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Friday, July 20, 2007
posted by Justin Hart | 1:45 PM | permalink
Yesterday, Joshua Treviño at NRO published a piece about Romney and Mormonism essentially claiming that religion is not out of the realm of discourse in our public square. He presented his thesis in an appropriate way and he makes a good case.

My only response to Joshua is this: "get to it already!"

Between Hugh Hewitt, Jim Geraghty and others... tomes have been written about whether or not Mormonism should be part of the Romney debate. So, six months into the presidential race I ask two questions:
  • In your opinion, is there a single Mormon doctrine that disqualifies Romney from becoming President?

  • If there is, should that apply to every office in the land?

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145 Comments:


1) No part of Mormon doctrine should disqualify Romney from becoming President. However, much of Mormon doctrine disqualifies Romney from receiving my vote. I have read enough about Mormon doctrine and apologetics to have serious questions about the judgment of its adherents.

2) I will evaluate Mormons running for office on a case by case basis, but as I said, they should not be disqualified for any office based on Mormon doctrine. But I reserve the right to question the judgment of a candidate who belongs to a religious group whose beliefs are, in my opinion, disturbingly strange. I hold these opinions about Mormonism independent of Mitt Romney or his candidacy. If I found Mormonism plausible, I suspect I would become a Mormon. But I don't, and I'm not.

For the record, I would also withhold my vote from Scientologists, Christian Scientists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, and Zoroastrians. Basically, if you are not a mainstream Christian or Jewish, you are out of luck.



I don't think any major voice would argue that any religious doctrine or system of doctrines should -- by law -- disqualify a candidate from office.

In an essay in an online debate with writer Orson Scott Card about whether Mormonism qualifies as Christian, even the Southern Baptist theologian Al Mohler writes that he is "thankful that the U.S Constitution excludes any religious test for public office." But he continues: "this excludes any government test, and is not a constraint upon any private citizen’s electoral decision."

A more relevant question is this: is there any good reason that a person should consider a candidate's religious affiliation of Mormonism in deciding to support that candidate?

I believe there are, at least for devout Christians, and I believe that these reasons can't be simply be shouted down with by invoking religious bigotry. Mormonism is clear in its belief that it is the only true Christian church, but it promotes itself as just another evangelical denomination. Added to this incongruity -- of which Card's essays are excellent case studies -- is the fact that, theologically, both Baptists and Catholics have little choice but to reject Mormonism's claim to be Christian. The likelihood that a Mormon president would give a tremendous boost in the religion's perceived credibility perhaps makes this case different than others.

For a person who is a Christian first and a political conservative second, the Great Commission trumps putting a good manager from our political team in the White House. If a Christian perceives no conflict between the two, good for him, and great for Romney.

But there are good reasons to believe that the two are in conflict, so what are you going to say to those who see those reasons and thus perceive such a conflict?

What could one possibly say? Present politics trump eternal truths? The gulf between Mormon and Baptist really isn't that big? Both are farcical on their face.



Bubba.
If you will not vote for a man in a SECULAR election because his religion is different than yours, it is the very definition of Bigotry.
---- Sorry you do not like it but that is what it is, no matter how many of your "best friends" are ________(fill in the blank).

By Anonymous GeorgiaMom, at July 20, 2007 at 2:59 PM  


GoergiaMom:

So I take it you would consider voting for a practitioner of Santeria for US President? How about a Wiccan? A Satanist? Be careful! You might be called a bigot.



GeorgiaMom, respectfully, I didn't say whether I will ultimately withhold support from Romney, but the concern is not merely that Mormonism is "different", but that it claims to be Christian when it isn't; that it claims to be the only true Christian religion; and that all others, from Catholics to Baptists, are members of the church of the Devil.

It's the blind political correctness of liberalism that embraces all differences regardless of what those differences are.

Sharia law insists on religious intolerance, and that ought to matter to one who upholds classical liberalism. Likewise, Mormonism insists that it is Christian, that it is uniquely Christian, and that all other faiths are false, and it does so from a position that is irreconcilable with historic, Biblical Christianity. Are you saying that shouldn't matter to Christians?



Bubba, I vote for people based on THEIR VALUES and THEIR Actions.
I seriously doubt a Wiccan or A Statanist shares my VALUES.

By Anonymous GeorgiaMOM, at July 20, 2007 at 3:28 PM  


Mormons have a proven moral worldview. None of their teachings would effect policy in ANY WAY different than a typical Evangelical.

An Islamist has a worldview of killing people. A Satanist likewise has a immoral worldview. Thus their belief would effect policy and should be disqualified.

I think the sentiments of not indirectly promoting Mormonism sounds strikingly like the era of the start of the country where many denominations would argueing to disallow Baptists from elected office because allowing them to be voted for COULD promote an incorrect (which many viewed at that time) theology.

Well, history has proven that this kind of think is complete nonsense. Likewise this thinking today with Mormons is garbage. It is not going to promote Mormonism, because already anyone who knows a Mormon already think they are upstanding. Are Mormons going to convince more people of this fact? Not likely, but rather a Mormon president would create more enemies.

But why is there reluctance for people to realize that a Mormon could be a good person? That is just odd thinking. Thinking someone is good does not convert them to theology. Undermining someone because of this possibility is anti-Biblical in the clearest way. If it is the truth then why avoid the truth. The truth shall set you free as it says.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 20, 2007 at 3:30 PM  


Bubba, Why DO YOU get to decide what is Christian and What is not?
What about the foot washing Baptists? How about the snakehandlers? What about the Catholics?
YOU need to worry about your soul and worship CHRIST as you see fit and give others that right also.
It is this superior attitude that is so unbecoming a Christain.
Mitt Romney's soul is a matter left to him and God. Your soul is a matter between you and God.
Do not vote against a man who would make your life more like you want it to be because you think you know the dispotition of his soul.

By Anonymous GeorgiaMom, at July 20, 2007 at 3:33 PM  


Aaron, Bubba-

Neither of you addressed the purpose of this blog. Please answer the question asked: (1) Is there a single Mormon doctrine that disqualifies Romney from becomming President? & (2) If there is, should that apply to every office in the land?

Aaron, you claim to know a lot about Mormonism, that you find it unbelievable & thus lump it into a group of religions that would effectively disqualify a candidate. However, you didn't give any specific reason why. The suggestion that Mormons should be lumped into a group w/Wiccan's, Santaria practitioners & Muslim's is ridiculous. What do Mormons, in particular, believe that should disqualify Mitt? And, does that mean Mitt & Mormons generally should be barred from all public office?

Bubba, you bring up that Mormons believe they are the ONLY true Christian religion. Um, that's the feeling ALL religions have. Catholics believe they are the only true religion and they reject protestants. Protestants say the same. Mormons say the same. Mormons do NOT claim to be a mainstream evangelical faith. They only claim that in governmental policy, they align almost completely.

Your second point suggested that Mitt being President would improve the Mormon conversion rate? This is a silly argument w/o evidence to back it up. Did JFK (the epitome of cool) help Catholics gain converts? Does Harry Reid (Mormon) help Mormons gain converts? There is no evidence to support this supposition.

Bottom line: Both of you totally skip the relevant questions and give vague generalizations that are irrelevant. If you have some real doctrine or practice (specific) that Mormons engage in that should hold them out of public office, give it. Otherwise, your position is little more than irrational bigotry against 5 million Americans.



Aaron and Bubba,

Your arguments are featherweight. Equally good "Christians" as you are supporting Mitt, despite his strange, bizarre, even radical beliefs.

Check out evangelicalsformitt.org and sit through a lesson or two. Here's one paragraph explaining how they manage to support a candidate (yikes!) as talented as Mitt who happens to be Mormon. I doubt they're going to hell for it, either.

Yes, Gov. Romney is a Mormon. We are not. According to the liberal media, this is an unbridgeable gap, and evangelicals will never turn out to support a faithful Mormon like Governor Romney. As usual, the media have it wrong. And they root their error (as usual) in a fundamental misunderstanding about American evangelicals—seeing us as ignorant and intolerant simpletons who are incapable of making sophisticated political value judgments.

In the mind of the heavyweights at EFM, it sure sounds like you two are behaving as ignorant and intolerant simpletons who are incapable of making sophisticated political value judgments. Grow up and go with the best man for the job!



1) Belief in Lamanites (American Indians as Hebrews) and Nephites should disqualify Romney
2) Belief in Gordon Hinckley as a living Prophet should disqualify Romney
3) Belief in the Book of Mormon as a historical text should disqualify Romney
4) Belief in the Mormon temple endowment ceremony as a divine ordinance should disqualify Romney
5) Belief in the Book of Abraham as a translated text should disqualify Romney
6) Belief in an organization that hides its history from its members, hides its finances from its members, and indoctrinates young men and women to pay 10% in order to achieve eternal marriage and receive the signs and tokens of salvation should disqualify Romney.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 20, 2007 at 3:53 PM  


I frankly don't understand the Anonymous comment: does he think that it's been proven that letting Baptists run for office had NO positive effect on Baptist church rolls? I sure would love to see the research behind that, just as I would love to see how not supporting Romney is "anti-Biblical in the clearest way."

GeorgiaMom, I think you responded to Aaron's comment when you were addressing me, at least in part. Briefly:

A) Mormonism is clear that Catholics and Baptists aren't true Christians. Do you go through this "Why do YOU get to decide" routine with Mormons, too, or is it just directed to me?

B) I have said nothing and implied nothing about the disposition of Romney's soul. My concern is about Mormonism, not the spiritual condition of any particular Mormon.

C) Jesus Christ warned against false teachers, and His Apostles taught to reject false teachers. Did they too display a "superior attitude" unbecoming of Christians?

D) I DO NOT question Romney's right to worship or right to run for office. But if I believe that obedience to my faith entails refusing to support his candidacy, you're doing a poor job convincing me that you care about MY right to worship as I see fit.

Seriously, GeorgiaMom, suppose that I really believe my faith entails refusing to support Romney: I haven't said that, but suppose it's true. What your arguments lack in substance they more than make up for in moral preening, so what makes you think you're the least bit persuasive in changing my mind?



http://www.evangelicalsformitt.org/why.php

Go here to see how these non-LDS folks "rationalize" their support for Romney. As an increasing number of Americans, they've gone crazy for the guy.

He will do more for people of faith (including Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, and others you cast out) than any other candidate.

As a side note, in case you haven't noticed, he's the only one in the field (who's competitive) who's even practicing his faith. You guys always seem to forget that. Many of you are quick to support non-practicing Fred or thrice-divorced Rudy over clean-as-a-whistle Mitt. Oh, the hypocricy!



slick-willy, I did address the question, as I made clear that there should be no religious test for public office. The comparison between Romney and JFK is off if only because Catholicism has a pedigree roughly 1700 years longer than Mormonism: Europe's ruling class was almost uniformly Catholic for literally a millennium, and that kinda-sorta matters in this argument.

And, I bet you can name at least ten US Presidents, maybe 20, maybe more. Can you name even five Senate Majority Leaders? How many classrooms have pictures of Senate Majority Leaders along their walls? Tell me again there's no difference between the two offices.



Anonymous (who listed six disqualifying items):

What about question #2?

If there is, should that apply to every office in the land?

My guess is you'll say yes, but go ahead.



Justin - a bold post.

Bubba - with all due respect, the LDS Church's stance is that it is the only Church that contains a fulness of the Gospel, not that it is the only true Church and all others are false. Furthermore, it has never promoted itself as just another mainstream Christian denomination, only that it is centered on the life, teachings, and most important, the Atonement of Christ. While it encourages church members to share the "good news," it maintains as one of its core values the deference to others to believe and worship as they see fit, granting them full respect to do so. The result is that LDS members often see that they share many of the same values and deeply held principles as their creedal Christian colleagues, and desire the opportunity to work yoke up with creedal Christians wherever the beliefs and values are the same. It is not an attempt to gain outright acceptance from evangelicals, but rather a desire to work together for common causes. In my experience, most LDS who are unacquainted with Evangelicals are surprised and bewildered to learn that the perceived doctrinal differences maintained by Evangelicals rule out any possibility of bonding together on shared beliefs.

I do not want to get into a quibble over which doctrine is the most correct, I do respectfully suggest that the Mormon church you describe is not the Mormon church that is, but rather the perceived Mormon church as taught through the evangelical interpretation of various statements and verses included within the LDS liturgy. I ask that you allow the LDS church and its members to define, both officially and in common word and deed, the practical meaning of such verses, statements, etc.

Cordially yours.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 20, 2007 at 4:08 PM  


I could perhaps say all I need to say by noting that Nealie's argument here is almost chemically pure in its UTTER LACK of persuasiveness:

"In the mind of the heavyweights at EFM, it sure sounds like you two are behaving as ignorant and intolerant simpletons who are incapable of making sophisticated political value judgments. Grow up and go with the best man for the job!"

I do love being insulted and being told that I'm the one who should grow up. Yes, only those who have been tricked by Romney's opponents would ever be reluctant to support him because of his faith.

You guys are so quick to attack that you lose all credibility in trying to persuade. Have you learned nothing from the immigration reform debacle? The Administration gained no allies -- and allienated many who would have given them a honest hearing -- when they attacked all opposition as personally as they did.

What's more important? Attacking the ideas of those who are reluctant to vote for Romney because of his Mormonism? Or persuading these people to change their minds?

The more you engage in the former -- and, by doing so, demonstrate ZERO interest in the fact that these people take their faith seriously -- the more you ruin your chances at accomplishing the latter.



So, all other Christians supporting Romney have been tricked, eh? Do you seriously belive that? Very funny, indeed!

No attacks intended, amigo. Just responded to your apparent representation of all other Christians. I know many other Christians, besides myself, who support Romney. Those at Evangelicals for Mitt simply articulate their support in an organized way. That's why I passed that along for your edification/education.

Ironically, I opposed the immigration bill--like you and so many other conservatives (Christians and otherwise). We see so much in common. That's the point. Mitt sees things the same way. Just not in religious terms. That should be fine with you. I don't know why it isn't.



Commander in chief, not pastor in chief. Many prominent pastors, rabbis, and other clergy learned that lesson a long time ago and have stated similar statements publicly. You must have missed those lessons in your Sunday School.

I don't mean this in an insulting way. Yet, you've missed that lesson, nonetheless.



Bubba,

What would it take you to persuade you? You don't appear eager for persuasion.

By the way, whom are you voting for and why?

A conservative? Fred? Rudy?



Bubba,

These were evangelicals who stated this:

seeing us as ignorant and intolerant simpletons who are incapable of making sophisticated political value judgments.

They--fellow practicing evangelicals--believe the media and you two are absolutely wrong in your analysis.

I'm not attacking you. I'm presenting the best argument I can come up with about how you can and should (as a believing Christian) vote for Mittt.

If Richard Land and others could vote for Mitt you should not harbor all your disqualifying lists. Keep such lists close to you on Sundays, but lose them on election day.



Nealie, where in the world do you get that I think Christians who support Romney have been tricked into doing so?

In case you missed it the first time: If a Christian perceives no conflict between [his faith and supporting Romney], good for him, and great for Romney.

There are Christians who don't, their concerns cannot be easily dismissed, and those who try to do so, as you have done, are doing your cause more harm than good.

Appealing to matters of temporal politics without dealing substantively with their religious concerns -- e.g., Mitt's policies are good, and that should be good enough for you -- is simply not going to be effective.

Do you think people who have the concern I share here never thought of the political consequences? We have. We just don't think that those consequences trump literally everything.



Bubba,

I realize I misread your earlier statement about Mitt's opponents being tricked. I thought you had stated Mitt's non-LDS supporters were tricked into supporting him. My mistake.

You're right. Mitt's temporal policies are good and should not trump everything. Yet, under the circumstances, what are your options. If we had an outstanding conservative evangelical in the race, Mitt likely would have no chance. But, that is not the case.

Rudy is no conservative. McCain never was one, either. Fred had a less-than-conservative past and is not a great leader.

I can appreciate how difficult is is for so many to support a Mormon because of the religious factor. However, we've got to come together despite this anxiety and tension. He simply will be the best leader.



So, how do we deal substantially with your and others' religious concerns? Mitt has met with religious leaders and formed several faith-based councils/committees.

He, actually, is best at speaking about faith (because he lives it) than the other candidates. Yet, he's aware enough to not throw his religion onto others. That is not cool and will not be tolerated.



Mitt is willing to do what he can to let all Americans, especially including people of faith (since he clearly is one of them), that he will look out for their best interests.

Please provide suggestions. Justin is a campaign committee type if I remember right. He can pass along your suggestions.



I'm not sure that Romney is entirely free from the criticism of having a "less-than-conservative" past, but let's concede the point.

I think we both agree that it'll be tough for some to support Romney because of their devout Christian and despite his politically conservative platform, obviously tougher for some more than others.

If people look at the alternatives -- Rudy winning the nomination and/or Hillary winning the White House -- and then decide that they're willing to live with that, there's probably not much you can do to change their minds.

I don't know who I'm supporting frankly. I might not be capable of being convinced to support Romney, but I would really respect him as an individual if he said something like this:

"I hope Baptists and Catholics will support my campaign despite our deep theological differences. But if they can't, I'll respect their decision to live out their faith, just as they respect my decision to live out mine."

