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The Mormon Question

As the election process marches on, Mitt Romney is emerging as the front-runner in the Republican presidential primaries. With a slim win in Iowa, a landslide victory in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney is projected to make a good showing in this week’s South Carolina primary.  For better or for worse, everything seems to be going for the former Massachusetts governor.  However, there remains a big elephant in the room regarding Mitt Romney that is sure to surface in coming months – his Mormon faith.

All of the Republican candidates have refused to take part in unfair personal attacks on Gov. Romney’s Mormonism; thus, the media has made little noise on the subject.  Any conservative will agree however, that if Governor Romney does indeed win the Republican nomination, liberal talking-heads across the nation will suddenly have spontaneous revelations about his “cult-like” and “extreme” religion, and (out of the goodness of their hearts) will be sure to bring it to the attention of the American people.  Thus, conservatives need to analyze this issue not only to make an educated vote during the primaries, but also for the general election, where the establishment media will inevitably use Romney’s Mormonism against him if he wins the nomination.

The myth of America’s anti-Mormon tendencies is not a fabrication.  According to a Gallup Poll, Mormonism still has relatively high unfavorability rates. The same poll shows however, that liberals have a grossly higher unfavorability of Mormons (61%), than do conservatives (45%).  In a political context, 25% of the population has said that it ‘would never’ vote for a Mormon President, and nearly 30% said they would be ‘less likely’ to do so – an obvious blow to the alleged “electability” of Governor Romney.  From a conservative perspective, there a lot of reasons not to vote for Mitt Romney; but his Mormon faith is not one of them.

Politically, there is no conceivable reason for conservatives to fear Mormons.  Gallup reports that 59% of Mormons identify as conservatives – the most conservative of any major religious group.  Religiously, most of the concerns with Mormonism come from stereotypes and suspicions about the faith and its uncertain status as a Christian denomination. While I do not intend this article to be a theological referendum on Mormonism, I do think it may be helpful to mention a few key tenets of the faith:

  • Mormons accept the concept of the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
  • They believe in eternal judgment.
  • They believe in being baptized into Jesus Christ for the remission of sin.
  • They believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
  • They also believe that the Book of Mormon –revealed to Joseph Smith by God- is the inspired Word of God and is a supplement to, and not a replacement of, the Bible.

Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith is his strongest attribute. While it may be smart for him politically to downplay it, conservatives would appreciate knowing of his involvement in his local church and his favorable reputation among its members.

Romney served as the Bishop of his local congregation and later as Boston’s stake (similar to a Catholic diocese) president.  He has also contributed great financial support to the building of Mormon temples and other outreach activities.  As a lay leader in his church, Romney offered pastoral advice to members of his church who sought his guidance in overcoming spiritual struggles such as divorce, loss, and sometimes even abortion.  For his service in this respect, Romney earned respect and an admirable reputation in his local congregation.  An analysis that details the above statements and many others can be read here.

Mitt Romney’s record as Governor of Massachusetts is fair game for discussion. In fact, it is because of his moderate approach to politics that I cannot support him in the primaries.  However, it would be inappropriate to hold the faith of the Mormon Governor as the reason that he cannot fulfill a presidential duty.  Conservatives would be wise to adhere to the long-established tradition of religious liberty in America and instead judge the competence of Governor Romney on his political policies.  I want to conclude with the words of our nation’s first president, who set a great precedent by establishing these acclaimed virtues:

“Being no bigot myself to any mode of worship, I am disposed to indulge the professors of Christianity in the church, that road to Heaven, which to the shall seem the most direct, plainest, easiest, and least liable to exception…In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.” (George Washington’s Sacred Fire, page 496)

Alan Groves :: Hillsdale College :: Brentwood, Tennessee :: @AlanGroves2

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Comments

  1. The biggest issue here is people are ignorant on his faith because of a few bad apple groups. That would be like characterizing all Catholics as war lovers because of the crusades. If Liberals have the gall to attack Romney on his faith we on the right should blast them.

  2. 2/18/08 ABC News: Speaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin today, would-be First Lady Michelle Obama said, “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”

    If the democrat controlled Big Media want to talk religion, let them. Romney will have a lot to say about Obama’s religious history. They attended Reverend Wright’s church for 20 years.

    3/13/08 ABC News: “Rev. Wright married Obama and his wife Michelle, baptized their two daughters and is credited by Obama for the title of his book, The Audacity of Hope”; “Sen. Barack Obama’s pastor says blacks should not sing ‘God Bless America’ but ‘God damn America’”; Reverend Wright preached that Whites invented HIV to kill Blacks, that America deserved 9/11 and America is a terrorist nation.

    And it’s all on video. The democrat controlled media didn’t show those videos, but who relies on them for honest reporting anymore?

