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Haruko Haruhara On June - 3 - 2011

I have a confession to make. I know very little about Mormonism.

Oh, of course I know the basics — Joseph Smith, no coffee allowed, the missionaries in the white shirts. I even know about all the unusual things — the Magic Underpants, the Star Kolob, the polygamist sects, Native Americans being a lost tribe of Jews. I hate to say it, but it’s true — I actually learned a lot about Mormonism from an episode of South Park a couple of years ago (And I actually don’t like South Park, but this episode was genuinely informative.)

I know Mormons have a reputation for homophobia. I know the church poured millions into passing Prop. 8 in California. That’s reason enough for me to not like the church.

Still, I was deeply bothered yesterday over at that (ack! cough!) site, all the derogatory comments being made about Mitt Romney’s religion. Some of it seemed terribly bigoted. And I thought the people making these comments probably thought of themselves as progressive and open-minded. I wanted to say to them … do you hate Harry Reid like this because of his religion. How about Steve Young when he played in the NFL. How about the Napoleon Dynamite guy? I despise Glenn Beck to pieces, but his Mormonism has nothing to do with my disgust toward him.

I’ve known a few Mormons, I’m sure we all have, and I’ve never once had any of them try to push their faith on me. I’ve never once had a problem with them — other than Prop. 8 — and I saw that as the church hierarchy.

I don’t like Mitt. I think he’s a phony and a flip-flopper. But, I’ve never heard of him trying to push his faith on voters — I have no idea how devout he actually is, in fact. This is a fundamental difference I see between Romney and Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Palin and Bachmann, and I think Huckabee, too, are Dominionists, who are out to turn America into a “Christian” nation … and not just Christian, but their particular brand of fundamentalist Christianity.

I don’t really care that Palin and Bachmann are fundamentalists … what I do care about is they constantly invoke God’s name for their source of motivation. It terrifies me the things they would try to do to this country if they gained control.

So, help me, Mitt Romney doesn’t terrify me. Maybe he should. I have no doubt Planned Parenthood would come under financial assault if Romney were elected, but frankly, at this point that’s true if ANY Republican gains power. ANY. They will ALL attack Planned Parenthood, which is reason enough not to vote for any Republican.

Maybe I’ve known too many Mormons, who for the most part mind their own business. Maybe other people know bad things about Mormons that I’m ignorant of. But, I can’t help thinking that there’s some “open minded progressives” out there who need to take a long look in the mirror. There’s plenty of legitimate problems with Romney without dragging his faith — as unusual as it may seem to many of us — into it.

Categories: GOP, News & Politics

70 Responses so far.

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  1. Dbos says:

    Hey by the end of the campaign the rom man probably won’t be a professed mormon ;he’s flipped on so many other thing he’ll probably flip flop on mormonism

  2. escribacat says:

    When JFK was elected it was a huge deal because he was Catholic. The USA has long considered itself WASP, which rules out any religion other than Protestant. (Time to wake up!) Romney doesn’t strike me as someone who gets his “instructions” from God the way Palin, Bachmann and Huckabee do (but I don’t know) so he’s less scary to me. It’s the people who want to erase the separation of church and state that worry me.

    I think one thing I’ve learned by hanging around the Planet is to show more respect for other people’s beliefs and religion.

  3. texliberal says:

    John Romer did a wonderful DOC and wrote a book on the Bible as history. Worth viewing or reading. They were titled Testament.

  4. whatsthatsound says:

    Great piece, HH! There is an anti-religion contingent over there at HP that will take any opportunity to show how “smart” and “free thinking” they are by blasting people of faith, any faith. It seems to rankle them no end that HP has a “Religion” section, so they go over there and make rude, childish comments no matter what the subject.

    If someone writes about the possibility of science and religion finding common ground, they retort that it’s impossible, because religion is hooey and science is intelligent.

    If someone of a particular faith writes about how they are using their faith in a way that is beneficial to them, they will write, sure, go ahead and believe in your Tooth Fairy, but don’t push your loony beliefs on anybody else (even though the author is doing nothing of the kind, just sharing).

