Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Thursday, September 29, 2016

The recent expressions of political and religious prejudice against Mormons and the Church of Latter-Day Saints have offered Mitt Romney a chance to play the bullied underdog — and to explain, as he did with clarity and dignity during the Vegas debate, the meaning of the Constitutional prohibition against any religious test for public office. That won’t discourage Baptist conservatives or atheist entertainers like Bill Maher from making fun of Mormons and their faith, whose history and tenets certainly sound strange to outsiders.

But is there any real reason to be troubled by Romney’s religion? What does the career of the former Massachusetts governor tell us about the ideology of the LDS church — and what his personal beliefs may portend if he becomes the first Mormon in the Oval Office?

  • conspeclst1

    From a Christianity stand point there a couple of problems.
    One is that if a Mormon becomes good enough, they may become a God themselves.
    The other is the secrecy of the Temples.
    While asking about these things during a talk given by two Mormon witnesses, the first allegation one may become a God was not answered with a no but was danced around using bible verses, often out of context.

    About the secrecy of what happens in the Temples, it was said it was “sacred” not secret.
    When reminded ethical organizations were completely open about what goes on within, it was not ethical to have secrets from the public and even from some followers.

  • velma

    “officially abandoned polygamy..” NO. The practice of polygamy was “removed from the earth”. Polygamy or “celestial marriage” as they call was declared “the most sacred principle” by the Mormon founder and prophet, Joseph Smith. Even when it was removed from the earth for expediency (Utah wanted statehood), Mormon leaders took years to actually abandon the practice. If you question the accuracy of the foregoing statement, insist that the Mormon presidency answer the question directly. They will either confirm what I just wrote, or they will lie. If you are going to report on Mormon theology, you should get it correct.

  • velma

    In other words, polygamy or “celestial marriage” remains a central tenet of Mormon theology. It will be practiced in the next life by all those who achieve “Godhood”. What you call “abandonment” is really just a “temporary reprieve”.

  • eulogia

    Article Six of the US Constitution specifically states that no religious test is required as a qualification for the executive office (or any other government office, for that matter.) The problem is not with Mormonism, but rather with judgmental Christians who have decided that it is their place to pass judgment on Earth. I do believe that The Almighty has reserved the right to pass judgement, or did I miss a memo? Regardless, as citizens of the US we should consider the person running for office and their qualifications, excluding religion.

  • cordwood8

    Concerning all of these politicians banking on a “religious vote.” I don’t want any kind of religious whacko as president. We have too many so-called christians involved already.

    Religions breed hate and discontent. This in turn leads to war and more wars. Somebody is profiting from all of this, and it is not the 99 % at Occupy Wall Street. War as a means of power and control needs to be tapered off until it is not necessary to do it any longer. Beautify the planet we live on, not see how fast we can destroy it!

    The more a candidate hypes religion, the lower he scores on my vote scale.

  • PILLLEY1

    I thin the “fear of the unknown” is a big factor about Mormonism and its relationship to a possible president.This same factor is present about Muslims.We tend to prefer a candidate who “fits in” with the American citizens(average man) way of thinking.Of course non of this rules out a candidate of the Mormon faith.i myself look at the candidates stand on issues related to “ending wars” and “helping our flailing economy”.

  • John in Nevada

    The constitution prohibits the NATION from prohibiting soemone from being President based on religous preference, but it does not prohibit citizens from using whatever criteria they want when deciding who to vote for. I, for one, do not want someone who 1) expects and believes that he will become a God, 2) would deny other citizens their rights because of their personal sexual preferences, 3) believes in using state power to try to force their religous preferences on others, 4) believes his religion is superior to all others, 5) does not believe in science regarding evolution or global climate change, and 5) who believes his magic undewear will protect him to use that same “excellent” judgement when making decisions on behalf of the USA.

