THE MORMON CURTAIN
Containing 5,709 Articles Spanning 365 Topics
Ex-Mormon News, Stories And Recovery
Archives From 2005 thru 2014
If you have reached this page from an outside source such as an
Internet Search or forum referral, please note that this page
(the one you just landed on)
is an archive containing articles on
The Mormon Curtain
- is a website that blogs the Ex-Mormon world. You can
The Mormon Curtain FAQ
to understand the purpose of this website.
Governor Mitt Romney's top political strategist has told a prominent conservative magazine that his client has been ''faking" his support of abortion rights in Massachusetts.
''He's been a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly," Romney adviser Michael Murphy told the National Review in a cover story hitting newstands today titled ''Matinee Mitt."
Murphy, a prominent Republican consultant, issued a statement of regret yesterday afternoon after a prepublication copy of the article circulated among political strategists and reporters and threatened to overshadow the positive exposure Romney was getting from appearing on the cover of two conservative magazines this week.
''The quote in the National Review article was not what I meant to communicate," Murphy's statement said. ''I was discussing a characterization the governor's critics use. I regret the quote and any confusion it might have caused."
Romney ran for US Senate in 1994 pledging to keep abortion ''safe and legal in this country." As a 2002 candidate for governor, Romney said he would not change the state's abortion laws. But in recent months, he has described himself as ''personally prolife" to out-of-town political audiences. And last month, he told USA Today that he is in a ''different place" on abortion than when he ran in 1994 against US Senator Edward M. Kennedy. A Romney spokeswoman said he had ''evolved over time," but would not elaborate.
You remember, or perhaps you don't, Sen. Orrin Hatch's 2000 presidential campaign. The senator talks about it in soft inflections, recalling this event and that debate. But especially he talks about what motivated him to run. Hatch, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, cites polling data from 1999 suggesting that 17 percent of Americans wouldn't vote for a Mormon for president under any circumstances. "One reason I ran was to knock down the prejudicial wall that exists" against Mormons, he says. "I wanted to make it easier for the next candidate of my faith."
That next candidate just might be Mitt Romney, the Republican governor of Massachusetts.
It may seem too early to be talking about 2008. But George W. Bush can't run again, and, in a break from the usual pattern, the vice president, Richard Cheney, probably won't be a candidate. So the field looks wide open. And Romney is among those being mentioned in the press and GOP circles for 2008. He'd be a legitimate candidate, regardless of who else might run.
But would his religion hurt him? Would he run into a prejudicial wall? Maybe, though there are reasons to think otherwise. The country could be looking at its first Mormon president – or, as Romney would prefer to put it, a president who happens to be a Mormon.
BOSTON - Gov. Mitt Romney said Thursday he will support a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Massachusetts, the only state where it is legal.
The Legislature was already working on a proposed amendment that would ban gay marriage but also would allow Vermont-style civil unions. The new proposal drops the civil union language, meaning such unions would remain illegal in the state.
If the new proposal passes procedural hurdles, it could appear on the statewide ballot as soon as November 2008.
Romney said the original proposed amendment – narrowly passed last year by state lawmakers and awaiting a second round of voting later this year – is "muddied" because it includes both the gay marriage and civil union issues. He said voters should be able to decide on gay marriage with a "clean, straightforward, unambiguous amendment" that does not include civil unions.
"I believe it's superior to the amendment which is currently pending before the state Legislature, and hope that this amendment will ultimately be the one which the citizens have the opportunity to vote upon," Romney said.
Governor Mitt Romney promised yesterday to give close consideration to a controversial bill that would require the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and other churches in Massachusetts to make their financial statements public. During a press conference, Romney stopped short of endorsing the bill, but called it a ''very important area of inquiry."
Romney's comments, coming before a legislative hearing on the measure tomorrow, could boost its chances of passage.
Romney said that he strongly believes that nonprofit organizations should be required to disclose their assets and financial details and indicated he was open to arguments that religious organizations should be subject to the same requirements as charities overseen by the attorney general's office.
''Clearly, nonprofit organizations should be subject to a level of disclosure which is consistent with the tax treatment they receive," Romney said. He said the filings, made to the attorney general's office, allow the public to ''make sure that money is being properly spent."
''It is certainly a very important area of inquiry," Romney said of the legislation proposed by state Senator Marian Walsh and 32 other cosponsors.
The governor, a former leader in the Mormon Church, said he would give the proposal close scrutiny.
Any possible Mitt the Mo bid for the U.S. presidency won't last long before he fades into the sunset under the nagging cloud of his LDS-created handicap.
If Mitt runs, he will face the same fate as his father, George, who also wanted to be president but who was significantly (and ultimately fatally) hampered by his Mormon connections, most notably because of the Mormon Church's overtly racist policy toward Blacks:
When Latter-day Saint George Romney was a candidate for the United States Presidency, nearly every news magazine carried articles on the then-current policy of the Church regarding the Negroes not holding the priesthood.
Should he unwisely choose to follow in his father's foosteps over the political cliff by making a bid for the presidency, Mitt will be hit (and rightly so) with embarrassing questions from the national press about the historical Mormon connection to polygamy, the Mormon Church's stand on equal rights for women, the Mormon Church's position on abortion, the Mormon Church's position on gays and the question of whether the Mormon Church is a cult or a bonafide Christian denomination.
Given Mitt's problems with Mormonism in his past political races, this prediction should come as no surprise. Mitt's Mormon connections, for instance, were effectively used against him when he ran a few years ago for Ted Kennedy's Senatorial seat and--predictably--lost:
. . . Mitt Romney's religion was injected into his 1994 race for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Edward Kennedy, brother of the late president. Edward Kennedy's nephew, Joe Kennedy, then a member of Congress, linked Romney and the Mormon Church's early policy of excluding blacks.
According to pundits who watch and report on this sort of thing for a living, Mitt's Mormonism will, without question, become an issue of focused public attention in any presidential race he may choose to enter:
Romney himself says he serves the people, not the Book of Mormon. But though the matter should have died with the election of Jack Kennedy (who himself spoke on religious freedom at the Mormon Tabernacle in 1960), Romney's religion remains–as a prominent Republican strategist who worked on both George W. Bush campaigns told me–"the other M."
There are two Ms--Massachusetts and Mormonism--and they're the elephants in the room," the strategist said. "And the question is whether they step on him or ride him to victory. I think that's a challenge for him to overcome in conservative Christian circles. Romney's people have to have a strategy to beat it, to win on that point."
Presidential candidate Mitt the Mo will certainly be drubbed from the Political Left for being allied with a right-wing Church that opposes equal rights for women, that is steadfastly anti-abortion, that is primitively anti-gay and that has been, historically speaking, viciously anti-Black.
And he will be drubbed from the Evangelical Right for being a member of an anti-Christian, polytheistic cult.
Any way you slice it (bloody temple ceremony or not), that spells lose-lose, big-time.
In a nutty shell, Mitt will never sit in the Oval Office. His Mormonism is a millstone around his political neck. The American voting public is simply too mainstream to swallow Mitt and his wacky religious tradition. His presidential campaign (should he unwisely decide to run one), will sputter and die out in relatively short order--meaning that this board (probably to the relief of its moderators) won't have much to worry about in terms of drawn out, over-the-line, election-year chattering.
The Southern Baptist Convention website categorizes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a ''cult" that is ''radically" different from historic, biblical Christianity.
A faith guide issued by the influential Christian right group Focus on the Family declares that ''God cannot be identified . . . with the Mormon religion's notion of god." And each year, evangelical organizers behind the National Day of Prayer bar Mormons from speaking at their proceedings.
As Governor Mitt Romney mulls a race for president in 2008, his strategists expect their ''family values" candidate -- who opposes gay marriage, abortion, and some forms of embryonic stem cell research -- to find a natural base of support among religious conservatives. ''As Mitt's traveled the country and tested the waters, he's gotten very strong responses, including from religious conservatives," said Michael Murphy, a political consultant who advises Romney.
But an examination of the views of powerful Christian right groups suggests that, even as some of these voters might appreciate Romney's lifelong commitment to his church, the governor's Mormon faith could become an obstacle for others among this same group, who make up a large and vocal segment of Republican primary voters.
''It would be extraordinarily hard for mainline denomination people in the South to openly and strongly politick or be involved in a Mormon's run for office," said Bobby Welch, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest non-Catholic denomination and a fixture of the Christian right.
A Romney run for president would test the unity of a Christian right voting bloc that for the past five years has demonstrated remarkable solidarity on issues ranging from sexuality and family life to President Bush's first choice as Supreme Court justice. An estimated 40 percent of Republican primary voters are conservative Christians.
Romney strategists are reluctant to speak about a potential presidential run until the governor has made up his mind, but they remain attuned to how Romney's faith plays with these voters. Last March, the governor invited Southern California evangelical pastor Rick Warren to breakfast in Cambridge after reading his bestseller, ''The Purpose Driven Life."
Romney has also appeared on syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt's show, a megaphone to religious conservatives, three times in the past three months.
Protestant evangelicals commonly overlook vast theological differences to form political alliances with people of other faiths, particularly conservative Catholics and Jews. But the Mormon Church, in particular, faces an activist opposition from a faction of conservative Protestants.
Most anti-Mormon activists come from ''the right wing of the evangelical community," said Robert L. Millet, professor of religion at Brigham Young University. The Southern Baptists are a key piece of the right wing, which also contains a range of Christian fundamentalists.
A few months ago the buzz around governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts as a candidate for 2008 began to build. You can read a long profile in The Atlantic from September, or this shorter more politically oriented one in The Weekly Standard dating from last June. Romney is in some ways a Republican "dream candidate." Romeny looks presidential, has had a very successful business career, "saved" the Salt Lake City Olympics, and seems to be able to be all things to all people politically (ie; moderate or conservative). But as this Amy Sullivan piece in The Washington Monthly points out Romney is going to run into the "Mormon" problem at some point.
What is the "Mormon" problem? Most of you likely have little familiarity with Mormons and Mormonism aside from seeing missionaries around the neighborhood or reading about polygamy in your high school history books. On the other hand I attended a high school which was 50% Mormon, and by senior year almost all of my close friends were devout Mormons (I was somewhat straight edge back then, which meant that I wasn't comfortable hanging around my non-Mormon friends as they generally liked to get baked all the time). At one point I developed such an interest in Mormonism that I was reprimanded by the Vice Principal (who was a Mormon) for passing out copies of the Book of Mormon on campus (I ended up converting one girl! My Mormon friends were not pleased since they knew I was doing this more in mockery than sincerity).
BOSTON -- Civil liberties and Muslim groups criticized Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Thursday for suggesting that authorities should spend more time monitoring mosques and their attendees, possibly with wiretaps.
The comments came during a speech on domestic preparedness that Romney, a Republican, gave Wednesday at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington.
Romney, said to be considering a run for president in 2008, used the speech to offer suggestions for beefing up domestic intelligence-gathering, saying that too much effort is spent protecting buildings and too little on surveillance that might detect an attack in the planning stages.
After asking whether students from "terrorist-sponsored countries" should be tracked more closely in the United States, Romney asked: "How about people who are in settings -- mosques, for instance -- that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror?
"Are we monitoring that?" Romney continued, according to a video posted on the foundation's Web site. "Are we wiretapping? Are we following what's going on? Are we seeing who's coming in, who's coming out?"
Pretend that you had about $2 million to spend and were eyeing a bid for president. What would you buy?
Would you give a comic $2,200 to write jokes so you could knock them dead at Boston's St. Patrick's Day breakfast? Would you pay $130,000 for the advice of leading political sage Mike Murphy? How about $5,700 to buy supporters copies of your memoir?
These are just some of the ways Governor Mitt Romney has plunked down cash from his state campaign account this year. Although the money was given to him for a run for governor, there are few limits on how he can spend it, and political observers say Romney is opening his checkbook like a savvy shopper.
BOSTON --Gov. Mitt Romney, declaring his work nearly done as governor even before he completed his first term, announced Wednesday he would not seek re-election in 2006 but refused to close the door on speculation he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.
"My decision comes down to this: In this four-year term, we can accomplish what I set out to do. In fact, we've already accomplished a great deal," he said in a speech televised live from the Statehouse.
Romney will never be accepted by the Republican Party. He's Mormon. The religious right does not consider Mormonism "Christian", in fact, Mormonism is considered a "Cult of Christianity". The only person who wants Romney to run for President of the United States is Hillary Clinton, that way the Republican Party will choose Clinton over Romney. In my opinion, Romney is dumping his career by doing this.
Romney has a problem. He is a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which, as Washington Monthly's editor Amy Sullivan points out, makes him unacceptable to evangelical voters who make up 30 percent of the Republican electorate. Their hostility to Mormonism is not some vague prejudice that some Americans have. It's a ''doctrinal thing," based on their conviction that Mormonism ''isn't just another religion," but a ''cult" that they claim is ''false," ''blasphemous," and a threat to the Christian religion.
But Romney has an additional and perhaps even more serious problem. As taught by Mormon prophets from Brigham Young's day to the late 1970s, blacks have been regarded as ''not equal with other races," an inequality (to quote Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie) that is ''the Lord's doing based on his eternal laws of justice." Mormon theologians have justified this racial bias by asserting that the black race is descended from Cain, who was cursed and marked (supposedly with a black skin) and whose descendants continued to bear the mark and the curse.
The shocker of the evening was that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney placed second, besting far better-known rivals Arizona Sen. John McCain and Virginia Sen. George Allen. Romney finished with 14 percent of the vote.
Third place was shared by Allen and President Bush, each of whom won 10.3 percent of the ballots cast. Bush, who of course is not eligible to run again for president, was the write-in candidate that McCain was pushing through the weekend.
The results of the GOP straw poll were announced live at 9pm Eastern Time on MSNBC’s Hardball.
The drumbeat against Mitt Romney--possible presidential candidate and member of the wacko Mormon Cult--is beginning to sounder louder and louder as the days pass.
Below are excerpts from a few recent samples, indicating that Romney faces a serious (and quite likely insurmountable) problem with voters when it comes to his Mormonism:
Latter-Day Politics Is Mitt Romney’s religion a problem? Kathyrn Jean Lopez National Review Online 20 December 2005
. . . Romney is Mormon. . . . [S]ome have suggested that his religion makes him a non-starter.
When asked about the religion thing by an Atlantic Monthly reporter profiling Romney earlier this year, Massachusetts Democrat Senator Edward M. Kennedy replied, "We've moved on. That died with my brother Jack."
Nice sentiment, Senator, but not quite. In fact, it was Ted Kennedy himself who, when Romney challenged him for his Senate seat in 1994, tried using Romney's Mormonism against him.
It was so bad that "Saturday Night Live" parodied it. Here's how the Boston Globe wrote it up:
"A 'Mitt Romney ad' opens with a very unflattering picture of Sen. Ted Kennedy, camera slowly zooming in on Kennedy's face, ending with an extreme close-up of his eyes and nose as the narrator says:
"On October 14th, 1978 Ted Kennedy is seen puking in the parking lot of the U.S. Capitol. On February 8th, 1983 Kennedy relieves himself on the leg of a Georgetown waitress. Three years later Kennedy passes out on the floor of the Senate – soiling himself in the process. Kennedy. He's a big fat drunk."
"A 'Kennedy response ad' opens with a picture of Brigham Young. Narrator: 'Mormon prophet Brigham Young believed that a man ought to have as many wives as he wants.' Young and Romney pictures appear side by side: Narrator continues: 'Apparently Mitt Romney agrees. After all, he's a Mormon.' Cut to picture of Kennedy with his new wife. Written words appear on screen: 'Kennedy. One wife at a time.'
. . . According to a 1999 Gallup poll, 17 percent of those surveyed said they would not support a Mormon for president (compared with six percent who would rule out a Jew and four percent a Catholic). . . .
[Kathyrn Jean Lopez]: "Do evangelicals specifically think of Mormonism as a cult? Is there something legit there?"
[Michael Cromartie, director of the Evangelical Studies Project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center]: "Most evangelicals do perceive Mormonism to be a cult and are deeply troubled by its theology. But this does not mean they would not vote for someone like Governor Romney. They admire his record and they agree with his conservatism on moral, social, and cultural issues. . . . [E]vangelicals know how to bracket aside their theological differences with the governor and would support him because of his positions on the social issues."
KJL: "Ted Kennedy used Romney's religion against him in 1994. Wouldn't people recoil a bit from it if it were tried again? Or is that wishful thinking?"
Cromartie: "While many religious conservatives may have qualms with aspects of Mormon theology, they have even greater problems with religious bigotry and intolerance. Any candidate that chooses to attack his faith in a personal fashion will surely run the risk of a backlash." . . .
KJL: Do you hear positive or negative or lukewarm things about Romney when you get into '08 conversations?
Cromartie: "I hear . . . very lukewarm comments about the governor when it comes to his religious tradition. Evangelicals admire the governor but find Mormonism to be a strange and baffling abberation of the historic Christian faith."
KJL: "What would you advise Romney deal with his religion when talking to groups, reporters?"
Cromartie: "Romney very much needs to do what John Kennedy did in 1960 in front of the Southern Baptists in Houston: Explain how he understands his faith and its application to his view of politics and public policy. He especially needs to articulate what the Mormon faith tradition's understanding of church and state is and how it applies to important issues of today. It is not at all clear that Mormons have views on church and state issues that are any different than the general understanding of most traditional Catholics and Protestants." . . .
"I believe the 'Mormon factor' will play a more negative role in the national, general election. But Governor Romney is a smart man and smart politician. I am sure he will address, early on, concerns about the 'Mormon factor.' In fact, I suspect that speech has already been written or is being crafted even as we speak."
Latter-day President? A Mitt Romney candidacy would test the religious right James Tranto Wall Street Journal 31 December 2005
[Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's] office is equipped with a fireplace, making it a rarity in 21st-century politics: a smoke-filled room. Mr. Romney, a devout Mormon, abjures not only tobacco but also alcohol and coffee. . . .
Could Mr. Romney win the Republican presidential nomination? Three early primaries look promising: New Hampshire, where he is well known from governing the state next door; Michigan, where his family name has cachet; and Arizona, which has a large Mormon population. But these are not enough . . .
A crucial question will be whether Mr. Romney's religion is a handicap. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indigenous to America, but many Americans view it with suspicion. In a 1999 Gallup poll, 17% of those surveyed said they would not vote for a Mormon for president, far more than said the same of a Jew (6%) or a Catholic (4%).
In 1994 Sen. Kennedy made an issue of the LDS Church's tardy embrace of racial equality (it did not allow the ordination of blacks until 1978). "I don't think that's the reason I lost to Ted Kennedy," says Mr. Romney, and he's surely right. . . .
Mr. Romney also says religion wasn't a problem for his father [George Romney]: "When he was running for president . . . he was the front-runner. His faith just didn't factor in. . . . His statement on Vietnam--that put him under, but certainly not his faith."
The trouble is that much of today's anti-Mormon sentiment is found on the religious right, a constituency that looms much larger in the GOP now than it did in 1968, or than it ever has in Massachusetts. Ask a conservative Christian what he thinks of Mormonism, and there's a good chance he'll call it a "cult" or say Mormons "aren't Christian."
Yet on the issues, Mr. Romney is largely in tune with the Christian right. "I am pro-life," he says, though he's not an absolutist. He favors a return to the status quo ante Roe v. Wade, when states decided abortion policy. In 2002, recognizing that Massachusetts is an "overwhelmingly pro-choice state," he campaigned only on a promise to veto any legislation changing the state's abortion laws, including a proposal, which Ms. O'Brien endorsed, to reduce the age of parental consent to 16 from 18. The Legislature never passed that measure. . . .
The governor . . . also has enforced a 1913 law making it illegal for out-of-state couples to wed in the Bay State if they cannot legally do so back home. "It's basically kept Massachusetts from being a Las Vegas of same-sex marriage."
How would he overcome anti-Mormon prejudice if he seeks the presidency? He doesn't answer directly, but cites his experience in Massachusetts: "As people got to know me . . . they accepted me for who I am, and religious doctrines didn't make much difference to them."
In the end, there's probably not much Mr. Romney can do about the "Mormon problem" other than put his faith in the American tradition of religious pluralism. "I think our nation needs people of faith in public service," he says. "My policies in the public sector are not a mirror image of any church's doctrines. But of course the respect I have for American values flows from the faith that I have." If Mr. Romney runs for president, it may test the proposition that the religious right is an issues-based movement as opposed to a sectarian one."
Is America ready for a Mormon president? John H. Bunzel The Boston Globe 19 February 2006
. . . [Mitt] Romney has a problem. He is a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which, as Washington Monthly's editor Amy Sullivan points out, makes him unacceptable to evangelical voters who make up 30 percent of the Republican electorate. Their hostility to Mormonism is not some vague prejudice that some Americans have. It's a "doctrinal thing," based on their conviction that Mormonism "isn't just another religion," but a "cult" that they claim is "false," "blasphemous," and a threat to the Christian religion.
But Romney has an additional and perhaps even more serious problem. As taught by Mormon prophets from Brigham Young's day to the late 1970s, blacks have been regarded as "not equal with other races," an inequality (to quote Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie) that is "the Lord's doing based on his eternal laws of justice." Mormon theologians have justified this racial bias by asserting that the black race is descended from Cain, who was cursed and marked (supposedly with a black skin) and whose descendants continued to bear the mark and the curse.
In 1978, the ban against African-Americans in the Mormon priesthood was dropped, along with long-standing church doctrines that were used to bolster claims of black inferiority. However, critics of the church maintain that although the ban has been removed, the doctrine has not changed. "It's the linkage to Cain that so distresses Mormon African-Americans today," says California attorney Dennis Gladwell, who has been working with church leaders calling for change. "It places their spiritual lineage in shambles, since they are alleged descendants of a man who has come to symbolize evil on the same level as Lucifer himself."
One should not be surprised if--or when--the media press the governor on other issues, polygamy for instance, which the Mormon church no longer condones, and Romney says little more than that his belief in Jesus Christ and serving one's neighbor and community are widely shared values.