That might not change my vote, but it would be a helluva lot better than Hugh Hewitt's attempts to bully people, if only because it really would demonstrate a respect for the religious beliefs of others.



Bubba-

You seem like a nice guy and I would guess you are a good Christian. However, I believe you are misguided and I sure hope you re-evaluate your position:

"But if I believe that obedience to my faith entails refusing to support his candidacy..."

If, on the basis of your religion, you feel morally obligated to withhold your support from Mitt (faithful family man that agrees w/you across the board on moral isses, but disagrees significantly in theology), but allows you to support Thompson (nonpracticing evangelical w/a less than chaste background) or Rudy (nonpracticing Catholic w/no concept of fidelity), you should be seriously questioning your own religious affiliation. Isn't such a moral position intuitively outrageous?

Bottom line: We don't have a good or even a decent candidate w/evangelical credentials. Knowing that, we should select the person w/the best values, experience & ability.



Bubba,

You're right. Mitt flip-flopped. But, he doesn't deny his transformation, either.

Mitt has said he is seriously considering a Kennedy-like speech on the topic. I have always felt that was a great idea!

Of all people, I believe Mitt respects others beliefs and values. Give him a chance. You won't be disappointed!



I interact w/ people of all sorts of faiths (mostly Roman Catholic, several few Protestants, and a handful of Muslims). I respect all their beliefs. I don't try to bully people. It's not my style and it's not nice.

They know I'm a Romney nut. I simply tell them to give him a chance and they won't regret it.



Bubba, Name me a single Christian Denomination that does not think they ARE THE BEST, THE TRUE,THE ONLY CHRISTIANS.
.
I had a Luthern Minister tell me I was going to hell because I was a Catholic.
.
Seriously, you all are faulting Mormons for believing the exact same thing you do, just from a different Pew.
.
You guys need a mirror and some serious time in serious reflection.
Did they stop teaching humility and compassion to Christians?

By Anonymous GeorgiaMom, at July 20, 2007 at 5:31 PM  


Bubba-

Good idea. I think Mitt would be wise to make such a statement. However, I'd add a couple elements. Here's how I'd do it: (1) ackowledge deep theological differences (2) testify about theological agreements (Jesus is the Savior) (3) mention that in governmental policy, the moral values of the many faiths w/diverse theologies align across the board (4) Thank all religious people for their contribution to the moral fabric of society no matter who they vote for.

As for your other point, if you simply don't believe he is candid in his current positions, I view that as a justified critique of Mitt. However, choosing a lesser statesman to enact our policy because of Mitt's personal theology just doesn't make sense.



There seem to be three types of objections to supporting a Mormon raised in these comments:

1) Mormon's beliefs are such that it calls into question a candidate's ability to think. For an example of this, see the post above (at 3:53 pm) listing 6 beliefs that disqualify a Mormon from being President. The objection is of the following form: If someone is so gullible to believe "x" (which is obviously wrong!), then that person is too gullible to be President (who knows what they'd do!). The problem with this line of argument is that ALL people of faith are subject to this attack. Replace "x" above with "God created Adam and Eve" or "Jesus Christ was resurrected" and you'll see what I mean. Evangelicals should be unwilling to use this form of argument; they'll be forging the sword used against them in future elections.

2) Mormons' belief "x" would lead to policy "y". Policy "y" is bad, so Mormons should not be elected President. There is nothing wrong with this form of argument. Only, no one here has made it. No one has pointed to any Mormon doctrine that yields an unacceptable policy result. What's the policy implication of a belief that the Resurrected Lord appeared in the Americas some 2,000 years ago -- that the US should adopt a flat tax?! Contrast that formulation with a concern about what policy implications a belief in Islam might entail. It's not that Mormons might not hold beliefs that are connected to public policy questions. (Mormon doctrine is that abortion is similar to the taking of innocent life. That might be a concern for someone who wants abortions to be legal in all events.) It's that no one has identified any Mormon doctrine with an unacceptable policy position -- which was the point of the original blog post.

3) A Mormon President would lead to an increase in the size of the Mormon Church. Okay, this is an objection I can understand even if I don't accept it. If you think having a Mormon serving as President, who by example would teach the importance of being faithful to marriage vows, being honest, hard working, etc., is worse than having a thrice-divorced-lapsed-Catholic as President, then we're just going to disagree. (Note: This is separate from the argument that candidate "x" is better than candidate "y", because "x" has a better chance of winning the general election.)



Can one of you more reasonable Romney supporters please explain to GeorgiaMom that berating people and insulting them doesn't actually persuade them?



Can one of you more reasonable Romney supporters please explain to GeorgiaMom that berating people and insulting them doesn't actually persuade them?

Bubba, I think you already made that point. If she continues to ignore it, she'll be less persuasive than she otherwise might have been. However, in fairness, I don't think she's trying to berate or belittle. I think she's trying to be direct and forceful.

By the same token, I don't think you have intended to be offensive in your posts. However, your first post could be read to say: Mormon doctrine is so offensive I believe it would be immoral to vote for a Mormon. You didn't say that; but what you said could be taken as such. We each bring a lot of personal bias to the conversation (particularly on this topic), which makes it very difficult to write in a manner that cannot generate an unintended result.



I apologize if I berated anybody, I really did not mean to.
But I do know the definition of bigot and I do know the definition of ethnocentrism.
How is calling a brick a brick berating?
I do know something else, every single person posting on this board is a mortal and has no business whatsoever desparaging another person's belief system.
So if you want to say pointing out bigotry is berating, fine.
.
What do we want to call the people who are berating Mitt Romney and 12 million other human beings, who really are some of the finest people on this earth, by calling them "unChristian" and equating them with people who use religion to bring pain and sorrow on this world?

By Anonymous GeorgiaMom, at July 20, 2007 at 6:32 PM  


Since things have cooled off, I'm going to put up a single self-serving post.

Visit us at NY for Mitt (in Rudy's backyard).

http://nyformitt.blogspot.com/

We are having a great time.



Bubba wrote "Seriously, GeorgiaMom, suppose that I really believe my faith entails refusing to support Romney: I haven't said that, but suppose it's true. What your arguments lack in substance they more than make up for in moral preening, so what makes you think you're the least bit persuasive in changing my mind"
----------
Bubba ---
It never occured to me to try to get you to change your mind. I was simply speaking my mind.
------
I can't imagine a religion dicating you not vote for a GOOD man, who is a GOOD citizen, a GOOD leader, a GOOD Husband a GOOD father, a GOOD neighbor, a GOOD citizen and yes, a GOOD and faithful member of his church.
--------
I guess what I do not understand is why is it the only thing some people object to Romney about is the manner in which he communicates with God.
In this secular and dangerous world it just does not make a lot of sense to reject this man and end up with somebody who will work against YOUR values and the traditions of this country every moment he or she is in office.
------
Does Jesus Christ want this country to be run by folks who embrace the ACLU?

By Anonymous GeorgiaMom, at July 20, 2007 at 7:01 PM  


The small, gray, sans serif type in the comments is really, really hard to read.

By Anonymous Bruce H., at July 20, 2007 at 9:14 PM  


Why do so many people of other faiths claim to know so much about my faith (I am LDS)? I find it rather presumptive and pompous when they often tell me what I "really believe." I know what my religion teaches me, and ALL OF IT has only led me to greater happiness, enlightenment, and peace. Please don't tell me what I believe - I think I know my own beliefs. As far as outlandish doctrine, well, almost every religion has some. Do Evangelicals really believe in the miracles of the bible? I hope so, but they can seem incredibly strange when we pause to realize that Christ and Peter walked on water, Moses parted the Red Sea, Elijah called down fire from heaven, the earth was flooded, the Israelites marched around a city for seven days and then it fell to the ground, etc. - wouldn't you be skeptical of a news report citing one of these events? Any person can decide to vote for any candidate, however, I think any rational person should look at the accomplishments and character of an individual rather than citing religios doctrine. By the way the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 2005, was the fourth largest denomination in the United States with approx. 5.5 million members. Correct me if I am in error, but I have also heard that it is the fastest growing denomination in the U.S. I guess five and a half million people, in the U.S. alone, don't find our doctrine to weird...



Um, I know I should keep my comments to the subject, but I want to say it to you guys, anyway. It hurts my feelings to have my religious beliefs distorted. Some of the things said here tonight were correct, some were not. People just don't seem to get it. Where are they getting their information from? And, GeorgiaMom, my sister-in-law told me that my children and I were all going to hell. At the time my children were four, three and twins one-year old. I went home and cried. Not because it hurt my feelings, but because someone could actually believe such a thing. And, by the way, there is no way I would vote for Mitt just because he's a Mormon. I checked him out very carefully before I made any decision. I am voting for Mitt because he will be,in my estimation, the best president this country will have had since JFK.
prettybird

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 21, 2007 at 12:51 AM  


I agree wholeheartedly with Bruce about the difficulty reading comments.

Joe, to say that "almost every religion" has outlandish doctrine is to indulge in the political correctness of the radical left, which encourages people to embrace unthinkingly diversity for its own sake with no substantive analysis of what actually distinguishes those belief systems. It reduces theology to the realm of taste and opinion and denies the possibility that the theological and historical claims of a religion can be evaluated. It is, ultimately, insulting to devout religious faith.

GeorgiaMom:

"What do we want to call the people who are berating Mitt Romney and 12 million other human beings, who really are some of the finest people on this earth, by calling them 'unChristian' and equating them with people who use religion to bring pain and sorrow on this world?"

THE WORD "CHRISTIAN" SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A TERM OF PRAISE.

I believe C.S. Lewis was right when he warned against the spoiling of the word, in the way that "gentleman" used to mean someone with landed property and a coat of arms and now means little more than "nice person."

He wrote that we must stick to the "original, obvious meaning."

"The point is not a theological, or moral one. It is only a question of using words so that we can all understand what is being said. When a man who accepts the Christian doctrine lives unworthily of it, it is much clearer to say he is a bad Christian than to say he is not a Christian."

At the same time, I can say that Mitt Romney or any other Mormon you want to name may well be a nice person, great to be around, etc., but it would still not be wrong of me to say he's not a Christian if I believe he rejects essential Christian doctrine as I understand it.

Look: pick out another 12 million human beings, suppose that THEY are really some of the finest people on this earth, but also suppose that they deny that Jesus actually existed, to say nothing of His deity, crucifixion, and resurrection. IT'S NOT BERATING THEM TO SAY THEY'RE NOT CHRISTIAN, NO MATTER HOW FINE THEY ARE: IT'S ACCURATE.

Obviously, Mormons disagree on whether they're Christians, but my belief that Mormonism isn't Christian isn't a disparagement of their behavior or their belief system or even the condition of their souls, it's a restating of my belief that their doctrines are so far from orthodoxy that it must be described by some other term.

To say that Hinduism isn't Christian isn't disparaging, it's descriptive. To say that gnosticism isn't Christian isn't disparaging, it's descriptive. To say that Islam isn't Christian isn't disparaging, it's descriptive.

And to say that Mormonism isn't Christian isn't disparaging. It's descriptive. It may be an inaccurate description (which I dispute strongly), but that doesn't make it an insulting description.



It's the public policy stupid. Ronald Reagan was not a devout Christian in the mainstream denominational sense-whereas Jimmy Carter was, but his views on abortion and other issues disqualified him among Evangelical Christians. Abraham Lincoln, widely considered the greatest American president, may have spoken with various references to the Bible and God, but was also not a member of any particular religious creed. Likewise, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton are known for their carrying of the Holy Bible around with them, but their pro-abortion, pro-embryonic stem cell positions are hardly considered consistent with mainline orthodox Christianity. So what gives about Mitt Romney's Mormon beliefs? If his policy is in line with orthodox Christian principles than leave him alone. As an orthodox Catholic, I fully recognize that some misled Protestant groups consider the world's largest Christian group, a cult-I don't care because I am fully committed to my faith, and because my public policy is correct.

http://www.ststephensgate.blogspot.com/

Steve



Bubba ---
You do not get to decide who is Christain and who is not.
You may think you do and it may make you feel all high and mighty, but you DO NOT.
That book you read and think only you and people exactly like you understand "the correct way" was written by men.
These men see it one way and other men see it other ways.

I simply cannot take seriously a person who thinks they are the only people who are Christains.
---------
Remember, people had lofty discussion about how BLACK people were not REAL people just 150 short years ago.

By Anonymous GeorgiaMom, at July 21, 2007 at 1:33 AM  


THE RACE CARD, OF ALL THINGS. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

GeorgiaMom, did I miss something? Or where is it writ that I am not permitted an opinion on what Christianity is and isn't? You seem so eager to tell me what I can and cannot do -- this being the second time you've objected to my daring to suggest that (gasp!) Christianity actually has something resembling a coherent set of theological beliefs that include some preclude others -- and I cannot ascertain what gives you the right. You betray a definite authoritarian streak, which is odd for someone who thinks it so terrible that others suggest that words actually mean things.

Your post leaves me to wonder a few things.

1) Is it alright if I dare suggest that Hinduism isn't Christian, or is that just as repellant as suggesting that black people aren't fully human?

(If someone else says that Christianity isn't Hindu, is THAT as bad as saying that black people aren't fully human?)

2) Mormons believe that Baptists and Catholics aren't real Christians, that their baptisms don't count, and that the Mormon church alone is the church that God intended. When are you going to start playing the race card against Mormons and suggesting that THEY cannot be taken seriously, either?

"I simply cannot take seriously a person who thinks they are the only people who are Christains."

THEN YOU "SIMPLY CANNOT TAKE SERIOUSLY" ANY MORMON. That is, of course, if you take your thought to its logical conclusion, and that appears to be asking a lot.

3) You mention "that book" that I read. Did you know that Mormons don't stand behind the Bible as uniquely authoritative? Did you know that they have a whole 'nother book, called -- funny enough -- the Book of Mormon?

It's not just that I see the Bible one way and Mormons see it another way: THEY READ IT IN LIGHT OF THEIR OWN SEPARATE SCRIPTURES.

Jews have their Scripture, and Christians add the New Testament to create their own Scripture. Because Christians add so much new material, I think it's okay to conclude that Judaism and Christianity are two different religions. Since Mormons add the Book of Mormon and other texts to create their own scripture, maybe Mormonism should be considered its own religion.

I'LL MAKE YOU A DEAL: I'll accept Mormonism as Christian the moment it accepts the Bible as its sole authoritative text.



Geez. You guys should have gone to bed!

Leave the high-level religous debates to the professional apologists. From a practical standpoint, we've got to support Mitt because he's the best guy. His religion is odd, but we've got to get over that. We're re-hashing things that don't matter in this discussion.



Bubba -

Regarding your statement, "To say that Hinduism isn'tChristian isn't disparaging, it's descriptive. To say that gnosticism isn't Christian isn't disparaging, it's descriptive. To say that Islam isn't Christian isn't disparaging, it's descriptive.

And to say that Mormonism isn't Christian isn't disparaging. It's descriptive."

I respectfully point out that the analogy breaks down by including Mormonism in the same group as Hindus, Muslims, and gnostics, because all of these deny the central role of Christ as Savior and Redeemer of the world. When you lump Mormons with the above groups and claim that your exclusion of them as Christians is merely descriptive, you run the risk of offending LDS that maintain as their deepest belief that of Christ as Lord and Savior.

I also think this is the point on which you and GeorgiaMom continue to talk past each other. My take is that Georgia Mom would define "Christian" as one who accepts Christ as their Savior, the Redeemer of their sins, their Advocate with the Father. When you insist on defining Mormons as non-Christians without providing further explanation as to your criteria, you send the message that directly calls in question their relationship with their Savior, and there is nothing that will rile up a Mormon more than being told that they are not a true believer of Christ and his infinite Atonement.

However, if I understand you correctly, you believe that the word "Christian" entails more doctrinal definition than a central belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior. I believe your definition includes and mandates the acceptance of such doctrines (or for the sake of example) the Nicene Creed and its definition of the Trinity, etc. If you insist that the term "Christian" includes all expoundary doctrines adopted by Protestantism over the past several centuries, than you would be technically correct.

However, when discussing the topic with LDS, and when insisting on the non-Christian label for Mormons in general, I would ask that you go a bit further to specifically state your definition of Christianity. This will go a lot further towards reaching understanding, and I hope that there is at least some interest on both sides of this question to seek genuine understanding.

Also, I think you would find that Mormons by and large would be perfectly happy to accept the moniker of non-creedal Christians, although you may now believe that such a moniker defies your definition of the word "Christian" in the first place. My point is that I don't think most Mormons would have a problem disassociating themselves from your strict definition of "Christian." The problem with those like GeorgiaMom is that they do not understand your definition in its fulness (and I am sure I don't either).

Finally, I feel compelled to respond to your statement above that "Mormons believe that Baptists and Catholics aren't real Christians, that their baptisms don't count, and that the Mormon church alone is the church that God intended."