  • Britwit9

    The bigger concern for me is the Mormon faith’s exclusion of women from leadership roles and the highest levels of their own “sainthood.” In case anyone hasn’t noticed, women now occupy executive suites all over corporate America, have been elected to the highest offices in state government, and constitute the majority of the collegiate and post-grad population. I’m afraid the very “50’s” Mormon view of women’s roles as mothers and homemakers will prevail in the White House when it comes to both presidential appointments and women’s reproductive rights. I know the same criticism could be leveled at the Catholic church, but then again Romney was a 2-time BISHOP. Which means he not only led the flock, but is truly dyed in the wool. (Yes, pun intended.) And the fact that he has no daughters does nothing to disperse my concern.

  • oneofthefreds

    We have had a reborn Christian, Athiest, Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, Theist and now a Protestant/ Muslim as President. All of which have injected their religous beliefs into the public market. Just because Mr. Romney believes in baptizing dead people, that God lives on planet called Kolob, wears full body white underwear, is empowered under Mormon law to marry people, believes in 7 heavens, is taught in Pearl of Great Price to subsume every geographic location on Earth with Mormons, sees Joseph Smith at the same historical level as Jesus Christ, is required to have firearms in his home, sent his children on international missions to find Mormons who do not yet know they are Mormons, answers every question with “lets pray on that,” states publicly “for God’s sake I cannot have illegal aliens working on my garden I am running for public office”, claimed publicly a decade or more ago that he is without sin, in a faith that recognized blacks as humans without the mark of the devil in 1973 and put in the first version of O’Bama Care does that make him ineligble for President?

  • omgamike

    I am against both the person and his religion. The person because he has flip-flopped on almost every issue. You cannot believe anything he has said. The religion because of the impact his religious beliefs will have on the way he executes his powers and policies if he were to ever be elected as President of the United States.

  • jstclair

    I don’t find Romney’s religion to be any more of a problem than any other religion. His flip flopping on issues is a problem for me. His foreign policy statement that he would raise military spending and develop a national missile defense system is a BIG problem for me.

  • rooster

    Romneys Father was a great governor in Michigan and his religion did not play a part in it.
    Ignorant people tend to want to find fault with the unknown rather than check it out.
    Mormans do not have people on welfare the church takes care of their own. If one of thir members is ill other members will be there mowing their lawn, caring for their families, bringing meals.
    As a Baptist I seen this done for my terminal ill brother who was married to one.
    Five ladys came every week and cared for his flower garden, men came and trimmed his trees, they brought food,cared for every need until his death. Get real people

    five ladies came e

  • DianneLee

    There is little point in trying to figure out what Reomney’s beliefs “mean”, since they change daily. His statements “mean” that he thinks that what he is saying will get him nominated or elected. He may have actual moral standards and beliefs, but he is willing and able to ignore them whenever they aren’t popular with the people who is trying to get to vote for him.

  • Thoughtful

    Mormons are generally good people, but they can be very judgmental and elitist. I will not vote for Romney for plenty of reasons, and religion is not one of them. I got such a kick out of Romney’s last debate with Perry! He shouldn’t have reached out and touched Perry’s shoulder like that – I’m not for Perry, either.

    I left the Mormon church by choice when I was 21, and it got back to me that I was “ex-communicated”. They do care for their own and have their own welfare system. I remember making applesauce by scratch and canning as a church activity. Church dances and good friends were plentiful. But they do believe that only Mormons who follow their strict laws and go to their “sacred” temples will go to the “Celestial Kingdom” – the highest degree of Heaven. I know because I was married to a former missionary in the temple, then we went through a divorce. I couldn’t be Mormon and believe in salvation by grace. The two can’t co-exist.

    I respect all life, but abortion is a legal right, period. So is freedom of religion. Bottom line: NOPE – not voting for Romney for personal reasons. I feel strongly about exercising my freedom of speech.

  • LaVerneLinnenkamp

    One of the nicest things about God is he gave each of us a vivid imagination which allows us to fashion the kind of deity we wish to worship If you are not happy with the God you got, it is your own darn fault.

  • Ted

    Mormons are some of the healthiest, honest, family oriented, good people in the world. I have known Mormons my whole life and they don`t drink,smoke or even swear like most Catholics & alot of other so called religious people. I will vote for Mitt Romney because he is by far the most intelligent and best person to defeat this America hating, America distroying president we have in the White House.

