April 30, 2012

Praying with Mitt

Last week we ran a series on the relationship between Mitt Romney and Mormonism, a topic with which neither the candidate nor the media wish to deal. The whole series can be found here. We close the series now with a collection of short items on the topic

Salon
- Mormon leader Marlin Jensen has recently acknowledged that Latter-day Saints are leaving the fold in droves. The former church historian spoke frankly to a group of students at Utah State University, saying, "We've never had a period of - I'll call it apostasy - like we're having now."

Church leaders never anticipated the Internet generation would access their history online. Joseph Smith used magic stones to see into the past. Today, young Mormons use Google. When they discover that their founding prophet wedded several teenage girls, it is often a traumatic revelation. Mormons experience a crisis of trust, if not outright betrayal, from their leaders.

Though the actual numbers of defections have not been published, anecdotal stories abound throughout Utah. It's not just Joseph's sex life that causes many Mormons to mistrust their leaders, but also the church's persistent commitment to right-wing politics.

Mitt Romney, 2002 - My commitment to my Church and faith is all encompassing

Sally Denton, Salon - At the recent GOP presidential debate in Florida, Romney professed that the Declaration of Independence is a theological document, not specific to the rebellious 13 colonies, but establishing a covenant "between God and man." Which would suggest that Mitt Romney views the American presidency as a theological office.

 Romney avoids mentioning it, but [Joseph] Smith ran for president in 1844 as an independent commander in chief of an "army of God" advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government in favor of a Mormon-ruled theocracy. Challenging Democrat James Polk and Whig Henry Clay, Smith prophesied that if the U.S. Congress did not accede to his demands that "they shall be broken up as a government and God shall damn them." Smith viewed capturing the presidency as part of the mission of the church. He had predicted the emergence of "the one Mighty and Strong" - a leader who would "set in order the house of God" - and became the first of many prominent Mormon men to claim the mantle.

….A multibillion-dollar business empire that includes agribusiness, mining, insurance, electronic and print media, manufacturing, movie production, commercial real estate, defense contracting, retail stores and banking, the Mormon church has unprecedented economic and political power. Despite a solemn stricture against any act or tolerance of gambling, Mormons have been heavily invested and exceptionally influential in the Nevada gaming industry since the great expansion of modern Las Vegas in the 1950s. Valued for their unquestioning loyalty to authority as well as general sobriety - they are prohibited from imbibing in alcohol, tobacco or coffee - Mormons have long been recruited into top positions in government agencies and multinational corporations. They are prominent in such institutions as the CIA, FBI and the national nuclear weapons laboratories, giving the church a sphere of influence unlike any other American religion in the top echelons of government.When Morman intellectuals question their faith


When Mormons defect

What Romney presumably believes about American history, as outlined by Robert M Bowman Jr of the Institute for Religious Research:


  • American Indians are direct descendants primarily of the Book of Mormon people known as the Lamanites, who were of Israelite stock.
  • The American continent is the "promised land" of the ten lost tribes of Israel, and the LDS Church's mission is to conduct the "gathering of Israel" by bringing them to America.
  • Zion is to be built in America, centered at a temple to be built in Independence, Missouri.
"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection for his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to effect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose." -Thomas Jefferson

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