My understanding is that Mormons very strongly DO believe that Baptists and Catholics are REAL Christians because, as I stated above, Mormons define Chrisitianity with limited scope of one's central and personal faith in Christ as Savior. I have never questioned that my Catholic and evangelical friends and neighbors have a deep and sincere belief and faith in Christ. In fact, I have often been touched and positively influenced by that faith. You are right that the LDS church believes itself to be the only one with the direct authority from God to baptize and perform saving ordinances. However, that belief does not entail the corollary that Baptists, Catholics, et al. are not true Christians. Furthermore, the Mormon Church believes that the emergence of protestantism played a crucial and vital role in the eventual founding of the Mormon church, one that is deeply and truly revered. Yes, the LDS Church believes it to be the only one with a FULNESS of the Gospel, but maintains a very deeply held respect and admiration for the truth found amongst traditional Christianity. That is quite different than saying that the Mormon church alone is the Church that God intended.

As asked upthread, I am perfectly content with you being allowed to define your beliefs and the doctrines of your faith without me interpreting them for you. I sincerely ask that you afford those of the LDS faith the same privilege.

Kind regards

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 21, 2007 at 9:10 AM  


For those truly interested in the reason why many evangelicals are afraid of supporting a Mormon for anything, it is not doctrinal differences. If it were that simple, we would have seen a major shift over this threshold many years ago.

The problem is the same as it was back when a teenage boy named Joseph Smith claimed to have seen God and Jesus standing on his right hand.

The problem is one of power, influence and most importantly money. All of the mainstream Protestant religions have paid ministries. Allowing a collectivist, kibbutz-like community of Mormons to establish itself in an area where certain Protestant denominations are present is a huge threat to the lively-hood of the local ecclesiastical leadership. Knowing that:

1. LDS Converts will no longer be dropping their donations into the collections plate, writing donation checks, etc.

2. LDS Converts will most likely pay a 10% tithes on their annual earnings on a monthly basis which automatically means that the local branch or ward of the LDS church will be bringing in an exponentially greater sum of money that is actually used to build chapels, take care of the overhead such as utilities and such. This does not take into consideration the fast offerings that are paid once a month which are used to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the poor.

It all boils down to money, power and influence. Ministers feel threatened by an efficient construct in the LDS church. Those fears are transfered on to the local parishioners through sermons, activities such as the deplorable use of anti-mormon propaganda as representative learning materials for said parishioners. I still remember all the campus crusades back in the 80's. I remember many of my HS friends telling me about all these movies about Mormons their leaders were showing.

It must stink to have a large congregation of 400-500 members shrink to 200 over three years because many of them are leaving the church disaffected and even worse, joining the Mormons.

So quit all this tap dancing garbage.

Yes. The LDS church considers itself the only true church on the face of the earth. Yes the LDS church teaches that all other religions while having some truth do not have all the truth and are therefore constructs of men and not God. The irony is that although Mormons (yes I am one) believe this, we are open to allowing all men worship how they may without resorting to scare tactics such as anti-baptist or anti-methodist propaganda to instill in the minds of your children the evils of protestantism. LOL that would raise a few eyebrows in church if that were to happen.

The amount of energy many evangelicals spend including those in this forum to force Mormonism away from the corridors of Christianity and making claims based on bigoted propaganda are only fulfilling the prophecy given to Joseph Smith back in 1820, when the Angel Moroni told him that his name would be known for good and evil throughout the entire world. Hmmmm interesting that a 15 year old had such delusions of grandeur that he would actually get that one right.

If you don't like Mitt fine, stop wasting this forums time with your "he is not a Christian and he should stop claiming to be one" mantra.

My reponse, is that you are not Christians and you have no clue what it means to actually be one. Go away. Creedal Christians are just that. A faith based on the creeds of men. End of discussion.



I disagree that Joshua Trevino made a good case, or that it was presented well.I would like to make a comment about the article by Joshua Trevino. The ideas that he had are flawed in several ways. His argument that Mormonism is so strange that it requires examination, has no logical basis. The only people that have a logical reason to want to criticize the LDS faith are the liberals that oppose any Christian becoming President. There is no belief or practice of the LDS Church that is reason to block a candidate from office, and it is obviously so, or something would have been done many years ago.
The argument that all religion must defend itself in the public forum denies the freedom of religion that the founders of this country intended.
Then the article criticized Hugh Hewitt and his book; 'A Mormon in the White House', but part of his criticism involved ideas that the book proved illogical and wrong. Also, part of Mr Trevino's argument was that "there are plenty of reasons for critiquing Romney that have nothing to do with his faith". Apparently, he never read the book. The subtitle; '10 things every American should know about Mitt Romney', is because there are 10 chapters, each dealing with different aspects of the Romney campaign; the criticisms of Romney have been addressed.
I am not suggesting that the LDS faith should be free from examination, but there isn't anything about the Church that would disqualify someone from office. The suggestion that there is, only serves to help the cause of the liberal anti-Christians. If all Christians can't unite behind a good Christian like Romney, then we deserve to get Hillary, just like we now have Democrats trying to ruin the country.



I have sat here for over an hour to read through the many rants on this blog. Throughout it all I am yet to discover ANY SINGLE THING that disqualifies Romney from pursuing the Republican nomination.
There have been typical anti-lds doctrinal issues, but this is ostensibly unrelated to his politics. He believes in Christ as his Lord and His God. He believes in family, in service. He believes in respect and tolerance for others even though he likely finds their beliefs as incredulous as many here find his. He is a good man. He offers more for the American people, and the world, than any other candidate in terms of vision, leadership, experience, family, life issues and so on. Can anyone offer a single reason that believing in modern prophets or ancient texts disqualifies him? No - or they would have in the 50 posts above. Gullibility and suggestibility do not count as reasons - his intellectual and business credentials demonstrate his ability to think critically and analytically. Let the subject rest, and let's talk about what he is doing to make the world better. Please!
Justin - in Australia

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 22, 2007 at 6:54 PM  


Well said, mate!

Too bad you can't vote in the upcoming election. You can always immigrate. As you may know, doing so illegally (for example, across our porous southern border) is much simpler than completing the necessary paperwork and waiting, waiting, waiting!

Thanks for your insight.



Not sure why I'm bothering. Even I didn't bother wading through ALL the preceding comments.

For me is pretty much comes down to this: Mormon theology anthropomorphizes the afterlife in a way I find more suited to a middle school fantasy book than a serious religion. Thus anyone who takes Mormonism seriously-- all the talk of becoming like Gods with different planets to oversee-- is really puerile or not bothering to pay much attention to his or her own religion. Hence, in my book, this person is not fit to be President.

By Anonymous Mr. Marleyscone, at July 22, 2007 at 11:12 PM  


So how exactly will someone's view of the afterlife negatively affect their public policy decisions? What are some examples from Mitt Romney's life that show his views on the afterlife have led him to make wrong policy decisions, and therefor makes him unfit for the presidency?

If you can't come up with concrete answers to these questions, then to vote against Romney because he disagrees with you about the afterlife is sheer prejudice (def: preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience) and religious bigotry (def: intolerance toward those who hold different [religious] opinions from oneself.)

In addition, using religious arguments to exclude someone from a secular office cuts both ways. You've just legitimized an excuse for excluding any religious person from holding public office. You may win the battle, but it could cause you to loose the war.

By Anonymous danwheel, at July 23, 2007 at 12:16 AM  


Mr. Marleyscone,

With respect, sir, dressing one's biases up in pseudo-intellectual terminology does not make such bias any more credible or any less irrational.

However, giving you the benefit of the doubt on the Mormon view of the afterlife, I would ask you to first have an open and frank discussion with a knowledgeable and faithful LDS about such view to set it in its proper context. Rather than a self-serving viewpoint of imagining oneself as the ruler over many planets, the general LDS view of the afterlife follows is based on the principle that men shall gain immortality and have the ability to both progress eternally and help others do the same. A fair question might be, viewed in its proper light and context, how will Romney's perspective on the afterlife affect his decisions and policy positions as President. That is the legitimate question to be asked and I struggle to come up with a negative answer. If anything, Romney's belief in the afterlife may cause him to maintain a deeper respect for the people he serves as children of God. This, coupled with his belief in an eternal family in the afterlife (which, by the way, is the doctrinal emphasis of the LDS Church, not the planetary rule stuff you suggest), may PARTIALLY explain Romney's dedication to strengthening the American family. Now, at the margin, a strong belief in a vibrant afterlife may make one, all else equal, less likely to fret over global warming and the eventual destruction of our planet. As long as Romney shows a common sense ability to advocate for sound stewardship of the planet and its natural resources without signing on to the Gore madness, I think we have little to worry about in that regard.

At any rate, the above is the best offhand explanation I can provide of how Romney's afterlife beliefs may translate into his policy stances in the White House.

But your comment was less pointed than that, and really amounted to nothing more than saying that you find his viewpoint on unrelated matter X to be juvenile and stupid, therefore he is not fit for to occupy the Presidency. To that I have two responses:

1) Your view of Romney's beliefs in the afterlife seems to be based on the interpetrations of Mormon beliefs given by counter-Mormon evangelical propaganda, the likes of which you can pick up at your nearest evangelical bookstore or receive from your local pastor. Again, while not asking you to adopt Mormon beliefs as your own, I ask you to allow the Mormon church and your knowledgeable Mormon colleagues to define and expound on Mormon doctrines, and to then re-draw your conclusions. As a member of the LDS faith, I would not presume to define your beliefs for you, and I note that the LDS church does not produce materials that analyze or interpret the various and specific doctrines of other churches. Such would be folly, and without pure motive.

2) Romney's track record as governor of Massachusetts, his proven ability to both think critically and lead effectively (both in the public and private spheres), his graduating at the top of his class from the nation's premier educational institution, and his success as a husband and father, all defy your subjective conclusion that because he believes in eternal progression after this life he is unfit for the presidency. Any genuine concern that his beliefs call his judgement into question are more than overcome by the empirical evidence established by Romney's record.

Let go of your religion-based bias as applied to your choice in President. Disagree with Mormon doctrine all you want. Don't misapply your bias to Romney's fitness for the Oval Office. It defies your intelligence.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 23, 2007 at 3:37 AM  


Been out of pocket most of the weekend, but let me quickly address the point made by Anonymous (July 21, 2007 9:10 AM).

First, he mentions that it's not reasonable to group Mormons with Hindus, Muslims, and gnostics "because all of these deny the central role of Christ as Savior and Redeemer of the world." At least with respect to gnostics, that claim is questionable because they thought Jesus pointed to salvation through the hidden knowledge of gnosis.

He writes that by excluding Mormons from Christianity, I run the risk of offending them. Well, so what? I don't think people should go out of their way to offend others, but they should defend the truth as they understand it, even if it does offend others. There are people today who claim to be Christians and who attend church regularly yet ultimately deny either the historicity of the Gospel accounts of Jesus or even the historicity of Jesus Himself. I don't think they're really Christians, and I'm not afraid to say so: the fact they would be offended by my position is no proof that my position is wrong or should be suppressed.

I would guess that the anonymous commenter has a definition of Christianity that would exclude people who deny that Jesus ever historically lived. His definition would apparently exclude gnostics even though gnostics held as authoritative their own written accounts of Jesus' life and teachings. And it would apparently exclude Muslims even though they would agree with him that God sent Jesus as His messenger.

THAT'S FINE. I have no problem with a definition of Christianity that excludes some groups, but I don't understand his defense of Georgia Mom because it wasn't that she was arguing for a more inclusive definition: she was VERY CLEARLY accusing me of being morally comparable to those who denied that blacks were fully human because I had a definition of Christianity that dared to exclude anyone.

But he asks that I explain what doctrines I think are essential to Christianity and thus justify my excluding Mormonism. That is a tough request, especially at the very edges of the border between those doctrines I would include as Christian and those I would exclude, and I don't think it's a request that's germane to this discussion because Mormonism is no where near that border.

I was joking when I implied that Mormonism would be Christian if it only were to affirm the Bible alone as God's uniquely authoritative written word. The chasm between Mormonism and Christianity is much greater, and it begins with one word:

MONOTHEISM.

"Christ" is not Jesus' last name; it is His title, and it doesn't simply mean "Redeemer." It means the JEWISH Redeemer, the promised Messiah. The central feature of Judaism that distinguished it from its ancient neighboring faiths -- and an essential feature of its doctrinal character -- is monotheism, and I do not see how a person can affirm that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah (i.e., the Christ) while denying that first major tenet of Jewish doctrine.

The anonymous writer would have me refer to Baptists and Catholics as "creedal Christians" and Mormons as "non-creedal Christians", but it's not as if Mormonism disputes only the details of the Nicene creed: it disputes the first phrase of that creed.

"We believe in one God."

I believe a more accurate designation would be to call Baptists and Catholics "monotheistic Christians" and Mormons "polytheistic Christians", but there's a problem:

Calling a Christian monotheistic is redundant, and the term "polytheistic Christian" is as internally contradictory as calling something a "three-sided rectangle."



I see that the last anonymous commenter insists that Mormonism be examined only from Mormon writers: all information from non-Mormons is inherently anti-Mormon propaganda.

A clever move: examine Mormonism all you want, and if you don't embrace it, you can't communicate what conclusions you've drawn without YOURSELF being guilty of writing propaganda, no matter how fair and objective your analysis may be. Those within Mormonism are permitted to work collaboratively to argue for their faith, but those on the outside must work alone or be guilty of indulging or creating propaganda.

Clever, but this argument would be more persuasive if the writer put some teeth to the claim to afford other faiths the same defensible ground. He writes, "I would not presume to define your beliefs for you, and I note that the LDS church does not produce materials that analyze or interpret the various and specific doctrines of other churches."

But note that he does absolutely nothing to disabuse the notion of his Mormon colleague Douglas J, who just hours earlier wrote that Christians are arguing in bad faith, that our problem with Mormons has nothing to do with theology -- because we haven't seen "a major shift over this threshold many years ago," whatever that means -- but is instead political: a fight over "power, influence and most importantly money."

He then has the gall to lie transparently, to write, "we [Mormons] are open to allowing all men worship how they may without resorting to scare tactics such as anti-baptist or anti-methodist propaganda to instill in the minds of your children the evils of protestantism."

He writes this while accusing Protestants of having the worst possible motives and of arguing in bad faith, and, still, the Anonymous Mormon doesn't tell his brother in faith to let Baptists and Catholics define themselves for him.



C.S. Lewis has explained: "The command Be Ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were 'gods' and He is going to make good his words.

C. S. Lewis, an individual whose genuine Christianity is virtually undisputed: "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you sa[w] it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship." 17

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 23, 2007 at 8:58 AM  


I believe that first quote is from Mere Christianity, the short book in which eleven chapters (a fourth of the book) was devoted to explaining the essential Christian doctrine of THE TRINITY.

C.S. Lewis was no polytheist, and your laughable attempt to suggest otherwise in the face of the actual context of what he wrote does not endear me to the scholorship of Mormon apologetics.



Again, though this doctinal-squabbling dialogue is entertaining, it is taking us nowhere w/ respect to Mitt.

Since no morally impeccable Christian--evangelical, Roman Catholic, or someone else determined acceptable by American Christians--is running for office, we're left w/ Mitt. He's got an unusual faith, but he at least believes in it and his life reflects that belief system.

He should make statements to ease the minds of other believers. But, those waiting-for-Mitt's-speech believers will still have to overcome a fair amount to vote for him. Let's work toward making the gradual steps. What is needed, in addition to a JFK-styled speech to bridge this gap so Christians will be increasingly willing vote for our man Mitt?



Entertaining squabbling, Nealie?

It's clear from your comments here that advocating for Mitt Romney is far more important to you than questions of eternal doctrinal truth. I'm not going to try to change that, but I don't see the need for you to ridicule those who disagree with your priorities by trivializing their religious beliefs.



To me it is an interesting squabble.

I've taken the time in the past to digest and reconcile the religious points you guys are discussing ad nauseam. I hope it's beneficial for all of you, but it ain't for me.

In my opinion, we're now way off topic. Look at the original two questions: they both relate to Mitt. Question #2 hasn't been addressed at all.

I never intend to ridicule. I'm just hoping for more constructive conversation. I only proposed that you guys discuss Mitt's outreach options.

You suggested earlier for Mitt to give a speech including respect for other faiths. I agreed with you on that. What else should be done? What steps are necessary to aid those opposed to Mitt on religious terms to give him a shot for their vote?

You criticized me yesterday for failing to persuade. What type of persuasion do I (and Mitt) need to do that will make even a marginal difference?

I'm not convinced that what I call "squabbling" will do any good with the real matter at hand: the Presidency of the United States of America.