But didn't John Kennedy in 1960 prove that religion has nothing to do with a candidate's political qualifications to be president? Yes--for Catholics. However, 46 years later, a public declaration of one's personal religiosity is now required of all presidential candidates as evidence that they live by a deep-rooted moral yardstick confirmed by their religious faith.
This resurgence of religion underscores a powerful force in recent presidential races--namely, the rise of values politics framed as moral issues. . . .
At a time when the . . . Republican Party has made a presidential candidate's personal religious faith a test of his or her moral stature and authority, this very test could disqualify Romney in the eyes of many Republicans as the core tenets of his faith are circulated to bring out sharply the strong opposition of Mormon theology to Christian doctrine.
Or, to put it in evangelical terms (as Sullivan has done), "It might be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for Mitt Romney to win the Republican nomination."
WASHINGTON - Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may not be officially running for president in 2008, but he appears to be laying all the groundwork.
Romney, who led the successful 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, has set up political action committees (PACs) across America in states where early presidential primaries are historically held.
"The acronym is PAC, which might as well stand for presidential aspiration committee," says Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics. "Why else would a governor of Massachusetts feel a need to be active in politics in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina?"
Traditionally, at least since President Reagan, potential candidates who want to draw support have set up campaign headquarters or operations in states that cast the first votes in presidential primaries, says Jan Baran, a Washington lawyer who was general counsel to President George H.W. Bush's 1988 presidential race.
Having a PAC in those states allows a candidate to throw money at local candidates, pay consultants or buy a few dinners for the well-connected.
Mitt Romney's Mormonism is his biggest political hurdle. The Massachusetts governor, who will almost certainly seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, has become a dark-horse favorite thanks to his achievements (health-care reform) and personal qualities (he's charismatic, smart, and absurdly wholesome). But in a 1999 Gallup poll, 17 percent of respondents said they wouldn't vote for a presidential candidate who's a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And since the conservative evangelicals prominent in today's GOP are deeply suspicious of the LDS Church, Romney's religion could cripple him in the Republican primaries. Romney knows he needs to dispel these heebie-jeebies to win the presidency, so he's spent the past few months figuring out how to play the Mormon card.
He's already rejected the JFK approach. When voters worried that Kennedy's Catholicism would make him a papal surrogate in the White House, JFK promised that his religion would have no effect on his politics. Romney tried a similar tack back in 1994–during his U.S. Senate campaign against Ted Kennedy, no less–when Teddy linked Romney to the LDS Church's refusal, prior to 1978, to ordain African-American men. Romney responded by invoking JFK, and Kennedy looked like a hypocrite. But this strategy won't work for Romney today. As a Republican and self-styled social conservative, Romney's courting voters who want faith to shape government; he's got to be a kind of theological ambassador, playing up the good aspects of Mormonism and minimizing the bad.
As a RM and former SP etc. Romney has been through the temple, has "taken out his endowments" and been married in the temple. Part of the endowment ceremony involves the Law of Sacrifice in which the participant agrees to consecrate EVERYTHING he has including his time and talents to the building up of the Kingdom of God which is defined as the Mormon Church.
Again when Romney was married part of the marriage ceremony was to vow to keep every covenant and promise that he made in the temple. This isn't something of minor importance to him. It is intricately woven into his very self, marriage and family life.
Now GAs (OK Packer) have pointed out to academics that they should not view the Church through their field of specialty but should view the field of their specialty through the lens of the Church. Packer even suggested that if by doing so they lose professional standing in their field then this is part of their "sacrifice" for the Kingdom of God.
Ezra Taft Benson's famous "14 steps in following the prophet" talk stated emphatically that "the Prophet" (president of the Mormon church) can be involved in the political realm.
Now isn't this something that a member of the American electorate should be aware of when voting for the President of the United States? Let's not say "Vote against Romney because he's a Mormon" and let's not say "Vote for Romney because he's a Mormon." However let's say "here are some facts you should know when evaluating Romney as a candidate."
Isn't that the point of a campaign? To get to know about the candidate? Shouldn't Romney's temple oaths and their implications (as defined by Church leaders themselves) be part of the discussion of his fitness to become the most powerful man in the world? Shouldn't the oaths Romney took in the temple which involve everything he does outside the temple be discussed and dissected by the media? Shouldn't Romney be grilled in detail on this?
Romney shouldn't mind discussing this--after all, he hasn't "slit his throat" while promising secrecy for over 16 years now.
I guess it was only a matter of time before Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's religion became an issue in the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Romney's impressed a lot of folks as someone who's smart and telegenic. Romney has a wife who's a real asset on the campaign trail and he has a breakthrough health care plan to boast about.
But Romney is a Mormon. Many evangelicals, who now represent the most powerful part of the GOP's grassroots base, consider Mormonism to be a cult. Today in the Chicago Sun Times, columnist Robert Novak, usually a reliable guide to controversies inside the conservative political movement, reports that millions of evangelicals will not vote for Romney for president solely because he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. Even if that means Hillary becomes president.
We all need to remember that the law of consecration outlined in the Book of Mormon and in the Doctrine and Covenants is communism plain and simple.
"they had all things common among them" 3 Nephi 26:19; 4 Nephi 1:3
“…every man shall be made accountable unto me, a steward over…that which he has received by consecration, as much as is sufficient for himself and family” DandC 42:32 (see also DandC 42:30-39)
“But it is not given that one man should possess above another…” DandC 49: 20
“…appoint unto this people according to their portions, every man equal according to his family…” DandC 51:3
“For it is my will that these lands should be purchased; and after they are purchased that my saints should possess them according to the laws of consecration which I have given.” DandC 105:29
Brigham Young established communist communities in Utah under the rubric "the united order." The history of Orderville, Utah is an example of Brigham Young’s communist settlements.
With the grand failures of communism worldwide, do we really want to see the Mormon Church expand? Furthermore, do we want the Mormon Church to hold any influence over policy or education (e.g. the fields of biology and anthropology may suffer including flawed teachings concerning DNA and evolution)?
With this type of doctrine as a foundation for living, I do not really relish the idea of someone like Romney in the White House.
BOSTON -- Gov. Mitt Romney says he would be willing to talk about his Mormon religion in broad terms should he run for president but would shy away from debating specific beliefs.
"I think initially some people would say, 'Gosh, I don't know much about your faith. Tell me about it.' And I'd probably outline the fundamentals: I'm a religious person, I believe that Jesus Christ is my savior," Romney said during an appearance on PBS's "The Charlie Rose Show." "But then as you get into the details of doctrines, I'd probably say, 'Look, time out.'"
Would Mitt Romney take directions from the prophet of the church if he were elected president? Of course he would! And any pretense that the prophet or the church wouldn't try to influence him on matters important to them is just fantasy.
The fact that Mitt has a temple recommend indicates that he has already given his total obedience to his leaders in all matters.
Governor Mitt Romney's political team has quietly consulted with leaders of the Mormon Church to map out plans for a nationwide network of Mormon supporters to help Romney capture the presidency in 2008, according to interviews and written materials reflecting plans for the initiative.
Over the past two months, Romney's political operatives and church leaders have discussed building a grass-roots political organization using alumni chapters of Brigham Young University's business school around the country. More recently, representatives of BYU, which is run by the church, and Romney's political action committee have begun soliciting help from prominent Mormons, including a well-known author suggested by the governor, to build the program, which Romney advisers dubbed Mutual Values and Priorities, or MVP.
The president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley, has been made aware of the effort and expressed no opposition, the documents show, and at least one other top church official has played a more active role.
Holland, a former BYU president, suggested using the alumni organization of the university's business school, the BYU Management Society, to build a network for Romney, according to the documents. Such a plan would give Romney an established infrastructure -- the alumni group has 5,500 members in about 40 US chapters -- for raising money and generating support.
The LDS Church denies playing favorites in the presidential sweepstakes.
The Boston Globe says cites political emails on Romney’s behalf that reportedly inch close to the top of LDS hierarchy.
While the emails were not sent to the church or by anyone affiliated with its administration, in the text they acknowledge Elder Jeffrey Holland, one of the 12 Apostles, and say it was his idea to start a grass-roots campaign for Romney.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That's the official name for what is popularly known as the Mormon Church. Most people associate Mormons with missionaries on bikes, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and polygamy. Of course, that's not the whole story. The Mormons are a peculiar people, with a unique set of beliefs and quite a history.
Meet Mitt Romney. Romney is a Mormon Republican who'd like to be the next president. People are asking the question: Will his religion affect whether or not evangelicals vote for him? That's a good question. But to many of us evangelical Christians in Utah who witness to Mormons, we think there are more important questions. Will this be an opportunity for the public to learn about what Mormonism really teaches? Will the doctrines of Mormonism be accurately portrayed? Will people understand the differences between Mormonism and Biblical Christianity?
This video is more about Mormonism than it is about Mitt Romney. We use an interview Romney had on the Charlie Rose Show as a springboard for conversation.
Don't Vote For Mitt! He Doesn't Hold The Same Bizarre, Untenable, Scary, Literal, Apocalyptic Beliefs That You Do! Wednesday, Dec 13, 2006, at 07:47 AM Original Author(s): Mujun Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
Like most presidential hopefuls, Mitt Romney has found his way into the news quite regularly as of late. One recurring question has been whether his Mormon religious beliefs will prove to be a liability, particularly among evangelical Christians in key primary battleground states.
As an agnostic/secular progressive, it's fine with me if the Religious Right want to beat each other up over their theological differences. Divide and conquer. I certainly hope that Mitt Romney never gets elected to national office, but the fact that he doesn't interpret the Bible the same way as Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell isn't on my list of reasons to vote against him. The fact that Mitt takes the Bible literally in the first place is.
With all of the real problems facing the world today, I don't want anybody occupying the ultimate seat of power who believes that sometime in the not-too-distant future Jesus H. Christ is going to come back in glory and solve all of our problems for us. His chosen port of entry is an absurd point to debate. I don't want a head of state who believes that any particular country or group of people is supposed to have some special status with God. I don't want a leader who believes that the entire planet was under water just a few millenia ago to be making decisions about the appropriate scientific curriculum for public schools or the validity of the evidence for global warming.
I don't want an entire branch of government to be in the hands of anyone who believes that the first man was created about six thousand years ago or that the first woman was an afterthought, created to be the man's "help meet." Arguments about the geographic location of the mythical Garden of Eden make about as much sense as trying to find Middle Earth or Narnia on a map.
I don't want a President of the United States who believes that he was anointed to the office by God more than he was elected to the office by the people, and that he owes more allegiance to the former than to the latter.
So, all of the people who believe that the universe was created by The Flying Spaghetti Monster can go right ahead and argue that we shouldn't vote for Mitt Romney because he secretly believes in The Flying Lasagna Monster, so he's not really a Pastafarian. It's about the same as two bald men fighting over a comb.
I close with these words from Barry Goldwater: "The religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy."
The Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is growing increasingly concerned about the public-perception hit the presidential candidacy of Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may have on the Mormon Church.
That's one reason the church is looking at what is being called a "public education" campaign that could reach a budget in the tens of millions in media buys for TV, radio and print.
"There is an expectation that some of the church's more archaic traditions and obscure points of history will become more widely publicized by Governor Romney's opponents in an effort to embarrass him and raise doubts about his faith in the minds of the public," says a New York-based media consultant who has heard buzz of the potential campaign.
Already, the Mormon Church runs a series of radio ads about family issues that are branded as messages from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is also a small TV campaign that runs occasionally highlighting the church and some of its faith-based publications.
But the current campaign is of a different sort, one that would be high profile in as much as the church would be openly discussing and clarifying points of the Mormon faith that have long been either misunderstood or misreported.
Any advertising campaign targeted in that way would almost assuredly come under review by the Federal Election Commission and perhaps by the Internal Revenue Service, due to the church's tax exempt status.
The issue arises with Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's as-yet-undeclared bid for the 2008 Republican nomination. Romney would not be the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to run for the nation's highest office. He follows Orrin Hatch (2000); Mo Udall (1976); his father, George Romney (1968); and not least of all Joseph Smith, who ran in 1844 on a platform of "theodemocracy," abolition, and cutting congressional pay. Despite a strong showing in the Nauvoo straw poll, Smith didn't play much better nationally than Hatch did, and had to settle for the Mormon-elected post of King of the Kingdom of Heaven.
I wouldn't vote for someone who truly believed in the founding whoppers of Mormonism. The LDS church holds that Joseph Smith, directed by the angel Moroni, unearthed a book of golden plates buried in a hillside in Western New York in 1827. The plates were inscribed in "reformed" Egyptian hieroglyphics–a nonexistent version of the ancient language that had yet to be decoded. If you don't know the story, it's worth spending some time with Fawn Brodie's wonderful biography No Man Knows My History. Smith was able to dictate his "translation" of the Book of Mormon first by looking through diamond-encrusted decoder glasses and then by burying his face in a hat with a brown rock at the bottom of it. He was an obvious con man. Romney has every right to believe in con men, but I want to know if he does, and if so, I don't want him running the country.
The main reason is, he has already sworn an oath of allegiance to the Mormon church above all else, which is in violation of the Oath of Office of the President of the United States of America.
How so? By being a temple worthy Mormon, he has sworn a secret temporal allegiance to the Mormon Church period!!
The Mormon Temple Law of Consecration (from the Mormon secret temple ceremony)
PETER: A couple will now come to the alter. (The Witness couple comes forward, and kneels at the altar (THE MORMON TEMPLE ALTER THAT IS (added by me)) as before.)
We are instructed to give unto you the Law of Consecration as contained in the book of Doctrine and Covenants (The Officiator picks up a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants (THE MORMON CHURCH RULES FOR RULING THE EARTH (added by me)) from the altar, and holds it up in view of all patrons.), in connection with the Law of the Gospel and the Law of Sacrifice which you have already received.
It is that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents and everything which the Lord (THE MORMON GOD (added by me)) has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint (MORMON CHURCH (added by me)), for the building up of the Kingdom of (MORMON (added by me)) God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion (MORMON THEOCRACY (added by me)).
All arise. (All patrons stand.) Each of you bring your right arm to the square (secret Mormon demonstration of I will do it or have my life taken from me (added by me)).
You and each of you covenant and promise before (MORMON (added by me)) God, (Mormon (added by me)) angels, and these witnesses at this (Secret Mormon (added by me)) altar, that you do accept the Law of Consecration as contained in this, (The Officiator holds up a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants again.), the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.
Each of you bow your head and say "yes."
Notice that the secret oath is to the Mormon church and not Mormon Jesus, a Mormon God or other entity.
That is the main difference of membership in any other church and the Mormon temple ceremony. YOU SWEAR ALLEGIANCE TO THE MORMON CHURCH, NOT TO A GOD.
Now, the Oath of Office of the President of the United State of America.
Each President recites the following oath, in accordance with Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
This statement is in conflict with the secret Mormon temple oath to give everything to the Mormon church. The MORMON Secret Oath is in conflict with the Constitution of the United States because Mormons hate Homosexuals, Lesbians, Blacks, Jews and other races and creeds. They control the conduct of its members and restrict their free agency. It is in conflict with the Presidential oath of office in that the Mormon oath demands that you obey and honor the Mormon church above all else in one's life.
Mormon For President: Romney Avoiding Temple Death Oath Talk - For Now Friday, Feb 9, 2007, at 08:12 AM Original Author(s): Deconstructor Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
"Mr. Romney said he was giving strong consideration to a public address about his faith and political views, modeled after the one John F. Kennedy gave in 1960 in the face of a wave of concern about his being a Roman Catholic."
"Mr. Romney’s aides said he had closely studied Kennedy’s speech in trying to measure how to navigate the task of becoming the nation’s first Mormon president, and he has consulted other Mormon elected leaders, including Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, about how to proceed."
"“There’s a lot of prejudice out there,” Mr. Hatch said. “We’ve come a long way, but there are still many people around the country who consider the Mormon faith a cult.”"
When they cite Mormon beliefs in these articles, the don't mention temple covenants. But they will.
At some point the press is going to refer to Mitt Romney's temple oaths of loyalty to the church.
ROMNEY'S MORMON TEMPLE OATH OF LOYALTY TO THE LDS CHURCH
TEMPLE NARRATOR: (All patrons stand.) "And as Jesus Christ has laid down his life for the redemption of mankind, so we should covenant to sacrifice all that we possess, even our own lives if necessary, in sustaining and defending the Kingdom of God."
"All arise. Each of you bring your right arm to the square. You and each of you solemnly covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this alter that you will observe and keep the Law of Sacrifice, as contained in the Old and New Testament, as it has been explained to you. Each of you bow your head and say "yes.""
TEMPLE PATRONS: "Yes."
ELOHIM: "That will do." (All patrons sit down.)
TEMPLE NARRATOR: (All patrons stand.) "Each of you bring your right arm to the square. You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the Law of Consecration as contained in this, (The Officiator holds up a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants again.), the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion."
Each of you bow your head and say "yes."
TEMPLE PATRONS: "Yes."
PETER: "That will do." (All patrons sit down.)
MORMON LEADERS EXPECT MEMBERS TO TAKE THIS OATH SERIOUSLY, EVEN ON POLITICAL MATTERS
Romney made his Mormon temple covenants prior to 1990 when the gruesome death oaths were removed. So in Romney's case, he has made these death oaths to God:
Romney's Mormon Temple Death Oath #1:
ELOHIM: "All arise." (All patrons stand.)
ELOHIM: "Each of you make the sign of the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, by bringing your right arm to the square, the palm of the hand to the front, the fingers together, and the thumb extended. This is the sign. Now, repeat in your mind after me the words of the covenant, at the same time representing the execution of the penalty."
"I Mitt Romney, covenant before God, angels and these witnesses that I will never reveal the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name and sign, and penalty. Rather than do so, I would suffer my life to be taken."
(Patrons perform the action as the Officiator guides them.)
"That will do." (Patrons sit down.)
Romney's Mormon Death Oath #2:
PETER: "The sign is made by bringing the right hand in front of you, with the hand in cupping shape, the right arm forming a square, and the left arm being raised to the square. This is the sign. (The officiator demonstrates.) The Execution of the Penalty is represented by placing the right hand on the left breast, drawing the hand quickly across the body, and dropping the hands to the sides. I will now explain the covenant and obligation of secrecy which are associated with this token, its name, and sign, and penalty, and which you will be required to take upon yourselves."
PETER: "All arise. (All Patrons stand.) Each of you make the sign of the Second Token of the Aaronic priesthood by bringing the right hand in front of you, with the hand in cupping shape, the right arm forming a square, and the left arm being raised to the square. This is the sign."
"Now, repeat in your mind after me the words of the covenant, at the same time representing the Executing of the Penalty."
"I, Mitt Romney, solemnly covenant, before God, angels, and these witnesses that I will never reveal the second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, and sign, and penalty. Rather than do so, I would suffer my life to be taken."
(Patrons perform the action as the Officiator guides them.)
"That will do." (All patrons sit down.)
Romney's Mormon Temple Death Oath #3:
PETER: "All arise. (All patrons stand.) Each of you make the sign of the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood or Sign of the Nail by brining the left hand in front of you with the hand in cupping shape, the left arm forming a square; also by bringing the right hand is also brought forward, the palm down, the fingers close together, the thumb extended, and by placing the thumb over the left hip. This is the sign."
"Now repeat in your mind after me the words of the covenant, at the same time representing the Execution of the Penalty:"
"I solemnly covenant in the name of the Son that I will never reveal the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood or Sign of the Nail, with its accompanying name,and sign and penalty. Rather than do so, I would suffer my life to be taken."
(Patrons perform the action as the Officiator guides them.)
"That will do." (All patrons sit down.)
It's just a matter of time before this comes out.
Mormon Mitt's Grand Planet Plan: Romney Quotes The Book Of Abraham In Announcing His Bid For The U.S. Presidency Wednesday, Feb 14, 2007, at 08:10 AM Original Author(s): Steve Benson Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
In declaring his run for the presidency of the United States, Mormon Mitt Romney pulled in rhapsodic rhetorical gobble-dee-gook from Joseph Smith and the Book of Abraham to describe the place and destiny of planet Earth in Mitt's galactic world view:
"I believe," Mitt declared, "in God and I believe that every person in this great country, and every person on this GRAND PLANET, is a child of God."
And the GRAND keys, along with their GRAND key-words.
Where have we heard this kind of GRAND language before?
Funny, isn’t it, how Brother Romney uses the same GRANDIOSE jargon to describe the planets as Joseph Smith did to describe the GRANDEST of all the planets, Kolob (near where the Mormon God hangs out) and its GRAND planetary companions, along with their GRAND mystery keys of Kolobic cosmology?
Hear the words of Joseph Smith/Mitt Romney:
“Fig. 1. Kolob . . . , signifying the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God. First in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time. The measurement according to celestial time, which celestial time signifies one day to a cubit. One day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth, which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh.
“Fig. 2. Stands next to Kolob, called by the Egyptians Oliblish, which is the next GRAND governing creation near to the celestial or the place where God resides; holding the key of power also, pertaining to other planets; as revealed from God to Abraham, as he offered sacrifice upon an altar, which he had built unto the Lord. . . .
“Abraham, in the residence of God depicted with three plural wives, in linear onto the feast of Enish-go-on dosh, which is the PLANET OF GRAND PROCREATION near onto the celestial or the place where God resides; holding his hand in praise of Mother Gonhorra and in merriment to the music of the spheres. . . .
“Fig. 3. Is made to represent God, sitting upon his throne, clothed with power and authority; with a crown of eternal light upon his head; representing also the GRAND Key-words of the Holy Priesthood, as revealed to Adam in the Garden of Eden, as also to Seth, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, and all to whom the Priesthood was revealed. . . .
“Fig. 5. Is called in Egyptian Enish-go-on-dosh; this is one of the governing PLANETS also, and is said by the Egyptians to be the Sun, and to borrow its light from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash, which is the GRAND Key, or, in other words, the governing power, which governs fifteen other fixed PLANETS or stars, as also Floeese or the Moon, the Earth and the Sun in their annual revolutions. This planet receives its power through the medium of Kli-flos-is-es, or Hah-ko-kau-beam, the stars represented by numbers 22 and 23, receiving light from the revolutions of Kolob. . . .
