Election 2012: ‘Mormon moment’ or a last gasp coalition?

Jonathan Newton THE WASHINGTON POST Confetti falls at the end of President Obama’s Election Night rally on Nov. 7, 2012 … Continued

Jonathan Newton

THE WASHINGTON POST

Confetti falls at the end of President Obama’s Election Night rally on Nov. 7, 2012 in Chicago.

A lot of buzz in the regular and online media about Mitt Romney’s run for the White House being a Mormon moment. Some say even with Romney’s defeat the Mormon moment isn’t over; that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has finally claimed its legitimate place in the religious landscape of America.

Some make their case for legitimacy by pointing to the coalition of Roman Catholic bishops and evangelical Christian groups that supported Romney for president. Not so fast. There’s more to this coalition of strange bedfellows.

It could be as simple as, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Issues of abortion, contraception, gay marriage and perceived religious persecution by the Obama administration seemed to bring this unlikely group of folks together for a common purpose: to defeat President Obama.

It could also be a drive to restore power in this country to white male leaders which, not coincidentally, happens to dominate Mormon, Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant leadership.

Romney did well with born-again evangelical, white Roman Catholic and white Protestant voters, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Life. Obama won big among non-white Roman Catholics, black Protestants, Jews, people of non-Judeo-Christian faiths and the “nones”—those who have no religious affiliation. For the first time in a national election, some have observed, a coalition of minorities carried the day.

But local elections signaled a demand for change among the electorate. Voters are sending five women to the U.S. Senate, including the first openly gay senator, bringing to 20 the number of female members; the most ever. Four states passed referenda supporting the civil rights of gay citizens to marry. A ballot question was approved in Maryland extending in-state tuition benefits to children of undocumented residents.

November’s election could be seen as the failed, last gasp of a threatened white male power structure to restore its control of government and society. And it’s the word, “restore,” that will resonate with Mormons and anyone who has lived in Utah, Idaho, Arizona or wherever LDS have strong social influence.

The basic tenet of the Mormon faith is that Joseph Smith, the church’s founder, was given the job by God to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ since his followers had become apostates since the first century of the Christian era. The restored gospel is the main mission of the LDS Church.

A super-PAC funded by several wealthy Mormons not surprisingly chose the name, “Restore Our Future.” Large contributors reportedly included members of the Marriott family and two executives of Nu-Skin, a Utah-based company selling dietary supplements and skin care products. Nu-Skin is the former employer of Rep. Jason Chafetz, R-Utah, now representing the Congressional district where the company is headquartered.

And it should be no surprise that another high profile Mormon, Glen Beck, dubbed his Lincoln Memorial speaking event in 2010, “Restoring Honor.” So it makes sense that any Mormon believer will see his—and it is his–duty to not only restore the gospel of Jesus Christ, but restore this country to some former glory it enjoyed in their version of history. You see, Mormons also believe the U.S. Constitution is a divinely inspired document, taking the idea of American exceptionalism to a whole new level.

The Mormon moment may have come and gone. Changing demographics of the USA may have finally brought to reality the “melting pot” of America. This election may be the tipping point for a country that no longer has a white ruling class. And I, for one, see that as progress.

The Rev. Dan Webster, an Episcopal priest now living in Baltimore, served parishes in Utah and was news director of KUTV, Salt Lake City. He is a former producer and deputy bureau chief at NBC News’ Washington bureau.

More On Faith and 2012:

Wilcox: U-Va. sociology professor: Parenting in red, blue and purple America

Religion News Service:Report: White Christian voters no longer hold keys to the White House

Tenety: God after 2012: How did election change religion, political landscape?

David Gibson: What’s next for religious conservatives?

Lisa Miller: After huge Hispanic vote, plenty of reason to compromise on immigration reform

Berlinerblau: An open letter to social conservativesFiguring Faith: Faith in 2012 by the numbers

Why American Jews and Muslims backed Obama by huge margins

Otterson: What lies ahead for Mormons?

Thistlethwaite: Compassion in chief: Why Obama won

Patel:Hopeful for explicit discussion from White House on religious diversity

About

  • bwong5

    It is a mistake to imagine that there is but one moron moment.

  • MrDarwin

    Has it occurred to anybody that Romney may have lost BECAUSE he is a Mormon, precisely because the right-wing evangelical Christians who now form the base of the Republican Party have never considered Mormons to be “true Christians”, and thus sat out this election or even (gasp) voted for Obama?

  • Tornogal

    Evangelicals so hated President Obama they would have voted for anyone over him. And they did. It’s that simple.