Bubba,
I have no idea what relative importance Nealie places upon his faith and his politics. That being said, I suggest you do not either. This is a political blog, not a religious blog. If you have a religious blog, I would love to be invited so that I might discuss the CoJCoLDS (that is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) with you.
For you and me, I think it is quite clear we are more interested in the great religious questions that surround society than in the great governmental policy and political questions that are also important within this society. That being said, I believe that people of faith MUST be able to live in the world without being of the world. When you purchase a new TV, you do not shun the salesperson because his Christology is off. This is Nealie’s point and the point of his blog post. I do not believe it is warranted to draw a conclusion from this point that theological questions are less important than political questions.
What aspects of Romney’s Christology, Soteriology, or … effect his politics such that he should not be supported by those who reject his theological positions. I really can see nothing that should be any more disqualifying for Romney as he makes policy decisions than for the one who sells TVs.
I will add some more thoughts hopefully later.
Thanks, TOm

By Anonymous TOmNossor, at July 23, 2007 at 11:48 AM  


On the motivations of critics of the CoJCoLDS:
I think Bubba was rightly concerned with the suggestion that critics are primarily or even largely motivated by power/money.
I have issues with the mischaracterizations of my faith regularly perpetrated by critics. When these folks should know better, I wonder how they justify such excesses. Some actually argue that such incomplete presentations of LDS thought are appropriate since the most important thing is to steer folks away from the CoJCoLDS. Such critics engage in “boundary maintenance” at the expense of actually reaching out to the LDS they find to be theologically on the wrong path. This is frustrating to me as I see it as “bearing false witness.”
That being said, a large number of critics of the CoJCoLDS who I have gotten to know are sincerely convinced that the Church is not what LDS claim it to be. Some of their facts are surely inaccurate, but they are concerned in appropriate ways.
I think it is important to not demonize our theological “opponents” if we hope to have real dialogue.
Thanks, TOm

By Anonymous TOmNossor, at July 23, 2007 at 11:56 AM  


Tom,

Thanks for your comments.

I actually think spiritual or theological questions are much, much more important than political ones. I practice my faith (particular brand name is immaterial) as well as I can. Actually, I like most could do better, but I try.

Yet, in this political context Mitt's faith (outside his personal moral strength) should be out of bounds.

My earlier pleas attempted to re-direct the conversation to constructive dialogue. What can be done to aid those who deeply protest (and should if these are their convictions) Mitt's faith, but seem his as the most able, more leader?



That should have end with "see him as the most able, moral leader." I really blew that final sentence.



On a few theological questions (after all, I am more concerned with theology than politics):
I will start and finish with a statement that theology should not be the issue for evaluating a Romney candidacy. As a LDS I seriously considered McCain, and he would have been my second choice had he not fallen so spectacularly.


First, it should be noted that the CoJCoLDS does not have professional theologians as leaders. This IMO is somewhat positive. Hard to measure (but more important) things like capacity to love and spirituality are valued above theological learning. (I would not suggest that spiritual and loving theologians are absent in either the CoJCoLDS or in non-LDS Christianity, I only suggest that the absence of theologian-leaders is a truth within the CoJCoLDS that is not inherently condemnable). The result of this lack of theologians is a lack of “official theology.” Within the CoJCoLDS there are many different ideas.

Second, I want to emphasize that I find the CoJCoLDS to be the most reasonable read of the Bible and historical evidences (both ancient history in Judaism, Early Church history in the Old World Christian churches, early LDS history –with all its warts-, and even early Mesoamerican history). I however believe that one can develop a relationship with Christ outside of the organization of the CoJCoLDS (and one can fail to develop a relationship with Christ within the CoJCoLDS). It is thus most important that one come to know Christ as their Savior. My theological discussions are responses to criticisms (like here), attempts to uplift through commonality, or attempts to offer more to those who are seeking greater truth.

On to some theology:
I am a Social Trinitarian. I have read from authors like Ostler, Paulsen, and … who have helped me to see this position as the most consistent view of the LDS scriptures (Bible included). The term “Social Trinitarian” comes from Plantinga, a Protestant theologian. Here is an interview with Dr. Paulsen from Reformation Today (a Protestant journal) concerning this view. I think it is a good starting point for discussions on the Trinity.
http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=articledisplay&var1=ArtRead&var2=236&var3=main
Plantinga claims the “Social Trinity” is in accord with the first 4 councils of the church. Having studied Nicea extensively, I do not have trouble embracing its decision utilizing the definition of “homousian” MOST prevalent within the members of the council. Athanasius who defined “homousian” differently commented that those with the more prevalent view should be viewed as brothers in Christ. As Athanasius’s view became more widespread, it seems such fellowship has vanished.

On the idea of deification entailing polytheism, I would suggest that the Early Church embraced a monotheistic deification. Certainly within the CoJCoLDS there are folks who underemphasize (or perhaps somewhat forget) the communal nature of deification. I believe such theological imprecision is not damnable, but I believe our scriptures (the Bible perhaps most especially) demand that men can become gods through communion with the One God (who is a communion of three Persons already).
For any LDS who may struggle with the idea of communal deification, one simple pointer in this direction is the eternal familial links that are part of our views of deification.

On the idea of the irrationality of it all:
If I were not a LDS, I would return to the Catholic Church immediately. That being said, I find the appeal to “mystery” necessary to embrace an Augustinian Trinity, a two nature Christology, and a number of outgrowths of Creation ex Nihilo; to result in illogical statements. [A is 3] AND [A is not 3] are not reconcilable IMO. Without the restoration and the freedom I have to understand the scriptures and teachings of modern prophets in a way that aligns with reason, I would be a Catholic who needed to say “mystery” when I meant “violation of logic” (at least for some of these things, since I would be a Social Trinitarian Catholic).
To briefly link back to the purpose of this blog, I would suggest that no Christian (or Jew or Moslem or …) should invite a test of rationality to be applied to their theology in order to be considered for public office. Intelligent folks are frequently secularists precisely because they find things like “The Problem of Evil” (which is solved quite will by LDS theology) to be such that one cannot embrace theology. Such things do not reflect upon how one engages in public policy and should not be considered as some here seem to desire. It will be the sword that further secularizes the United States of America.

So, when considering a Romney candidacy I do not allow my view that the CoJCoLDS is a better solution to the great religious questions of our day to trump my evaluation of the candidate for public (not theological) office. I lean Romney’s way today, but it is because I believe he has sincerely changed his views on abortion. I believe he will lead the country in a conservative direction on other issues. And I believe he may have a chance of beating a Democrat (any Democrat) while not being liberal on abortion like Guiliani. There are three supreme court justices who will likely be chosen in the next 8 years. There are laws to be enforced. There are taxes to be cut or raised. I hope Romney is leading and articulating during these times. I am unsure about Thompson and his ability to win, and I doubt (other than the Mormon thing) he is the best candidate. This is why I am for Romney, not because his theology is so superior -grin-.

Charity, TOm

By Anonymous TOmNossor, at July 23, 2007 at 1:16 PM  


Nealie,
Thank you for the kind words. Sorry I felt the need to make a post mostly dedicated to theology. I have enjoyed Bubba’s demeanor on this thread and would love to take our theological discussions elsewhere.

HINT HINT, Bubba!

I will try to refrain from such things here.

Thanks, TOm

By Anonymous TOmNossor, at July 23, 2007 at 1:21 PM  


To be clear, I don't mind this thread focusing on politics, including what Romney could do to bridge the gap with Christian voters who are uncomfortable supporting a Mormon -- and what he should do in response to those who are firm in their conviction that they should not support him.

Nealie's attempt to get back to that topic wasn't the problem, just the language she used; I apologize for jumping to conclusions.

Tom, I'm not sure how much more time I would have for a theological discussion elsewhere, but point out a relatively neutral arena where it's easy to comment, and I'll see what I can do.

For the moment it may suffice to say, first, that Catholics and other Christians reject the idea that theological "mysteries" are synonymous with "contradictions."

The Trinity does not entail the idea that [A is 3] AND [A is not 3]. It entails this idea:

[A is 3] and [B is not 3]

where A is the number of persons in the Godhead and B is the number of BEINGS. Three persons in one being cannot be fully grasped by our limited minds -- and hence is a mystery -- but it's not identical to an obvious contradiction like "three persons in one person".

Second, for one who suggests that the idea of the Trinity is inherently contradictory, you don't seem to see that the charge can be more accurately applied to "monotheistic deification." Deification is the idea that we can become gods (plural), yes? And monotheism is the idea that there is one god, yes?

In attaching the word "communal" to deification, are you suggesting that we don't become gods, but that we become / join / are absorbed into one god? If you're saying anything less or other than that, then it seems that monotheistic deification -- communal or otherwise -- really entails [A is 1] AND [A is not 1], where A is the number of deities.

If you're saying precisely that, what was your problem with the Trinity, again?



So far, I've seen two arguments for why Mitt's religion should bar him from the Presidency: (1) Mormonism is so unreasonable no one smart could believe it. Hence, no Mormon has the intellect for the position. (2) A Mormon president would improve their conversion rate.

(1) Absolutely. If Mormons believe "weird" things, they must not have the necessary mental acumen. For example, Mitt barely graduated #1 from BYU and only in the top 5% & 10% from Harvard's MBA and Law programe respectively. Honestly, can you think of a more foolish argument? If I remember correctly, some Mormon guy won a Nobel Prize a couple years back. The "weird beliefs" = obviously dumb = unfit for office argument is absurd.

(2) There is NOTHING to support this argument. I have seen no data to show that conversion rates increase when religions have their people in positions of prominence. I have seen data showing no change (JFK, W. Bush, Carter). These men's rise in prominence did not create increases in religious viability for their respective congregations. If, for some reason, you believe it will be different in this case, hang w/this one. I'll go for Romney though--a guy who looks at data to predict outcomes.

Another piece of evidence indicating these arguments are irrational is that no one against Romney has been able to answer ?2. Where, then, do Mormons fit in? Can they be Speaker of the House? Mayor? City Plumber? At what point are Mormons no longer disqualified from public service?

Bubba-

You continue to discuss how Mormons are different. Yes they are. They believe God, Jesus & the Holy Ghost are distinct persons. Protestants & Catholics do not. Why does it matter in Presidential politics? As for good sources to learn about Mormons, your pastor & the anti-Mormon propoganda he provides are not. If you don't want to ask a Mormon, get info from respected religious scholars. Notre Dame, Harvard, Yale, etc. have many PhDs who can give plenty of unbiased info.

Also, you failed to address my earlier comments. If your religion morally obligates you to not support Mitt (faithful family man who sides w/you on virtually all social policy, but differs in theology), will it allow you to support Rudy (no concept of fidelity) or Fred (never-been-active evangelical w/character/chastity issues in his past)? If so, isn't that intuitively outrageous from a moral standpoint?



First, Willy, Protestants and Catholics believe the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit ARE three distinct persons: three persons in one being.

Second, I'm not sure what's intuitively outrageous about your scenario, nor am I sure that a simple argument from outrage is compelling.

But I do an insult when I see one:

"As for good sources to learn about Mormons, your pastor & the anti-Mormon propoganda he provides are not."

Nothing I've written justifies this smear, primarily because I haven't even mentioned my pastor. I feel no obligation to address your earlier comments if you're going to make comments like this one.



Bubba,
Thank you again for a positive response. I am quite familiar with “3 persons in 1 being,” but I would suggest the definitions of terms necessary to remove the not “fully grasped” result in either a form of Social Trinitarianism or contradiction. My theological leanings define God’s communal oneness and His personal threeness in such a way that contradiction is avoided. And yes deification is the assumption into the communal oneness such that there is one God.
I am not too concerned with where we go to discuss. ZLMB is an ezboard site that if you are an ezboard member might work. It once had atheist, Catholic, Protestant, and LDS moderators; but is fairly quiet now.
Here is a site that was in my favorites, but has little or no traffic. It seems to work:
http://echoforums.org/modules/newbb/viewforum.php?forum=4
I am not uncomfortable discussing in an environment critical of the CoJCoLDS (ie not neutral), but I will of necessity (time) ignore some or most of the comments not from you.
Alternatively, I could dialogue with you via email. My email is “tr” at “dr” dot “com” with the obvious insertions of “@” and “.”
Charity, TOm

By Anonymous TOmNossor, at July 23, 2007 at 3:46 PM  


Bubba-

You have said many things that Mormons would find insulting. That is a fact. But when someone slights you in any way you play the victim card and use it as an excuse to deflect the substantive arguments against your position. That is cowardly.

I am well aware of Protestant/Catholic/Mormon theology. I meant no mischaracterisation--Protestants believe the 3 separate Persons are 1 Being/Entity/God. Mormons believe they are literally & always 3 separate Beings/Entities/Gods.

BTW - it is undisputed that MANY pastors distribute anti-Mormon literature & many evangelicals have negative views of Mormons based on what they have learned from their pastor and/or these pamphlets/books/movies. The slight was unintentional. I was merely suggesting you should get your info from scholars (if you have not done so yet) rather than from your pastor or anti-Mormon profiteers (if those happen to be your sources).



Bubba-

To me it seems intuitively outrageous for a Christian-moralist to hold the view that they cannot support a Mormon (even if he has led a clean God-fearing life & will support the social causes that Christianity needs), but that they can support an effectively non-religious Catholic or Evangelical (who have long histories of adultery and/or fornication and who are not nearly as effective in supporting the needed social causes).

If you think my position is wrong, please explain why.



You could have made that request, Willy, without resorting to insults -- first insinuating that my conclusions about Mormonism are rooted in ignorance and skewed by propaganda (and bringing in my pastor, to boot), then trading that insult for another by accusing me of cowardice.

I've been told that my position that Mormonism isn't Christian is morally comparable to believing that blacks aren't fully human, and I've read here that Protestants don't oppose Mormonism because they actually have deeply held theological issues: "It all boils down to money, power and influence."

Despite those VERY serious accusations, I would dare say that I've dealt with more substance here than most anyone else, even you. My record speaks for itself.

But, despite its source, your question is a good one. I don't think it's a perfect question, as it overstates its case. Rudy and Thompson, you write, are "not nearly as effective in supporting the needed social causes". Just how effective was Romney's opposition to redefining marriage in Massachusetts? I would agree that he stood on the right side of the issue, but what did he accomplish?

More importantly, it's not just that Mormonism "differs in theology." It sets itself up as opposed to Christianity: the assertion is that Christianity has strayed so far from God's intentions that divine intervention of a miraculous nature was required -- Smith supposedly being visited by an angel, then by God Himself and various figures of the Bible, all so he could receive gold plates containing new scripture from a long-dead civilization. Mormonism cannot simultaneously stand by its assertions about the Book of Mormon and demure that our theological differences aren't that great.

I don't believe the Bible requires Christians to oppose Mormon political candidates, but if an individual's Christian conscience does not permit him to support Romney, the stuff about Romney's personal life compared to those of his opponents or his positions or his leadership are unimportant.

Why? Because we are clearly commanded to love God first, and that even gaining the whole world isn't worth the cost of sin.

Does that mean that anyone who cannot support Romney for his Mormon affiliation must also refuse to support Guiliani or Thompson for any issues of marital infidelity or lack of chastity? I don't think so: the Mosaic law permits divorce, and Jesus explained in Matthew 19 that it was a concession because of man's sinful heart, but there is NO comparable concession on issues like idolatry. If someone believes that Mormonism is a false, anti-Christian religion, I can see him also believing that adherence to Mormonism is more serious than a less-than-perfect commitment to the institution of marriage. It's entirely possible that someone could conclude that his opposition to a Mormon candidate entails both refusing to vote for him AND committing to vote for an opponent, no matter how flawed his positions and personal life.

Ultimately, I'm not weighing in on any of these alternatives -- supporting Romney, supporting Rudy, supporting no one, whatever -- and saying that any of them is "morally outrageous." I'm just explaining why some might find it impossible to support Romney because of his religious affiliation.

You're the one proclaiming from on high about what's grossly immoral.



Hey Bubba, Genesis 1:26

What does it say there? Yeah I guess God is just trying to play fast and loose with just how many were with Him during the Creation.

.."Let Us Create Man in OUR image.."

Just go away and vote for someone else. Your presence here is disturbing and serves only one purpose. To aggrandize your own existence. Time for you to take a walk. Bye.



Bubba-

I called you a coward due to what I saw as deflection & self-victimization. My comments about your "pastor" were not personal. I didn't even know if you had a "pastor"--it was an extension of your earlier argument against getting info about Mormons from Mormons. I was recommending a 3rd option to evangelical ministers & Mormons: unbiased scholars. I certainly was less than clear and I apologize. I did not mean to suggest you were ignorant or unscholarly. I certainly respect your point of view. You appear to be well educated, intelligent and rational.

The main force of my argument is this: Christian moralists should find adulterers and fornicators more reprehensible than an integral man w/inaccurate theology. The other points are less relevant to the purpose of this blog.

If you disagree w/my point (as you mention some could), how far should this anti-Mormon sentiment go? Should it bar a Mormon from serving in Congress? As Mayor? As City Plumber? At what level should Mormons be allowed to enter public service?



Bubba-

I disagree w/Doug & hope you hang around. You add an important element to the conversation.

Regarding beliefs: No Mormon is saying "...theological differences aren't that great." This is a mischaracterization. Mormons, like all other religions, believe they have the MOST truth & that all other religions are in some way inadequate. It's more obvious in Mormonism because they proselite more heavily and have a couple beliefs that vary from almost all other Christians (Trinity, Non-Creedal, Open Cannon).

The point of this blog, though, is to list WHY any of these beliefs should disqualify Mitt from being President. Do any? If so, why and what other public service should he not be eligible for?