“Fig. 7. Represents God sitting upon his throne, revealing through the heavens the GRAND Key-words of the Priesthood; as, also, the sign of the Holy Ghost unto Abraham, in the form of a dove.
“The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the GRAND millennial mission of this, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” ( Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 95)
And, of course, along with all that, the GRAND and marvelous Mormon U.S. presidency of Elder Mitt Romney.
Stephanopoulos Catches Mitt Romney Lying For The Lord Monday, Feb 19, 2007, at 08:45 AM Original Author(s): Jim Huston Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
In this short, Mitt Romney states that when Jesus Christ comes again, he will appear in Jerusalem.
Mitt Romney: "Our belief is just like it says in the bible, that, that the Messiah will come to Jerusalem, stand on the Mount Of Olives, and that, that ah, the Mount Of Olives will be a place wheres there is the great gathering and so forth. It's the, it's the same as the other Christian tradition."
Stephanopoulos: "Actually, we checked in with a Mormon spokesman who said that's not exactly true. They believe the New Jerusalem is here in the United States, in Missouri, and that's where Jesus is going to come."
Romney has it wrong. The Mormon Jesus will not come to Jerusalem, the Mormon Jesus will appear in America first.
Interesting. Either Romney is lying about his own religion or he simply just doesn't know.
Mormon Doctrine - Moses 7:62
And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.
Bill Maher On Mormonism And Religion In Politics And Mitt Romney Tuesday, Feb 20, 2007, at 08:25 AM Original Author(s): Bill Maher Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
The fact remains, however, that Romney is fatally hobbled and destined for a collapse in the homestretch--and perhaps even before then--thanks to his Mormon breeding, for which he makes no apologies and in which he finds no problems.
If Romney truly wants to salvage any hopes for a credible White House bid, all he has to do is publicly denounce Mormonism and its bigoted, sexist, homophobic, racist, cultish, authoritarian present (along with its historically laughable and discredited past), then move into the American mainstream. After all, it's been done before.
At any rate, in another thread "Rick Ricardo" claims:
"Mr. Romney's 'pedigree,' for a modern American politician, is average at best. If you think otherwise, then our grounds for disagreement about your analogy is obvious.
"If you truly think that Romney is someone special who will be brought down by circumstances beyond his control, then your metaphor works.
"I have a hard time seeing how Romney, who is largely self-made and could have made his political problems go away years ago by doing what most of the people on this board have already done, denouncing Mormonism, fits your metaphor.
"Romney's liabilities are self-made, and therefore, your metaphor itself "breaks down."
Not true and the metaphor still stands--even though Barbaro and Romney don't.
Being the governor of Massachusetts, a Harvard graduate with business and law degrees, the son of a former governor and presidential candidate and the former president and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games is hardly "an average pedigree" for an American politician.
What is, however, significantly below average for Romney (as was the case with Barbaro's unnaturally-bred matchstick-thin legs that could not bear up under a tough race and what--like Barbaro--will be Romney's ultimate undoing in his doomed race for the White House roses) is Romney's joined-at-the-hip connection and devotion to the Mormon Cult--from which he cannot successfully distance himself and which ultimately be the cause of his coming, Barbaro-like breakdown.
For Romney and the crippled creature of Mormonism upon which he rides, "this horse won't hunt."
Hey, now there's a good mixed metaphor. :)
Romney Family Tree Has Polygamy Branch Monday, Feb 26, 2007, at 07:35 AM Original Author(s): Jennifer Dobner And Glen Johnson Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
SALT LAKE CITY - While Mitt Romney condemns polygamy and its prior practice by his Mormon church, the Republican presidential candidate's great-grandfather had five wives and at least one of his great-great grandfathers had 12.
Romney's great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, married his fifth wife in 1897. That was more than six years after Mormon leaders banned polygamy and more than three decades after a federal law barred the practice.
Romney's great-grandmother, Hannah Hood Hill, was the daughter of polygamists. She wrote vividly in her autobiography about how she "used to walk the floor and shed tears of sorrow" over her own husband's multiple marriages.
Romney's father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, where Mormons fled in the 1800s to escape religious persecution and U.S. laws forbidding polygamy. He and his family did not return to the United States until 1912, more than two decades after the church issued "The Manifesto" banning polygamy.
"When you read the family's history, you realize how important polygamy was to them," said Todd Compton, a Mormon and independent historian who wrote a book about the polygamous life of the church's founder, Joseph Smith. "They left America and started again as pioneers, after they had done it over and over again previously."
By now, almost every newspaper in America has published an analysis of Mitt Romney's presidential aspirations titled "Can a Mormon Be Elected President?" The stories follow a preordained path to arrive at the politically and socially desirable answer: Yes.
These set pieces serve mainly to make the not particularly religion-savvy political commentariat feel good about themselves. The writer appears unbiased, and the article inevitably validates the cherished American myth about our tolerance for diversity.
Can a Mormon be elected president in 2008? No.
Even Romney himself has his doubts. Last week's leaked campaign memo unearthed by Globe reporter Scott Helman stated that "Romney's sensitivity to his Mormon faith as a campaign issue is apparent throughout the plan. It acknowledges that some view Mormonism as weird and lists ways Romney should defend his faith, from highlighting the way he has lived his life, rather than which church he attends, to acknowledging theological differences with mainline Christian denominations while refusing to be drawn into an extensive discussion of Mormon doctrine and practices."
Cubans in Miami are steaming mad at former Gov. Mitt Romney for shooting his mouth off in stumbling Spanish, mispronouncing names and erroneously associating a notorious Fidel Castro-spewed Communist catch phrase with freedom fighters.
Politicians in South Florida have lashed out at the former Massachusetts governor and 2008 presidential hopeful for describing the socialist saying “Patria o muerte, venceremos” as “inspiring” and for claimingthe phrase was swiped from liberty-seeking Cubans by leftist admirers of Castro.
The phrase, which means “Fatherland or death, we shall overcome,” was bellowed as a political speech sign-off by the dictator for decades.
Romney also garnered criticism for his hard-line stance on immigration and ending the talk with the phrase “Libertad, Libertad, Libertad,” a revolutionary saying made famous in the gangster movie “Scarface,” which many Cubans feel plays on cultural stereotypes.
But it was the former Bay State governor’s use of an infamous Fidel Castro line that sparked the most controversy.
“Hugo Chavez has tried to steal an inspiring phrase - Patria o muerte, venceremos,” Romney said. “It does not belong to him. It belongs to a free Cuba.”
But scholars and prominent Cubans contend the saying has always been a Communist rallying cry and that it represents the very essence of Fidel Castro’s oppressive regime.
“It means communism. It means Fidel Castro,” said Florida state Rep. Rene Garcia, a Republican who was at the March 9 speech. “It’s a Communist catch phrase.”
It is the rare presidential candidate who comes to Idaho to raise money, but there was Mitt Romney last month, packing more than 100 people, at up to $2,300 a head, into the Crystal Ballroom in Boise.
"Nearly every seat was filled. Just about everybody that's anybody was there," said Grant Ipsen, a former Idaho state legislator. "I don't think I'd ever attended another fundraiser for a federal candidate in Idaho."
Mormons made up at least half the crowd, organizers said. Altogether, the two-day swing brought in well over $1 million for Romney.
Mormons are fueling his strong fundraising operation, which this week reported raising $21 million, the most of any Republican candidate. And they are laying the foundation for a potent grass-roots network -- including a cadre of young church members experienced in door-to-door missions who say they are looking forward to hitting the streets for him.
I happened to see Mitt on Jay Leno's Tonight Show on Wed evening. Overall he came across as able to laugh at himself and was smart in bringing up the Mormon issue and the 1972 Blacks revelation first and on his own terms.
He said American's want a president who believes in God and who has faith and that it doesn't matter what church a president belongs to. He conveyed the impression that his church is just another "church" - no big deal.
He said his father George Romney marched with Martin Luther King for Civil Rights, (I'd like to fact check that claim.) In 1978 when Mitt heard about the revelation he was driving and had to pull over because he was crying with a sense of relief because he had wanted that to happen.
One could also get a sense that Mitt was born with a silver spoon in his mouth because he said his father George and J. Willard Marriott were best friends, for whom he was named after.
What was best was that after the break Leno had D.L. Hughley. This guy was sharp as a tack and took off on the Romney/Mormon/Black theme.
He had met Mitt backstage and called him a nice guy. He also stated that it took Mormons until 1978 to include blacks into the fold when they were "sinners" prior to that. This meant that when Blacks die they would go to heaven to be slaves to White folks.
He brought the house down when he said, "Yeah, like I am going to die, go to heaven and be a slave to Donnie and Marie forever."
So whatever Mitt did to normalize Mormonism, this Black comedian dismantled it with satire and humor bringing out how absurd this quirky cult is.
Romney Assails Sharpton's Mormon Comment Thursday, May 10, 2007, at 08:11 AM Original Author(s): Mike Glover, Associated Press Writer Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
On Monday, Sharpton said in a debate that "those of us who believe in God" will defeat Romney for the White House. He denied he was questioning the Mormon's own belief in God.
Rather, the New York Democrat said he was contrasting himself with Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author he was debating at the time.
"As for the one Mormon running for office, those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways, so don't worry about that; that's a temporary situation," Sharpton said during a debate with Hitchens at the New York Public Library.
Is This What Scares People About Romney? Does Mormonism Teach That The Church Is To Be #1 - Love It More Than Your Spouse Or Your Family? Friday, May 11, 2007, at 09:22 AM Original Author(s): Susieq#1 Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
From the temple endowment ceremony and marriage ceremony:
"The Law of Consecration --which is:(I am only including this particular one on this post as it has it directly applies to the marriage covenant.)
Actual words from the temple dialog/ceremony follows:
A couple will now come to the altar. We are instructed to give unto you the Law of Consecration as contained in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, in connection with the Law of the Gospel and the Law of Sacrifice which you have already received.
It is that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.
All arise. Each of you bring your right arm to the square.
You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the Law of Consecration as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants, in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.
Each of you bow your head and say "yes."
Then and only then may you be sealed in the marriage ceremony.
Here is the ceremony.
Sometimes, the officiator will allow an exchange of rings at the end of the ceremony, and a kiss.
(I don't know the current policy on this practice. Maybe someone else does.)
Officiator: Brother ______, [naming groom] and Sister ______, [naming bride] please join hands in the Patriarchal Grip or Sure Sign of the Nail.
Joins hands in the "Patriarchal Grip, or Sure Sign of the Nail."This token is given by clasping the right hands, interlocking the little fingers and placing the tip of the forefinger upon the center of the wrist. No clothing should interfere with the contact of the forefinger upon the wrist.
Officiator: Brother ______, do you take Sister ______ by the right hand and receive her unto yourself to be your lawful and wedded wife for time and all eternity, with a covenant and promise that you will observe and keep all the laws, rites, and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant, and this you do in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses of your own free will and choice?
Officiator: Sister ______ do you take brother ______ by the right hand and give yourself to him to be his lawful and wedded wife, and for him to be your lawful and wedded husband, for time and all eternity, with a covenant and promise that you will observe and keep all the laws, rites and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant, and this you do in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses of your own free will and choice?
By virtue of the Holy Priesthood and the authority vested in me, I pronounce you ______, and ______, legally and lawfully husband and wife for time and all eternity, and I seal upon you the blessings of the holy resurrection with power to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection clothed in glory, immortality and eternal lives, and I seal upon you the blessings of kingdoms, thrones, principalities, powers, dominions and exaltations, with all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and say unto you: be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth that you may have joy and rejoicing in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
All these blessings, together with all the blessings appertaining unto the New and Everlasting Covenant, I seal upon you by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, through your faithfulness, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen."
Is this the key to understanding the dedication of Mormons to their church:
LAW of CONSECRATION
"It is that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion."
Is this what bothers voters about having Mormon in the White House ...???
Last night on the news was a story about Romney explaining away his absence from serving during the Viet Nam war: he went on a mission. Boy, do I ever know that story oh so well.
During that time there was 3 ways to stay out of the draft: 1) Keep a II-S deferment by staying in school, which was only good for 4 years 2) Go on a mission 3) A combination of both.
The trick was to stay in school until you were called on a mission. Before leaving on a mission, you put your name on the Army Reserve or Nation Guard waiting list. When you got off your mission, your name was up for the Army Reserve or National Guard in addition to re-enrolling in school.
I didn't serve a mission, had a draft lottery number of 9, so after graduating from BYU in 4 years, I was drafted. Meanwhile, all my friends were pulling the mission trick to stay out of the draft.
I was once asked by Dean Christensen, former state legislator in our ward, to give a talk on why young men went on missions. I got up and told it exactly how it was. I told the congregation that all the boys were going on missions to avoid being drafted. The people didn't like me in that ward.
Now here we have Romney acting as if he did an honorable thing by going on a mission and not serving his country. The bastard. And he and his family act as if his sons going on missions instead of serving in the military is also honorable. What a load of crap.
Romney cannot be up front and honest, just like his church. Polygamy is a great example. Romney and the church would want us all to believe they abandoned polygamy in 1890 and all they did was abandon the PRACTICE. They still believe in polygamy and Romney has the audacity to say he can't think of anything worse than polygamy. What an ass.
Romney and his church believe Joseph Smith had a polygamy revelation from God. They believe polygamy is a sacred ordinance of God. They believe God is a polygamist. They perform multiple sealings or marriages all the time in their temples. All this and yet they would have the world believe they have nothing to do with polygamy.
In this county you cannot practice communism. But if you believe in communism, you are a communist. In this country, if you obey the law, you cannot practice polygamy. But if you believe in polygamy, you are a polygamist. Romney and all Mormons are polygamists. So admit, it you lying bastards!
And now Romney is a sniveling draft dodger hiding behind his Mormon mission. I'm beginning to hate this guy more every day.
BOSTON -- Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, who rails against the "cesspool" of pornography, is being criticized by social conservatives who argue that he should have tried to halt hardcore hotel movie offerings during his near-decade on the Marriott board.
Two anti-pornography crusaders, as well as two conservative activists of the type Romney is courting, say the distribution of such graphic adult movies runs counter to the family image cultivated by Romney, the Marriotts and their shared Mormon faith.
"Marriott is a major pornographer. And even though he may have fought it, everyone on that board is a hypocrite for presenting themselves as family values when their hotels offer 70 different types of hardcore pornography," said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, an anti-pornography group based on Ohio.
Let me first apologize for the typo ridden nature of what will follow. I dictated it as a stream of consciousness this morning after reading something Christopher Hitchens wrote in a recent Slate Magazine issue with regard to Mitt Romney. As usual, I found Hitchens highly informative and entertaining. However, I thought he did not adequately develop what is the most important point. Hence what follows. But I don't have time to carefully proofread this, or think it through. I offer it on a "for what it's worth" basis. If anyone has Hitchen’s e-mail address, please forward this to him. I would love to have him dig into the social psychological and cognitive bias riven ground around Mitt Romney's presidential bid. For that matter, if anyone who reads this has access to other people who have the kind of podium to which Hitchens has access, I invite you to send this to them for their consideration. There are, no doubt, others who can say what I'm trying to say better than I can, and who will be broadly listened to.
Because I appreciate it when other people give me warning with regard to their biases, before saying anything else I should state mine. Until my mid-40s, I was a fully active, temple recommend carrying, Mormon. I served as a Mormon Bishop for the full five-year term, was in numerous other Mormon leadership capacities, and a short time before having my name removed from the Mormon membership record book, was the "Stake Mission President" (the person responsible for finding converts to Mormonism) in the Mormon community where I live. I am also a practicing tax attorney, have an intellectual bent, and read widely. This latter set of traits created a slow-motion collision that occurred over the course of three decades between the two worlds in which I lived - the Mormon and the secular. I continue to have the deepest respect for most of my Mormon friends and family members, and believe that there are many good things about what Mormons believe and the way they live. I also recognize many profoundly dysfunctionaltraits that the Mormon belief system and community tend to inculcate. Some of those are relevant to the potential US presidency of Mitt Romney.
So, should anyone be concerned that the two solitudes I described above – the dogmatically religious, and the secular – co-exist within Mitt’s highly intelligent cranium? The short version of my views on this topic is set out below. For the long story as to why I hold these views, see two sets of notes that I made for myself as I was attempting to rewire my own Mormon cranium. They can be found at http://mccue.cc/bob/documents/rs.deni....
To answer my question, yes, Mitt Romney's Mormon beliefs should be of concern to anyone who is considering making him the most powerful person on Earth. This is in spite of the fact that Mitt is in most ways an admirable human being. First of all, he has the single most important requirement for US presidential office -- a full head of hair. And not just any full head of hair. Mitt’s is magisterial, as is most of the rest of his appearance – athletic bearing; strong jaw; nice smile; good-looking family; etc. And as Mitt pointed out, he is the only Republican candidate for the US presidency to have only been married to (and likely sexually intimate with) only one woman, and this, ironically, in spite of Mormonism's polygamist roots. Mitt inherited a lot of money, and then made much more on his own. His contribution to salvaging the scandal plagued Salt Lake Olympics was immense. He has done a reasonable job as the-against-the-odds Republican Governor of liberal Massachusetts, courtesy in no small part to a remarkable ability to flip-flop his politics in order to satisfy the crowd to which he happens to be playing. This chamaleonness is, by the way, a trait that one should expect in Mormons. They have traits also found in Asia in that regard, and due to the same strong group oriented social forces in which they are raised. See Richard Nisbett’s “The Geography of Thought” for background in this regard. But I digress.
In short, Mitt Romney has a proven track record as a good leader, and a capable politician. I purposefully did not link the words "good" and "politician" to avoid the inevitable charge of oxymoronism, which reminds me that I should note for the record what everyone who regularly types the word "Mormon" already knows – that the automatic spell corrector in Microsoft Word tends to change that to “moron”. I don't know what that means, but I've always found it funny and it is apropos what I'm about to say about Mormons in general, and Mitt Romney in particular.
So here's the rub. Mitt Romney is a magical thinker. Some of the other presidential candidates are as well. So, what I have to say about Mitt applies to them too. There are degrees of magical thinking. Each candidate should be carefully questioned in this regard. The extent of a person’s magical thinking, and the circumstances in which it is likely to occur, are important ways of testing their reliability. In times of stress and when making decisions related to ambiguous phenomena, a tendency toward magical thinking will become more influential because in those situations, we tend to fall back upon our instincts. It is there that we find magical thinking if we are going to find it. And arguably, the president of the United States most important function is to act wisely in times of crisis and with regard to ambiguous phenomena.
What do I mean when I say that Mitt Romney is a magical thinker? Our reasoning proceeds from the most basic assumptions that we make with regard to reality. Mitt Romney's basic assumptions are, to an extent, magical. He believes in all kinds of things that non-Mormons would consider outlandish, not the least of which is that a former con man cum treasure hunter named Joseph Smith visited personally with God on many occasions and founded God’s only “true” church, the Mormon Church, after “translating” a book of ancient records he claims an angel gave to him. This translation was done for the most part without the ancient book present, by Smith looking through the same “peep stone” he used to pretend to look for buried treasure in order to extract fees for services rendered from gullible farmers. Having attracted a following as a religious leader, Smith exercised the typical alpha male prerogative and started to have sex with many of the females in his group, many of whom were young teenagers or married to other men. When caught, he said God told him to do this and that other men should also do so, as long as God (through Smith) commanded them. This gave Smith control over much of the sexual activity in his community, which is a great way of keeping people in line. This is only the beginning of an amazing litany of bizarre facts Mitt Romney believes to be accurate, and that form the foundation for his belief in the authenticity and hence reliability of current Mormon authority. And we have not mentioned the basic Christian beliefs which to non-Christians are as justifiably bizarre in some cases as Mormon beliefs are to non-Mormons.
In many ways, Mitt Romney is merely (if that is the right word) typical of many extremely intelligent people (Mormon and other) I have met who will look you straight in the eye and tell you that the Earth is not much more than 6,000 years old. Some of these people have Ph.D.'s granted by real universities. I've met many other similar people who accept that biological evolution occurred, but not with regard to human beings. Other similarly intelligent people believe that aliens really do interact on a regular basis with human beings.
Magical thinking, of course, occurs for the most part at the subconscious level, and is generally speaking only recognizable from outside the social group within which it occurs. For example, many hard-core evangelical Christians believe that their conclusions with regard to the age of the Earth are based in science. That is, science that includes assumptions such as that God placed appropriately aged dinosaur bones in the Earth in order to test our religious faith. This, of course, is not science. It is magical thinking. But try to persuade a young recreationists of that. The same sort of analysis holds with regard to Jehovah's Witnesses and their beliefs with regard to blood transfusions. One of their basic assumptions, based on the Bible, is that our spirits are inextricably tied up with our blood. Hence, a blood transfusion connotes a type of spiritual death. This kind of assumption is not provable, but neither is it disprovable. Religious beliefs tend to be like this. If they were disprovable to a high degree of probability they would eventually fade from consciousness and this would threaten the foundation of the religious group. Accordingly, over time the religious beliefs that persist tend not to be disprovable. That is why, for the most part, the Christian religion no longer relies upon the idea that the Earth is at the center of the universe. The idea that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, more or less, persists that within a very small group. That idea is dying as a result of disproof. Ideas with regard to the nature of the human spirit and its connection to blood, however, cannot be disproven. Hence, this type of idea will probably persist.
There is a way to predict where magical thinking will interfere with our rational processes. Have a look at the "belief maps" founded pages 18 through 25 of http://mccue.cc/bob/documents/rs.does... in this regard. There I attempt to illustrate the way in which scientific knowledge conflicts with various belief systems. Well-educated young earth creationists, for example, are forced into magical thinking mode only where the most important parts of their belief system conflict with science. The same applies for the Jehovah's Witnesses, the alien abductionists, and every other odd religious or ideological group you can think of. One of the patterns that comes into focus as a result of this analysis is the powerful correlation between group based belief systems, and the magical thinking dysfunction. This probably has to do with our small group evolutionary history. We are intensely tribal, and only recently – a few ticks on the evolutionary clock -- have we been attempting to meld ourselves into a vast flocks instead of the small herds that gave rise to our biology and hence our instincts. Until recently, status within the herd was the single best predictor of survival and reproductive opportunity. Accordingly, our instincts push us toward conformity with the strongest forces we perceive within our most important social group. These instincts are so strong that they suppress to a large degree the perception of evidence that would push us toward the fringes of, or out of, that social group. They even more ferociously suppress information that threatens the existence of that social group. We are all subject to these perception foibles.