  • David L Sadler

    Moronism will hence forth be relegated back to the realms of nothing with the other silly cults. No matter how many millions they spend on publicity and enhancing their image, Mormonism can never get past the fact it is founded on nonsense and delusion. Brigham Young did not father 57 children to 16 different women, several of whom were still legally married to other living men at the time – Because ‘GOD’ commanded him to. LOL.

    The Native Americans are not decended from a tribe of Israel (DNA has proven this).

    The Egyptian Papyrus used to create the ‘Book of Abraham’ is nothing more than a standard funery text found all over Egypt.

    You had no right to discriminate against Black people and God did not change his mind about them in 1978.

    The list is endless…

    Anyone believe in God? Then ‘God’ sent the hurricane that turned the tide of the election back to President Obama. God did not want a homophobic Moron running the free World.

  • Michael Worley

    The Mormon church–at it’s core–teaches standards of temperance in eating. chastity, fidelity, revelation through prophets and faith in Christ . These truths explain our purpose in life and God’s plan for us.

    If the “mormon moment” is over, perhaps society will move towards an atheistic and amoral society. That is for me, a scary thought. Thankfully the church is sending out thousands of missionaries to teach the truths i mentioned above.

  • dhrogers1

    David,

    What first hand historic source do you use to conclude that any of Brigham Young’s wives were “still legally married to other living men.” Produce the sources.

  • dhrogers1

    A study out of California sparked the DNA issue. The study was done by people who are not experts in the field of DNA studies. They wanted to prove the Book of Mormon false. They cherry picked data gathered by actual DNA scientists. The study was not done using accepted scientific methods. When they did find some DNA from the Middle East (where the Book of Mormon people migrated from) they threw it out because it didn’t help them make their case. Now that’s not very scientific.

  • dhrogers1

    Pre-Columbian Jewish DNA

    Y Chromosome Connections of Jews and American Indians

    Critics have claimed that Y chromosome research shows no connections between American Indians and modern Jews. However, more recent research shows this to be false. Douglass Forbes points out that Y chromosome SMP biallelic marker QP36, also known by the mutation marker M242, postulated by Bayar & colleges to be a founding linage group of Ashkenazi Jews is also present in Iranian and Iraqi Jews and is a founding lineage present in 31% of self identified Native American Indians in the Unites States. A branch of the QP36 lineage M323 is also found in Yemenite Jews. The QP36 lineage is ancestral to the QM3 mutation group. The QP36 and QM3 lineages which make up Haplogroup Q, is found in over 76% of Native Americans. Forbes further writes we find MQ242, another name for QP36 scattered all over central Eurasian and concentrated in Turkistan, just north of Iran. The Ten Tribes were taken captive to northwest Iran and so the M243 is found scattered just where you’d expect it to be if the legions about the Ten Tribes escaping captivity by going north are true. Other west Eurasian lineages found in Native American test subjects are R, E3B, J, F G and I. All of these are also found in modern Jews. It has not yet been determined how much of this is a result of these are recent admixture and how much is pre-Colombian.

  • dhrogers1

    DNA-related attacks on the Book of Mormon misrepresent scientific findings by falsely claiming that Native American DNA originated solely from Asia. While Asia appears to be the leading source of ancient immigrants to the Americas, there is plenty of room for additional groups coming to the continent, and several studies have found evidence for non-Asian DNA that cannot be explained by modern European admixture. Some of this evidence is found in pre-Colombian burial sites with DNA connections to Europe and the Middle East.

    Some critics have scoffed at finds of European, or Middle Eastern, and even Jewish DNA in American Indians. They say that these are contaminations which occurred after Columbus and do not represent pre-Columbian DNA. However, they cite no evidence for this that I have seen. Certainly there was mixture of European DNA with American Indians after Columbus. However, we cannot assume that all Old World DNA found in Native Americans is due to post-Columbus admixture. DNA testing of some pre-Colombian remains yields DNA types matching Europe and even Israel.

  • dhrogers1

    The evidence from mitochondrial DNA, passed on by mothers only, is supplemented by evidence from Y-chromosomes, which are passed on by fathers only. Native American Y-chromosomes show a variety of haplogroups, including haplogroups 4 and 1C (Karafet et al., 1999), which are also characteristic of Jewish peoples (Hammer et al., 2000). Haplogroup 1C is common enough in the New World that it has been proposed as a major founder haplogroup for the New World. Karafet is one of the co-authors in Hammer et al. (2000), and his 1999 paper is cited.

  • dhrogers1

    Haplogroup X

    For some time haplogroup X, found in American Indians, did not show up in Asia. This suggested a migration to the New World from somewhere other than Asia. When X was found in the Middle East and Europe it seemed to open up the possibility of migration from the Middle East.