    They are an obnoxious, childish, unbelievably arrogant sub-group of “progressives” who know absolutely nothing about true faith, nor do they want to, and yet they can’t resist the urge to barge in and express their views and toss out their sophomoric insults, ad infinitum.

    • Caru says:

      While I support your comment regarding your example about people using their faith in a way that is beneficial to them and then being attacked, I do not support your implication that not thinking that science and religion can find common ground is childish. They are two unrelated areas that only overlap by virtue of people purposely trying to overlap them.

      Also, science and religion are not equatable. One is a method of testing hypothesis and the other is comprised of various sets of beliefs, dogmas and ways of thinking.

      Lastly, those who use science to refute religion are generally missing the point. Most religiously-based arguments can be easily refuted through the application of logic, moral and humanistic thought.

      • choicelady says:

        Actually, until the 20th century, ALL people of science retained a deep and abiding spirituality including some sense of “another” not necessarily anthropomorphic. Reading the works of Newton et al., they found discovery of scientific principles a profound spiritual connection to something unseen, unknown, awe-some. More and more discoveries of explanation did not diminish that but expanded it for many scientists.

        The reason science and faith have become separated has everyting to do with the rise of and power of fundamentalism that totally rejects science (except their hooey of creationism or intelligent design.) By attempting to appropriate science (botched and illogical as they made it) scientists had little choice but to push back against these fraudulent and non-inductive reasoning processes.

        Religiosity as explanation is deductive, admits no evidence outside the “theory”, and is the dead opposite of scientific inductive reasoning that builds theory from fact. Deductive reasoning is totally flawed if you begin with a flawed hypothesis. Creationist “theory” that dinosaurs perished as species in Noah’s flood starts with the premise that the world is only 6000 years old.To explain dinosaur skeletons, the explanations are entirely without scientific substance and thus are not only unprovable but go against the facts. It is the fundamentalist need to shape evidence to fit the Biblical premise that makes this so corrupt as explanation.

        Faith is NOT incompatible with science at all. Faith embraces science as the way we know how the world and universe work. We learn, we grow, we are constantly amazed nonetheless. We don’t need to force data into a theory of creation. Therefore,to people of faith, nothing in science is a threat to faith. Nothing in faith is a threat to science. Faith is joy in human connection, possibility, creativity, making the world a better place and moving (we hope) toward improvement at every turn. Thus people of faith reject the narrow religiosity and embrace science as Newton and others did -- part of the understanding, the quest for truth, fascination with the awe of life.

      • KQuark says:

        I agree. I think it’s a human concept that science and religion have to find a common ground. All they need to do is coexist. Then again I don’t tie morality to religion either.

        • SallyT says:

          As Einstein said, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

          • KQuark says:

            Actually religion was Einstein’s blind spot because his religious beliefs conflicted with Quantum Mechanics he denied reality. That’s the reason he never got near developing a grand unified theory of energy and matter. He did not accept Quantum Mechanics because due to the Heisenberg Principle physics becomes just a matrix of probabilities. In fact his famous quote which said “God does not play dice” showed his utter bias.

        • Caru says:

          Neither do I. Humans don’t derive morality from religion, religion derives its moralities from humans.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Caru, that is a valid argument made civilly and respectfully. That is precisely NOT what takes place at HP. If everyone argued that point the way you do, I would have absolutely no problem with it. I am taking issue with tone, not substance.

    • KQuark says:

      I’ll play devil’s advocate in this way. It is difficult for people who don’t believe in an organized religion to take organized religions seriously. After all that’s breaking our belief system. Sure you can respect a person’s individual beliefs but at some point if you are truly agnostic about religion it’s hard not to criticize the negative effects of organized religions that lead to intolerance or worse. I mean when you see extreme acts of intolerance perpetrated by religious groups like de-legalizing same sex marriage in CA then it’s simply not being a smug HP vet putting down organized religion but fact based animosity. Again the key principle to me is moderation. If you are not extreme in your beliefs meaning you are truly tolerant and try to impose your beliefs on others I have a problem with you.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        KQ, I am not suggesting that you, or anyone else, “take religion seriously”. I am saying that disrespect for a person’s religious beliefs reveals stubbornness and lack of empathy. Challenging beliefs? Absolutely! Challenge any and all aspects of dogma, ESPECIALLY those that you feel are harmful to society or any portion thereof.