  • lecycliste

    Since the U.S. Constitution specifically excludes religion as a qualification for elected office, it should have no place in an election.

    I’m concerned about any candidate’s expedient changes in political views, depending on what’s required for an electoral majority or winning plurality. It may be hard to tell what such a candidate believes in, or what (s)he will try to do in office.

  • strangness

    There is freedom of religion is the United States, but is there freedom FROM religion? There are many right-wing members of the electorate who follow the capitalism and libertarianism principles who are not concerned with religious belief which is a private matter between a person and their own version of God, that is if they actually believe in a god. These people are turned off the selection process by the presence of organized religion in it.

    It doesn’t matter what faith the President has or doesn’t have. The country went through this with Catholic candidates in the past and heaven help us (pun intended) if we actually had a non-Christian candidate or worse an aetheist!!!!!

    Get back to the political issues, they are what count, how do we get the unemployed back to work? Nuff said.

  • Graypanther

    I believe that Mormanism is a cult,not a religion.
    Being a Bishop twice in the service of a cult is not someone I would vote for to be the President of the United States.

  • Steve

    it’s hardly correct to compare differences between mainline Protestant faiths and their differences to LDS one could just as easily compare Christianity to Islam and Judism but his religion should not be a block to his canidancy Also the insinuated slur on “aetheist performers” shows the prejudice against them The fact is that fundamentalists can accept “miracles” 2,000 years ago but not in the 19th century

  • Bishop2

    Does anyone else remember all the controversy about JFK’s candidacy in 1960. There were those who thought the Vatican would be running the US and Cardinals would be frequenting the White House. It didn’t happen and I doubt that a Mormon president will be controlled from Salt Lake City. Also I don’t think his underwear is anybody’s business, anymore than Masonic underwear, Jesuit underwear (someone said it was burlap) or no underwear—it just really seems quite personal.

  • doctordoctor

    To Ted: You haven’t lived until you watch one Mormon throw his brother out of an upstairs winow because the brother’s gay. Yes, Matilda. There are gay Mormons. So you’ve left out an important Mormon category. And, no. President Obama doesn’t hate America and Mr. Romney will tell you anything you want to hear — because he respects you.

    Oh. And there should be hyphens between “family” and “oriented”, “so” and “called” and “American” and “hating” — there’s a rule for that in English, but I guess you missed that class. Guess you don’t qualify for “the official language” after all.

    Judging by your pals, neither do they. Hate and Vitreol; the christian way.

  • Theodora30

    My parents were devout Catholics who opposed abortion but did not think it should be illegal. They knew that the Catholic Church based its position on the belief that at conception a soul enters the embryo. Since this is clearly a matter of faith that cannot be proved they felt strongly that they had nor right to impose it on others.

    If a politician thinks like this then his or her religion should be no problem. Unfortunately there is so much pressure from right wing Christians on Republican candidates that they are not honest about this issue so there is no way to know for sure what they will do if elected. Even if Romney did not try to impose his anti abortion beliefs when he was governor he may do it as president just to get elected for a second term.

  • Americanski

    While I have nothing against Romney, I fear I cannot say the same about Ted, who spouts pure vitriol against Obama in his support of Romney’s family values.

    I had the privilege of knowing Obama’s grandparents when I lived in Hawai’i some years ago, as one of my assistants lived in an adjacent apartment building. I can assure Ted that Barack Obama was raised in an environment with principles that are as midwest American as any US President has ever had.

    If you don’t like Obama’s policies, that is one thing, but no informed, intelligent person could ever doubt Barack Obama’s love of America, his family values or his efforts to help all Americans share in the amazing benefits that he has realized, just by being born an American citizen.

    I grew up a rural redneck and lived to design advanced satellite communication systems and oversee the global standardization of HDTV – thanks to the same opportunities that America offers to all who are born here.

    I am certain that Mitt Romney would strongly disagree with Ted’s hateful and counterproductive comments about our President.

    Let’s have productive discussion of our agreements and disagreements on policy issues and no more ignorant un-American vitriol.