    Haplogroup X, can be traced to Europe, and is found in North American populations, said Dr Theodore Schurr of the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, Texas. Dr Schurr said: “This is one of the intriguing findings that we have come across recently. These data imply that haplogroup X was present in the New World long before Europeans first arrived in the New World, before Columbus or the Vikings or anybody else.”

    The find has led to speculation that ancient people crossed the Atlantic from the Old World, because evidence of the X haplogroup had not been found in Asia. Dr Schurr said: “Haplogroup X was brought to the New World by an ancient Eurasian population in a migratory event distinct from those bringing the other four lineages to the Americas.”

    However, a new report (Derenko, 2001) showed that haplogroup X was found in central Asia after all. This was thought to explain the X in American Indians. However, there are some problems with linking the Asian X to American Indian X.

    The X DNA, found in a little pocket in central Asia called Altai, turned out to be a variant which is different from that found in the New World. X DNA in the New World contains a variant called 225A which is a major marker for the X haplogroup in American Indians (Brown et al. (1998) but it is not found in the Asian variant. The work of Reidla et al. (2003) confirms this finding. Reidla et al. state that the small pocket of haplogroup X DNA in Siberia “are more likely explained by recent gene flow from Europe or from West Asia” rather than being remnants of a group that migrated to the Americas anciently

    The DNA time clock indicates that the Asian variant of X is newer that t

  • dhrogers1

    DNA researchers usually go out of their way to avoid any chance of post-Columbus admixture when they carry out their research. Unfortunately this means that they often reject, out-of-hand, any samples containing DNA types that match Old World DNA other than Asian. It seems to be assumed that Asian DNA is always OK but anything else must be a recent admixture. Because of this, real evidence for other migrations may be routinely rejected. Lehi, from the Book of Mormon, was from the tribe of Joseph, one of the lost ten tribes taken captive and dispersed to the north. The DNA types his party carried is unknown. The tribe of Joseph inhabited the northern part of Israel. Studies by Shlush et. Al. (The Druze: A Population Genetic Refugium of the Near East, 2008) show that the X haplogroup may have originated in the area of northern Israel (near where the tribe of Joseph resided at one time) and then spread to other parts of the earth from there. X haplogroup is found among American Indians.

    Samples of American Indian DNA which match European, or Middle Eastern DNA may be the smoking gun for Lehi’s DNA but those types are always assumed to be contaminated. No doubt some are but is it scientific to assume without finding out? Even some Asian DNA may be Lehi’s DNA type. Haplogrop X is found in northern Israel and has been shown to match Native American X better than the Asian X as shown in a study by Shlush.

    The haplogroup X occurs most among Algonkian-speaking groups such as the Ojibwa, and has been detected in two pre-Colombian north American populations. Today, haplogroup X is found in between two and four per cent of European populations, and in the Middle East, particularly in Israel. The complex origins of the first Americans has also been highlighted by an analysis of thousands of skulls from around the world. A team of anthropologists from the University of Michigan found that the study confirmed the complex origins of Native Americans that have been sugge

  • dhrogers1

    The fact that more than one linguist expert is finding new world connections to Hebrew and Egyptian combined with DNA evidence of American Indian connection to the Middle East is a convergence that strengthens the likelihood of pre-Colombian migrations to the new world from the Middle East – Just what the Book of Mormon says occurred.

  • dhrogers1

    Interestingly, haplotype 4, which carries a DYS388 allele with 16 repeats, corresponds to the Cohen modal haplotype (CMH) of Thomas et al. (1998). This haplotype has frequencies >10% among Jewish populations but seems to be rare in Arab populations and has been proposed as an indicator of Jewish ancestry (Thomas et al. 2000). Two other haplotypes (12 and 29) are one mutational step away from the CMH. Haplotypes 3 and 5 also match haplotypes detected among Jewish populations; they correspond to haplotypes 2 and 27 in Thomas et al. (2000). In that survey, Antioquian haplotype 3 was observed only among Sephardic Jews. These matches occur in haplogroup C and, on aggregate, imply that ~14% of the Antioquian haplotypes could have a Jewish ancestry.

  • dhrogers1

    Yes do. And once you are done then find out what Mormons really believe by going to these more accurate sources:

    Mormon.org

    Mormonnewsroom.org.

    FAIRLDS.org.

  • dhrogers1

    I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where Jesus or his Apostles taught that to be a Christian you have to believe in a creed that didn’t exist until centuries later. I don’t see them teaching that you have to believe in a one substance god in three persons. If believing in the extra-Biblical creeds is a requisite for being Christian then Christ and the Apostles and all the early Christians weren’t Christians.

