by Stephen Lendman | SteveLendmanBlog
Romney is America’s first non-Christian presidential nominee. He’s a Mormon (aka Latter Day Saints Church member – LDS). Does it matter? More on that below.
Before he entered politics, he spent years as a Massachusetts Mormon leader. He began in the mid-1970s. From 1986 – 1994, he was president of the Boston Stake. It’s similar to a Catholic diocese. Before that he was a Belmont and Cambridge bishop. His duties involved organizational work and counseling.
Later he taught Sunday school and oversaw church programs for teenagers. He overstepped by lecturing women on their sex lives and roles as homemakers. A 1994 Boston Phoenix cited an anonymous woman. As bishop, Romney discouraged her from having an abortion vital for health reasons.
The same article mentioned an area professor. She urged him to address domestic abuse. He refused and wouldn’t do it. He’s an elitist. He surrounds himself in church, business, and political life with powerful white men.
He’s insensitive about ordinary popular needs. He doesn’t convince people he cares. He calls homosexuality “perverse and reprehensible.” His dark side is largely hidden.
He believes in traditional gender roles. Male dominance is fundamental. Women should be child bearers and homemakers.
As Massachusetts governor, his style was imperial. He’s aloof and patrician. He frowns on single parenthood. He follows hidebound Mormon rules. Obey or face excommunication. He ordered one single mother to give up her son or religion.
At times, he feigns understanding. He doesn’t fake it well. Most often he’s distant and indifferent. He’s hardline about parishioners doing what they’re told. His arrogance toward one church member made her feel like he “kicked (her) in the stomach.”
Another parishioner called him racist and anti-Semitic. He’s part entrepreneur, predator, church leader, politician, and now presidential aspirant. He combines the worst of each one.
Last May, Jodi Kantor headlined a largely flattering New York Times article “Romney’s Faith, Silent but Deep,” saying:
With presidential aspirations, he “speaks so sparingly about his faith….that its influence on him can be difficult to detect.”
Friends “describe a man whose faith is his design for living.” It’s not his only influence, but “its impact cannot be fully untangled from that of his family, which is also steeped in Mormonism.”
As a young entrepreneur, he was very “deseret.” It’s a Book of Mormon term. It means “industrious as a honeybee.” He went all out recruiting colleagues and clients with Mormon like missionary zeal.
He’s hardline on rules. They mirror his Mormon ones. As Massachusetts bishop and president he excommunicated adulterers. He discouraged mothers from working instead of being good wives and homemakers.
In private, he’s “demonstrative about his faith.” In church, he “belt(s) out hymns.” He fasts on designated days. Wherever he is, most often he finds a congregation “to slip into on Sundays.”
According to Mormon founder Joseph Smith and his successor Brigham Young, practitioners of other religions are wrongheaded, abominable, blind, damned, ignorant pagan heathens hatched in hell.
Romney buys this stuff. He follows church dogma and rules. Responding to critics about his religion, he once said:
“They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts.”
“That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them and to my beliefs.”
Mormon temples are only for strict adherents and its leaders. Secrecy surrounding them is extraordinary. Before church members can enter a temple, they’re interviewed to determine worthiness.
They’re asked if they support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices differ from church dogma? Romney gained entry. Blockage denies it to heaven. Repentance can change things.
Church ordinances include the Law of Consecration. It requires members to pledge all their time, money, and abilities to establish the Mormon kingdom of heaven on earth. Absolute obedience to the church president is also demanded.
If Romney buys this stuff and abides by it, as president he’ll be beholden to a higher power than his own office and must obey what he’s told to do.
Political con men like having things both ways. Promise voters what they want to hear. Govern according to political priorities. Practice your religion as you choose out of public view.
Perhaps if elected, they’ll be three Romney presidents. He’s a chameleon, an opportunistic con man. He’ll combine campaigner, office holder, religious extremist. He’ll one up the worst of Obama enough to give his supporters pause or should if they take the time to find out.
His December 2007 GHW Bush presidential library speech was planned to allay fears about his Mormonism. He failed. He only mentioned it once. He said nothing about its beliefs or practices.
In September 1960, Kennedy removed the Catholic Question by boldly defending secularism. Romney preached the importance of “faith perspectives” in political life.
He claimed he and fellow Mormons are of like mind with evangelical Protestants and fundamentalist Catholics. He feels the same way now.
Perhaps he was wise not to defend what’s indefensible. It’s less extreme now than originally but bad enough. The same goes for all religious extremism. It’s one thing to be an adherent. It’s quite another to govern by its dictates.
When asked “(w)ill all be damned but Mormons,” founder Joseph Smith said:
“Yes, and a great portion of them unless they repent and work righteousness.”
The Book of Mormon describes two churches: the church of the Lamb of God and the church of the devil. The latter is the great church. The other is “the mother of abomination….the whore of all the earth.”
In the Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young said:
“Should you ask why we differ from other Christians, as they are called, it is simply because they are not Christians as the New Testament defines Christianity.”
“The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of the salvation of God.”
“With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world.”
“….the professing Christian world are like a ship upon a boisterous ocean without rudder, compass, or pilot, and are tossed hither and thither by every wind of doctrine.”
“….the time came when Paganism was engrafted into Christianity, and at last Christianity was converted into Paganism rather than converting the Pagans.”
John Taylor succeeded Young. In the Journal of Discourses, he said:
“We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense …the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century.”
“What! Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast.”
“What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing …Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest of fools; they know neither God nor the things of God.”
Other Mormon leaders expressed similar comments about Christianity and Mormon exceptionalism. Be wary when religious leaders demean other faiths for not being true believers.
Mormonism’s dark side masquerades as wholesome, special, and benevolent. It’s pernicious and malevolent and about non-believers. Adherents feel a Mormon is destined to become president and lead America. They stop short of explaining harmful policies he’ll endorse.
The 19th century book titled “The Mysteries of Mormonism” is harsh. It condemns a religion it calls “the twin relic of barbarism.” It was written by an unnamed “Apostle’s wife.”
New York-based Police Gazette Publisher Richard K. Fox published it. Books then cost around 25 cents. Times changed. So has Mormonism, but very much not in all ways mattering most. It’s still hidebound, reactionary, intolerant and dangerous.