    -5/05 University of Connecticut’s Department of Public Policy survey of journalists, nationwide: 52% supported Kerry, versus 19% for Bush.
    -11/21/08 Zogby poll: The web is the most trusted news medium (over TV and print combined); Fox News is the most trusted TV news source with approval rating of 39% while CNN is rated 16% and MSNBC is 15%. Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Stephen Colbert and Chris Matthews were the least trusted, all with scores under 2%. More people in this poll identified themselves as Democrats than Republicans. A majority think the media is biased.
    -2008 Pew poll: Fox viewers are least politically skewed: Republicans 39%, Democrats 33%; CNN viewers were 51% democrat, 18% Republican.
    —————–
    Polls of Americans about how they saw the Big Media’s coverage of the 2008 election:
    -Rasmussen poll: 69% thought it was pro-Obama, 6% pro-McCain
    -Pew Research poll: 67% thought it was pro-Obama, 11% pro-McCain
    -Sacred Heart University poll: 68% pro Obama, 9% pro McCain
    -Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll: 67% pro-Obama, 11% pro-McCain

  3. @Alan
    Hello Alan,
    I pray all is well with you. I have to challenge and correct something you said. In the description of their beliefs you said, “Mormons accept the concept of the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.” While it is true that they believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, they do not believe in the Trinity. I was once a Mormon and learned the faith fairly well. The Christian belief in the Trinity is that God is three person, one in essence. Though there are three persons, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, there is still but one God. Mormons believe in at least three gods and logically in an infinite gods and goddesses. They believe that God the Father was once a human being who was created by his own father god and rose to the rank of godhood through the same process of good works and religious activity that Mormons practice. So God the Father had his own father god. Which means that there is a grandfather god and great grandfather god and so on and so forth. Mormons also believe in a mother goddess, though they do not speak much of her “out of respect” for her. They believe that what Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are “made of,” if you will, is the same thing as what we are made of and that everybody, including Satan, are or were siblings with Jesus and existed in before creation. They also believe that God the Father needs a physical and that everybody who was good before creation has and will attain a physical body and if they convert and are proper Mormons then they will reach the third heaven where only they in that third tier of their segregated concept of heaven will learn to become gods and goddesses them selves. Because of these core beliefs of theirs, which I did not get learn until after I converted, I cannot say that Mormons are Christians. If they are Christians, then Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox are not. If Mitt Romney wins the Presidency, he will be the first “official” non Christian president (I think unofficially, since nobody wants to talk about the current President’s faith, the second non Christian president.)

  4. “Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith is his strongest attribute. While it may be smart for him politically to downplay it, conservatives would appreciate knowing of his involvement in his local church and his favorable reputation among its members.”
    Really, alan? Then they’ll appreciate the following article I read over a week ago. You might take one hour, like I did (with breaks), to read about some of Mitt’s actions as church leader, among other things. While my friend, a great Obama supporter, alerted me to this article, after reading it I was more in favor of Mitt’s nomination, not less. But it does outline the facts you and we should be aware of when it comes to what he did as leader of his church, regarding the “help” he gave certain members. The time invested in reading this is well worth it, considering the importance of this election.
    The Meaning of Mitt
    Mitt Romney has long been a front-runner for the G.O.P. nomination—even if no one really knows who he is. Digging into the candidate’s record as a Mormon leader, his business deals at Bain Capital, and that infamous car trip with the family dog strapped to the roof, Michael Kranish and Scott Helman pierce the Mitt bubble in an adaptation from their new book, The Real Romney, to find that the contradictions, question marks, and ambivalence go deeper than his politics.
    Adapted from The Real Romney, by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, to be published this month by HarperCollins; © 2012 by The Boston Globe.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/02/mitt-romney-201202

    I will say this: it is a blessing to read such a well-written article. I’m speaking of spelling and grammar, qualities lacking everywhere these days. Thank you for reading, and may SOMEONE defeat Obama come November!

  5. Maria Shield says:

    Thank you Manuel, for setting the record straight on some of the things Mormons believe, had you not already said it, I would have. That being said, I also don’t believe that Gov. Romney’s religious beliefs sould be held against him, even Mormons don’t want to kill those who don’t convert to Mormonism.

  6. I’m Mormon… and while there are those who don’t want to qualify us as Christians, I do believe that Christ has given us the ability to be saved. Whether or not folks want to label us as Christians is up to them… it doesn’t really mean a lot to me how they want to classify us. However, the only thing I don’t understand is how some of the doctrine of the LDS church makes people feel that Romney isn’t worthy to be president. The LDS faith preaches strength in the family, being independent, working hard, and being charitable to others. I think that it’s these principles (among other principles… many shared with other Christian faiths) are what’s important for our leaders to posses. I realize that our beliefs seem strange to many people. That’s fine… However, how does anything that Manuel said (and he is correct, even though that was the uber-short version) affect the basic principles on how he will help govern the nation?

  7. I did not say that to mean he cannot run nor that he cannot win. I was just setting the record straight on his religion, and by extension yours Mike B. I just think we should be clear about what he is and what he is not. So that we can be better ready to answer the attacks on him if he wins to be the Republican candidate. After I left the Mormon religion and returned to Christianity, I am still friends with my Mormon friends from the local ward I went to. I know you faith make great individuals and citizens. I was just clearing up a theological and religious inaccuracy.

    Remember that Muslims also believe in Jesus and they actually do believe he is the Christ or anointed one. But what the Christ is and means to them is different then what it means to Christians. So should Muslims be considered Christians as well? Of course not because their beliefs are different.

    I do not make this comparison to belittle your faith Mike B. Nor am I saying your religion is akin to Islam . . . other than the multiple wives thing and do not tell me you cannot have more than one wife. Maybe not on earth, but if you are sealed (married in the temple) and your wife dies and you remarry and get sealed to your new wife, from what I remember, you will have more than one wife if you all make it to the third tier of heaven.

    I am not revealing these things because I do not like Mormons. I accept you guys with your history as everyone has a history. I am just saying we should be ready with a well informed response is all.

    Kyrie eleison,

    Manuel

Trackbacks

  1. […] They read their Bibles and they have “family night” each week, for Pete’s sake. They vote more conservatively than any other major religious group. Can’t get much more wholesome than that. I know just enough of the wacky stuff to make me […]

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