When answering, please don't give hypotheticals about what "someone could believe." This is what many self-important, wannabe-intellectuals do to avoid taking a stand. If you have a perspective, give us that. Please don't waste time w/hypos about "someone." Tell us what YOU think & defend it.



Douglas, I'm not going to ask you to leave and would appreciate your returning the courtesy -- unless, of course, you're the owner or administrator of this site. What I would ask you to do is to make your way to the nearest orthodox synagogue and tell the rabbi that the Jews have gotten their own religion mistaken for four thousand years, that Judaism really is polytheistic, and that the very first passage in the first book of Moses proves it.

It would be educational, possibly for the rabbi, as perhaps no Jew or Christian who insists their faith is monotheistic has ever, ever noticed that passage. But could it be educational for you to discover that the claim of monotheism takes this obscure and rarely read passage into account? You should go find out.

Willy:

You may take this as being evasive, but it is the truth when I write that I haven't decided who I will support for president, nor have I decided whether Romney's Mormonism is an absolute deal-breaker for me personally.

I do know that my devotion to my God should trump all other loyalties, including my being an American, including my being socially and fiscally conservative.

I also know that nothing in Scripture explicitly requires a refusal to support a Mormon presidential candidate, but nothing prohibits it, either. It's something that individual Christians must and will work out on their own. I know that there are devout Christians who feel free to support Romney without hesitation, and I also know that there are those who each firmly believe that his relationship with God precludes such support.

I'm not sure which group I'll end up with, but I do know this: even if I support Romney despite his Mormonism, I must and will defend the right of those Christians who do refuse to support him because of his faith. There are Christians for whom the policy position on abortion is a deal-breaker, there are some for whom divorce (or divorce and remarriage) is a deal-breaker: some here seem to reject Guliani for one or both of those reasons. If I disagree with their decision, I may try to persuade them to change their minds, but there are some weapons in my arsenal I will not use in the attempt.

I will not break out the epithets and start accusing people of evil behavior when A) they're trying to serve God to the best of their abilities and B) I can offer no Biblical reason for describing their behavior vis-a-vis mere political support as violating any of God's laws.



Tom, briefly:

I may not have the time to continue this discussion in any venue: unfortunately, work in the real world beckons, but if that changes, I'll email ya.

I'll try to respond to two points.

First, you write, "deification is the assumption into the communal oneness such that there is one God."

If I understand you, the community would be the one and only deity. Such an idea would be monotheistic, strictly speaking, but it seems to deny the deity of any one member of that community. I'm not sure it would be accurate to refer to any member, then, as divine: he isn't but is or becomes ONLY a part of what is divine, namely, that community.

But, second, you say that this idea is a way to avoid contradiction while yet still finding yourself able "to remove the not 'fully grasped' result" of what the Bible teaches about God: clear monotheism, but yet the Father is divine, the Son is divine, and the Holy Spirit is divine.

Maybe we're not meant to fully grasp everything about God, at least not in this life.

I do believe that everything (including everything about God) follows the law of non-contradiction, but we are finite, we are fallible, we are bounded in time and space and shackled to corruptible flesh and blood. While contradiction helps us exclude what theories cannot work, there's no reason to think that we necessarily ought to be able to grasp all of reality.

And there are two good reasons to think that we will be prevented from doing so. First, we know that humble faith in God is a virtue, so it's possible that we are called to practice that humble faith in our intellectual life as in all other aspects of our life.

Second, the Bible seems to confirm this possibility: God tells us that He created the universe, but He didn't go into details how, and when God finally spoke to Job, He didn't explain Himself but instead stood by His sovereignty.

It seems to me that much of what the Bible teaches requires accepting that God's truth is, in its fullness, a mystery to man. He is just and merciful, and those two aspects of Him meet at the cross, but though it's perhaps impossible to grasp fully how, it would be a grave error to deny either aspect or emphasize one over the other. Likewise, man's freedom and God's omniscience; and Christ's deity and His humanity. The Bible teaches all these things, and together there is no contradiction, but perhaps we have no reasonable choice but to accept their mystery.

With that, have a good evening. And if I end up not emailing, do take care.



Wow Bubba! You sound like a Mormon. Congratulations!

Be aware! If you preach these ideas people will think you are irrational.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 24, 2007 at 2:05 AM  


I have mixed feelings about responding to this thread, as it has obviously gone far off the original course, and has reached a point where it has very little to do with real campaign issues. That being said, this discussion has been really darn interesting.

I do feel the need to clear up one point of doctrine to ease the minds of any good evangelicals, Catholics, or Jews who may have participated in or followed this thread: MORMONS ARE NOT POLYTHEISTS!!!!! Mormon doctrine as to the "Trinity" is really very simple. We believe God the Father, and Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate Beings, but One God. Our own Book of Mormon refers to "the Father and the ... Son and the ...Holy Ghost, which are one God, without end" We do not worship them as separate deities, nor do we say a separate Father prayer, Son prayer, and Holy Ghost prayer. We pray to the Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of the Holy Ghost. Three Beings (or persons or entities, I'm not sure why these terms would not be interchangeable given their usual meaning) which we worship as one God.

As to the other half of the polytheism claim, that our belief in eternal progression implies polytheism, I again think that you misunderstand our position. We simply feel that through Christ we become heirs of God's Kingdom. This, obviously, should not be drastically different than the view of most mainstream Christians. The difference is what we believe "God's Kingdom" entails. We feel that this is more than simply getting to dwell in the location where God dwells. Instead, we believe that we will be "joint heirs with Christ", who, as we all know, will inherit "all that the Father hath." Therefore, we believe that, through Christ, we will inherit EVERYTHING that God the Father now has. We will inherit, as his children and heirs (joint-heirs with Christ) all of his wisdom and knowledge and power and glory. Irregardless of this outcome, God will always and forever continue to be God. Our activities in the hereafter will be whatever God wills us to do, just like it is here in mortality. There has never been a time in the past when we had more than one God, we do not now have more than one God, and we never will, at any point in the eternal future have more than one God.

I'd say that makes us pretty dang monotheistic, don't ya think?

Any questions?

Oh yeah, one more thing. . .Mitt Romney rules.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 24, 2007 at 2:36 AM  


If Romney were to do a JKF type speech I hope it would be based on the articles of Faith.

I would particularly emphasize articles 1,3,11,12,13 and how they would influence his presidency.

That would include

1. Easing fears that he would push Mormonism down people's throats: "let them worship how, where, or what they may."

2. Easing fears that he would be subject to the prophet's demands. According to the 12 article, the prophet is subject to him as president of the US.

3. His commitment to the country to do his best as articulated in article 13.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 24, 2007 at 10:16 AM  


Great points Anonymouses. :)

Bubba-

Again, you are eloquent, but you have mastered the art of deflection. Please answer the question.

I understand (1) you have not made up your mind on Romney yet and (2) you will defend the right of others on this issue. Great. Very clear.

Now, please answer the question--I've asked it at least three times w/o response.

Assuming you (and/or others) conclude Romney is not supportable due to his theology, how far should this anti-Mormon sentiment go? Should one hold support for a Mormon serving in Congress? As Mayor? As City Plumber? At what level should Mormons be allowed to enter public service?



Actually, Willy, you've asked multiple questions, including the one about whether it's intuitively morally outrageous to oppose an apparently nearly perfect Mormon like Romney and simultaneously support an adulterer like Guliani.

I answered that question to the best of my ability, but now that doesn't matter: THAT question wasn't apparently the question you really wanted an answer to -- even though you repeated it over and over, and even accused me of cowardice for not bending my schedule to your will and answering your question on your timetable -- and by addressing that question, I'm now somehow evading "the" question.

If you weren't so busy insulting me, you would see that what I've already written about supporting a Mormon for President applies to other political offices: support isn't required by the Bible, nor is it forbidden, and thus it is something that each individual Christian should figure out for himself.

If that answer doesn't satisfy you, too bad, and if you have follow-up questions, feel free to raise them, but do try to do so without being so rude about it, and understand that, in this venue, no one is under any obligation to answer anyone else.



Bubba and All,
I began a lengthy response to Bubba where I quoted Blake Ostler [b]Exploring Mormon Thought[/b] extensively to explain why I feel the theology espoused by Blake and many LDS is in accordance with the Bible (and all the standard works) without demanding that we must not plumb too deep into seeming contradictions because we just do no understand all. In this response I was also going to mention that even I as an occasionally (or at least surely formerly) spiritually handicapped LDS have a healthy sense of awe and even mystery when I take flight with God, but that this is different than “not meant to fully grasp” or as Joseph said, “I want to come up into the presence of God, and learn all things; but the creeds set up stakes, and say, ‘Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further’; which I cannot subscribe to.”
Next, I was to point out that posters on this thread suggested that Romney’s theology was so flawed his rationality was questionable, but Bubba had just acknowledged that his theology results in mystery as it is plumbed to its depths. I would suggest that such things should not be used by those who wish to raise the irrationality flag.

Now, as I looked back, Bubba did not raise the irrationality flag. Instead he said that Pres. Romney’s picture would be on walls of elementary schools and some legitimization of Mormonism would result. If Mormonism is false (which is certainly a position that can be held), this legitimization would be a negative for this nation. In keeping with my view of Bubba (interesting name choice is it real?) I agree such a view is (and was previously) the strongest argument against supporting a LDS candidate. In keeping with the purpose of this blog, I will attempt to mitigate this concern some.

First, I think the most important fact to note is that Romney and politically minded LDS are adamant in there call that Romney is the former-Governor of Massachusetts, the manager who saved the Olympics, the “Best businessman in North America” (Crammer), and …. He is not the Mormon candidate. It is Evangelicals and the media who are making a big deal of Mormonism. The picture on the wall in Elementary Schools (if it does not read “President Clinton” who is obviously a woman) will read “President Romney” and their will be no mention of how he spends his Sundays worshiping.

Second, Mormonism is not some unknown religion. We already compete in the market of ideas. We win some and we loose some. For those who consider Mormonism to be ridiculous, increased exposure can only be positive. And as one who considers Mormonism to be an intellectually compelling religion, I would still suggest that the expression of this truth is sufficiently complex that not much would change. Occasionally people become LDS primarily because of the strength of our arguments (this is true despite what critics claim).
Occasionally people cease to be LDS primarily because of the strength of the arguments offered by our critics (this is true as much as we as LDS would like to call such things the product of sin or lack of proper focus on Christ or …)
However, most people become LDS for reasons not directly related to the strength or weakness of our theological story/views. And most people leave for reasons only peripherally related to reason and … (again this is contrary what many critics say, but it is just true IMO).

Finally, I would suggest it is right and just to allow Mormonism to compete in the market of ideas. To vote against the best candidate for president (if this is Romney) in order to limit the exposure of Mormonism and the potential consideration of our theology is (quite loosely, but still) a form of bearing false witness. LDS ideas should be evaluated for the soundness and wholesomeness of our theology. Is God at the head of our Church or not? Romney should be evaluated as a candidate not as a Mormon. I suggest that principled folks will find these statements to be true and I have faith that most non-LDS Christians are principled folks.

Thanks, TOm

By Anonymous TOmNossor, at July 24, 2007 at 1:05 PM  


Tom, I'm not sure how not supporting Romney would be a form of bearing false witness. You seem to argue that, all things being equal, it would be bearing false witness to conclude that Romney is the best candidate and refuse to support him, but the entire crux of this discussion is this: all things aren't equal.

It's great that Romney isn't running as "the Mormon candidate," but this is probably more a political decision than anything else: it's simply not true that his experience as MA governor and with the Olympics are being highlighted and his personal life is ignored. Look how many times HERE that people are promoting Romney because he's a more faithful husband than Rudy and a more committed religious believer than Rudy. If he can be promoted as a faithful churchgoer, it's certainly fair play to ask about the church he attends, and I would say that the question is fair play regardless: Obama's church may be perfectly normal, or it may be a little focused on the issue of race. And, after all, the central foreign policy challenge of our time involves an explicitly religious movement.

And, you write, "For those who consider Mormonism to be ridiculous, increased exposure can only be positive."

Even supposing that's true, that doesn't entail necessary support for the Mormon candidate. It could be argued that Roe v. Wade was a net benefit for the church because it increased exposure to the heinous sin, but supporting Roe in order to benefit the church in just that way isn't the behavior of a Christian: it's the act of a Machiavellian. God was able to use Judas' betrayal and Pilate's self-serving maneuvering, but that doesn't mean such acts are morally permissible.



Bubba-

You are too easily offended. Lighten up. I try to be honest in my compliments and criticisms. When I say you seem intelligent, eloquent, educated, etc. I am genuine. When I say you acted cowardly or were deflecting, I am genuine. Certainly, I may be wrong, but it's based on the facts of what I see before me. Certainly I have many flaws in life and as a blogger. As you should, you have felt free to call me out on my weaknesses. Please understand, while I like you, I will not pull reasonable punches to avoid hurting your feelings.

You certainly have no obligation to respond to questions & you can certainly pick and choose the questions you find favorable.

As for your recent responses. Although I clearly understand your statements, they are so nebulus/vague that they mean almost nothing. Of course not every answer in life is boldly printed in the bible and certainly, "each individual Christian should figure out for himself." But this is not a real answer. Not only do you fail to take a stand, you hardly take a hypothetical stand.

Frankly, I was hoping for more substance. However, I must admit I struggle to find substantive arguments to rule out Mitt based on his religion as well.



Since you want no punches pulled, I think you hold yourself in too high regard, Willy. I didn't answer your questions sooner, not because I was afraid of them, but because I was too busy answering questions that I found more worthwhile answering. If I too thought the world revolved around me, I too would conclude that every person that didn't meet my own expectations must have failed those expectations because of some deep-seated character flaw.

To the substance of the issue of Romney's candidacy, I will remind you that I am still wrestling with the question of whether his Mormonism will preclude my support: there are quite substantive arguments for that position, but I'm still weighing their merits.

Earlier you wrote this:

"When answering, please don't give hypotheticals about what 'someone could believe.' This is what many self-important, wannabe-intellectuals do to avoid taking a stand. If you have a perspective, give us that. Please don't waste time w/hypos about 'someone.' Tell us what YOU think & defend it."

I've done just that; in order to take a firmer stand that's more to your apparent liking, I WOULD at this point have to do so on a purely hypothetical basis. You've written elsewhere that you wouldn't mind such a hypothetical:

"Assuming you (and/or others) conclude Romney is not supportable due to his theology, how far should this anti-Mormon sentiment go?"

But I can't help shake the feeling that the moment I make that assumption and admit arguing a position I have not (or have not yet) actually taken in order to provide the substance you so crave, you'll go right to the smear -- sorry, "honest criticism" -- that I'm daring to talk hypotheticals.



Hello again Bubba,
I admit (now and when I said it) that “bearing false witness” was a stretch.
I am suggesting that voting against Romney is stating that he is not the best candidate. If Romney is the best candidate this IMO is a very strong reason to vote for him (and very loosely making a false statement)
I am suggesting that denying Mormonism its exposure in the market of ideas because you have concluded that Mormonism is false is somewhat incongruent with the belief that the evidence demonstrates that Mormonism is false.
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I invite increased exposure to the ideas born of the first 4 ecumenical councils. I think folks should weigh Plantinga’s solution to the “Problem of Evil.” I hope folks read the Bible and the Early Church history so that they may be more informed.
-
I am suggesting that one should not make the decision on who to elect based upon the desire to suppress open and honest discussions about Mormonism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, or Scientology. The decision on who to elect should be based upon how said person will perform as President of the United States. AND no decision should be made so as to suppress some set of ideas from the market place of ideas.
-
-
I think you misunderstood another statement I made (or I misunderstood your response).
I said:
"For those who consider Mormonism to be ridiculous, increased exposure can only be positive."
Now, part of me was responding to some of the posters who have argued that not only is Mormonism false, but it is clearly false. Some folks above have gone so far as to say that its falsity is so apparent that Romney should be discounted due to embracing something so outside the realm of that which is reasonable. I do not know if you consider Mormonism to be not only false, but clearly false (although I do note that you have not attacked Romney’s reasoning capabilities because of its falsity).
If that is a view you or others hold, I suggest that if Mormonism is just this unreasonable, greater exposure can only serve to demonstrate its flaws. Thus the Romney candidacy and/or presidency would be a tool to lead the uninformed out of Mormonism through shining the light of truth upon our fabricated religion.

The comparison to Row v. Wade fails IMO because a Romney presidency that exposes the flaws of Mormonism is not inherently evil and I happen to believe that abortion is. So Row has helped the church some, but it has also killed many babies. Romney’s presidency (based upon the above assumptions that I reject, but some may hold) would be good for the country (if he is the best candidate) and good for non-LDS Christianity because the flaws of Mormonism would be taken out of the closet for more and more folks to see.

Thanks, TOm

By Anonymous TOmNossor, at July 24, 2007 at 4:15 PM  


Bubba-

Again, I understand your position and it seems a valid personal position to me.

