to ‘blanace the budget’ is beyond absurd. He plans to do this by continuing to enrich the rich while running the government on red ink and no new revenues – exactly like the Bush administration that put us in this fix in the first place.

    Of course, he’s down with the Paul Ryan budget plan that guts benefits for the middle class…..his solitary idea about fiscal reform.

    That voters don’t see through Romney’s total lack of leadership ability and similar absence of cogent ideas about America’s future says volumes about a significant percentage of the voting public that are willing to make momentous moves that run completely contrary to available information and based on some impulsive need for change at any cost – coupled with serious short term memory deficits.

    There are no overnite solutions to our economic dilemma and anyone that says different is either lying or just plain stupid.

  • evgolightly

    Voters don’t see through Romney because their sources of information about him are shallow campaign slogans. The idea that Romney is the “economy” candidate is a campaign myth picked up and perpetuated by the media.

  • Rongoklunk

    If Romney was really really smart he’d understand that the only reason he believes the Mormon religion is true is because he was raised to believe it was true – NOT because it’s true – which it obviously isn’t. Reality shows that we usually TOTALLY believe whatever we were raised to believe as children. If he had been raised by Muslims he’d believe what Islam teaches – right? And if he’d been raised as a Catholic he’d believe what Catholics believe.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Romney could see this, and made statements that showed he was simply another victim of religious indoctrination? If he could see this, I would vote for the guy. But unfortunately indoctrination doesn’t work that way. Once indoctrinated – religious for life is the outcome. It’s like being hypnotized.

  • Secular1

    In fact, in 1838 the Mormons were expelled from the slave state of Missouri under threat of extermination! See Executive Order 44 issued by Gov. Boggs. You might ask why would he issue such an order? Well, in this case the anti-Mormons complained about something that was true. They said the Mormons had invited “free negroes and mulattos” to join them in Missouri. Their actions sound like the KKK don’t they?

    I have three ancestors who died as a result of that persecution, and other family members who almost lost their lives as well. For instance, when my great grandfather was 12 years old he and his mother were driven out of their home in Illinois, and forced to walk across the Mississippi River into Iowa. It was February, and it was so cold th the at the river had frozen over solid. To my knowledge, it hasn’t done so since. ” All’s well and good the fact of the matter is since William McCary, was more successful at laying the pipe on the whit lDS chicks than BY, BY instituted the ban. One of those revelations prophets get at most convenient times for the said prophet. As any other religion LDS is just another scam, albeit more recent scam.

  • dhrogers1

    In 1857 an adulterous federal judge told lies to Congress after being kicked off the bench in Salt Lake City, and the US government sent one-third of the entire Union army to Utah to put down a supposed “rebellion” by the Mormons. In the midst of this charged atmosphere a company of travelers in southern Utah several days journey away from Salt Lake and Church headquarters were joined by some ruffians who were bragging about how they had raped and murdered Mormons in Missouri. The California-bound wagon train was attacked by a group of Indians and Mormons and most of them were killed.

    There is substantial evidence that neither Brigham Young nor other church leader ever ordered the Mountain Meadow Massacre. Authors who are critical of the church take diary entries and other evidence out of context to make it look like high Church leaders, particularly Brigham Young, ordered and/or condoned this atrocious act. But the evidence does not support that conclusion. Most of their arguments are a re-hash of anti-Mormon propaganda from the time period. For instance, Will Bagley’s “Blood of the Prophets” interprets an alleged conversation between Brigham Young and some Indians as proof of a planned attack. However, as pointed out by attorney Robert Crockett, the conversation is was actually about an effort to enlist the help of the Indians to slow down the approach of Johnson’s Army and had nothing to do with the immigrant party in Southern Utah. (Robert D. Crockett, “A Trial Lawyer Reviews Will Bagley’s Blood of the Prophets,” FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 199–254)

    James Holton Haslam acted as a messenger/courier between Brigham Young and the area in Southern Utah. Haslam carried messages to Southern Utah intended to smooth over relations and prevent violence with instructions that “the people at Parowan and neighboring communities to do everything in their power to protect the emigrants.” After reading a message warning of impending trouble Brigham Young asked Brother

  • dhrogers1

    Warren Parrish apostatized from the church with a disgruntled attitude. In May of 1837, a general banking panic began in the eastern states and spread across the country and became known as the Panic of 1837. The Kirtland Safety Society was in serious trouble by the spring of 1837. Joseph Smith resigned from it by 8 June 1837 due to dishonesty on the part of other bank officers and publicly warned the Saints about continuing to use the Safety Society’s notes.

    Warren Parrish was an officer of the Safety Society. Joseph Smith started noticing that money went missing when only Parrish had access to it. Evidence seemed clear the money was being kept in Parrish’s trunk. But before Joseph Smith could get a warrant to search it, the trunk disappeared. As Heber C. Kimball records, Parrish later admitted to embezzling $20,000.00 That’s the equivalent of $475,000 today.

    The Safety Society had a reserve of $21,000 in specie and notes from other banks. With that $20,000, Parrish could completely wipe out the Safety Society’s liquid assets. That would ruin the Safety Society.

    In addition to the $20,000.00 embezzled from the bank Warren Parrish and several other officers of the Society who had also apostatized from the church stole one hundred thousand out of the vault, sent cronies around to buy up horses, wagons, farms, and cattle. When the people deposited the notes back into the bank Parrish and his cronies would steal the money out of the vault again and repeat the process. By this means Parrish and his buddies obtained much wealth in the form of property leaving the note holders top lose when the bank failed. ( Smith, George A,[November 15, 1964] Journal of Discourses 11:1-11

    Joseph Smith, was the second largest shareholder of the Safety Society and stood to lose the most if it failed. He paid more per share than 85% of the shareholders. He probably invested more money than anyone else. Instead of bailing out at the first sign of trouble he invested more as thi

  • dhrogers1

    Willard Chase’s story comes from the discredited Hurlbut affidavits. Even anti-Mormon Fawn Brodie dismisses Hurlbut’s affidavits regarding the now debunked Spaulding Manuscript claim. A Hurlbut family lost a court case against the Smith family for issuing death threats against the Smith’s and for not paying debts owed to the Smith famil. Young Joseph Smith’s testimony in the case played a significant role in the outcome of the case which was in the Smith’s favor. This court victory occurred in spite of the wealth and influence of the Hurlbut family whereas the Smith family was poverty stricken and, therefore without resources to fund a court case.

    Philastus Hurlbut had an axe to grind against the Smith family. Hurlbut was excommunicated from the church for indecent conduct. The Hurlbut affidavits come from third hand sources that even ant-Mormon author Fawn Brodie regards the affidavits as unreliable and recognized as being orchestrated by Hurlbut even though she is willing to use them against Smith anyway.

    The claim of a white salamander came from third had sources. When the Mark Hoffman documents were found to be forgeries, D. Michael Quinn was left to salvage what he could in his anti-Mormon book. Having lost his primary source, the now discredited Hoffman forgeries, he fell back on unsubstantiated and third hand accounts known to be unreliable, such as the Willard Chase affidavit gathered by the disgruntled Hurlbut, . (William J. Hamblin, “That Old Black Magic (Review of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, revised and enlarged edition, by D. Michael Quinn),” FARMS Review of Books 12/2 (2000): 225–394.)

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