The phenomena I have just outlined are being carefully studied by our social and other scientists under the “cognitive bias”, “cognitive dissonance” and various other labels. One of the ideas that I think is most helpful in that regard is "bounded rationality". This is being applied to help us better understand many aspects of social psychology, and economics. The idea, in a nutshell, is that we are not rational in the ordinary sense. However, once our circumstances are understood, our behavior generally speaking makes sense within those circumstances. For example, if I am a Mormon and I believe that what happens after death is much more important than what happens during this life, and I must obey certain rules in order to achieve crucially important rewards and avoid terrible punishment after death, then it makes sense that I would spend a great deal of time, money and energy doing things that appear to be irrational to people who do not share my beliefs. Precisely the same explanation applies for suicide bombers, who in some cases believe they are earning fabulous afterlife awards for themselves and their families, while in others they are driven by the same psychology that causes soldiers to charge out of the trenches into the face of virtually certain death.
So, what does this have to do with Mitt Romney and Mormonism? Well, as I indicated above, it is helpful to delineate the areas within which each belief system that conflict with what most of us would consider to be rational thought processes. And there is something odd, and particularly pernicious, about Mormonism in that regard. This can perhaps best be expressed by way of something that was told to me as a joke. It's not a very good joke, but it is a fine play on words. It goes like this. Catholics and Mormons disbelieve the opposite dogmas. That is, Catholic dogma says that the Pope is infallible, but no Catholic believes that. On the other hand, Mormon dogma holds that the Mormon prophet is fallible, and no Mormon beliefs that.
You might have to read that more than once to get the penny to drop.
So there we have it. In addition to the usual run of Christian dogma that should trouble Americans with regard to many of their Presidential candidates, we have the additional problem in Mitt’s case that when the Mormon prophet speaks, powerful instincts inside of him will move his belief system toward whatever the Mormon prophet has said. To be fair to Mitt, we don't have to worry about a phone call from Salt Lake City telling him to invade Iran. In fact, we shouldn't worry about a phone call from Salt Lake City telling him to do anything, unless it comes from one of his Mormon relatives.
I would say that it is extremely improbable that the Mormon prophet would attempt to overtly influence Mitt Romney's political decisions. The slightest whiff of that would be political suicide for Mitt and Mormonism. Mormonism’s leadership is pragmatic enough to avoid that. Here is, rather, how this process is far more likely to work. It would not be surprising for a Mormon prophet to begin to speak out strongly against gay marriage, or equal rights for women, or the importance of preventing changes in educational standards that would encourage more understanding within each religious group of how other religious groups work. The same could be said of many other controversies over issues where the Mormon belief system is at odds with secular values. Without making a conscious connection between what the Mormon prophet is saying and what he believes, Mitt Romney's head is wired so that it is extremely probable that whatever the Mormon prophet happens to say will ring true to Mitt. And, to the extent he has influence, which as the American president he would have in spades that influence will tend to be exercised in the direction indicated by the Mormon prophet.
Much has been made of the comparison between the Mormon Romney and the Catholic Kennedys. This doesn't work for me. Catholicism is a very old religion. A lot of its youthful arrogance has been beaten out of it. There is a good analogy between the way in which the social organism that is an aunt or beehive matures, and the way in which religious groups mature. Younger hives and religious groups tend to be more erratic and aggressive. Mormonism is still young religious group, which explains to a large degree of continuing aggressive proselytizing and isolationist tendencies. Hence, the probability of the erratic behavior from a Mormon prophet is far higher than with regard to a Pope, and as I have already indicated in any event, the influence of the Pope over well-educated Catholics is minute compared to the influence of the Mormon prophet over Mormons like Mitt Romney.
I should also note that I have profound concern with regard to the influence of Christian dogma, and the way in which that could in and of itself influence Mitt Romney, not to mention the fact that a Mormon prophet could amplify some aspect of Christian dogma that would also have an effect on Mitt Romney's decision-making. It is probable that one of the significant influences on US foreign policy during the Bush administration and another crucial junctures in history, has been the belief that there is something special about the land around Jerusalem and the connection of the Jewish people to that land, in the context of the second coming of Christ and the Apocalypse predicted by the New Testament. I believe that this influence should be rooted out of US foreign policy to the extent possible. Mitt Romney is probably a step in the wrong direction in that regard.
Human history points to the crucial importance of democratic principle as a restraint on power. The Mormon Church and other similar religious institutions are non-democratic. Power is systematically abused within those organizations, though generally speaking with the best of intent. In order to preserve that power, this type of religious institution tends to resist government involvement of most types. That is, the smaller the government influence, the larger the playing field for the religious institution and its undemocratically elected leadership. The greater that scope, the more opportunity the religious institution has two monopolize the time, money and other resources on its members.
The Mormon prophet and other leaders of the Mormon Church are products of the dysfunctional system I just described. As a group, they are very old, white males. No major policy decision can occur without unanimity within the group. This ensures the decision-making precedents developed long ago in different times are the default mechanism. The group appoints its own successors, thus cementing into place a glacial rate of change. And some of them have demonstrated the ability to be outspoken in their ignorance
The idea that the pronouncements of men of this type, no matter how well intended, may have a significant influence on the President of the United States should be bone chilling.
After "The Speech": 10 Top Extreme Beliefs Of Mitt The Mormon, Kooky Candidate From Kolob Monday, Dec 10, 2007, at 08:35 AM Original Author(s): Steve Benson Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
The following is a 10-point examination of Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney's religious beliefs--beliefs of the LDS Church to which, in his recent speech outlining his faith, Romney openly declared his personal commitment.
It is, of course, up to individual voters to decide whether Romney is the kind of candidate they would like to see occupying the White House. In the meantime, the U.S. Constituion, in Article 6, expressly prohibits any mandated religious test for the holding of public office.
That constitutional prohibition against government-established religious testing of candidates for public office does not mean, however, that American voters are not free to assess for themselves a given candidate's religious beliefs and determine whether those beliefs would adversely affect the candidate who firmly adheres to them in the conduct of the affairs of state.
The analysis below of Romney's religious views is provided under the website title, "What Mitt Romney Believes: Exploring the religious beliefs of Mitt Romney and the Mormon Church," provided with the site's stated intent of "[h]elping Americans understand his faith, and the implications of making him President":
Extreme Belief #1: "A Living Prophet"
"Mitt Romney believes that this man is a living, breathing Prophet of God. His name is Gordon B. Hinckley. He was born in 1910 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mitt Romney believes he has the same authority as Moses or Abraham of the Old Testament. Mitt Romney believes this man speaks for God.
"Although usually referred to as "President" of the church, Gordon B. Hinckley is considered a "prophet, seer and revelator" by Mormons. Before becoming President, Hinckley was considered one of the twelve apostles.
"Why is this the #1 extreme belief? It might seem rather benign given some of the other things on our countdown, whether clearly out of the main stream, like becoming a God, or spiritual polygamy. Or just a little odd, like temple garments, seer stones, or the Garden of Eden being in Missouri. However, it has the greatest implications for our country if Mitt Romney becomes President.
"If you believed that this man had a direct connection to God, and that your personal salvation depended on following this prophet, would you ignore his wishes? Gordon B. Hinckley has dangerous views about women, race, sexual diversity, science and scholarship. He does not believe in the equality of all Americans. He does not believe in the separation of church and state. In future posts I'll expose these beliefs.
"Mitt Romney's absolute belief in this "prophet" makes him dangerous too."
Extreme Belief #2: "We Can Become Gods!"
"Uh huh. Mormons believe they can become Gods.
"If one reaches the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom (essentially Mormon heaven), then one can gain power and knowledge, have spirit children, and well .... be Gods.
"This belief is so outrageous, so extreme, that people typically assume I've gone insane when I tell them this. You can find it on the official LDS web site under the Gospel Principles section, Chapter 47: Exaltation.
"Additionally, they believe that God was once a man. They don't mean Jesus, who they regard as a completely different person. Rather, God once walked on a planet and became a God. We can follow in his footsteps. I was also taught as a child, that as a God, my "seed" would continue. I would create planets and send my spirit children to live on them.
"Mitt Romney believes he will become a God! Do you believe he should be President?"
"Blacks were excluded from the Mormon Priesthood, and many of the temple ceremonies of the church until 1978. They could be members, but could not participate fully. To understand the enormity of this discrimination, you need to understand the importance of the Priesthood in the Mormon belief system.
"The Priesthood is the root of all authority in the Mormon faith. Most males are ordained into the Priesthood at an early age (around 12) and have an opportunity to progress through six levels of authority. Unlike many churches, where there are often a few professional clergy and perhaps a lay clergy serving a much larger congregation. In Mormon churches nearly all the adult white men participate in the Priesthood. By excluding people based on their skin color, the church prohibited blacks from any meaningful leadership position and also from an institution that encompassed nearly all the white members.
"In Mormonism the Priesthood is the backbone of both institutional and family organization. Black families could not be sealed for time and all eternity - another bed rock of the Mormon faith forbidden to them. The inability to hold the Priesthood created a lower class of membership in the church, which forbid blacks from participating in many of the sacred rites necessary for exaltation.
"The most frightening aspect of this is that the Mormon Church continues to believe that this discrimination was mandated by God. Other religious bodies have a history of racism. However, nearly all recognize that this dishonorable part of their histories was the result of a flawed understanding of God's will. In other words, although religious people wrongly discriminated in the past, God never did!
"In the LDS Church, the exclusion of blacks was a doctrine supported by both scripture and divine revelation directly from God. Mormons continue to believe that God forbid the ordination of blacks into the Mormon Priesthood. God didn't want blacks in leadership positions. God didn't want blacks giving blessings or getting married for all eternity.
"'Negroes in this life are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. (Abra. 1:20-27.) The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them... negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow therefrom, but this inequality is not of man's origin. It is the Lord's doing, is based an his eternal laws of justice, and grows out of the lack of Spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate.' (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, pp. 527-528)
"I'm happy that the church changed this policy in 1978, when Spencer W. Kimball, church prophet at the time, received a revelation reversing the policy. However, you won't find the church taking responsibility for its racist past. There has been no apology. No sincere attempt at reconciliation. How can there be? They believe that God was the bigot until 1978, not them.
"Do you really want Mitt Romney, someone who believes this, as President of the United States?"
Extreme Belief #4: "The Book of Mormon is Perfect"
"There is a common misperception that Mormons do not believe in the Bible. In fact they do read and use the Bible extensively. They view both the Old and New Testaments as important documents. However, they also believe that, "As the Bible was compiled, organized, translated, and transcribed, many errors entered the text" (see the official LDS church web site). In this regard they have beliefs that are similar to most mainstream churches. Of course, this is not consistent with most evangelical and fundamentalist views of the Bible.
"Much more interesting, and much more extreme, is their belief in the perfection of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith, who claimed to have translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates he found in New York state, said that the Book of Mormon was the most perfect book ever written. And in the context of Mormon beliefs this makes very good sense. After all, he used divine seer stones, and had a direct connection to God while translating. It should be perfect.
"Unfortunately, the Book of Mormon is a mess. It claims to be a history of the Americas. One in which Israelites immigrated to South America, setting up a civilization based on ancient Biblical principles and beliefs. After being visited by Jesus after his resurrection, this society eventually decays and spreads north. Finally ending in.... well..... New York.
"There is not a single piece of archaeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon. Unlike the Bible, which is often referenced by archaeologists in the Middle East, reputable scientists do not use the Book of Mormon. The genetic evidence does not support the claim (now being de-emphasized by the church) that American Indians are descendants of Middle Eastern peoples. Large portions of it are lifted from the King James Version of the Bible (which didn't exist when the Book of Mormon was supposedly written). It makes references to animals that did not co-exist with humans in the western hemisphere until after the arrival of Europeans in the 1400s. For instance, horses!
"Finally, the Book of Mormon has been changed thousands of times since it's original publication. The Mormon Church strains credibility when it claims that these are mostly typographical or transcription errors. You would think those would be fixed in the second or third printings. Yet, changes to the Book of Mormon continue to be made.
"I know this sound a little glib, but..... so much for the most perfect book ever written. . . ."
Extreme Belief #5: "Temple Garments"
"Mitt Romney wears neither boxers nor briefs!
"Mormons wear a special kind of underwear called "Temple Garments." They believe this underwear protects them from evil. It has special symbols woven into it at the breast and knee. These symbols are believed to be derived and adapted from Free Mason rituals.
"Mormons begin wearing it during their first visit to the temple, wherein they receive instructions on how the garment should be worn and promise to wear it for the rest of their lives. They are removed only for bathing, some forms exercise, and sexual relations. . . ."
Extreme Belief #6: "Mormons still practice polygamy - sort of"
"In the Mormon Church, marriage does not end at death. Men and women are married (sealed together) for time and all eternity. However, if a woman dies, a man may marry again for time and all eternity. He will then have two (perhaps more) wives in the afterlife. Women can't get married again unless they get a "temple divorce." Under no circumstance can a woman be sealed to more than one man.
"Although they gave up polygamy many years ago on earth, Mormons still practice polygamy in heaven.
"This is what I was taught as a child. It is very hard to get the church to admit this little secret. But it is discussed openly in LDS circles. . . ."
Extreme Belief #7: "The Garden Eden was in Missouri"
"This one is a little tricky. I was taught growing up that indeed the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri. Joseph Smith (the founding Prophet of the LDS church) claimed to have seen an alter somewhere in the woods of Missouri that was used by Adam. He called this Adam-ondi-Ahman, which means place where Adam dwelt.
"I've noticed that many Mormons now deny the Garden was in Missouri, asserting that Joseph Smith only said Adam worshiped at an alter in Missouri after being thrown out of the Garden of Eden. I find this remarkable. Is it any less extreme to believe that Adam lived in Missouri after leaving the Garden of Eden? This isn't simply more Mormon folklore, this is a century and a half of belief, discussed widely in authoritative LDS published works, i.e. Mormon Doctrine.
"Furthermore, Wilford Woodruff, a Mormon apostle at the time and later the Church Prophet, clearly states in his diaries that Joseph Smith told him that Eden was in Jackson County Missouri and roughly 40 miles from the alter (Waiting for World's End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, edited by Susan Staker, Signature Books, 1993, p. 305). If you can't trust the leader of the Church, who can you trust? . . ."
Extreme Belief #8: "Urim and Thummim - The Seer Stones"
"Joseph Smith, the first Mormon prophet, used "seer" stones to help him "translate" the Book of Mormon. As described in Joseph Smith - History (1:35) on the official church site, two stones were fastened to a breast plate and constituted the Urim and the Thummim. He used these to receive revelation and translate languages. When translating, Joseph Smith would place the stones in a hat, place the hat over his face, and begin translating. A piece of parchment would appear to him with an unknown character and the English translation of that character. . . ."
Extreme Belief #9: "We baptize dead people"
"If he has followed the tenants of his faith, chances are that Mitt Romney has either baptized the dead, or been baptized in proxy for the dead. Mormons baptize dead people.
"Although they claim that their doctrine of baptizing the dead is mentioned in the New Testament (1st Corinthians 15:3), and an ancient Christian practice, the truth is this is pretty much a uniquely Mormon sacrament. Scholars from all major denominations dismiss any biblical foundation for baptizing dead people.
"On a personal note, this is one of the temple rites that I personally participated in as a teenager. In the Mesa AZ temple, the baptismal font for the dead is located on the lower levels of the building. After silently dressing in all white, we were lead into a room with an elevated round font sitting on top of several oxen. The oxen were sculpted of ceramic or marble (I can't quite remember). One at time, we stepped into the font and were dunked into the water roughly 10 times. Between each immersion we heard the name of the dead person for which we were being baptized. Boys were baptized for dead males. Girls for dead females. . . .
"Interestingly, this practice has recently become controversial because Mormon baptize not only their own ancestors (hence their interest in geneology), but your ancestors too. This has lead to some consternation among non-Mormons, especially people of Jewish faith."
Extreme Belief #10: "God resides near a planet called Kolob"
"As a Mormon, Mitt Romney believes that God comes from either a planet named Kolob, or a planet that orbits a star named Kolob, or a place near one of these. This belief comes from The Pearl of Great Price, which is accepted as scripture by the Mormon Church. You can read the relevant passages on line. You should also see facsimile number two which appears on the same site.
"Few topics make Mormon as uncomfortable as the subject of Kolob. I’ve even heard a few deny that this concept is part of their religious beliefs. However, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, a well respected teacher and scholar in the church, made it perfectly clear in Mormon Doctrine (p.428), a definitive and often sited work. You can read the passage online, but you’ll need to find the book if you want to confirm it independently. . . .
"We've finished our list of Mitt Romney's top 10 most extreme beliefs. Read them and judge for yourself whether you want someone who believes these things to become President of the United States."
For the entire examination (along with additional references and citations), see:
"Mitt Romney's speech in Texas on Thursday was supposed to be an attempt to fend off religious bigotry. Instead, it betrays some prejudices of its own (against secular people), and seems to provoke others to bigoted statements."
"Mormons are good people, but some of their forebears were also involved in violence in the 19th century of a sort that other Americans viewed as terrorism."
"What Romney omits is that many of the "religious people" among the founding fathers were Deists, who did not believe in revelation or miracles or divine intervention in human affairs."
"Deists, freethinkers and Freemasons–the kind of people that Romney was complaining about– produced the First Amendment. When Tom Jefferson tried out an earlier version of it in Virginia, some of the members of the Virginia assembly actually complained that freedom of religion would allow the practice of Islam in the US. Jefferson's response to that kind of bigotry was that other people believing in other religions did not pick his pocket or break his leg, so why should he care how they worshipped? And that's all Romney had to say. But he did not want to say that. Romney said the opposite. He implied that is is actively bad for a democracy if people are unbelievers or if there is a strict separation of religion and state."
"As for the insistence that you need religion for political freedom, that is silly. Organized religion has many virtues, but pushing for political liberty is seldom among them. Religion is about controlling people. No religiously based state has ever provided genuine democratic governance. You want religion in politics, go to Iran."
"So Romney's so-called plea for tolerance is actually a plea for the privileging of religion in American public life. He just wants his religion to share in that privilege that he wants to install. Ironically, the very religious pluralism of the United States, which he appears to praise, will stand in the way of his project."
Will The Marriage Of Religion And Politics Have Unintended Consequences? Tuesday, Dec 11, 2007, at 08:46 AM Original Author(s): Rob Shiveley Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
I'm quite surprised to see the intense focus being placed on religion in the current election cycle. It's quite disturbing and fascinating at the same to watch Mitt Romney stand up in front of a nation of 300 million people and utter his belief that "Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind." in such a highly publicized forum.
What Mitt did and is doing is the complete opposite of what JFK did when he ran for President 47 years ago when Kennedy professed his firm belief that religion and politics should remain separate "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute" and that he intended to do everything in his power to enforce the separation and uphold a secular (not religious) form of government. No religious organization, including his own Catholic Church, which JFK mentioned specifically 19 times in his address, would ever be permitted to influence his decisions as President of the U.S.
Keep in mind that the definition of secular is the state of being separate from religion. Secularism is not synonomous with atheism (contrary to popular belief). Secularism about real world matters like science, math, physics, biology, medicine, law, finance, accounting, history, etc.
To witness the impact and results emanating from a religious form of government, or a theocracy, one only needs to take a look at Islamic governments, Saudi Arabia being the most strict. One can argue that communism is a form of theocracy, where citizens are forced to practice atheism by severely limiting access to religion and withdrawing state support of religion (no special incentives are granted to religious organizations, such as tax breaks). Both communism and Islam seem to work fairly well. Saudi Arabia has a booming economy based on their significant presence in the oil industry. China is growing, thriving and threatening to displace the other world powers in manufacturing, science and engineering.
The biggest drawback is the lack of many freedoms we have traditionally cherishe and protected: information (speech), right to dissention, gather with like minded people (necessary for distribution of information and dissention), the press (independent watchdog organization as part of free democracies checks and balances )
The litmus test for today's US leaders seems to be:
Declaring Jesus as their personal savior and the savior for mankind
Declaring Agnostics, Atheists and Humanists (non-religious believers) as less favorable and almost persona non grata. Perhaps they would argue that this group of non-believers may not only be disrepected, but may be excluded from the same rights enjoyed by religious believers, and especially Christians.
Declaring their support for ridiculous ideas such as creationism, eliminating a women's right to control her body and make personal medical decisions, including abortion, restricting or eliminating sex education, etc.
Belittling science when inconvenient or when the scientific evidence flys in the face of the conventionally held religious dogmas.
Support for launching pre-emptive wars and threatening the use of force even when the evidence doesn't support this.
Support for stupid economic theories like supply-based economics and trickle down theory (one of the worst disasters from the Reagan era) and eliminating labor protections and tariffs that allow working people to earn a fair living and put food on the table, buy homes, cars and maybe have some time off for rest and relaxation with family and friends.
Disastrous polities like protection of private property and inheritance laws and favorable tax laws for the wealthy who have largely received wealth through inheritance or pure luck. Don't you agree that buying a stock like Google early on is sheer pure luck? So is winning the lottery.
Promoting and supporting disastrous policies that destroy the environment: politicizing and preventing science and research on global warming, promoting rampant consumerism and the accumulation of cheap "stuff" that gets quickly consumed, used up and tossed in the landfill.
(The list could go on, but these are a few I thought of.)
I hate to imagine our once great country, if the U.S. continues down this path that is a direct result knocking down the barrier between religion and politics. The middle class is taking a terrible beating today and will soon be eliminated if we continue going down this path. There will be 2 classes: Rich and Poor. The personal freedoms we've long taken for granted will continue to slip away, since the state-established theocracy will be threatened by any dissention and all informaition and communication will need to be tightly controlled.