    Reverand Jeffress said. “And I still maintain there are vast differences in theology between Mormons and Christians.”

    This seems to be a common view among many Christians and actually they are right to say that there are some major differences, although there are more similarities than differences. However, there are also vast differences between current Christianity and Early Christianity.

    If Christianity means “historic orthodox mainstream Christianity” of today then I would agree that Mormonism is not historic Christianity; at least not in every doctrine. Although Mormons have much in common with other Christians Mormons also believe differently than historic Christians in some key areas. But the real questions to ask are 1) What is original Christianity? 2) Is mainstream Christianity of today the same as original Christianity? It turns out that Joseph Smith was right. Mormonism is a restoration of Original Christianity. It is not my intent to criticize Christians of today. However, with all the criticism of Mormonism it is important to notice that in many areas of belief Mormons are closer to original Christianity than are most Christians of today.

    Mormons believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. Our first Article of Faith states: We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. However “Trinity’ is a word that is not found in the Bible. Nor are the definitions and wording formulations in the extra-Biblical creeds found in the Bible. In 325 AD a council of about 300 (out of 1800 serving) bishops gathered

  • dhrogers1

    In many areas of belief (probably the majority of areas) Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe the same as most other Christians. It is true that in some limited areas – some very critical ones – the beliefs of Mormons differ from other Christians. Likewise there are some major areas of difference between Catholics and Protestants and likewise between one Protestant group and the next. Every denomination could make the claim that the other groups are not Christian because those other beliefs differ from their own.

    Joseph Smith taught “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it”. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121).

    The central belief of Mormons is that Christ came into the world as the Son of God. He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and restored life to the dead. He commissioned twelve Apostles to whom he gave authority. He suffered in Gethsemane, died on the cross, and was resurrected and will come again. He, and only He, provides the means for us to be washed clean in his blood from our sins, which sins we can never correct on our own or through our own works. If that is not Christian I don’t know what is. Christ never taught the need to believe in anything like the creeds. Those came later. Does that mean that the early Christians are not really Christians because they did not believe in a “one substance” god. I don’t think so.

    Mormon belief is very much like the teachings of the earlier Christians – before the creeds – and also matches the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. The further back in time you go the more Mormon-like Christian doctrine becomes. Mormons are often portrayed as non-Christian when we don’t believe in the later extra-

  • dhrogers1

    Mormons are not supposed to be Christian because we have some doctrinal differences with other Christian groups of today. The foundation for the beliefs of these other groups is the creeds of the 4th. 5th, and 6th centuries and so on.

    For example; in the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is a non-Biblical creed, we read that “there is but one God, a most holy spirit, without body, parts or passions,” thus denying the resurrected Christ, for if Christ is not risen and we do not believe him when he tells us that he has an immortal body, we can then have no hope of a resurrection (Phil 3:21.)

    Contrary to the creeds, the resurrected Jesus taught: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39)

    From this passage we know that Jesus had his physical body after the resurrection. We also know that when Christ comes again, he will still have his physical body. (Zech. 14:4; 12:10; 13:6; John 20:24-28, Acts 1:9-11; Rev 1:7; 1 Cor. 15:3-8, 12-20, 35-42; D&C 93:33).

    It is claimed that Mormons are wrong because they believe in extra-Biblical revelation and scripture. Yet much of Christianity believes in extra-Biblical creeds and councils formulated centuries after the time of Christ and the Apostles. Most of the wording formulations in these creeds cannot be found in the Bible. This is often the excuse used to exclude members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) from being Christian. It is well known to historians that Christian doctrine changed over time and across different Christian groups.

    The Bible is then viewed through the lens of these creeds causing certain interpretations to be favored and other biblical teachings to be minimized or ignored. Interestingly, if you look at the doctrines of the early church fathers before the creeds, they are very Mormon-like. In a number of doctrinal areas the early Christians were good Mormons and would be rej

  • dhrogers1

    Belief in Jesus Christ and dependence His grace is the central belief of Mormons. It is the critics of Mormonism who say that Mormons believe they are going to earn their way to heaven by their works. Mormon’s don’t teach that and it is a straw man argument invented by anti-Mormons. Mormons don’t teach that we can earn our way to heaven without the grace of Christ. You see, the critics are so determined to make Mormonism look non-Biblical that they have to invent straw-man Mormon doctrines.

    Note what Mormons believe taken from their own sources:

    Alma 22:14 (from the Book of Mormon)
    14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king.