        But. Have a little common sense about what religion means to people. People don’t indoctrinate religious tenets they same way they choose football teams to root for or political parties to support. In “The God Delusion”, Richard Dawkins suggests that since it is fine to lampoon political parties, why not religion? Why should one be accorded more respect than the other?

        He honestly seems not to know the answer to this question. Amazing how some people can be so smart, and yet so stupid.

        • KQuark says:

          Well it’s kind of a moot “argument” between us because you are not the type of person I’m talking about and I hope you think the reverse is true of me.

          I’m really just saying it’s a fine line to walk sometimes, especially with sensitive people either way.

          I have no time for the likes of Dawkins and Hitchens types who smugly look down on anyone with faith. I have my own spiritual beliefs and pretentious and intolerant orthodox atheists can be as narrow minded as religious fundamentalists to me.

          • whatsthatsound says:

            absolutely, KQ. In no way do I consider you to be the least like Dawkins/Hitchens, and their merry band of “anti-theist” bull-in-a-china shop brethren.

            You not only are always respectful and tolerant, even better you have a humble and open minded outlook about all such matters as these. Because, there is so much we don’t know, not only about the vast universe, but about the intimate places inside from which people derive their faith/beliefs. Insulting gets us nowhere.

  5. Pepe Lepew says:

    Khirad can confirm this. Mormonism runs pretty heavily in Oregon. I lived in a small town in Oregon for a couple of years that was 50 percent Mormon and 50 percent evangelical fundamentalists.

    I hung out with the Mormons. They were more fun, more “run of the mill” — if that’s the term you want to use. They were just like you and me. I never had a Mormon ask me what my relationship was with Jesus, and then give me the cold shoulder when I didn’t give them the answer they wanted.

    They just have a religion that is hard for nonbelievers to understand.

    • Khirad says:

      Yup, I can vouch for those experiences, even if mine was a suburban experience. Oregon and SW Washington are like West Idaho in pockets, which itself is North Utah.

      It’s like most people think of them ringing doorbells, but after they do their mandatory mission (and I feel sorry for some of them, I could never do it), they never feel a need to proselytize again. In fact, as a minority, I think they’re sensitive to not doing that (which again, is weird, given the whole doorbell doctrine), but that’s my take. One guy I knew, Brigham, whose father glowed about meeting Bill Clinton, seemed uncomfortable and self-conscious even bringing up his religion when I mentioned I had a Book of Mormon.

      I’ve found Evangelicals to be far more obnoxious and far more dour and judgmental. Mormons are more fun, and nice to a fault.

  6. KQuark says:

    To me every religion is a cult based on myths some ancient and some more modern so Romney being a Mormon does not bother me at all.

  7. ADONAI says:

    It could be compared to Kennedy and the “Catholic Scare” he had to go through. A “religious test” is common in elections to high office.

    Like bito said earlier, religion is a touchy subject in the country. Even things said in jest, or with no malicious intent, can be taken the wrong way.

    They say friends should never discuss religion or politics. Which kind of goes counter to what this country is all about. We’re a secular society. That doesn’t mean we distrust or oppress religion. It just means we put no religion above another. A great little idea.

    The problem is that various religions, by nature, seeks to assert themselves as the dominant faith in the world. It will lead, and has led, to many conflicts.

    Politics is the same way. Both sides seeking to be the dominant force in the country. A country that is the dominant force in the world. Here, in this Presidential race, you again have the crossroads of religion and politics.

    I don’t know if it is wrong to base your dislike for a candidate purely on issues of faith. How can a religious person NOT have that enter into every decision they make, fair or not? And I can’t really hold it against them. I admire people committed to their faith. It’s a strength of character I admittedly do not have, so I can’t really say my judgements are any better than theirs.