As for my preference regarding argumentation, wanna-be intellectuals who stand back out of the fray and give hypos w/o taking a stand are cowards. However, I recognize sometimes (as you've pointed out is your situation on this issue) opinions have honestly not been formed, so hypos are the only way to go. If hypos are the only possible approach to consider the argument, they will do.

However, I've not yet seen a strong argument (hypo or not) from you or anyone else on this thread as to why Romney's theology should cause people not to vote for him. In fact, the few claims I have seen have been almost totally void of substance. If you have a substantive claim in this regard I'd love to see it.

Also, just so you know, the reason I'm such a self-important jerk is because the universe does, in fact, revolve around me. (wink-grin)



I think this is the third forum on which I've seen Bubba post his argument that good "Christians" shouldn't support Mitt because Mitt's church was founded on grand deceptions ala the Devil (demons appearing as angels of light, golden plates that were fabricated by the Devil, and old Joe Smith falling for it hook, line, and sinker), deceptions meant to sound really good, and seem to work really well, but ultimately leading the unsuspecting believer to hell.

Are all these posts the off-shoot of some anti-Mormon ministry? I've heard of ministries whose work is totally focused on tearing down other churches they think are wrong. Is this what we have here?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 24, 2007 at 7:53 PM  


Bubba,

May I ask what you do for work? Full-time Mormon-related enterprise(s)?
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You seem to have put a great number of hours into these posts, as well as those the last Anonymous informed us of.
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Mormonism appears to be more than a passing interest for you.



Oh, lovely: if I don't answer quickly and substantively, Willy will criticize me for being cowardly and evasive, but now those very sort of comments are being criticized by Nealie and some wholly anonymous commenter.

Nealie, I work as an engineer, and though this isn't the first time I've written anything about this subject online and though I believe I'm somewhat knowledgeable on the subject, Mormonism doesn't occupy my every waking thought. I'm just naturally verbose; a lot of what I've written online in other venues focuses, not on Mormonism, but on Christianity; and I'm simply tired of partisan Romney supporters like Hugh Hewitt (and several here) leveling the worst sort of accusations toward those who don't believe Mormonism is Christian and who are not wholly comfortable supporting a politician who is affiliated with that heretical religiion.

I have posted elsewhere, but Anonymous is apparently confusing me with someone else regarding the content of what I've posted -- or, at least, that's the most charitable conclusion I can reach in the face of his inaccurate recollections. You will note that A) he doesn't cite any of these other forums and B) he even gets wrong what I've written here:

"I think this is the third forum on which I've seen Bubba post his argument that good 'Christians' shouldn't support Mitt because Mitt's church was founded on grand deceptions ala the Devil..."

Though I write that I believe Mormonism isn't Christian, NOWHERE have I offered a theory about its orgins, much less a theory about a diabolical origin. Moreover, I haven't argued that good Christians "shouldn't" support Romney, only that Christians are and should be free each to make that decision for himself and in his own relationship with God, and that the Christian argument against supporting a Mormon candidate cannot be easily dismissed with demagoguery.

This anonymous commenter can't even be honest about what I've written here, and you're apparently literate enough to be able to read those comments for yourself, and you STILL accept as gospel his dishonest and unsubstantiated accusation.

This is, to say the very least, not conducive to an open discussion. It is in fact aggressively personal, and if this is the sort of behavior that one can expect from Romney's supporters, he deserves to lose. I've tried on more than one occasion -- e.g. the July 23, 2007 10:24 PM comment -- to wrap up what I've had to say on this issue, and people like you and Willy insist on continue the discussion, not solely or even primarily by offering substantive points, but by insult and insinuation.

If you want to berate people who disagree with you and drive them from a discussion, well, you're succeeding. If you want to persuade people to agree with you or even to agree to disagree cordially while not drawing really negative conclusions about your character, you need to try a different approach.



Bubba -

Although it's true there have been a few non-substantive posts and quasi-personal attacks, those seem to be the posts that you are most interested in responding to. Both Tom Nosser and I (as an anonymous poster on the topic of polytheism) made substantive arguments directly related to your claims and, for the most part, you have ignored those posts completely. Wouldn't it be better to ignore the posts which you feel are lacking in substance, and deal with those which are actually trying to address the issues you raise?

I am curious. If Mitt Romney were Jewish, would you still be giving him this same scrutiny? Since the charge leveled against the LDS Church is that it is not Christian (a charge which I personally find odd given the formal name of the church), should all non-Christian candidates face the same scrutiny by Christian voters? What about candidates who support all of the traditionally Christian causes, and conduct their personal lives in a way that seems harmonious with the scriptures, but nothing is known about their religious affiliation because they never discuss it publicly. Could a Christian voter reasonably withhold their support from such a candidate until it could be confirmed that they are in fact a Bible-believin', church goin', mainstream Christian?

Or, do feel that the Mormon church is unique among religions ( or perhaps in a select group including the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Christian Scientists, and Seventh-day Adventists) because we claim to be Christian and you are sure that we are not? Is it the fact that you perceive us as "wolves in sheep's clothing" that makes us (and our religion) such a threat? If we promised to stop referring to ourselves as Christians in all public forums, would we be more palatable candidates? Or would we have to go further and take the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ out of the name of our church to avoid being deceptive?

What say you?

By Anonymous wdfoxx99, at July 25, 2007 at 8:50 AM  


As is everyone else's, my time is limited: wouldn't it be nice if those who want me not to focus on personal attacks directed toward me would ask those making the attacks to stop in addition to asking me to ignore them.

I believe that certain personal attacks require a quick response because some people wrongly infer that silence means something it doesn't. You want to focus on substance, encourage everyone to focus on substance, not just me.

Now, it isn't odd to believe that a church that describes itself as Christian isn't, unless the term has no real doctrinal meaning and is only a reflection of self-selection. I have it on good authority that not everyone who preaches in Christ's name will be found acceptible in His eyes.

My problem isn't just that Mormonism isn't non-Christian, but that it claims that it is; to use (admittedly emotionally charged) theological language, there's a difference between pagan religions and heresies.

I am not "threatened" by the heresy of Mormonism; I am just not convinced that I can support a presidential candidate who is affiliated with Mormonism and do so with a clear conscience.



I just wanted to comment about the slippery slope a governement, (and even individuals) can get into when they decide what religion is right for everyone. Let's take Germany. Someone who was elected by the people atleast in some manner, decided Jews, as well as Blacks, Gypsies, and other faiths did not pass the mustard, so they had to go. You may have heard about Tom Cruise recently protesting that Scientology is a restricted religion, well it is really viewed as a business, in Germany. Well this fight has been going on for years atleast ten. It was going while I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints. The religions that I was aware of that were on the non-preaching list were Scientologists, Seventh Day Adventists, and Johovah's Witness. They were relegated to standing on the street corner holding up their information until someone came to them to talk, while we were able to go door-to-door and go about our regular business. You can only imagine the hurt and saddness this caused these people. I don't because I know exactly how they felt because one day as we were walking to an appointment, a man from Russia who had to be atleast in his eighties, pulled on the arm of my companion and would not let her go until we both heard what he had to say. His heart was broken because he could not share his faith with others, that his religion was given the label of cult (at this time as well, people of these faiths could not run for public office), and that he just wanted us to know that.
I hope that America will never become a country like that and that Americans could never be that closed minded. I believe that I have found the truth for me and my family that has helped us find happiness for many generations. In it I find great hope that I can be together with my family forever, that there is a Heavenly Father who loves me, and has sent us prophets to speak and direct His church.
I hope that those out there who believe that Mitt Romney is going to ruin this country because of his religious affiliation, take a step back and view the man and how he measures up to the definition of Christian, for that matter his religion. You may be suprised.

Who do you think is behind feuling this argument about who is Christian and who is not?
By the way, this arguement sounds very similiar to what is going on in Iraq about who is really a Muslim, a shiite or a sunni, who do you think is behind feuling that arguement as well? I think that is one answer that we can all agree on.



To address Tom's most recent post -- and for all the criticism, it's worth noting that I've addressed A LOT of what he's written up to that point -- the logic of his argument is that, given two candidates who are otherwise equally acceptible, a Christian should support the candidate LEAST like him in terms of religious beliefs for the sake of the arena of ideas. I find that argument bizarre.

The arena of ideas is a good thing that should be protected, but that doesn't imply that a church should allow just anyone to preach from its pulpit, and it doesn't imply a moral imperative to vote for a member of a religious minority for public office.

He writes, "no decision should be made so as to suppress some set of ideas from the market place of ideas." I ask, in passing, what about the idea that other ideas should be suppressed? His statment would suppress that idea that other ideas should be suppressed.

More seriously, there's no possibility of Mormonism being suppressed in the arena of ideas: no one's arguing against Mormons' right to worship, to proselytize, and to run for office. Refusing to support a Mormon candidate doesn't suppress Mormonism in the arena of ideas, anymore than refusing to support a Marxist results in Das Kapital being banned from bookstores.

Foxx:

Thanks for putting a name next to the comment. Superficially, what you write does not seem to entail polytheism, so the question becomes, is what you write a complete and accurate representation of Mormonism? And are the meanings behind the terms you use similar to what I mean by them?

For instance, you write, "There has never been a time in the past when we had more than one God, we do not now have more than one God, and we never will, at any point in the eternal future have more than one God."

Do you mean that there eternally is one deity, or only that there is only one deity referred to by the name "God"? You mention the wisdom, power, and knowledge that "God the Father now has." Has He always had these things, or was there a time when when He didn't? If it's the latter, was the universe then devoid of any deities altogether?

To make a larger point, Mormonism claims that Christianity has strayed so far from God's will that His corrective was to send a man an angelic messenger (and to show up Himself, along with major figures of the Bible) supposedly to show that man some golden plates from a long-dead civilization so that he could show the world a whole new set of books that are at least as authoritative as the Bible. And yet, the argument I see here is that Mormonism's actual doctrine is so very close to those of the Baptists and Catholics that it's really rude and unfair for them to conclude that it isn't Christian.

I find that convenient for Mormons but implausible: if their historical claims about the origin of the Book of Mormon are true, then everyone else is in serious apostasy. If Mormons can call Catholics and Baptists apostates -- indeed, if their historical claims depend on their being apostates -- we are well within our rights to call you heretics, and it stands to reason that the charge has merit given the claims about the Book of Mormon.

If Mormons had read the same canonical texts and drawn different conclusions, that would be one thing. If they had argued that some ancient texts had been wrongly excluded from canon and argued from those texts, that'd be one thing. In both of those cases, it's at least plausible that the theological chasm could be great but not insurmountable. But that's not plausible given the Mormon claims about their authoritative text.

To ask it bluntly, if the theological divide isn't really all that great, just what was so important that God had to do so many miraculous things in order to bring us the Book of Mormon?



Kim writes:

Who do you think is behind feuling this argument about who is Christian and who is not?

By the way, this arguement sounds very similiar to what is going on in Iraq about who is really a Muslim, a shiite or a sunni, who do you think is behind feuling that arguement as well? I think that is one answer that we can all agree on.


I doubt she's suggesting that Iran is behind this rather dreadful discussion that dares to ask, does the word "Christian" actually mean anything? Maybe she means Satan, in which case, this would be the first person in this thread to have invoked a diabolical plot, contrary to the anonymous claims about my position.

The belief that Mormonism isn't Christian isn't morally comparable to the belief that blacks aren't fully human. Likewise, Kim, it's ridiculous to invoke Nazi Germany simply because some Christians are reluctant to support a Romney.

- Oppressing and enslaving millions of people because they're black.

- Murdering millions of people because they're Jewish.

- Not voting for someone because he's a Mormon.

ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER.

If you can't see the difference, then what's the difference between the Holocaust and refusing to marry someone outside your religion? Do you actually think people are free to exclude people from matrimonal consideration on the basis of religion, you murderous fascist?



If you do a google on the terms "Bubba" "Mormon" and "Christian" you'll see that Bubba has posted on far more than 3 sites.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=bubba+mormon+christian

As for the Mormon deception, the forum I was referrering to is here: http://www.timellsworth.com/?p=1902. Note the last comment. It's NOT by Bubba. But it seemed that both Bubba and this JRazz person were raising the same type of isssue of "elevating Mormonism."

The question is: Bubba, do you agree with that last statement in that forum? You seem to indicate that you could vote for a Jew etc., but Mormons are a special case because their religion is extra deceptive.

Second, from all the google results it seems you have made up your mind about not voting for Romney. And so it seems disingenuous to post as the guy who hasn't quite made up his mind.

If you really are on the fence, then why the continual raising of the Mormon Christian debate? Why not just come out and say something like the following?

"You know, I don't consider Mormons to be Christians, and I don't want to debate that point--that's firm in my mind. My question is whether it's ever justified to vote for someone who belongs to a religion you think is false."

But you don't do that. So it makes me question your motive here. Of course, nothing illegal about ministries devoted to bashing Mormons or tobacco or anything else. It's just that your manner seems less than forthright.

But I could be wrong.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 25, 2007 at 10:55 AM  


Bubba-

While I'm sure you didn't take the time to notice, when I respond I focus on the few somewhat substantive points you make and waste little time w/the rest. When you attack me directly I take it in stride, consider whether it's deserved and then focus on the arguments.

You, on the other hand, are so focused on your self-victimization that you rarely get around to post anything substantive. It seems like half of every post is dedicated to crying about being called out. This creates a cycle: We, who have called you out see the need to continue calling you out because you keep complaining, stating a claim & avoiding the substance of the post to which you respond.

You are right--representations that you called Mormons diabolical are false. When that was posted I think you had treated Mormons w/civility. However, you've since called them heretical, which is a short step away from the "diabolical" claim leveled against you. The more important point is that you have been unable to make a substantive claim about why Romneys theology should bar him from being president.

Like you (& most on this board I'm sure), I would fight for every American's right to vote based on their own objective/subjective criteria.

NO ONE IS SAYING PEOPLE SHOULD NOT HAVE INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY TO CHOOSE FOR THEMSELVES WHETHER OR NOT THEY SHOULD VOTE BASED ON THEOLOGY. WE'RE SAYING THAT THE ARGUMENTS TO DO SO IN THIS CASE ARE WEAK OR COMPLETELY IRRATIONAL.



Bubba,

Why don't you tell us exactly who is Christian and who isn't of the following groups.

The millions of Arians that lived during the 5 centuries after Christ.

Catholics during the middle ages.

Catholics now.

The Eastern Orthodox Church.

Jehova's Wittnesses.

The children who think of God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost as three different things.

The adults who imagine that as well.

Universalists.

Deists, including many of the founding fathers, etc.

Calvinists, who believe in predestination

I could go on and on and on.

The fact is that you can define the term "Christian" any way you like. The problem is that there are going to be more who disagree with your use of the term.

Argue all you want, but I find your use of the term extremely limiting, almost to the point it's absurd. There are thousands of different types of Christians, all with their own distinctives.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 25, 2007 at 11:09 AM  


You could be wrong, Anonymous? Guess what: you're wrong.

I wasn't aware that I haven't been the only one using this five-character name and weighing in on this topic. Most of those Google hits, I do not recognize and have had nothing to do with. I believe, out of the first 100 hits, an actual comment from me can be found in only 3 hits. The conclusions that you draw from all those hits are thus fallacious.

Here's the thing worth noting: you notice a discrepency between some comments by a commenter named "Bubba" elsewhere and my comments here. Instead of entertaining the possibility that the discrepency can be rationally explained by the existence of more than one person using that name, you presume that I'm lying here.

"Second, from all the google results it seems you have made up your mind about not voting for Romney. And so it seems disingenuous to post as the guy who hasn't quite made up his mind."

You could have asked if those were all written by me. They weren't, I would have told you so, and you would have saved yourself from looking foolish.



Bubba-

There are most certainly very significant differences between your doctrine and mine. Moreover, there are many aspects of Mormon doctrine which, when properly explained (Mormons have a bad habit of explaining Mormon doctrine using a unique Mormon vocabulary and phraseology which makes it seem even more foreign to Evangelicals) many mainstream Christians accept intuitively, despite the fact that these ideas may differ somewhat from the Creedal party line. I can't tell you haw many times Christians have said to me "well that what I've always believed" when I have explained a tenet of my faith which which is significantly different than official mainstream Christian doctrine.

I like your argument that if we can call you "apostates," calling us "heretics" is totally fair. I agree wholeheartedly. The comment made me laugh a little but it is right on the money. However, I have never heard of a single Mormon who refused to support any "apostate" (non-Mormon) candidates. Mitt Romney is the first Mormon candidate for any office that I have voted for (this would probably not be the case if I had spent more time living in Utah.) In fact, I voted against two previous Mormon presidential candidates. If I lived in Senator Reed's state, I would almost certainly vote against him.

The difference between your calling me a heretic and my calling you an apostate is that I like apostates. Some of my best friends are apostates. All of my favorite political leaders have been apostates. If you ran for office, I might vote for you (unless you ran on an anti-Mormon platform, that might sour me on your candidacy somewhat) I am, in general, very pro-apostate. Most Mormons are very pro-apostate, until those apostates start calling us heretics, as you can see from the defensive posture many in this thread have taken.