    2 Nephi 25:23 (from the Book of Mormon)
    23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

    2 Nephi 24:26 (from the Book of Mormon)
    “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)

    2 Nephi 10:24-25 (From the Book of Mormon):

    24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.
    25 Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grac

  • dhrogers1

    People often choose to ignore the mainstream and well taught beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Instead, they focus on some obscure little item taken out of context. If one is truly trying to be accurate and fair one can’t cherry pick while ignoring the bulk of the evidence. Yet, that’s what a lot of critics do. They harm their own reputations by taking this approach because, after a while, people figure out that they are cherry picking and distorting Mormon belief and practice.

    For example, find the post in this comments section by David L. Sadler and the read my response. You will readily see that David does not know what he is talking about and every point he brings up is contradicted by historic fact. It could be that David is just misinformed as many people are. However, I have responded to David before about these issues on other sites and he never corrects his wrong information. Why? is it because he does not want to? It seems so.

  • SODDI

    Notice the long string of pro-mormon cut and paste spam, all by one author.

    Looks like the mormon Council of the All-Seeing Eye is paying him overtime this week.

    As soon as Otterson got his weekly column in the WaPo, you had to know this was coming.

  • U1787

    Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) have much more in common with other Christian denominations than many people realize. The recently filmed Bible Videos (based on the King James Version of the Bible verbatim) communicate very succintly the core Mormon belief, which is a belief in Jesus Christ. Just search LDS Bible Videos. Many people not of our faith have seen and commented very favorably regarding these videos that depict the life of Jesus Christ.

  • persiflage

    Don’t be scared Michael. Western and Northern Europe (and surprisingly, even South America) are giving up on traditional religion and seem to be managing just fine – in the moral sense of the word.

    People are realizing in droves that ancient religious beliefs and myths are all fabricated out of the human imagination. In the end, they serve no useful purpose other than as a false security blanket.

    The Church of the Latter Day Saints is a prime example of a recently created religion owing to the inspiration of clever con artists like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

    A famous Hollywood movie character played by Burt Lancaster was dedicated to grifters that employed religion for power and profit (prophet) – who could foget ‘Elmer Gantry’?

  • JustaDiver

    I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
    (Galatians 1:6-9 ESV)

  • Vanka

    Bullpucky. The CORE doctrines of Mormonism are cult-ish and unBiblical, not just obscure doctrines.

    An infamous little quote in Mormonism: In June of 1840, President and Prophet Snow declared, “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.”

    In Mormonism, man and deity are not qualitatively different, but only quantitatively. That is, gods have graduated out of sinning (through their own “good works”) and they have been magically granted the powers to create worlds. Nonetheless, they are by nature men. The Mormon gods exist temporally and spatially, and they are finite in any number of ways.

    Although Mormons teach that Christ was sinless and had divine superpowers as the Son (aside– aren’t we also sons because we are brothers of Jesus?), to punish a perfect man in place of a guilty man only exacerbates the moral problem of Mormonism. Indeed, the Bible rails against such things (Proverbs 17:15). And how does the Son having a lot of power absolve the moral dilemma?

  • Vanka

    Why does everything coming out of a Mormon’s mouth (or keyboard) sound like a sale pitch (or a lie)?

    People who oppose the Mormon cult do not merely pick at obscure doctrines.

    Central to Mormon theology is their concept of god, and the doctrine of deification: Mormons believe men can become Gods!

    The corollary of deificationdivinization is that God also started out as “a man”.

    Many LDS apologists save god from the classic “problem of evil” by rejecting “absolute creation” and “the philosophical definition of divine omnipotence which affirms that there are no limits to what God can do”.

    In short, to salvage god’s justice and righteousness, Mormon apologists have stripped god of his omnipotence, making “eternal laws” more powerful than God, and the ultimate governing power in the universe, to which God Himself is subject.

    On this view, the Creator becomes a mere “assembler” of “coeternal, self-existing parts” (intelligences assembled into spirit bodies, then nested into physical bodies – like matryoshka dolls!). And they deny that God can violate “eternal laws” (“natural laws”), stating that if God were ever to violate such eternal laws, he would “cease to be God”.

    Of course, it is because of his ability to obey these “eternal laws” that the unidentified man-who-became-god was able to “earn” and “work” his way up the chain of deities to assume the position of “God” in the Priesthood hierarchy in the first place. As such, it is ultimately not God Mormons worship and obey, it is the “eternal laws” that are omnipotent and provide salvation and exaltation!

    So, literally, Mormons do NOT worship Jesus as their Savior — they worship the “eternal laws” in the Grand, Cosmic Pyramid Scheme that is their cult religion!

    And they make a fortune from gullible followers of this cult MLM Scheme.

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