    And I’m gonna wrap up since I’m rambling now but, I respect Mitt Romney’s faith and his commitment to it. Like any other person. My disagreements are purely political.

    • SallyT says:

      There are religions and there are religions. Some a source of faith and some a source of rule and governing of their followers. Why is it even a matter of discussion in elections? Well, it was a big one in the year 1800 when they thought that Jefferson was not a man of faith. He had to proclaim he was. (But was he?) I guess it has always been there. Could an atheist or agonist be elected? I think they would have a harder time than Romney or maybe even a Muslim.

      • ADONAI says:

        I think we gotta give atheists more time. They didn’t really become a movement in this country til the early 20th century and haven’t really had a lot of political endeavors.

        It seems cliche to keep bringing it up but you don’t have to go back too far to when we believed a black man would never be elected President. It really was a seminal moment and a sign that old barriers are falling down.

        I could see an atheist getting elected. You know who I think would have the absolute hardest time getting elected President in this country? A gay man. All the talk of race and religion, at least they have all their rights. They get violated a lot, but they have them.

        • SallyT says:

          Some think we already had a “gay” president, President Buchanan. Don’t care one way or another but that is just one of those mysteries of history. (His nieces destroyed many of his letters but a few remained to leave some ????)

          • ADONAI says:

            Sally, that’s funny you mention Buchanan. He’s featured in the blog post I’m writing right now. I guess I should have said, “openly gay”. There certainly were some questions about Buchanan but I don’t guess anything ever came of it.

            • SallyT says:

              Adonai, gee, I wish I could remember the book that was written not too long ago about his relationship with his long time companion, I think King was his name. Anyway, I saw the author on C-Span History talking about it. Guess they found some letters.

        • Khirad says:

          I’d first like to see a coalition made up of (non-rigid) atheists, agnostics, humanists, Buddhists, Hindus, liberal Christians and Jews, Sufis and all others who believe in pluralism to advocate for minority beliefs and gain acceptance for them.

          As far as atheists and other non-theists go, Maher may be polarizing, but he’s dead right when he points out how many more atheists there are than Jews, and their respective political involvement.

          When I think about that, I get a little angry. I think there’s a lot to be learned from how Jews, African Americans, or Irish Catholics before have organized. But therein lies a sort of oxymoron. Getting nonbelievers together in unity is like herding cats. And therein is also a lesson about one of the founding strengths of religion in human society: unity.

          • SallyT says:

            There are probably a lot of closest atheists. Still not something you like to bring up in a crowd, I suppose.

            • Khirad says:

              Indeed. And that inuring that stigma should be part of advocacy. To that end, the caricature of “angry atheist” is highly counterproductive.

          • ADONAI says:

            Very well said, Khirad. They could learn a lot from early Christians about bringing people of different minds, but a single purpose, together.

            And, like Christianity, it will probably start with small groups leading to a greater whole.

  8. Caru says:

    Everything that I know about Mormonism, I learned during “Cults” class in school. Yes, we had a class specifically about cults. However, it only ran for one semester.

    Also on the list of cults that we learned about -- and how to avoid -- was Scientology. Those where is strange conversations in class.

    • Khirad says:

      I take cult classification seriously. It is far too often bandied about. Scientology yes, Latter Day Saints, no. Though, there are a few things, but I’d put it low on any cult spectrum, and I’d include Pentecostalism just as easily to that.

      I find that an odd class. One which could be interesting were it to stick to the more seriously damaging cults. The FLDS, for example, would qualify.

      • KQuark says:

        I think it’s simply a matter of degrees. Of course the FLDS is much worse than the mainstream Church of LDS. But any organization that fundamentally tries to mold your belief system through repetitive ritual, peer pressure and monetary demands is at least cult-like to me.

        • Khirad says:

          True, but while even Christianity started out as a cult (in the technical, non-pejorative sense), and I concede your point, I generally save the term for the most coercive and predatory religious groups and “spiritual” movements.