All I'm saying is that all of us, apostates and heretics alike, have certain common political interests. Can't we all just put aside our differences for one campaign join hands, sing Kumbaya, and put the right friggan' guy in office?

By Anonymous wdfoxx99, at July 25, 2007 at 11:18 AM  


Willy, you're full of crap.

"You, on the other hand, are so focused on your self-victimization that you rarely get around to post anything substantive."

That's simply not supportable by what I've written. Twice I've gone out of my way to answer questions when you've complained about my not having done so, to say nothing of all I've written addressing other points. Stop doing this and start acting like a civilized adult.



The anonymous commenter should note that I've already once addressed the request to give a complete and exhaustive list about what defines Christians and who are excluded: such a list is not necessary for the purposes of this discussion.

Fox, ceteris paribus, I generally agree with the idea that people of different faiths should work together politically. If, however, an individual's relationship with God precludes support of adherents of a particular faith, that trumps the general rule.

In this case, I'm not arguing that Christian doctrine requires opposition to Romney's candidacy: but it doesn't forbid such opposition either. One's relationship with God -- and one's decision in the voting booth, for that matter -- is a very personal, private thing. And one's relationship with God is not always guided by the principle that I ought to do something only if it's supported by a strong, wholly rational, and publicly defensible argument. I'm inclined to ignore a request for such an argument, for a variety of reasons.

1) Having such an argument isn't necessary for me to make a decision vis-a-vis my relationship with God.

2) The person so strongly demanding that argument is consistently demonstrating rude, boorish behavior toward me.

3) I'm not trying to persuade ANYONE here not to vote for Romney. If I were doing that, strong arguments would be appropriate. Instead, I'm just defending the decision not to support him from the really ridiculous smears, of which we've already seen invocations of black slavery and the Nazi Holocaust.

Willy hasn't seen a persuasive argument for him not to support Romney: good for him. I haven't been trying to convince him not to support Romney, so maybe he should ask someone else for that sort of argument.



Bubba-

Read over my post again and ask yourself: "Did I just 'complain', 'state a claim' & 'avoid the substance of the post to which i responded'?"

You deflect the important points better than Patrick Roy (great NHL goaltender).

"NO ONE IS SAYING PEOPLE SHOULD NOT HAVE INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY TO CHOOSE FOR THEMSELVES WHETHER OR NOT THEY SHOULD VOTE BASED ON THEOLOGY. WE'RE SAYING THAT THE ARGUMENTS TO DO SO IN THIS CASE ARE WEAK OR COMPLETELY IRRATIONAL."

I've stated this half a dozen times in various ways & even when it's shouted, you avoid it. You've once claimed it's false. You've never given reason to believe it's untrue.



Bubba-

So there we are. Your 2nd point makes clear that you feel no need to have a rational reason to not vote for Romney on the basis of his theology. I guess that sums it up.



Sorry -- your 1st point. Your 2nd point calls me "boarish."



I've already repeatedly explained that I'm simply defending opposition to Romney from some of the more idiotic attacks (e.g., the argument from Hitler). I'm not trying to persuade anyone else to oppose Romney.

I've also repeatedly explained that this opposition can be based on one's relationship with God, where decisions aren't always made with the full force of a rational argument that would stand up to the scrutiny of the Oxford debate club.

So if you could explain why it's so very important why I personally should answer your question, I'd appreciate it.

Now, having addressed the substance of your request by asking you to justify your request, I must ask: what the hell were you doing repeating those other questions and berating me about them if those weren't important questions?

If those questions were important, you should give me credit for addressing them. If they weren't, you shouldn't have berated me for not addressing them.



Quoting Bubba, "I am not "threatened" by the heresy of Mormonism; I am just not convinced that I can support a presidential candidate who is affiliated with Mormonism and do so with a clear conscience."

Why not?
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Be brief if you can. I'm spending too much time reading this site and can't put adequate attention to my own site:
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http://nyformitt.blogspot.com/
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I just realized you and Slick posted a few more times. Doesn't look like you want to answer Slick. You may not answer mine, either. I was just curious like he was.



Seeing that you did read my previous comment -- and it's "boorish" not "boarish" -- let me ask you a couple important questions of my own.

Is it okay for a person to decide not to marry someone without a clear, rational reason for doing so, if he believes that his relationship with God requires that? In other words, in personal decisions in which a variety of choices are morally permissible, must every spiritual leading that may be from God be rigorously checked against prepositional logic?



Nealie, I did answer Willy, and he seems to have acknowledged it.

To give you a brief answer to your question: my relationship with God.



Sounds good to me.
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I've enjoyed the interchanges. You're a wonderful writer and powerful thinker, Bubba.
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Best of luck with your work. Please keep an open mind about Romney (as damaging as this long interchange may have been).



Bubba is right.

His only argument is that if someone feels like it would be morally wrong to vote for someone he or she considered a heretic, then they should not vote for the heretic. Period.

The main thrust of the opposition argument has been (or at least should have been) that voters should not be morally opposed to voting for a heretic as long as the heretic will do the best job of running the country.

Examine the two arguments closely and you will find that they are not mutually exclusive. the problem is that each side is arguing past each other, not against each other. The Pro- Romney side would do best to acknowledge the validity of Bubba's stance if you want him to give any thought to your positions.

The fact is that no one on this board disagrees with you Bubba. We all think that everyone should vote according to the dictates of their conscience, and that should include what their relationship with God dictates.

Anyone disagree with this point?

By Anonymous wdfoxx99, at July 25, 2007 at 12:13 PM  


I'll try to, thanks. :)



Nobody disagrees with the point as it relates to following one's conscience. However, we've been trying to make the point that religious beliefs can remain fixed while political applications of those beliefs can be "flexible", allowing one to vote for Mitt.
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Many Christians who opposed Mitt months ago are now on his bandwagon to stay. None of these Christians changed their conscience of relationship with God. Their perspective relative to Mitt and Mormonism changed.



Fox-

I can certainly agree w/that last point. Certainly all should vote according to their own conscience.

Bubba-

I believe people always act based on reason. We make mistakes due to miscalculations, ignorance, evil, etc. Even if your only reason is scriptural interpretation or personal revelation from God, that is a "clear, rational reason."

Your current position is certainly supportable by your current argument. I understand where Hewitt and others are comming from, but I don't agree w/them entirely. My earlier badgering was because you claimed there are, "quite substantive arguments" for the position of not voting for Romney due to his theology and you were unwilling to elaborate.

I accept that there are arguments for that proposition. I just believe they are weak and unpersuasive. Since evaluating THOSE claims was the entire purpose of this thread, I wanted to focus on that.



Possibly my final thoughts:
Consider what practicing, pro-Mitt evangelicals have to say about Romney's values, faith, and their decision to support him.
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http://www.evangelicalsformitt.org/why.php
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Their thoughts are extremely clear, reasonable, and persuasive.
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Their and my conclusion: Give Mitt a chance despite his faith, and you won't regret it! He will bless you and your faith, though not directly as a Mormon. He'll create a stronger environment for faith in the U.S.



Bubba,
I said,
“I admit (now and when I said it) that “bearing false witness” was a stretch.
I am suggesting that voting against Romney is stating that he is not the best candidate. If Romney is the best candidate this IMO is a very strong reason to vote for him (and very loosely making a false statement)
I am suggesting that denying Mormonism its exposure in the market of ideas because you have concluded that Mormonism is false is somewhat incongruent with the belief that the evidence demonstrates that Mormonism is false.”

Added to the second part was the idea that greater ideas in the market place of ideas is a good thing. I acknowledge that the lack of truth should not necessarily be promoted so that the market place of ideas is fuller, but in conjunction with the first point which I think is the stronger of the two, I think the market place of ideas point is worthwhile. We should vote for the best candidate based on his (or God forbid her) potential service to this country, not peripheral considerations. I think this is the stronger of the two points and the “market place of ideas” only adds a little.

A few of the possible futures I see involve a lackluster Fred Thompson loosing to Hillary Clinton or worse yet a Pro-Choice Giuliani winning or loosing to Hillary. If this occurs because Evangelicals did not support Romney largely due to his Mormonism, I will consider it a many million baby tragedy that should have been avoided. There are three very aged Supreme Court Justices who are quite liberal.


And back again to my previous post to you:
Also, do you agree that you misunderstood my point when you compared a vote for Romney to support of Roe v. Wade?

I know you cannot respond to everything, but ….


On Theology:
Oh no more of this.

I pointed out earlier that LDS theology is not something that is defined with the same type of rigor in an official way as it is within other Christian denominations. I suggest that one of the consequences of this is that LDS should look for the apostasy in other areas (or at least significantly in other areas).
Many LDS found the apostasy when they found the restoration, and this is fine IMO. I felt the need to discover if there was an apostasy in the early church. I saw one in the transmission of the Peterine authority from the apostles to the Bishops. An educated Catholic like Cardinal Newman, Father Sullivan, and Father (I think) Robert Eno; must acknowledge that over time the men who were chosen by the Apostles as “co-workers” and local leaders (plural) moved toward being monarchical bishops. I merely respond that this “development” was not divinely sanctioned in its authority and thus the Catholic Bishop is not the successor of the Apostle. Instead the “General Authority” was absent from the 2nd century church. The ordained Deacons, Presbyters and Episcopes (Deacons, Priests, and Bishops) were men with lesser authority, but the greater authority was not passed on. Thus the restoration becomes a restoration of authority, not necessarily a restoration of doctrine.

That being said, the doctrine/doctrines born of Creation ex Nihilo that makes God so wholly other that a genuine love relationship, (Martin Burber’s “I-Thou” rather than “I-It” relationship) is impossible. Thomas Aquinas discovered this conflict at the end of his life when God so powerfully manifested Himself to the brilliant doctor that Aquinas claimed all his previous writings on God was as “straw” and he never wrote another thing (True facts, TOm’s interpretation). Fortunately for the non-LDS, God will step across the theological barriers erected by these doctrines to establish these “I-Thou,” agape love relations. Few Christians who stand in an “I-Thou” relationship with God recognize that the doctrine of Creation ex Nihilo and the ideas that came afterwards are inconsistent with this “I-Thou” relation. Joseph Smith may have, or perhaps he was just a prophet.


On Commonality:
I am a verbose engineer too!

Charity, TOm

By Anonymous TOmNossor, at July 25, 2007 at 6:34 PM  


To All,
There are words like “apostate,” “heretical,” “non-Christian,” and others that carry baggage. Those who use them should be careful to qualify them some to lessen the blow. Those who have them applied to them should recognize that there is a spectrum of meanings and it doesn’t help much to become offended anyway.

Also, Bubba claimed that he is not all of the Bubba’s that ever were. Why he choose to claim the moniker “Bubba,” I do not know (if it is your name I apologize, but all I can think of is a slow fellow who shot a jukebox). In any case, I am sorry that some anon poster claimed that you are a less articulate more boorish Bubba or whatever the other Bubba was/is.

But if Bubba is your self chosen moniker (not something your parents saddled –I mean blessed- you with), then you have got to expect some problems. A boy named “Sue” must prove himself to be tough, a boy named “Bubba” must ….

Charity, TOm

P.S. If you really are named "Bubba" just remember it is my anti-Bubba ignorance that made me so uncouth. I apologize!

By Anonymous TOmNossor, at July 25, 2007 at 6:39 PM  


What a strange coincidence that two, three or more people would adopt the moniker of Bubba and post issues of conscience about voting for Romney because Mormons are super heretics.


But I'll give this Bubba the benefit of the doubt and ask this instead.


Bubba, since this is a personal decision, why in the world are you arguing about Mormons being Christians? It's beside the point for you. It only distracts you from your stated goal.


It seems you'd get better traction to simply ask for and listen to the arguments for and against voting for a super heretic. It seems you'd benefit by asking questions of clarification, but it seems to me that you'd get a more useful exchange of ideas if you refuse to enter the are Mormon's Christians debate. It's a foregone conclusion for you, so why enter it?

Once you fully understand the arguments for and aganst voting for heretics, you can make a decision in prayer with the Lord. Because I don't think a conscience is something that's supposed to be pursuaded, is it? Maybe the issue needs to be clarified, but in the end, I'd think it's the Lord that ought to have the say.

Don't you?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 25, 2007 at 11:31 PM  


This may be beating a thoroughly dead horse, but there are some excellent articles on the topic of the definition of "Christian" on religioustolerance.org. These essays might be useful in this context, or they might only confuse the issue further. In any event, I found them to be fascinating.

Enjoy!

By Anonymous wdfoxx99, at July 25, 2007 at 11:40 PM  


Fox- Well said. I appreciate the site.

Anonymous - Well said. Like you, I am skeptical that there are multiple people w/the "Bubba" tag arguing similarly against Mormonism. Your second question is good too. The reality is that Bubba has drastically evolved during the course of this thread.

Beginning: He started by stating a few arguments for why people could/should not vote for Romney due to his theology--he qualified these statements as hypos, "some people might..."

Middle: After his arguments had been shown to be weak, he claimed he had no personal position (was sorting through it himself), but claimed there were "quite substantive agruments" for going against Romney due to his theology.

End: After being badgered for his "substantive" arguments, he took reason & substance out of the equation altogether, reverting to "it's a matter of conscience" and admitting he had no substantive arguments to give.

He was, however, consistent in two regards: (1) He would never back up his hypotheticals & he consistently avoided the most substantive arguments against his claims, preferring to answer the fluff arguments or criticisms against him. (2) He consistently teared-up and entered self-victimization mode when people called him out on his deflections.



I appreciate the time and effort Bubba's put into this thread. It's a doozy. It doesn't appear he's ready to perform the exercise (adjust viewpoints as an increasing # of American Christians have) necessary to vote for Mitt. We can only hope he will.
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However, I'm very grateful we live in a country where most people will not hold a similar, strict "test of conscience." As Republicans (I'm assuming virtually all of us are of that political persuasion.), we must consider the options and be pragmatic. It's Mitt, Rudy, or Fred. McCain is done.
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I'm grateful that people have been open-minded and responded to Mitt in the early states. This lead in the polls did not result because of mass conversions to the LDS Church. Only mass reorganizations of viewpoints relative to Mitt. Further, they caught onto the massive fact that he's the most inpeccable candidate who'll do the most good.
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If all these Americans can do this, I guess I won't worry about Bubba. His reasoning tendencies may come around, but in the meantime we'll reach out to those who are infinitely more likely to embrace Mitt. In my estimation (could be wrong), Bubba has appeared far too entrenched in doctrinal positioning to switch to Mitt at about any cost. Perhaps if Mitt faces Hillary. Fred likely is too tempting for him.
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People are born with a conscience that should be followed. I'd argue that a conscience is a universal commodity that doesn't change, except by getting louder if one goofs up. The interpretation and application of one's religious beliefs, is completely different, however. In fact, one applies his/her beliefs in a secular world in new ways every day. Mitt running for President of the U.S. is such a new way.
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Simply ask other Christians who support Mitt why his faith isn't a deal-breaker politically. That's what I've tried to do with the Evangelicals for Mitt. How can one rationally argue against their statements?
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What makes Bubba so special that he's uniquely able to use religious positions as justification? James Dobson, Richard Land, Pat Roberton, and others don't. Their conscience doesn't prevent them. At least they don't dare say so publicly. They surely have their disagreements they share both publicly and privately. Yet, are they less devout or just more pragmatic than Bubba--the main voice of opposition in this thread?
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I repeat, I'm grateful most Americans don't resist supporting Mitt to the degree that Bubba does. We need the best commander-in-chief. Not the best pastor-in-chief.



Voters question Romney on two fronts:

(1) His flip-flopping on issues such as abortion, to include his vast expansion of taxpayer-funded abortions-on-demand via his much-lauded 2006 universal health care program, and

(2) Whether his affiliation with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) affects his ability to put America's interests first.

The article below demonstrates why both of these concerns are valid, why Romney is unfit for any public office, and why the Mormon Church is dangerous to the future of freedom in America:
http://www.helmsmansociety.com/Issues/2007/mittromney072507.htm



dnewby-

Your post is exactly the kind of easily-refuted nonsense many of us were waiting for.


(1) Mitt Romney's flip-flopping. You claim he (a) flip-flopped on abortion (true) and (b) increased publicly funded abortions through his health care plan (false).

Romney did flip on abortion. He has always been personally pro-life, but believed all members of society should choose for themselves. However, as governor, when "life issues" arose, he sided on the side of life. His personal and policy positions have been clearly pro-life for over two years and he has been very up front about the change. Your second point is flatly falst. Yes, his healthcare plan allows tax payer money to pay for abortions. However, it already did. Had he line-item vetoed this provision, the then-current Mass law would have continued to allow it anyway. It was simply a repitition of the current law. This is similar to the recent immigration situation: The bill said it would build a fence. However, since we already had a law for that, that provision added nothing. Getting rid of that provision would have taken away nothing. The language in his healthcare plan DOES NOT expand taxpayer funded abortion.


(2) Comical attempt to paint Romney's Church as something it is not.

This argument begins by saying Mormons believe in the "divine right of kings" doctrine & bases the claim on the 12th Article of Faith: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." This is simply a wrong-headed argument. The Mormon Church is an international religion. It was making clear that Mormons will abide by the law no matter what government they live under (many governments still had kings back then). This is not unlike Christ's approach: "Give unto Caezar..."