  • strangness

    @Steve -I agree that his religion should not be a block to his candidancy. And I want a candidate to be chosen on their economic/political stances NOT on their religion. IMHO this is getting blown out of all proportion and illustrates what is broken in the selection process and worries me about the state of a democracy where a candidate’s religion takes higher priority among certain voting blocks than political tenets.

  • CharlesSlakan

    Jesus Christ called for believers to love one another,to love your enemies,turn the other cheek, we are reminded that believers live in the world but are not of the world which under the dominion of spiritual principalities and Satan.God cause it to rain on the good and evil.And who is able to stand against God.
    Jesus never railed, accused,brandished a weapon against Rome’s representative, Pilate not Kings Herod.
    All of his criticism was aimed at the theocracy, the pharisees and saducees of that time who he said had turned God’s Commandment to nothing by creating their own commandments.
    He accused them of turning the Temple into a changing place, like churches do today accepting tax exemptions form Ceasar.
    He told his followers not to do repetetive prayers like a heathen.
    He told them not to worship anything, anyone but the Father.
    A bishop should be the husband of one wife like Peter was.
    We are told that anyone that adds or subtracts from the prophecy of Revelations will get their share of curses. No matter how that is interpreted, if one looks at The Book of Mormon before having read a Bible. You WOULD NOT know there was any relationship between the two.
    There is not. Jesus said that You can serve two masters.
    Religion in itself is not bad and I think time after time, Jesus made that point; it’s the angel of light, a deceiver and murderer from the beginning that dismisses the Commandments of God and replaces it with the commandments of men.
    Jesus said ,give all you have away and follow me.
    Jesus also said that only blasphemy can not be forgiven.I heard President Obama confess Christ with his own mouth. Anyone that says he is muslim or anything else after hearing him confess Christ is in danger of committing the ONLY unpardonable sin, not the sins the pope says are unpardonable, but the one Christ says is unpardonable.

  • Bassicdave

    Doctordoctor, you’re correct – Obama-haters CAN’T spell. But neither can you so please use spell-check BEFORE hitting the SEND button.

  • Tobefair

    I believe that this blog is out of control. Mitt’s being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints should have little or nothing to do with him being president; any more being a Catholic should have stopped JFK from being president.
    Let’s do some “Fact” checking on what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints believe by taking the statements, providing reference information, and you can go to “LDS.ORG” and see for yourself. Don’t take my or the others word for it, check it out for yourself.(go to LDS.ORG and put the comment in blue in the search field)
    • Mormons do not believe in 7 heavens (Lesson 23: The Prophet Receives a Vision of the Three Degrees of Glory)
    • Mormon Missionaries are not looking for Mormons who don’t know they are Mormon (A Visit with Elder Gordon B. Hinckley about Missionary Work)
    • Mormons are not required to have firearms in their homes (No reference)
    • Mormons do hold Joseph Smith in high regard, but they believe Jesus Christ is the head of their church (Joseph Smith–History),
    • Mormons do not believe God lives on Kolob (The star nearest the throne of God (Abr. 3:2–3, 9).)
    • Woman do hold leadership positions in their church including Primary Presidency, Young Women Presidency, and Relief Society Presidency.
    • Mormons “magic underwear” are call Garments (The Temple Garment: “An Outward Expression of an Inward Commitment”),
    • Mormons do not believe in Same-Sex relationships. (Same-Gender Attraction) (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)
    • Mormons are not Polygamist (POLYGAMY (PLURAL MARRIAGE),
    • A Mormon “celestial marriage” is not the same a polygamy. (Celestial Marriage)
    • Mormon do perform ordnances for the dead, including baptism for the dead (Salvation for the Dead),
    • Mormons do believe they can become like God, which includes being Gods of other worlds. See Gospel Fundamental Chapter 36: Eternal Life
    • Mormons performs sacred ordnances in their temples and restrict access to only those who have recommends. (Come to the Temple)

  • rumpunch

    Two things. 1) We all get excited when we talk about Mormonism or any religion that isn’t ours because it makes us stop and look at some of the silly beliefs in our own. 2) Mitt Romney is surly too intelligent to believe all that stuff. But too superstitious or politically savvy to deny it.