          Like, do they want a harem (LDS would have qualified in the early days), all your money, to have you drink the punch? Do they threaten and intimidate you physically from leaving or psychologically abuse you? If you leave, are you now evil, like all the other non-cultists on the ‘outside’?

          True, one can find shades of some of those in lesser degree in mainstream religion, but it’s still not the same.

          As a historical term the way you used it, cult is fine. But the way it is hurled by Evangelicals, for everyone that isn’t Evangelical is ironic to me. That’s one of the characteristics of an actual cult. Black and white, “Us” righteous, “Them” deviant, indoctrinated thinking. I still wouldn’t classify them as a cult as I’ve described, but it has a key element. And the way they are extra obsequious and questioning-averse, is another check mark in cult typology.

          • SallyT says:

            Khirad, I don’t know but if you ever saw my ex-husband’s family, you would know a cult! And, it ain’t all religion either. Second thought, you don’t want to see them and stay away!

      • Caru says:

        Oh, we talked about them too.

  9. Khirad says:

    As I’ve mentioned here before, I grew up in an enclave pretty heavy with Mormons. Not a majority, but influential. They get on school boards, etc. My High School, compared to even our rival high school was downright prudish. When I heard they had free condoms, and about the girls at the other High School, I all of a sudden felt I went to a parochial school. I felt CHEATED. There was even a seminary next to the parking lot, separated by a little chain link fence. It was not an elective, but they all would get a period off and go there in the middle of the school day. I wrote a pretty scathing op-ed about it in the school paper, and elicited a response and ‘invitation’ for me. But, they thanked me that I recognized them as Christians. I know, they’re about as Christian as Bahá’ís are Muslim, but they accept Christ--though with a different framework and the Book of Mormon is a “supplemental” (bogus) testament to the Bible, which they also use.

    As to Temple Square. It’s actually more kitschy than creepy. It’s almost like Disneyland. On the tour, a clearly gay couple were giggling throughout, to the consternation of the guide. Next to the temple is their corporate headquarters. Growing up was a bunch of rumors of what they did and didn’t own. Like Safeway and Albertsons (grocery chains), which is false. They do own a lot though. And don’t forget the Hawai’ian presence, as in the Polynesian Cultural Center.

    If you ever go to Zion National Park, I would recommend stopping in St. George, to visit the Brigham Young’s winter House (complete with jail). It was designed by Miles Romney. And yes, Mitt’s a direct descendent. As a Prophet, Brigham had extra rooms for whichever of his 55 wives/concubines he was with at the time.

    By the way, at Mormon properties like Temple Square and Brigham Young’s house, they don’t proselytize heavily. I guess it’s enough to them that you’re there. Now, that’s not quite the ‘cult’ I hear about from the Evangelical in my family. Are there things like the ostracism upon leaving the LDS Church, and the baptisms of the dead, using their incomparable genealogical resources, that are cultish and creepy. Definitely yes. But you see the former in other religions (I’m thinking of the dread of excommunication in Roman Catholicism, for one--though some I’ve known took it as a mark of pride), and there’s creepy stuff in other religions. Although, I’m not making a false equivalency. I find the baptism for the dead mighty arrogant and disrespectful--never mind theologically dubious (as is their very founding).

    But, I’ve known quite a few liberal Mormon friends. More than you’d expect. I’ve also known Mormons brought up in big families, who were the black sheep, because it’s bound to happen. Others, who were very artsy and liberal recovering alcoholics. And, yes, even a girl raped by her father. So, in other words, Mormons, having their own unique customs and beliefs, aren’t exactly similar, but in one thing, they are similar to everyone else. There is wide diversity in the community. From Glenn Beck to Twilight author Stephanie Meyer.