I think is was the Mitt's warning of the dangers of secularism that troubled me the most. As he attempted to chip away at the wall between religion and government he mixed metaphors and poor examples, such as the failure of religion in Europe due to the establishment of official state religion: "The establishment of state religions in Europe did no favor to Europe's churches. And though you will find many people of strong faith there, the churches themselves seem to be withering away." (Isn't that what Mitt and the Republican right is working so hard to do? To establish Christianity as the "official" US brand of religion?)
The next year will be interesting. But I don't have a good feeling for the direction we are heading. The consequences could be disastrous: elmination of personal liberties and civil rights, weak econonmy, destruction of the middle class (good bye to the American Dream(tm))
I wonder what some of the other 6.3 billion people of the world thought about this speech? Were they scratching their heads? Were they fearful? Were they terrified at the potential disaster we are headed for?
One last thing: it was noteworthy that Mitt mentioned Mormonism only once during his speech.
While running for Massachusetts senator in 1994, and then for governor in 2002, Mitt Romney repeatedly announced his firm conviction that abortion had to be kept "safe and legal" in the United States, and vowed to do everything he could to ensure that it did ( http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=cFMdK0T... ).
Romney even went so far as to reveal that "he became committed to legalized abortion after a relative died during an illegal abortion, and that the abortion made him see 'that regardless of one's beliefs about choice, you would hope it would be safe and legal'." (source: Boston Herald, 10/26/1994).
No wonder, then, that in 2002, he wrote the following in response to a National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) questionnaire:
“I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose…Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not mine and not the government’s.”
And he responded, in a signed statement, to a 2002 Planned Parenthood questionnaire in this way:
"Do you support the substance of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade? YES
"Do you support state funding of abortion services through Medicaid for low-income women? YES
"In 1998 the FDA approved the first packaging of emergency contraception, also known as the 'morning after pill'. Emergency contraception is a high dose combination of oral contraceptives that if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, can safely prevent a pregnancy from occurring. Do you support efforts to increase access to emergency contraception? YES" (See http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content...)
And believe me, there is a lot more where this all came from...The truth is that Mitt Romney, from 2003 to 2007, was a boldly pro-choice governor (for another little clip, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKwVNU... ). His own running mate, Kerry Healey, noted that there wasn't a "dime's worth of difference" between Romney's abortion position, and that of his NARAL-supported Democratic opponent Shannon O'Brien.
In short, throughout his 2002 campaign for Massachusetts governor and well into his term, Mitt Romney sounded exactly like Barbara Boxer on abortion.
As his term came to a close, however, and Romney began to prepare for his run at the GOP presidential nomination, he suddenly sounded exactly like Jerry Falwell on abortion; and today, at any Romney speech, with the kind of unblinking smile you can see on the face of anyone without a moral core, you will hear him announce that he is "firmly pro-life".
And you may also hear the story about how he changed his mind. According to Romney, he changed his mind about abortion rights upon hearing that stem cell research, of which he had been an enthusiastic public supporter for years ("I am in favor of stem cell research. I will work and fight for stem cell research"), required the termination of 14 day old embryos. But how could a guy who'd given speeches supporting stem cell research and promised to lobby Bush about it, not have known the most basic thing about it? It's absurd.
Even nuttier is the idea that using a clump of 14 day old stem cells for research moved Romney, whereas 35 years of dismembering and scorching to death tens of millions of fetuses, almost all of whom were well on their way to full viability (and some already beyond it), and then tossing their remains into the trash, never moved him at all. I mean, if that is true, Romney's an awfully weird guy. And if it's not true - well, what am I saying? Of course it's not true. What IS true is that if Romney had decided in 2004 to run for a second term as governor of Massachusetts instead of for the GOP nomination for president, he would still be "firmly pro-choice", and no one would have ever heard his ridiculous conversion story, since there wouldn't have been a "conversion" to begin with. Indeed, the only thing that Romney's career indicates he is truly "converted" to is saying or doing whatever it takes to satisfy his desire for more wealth, status, and power. Not even his own religion's longstanding official position against abortion induced him to convert to being pro-life. No - it took his desire for more political power to do that.
Even more embarrassing is that Romney is still flip-flopping on this issue. Specifically, on his website clip and in at least one interview I know of, he says that he believes that states, not courts, should have jurisdiction over abortion. And he specifically objects to a "one size fits all" abortion law for the whole country. Yet just a few days ago during the CNN Republican debate, Romney announced that his preferred solution would NOT be to allow states to handle the issue, but rather, to have Congress make a single law prohibiting abortion except for in extreme cases!
Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank sums up Romney this way:
"The real Romney is clearly an extraordinarily ambitious man with no perceivable political principle whatsover. He is the most intellectually dishonest human being in the history of politics.” (http://www.boston.com/partners/worldn...)
Romney must resent this kind of language, but I'm not sure who is more to blame for it than Romney himself. That's just what brazen flip-flopping on matters of life and death, merely for purposes of political expediency, does.
Evangelical Red Alert Video: "Mitt Romney And Mormonism" A "Jesusnotjoseph.com" Production Friday, Dec 21, 2007, at 06:51 AM Original Author(s): Steve Benson Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
Many South Carolina Republicans got a bogus holiday greeting card this week, purported to be from presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, that cites some controversial passages of the Book of Mormon.
"We wish you and your family a happy holiday season and a joyful New Year. The Romney family," the card says.
The last page features a photograph of a temple above a box that says "Paid For By The Boston Massachusetts Temple."
Romney's campaign said the former Massachusetts governor had nothing to do with the cards, postmarked Thursday from Columbia with a 41-cent stamp, and Boston Temple President Ken Hutchins said Saturday he first heard about the mailing Friday from a woman in Charleston, South Carolina.
The card contains passages that underscore some differences between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and those of Christian denominations that are prevalent in South Carolina.
"We have now clearly shown that God the Father had a plurality of wives, one or more being in eternity by whom He begat our spirits as well as the spirit of Jesus His first born, and another being upon the earth by whom he begat the tabernacle of Jesus, as his only begotten in this world," reads one passage from Orson Pratt, cited on the card as an "original member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles."
The card also cites a passage on Mary's virgin birth that underscores her race. "And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white." On the card, "fair and white" are in a bolder, larger font and on a separate line.
Those whacky Mormons. Wait, I'm sorry, those peculiar people. Wait, I'm sorry, that changed again, call us Latter Day Saints.
A few years ago on Larry King, the Hinkster stated that Mormons were widely respected for their values and how they live their lives. It just isn't true. People outright distrust Mormons, find their doctrine weird, cannot get past the polygamy, closed societies and Wizard of OZ like temples - not to mention funny white underwear. And 40 thousand men in white shirts pounding on doors to talk about a little boy and some golden plates just isn't working well. Of course, the missionaries are prospering in countries where the people are so poor, there is no access to media or Internet. Left in the dark about Mormonism these people are so bamboozled by the Cult that they take their own gold fillings out to pay for a building that is a matter of pocket change to the Corporation.
Why can't Romney face the camera and say "Yes, I believe that GB Hinskter is a Prophet of God, and receives personal revelation". Naw, he won't do it, because not even his own Prophet can stand up on public television and state, "Yes, we believe AND teach that man through eternal progression can become a God".
Well, I don't know that we teach that.
Would Romney Continue To Be A Member In Good Standing - If He Were Elected President Of The United States? Monday, Dec 31, 2007, at 08:42 AM Original Author(s): Infymus Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
"Does anybody have any information on the extent to which the Mormon church is bankrolling Mitt Romney?
"Given that the Cult has a policy of non-disclosure, and that there is no government requirement for the Cult to publish its financial statements, the Mormon church may be giving unlimited amounts to Romney.
"The millions that Mitt is flushing down the toilet may be coming indirectly from the Mormon Cult."
Let's just say that sometime ago, he was caught Mitt-handed:
"'Romney defends Mormon strategy; Tax questions raised on church discussions'
"By Michael Levenson and Scott Helman
Boston Globe Staff
October 20, 2006
"DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Governor Mitt Romney vigorously defended a plan yesterday by his political advisers to develop a network of Mormon supporters for his potential presidential bid, while a former Internal Revenue Service commissioner said discussions among Romney operatives and Mormon Church leaders about the initiative could violate the church's tax-exempt status.
"Asked about yesterday's Globe report that Romney's team had quietly consulted with officials from the church and church-run Brigham Young University on building a list of Mormon backers nationwide, the governor said it was only natural that he would reach out to as many donors as possible as he eyes a run at the presidency in 2008.
"'Clearly, I'm going to raise money from people I know, and that includes BYU alums, people of my church, people of other churches, Harvard Business School graduates,' Romney said in an interview, as he and Governor Jeb Bush of Florida campaigned for a Republican candidate for Florida's chief financial officer.
"Romney's comments suggest that the fund-raising initiative, which his political advisers dubbed Mutual Values and Priorities, or MVP, remained an active effort. On Tuesday, one of Romney's top aides, Spencer Zwick, said the MVP program had been abandoned.
"The Globe story described discussions that have taken place during the last two months among Romney's political operatives and church leaders about building a grass-roots political organization through the roughly 40 US alumni chapters of BYU's business school, the Marriott School of Management. Representatives of BYU and Romney's political action committee, the Commonwealth PAC, have also been soliciting help from other prominent Mormons to build the program."
"'Romney camp consulted with Mormon leaders'
"By Scott Helman and Michael Levenson
Boston Globe Staff
October 19, 2006
"The president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley, has been informed of the effort and expressed no opposition, the Globe reported. Jeffrey R. Holland, one of 12 apostles who help lead the church worldwide, has handled the initiative for the church and hosted a Sept. 19 meeting in his office in church headquarters with one of Romney's sons, a paid political consultant for the PAC, and one of the governor's major donors. On Oct. 9, two deans of the Marriott School sent an e-mail from a BYU e-mail address asking 150 people to join them in supporting Romney's potential candidacy.
"Asked if he thought the use of church and university resources for political purposes posed a potential conflict with federal law on tax-exempt institutions, Romney said: 'That's for them to describe. I don't have anything to add from what they have already said on that.'
"Romney also downplayed the significance of the meeting in Holland's office, which, according to documents reviewed by the Globe, was at least the second meeting between Holland and the Romney camp at which the initiative was discussed Page 2 of 2 --'We have meetings in church buildings of all faiths all the time,' he said. 'Schools, churches, that's part of the political process.'
"A candidate for office, under federal law, can hold meetings in religious facilities as long as the facilities extend the same opportunity to other candidates.
"However, for tax-exempt nonprofit organizations like the Mormon Church and BYU, federal law prohibits any advocacy on behalf of a particular candidate or party. IRS spokeswoman Peggy Riley declined comment yesterday.
"The church told the Globe earlier this week that it has a position of strict neutrality on political matters and is not supporting the governor. BYU's general counsel instructed the BYU deans last week to halt their effort to boost Romney's potential candidacy. The church released a statement on its website yesterday reiterating its position.
"'In light of articles appearing in the media, we reaffirm the position of neutrality taken by the church, and affirm the long-standing policy that no member occupying an official position in any organization of the church is authorized to speak in behalf of the church concerning the church's stand on political issues,' the statement reads. Michael R. Otterson, a church spokesman, declined to elaborate."
"'Mitt Romney defends plan to form network of Mormon supporters'
"The Boston Globe, USA
October 20, 2006
"BOSTON –Political operatives for Gov. Mitt Romney have consulted with leaders of the Mormon church about building a nationwide network of supporters, should the Massachusetts Republican move ahead with plans to run for president in 2008.
"Among the ideas under consideration was tapping alumni chapters across the country from Brigham Young University’s business school, The Boston Globe reported. The drive has been dubbed “MVP,” for “Mutual Values and Priorities,” since Romney himself is a Mormon.
"On Tuesday, one of Romney’s top aides, Spencer Zwick, told the Globe that the national network program had been abandoned.
"Romney on Thursday defended the efforts, telling The Boston Globe that it’s only natural that he would reach out to as many donors as possible as he eyes a run for president.
“'Clearly, I’m going to raise money from people I know, and that includes (Mormon-run Brigham Young University) alums, people of my church, people of other churches, Harvard Business School graduates,' Romney said during a visit to Daytona Beach, Fla., where Romney and Gov. Jeb Bush campaigned for a Republican candidate for Florida’s chief financial officer.
"Asked if he thought the use of church and university resources for political purposes raised a possible conflict with federal law on tax-exempt institutions, Romney said, 'That’s for them to describe. I don’t have anything to add from what they have already said on that.'
"Donald C. Alexander a tax attorney who headed the Internal Revenue Service from 1973 to 1977, told the Globe that the collaboration among Romney’s political team and leaders of the church and school could run afoul of the law.
"But Milton Cerny, a retired lawyer who formerly oversaw tax-exempt groups for the IRS, said the actions of BYU and the church did not appear to violate federal law, because Romney is not officially running for president.
"Peggy Riley, a spokeswoman for the Internal Revenue Service in Boston, said she could not comment.
"The president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley, was informed of Romney’s effort, and expressed no opposition, the Globe reported.
"Thursday, the Mormon Church released a statement on its Web site that read, 'In light of articles appearing in the media, we reaffirm the position of neutrality taken by the church, and affirm the long-standing policy that no member occupying an official position in any organization of the church is authorized to speak in behalf of the church concerning the church’s stand on political issues.'"
A Washington, DC. top congressional policy adviser, who is also LDS, has said the vast majority of GOP congressmen are endorsing Mitt Romney.
He thought a Mitt presidency was no longer improbable, but, it is now something that "could happen."
So..., if Mitt Romney became President of the US (code name POTUS) won't we have something we've never had before -- A president who goes to a specific church? All other presidents belonged to religions that didn't have tight congregational boundaries. Now, think about that:
What Ward would POTUS be in?
If you are his new Bishop, here are your top 10 questions:
1. Will you allow an inaugural ball to be held in the cultural hall? Do you mount security cameras on top of each basketball rim and have a secret service detail stationed on the stage?
2. Can you call Mitt and Ann as the Nursery Leaders... even if you really feel inspired?
3. Who is going to home teach them? Will you call someone who needs activation but may not pass the vetting and national security screening?
4. If Harry Reid and Mitt Romney are in the same High Priest group, will you need to be there to keep order?
5. Exactly how will tithing settlement work? Will the Secretary of the Treasury come too?
6. Will you be inviting the new Romney family to speak in Sacrament Meeting... and if they go a little over at what point do you ask them to sit down?
7. Will the Secret Service do a sweep of the building before each meeting? And if the Romney's always leave before Sunday School, will the Sunday School president need to interview them? If they stay, where will you hold the class?
8. Can you call the Secret Service agents to help out in Primary?
9. If you give Mitt a calling and the two Democrats in the Ward raise their hand AGAINST sustaining him - partly out of habit - does the Supreme Court need to be involved?
10. If you can't give them a calling, and they don't attend very often (for presidential stuff) will that mean they're "inactive?" If they're not active, can you give them a Temple Recommend? And if you do, can they go? Will the Secret Service have to screen the temple too?
11. If the President wants to hold Sacrament Meeting at Camp David or the White House for security reasons, is that a conflict of Church and State?
If you're assigned to be the Romney's Home Teacher:
1. Can you just drop by, no appointment?
2. Can you even call them for an appointment or do you have to go through the Chief of Staff?
3. Can you bring by Christmas sweets and cookies? Will they be analyzed? And for how many people - family, secret service details?
4. If you don't come can the IRS do an audit on you?
5. Will they want to do a national security background check?
6. Do you have to have a permanent companion who has been vetted? Can you just grab any teacher or priest to come to you? And what if that priest has been a little wayward. Do you need to search him first?
7. Do you have to help him move in and out of the White House?
8. If Ann Romney gets sick, are you allowed to bring in meals or at least tell the Relief Society about it?
9. What can you share with the Bishop about the Romneys?
10. Do you have to ask them about their year's supply?
11. If you get a late night call for a blessing will reporters follow you around wanting to know what was wrong and what you said?
If Mitt Romney is assigned to be YOUR Home Teacher:
1. Is telling the group leader you haven't been home taught a national security breech?
2. If he wants to come at the end of the month, do you accept his reason "I've been out of town"?
3. Will he drop by unannounced or will the media crews give him away?
Constitution Will Hang By A Thread A Little Longer - Romney Out Of The Race Friday, Feb 8, 2008, at 07:40 AM Original Author(s): Infymus Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
Over at Mormon Apologetics and Discussion Board the Mormons are going nuts, trying to blame anyone except Romney for his own failure.
David Bokovoy suggested that tornados struck the Huckabee states the morning after Super Tuesday, as a sign from God. But then when pressed to clarify his position, he calmed down and retracted it. Dan Peterson ran to his defense while crying persecution and posting web articles written by non-Mormon Republicans who speculate the Baptists had some part in Romney's loss.
While I can understand why persecution ridden Mormons would see sympathy from outside journalists as something appealing, they keep ignoring the elephant in the room that undermines the point they're trying to make. If Evangelicals are bigots for not voting for a Mormon, then Mormons are also bigots for refusing to vote for an Evangelical minister. The results from Utah and its border states show a tremendous distate for Huckabee. Romney creamed Huckabee in Utah by an 89% margin. Huckabee only got 1% of the vote, his worst performance anywhere. In other border states that margin of victory for Romney was anywhere between 30 and 50%. Yet, Huckabee beats Romney slightly by a measly 3% margin in a few Bible Belt states (even losing one -Florida- to Romney), and all hell breaks loose as the Mormons are crying foul play. Bokovoy and others are becoming emotionally unhinged over this tragic event, calling Huckabee and his crowd, "evil" and "sick."
Mormons can only be grateful that no polls were given in those regions, asking the Mormon groups if they were willing to vote for an Evangelical minister. From what I can surmise online, Mormons aren't happy with Evangelical ministers. If they even make an appearance at a location where some book critical of the LDS faith happened to have been "passed out," then there is the guilt by association game. Nevermind the fact that it is automatically taken for granted that any book that criticizes the LDS faith is considered proof of bigotry.
I haven't met a single Mormon who would vote for an Evangelical minister, and nobody here seems to know of any other Mormon who voted for Huckabee. The "Mormons are conservatives and Huckabee isn't conservative" isn't a valid excuse, because you see Mormons voting for Hillary, Obama and even the whacko Ron Paul, but never Huckabee. That's bigotry folks.
While it has been expressed many times online by Mormons that they see priestcrafts and the works of satan in Evangelical ministers, nobody seems to consider it bigotry. Just look at the numbers folks. The real reason they're upset is because Mormons do not account for 1/4 of the US population (and they never will) so they are not in a position to throw around their weight the way Evangelicals are. Mormonism isn't big enough to start with the tough talk as it did back in the days of Brigham Young, when he was running a society comprised mainly of Mormons and had theocratic tendencies. It has little choice but to lay low and claim victim status in an effort to garner support and consolidate expressed sympathies from others. This is just a sly technique the same as would be used by any no-name politician.
Now the article linked by Dan Peterson brings up the Baptist missionary effort in Utah as an example of bigotry. So 3,000 volunteers marched through Utah for a month and that's bigotry? What about the tens of thousands of Mormons who have marched through the Bible Belt over the past century while trying to convince Evangelicals that theirs is an apostate or (as it has been recently described on this forum) a "man made" faith?
The Southern States meant nothing in the broad scheme of things. This is what nobody here seems to comprehend. This is about simple mathematics. Give all the southern states to Romney, and he is still hundreds of delegates behind McCain. He has no chance, which is why he called it quits.
The connections they are trying to make between Romney's failure as a politician, and the Evangelical influence, simply will not stand up to scrutiny. Let's begin with the obvious.
Huckabee gave a speech at First Baptist Church of Woodstock last sunday. I attended. This is the largest Baptist Church on the planet. The pastor there (Johnny Hunt) is anti-Mormon. My parents occassionally attend because it is only two miles down the road, but most everyone within a 10 mile radius attends that church. The place is like Disneyland it is so huge, and it sits on the border of Cobb and Cherokee counties.
Anyway, my parents live in Cobb county so I found it interesting that Huckabee didn't beat Romney in this county. In fact, Romney beat Huckabee by a 10% margin, winning 33,000 votes to Huckabee's 22,000. In the smaller Cherokee county that borders Cobb, Huckabee won, but only by 1,500 votes. (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/prim...)
Now they're telling me that the greater Atlanta area and the entire state of Georgia area was influenced by this, when it couldn't even influence its immediate residential areas? Let's take a couple more examples of prominent anti-Mormon areas.
In Orange county California, which is home to notorious anti-Mormons like Hank Hannegraff (who runs the Bible answer Man radio show),and ministries run by Ed Decker (Ex-Mormons for Jesus) and the late Walter Martin, just how did the anti-Mormons influence the voters? Well, it was a slaughter, but in favor of Romney, who won 115,000 votes to Huckabee's measlel 33,000. (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/prim...) In Maricopa county Arizona, home to Concerned Christians, Romney managed to beat Huckabee by winning four times the votes (100,000 to 25,000).
How can this be if what they're saying is true?
You see the facts outweigh whatever fantasies a poorly developed persecution complex might create. At this website the article argues that the 43% of the Americans who said they wouldn't vote for a Mormon, are most likely democrats: http://iowansforromney.blogspot.com/2...
It also argues that proper understanding of the figures suggest that 83% of Evangelicals would vote for a Mormon.
That 53% figure Mormon apologists love to pull out comes from a 2006 poll, which was before Romney really started making his case before the American people. The idea of a Mormon President seems less realistic at that time. Since then the situation has changed, the same way it changed for John F. Kennedy after he explained how his Catholicism wouldn't interfere with his job. In 1960 a poll said 35% of America wouldn't vote for a Catholic, yet he won. To prove the political landscape has changed, in this recent online poll involving more than 200,000 respondents, 94% of Americans said they would vote for a Mormon: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15936002/
I also presume the rasmussen poll which said 50% of Evangelicals wouldn't vote for a Mormon, was dealing with Evangelicals who were attending Church at the time the survey was taken. Most Evangelicals aren't even active, so it would be dealing with a relatively narrow and insignificant strand within the Evangelical crowd. Not to mention the peer pressure that would be involved if this took place at Church.
And don't forget. If 50% said they'd never vote for a Mormon, that means 50% of them would.