  • Shari

    It is interesting to see Mormonism and bullying used in the same sentence. I grew up, a non mormon (what Mormons in Utah and Idaho like to call a Gentile) mostly in Idaho Falls and was regularly bullied by Mormons for being “an apostate” (that is someone who has heard the “truth” of Mormonism and rejected it) because I refused to convert. My homework was regularly torn from my arms and stomped into the floor of the bus; I was beaten up, hit, not allowed to sit down on the bus and ridiculed in classes. On one occasion the bus driver had to carry me off the bus because someone had hit me in the back of the head with a brick (the back of my head is still flat and a little piece of bone forms a bump at the bottom of my skull in the back) and knocked me unconscious. The Catholic school bus driver left me gently on the grass in the front yard of my parents home.

    Forward 10 or so years – when the first baby that I was to adopt arrested in my arms and later died. We rented our apartment from the then head of the LDS Social Services and he told me that if we would convert to Mormonism that night he would have us a brand new “healthy baby of either gender” in the morning. A couple of years later – when I was caring for another very sick baby in foster care, I was told that I had to convert to Mormonism and tithe to the Mormon church for my then foster child to be able to receive medical care at Primary Children’s Hospital (then the only children’s hospital in Salt Lake City).

    It was our absolutely wonderful Mormon pediatrician who took care of the baby that died and later the baby that PCH refused to treat – who went to bat with the hospital and they took care of him, had one of the best surgeons of that time perform an operation that saved his life – for which I am deeply grateful – that baby is now one of my adult sons.

    I have friends who are African Americans who grew up in the South before and during the Civil Rights Movement, and our stories of hatred and discrimination have some erie similarities. There were no crosses burned in our front yard and no lynchings; our church was never set on fire but the same hatred and supremacy drove very similar discrimination, hatred, abuse and injustices.

    My husband ran me over with our car when I disobeyed him and went across the street to get the mail which included my paycheck – the only money we had to make a house payment – and I could not get help from the all-Mormon police department because a wife disobeying her husband deserved whatever she got. That being said, a couple years later when he tried to kill me again in Michigan, the Michigan judge (who was not a Mormon) was not any better so perhaps that was at least in part a function of the time.

    There are wonderful people who are Mormons, who have a sense of right and wrong that extends beyond their religious beliefs – but at least into the 1980’s they were few and far between in my experience. I moved from Utah in the late 70’s.

    With these childhood and youth experiences as a back drop, bullying and Mormonism have quite a different meaning for me than what is being portrayed in the media. It feels ironic to hear about a Mormon who is not a polygomist experiencing religious prejudice for his religion; or is it true that we really do reap what we sew? Voting for a Mormon for me would be voting for oppression – although that is not the only reason I would not vote for Mr. Romney.

  • jessie

    In response to Ted 10/20, yes there are wonderful qualities in some Mormon people, as there are in people of any other religion. They are family-oriented, they help thy neighbor and others in need, and despite the secondary role women play, they are encouraged to develop themselves and their talents. However, they are arrogant, snobbish and elitist; I’ve known many that are unethical businessmen; they forbid their children to play outside on a Sunday yet its ok to sit inside and stare at the tv while dad watches football; regardless of how many races and ethnicities their church may help, they are fundamentally racist; they, for the most part, have no concern, knowledge or connection with or for the natural world including all animal life (you won’t see too many environmentalists in this church, nor even caring pet owners, and their scouting program is a joke as they whiz everyone through in record time just to attain badges); as their wedding ceremonies in the Temple are secret, non-Mormon family and friends cannot attend, even a mother or father of the couple; the most tasteful nudity in a film is sinful thus forbidden but graphic violence is A-ok, even for children; and then of course there’s the whole ‘we must populate the world with our kind’ mentality, which, granted, is not specific to this religion but is tragically misguided if there is any concern for our planet’s welfare, of which they have none. Spending time with Mormons, I get more the feeling that their ‘goodness’ is not coming from who they are, but from what they’re being told to do. Theirs is an artificial reality. No thanks.