    Basically, it’s the bigotry from the Evangelicals that should be expected. But as to me, I don’t care if you’re Mormon. I don’t vote on whatever your beliefs are. I vote on your positions and your deeds. I vote on the person, not their creed alone. I don’t care if Obama is Christian, secret agnostic Unitarian, or even Manchurian Muslim. I’ll vote for him regardless. Just as I’d vote for Reid (considering the GOP in Nevada is nutty) or the Udalls. Heck, even though I like Merkley a lot better, for a Republican, Oregon’s Gordon Smith was downright moderate, and an early voice speaking for withdrawal from Iraq, as well as for more mental health services (his son committed suicide).

    No, my problem with Romney isn’t his religion. There’s so much more wrong with him, from both the liberal and conservative (and every position in between, which I’m sure he’s also vacillated on) perspective. This is a phony, damaged candidate, and save for a Palin or Bachmann ticket, I hope he wins the nomination. It’d be Dole all over again.

    • bito says:

      Well said Khirad, I don’t think that this post was meant to open a discussion on Mormonism, at least I hope not. Religious beliefs are many and differ in their dogmas and are often quite personal.

      Everyone needs to keep in mind that the Planet has over 60,000+ readers from 93+ countries and we have no idea of their personal religious followings.

      There are good and bad in every faith, they are humans.

      My take on the post is whether one would base their vote on a persons religion not a discussion on the positive and negatives of any certain religion, do you use a religious test when you vote on a certain candidate?

      • Khirad says:

        I thought I fully addressed that. I was merely taking off where others had begun. I mean, it came up, so I talked a little of my personal experiences with the religion to buttress my final point. It’s integral to the discussion, I think. Seeing bigotry on left and right, I wonder how many of those have known many Mormons?

      • Haruko Haruhara says:

        Absolutely. I was merely trying to express my frustration with what I saw on (ack!) that site — so-called liberals spewing a lot of intolerance toward a religion as a whole. It’s no different from right-wingers railing on Islam.

      • Caru says:

        To be completely and utterly honest, I would not vote for any candidate who believed that the apocalypse was just around the corner.

        I’d say that it would probably affect their policies considerably and not in a good way.

        • KQuark says:

          That’s for damn sure. Talk about a self fulfilling prophecies. I could see them spiking the football just to start the rapture.

        • Khirad says:

          Indeed. For me, it’s if I feel their policy would unduly be negatively affected by their beliefs.

          It’s one thing to be guided by beliefs of compassion and righteousness, quite another to side with Israel no matter what, for bringing about the Rapture, for example.

          I have to admit my own sectarianism, though. Were there two candidates with views I agreed with that were largely the same, and were both good contenders, if I thought one was less religious, I’d vote for them.

      • SallyT says:

        Opinions aren’t always accepted by everyone in the same matter. But, those are opinions of that individual. Religion is a subject with more opinions than most. I would hope that all subjects can be discussed. However, I do know what it is like to have a subject matter that is not popular on here. It can be uncomfortable but, heck, I choose to stay for now. I would hope that others can handle themselves in the same matter.

    • SallyT says:

      Liberal Mormons would be what they call Jack Mormons. I spent 8 long years in SLC, UT and can I tell you stories. Not a fun place to live if you are non-religious, single parent as I was. It was harder on my children because of that fact than me, tho. But, I left.
      No, I wouldn’t use that against Romney but it wouldn’t be a bonus point either. However, I don’t think he is as practicing as those I was subjected to.
      And, I am now in Oregon and as for Gordon Smith, he was voted out for many reasons, but enough said.

      • Khirad says:

        I know Oregon very well. I wasn’t saying I’d ever have voted for him, and was proud of my sister for voting for Merkley. But c’mon. He was moderate as far as the GOP today goes. Not saying I wouldn’t have preferred a Democrat, and I disagreed with Smith frequently when he played to The Dalles or Medford (or Lake Oswego) crowd, but he wasn’t like the right wingers we’re seeing now. (You should know I grew up in the Portland metro area, and thus grew up with the Oregonian and Portland news channels. Heck, I still remember the Bob Packwood scandal.)

        SLC may be liberal, but it’s still Utah. I also don’t think Romney is Mormon as much as by conviction, as by lineage. But, no one truly knows what’s in another person’s heart. It’s just the impression I get from him.