Using whatever hyperbole and rhetoric one may, it is simply not plausible that 50% of the Mormons would ever vote for an Evangelical minister.
Playing With Fire: Romney Campaign Exposed Anti-Mormonism Wednesday, Feb 13, 2008, at 09:13 AM Original Author(s): Elder George Carlin Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
One particularly asinine and blatently incorrect statement was:
"Confronted by these assaults, the LDS Church and its members have mostly played vigorous defense, standing up for their beliefs but not stooping to attacks in kind."
So, I guess the Salt Lake Tribune is o.k. when TBMs call people "Anti-Mormon Bigots" when they take into account a candidate's beliefs (no matter how odd they seem to the person) or express their distaste with Mormonism being a driving force in their government. Mormons lambasted people who felt Romney's statement of "Freedom requires religion" was blatently incorrect and discriminatory.
Then when Romney announces he is withdrawing from the race, his claims he is doing so because
"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.”
Democrats "aid in a surrender to terror"? Fuck you Romney and your insulting, divisive statement. What an insult to Democrats around this great country!
I guess it's o.k. with the Salt Lake Tribune for the Mormon Church to play "Anti" with:
Supporters of the ERA
Supporters of Proposition 22 in California
Coffee, tea, and/or alcohol drinking
...and the list goes on and on
Romney Has Business Buy Up His Book So It Would Become Best Seller Tuesday, Oct 19, 2010, at 08:15 AM Original Author(s): Helemon Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
Just as in 2008, Mitt Romney's LDS faith is a big part of his campaign (particularly since he is considered the current frontrunner for the Republican Party nomination). And, as before, Romney seems to be downplaying his religion and flatly denying that his beliefs or the institutional LDS Church would influence his decisions as president. It all sounds very 'Kennedyesque,' but is it true?
Without divulging any specific words, I am referring in particular to the very stringent loyalty oaths made by temple patrons in connection with the Laws of Sacrifice and Consecration as presented in the endowment ceremony. Clearly Romney has made these oaths on his own behalf and, probably hundreds of times, on behalf of the dead.
I've always felt that these severe loyalty oaths have the potential to come into conflict with Romney's oath as U.S. President, which oath is as follows: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Imo, a conflict could arise if the LDS Church institution (or leader thereof, such as the Church president) either espouses an unconstitutional position, or directs President Romney to act in a certain way, or otherwise influences a decision President Romney makes. I know, I know, this is an extremely unlikely scenario (particularly in today's PR-driven LDS Church), but it is possible and there is precedent (i.e., the Church's defying anti-polygamy laws, which had been upheld by the Supreme Court as constitutional). Therefore, are not Romney's temple loyalty oaths relevant in connection with his campaign to become U.S. president?
Such loyalty oaths are generally not discussed outside the temple (the whole "sacred, not secret" thing), but I feel there should be an exception here (and I would include Jon Hunstman in this). I think it is absolutely a legitimate line of questioning for any Mormon seeking the American presidency (as well as for any other non-Mormon candidate, if his/her church has such religious loyalty oaths). It's fine for Mitt to say that neither the Church institution nor his faith would dictate or influence decisions he makes as president, but he (as well as Huntsman) needs to explain how that will always be the case in light of the temple loyalty oaths he has taken. Perhaps he needs to renounce those oaths during the time he is president (but to do that would risk excommunication) or simply embrace them (which may affect his presidential aspirations); either way, I think he needs to address them with the American people.
Now, I know there are other high U.S. officials (i.e., Harry Reid) who have the same problem (i.e., temple loyalty oaths vs. consititutional oath), but I consider Romney's situtation much more serious due to the greater power wielded by a U.S. president than that by a member of Congress. Nevertheless, I'd be fine with high U.S. officials like Reid addressing the same issue publicly.
Frankly, I'd also like to hear Romney address whether he has received the "second annointing" (aka "calling and election made sure"), which he and other high-profile Mormons are rumored to have received.
In sum, I have no problem with a Mormon running for and winning the American presidency, but I also think ALL loyalty oaths (and "king-like" annointings) should be disclosed and addressed.
Mitt Romney has long had a reputation as a flip-flopper, and now Salon reveals the full story behind his well-known change of heart on abortion. In 1994, Romney declared in a Senate debate with Ted Kennedy that though he was personally against abortion, he believed it should be "safe and legal" because a relative had died years prior after a botched back-alley abortion. By the time he ran for president in 2008, of course, he had done a 180 to become completely pro-life, both personally and politically. Until now, the story behind his relative's death had never been revealed.
According to IRS documents reviewed by The Huffington Post, Mitt and Ann Romney's charitable foundation gave $4,325,000 to the Mormon Church in three hefty installments in 2003, 2008 and 2009. That was 74 percent of their foundation's donations from 2002 to 2009, during which time the couple gave a total of $5,854,916 to charity.
Including another $300,000 that the couple gave to Brigham Young University, the church-run college in Provo, Utah, where Romney earned his undergraduate degree, the proportion of their giving that went to support Mormon missionary work, the upkeep of church buildings and other religious activities rises to 79 percent.
The Romney foundation did not make religious contributions each year. In 2003, for instance, it handed over a whopping $1,925,000 to the church. In 2005, however, it gave nothing. In 2008, the Romneys gave the LDS Church $1.8 million. The following year, they donated $600,000.
This has all happened before. In 1903, Apostle Reed Smoot ran for, and won, the office of Utah State Senator. Unlike the previous political General Authority, BH Roberts, who was elected to the House, Smoot was allowed to take his seat, but like Roberts before him his election started a large inquiry into the "Americanness" of the LDS Church. The Reed Smoot Hearings dragged on for years; President Joseph F. Smith was called in the early months to testify under oath (and did just about as well as you might expect Thomas S. Monson to do in the same situation: poorly). Uncomfortable history was brought up (Mountain Meadows), current secret practices were revealed (plural marriages were still being promoted, practiced, and enacted by all of Church leadership), the depth of LDS involvement in the economics of Utah was staggering (Smith couldn't even keep track of how many boards of directors he was on), and Mormonism was the number one topic of popular discussion among Americans, usually negatively. Did the LDS Church wither and die? No, it did not; but it did force dramatic changes to both culture and doctrine.
While it can be argued that information is even more free today than it was then, even in the early 1900's the Church had to deal with new technology and its impact on information. When Smith testified in front of Congress he thought of himself as clever and sly, but his "careful" statements were quickly picked apart and he was often backed into corners because of duplicitous testimony. Gordon B. Hinckley he wasn't. But the problems didn't end within the Senate Chambers: when Joseph F. Smith intimated to Federal prosecutors that the only revelation he had ever received in his life was his conversion experience, his comments were published in Salt Lake City before he even arrived home. His statements caused massive angst and a loss of trust among Church members, which forced him to attempt to explain himself in the next General Conference where he explained that he was trying to not cast pearls before swine and that he certainly was a prophet who received revelation often! Again, though, he underestimated thepower of information technology of his day and his Conference remarks caused problems for Smoot's ongoing hearings and public perceptions of Mormons as liars when they were quickly published back in Washington.
Other changes that were forced on the Church ran even deeper than mere damage control for poorly-chosen statements. Post-Manifesto polygamy was publicly revealed and the Church enacted dramatic changes to try and fix what was rapidly becoming a poisonous PR image. Two members of the Quorum of the Twelve were forced first to step down from their callings and one was eventually excommunicated (Smith's reticence about this action can be seen in his conscious decision to not replace these two for over a year after they stepped down and the Quorum was sustained and operated as a body of ten for a while; they were eventually replaced by monogamists as a sign of good faith for Americans, one of which was David O. McKay). The Church's ideals of what made the LDS Church unique and important in the world was purposefully shifted from polygamy, which had defined them as a people for a half-century, to the importance of prophets and prophecy. Joseph Smith resumed his role as the identifying ideal of what it meant to be Mormon after having played second and even third-fiddle to polygamy and Young for most of the Utah period. The Church also began a process of "normalization" around this time that destroyed many of the more-unique aspects of the frontier Church: the Temple vow of vengeance was removed, the Temple garments were eventually redesigned, female healing rituals were suppressed, public support of modern medicine was promoted as a valid supplement to faith and Priesthood healing, military service was promoted, and public civic participation was encouraged. The process began that would eventually result in the loss of autonomy and self-authority for the Relief Societies, the Primary and Youth organizations, and even personal and private interpretation of the Word of Wisdom became discouraged and would eventually result in the "no alcohol, who cares about meat" approach in use today.
In all, the 19th Century Church of Brigham Young did not survive the Reed Smoot Hearings, but the Church did what it had to in their attempts to modernize. A Romney presidency would almost certainly produce similar changes: Packer would finally be put on a leash as nobody wants people like him to be the public face of the "President's Church"; the Church would have to at least give the appearance in international countries of promoting local cultural interpretations of Mormonism to minimize their associations with the American President; and the Church's binary approach of "all other Churches are an abomination" would be enough of a PR problem that it would need to be publicly softened and avoided. We would probably expect Humanitarian Services to give more real help and dollars for disaster relief, and in all the Church would try its damnedest to present a friendly face. Promotion of some non-gay and non-abortion ideals of non-Republican parties would probably be subtly promoted by Church leaders in an attempt to break lockstep with a Republican president. Above all, they will have lost control of their public perception and image for good; no longer would an Elder Ballard be able to get up one a year to try and define what "Mormon" should mean. No longer would the excuse of "I don't think we don't teach that anymore" fly for non-Mormons about what doctrines are actually part of Mormon theology.
In short, a Romney Presidency would absolutely destroy the status quo, and the response it would produce in the LDS Church would be immense. Of course, if Romney only attains the nomination we'd see a very cautious Oct 2012 General Conference followed by an almost audible sigh of relief from the Church Office Building after he loses the election and things can go back to normal in Salt Lake until 2016 rolls around and we see if Romney and/or Huntsman appears as a viable candidate.
There's a number of good sources about this time period. Three of the best (and they're written by active LDS historians in case you have people accusing you of biased sources) are, in order of easiest to read:
The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle by Kathleen Flake
Bloom, the author of "The American Religion," which occupies a place somewhere in my bookcase, has written a biting (ouch) piece on Romney and the current situation of the Mormon Religion in America. Lots of great quotes. (Ouch, ouch, ouch.)
Bonus is a lovely portrait of some prophets. Enjoy.
Mitt Needs To Learn A Lesson From His Dad, George, Who Also Ran For President And Who Also Faced The Mormon Race Issue. Here's How His Father Handled It Wednesday, Nov 16, 2011, at 08:00 AM Original Author(s): Steve Benson Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
--First: Linked below is a blatantly racist letter to Mitt's father, George Romney, written to him in his pre-presidential run days (1964) when the senior Romney was governor of Michigan. The letter is from LDS apostle Delbert Stapley, urging George to step away from his pro-civil rights position.
Instead, Mitt's dad ignored Mormon Church pressure and became more civil rights pro-active:
--Second, George Romney expressed at least a hypothetical willingness to leave the Mormon church if it prevented him from treating Blacks with equality and respect:
"The father of Mitt Romney was governor of Michigan and former head of American Motors when he became the GOP front-runner in the early part of the 1968 race.
"It was almost seven years after Kennedy proved a Catholic could become president, after he argued that his religion did not control him and should not matter. But questions still arose about Romney’s religion and whether it made him a racist because the LDS Church, at the time, did not ordain blacks to its all-male priesthood.
"'Life' magazine reported that Romney told a ministerial association: 'If my church prevented me as a public official from doing those things for social justice that I thought right, I would quit the church. But it does not.'"
Below is a news article on George Romney's stated willingness to leave Mormonism if it attempted to interfere with his attempts to afford social justice to Blacks (although he hedges when asked to explain how his racial views differs from those of the Mormon Church):
"In 1967, Jet reported that Romney was willing to choose social justice over the Church of Latter-Day Saints, which then barred blacks from becoming priests: Michigan Gov. George Romney said he would leave his church if it ever tried to prevent him from working for the elimination of social injustices and racial discrimination:
"[the news article]:
"'Gov. Romney Would Quit [Mormon} Chuch for Social Justice'
"Michigan Gov. George Romney said he would leave his church if it ever tried to prevent him from working for the elimination of social injustices and racial discrimination.
"But he declined specifically to answer a request to explain the differences between his own racial policies and those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which bars Negroes from attaining the rank of priesthood and higher offices.
"'I don't think I'm required as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to discuss church doctrine,' Romney told the Salt Lake City, Utah, Ministerial Association. 'I would be accused of injecting church affiars into politics if I did.'
"The question came from white minister, Rev. John Brook, and Negro minister, Dr. Pulmer S. Ross, during a question-and-answer period following a short speech, in which Romney said churches should take a stand on political issues but should not take part in a political party."
If Mitt Romney had any guts (even approximating those exhibited by his father George who, while reluctant to criticize the Mormon Church head-on, was still ahead of his time in warning it to stay out his efforts to seek equal civil rights and social justice for Blacks), then Mitt would quit the Mormon church and become more fully human.
Wish I could comment but I don't subscribe to the New Republic...
Readers need to know that despite the 1978 change the Book of Mormon, the most correct of any book on earth still contains verses about dark skin being the visual representation of God cursing his disobedient children.
Wonder how far down the rabbit hole will the press go with Romney's Mo-ism?
Has the Mormon Church Truly Left Its Race Problems Behind? Wednesday, Nov 16, 2011, at 08:11 AM Original Author(s): Max Perry Mueller Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
It’s looking more and more likely that Barack Obama will be facing Mitt Romney next November. According to recent polls, Romney’s much-debated “Mormon Problem”–considered by some to be a main roadblock to the Republican nomination in 2008–has decreased in salience among the white evangelicals on whom he’ll probably depend in both the primary and general elections. But one element of the Mormon problem that’s yet to be vetted will come into stark relief should this match-up take place: the Mormon Church’s troubling history of racial exclusion.
This history is a long one, stretching back to the inception of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in the 1830s. Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of Mormonism, ran for president in 1844 as a moderate abolitionist; ordained a black man, Elijah Abel; and offered to adopt one young black convert, Jane Manning James, as his spiritual daughter. Yet earlier in his life, Smith wrote anti-abolitionist screeds replete with racist sentiment typical of Christian pro-slavery apologists of antebellum America. In one 1836 letter to missionaries in the South, Smith excoriated northern abolitionists as the instigators of discord among southern slaves who, he argued, were generally happy.
Of the many lies from LDS, Inc., the "we don't get involved in politics" is one of its most insidious.
They run Utah as a theocracy, they spend millions to fight gay rights, and they act like a PAC for Romney.
Reporting 101: How Leads Can Be Developed On Romney And His Mormonism In Assisting An Inquiring "Secular Media" Monday, Nov 21, 2011, at 08:56 AM Original Author(s): Steve Benson Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
In a previous thread, some questioned the value of me providing the overview I did to a Boston Globe reporter (who had contacted me for information relating to the Mormon background and activities of Mitt Romney). The contention was that a reporter could retreive and comprehend all that information through their own professional efforts.
As good as dogged and informed non-Mormon investigative reporters can and have proven to be, that is not always necessarily so.
Input from informed sources personally familiar with Mormonism in its particulars, and with Romney through personal experience in Mormon-related incidents, can be very helpful in providing confirmation and context to reporters trying to understand the bigger picture. Mormon-savvy sources can provide investigative reporters with inside information and unique insight that they are certainly not going to get from a cagey Mormon Church and its faithful supporters.
What posting this kind of information on RfM does (as well as by providing it to the reporter as baseline information) is to open up potential leads for talking with other sources in an effort to confirm claims and develop new angles.
For example, I had the following off-board exchange after posting the Romney overview on RfM:
"Hi Steve, . . .
"I saw on RFM that you were looking for info for that reporter. Boston iis my old stomping grounds and I was there during the time in question. I'd be happy to talk with them to give them background info."
"Thanks . . . .
"I will pass along your email to the Globe reporter.
"Can you give me any indications (which might spark interest in the mind of the reporter) about what you can address with regard to Romney? I would like to preface your email with that, if that's OK. It might increase the likelihood that she would want to contact you."
The emailer responded:
"Mostly background. I'm sure another independent voice would be useful.
"Mitt used to be my stake president. I used to live in the same town (Belmont, Mass.).
"In regard to the story about Mitt launching a tirade against homosexuality at a church meeting (and then denying it) during his ill-fated senate campaign, I was there, sitting about three rows back and remember it well."
So, there you go.
Below is the original posting, with the incident to which the above emailer refers (involving Romney's anti-gay remarks to a Mormon gathering appearing under the heading, "Romney's Attacks on Homosexuality in a Meeting with a Mormon Singles Group"):
"Romney's Mormon Platform (or Execution Scaffold, Depending on Your Point of View): Information Sent to the "Boston Globe" Reporter (thanks, all!)"
**Romney's History of Working in Mormon Leadership**
--as Bishop and Stake President
"Mitt Romney," from "Wikipedia" (wiki, of course, isn't always reliable so its information should be cross-checked)
"He [Romney] served as ward bishop for Belmont from 1981 to 1986, acting as the ecclesiastical and administrative head of his congregation He took a hands-on role, helping in home and garden maintenance efforts, counseling troubled or burdened church members, and trying to solve social problems among poor Southeast Asian converts."
(Note: It is possible that Mormon apologist and historian Richard Bushman (author of "Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling") may have been residing in Belmont, Massachusetts, with his family at the time Romney was bishop in that locale).
"He had stepped down as Boston Stake president in order to run for the Senate, although he still taught Sunday School and had a limited role in trying to ease tensions between the church and local residents during the long and somewhat controversial approval and construction process for a Mormon temple in Belmont."
In March 1994, Romney was "released" (meaning in Mormon terminology that his service was rotationally ended) as Stake President, as duly noted in the Mormon Church's "Church News":
"BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS STAKE: (March 20, 1994) President - Kenneth G. Hutchins Jr., 52, police chief of Northborough, Mass., succeeding W. Mitt Romney . . .."
--Definition of Terms Relating to Wards and Stakes
A Mormon "ward" is a local entity defined by geographical boundaries in which all the Mormons who reside are considered congregational members of that ward (in that respect, a Mormon ward is roughly akin to a Catholic parish).
A Mormon "stake" is a local entity, larger than that of a local ward, defined by geographical boundaries in which several wards are located. All members of these wards in the stake are members of that stake (in that respect, a Mormon stake is roughly akin to a Catholic diocese).
--Articles on Romney's Life as a Mormon and Mormon Leader
For general overviews, with some interesting particulars, see:
--"Mitt Romney: Proudly, Quietly Mormon," from "Christian Science Monitor," at:
Romney did not serve in the U.S. military; rather, like his five sons, he chose instead to serve a mission for the Mormon Church. When asked on 8 August 2007 why his sons had not served in the military, Romney replied that he regarded it as patriotic for them to have chosen to help him become president:
"My sons are all adults and they've made decisions about their careers and they've chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard. . . . One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president."
(It might be informative to statistically ascertain, if possible, the percentage of Mormon young men who go on missions for the LDS Church and/or who also serve in the military, compared against the numbers for the general population).
**Romney's History on Abortion While Serving as Mormon Bishop**
The case of Judith Dushku:
"When Mormon feminist Judith Dushku learned that Mitt Romney, her former bishop and friend, counseled a woman to come to full term with her sixth pregnancy--despite overwhelming medical advice that the life of mother and child were seriously endangered--she confronted Romney about the matter, privately and publicly. He reacted bitterly, breaking off their relationship."
"Bishop Romney's Sadistic Anti-Abortion Counseling," from "Scoop," at:
See also: "The Curious Case of Mitt Romney, An Abortion, And Eliza Dushku's Mom," from "Jezebel," at:
Dushku is currently an associate professor in the Department of Government, College of Arts and Sciences, at Boston's Suffolk University. For contact, purposes, the publicly-posted link below (from the university's website) contains her email and phone numbers:
**Romney's Family Experience with Abortion**
The following event involved a relative of Romney's through the marriage of his sister. When Romney was 16, a woman named Ann Keenan died because of an illegal abortion:
"The Abortion that Mitt Doesn't Talk About Anymore," from "Salon," at:
As background, contrary to popular misconception fueled by repeated Mormon Church public-relations misrepresentations, the Mormon Church still holds that polygamy is a divinely-revealed practice that will eventually be practiced again in full force, once the Mormon Church takes control of the Earth under the command of the Mormon Jesus. Indeed, the official canon of the Mormon Church, the "Doctrine of Covenants," Section 132, to this day presents polygamy as God's will-and that standing scripture has never been officially revoked.
Moreover, although polygamy is not openly practiced by the Mormon Church today (due to it having been outlawed by the federal government, together with Mormonism's early prophet-leaders have been imprisoned for practicing it), nonetheless, in its present-day temples the Mormon Church essentially practices polygamy via special temple "sealings," or "eternal marriages," solemnized between faithful Mormon men and women.
For example, even though a Mormon man may have been divorced, his temple-sanctioned "sealing" to the woman from whom he is divorced is not dissolved under Mormon doctrine--meaning that he may be temple-sealed (i.e., temple-married) to additional future wives, as he weds them, one-by-one. This is the way Mormon men build up for themselves harems in heaven. And as noted, Mormons also believe that polygamy will eventually be practiced worldwide under the eternal reign of the Mormon Jesus when he returns to claim the Earth for the Mormon Kingdom of God.
As to Romney's own polygamous background, the record is clear. See the following articles which trace his genealogy in that respect:
"Polygamy was prominent in Romney's family tree: His ancestry lists several men who had multiple wives," from "Deseret News," at:
**Romney and the Mormon Church's Continuing Problem with Race**
Mitt Romney perhaps could learn a lesson from his father, George, who also ran for president of the United States and who also was confronted by the Mormon race issue. Here's how his father handled the problem:
As background, linked below is a blatantly racist letter to George Romney, sent to him in his pre-presidential run days (1964) when he was governor of Michigan. The letter is from LDS apostle Delbert Stapley, urging that Mitt Romney's father to step away from his pro-civil rights attitudes and actions.