  • moathome

    I grew up in SLC. I went to Mutual (religious glasses for teens). My uncle was a bishop. I can tell you from experience the Mormon church is an insidious cancer on the populace. They have block workers who check up on households. People smoke outside. They shove the beer cans under the sofa. It makes hypocrits out of everyone. Utah had one of the largest number of alcoholics in the country. When my husband began sleeping around, I sought counseling only to be told I was a ‘bad’ wife. Husbands could do anything they liked and wives humbly acquiesced. I didn’t. Divorcees couldn’t found housing (I was able to rent somebody’s attic,) they can’t get a job. I finally found a doctor who would see my baby when he was ill. When we ran a store across the street from the high school we’d both graduated from, we offered the kids coffee as well as burgers. If a student behaved badly at school, the parents and the student had to sign a paper on which they agreed NOT to patronize our store! Living in SLC became a nightmare. I moved to Colorado (Yes! The people were normal) and remarried. We attended a daughter’s wedding in Moab, the store clerk noted we were buying diapers. Long line of inappropriate questions ensued from the grocery clerk. We finally had to tell her we were visiting to shut her up. It brought back all the memories. In my fiduciary practice in Colorado, I retained the services of a financial adviser. Didn’t even think about religious affiliation. He was a Mormon and I had to threaten canceling his services before he’d stop preaching. Then he charged me outrageous fees over and above what we’d agreed on saying there was more to the job than he thought and listed various and sundry additional ‘services’. One of the first tenants of “the” church is to make money. They’ll steal the shirt off your back and you won’t notice it until you’re cold. It’s a huge organization because people are so intimidated by them; they are bullied. Once people succumb I guess, it must get easier. I was told as a teen that blacks were born black because they didn’t accept the faith before they were born! I was also told Joseph Smith came across the Atlantic in a canoe! When I objected to this silliness and noted Catholics and Methodists are white, I was told to sit down and shut up. I imagine the church had to soften its rules, at least outwardly, to win the Winter Olympics. I will say the Mormons I knew in Colorado were wonderful people whom I absolutely enjoyed. My experiences were in SLC, Utah. I shudder to think what would happen to this nation’s social programs if Mr. Romney were elected. All we can do is VOTE.

  • Johann

    I would prefer Mormon Romney to Executioner/Murderer (Willingham in 2004) Perry. Perry obviously thinks that seven (7) years has erased his infamous history?

    In good conscience, I must and will, change Party’s, to vote AGAINST….. Perry.

  • Bryan Forrest

    I am neither American and an Atheist but I confess to being prejudiced against Mormons. This is because the entire Mormon faith is foundered upon a historical nonsense invented by one Man, Joseph Smith. I therefore question the sanity and intelligence of anyone honestly believing this nonsense and the idea that a Mormon might become the leader of the Free World horrifies me Whilst I accept that the Bible’s stories are largely mythical, there is a correlation with enough of the known facts of the histories of actual ancient peoples that Judeo-Christians can be excused for some of their fantastic beliefs. The Judeo-Christian story is told by various authors over a long period, in 66 books with an authentic manuscript history. Mormons have to accept the word of a single author, who at a recent instance, claimed to translate “golden plates” with the aid of “supernatural spectacles” made from the “Urim & Thumin” of the High Priest Aaron’s breastplate. No one but Smith ever set eyes upon the plates, the spectacles, or the famed stones and they were conveniently repossessed by the angel once Smith had completed his work. Though Smith was a American of the 19th Century, the book of Mormon ended up sounding like the KJV of 16th Century England. how likely is that unless it was contrived? Furthermore, the Book of Mormon was almost certainly plagiarized from one of Smith’s contemporaries and Smith was a notorious “dowser”, “occultist dreamer” and “buried treasure hunter”.
    We non-American citizens have a stake in the American presidency, and at least Obama is sane. Dubbya Bush was scary as was Nancy Reagan’s reputed penchant for psychic readings. But a believer in the fabulous. Next it will be a Scientologist, Raelian or a conspiracy theorist. DOH!