        • SallyT says:

          SLC is liberal???? Far from it. Smith proclaimed to be moderate but when he ran in 2008 one of the reasons he lost was he’s “for it, against it, no won’t vote/but that was for it” on the Iraq War. Since you grew up here and I just moved here in 1983………….don’t care, my opinion does not change.

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      Legally, there is no religious test for being elected to public office, but I think you are absolutely correct about the hard core Evangelicals denouncing Romney for being a Mormon.
      I don’t like Romney, simply because he’s a republican. My dislike of him is not based on his religion, and I’m sure that’s the case with most progressives. I don’t really think he has much of a chance of winning a general election. Maybe not even the nomination.

      • bito says:

        KT, your assumptions are close to the polls.

        Public opinion polls suggest a lingering bias against Mormon candidates. A survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center found that a quarter of American adults admit to being less likely to vote for a Mormon candidate for president.

        The survey found that resistance to Mormon candidates was even higher among two groups: liberal Democrats and evangelicals, who overwhelmingly vote Republican. One in three white evangelicals said they were less likely to support a Mormon candidate.

        That creates a stiff headwind for Romney and Huntsman, given evangelicals’ primary power. In 2008, evangelicals accounted for 60 percent of Republican voters in Iowa, home to the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, and in South Carolina, whose primaries come hard on the heels of New Hampshire’s.


        The primaries look like they are a large obstacle for him and why isn’t John Hunstman’s religion ever brought up?

  10. texliberal says:

    HH , Mormonism is based on golden tablets sent from on high and brought by an angel to Joseph Smith. He stated only he could decipher them and they were never seen by anyone else. It’s kind of mixture of Erich Von Daniken, Dan Brown and L Ron Hubbard. To each his own but that stuff is pretty off the wall.

  11. ADONAI says:

    Good article HH. I believe the venom pointed toward Romney regarding his religion is from uninformed bigots.

    The Mormon religion had a dubious beginning but it has left much of those early “birth pains” behind, just as early Christians did.

    A lot of people hated Mormons for the longest time because they may have indirectly fanned the flames that led to the Civil War. Everywhere he went, Smith challenged the sovereignty of the federal government while also begging for their support. A terrible thing to do while talk of secession is going through the country. In Utah, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, Joseph Smith attempted to form his own “kingdom”.

    Every place threw them out, Missouri even brought federal troops against him and he was arrested and charged with treason. While in Illinois he petitioned the government to make the land he had bought a separate independent territory. Smith announced his plan to run for President as a Third Party and his followers proclaimed him “king” of his little world.

    He was, of course, again arrested for treason. This time he was shot and killed in jail before his trial. Some men were charged with the killing but all were acquitted. My guess is that they were all hardcore anti-secessionists or some group he had pissed off during his travels. Hard to say.

    The Mormon Church worked hard to move past all that. They kept the core of what makes their religion special: deep family bonds, a humble attitude that seems so out of place today, and a deep faith in Jesus and the goodness of all mankind.

    I remember that episode of South Park you refer to. I think they got pretty close to reality. Mormons are just really nice people. Their religion puts such an emphasis on modesty, humbleness, and moral character. Doesn’t mean they can’t be greedy and ambitious like Romney. They’re still human. It just means that maybe, MAYBE, if Romney won, he wouldn’t be half the asshole Bush was. Probably still an asshole, but a Mormon asshole. The kind that makes a few mistakes but still gives you socialized medicine.

  12. funksands says:

    Haruko, I grew up in the middle of a mess of them, and am related by marraige to scads more.

    I think your take on the issue is pretty solid.

    Most mormons I know are parochial, paternalistic, conservative, a lot of them are mildly racist.

    But that could describe many many americans.

    That said most of mormons I know are just people and pretty nice ones at that. My 15 nieces and nephews are pretty cool. :-)

    Mormons are all right. The Mormon church is one of the biggest businesses on the planet and a huge influence in the corporatist takeover of our nation.

    I have a bigger problem with what that means than the religion or the individuals that subscribe to it.

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