Instead, George Romney ignored Mormon Church pressure and became more civil rights pro-active. Here is a copy of the actual letter:
George Romney expressed at least a hypothetical willingness to leave the Mormon Church if it attempted to prevent him from treating Blacks with equality and respect, as reported in the "Salt Lake Tribune":
"The father of Mitt Romney was governor of Michigan and former head of American Motors when he became the GOP front-runner in the early part of the 1968 race.
"It was almost seven years after Kennedy proved a Catholic could become president, after he argued that his religion did not control him and should not matter. But questions still arose about Romney's religion and whether it made him a racist because the LDS Church, at the time, did not ordain blacks to its all-male priesthood.
"'Life' magazine reported that Romney told a ministerial association: 'If my church prevented me as a public official from doing those things for social justice that I thought right, I would quit the church. But it does not.'"
("LDS faith has been obstacle for string of presidential candidates," by Lee Davidson, "The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 June 2011 [updated 6 June 2011], at:
Below is a news article on George Romney's stated willingness to leave Mormonism if it attempted to interfere with his attempts to afford social justice to African-Americans (although he hedges when asked to explain how his racial views differ from those of the Mormon Church):
"In 1967, 'Jet' reported that Romney was willing to choose social justice over the Church of Latter-Day Saints, which then barred blacks from becoming priests: Michigan Gov. George Romney said he would leave his church if it ever tried to prevent him from working for the elimination of social injustices and racial discrimination:
"[the news article]:
"'Gov. Romney Would Quit [Mormon} Church for Social Justice'
"Michigan Gov. George Romney said he would leave his church if it ever tried to prevent him from working for the elimination of social injustices and racial discrimination.
"But he declined specifically to answer a request to explain the differences between his own racial policies and those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which bars Negroes from attaining the rank of priesthood and higher offices.
"'I don't think I'm required as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to discuss church doctrine,' Romney told the Salt Lake City, Utah, Ministerial Association. 'I would be accused of injecting church affairs into politics if I did.'
"The question came from white minister, Rev. John Brook, and Negro minister, Dr. Pulmer S. Ross, during a question-and-answer period following a short speech, in which Romney said churches should take a stand on political issues but should not take part in a political party."
"1967 Flashback: 'Gov. Romney Would Quit Church For Social Justice,' by Brad Johnson on 16 March 2010, at:
If Mitt Romney possessed the fortitude (even approximating that exhibited by his father George who, while reluctant to publicly criticize the Mormon Church head-on, was still ahead of his time in warning it to stay out his efforts to seek equal civil rights and social justice for African-Americans), then Mitt might consider leaving the Mormon Church.
As to Romney's personal beliefs regarding racial equality, it bears noting that Romney was 31 years-old when the Mormon Church lifted its priesthood ban that had been in place against males of African descent. As one observer recently noted:
"That means while he [Romney] was a missionary and bishop, he tacitly supported this racist policy by remaining a member. He admitted in a 'New York Times' article that he never questioned or protested this policy (although he says he 'wept' when he heard the news). Why not?
"Why didn't he use his connections to try and change this racist church policy? Did he counsel members and potential members to support they ban even if the personally rejected it? Did he 'follow the prophet' despite personal misgivings or did he not have any personal doubts?"
**Romney's Use of Profanity with Law Enforcement, His Run-Ins with the Law (Including Possible Animal Abuse) and Other Matters of Public Interest Concerning His Behavior**
Mitt Romney is not a lily-white as he may wish the American electorate to believe:
**Romney's Attacks on Homosexuality in a Meeting with a Mormon Singles Group**
During a talk to a Mormon gathering in 1993, then-LDS stake president Romney, who was "on the verge of launching a bid for a US Senate seat, expressed dismay at reports of homosexual behavior in the group and denounced homosexuality as 'perverse,' according to several people present at the meeting."
"ROMNEY FLASHBACK: Homosexuality Is 'Perverse' And 'Reprehensible," from "Boston Globe":
"Romney's alleged comments on homosexual practices were part of a 20-minute address delivered on November 14 to the Cambridge University Ward, which numbers about 250 to 300 single Mormons.
"'He said he was appalled at the incidence of homosexuals in the congregation,' said Rick Rawlins, a 32-year-old Mormon who had previously served as a counselor to the ward's bishop.
"He went on to say that he found homosexuality both perverse and reprehensible.
"Romney denied the veracity of the comments but, as the Globe noted, the account was confirmed by three other attendees:
"'I believe that his general message was that sex outside of marriage is immoral, but on the other hand, I do remember that there was a specific remark that he was appalled at the incidence of homosexuality in the ward and he termed it perverse,' said one. 'It was specific enough that I wanted to go see Bishop [Steven] Wheelwright right after that talk.'
"Another person present offered this account. 'During the talk, President Romney began talking about families and family values, and he mentioned homosexuality as a perversity. He went on for some time.' This person didn't recall the exact term Romney used to express his dismay at report of homosexual conduct, but said: "He certainly was conveying that he was appalled.'
"Said a fourth person: "He started going on about being upset about homosexuality in this ward. I remember him calling it a sickness and a perversion.'"
Romney probably would not want to inform socially conservative evangelical voters on whom he is depending to grab the GOP nomination of his apparently sympathy for Darwinian explanations of human origins
"Mitt Romney Believes in Evolution," from "Common Consent" (Mormon blog)l at:
**Romney's Alleged Involvement with a Mammoth Pyramid Scheme Based in Utah**
"Mitt Romney's Biggest Backers: Pyramid Schemers?," from "Mother Jones":
"Mitt Romney is probably best known for his work at the private equity firm Bain Capital. But the former Massachusetts governor and current GOP presidential contender also has close ties to a Utah-based company-one that doesn't have quite the cachet of the Wall Street power broker Bain. Instead, some of Romney's most loyal financial backers hail from a Provo, Utah-based company called Nu Skin that has had repeated run-ins with federal regulators for deceptive business practices and has been criticized as nothing more than a pyramid scheme.
"In August, MSNBC broke the news that a new super-PAC had been created to support Mitt Romney's presidential bid, and that one of the donors was essentially a shell company that dissolved right after giving $1 million to the PAC. Buried in the story, though, was some other interesting news about the PAC's funders. Two other companies later outed as shell corporations that didn't do any business also donated $1 million each to the super-PAC. Both of those companies were founded by top operatives of Nu Skin, including the former CEO and cofounder of the firm, Steven Lund, a longtime Romney supporter. On Monday, the Washington Post noted that Lund is a big Romney supporter and described his firm as one that specializes in anti-aging creams."
**Romney and His Secret Mormon Temple Covenants: "Ex-Mormon Cartoonist Steve Benson Says Romney Not Telling Truth"**
Below is an article by David Astor, editor for "Editor and Publisher," published 18 December 2007, in which he asked me about Mitt Romney's viability and honesty as a Mormon candidate for president:
"NEW YORK: As an ex-Mormon, 'Arizona Republic' editorial cartoonist Steve Benson has strong opinions about current Mormon Mitt Romney. He said the Republican candidate's recent  speech on religion should not be trusted by media people and other Americans.
"In his talk, Romney said 'I believe in my Mormon faith' while also noting that the church's 'teachings' would not influence his decisions if elected president.
"Yeah, right,' responded Benson, adding that 'Romney also believes in misrepresenting what his Mormon Church actually espouses.'
"Benson is the grandson of former Mormon leader Ezra Taft Benson.
"He told EandP that a Mormon believer is required by church doctrine (as dictated by the church's 'living prophet') to 'obey God's commands' over anything else. He said 'Romney, like all "temple Mormons," made his secret vows using Masonic-derived handshakes, passwords, and symbolic death oaths that he promised in the temple never to reveal to the outside world' -- and that Romney also secretly vowed to devote his 'time, talents, and more' to the building of the Mormon religion on earth."
"So, said Benson, the only way Romney could be truly independent of the church as U.S. president would be to disavow Mormon doctrine. 'He hasn't done that,' said the 'Creators Syndicate'-distributed cartoonist.
"'When Mitt says he belongs to a church that doesn't tell him what to do, that's false; it's a 24/7, do-what-you're-told-to-do church,' added Benson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1993.
"That was the year Benson left what he calls the 'Mormon cult.' One reason for his decision was disgust with the way Mormon officials tried to fool church members and the general public into believing that Ezra Taft Benson--Steve's then-94-year-old grandfather and church president -- was still capable of leading the church. 'He was not mentally or physically in a place where he could make any meaningful decisions,' recalled Benson. 'I know it because I saw his condition with my own eyes.'
"Benson--who was contacted by 'EandP' for this story--said journalists have basically given Romney a free pass on the 'fundamental contradiction' between being an observant Mormon and a U.S. president. 'Most journalists don't know about actual Mormon teachings and practices,' noted the cartoonist, adding that they instead see the religion as perhaps 'strange' but 'rather benign.'
"Romney 'needs to face an informed member of the media with "cojones" who has a working and perhaps personal experience with Mormonism,"' said Benson. 'It would be harder for Romney to do his well-practiced duck and dodge."'
"Benson himself drew a post-Romney speech cartoon that pictured John F. Kennedy saying, 'Ask not what your country can do for you . . . ,' followed by Romney saying, ' . . . [D]o whatever it takes for me to win Iowa.' (Many people believe Romney gave what he hoped would be a JFK-like speech on religion because he was losing support in Iowa.) But Benson said he hasn't heavily focused on Romney's Mormonism in other cartoons. 'Religious issues are very touchy,' he said. 'I do what I can, but I pick my battles.'
"Another reason Benson distrusts the words in Romney's speech is because the candidate has changed his public positions on issues such as abortion and gay rights to woo conservative GOP voters in states like Iowa rather than the more liberal voters he once courted to become governor of Massachusetts. 'He flips and flops like Jesus is coming tomorrow,' said the cartoonist. 'It's like Romney is reading from the Mormon Church playbook.'
"Benson explained his last comment by noting that the Mormon Church has also 'publicly flipped 180 degrees when it feels it's necessary for its image, for its financial solvency, and for political expediency.'
"He mentioned, by way of example, that black Mormons weren't allowed into the priesthood until 1978. And while polygamy has been publicly disavowed by the Mormon Church, Benson said 'the church still holds that it will be practiced as a matter of eternal doctrine in heaven. The church also currently performs polygamist marriage "sealings" in its temples around the world.'
"Benson predicted that Romney will not win the  Republican presidential nomination. If Romney somehow IS nominated, added the cartoonist, he will not defeat his Democratic opponent.
"Voters, said Benson, 'are not ready for someone in the Oval Office who has committed to absolute obedience to a religion they feel is extremely odd and not in the American mainstream. I trust the rational U.S. electorate, not the weird Mormon God.'"
After the above interview was published, Mormon-believer blowback resulted in this "EandP" follow-up, entitled, "Steve Benson, Editorial Cartoonist, Reacts to Reaction He Received for Ripping Romney." It was again authored by Dave Astor and ran in "EandP" on 20 December 2007:
"NEW YORK: When editorial cartoonist Steve Benson criticized current Mormon Mitt Romney in an 'EandP' story earlier this week, reaction was fast and furious.
"Many blog posters backed Benson, but many others blasted the grandson of former Mormon Church President Ezra Taft Benson.
"For instance, they asked why the 'Arizona Republic'/'Creators Syndicate' cartoonist didn't also criticize Mormon politicians such as Democrat Harry Reid, and they said Benson's 1993 switch from Mormonism to ex-Mormonism made him as much of a 'flip-flopper' as he accused Republican presidential candidate Romney of being.
"EandP called Benson again today to get his response.
"Benson--who contended in the earlier story that a devout, 'temple-endowed' Mormon U.S. president can't be truly independent of the Mormon Church--said he didn't criticize Reid because the Senate Majority Leader 'is not making an issue of his Mormon devotion. He's not standing up in a carefully orchestrated stage play and explaining his religion to the American people. Romney's speech was a tactical move to woo fundamentalist Christians in the hotly contested Iowa political caucus. He invited this scrutiny. And, unlike Romney, Reid's not running for the most powerful position in the free world.'
"The cartoonist continued: 'Besides, it doesn't seem that Harry Reid's religion is as strong an operating force in his life or decisions as it is for Romney.' Benson added with a laugh: 'How could it be, given the conservative politics of most Mormons. Hell, Reid's a Democrat!'
"Responding to the flip-flop charge, Benson said he left Mormonism because church leaders were misrepresenting his aged grandfather's health and because of the 'sexist, racist, and homophobic' aspects he saw in the religion. But Romney, said the 1993 Pulitzer Prize winner, has jettisoned liberal positions out of 'political expediency' as the former Massachusetts governor tries to convince conservative GOP voters to make him their presidential candidate.
"'I'm not running for political office,' said Benson. 'I left Mormonism with no pretense of remaining devout--and I didn't do the Romney act of staying in while changing my spots faster than a leopard on steroids.'
"When asked his reaction to the negative e-mails he has received and the critical blog posts that have been written since the 'EandP' story, Benson said he isn't surprised that Mormons are very defensive about his comments.
"'One of my Mormon critics called me a "turncoat,"' Benson e-mailed after today's phone interview. 'So I asked him to be a good Christian, do what Jesus would do and give me his own coat. Haven't see the coat yet. Anyway, like the old saying goes, "hit pigeons flutter."'
"But the cartoonist feels no one has disproved anything he said about Romney or the nature of Mormonism's secret temple oaths and rituals. 'The proof is in the pudding,' Benson said in the e-mail. 'The trouble is, the Mormon Church doesn't want anyone to go poking around in its pudding.'"
**Final Observations on Romney's Mormon Belief System and Its Practices**
--Mormon Temple Rituals
Below is a link to a textual comparison between the pre- and post-1990 Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony. Romney would have been processed through the LDS temple for his own personal "endowment" prior to 1990 (most likely, before being sent on his Mormon mission to France in July 1966, where he proselytized for two-and-a-half years).
The pre-1990 version of the Mormon endowment ritual that Romney went through details the secretly-sworn oaths, covenants, signs and tokens which faithful, tithe-paying Mormons are required to remain mum about in public. In fact, during this particular endowment ritual, Mormon temple-goers who publicly reveal temple secrets are placed under penalty of death through the symbolic acting out of the execution of certain graphic penalties (the execution of those penalties is described and demonstrated in the 1990 version of the Endowment).
After 1990, these gruesome signs and penalties were removed from the Mormon temple ritual, but per Mormon doctrine, Romney remains under divine obligation to keep quiet about them outside of temple walls or otherwise subject himself to the death penalty.
In the secret Mormon temple ceremony (which Romney went through as a young man to receive his personal ("endowment") he was prepped to someday to be anointed as a heavenly king to rule over his own collection planets and endless polygamously-produced offspring.
The oaths secretly sworn to in Mormon temples requires that faithful Mormons devote all their time, energy, talents and resources to the building up of the Kingdom of God on Earth (meaning to the advancement of the Mormon Church). It is safe to say that these secret oaths of die-hard allegiance and obedience to the Mormon Church do not represent the attitudes of most Americans.
Knowing how politically problematic Mormonism's temple beliefs ae for him, Romney has attempted to distance himself from them. In what some Mormons might regard as a breaking of his sacred temple promise to put church over country, Romney, in a 6 December 2007 speech on religious liberty delivered at the George Bush presidential library, vowed:
"I will put no doctrine of any church above the plain duties of the office and the sovereign authority of the law."
"Romney would 'put no doctrine' above presidential office," from "Deseret News," at:
One former Mormon, referring to secret temple practices of the Mormon Church, proposed a letter to the editor, which notes the following about Romney's LDS temple indoctrination (the numbers cited are approximations only):
"Between the start of Mitt Romney's mission in the late 1960s and April 1990 (when major changes were introduced to the temple ceremony), Romney attended the temple endowment ceremony a minimum of 250 times, since the minimum standard for temple attendance is once a month. Given his twelve year service as a bishop and later a stake president, he likely attended more often than once per month.
"During those 250-plus sessions, he participated in:
--over 250 oaths in which he vowed to put the church before all else
--over 250 mockings of a Protestant minister as hireling of Satan
--over 250 ritual slittings of his throat, chest, and abdomen, (750-plus ritual slittings in all) as 'ways in which life can be taken' for those who discuss the temple ceremony with outsiders.
"There is no evidence to suggest that Romney disagreed with any of these strange dogmas and rituals, and as stake president his role was to promulgate such rituals.
"Still think you'll vote for him for President?"
Another highly secret and unusual Mormon ceremony, also performed in the Mormon temples, is called the "Second Anointing." Very few Mormons receive this anointing and it is usually reserved for those in high leadership positions in the Mormon Church with long service records in the Church. This "Second Anointing" guarantees automatic salvation for those who receive it and removes any and all accountability for one's actions. It is not known if Romney has actually received a "Second Anointing," although informed speculation does not put it beyond the realm of possibility This ceremony is described, and applied to Romney, as follows:
"The upper rooms of the temples are reserved for such [highly-secret] ceremonies--though the Second Anointing is completed at home between the husband and wife.
"These are ceremonies reserved for those who have longest and best serve the [Mormon] Church.
"The Second Anointing is perhaps a most sensitive subject in regard [to] Evangelical and Fundamental Protestantism because it guarantees that ones 'salvation is made sure'. . . .
" . . . [B]ecause of his length of service to the Church, Romney must have been granted the Second Anointing [but] . . . the only true evidence for this would be deep in the bowels of the [Mormon] Church Office Building [located in Salt Lake City, Utah].
"It is true by implication. If Romney hasn't been granted it, then why not, given his service?
"The mere asking of the question to him by a reporter would be the object of the exercise. . . . A reporter might] ask Romney if he indeed has received the Anointing: [A]nd please explain to me, Governor Romney, exactly what is the Second Anointing and how does it make your salvation 'sure'? Or else, mentioning it in [the reporter's] article [might] cause other reporters to ask him.
"Then, all else would follow.
"This might, for the Evangelicals, cause greater concern than polygamy."
--Mormon Temple Garments
Romney would also be extremely reluctant to talk about his special Mormon underwear, known among the faithful as "garments," which members of the LDS Church are required to wear day and night throughout their lives. These garments are relics of FreeMasonry and are characterized by Masonic-derived markings strategically sewn into their fabric, as dictated by Mormonism's founder, Joseph Smith, who was himself a 33rd degree Mason.
The role this underwear (which Mormons believe is specially-empowered to protect them against harm, as well as serving as a constant reminder to stay true to their duties to the Mormon God) plays in the life and mind of the Mormon man who would be president is explained as follows:
"Mitt Romney is a former Mormon missionary, bishop, and stake president. ..
"He was married in the Mormon temple. He is required to swear allegiance to the Mormon Church and its 'Prophet, Seer, and Revelator' and he attends the Mormon temple regularly. As a fully 'active' member of the Mormon Church, he is required to wear Mormonism's 'sacred' underwear. The 'garment' is festooned with the Symbols of Freemasonry-the Square, Compass, and Rule. The magic marks are sewn into the garment above the breasts, navel, and knee."
The purpose of the garments is as described as follows:
"In 1842, just two months after being initiated into Freemasonry, Joseph Smith introduced the wearing of garments to a select group of men. . . .This ritual would later come to be known as the LDS temple endowment. . . .
"The original purpose of wearing garments was to remind Smith's priesthood brethren of their sacred oaths--especially oaths of secrecy regarding the plural marriage doctrine.
"Today, church leaders still describe garments in terms of 'armor' which has the primary purpose of reminding members of their temple oaths:
"'The garment, covering the body, is a visual and tactile reminder of our covenants. It fosters modesty and becomes a shield and protection to the wearer.
"'There is, however, another piece of armor worthy of our consideration. It is the special underclothing known as the temple garment, or garment of the holy priesthood, worn by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have received their temple endowment. This garment, worn day and night, serves three important purposes; it is a reminder of the sacred covenants made with the Lord in His holy house, a protective covering for the body, and a symbol of the modesty of dress and living that should characterize the lives of all the humble followers of Christ.' (Apostle Boyd K. Packer, 'The Holy Temple', pp. 79, 75) . . .
"In Mormon folklore, garments have sometimes functioned as a classic amulet that has power in itself independent of the righteousness of the wearer: Mormons tell stories of members in fires having all of their clothing burned from their bodies except where their garments were. The only burns suffered are on hands and feet, which are not protected by the garments.
However, such stories are not endorsed by church leaders."
--The Ultimate Mormon Devotion to Their Prophet-Leaders Over All Else
When Romney was a Mormon bishop and stake president, a popular LDS song was sung in the Church's children's programs (known as the "Primary), entitled, "Follow the Prophet."
Below are the lyrics:
"Adam was a prophet, first one that we know.
In a place called Eden, he helped things to grow.
Adam served the Lord by following his ways.
We are his descendants in the latter days.
"Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet; don't go astray.
Follow the prophet, follow the prophet,
Follow the prophet he knows the way.
"Enoch was a prophet; he taught what was good.
People in his city did just what they should.
When they were so righteous that there was no sin,
Heavenly Father took them up to live with him.
"Noah was a prophet called to preach the word,
Tried to cry repentance, but nobody heard.
They were busy sinning-Noah preached in vain.
They wished they had listened when they saw the rain.
"Abraham the prophet prayed to have a son,
So the Lord sent Isaac as the chosen one.
Isaac begat Jacob, known as Israel;
Jacob's sons were twelve tribes, so Bible tells.
"Moses was a prophet sent to Israel.
He would lead them to the Promised Land to dwell.
They were slow to follow, or so it appears.
They were in the wilderness for forty years.
"Samuel was a prophet chosen as a boy,
Hannah promised God her son would serve with joy.
In the tabernacle, Samuel heard his name;
He was called by God and answered, "Here I am!"
"Jonah was a prophet, tried to run away.
But he later learned to listen and obey.
When we really try, the Lord won't let us fail:
That's what Jonah learned deep down inside the
"Daniel was a prophet. He refused to sin;
So the king threw Daniel in the lion's den.
Angels calmed the lions, and the king soon saw
Daniel's power was great, for he obeyed God's law
" Now we have a world where people are confused.
If you don't believe it, go and watch the news.
We can get direction all along our way,
If we heed the prophets-follow what they say"
According to the faith of his fathers, Mitt Romney's ultimate and complete allegiance is to the Mormon prophet.
--Mormon Church Advertising
While the Mormon Church denies any connection, it seems more than coincidental that it is currently engaging in a nationwide "I Am a Mormon" ad blitz at the same time that Romney is running for president:
"[Mormon] Church leaders . . . say that the timing and tenor of the campaign have nothing to do with the political campaigns of two Mormons running for president: Mitt Romney, the putative front-runner, and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., both former Republican governors. . . .
"And yet, the church's campaign could prove to be a pivotal factor in the race for the presidency. The Mormon image problem is a problem not only for the church, but also for Mr. Romney."
"Mormons' Ad Campaign May Play Out on the '12 Campaign Trail," from "New York Times," at:
In a related vein, see, "Will This Election be a Mormon Breakthrough?," from "New York Times":
"The accurate critique of Mormonism is that Smith's religion is not even monotheistic, let alone democratic. Though the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints no longer openly describes their innermost beliefs, they clearly hold on to the notion of a plurality of gods. Indeed, they themselves expect to become gods, following the path of Joseph Smith."
The Mormon Church requires that its members pay a 10% tithe on earned income. Because Romney declares himself to be currently unemployed, he would therefore be paying a 10% tithe on his investment income to the Mormon Church, which would amount to a significant sum.
--Definition of Terms:
In Mormon language, a "Gentile" refers to all people who are not Mormons. Hence, even Jews, according to Mormon doctrinal belief, are considered "Gentiles."
To Mormon Mitt Romney, should he become president, he would be ruling a divided nation: one of Mormons-God's Chosen People-vs. everyone else, the "Gentiles."
In all the extensive media coverage of Mitt Romney, much of it discussing his religion, not a word have I seen about the secrets of Mormonism, the secrets of Romney's life-long beliefs and practices. The reason, of course, is obvious: nobody can talk about a secret unless they are in on the secret. And few journalists or Christian ministers or anti-Mitt politicians are in on the secret. Only Mormons know the secrets, and they're not going to tell. And former Mormons, like myself, who were initiated into those same secrets, and afterwards left Mormonism - we know the secrets. Should we tell?
Journalist Frank Rich, in his January 29 article "Who in God's Name Is Mitt Romney?" in New York Magazine, subtitled it: "His greatest passion is something he's determined to keep secret." And that secret is the details of his beliefs and practices as a faithful, life-long Mormon, the same secrets that all good Mormons have vowed to keep secret, even though their life depended on it.
And why does Romney (and his church) want to keep people from knowing those secrets? Most Mormons will claim that they are not "secret," but merely so "sacred" that they cannot be discussed. That is a quibble, since Mormons hold any number of other aspects of their religion to be "sacred," and yet they don't hesitate to discuss them (for example: baptism, conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost, ordination to the priesthood, etc.). In my day, when Mitt and I were initiated into the secrets, we were specifically instructed that we were under "the greatest obligations of secrecy." Nowadays, the Mormons simply take a solemn oath that they will "never reveal" anything about the rituals. That sounds like a secret to any ordinary person, doesn't it?
All right. I am going reveal those secrets, since nobody else seems willing and able to do so.
The biggest secrets involve the special lengthy rituals (the Mormons call them "ordinances") that take place outside of public view in the Mormon temples. The most important of these rituals is called the "endowment" - lasting several hours and taking the Mormon through symbolic washings and anointings (in my day they were actual washings and anointings on the entire naked body), then clothing the Mormon in special clothing and robes (including the notorious "magic underwear," which Mormons call "the garment"). The Mormon then watches and participates in long dramatizations of key events in the coming of the gospel, beginning with the creation of the world, showing Adam's fall, the coming of the Christian gospel (but not the crucifixion and resurrection), and ultimately the Mormon's being admitted into heaven, represented by "passing through the veil (of the temple)." When Romney and I first went through this ceremony, it was a ritualized dramatization with live temple personnel. Nowadays it's a movie.
Yes, the most sacred worship service in Mormonism involves watching a movie.
Why is that so secret? you may ask. What aren't the Mormons supposed to reveal? What do they hold so sacred that it's secret? Quite a lot.
Part of the endowment ritual instructs the Mormons in the four "signs" and "tokens" of the Mormon priesthood. Each also has a "name" (or password). The Mormon must make an oath that he (or she) will never reveal these, outside the temple. The purpose of the signs and tokens, according to Mormon Prophet Brigham Young, is that they will be needed to pass the angels guarding the gates of heaven. The tokens are various handshakes, copied largely from the Masonic initiation rites of the 1830s, when church founder Joseph Smith was initiated into Freemasonry. The signs are various positions of the arms and hands (right arm to the square, for example, is the "first sign of the Aaronic priesthood").
Before 1990, when Romney and I first went through this ceremony, we were taught that each of the first three signs and tokens also had a "penalty" associated with each one, and we had to mime various ways of taking life to represent the penalty to us if we were to reveal the secret signs and tokens: slitting one's own throat, ripping open one's chest, disemboweling oneself. Yes, folks, this was part of the most sacred ritual in Mormonism: pantomiming your own bloody death.
So Mitt Romney, and all other righteous Mormons, can be confident that they know the secret passwords and secret handshakes to get into heaven. Do you see why Romney and his church are reluctant for "unworthy" people (the rest of us, including Mrs. Romney's parents) to know about this? As Deborah Laake put it in her autobiographical book Secret Ceremonies , (New York 1993):
The actions that were going to guarantee my entrance at the gates [of heaven] would have nothing to do with love or charity or the other teachings of Christ that I'd been raised to believe God valued. In fact, I hadn't heard a single one of those words spoken today, the most primary day of religious instruction in my entire life. No, I was going to burst into heaven on the basis of mumbo-jumbo. ... The mysteries of life were fraternity rituals. ... Did all the white-suited glorifiers in the room unquestioningly accept a ritual of nutty gestures from the pseudo-occult as a sacrament? Those were the first moments when I viewed Mormonism with suspicion.
Or as summarized by a young Mormon missionary:"If we told investigators [prospective converts] about that, they wouldn't join, because it's too weird!"
But wait! you are saying. You haven't revealed anything. You've just told us that there is stuff to reveal. So reveal it!
Right. The four secret passwords that will get you into heaven:
The first one is the "new name" that you get with your garment. Mine is "Enoch" and you can borrow it when the time comes. The angel won't know. If you're female, you can use my ex-wife's new name: "Mary." (She would kill me if she knew I gave her sacred new name away!)
The second password is easy: your own given first name.
The third password: "The Son," meaning "the Son of God."
The fourth one is so sacred that you don't get it until the very last moment in the ceremony, at the veil, from God Himself (or an old guy standing behind the curtain who is pretending to be God). And it's very long, but you have to memorize it or you don't get in:
Health in the navel, marrow in the bones, strength in the loins and in the sinews. Power in the priesthood be upon me and upon my posterity through all generations of time and throughout all eternity.
(If you watched "Big Love" faithfully, one episode showed this part of the ceremony.)
And what about the secret (oops! that should be "sacred") handshakes? Rather than describe them, I will suggest you simply do an Internet search for "mormon handshake" images. They'll be right at the top.
Anything else? Yes, there are more secrets.
During the endowment, Mormons are required to take secret oaths that they will obey various "laws." The "law of obedience" requires them to obey "the law of God and keep his commandments." They don't specify what the "law of God" is, but Mormons understand that the Mormon church is the only true source of God's law and commandments. So they are taking an oath to obey their church.
The "law of sacrifice" requires them to "covenant to sacrifice all that we possess, even our own lives if necessary, in sustaining and defending the Kingdom of God." Mormons understand "the kingdom of God" to be the Mormon church.
The "law of the gospel" is accompanied by a charge to avoid "evil speaking of the Lord's anointed [church leaders]" as well as avoiding "light-mindedness, loud laughter, taking the Lord's name in vain" and every "unholy and impure practice" (not specified).
The "law of chastity" is to abstain from sexual relations except with one's lawful spouse. That one does make sense. That's one of the Ten Commandments, after all.
The last law is the "law of consecration." It requires the Mormons to
...consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.
A couple of terms need explanation. The "Kingdom of God on the earth" and "Zion" mean, to Mormons, not just their church, but ultimately the theocracy that will replace the non-religious civil government. They believe, of course, that Christ will come to run this government, using faithful Mormons as administrators.
The pressing question for Mitt Romney, and for the Mormons who are supporting his candidacy, is: Would Romney consider the Presidency to be something that God had "blessed" him with, and which, pursuant to his secret oath, he should "consecrate" to his church for establishing a theocracy? If he is elected, will he kneel down and thank his God for blessing him with the presidency? And what is he supposed to do, according to his secret oath, with "everything" God has blessed him with? That's right: he is to use it for the benefit of the Mormon church.
Now wait a minute, you may be thinking. It doesn't really mean that! The Mormon church doesn't expect that from its members, does it? Oh, yes, it does! Remember California's Proposition 8? The Mormon church pulled out all the stops to pass that proposition, which would forbid same-sex marriage, and it called upon all Mormons to cough up and donate, even those who were not California voters. Those who were hesitant to do so (often the amounts demanded were thousands of dollars per family) were simply and subtly reminded of their "temple covenants." And they all understood that the church was calling in the chits on the oaths to obey, to sacrifice, and to consecrate whatever the church demanded of them.
How would a President who was also a good Mormon obey those secret oaths?
It wouldn't even take a phone call from church headquarters to the White House. Mitt, being a well-trained Mormon, knows "in his heart" what God would want (which is the same thing that the church wants, of course) and doesn't need to be told. That's the way it works already in the only American theocracy in existence today (Utah). The Mormon politicians who run that state - the judiciary, the legislature, the executive branch - don't have to ask church leaders for direction. They know what they should do, without asking specifically (usually).
The question for American voters is: knowing that Romney has taken this secret oath, that he is a faithful Mormon, do you want him to answer the question "Would you feel bound by your sacred oath to obey the law of consecration that you made in the endowment ceremony and use the power of the presidency to benefit the Mormon church?"
Not trying to be offensive or disrespectful. Not saying that this is a problem, per se, it can be interpreted in many ways. Not claiming to point out anything that not already in the public domain and part of the conversation. When Mitt attends the LDS temple, this is part of the ritual - these are components of the covenants he makes. And was recently pointed out in a ME podcast, this verbiage that promises an oath to a church, not a deity, (and not saying which might be more consequential...). I think this matters and I think this should be transparently known and discussed among voters. The implications may be debated, the probability of a real conflict downplayed, but this should not be dismissed.
"You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the law of consecration as contained in this..., in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion."
"Law of Sacrifice: The posterity of Adam down to Moses, and from Moses to Jesus Christ offered up the first fruits of the field, and the firstlings of the flock, which continued until the death of Jesus Christ, which ended sacrifice by the shedding of blood. And as Jesus Christ has laid down his life for the redemption of mankind, so we should covenant to sacrifice all that we possess, even our own lives if necessary, in sustaining and defending the Kingdom of God. You and each of you solemnly covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this alter that you will observe and keep the Law of Sacrifice, as contained in the Holy Scriptures, as it has been explained to you. "
There has been a pretty good debate regarding this, on some private/closed Facebook groups over the past few days. I won't try to repeat all that has been said but a few points that have earned a lot of time in the discussion include:
"Kingdom of God" - does that mean the church, the earthy church... the members? Or is this an appeal to a divine authority?
How is Mountain Meadows Massacre relevant to the discussion of these oaths/promises and what members may do at the request of leadership?
Can you re-frame this same discussion outside of Mormon contexts and feel differently about it? For example, say this was Obama and he was in a club that met regularly and required a similar oath. Does your opinion of what these oaths mean change?
I know, (and have already heard from some), that these oaths are secret and sacred and should not be on my blog. Fair argument, I disagree, but since it has been brought up that they perhaps should remain secret, does that not make them even more suspect? Again, reframing, but how do you know Obama or Santorum or Newt or Ron Paul have not made secret oaths of this nature to a group you are utterly unaware of? Worse, no?
John Sweeney Investigates The Beliefs Of Mitt Romney, The Man Most Likely To Take On Barack Obama Later This Year, And Asks Whether America Is Ready For A Mormon President Thursday, Mar 29, 2012, at 12:18 PM Original Author(s): Infymus Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
"Never Let Them See You Cry" Daily Beast: Ann Romney Fails To Humanize Mitt Or Herself. Cannot Show Underbelly Even With Presidency At Stake Monday, Sep 17, 2012, at 07:38 AM Original Author(s): Anagrammy Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
You could pull any Mormon out of a pew and they could explain Ann Romney's puzzling refusal to dwell on her struggles, much less expound on those of her husband.
Mormon leaders in the rarified atmosphere of the Romneys, i.e., the stake level, travel to lend their aura and authority to struggling members. They HAVE the answers, they don't HAVE the problems, only problems that have been overcome.
The answer to all their problems was faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It got them through everything and made everything easy for them. "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" said Jesus.
The key to success in a hierarchal church and a viciously competitive business environment is to be stainless steel. I suspect that the reason Ann Romney can't go into the "Mitt carried a bedpan" or "carried me up the stairs" is because he didn't. My Mormon husband was just garden variety, and he was never home. I imagine that Mitt's contribution to Ann's MS was to make sure that she had 24 hour professional care, a massage therapist, an acupuncturist, a psychologist, a nanny for taking the kids to and from their lessons, a cook so that they ate well, and every possible physical comfort: a special bed, etc.
You can go into detail about how much you loved having your own nutritionist and how thoughtful Mitt was to provide that for you, but there will not be tears in the crowd.
Those of us who have been inside the hive know that there are real people under the plastic and the Romney's have suffered the crushing disappointment of non-Mormons not seeing their obvious calling as he who would save the country.
In contrast, the Obamas (and other normal people not in a cult) are just representing themselves instead of all Christians, so they can say things like, "She keeps my head from getting too big." and they can talk about how their child is embarrassed by them missing the kiss cam shot at the football game.
When you take on the mantle of greatness before having achieved greatness, the weight of the pretension just sucks the humanity right out of you.
The Mormon Church Not Politically Supporting Romney?: Thinly-Veiled Church Power Point Presentation Warns Of "War With Satan" And Urges Nevada Mormons To "Speak With One Voice"... Monday, Sep 24, 2012, at 07:57 AM Original Author(s): Steve Benson Topic:MITT ROMNEY-Link To MC Article-
“In a provocative move within a religious organization that has sought to display strict political neutrality, an official of the Mormon Church has disseminated a presentation across the key swing state of Nevada that urges members to vote and speak 'with one voice' in the coming Presidential election that pits Mormon Mitt Romney against President Barack Obama.
"'Any Mormon would understand exactly what's being said there,' said Randall Balmer, a Dartmouth religion professor who has studied the church's handling of Romney's presidential bids. 'This is very thinly coded language.'
“Mormon officials have permitted church leaders to encourage voting, but have stressed that it not be done in a partisan fashion. A senior church member emailed the presentation to Nevada 'stake presidents' . . . last month. . . .
“The roughly 30-minute PowerPoint presentation appears to have two goals--to motivate Mormons in Nevada to register and vote in November, and to help them prepare for questions they may get as their Church garners attention as a result of Romney's bid. Three of the 20 slides that were shared with ABC News pointedly urge members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to remember the 'importance of speaking with one voice.'
"READ the POWERPOINT: Speaking With One Voice (PDF) [viewable by going to linked site]
"One slide includes voter registration data for Clark County, a jurisdiction that includes Las Vegas, where Democrats outnumber Republicans. Other slides appear to convey the stakes in the upcoming campaign, including one that espouses the need to restore a 'spiritually dead society' and another that quotes a member of the Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles saying, 'We are at war with the influences of Satan.' ABC News has only seen a portion of the presentation.
“Mormon officials told ABC News that the entreaty to 'speak with one voice' conveys a desire to see Church members provide consistent responses to questions from outsiders about church rituals and doctrine, and is not an entreaty to vote as a block.
"'The Church has always encouraged people to be a part of the political process and to register to vote,' said Dale Jones, a church spokesman. 'However, we do not direct them on how to vote. We are politically neutral and do not support candidates or political platforms.'
“One slide in the presentation titled 'Political Neutrality' explicitly notes this, stating that the Church's mission 'is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians.' The slide says the church does not "attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a candidate for office is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
“Church spokesman Scott Trotter, however, declined to respond to questions from ABC News about who prepared the presentation, how many Church groups saw it, why details about it are being kept secret, and why a 'war with Satan' was referenced in the middle of a presentation on the importance of voting.
“Darren Littell, the spokesman for the Romney campaign in Nevada, said the Romney campaign has nothing to do with the 'One Voice' PowerPoint presentation.
“Edwin Firmage, a University of Utah law professor and expert on the separation of church and state, told ABC News the presentation appears to be aimed at helping mobilize support for Romney.
"'I would say this isn't even thinly veiled,' Firmage said. 'Of course it's political.'
“Firmage, an Obama supporter, said he considered the presentation a departure for Church officials whom he believes have shown 'a great deal of discipline' in avoiding overtly political activity during the presidential contest. 'They've been very adroit,' he said.
“The presentation includes several slides focused on religious teachings that encourage civic participation. One of them advises viewers that 'We have a responsibility to vote,' and quotes Mormon scripture as saying: 'We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.'
“The decision to distribute the presentation in Nevada was probably no accident, Balmer said. Among the handful of states that are considered up for grabs in the 2012 election, Nevada has the most vibrant Mormon community. Mormons represented roughly a quarter of the GOP caucus vote in Nevada in 2012, and nearly all of them supported Romney, according to exit polling. . . .
“The slideshow provides advice about how to answer questions from friends and neighbors generated by news coverage on Mormonism in light of Romney's bid. The presentation points members to resources where they can find answers to questions about the role of women in the Church, about the use of special garments, and about the central role of Jesus Christ in the Church.
“Near the end of the presentation, a slide poses the question, 'So… What can I do?' It lists five answers, with step five being: 'Register to vote … and VOTE!' . . .
“Balmer said the Mormon Church is well aware that Romney is likely to receive overwhelming support from Mormons, and so simply encouraging them to turn out to vote is akin to assisting his bid.
"'On the face of it, there's nothing unusual in what they're doing,' Balmer said. 'But in reality, the message is not hard to miss.'”
There has been much discussion and speculation both on Rfm and the public media about how a Romney presidency might be influenced by the Mormon church. Often the presidency of John F. Kennedy is used to provide clues and insight. If Kennedy wasn't influenced by his Catholicism then why should Romney be influenced by his Mormonism?
Is there a fundamental difference between the faiths of these two presidents which should make us concerned at the prospect of Romney coming to power? I would like to know your opinion but here are my own thoughts on the matter.
While it's very hard to imagine the possibility of such a scenario taking place: could the American government be hijacked by a cult and used to achieve its own agenda and goals? Surely not you say, yet the idea is not as absurd as it may seem especially when one begins to peel away the layers of secrecy and starts to delve into the history of the cult and its teachings.
As to the difference between Kennedy and Romney let me start by stating the bleeding obvious: Romney is definitely no Kennedy. Kennedy was an incredible figure in American history, his words still stir the heart and fire the passions in a way that Romney never will. Kennedy was so much more than a captain of industry, he was the supreme commander, the charismatic leader who was not afraid to mingle with the troops (something that would cost him, his life). While Romney seems so one dimensional with his mantra of giving financial relief to the poor rich folk who are yearning to be freed from burdensome taxes and to breathe easily as they fly around in their corporate jets. Kennedy on the other hand understood the human need to be freed from every kind of oppression, he understood that the great need of our time was more than simply an economic one. But enough said. How else would a Romney presidency differ, especially with regards to the influence of religion?
To answer that question requires us to quickly highlight a few important differences between Catholicism and Mormonism.
Firstly, whatever one may think of Catholicism and its faults it is not seen as a cult. Mormonism on the other hand has been classified and continues to be seen by many throughout the world as a cult. It displays many of the classic and extreme characteristics of a cult: to question its leadership is to invite excommunication; it uses deception to hide its past, its teachings and practices; it exercises a form of group think and peer pressure to force conformity; it lacks financial transparency and reinforces an "us versus them" view of the world and it also claims that it will play a major part in the apocalyptic end of the world.
Secondly, Kennedy's faith required no more of him or any other good Catholic, Protestant or any other person of faith for that matter than to practice a compassionate and moderate care for the world and its inhabitants. Of course as a Christian he would acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and await with hope the day when this world would be changed for the better.
On the other hand, Romney's Mormonism has taught throughout its history and continues to hold to the belief that it alone is uniquely placed to accomplish the great winding up scene before the return of Jesus Christ. Think for example of the establishment of the theocracy of Deseret in its early history and the requirement for all converts to come from their own lands to be in "Zion". Think also of the biblical prophecy that two prophets shall stand as witnesses against the world, Mormonism holds that these two will come from its ranks. Consider the great efforts of the Mormon Church to acquire land and the means of production along with financial wealth, these are seen as the prudent measures that will allow Mormonism to flourish when the rest of the world will collapse (think of the old Testament story of Joseph and the dreams of Pharaoh king of Egypt).
Another great difference between Kennedy and Romney is that Kennedy, as far as anyone knows, never had to take solemn oaths and make covenants to give his all for his religion. As any Mormon who has been to the temple before the changes of 1995 will know there were penalties attached to the breaking of such covenants and oaths - the slitting of one's throat or disembowelling. Mormons then and Mormons to this very day still covenant to give everything they have or may have to the kingdom of God on earth, even their very lives if necessary. That kingdom is of course the Mormon church.
Romney took such oaths and covenants. While the penalties are no longer pronounced in the temple (as is the practice of plural marriage or polygamy, considered to be the new and everlasting covenant; or the oath which was in the past taken in the temple to avenge against the United States the blood of the prophet Joseph Smith) they are still very much a part of the unspoken and hidden Mormon belief system.
When one considers the way in which the Mormon church conducts its work it then becomes a more plausible scenario that another agenda may be at work than simply the electing of another American president. By far the overwhelming work of the Mormon church is directed at building up the Mormon church (Consider the tiny proportion of its huge financial wealth which is given as charity, it is staggering to consider). While huge sums are used to build shopping malls and acquire property its members volunteer as janitors to clean its building for free.