Next, the article suggests that Mormons are ok with slavery, quoting D&C 134:12, "We believe it just to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth, and warn the righteous to save themselves from the corruption of the world; but we do not believe it right to interfere with bond-servants, neither preach the gospel to, nor baptize them contrary to the will and wish of their masters, nor to meddle with or influence them in the least to cause them to be dissatisfied with their situations in this life, thereby jeopardizing the lives of men; such interference we believe to be unlawful and unjust, and dangerous to the peace of every government allowing human beings to be held in servitude." When those words were written, the Mormon Church was widely known to be abolishonist. They had vigorously spoken out against slavery in many newpapers. This was unpopular in the mid-west back then and resulted in many Mormon deaths. This statement was to let people understand that while Mormons were against slavery, they would not steal slaves or do anything to slaves against the wishes of the owner--that they would peacefully live in the society despite their differeing views.
The article suggests Mormons were contrary to the abolishonist movement, when in that part of the country they were clearly the most outspoken part of the abolishonist movement!

The article then claims Mormons believe their leaders are infallible. This is flatly false. Mormons believe all of their Prophets have made mistakes and have personal opinion and personal flaws. Certainly, the Church wants its members to be confident in its leadership and most members are. However, it is clear that Mitt would be no more likely to receive policy direction from the church than any other president. (JFK & Pope--remember how this more rational argument (Catholic doctrine actually has called Pope's infallable) played out?)


All other arguments in the article were so w/o logical basis as to render rebuttal pointless. Moreover, the article is completely unable to link any of it's claims about Mormons to actual events in its 170 year history. It is clear that Daniel Newby has done some research on Mormonism and knows a lot about it. That makes this article even more dispicable. He is not just an ignorant bafoon. He must know his actions are unethical.



Yes please. . .everyone read the article referenced above. It is excellent for a good laugh. Of course, maybe I would see it differently if I hadn't been brainwashed by the diabolical Gordon B. Hinkley and those freedom-hating Mormons. My favorite part was the section that explained why we are pro-king and anti-liberty. It made me giggle. A lot. Ya'll need to stop pickin' on poor Bubba, because his arguments are a thousand times more reasonable than this ox-tripe. The abuses (no, "abuse" isn't a strong enough word, "rape" is more accurate) of logic and fact is so outrageous that it need not be seriously discussed. If America is really stupid enough to buy into this type of mindless propoganda, then we all DESERVE 8 years of Hillary.

I hope Ya'll get as much entertainment value out of this article as I did.

By Anonymous wdfoxx99, at July 26, 2007 at 4:52 PM  


If you really use your (demonstrably false) religious arguments against Mitt, you and all religious conservatives will reap the seeds you now sew against the Mormons. Smarter people than you and I have pointed this out. Not smart politics, Daniel.
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Your executive summary was laughable. Why do so many other Christians support Mitt? I guess all they need is your propaganda-rich executive summary or full-length article (way too long). Then, surely they'll be alarmed sufficiently join up with the ultramoral alternatives: Fred or Rudy.
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So, if not Mitt, whom will you vote for? Gotta be pragmatic. Gotta go with the best guy.
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Like Bubba, perhaps you're "undecided." Most likely, you can rationalize other religious principles (ones you seem to value highly) and vote for Rudy or Fred. Interesting.
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You can't make the mental adjustment to vote for Mitt; yet, it's simple for many Mitt or Mormon protestors to perform a more complex even irrational mental exercise: coming up with justifications to vote for Rudy or Fred.
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Behavior and actions are less important to many of you. Instead, you prefer by-birth religious affiliation. Even to practice that born-into faith isn't important. Look at Fred and Rudy. The hypocrisy is off the charts on this point.



DNewby said:
“His flip-flopping on issues such as abortion, to include his vast expansion of taxpayer-funded abortions-on-demand via his much-lauded 2006 universal health care program,…”
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I think if it can be established that Romney is not being honest when he claims to be pro-life and to support pro-life positions, this is an excellent reason to vote against him. I have read some of the Mass Resistance document and read David French’s response and I find the accusation that Romney acted as a pro-choice governor to be largely fabricated. I will however readily acknowledge Romney’s move toward the pro-life position was quite well timed. I think he moved from a position where he was not going to restrict access to abortion to a position where he was pro-life, but one could question such a change. Romney’s history as a pro-life post conversion is much shorter than Thompson’s history as a pro-life person post conversion, but in fairness to Romney it is harder to be pro-life as governor of Massachusetts than to be pro-life as senator from Tennessee.
Romney’s LDS faith was not an issue for me, but whether his positions were really socially conservative on abortion (my most important social conservative position) was a question I weighed. I concluded he was and came to lean strongly his way over McCain (who has fallen spectacularly, but is still my second choice).
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I found your other argument to be at odds with the church Harry Reid and I belong to, but it is not uncommon to see false ideas attached to my church. If you have person Utah reasons to believe as you do, that is fine, but the support you offer on your website is unconvincing to one who KNOWS what it is to be a LDS.
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Thanks, TOm

By Anonymous TOmNossor, at July 26, 2007 at 6:29 PM  


Nealie Ride said:
“Perhaps if Mitt faces Hillary. Fred likely is too tempting for him.”
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I do not know what Fred is. It is surely smart that Fred is an undeclared candidate, but if he is certain he will run, he is currently breaking the law (a law he was a major author/supporter of). If he is not certain he is running, there is something dark and hidden deterring him that concerns me about his desires. I can readily forgive his breaking the law I reckon, but his reluctance to run if it still exists is concerning.
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Again not knowing who Fred is, is he really the man? Does he hold the right positions? I am somewhat neutral on Federalist questions. Poor government is poor government be it state or national and the president is more than the head of the national government he is also the head of his party. I am uninformed, but under whelmed so far. I have nothing against a red pickup truck, but it is hardly a selling point. I want a president with the intellect of Bill Clinton (or Reagan who was actually quite bright) combined with a morale compass and conservative ideals. I suspect that a successful lawyer such as Thompson is quite bright, but down home phrases are neither positive or negative IMO.
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So if Fred is what his supporters claim AND Fred has the energy and wits to beat Hillary, then I will have no problem supporting Fred. I personally am unsure if Reagan could beat Hillary or some generic democrat who didn’t stumble mightily. It is true that there is much disgust among democrats and independents concerning the Democratic Party (Pelosi and Reed), but will this really translate into support for some Republican over some Democrat. Both candidates will say, “I am the change agent.” Smart folks will not place much weight on such words. I think Independents unless given a compelling reason not to, will lean away from the Republicans linked to Bush in much greater numbers than those who lean away from Democrats linked to Pelosi and Reed (who they seem to be disgusted with too). Kerry snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and I think Hillary could too, but I would rather see a bold standard bearer on the Republican side pulling people towards himself rather than just being less repulsive than Hillary.
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If I thought Romney’s Mormonism would ultimately prove to be so repulsive it would make the positive pull impossible, I might be leaning towards Fred (or praying for a miracle to come in the McCain camp). At this point, I am hoping that voices like Evangelicals For Mitt are representative of non-LDS Christians who actually consider this issue. But perhaps my conviction that non-LDS Christian have a misinformed (and in many cases intentionally misinformed because someone lied to them) view of my religion and what it means AND that such inaccuracies will not survive if Mormonism is made the make or break issue; will make me blind to the ????? that will make Romney the repulsive candidate. It is amazing to me to say “perhaps Romney is the repulsive candidate.” Wow!
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Since I am occasionally a polemicist let me offer this. If non-LDS dislike for Romney becomes the difference between Romney defeating Hillary and some other scenario where Hillary or Giuliani wins, I hope the pro-life movement is not so hampered that thousands of babies are aborted before Roe v. Wade can be addressed. I suspect a Rudy presidency or a Democratic presidency will be a severe blow however, and this IMO would be a tragic way of upholding ones religious (misguided IMO) principles.
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Vote for the candidate who will do the best job. I will be offering apologetic and occasionally polemic arguments as to why the CoJCoLDS has Jesus Christ at its head through a Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, or Hillary presidency; but in two of those scenarios I think abortions will be more free and more prevalent. I would not dream of not voting for Thompson because he (or likely his church sinse he doesn’t strike me as one who has considered this) believes Justification is purely forensic. If your positions on issues match mine, please figure out who the best candidate is and make sure he is elected.
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Thanks, TOm

By Anonymous TOmNossor, at July 26, 2007 at 6:47 PM  


Daniel,

I believe we've adequately addressed your Mormon-related claim for rejection. Your claim to validity on your 2nd point is patently false.
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Your first claim about flip-flops is interesting, yet lacks persuasiveness. As TOm points out, Fred has changed positions on multiple points, and recently showed us his ability to forget or spin relative to his past abortion-lobbying efforts. He still hasn't come clean on that.
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Rudy has done the same in multiple areas as well, including abortion. Giuliani was once all for late-term abortions and even condemned the Roman Catholic leadership for its criticism of him. Not any more. Flip-flop. Yep.
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If you rigidly stick to your no-changes-under-any-circumstances doctrine, you will soon find nobody is electable.
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Lots of evangelicals and other Christians have figured out that Mitt is the go-to guy on life. Not Brownback or other one-issue unelectables! Get over your biases and get proper material on the Mormons.
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They have a different brand of faith, but in this case they've raised up the best leader for president. You gotta give 'em that.



I attempted to respond to any substantive arguments made. Please let me know if I missed others:

1) On Mormon subjection to kings, abolition, and Mormon history: Utahns voted to allow slavery in their territory. In 1850, Utah was the only western territory that allowed slavery of blacks, and one of few that allowed slavery of both blacks and Indians. In 1852, Brigham Young, the second Mormon prophet, asked the Mormon-dominated Utah territorial legislature to make slavery legal throughout the territory. They did. See, for example, "Negro Slavery in the Utah Territory," James B. Christensen, The Phylon Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 3 (3rd Qtr., 1957), pp. 298-305.

That some Mormons advocated the abolishment of slavery in word, or even in deed, is interesting, but not generally persuasive. I cited a few early Mormon writings, and only because they have current, scriptural standing amongst Mormon faithful. I avoided their earlier history because people, and even institutions, can change over time. Perhaps I should have included more on it, but it did not seem as relevant.

Far more important, to me, is the current and standing Mormon doctrine to be "subject to kings" and to dissuade rebellion against tyranny, both of which are demonstrable throughout dominant, modern Mormon teachings.

If you are a Mormon, and do not concur with these teachings, may indicate that you might be a fit candidate for political office. But voters would be cautious to ensure that you had a consistent track record of rejecting this dominant Mormon philosophy. I believe I stated that clearly in Topic 5, "Problems Not Unique to Romney."

2) Romney on abortion: Romney signed a bill forcing taxpayers to pay for abortion services as part of a universal health care plan. That action is neither neutral, nor a reduction, but rather a vast expansion of abortion. To claim to be pro-life is therefore dishonest. If Adolf Hitler's Reichstag had voted to send more Jews to concentration camps as part of a universal health care plan, would you sign the entire bill because it would pass anyway? The argument that Romney was just a helpless victim of circumstance is absurd. If that is the kind of champion you desire in public office, then Romney is your candidate.

3) On "electable" presidential candidates: I did not compare Romney to other candidates. Who you vote for is your business, but choosing a candidate based upon the criteria that he is "less evil" or "more electable" than another candidate does not make your choice fit for office. Being unfit for office means, in my estimation, that you are either too incapable, too incompetent, or too inconsistent to fulfill your oaths and obligations to the people who elected you, and to the constitutional restrictions placed upon you.



DNewby-

I still am trying to figure out whether you are being purposefully deceptive, or simply misinformed. Like many other free states, Utah allowed indentured servitude, which is NOT the same thing as slavery. Indentured servants are not considered property and they have rights. Mistreatment of indentured servants carried severe penalties. In addition, Indentured servitude is a voluntary condition, whereas slavery is not.

As to the issue of Mormons being pro-king and anti-liberty, or being unwilling to stand up against government oppression, you are either completely ignorant of actual Mormon culture and Mormon history, or you are a really bad person who is maliciously attempting to distort the truth. The 12th article of faith was written at a time when many were accusing the Mormons of SEDITION! The doctrine you are referencing was written to the outside world allay fears about our beliefs and our intentions toward government.

As to current Mormon culture and doctrine, you will find that many Mormons are in general very distrustful of government. After all, several state, local, and even federal governments had effectively declared war on the church on several occasions. In addition, most Mormons feel they cannot trust government because of various prophecies, scriptural and otherwise, which indicate a impending failure of government institutions. If anything, I think many Mormons take this kind of attitude too far (think whack jobs like "Bo" Gritz).

Do you think we do all this food storage stuff because we're looking forward to subjection by a king? If you want to do real research on what Mormons think about Liberty, get your nose out of whatever goofy books and or websites you've been reading and go talk to some Mormons. Especially Utah Mormons. I read some of the articles on your website, and if you removed all of the goofy anti-mormon rhetoric, you would probably have a site that a lot of Mormons would give a hearty "amen" to.

The reason I and other Mormons will find your arguments so funny is that they are not just off-base, they are 180 degrees off-base. I have been a Mormon for 36 years. All of my family are Mormon most of my friends are Mormon. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess I've talked to more Mormons than you about topics such as these. I went to Brigham Young University where I studied Political Science for for years. I can tell you that you will not find a group of people anywhere on the planet who are more concerned with Liberty than those folks. Go pay them a visit, I think you will find it enlightening. Look up professor Richard Vetterli or professor Lou Midgley, if either of them are still alive.

In short brother, your not only barking up the wrong tree, your in the wrong freekin' forest.

By Anonymous wdfoxx99, at July 27, 2007 at 11:31 PM  


foxx-

Well said. Newby is either purposfully deceptive or his bias has taken him to a place where reason doesn't rule. This isn't common ignorance.


The Extermination Order (making killing any/all Mormons legal in Missouri), was fueled in part because Missourians knew ALL MORMONS WERE ABOLITIONISTS & they were gaining a political voice. From the beginning Joseph Smith & Mormons generally preached this point. The arguments about this changing in Utah, as foxx pointed out, is bogus.


The "divine right of kings" argument is so incredibly inept that its reading is comical.


Abortion. Romney DID NOT increase funding for abortions. The same abortions that his healthcare bill allows were ALREADY allowed under the previous Mass law. Had he line-item vetoed the provision, the previous Mass law would have filled in the blank and allowed the same abortions. Moreover, the Mass legislature had enough Ds to easily over-ride a line-item veto.



Post #1: WOW!!!

I just made a marathon of reading this ENTIRE list of posts in one sitting. (Not highly reccomended).

Now that my head hurts, I'm not sure how coherent my comments will be, but I have to get involved sometime, so here goes:
--
First of all, thank you Bubba, for being the only reason this post kept going for a long time.

Honestly, I think you are right on. If you think God is telling you not to vote for someone, you'd better not do it.

The only problem is, explaining the reasons for your choice to a few groups may be difficult.
(a) Those who don't believe in God.
(b) Those who think personal revelation from God is heretical and you can only rely on the Bible for your day to day descisions, and
(c) Those who believe that God told them they were to vote FOR that person.

Of course, as you eloquently dictated, your religious beliefs should not be determined or influenced by what other people think of them. That is, of course, as long as those beliefs don't interfere with the well bieng of others in a civilized society.

And in my opinion, to some extent, not voting for someone that would probably be the ONLY good candidate for the President of the most powerful nation on GOD's good earth, because of a reason or reasons that just may possibly be biased by prejudice, personal preference, misinformation, or simply uncertainty amounts to interference of the well-bieng of others in a civilized society.

My point is simply this: If God is telling you not to vote for a Mormon, that shouldn't be something you have to really hmm and haw about. The descision should be easy and over with. Since it is obvious that such a revelation has not come to you, all I can say is, Welcome to the Mitt Team!

By Anonymous General Lee, at July 30, 2007 at 2:19 PM  


Post #2: OK...

Thank you dnewby, for being the seemingly next reason for the existence and persistance of this most interesting blog.

First of all I would like to congratulate you as well for being right.

Yes, Mormons have not always been considered the norms and pillars of modern society that many of them are today.

True, Mormons have had some radical outspoken leaders in the past.

Correct: A lot of Mormons were Caucasian back in the day.

Fact: Mormons left the United States to be alone in the wilderness.

The one small issue I have with your post is it's timing. For instance, if you had posted this, say 150 years ago, it might have had a little more relevance.

The one question I have for you is, Do you know any Mormons? I mean real live living today modern Mormons. Like the ones that breathe?

Try finding one. I think you may be pleasantly surprised. Unless of course you hold to the view that even Mormons themselves don't really know what they believe, but that you do. If this is the case, I don't really know what to tell you.

By Anonymous General Lee, at July 30, 2007 at 2:27 PM  


I am attempting to answer all recent, substantive arguments:

1) On Romney’s support of abortion: I already addressed this point. Romney had a mouth, a veto pen, and a hand, all of which were apparently functional. He could have vetoed the bill on the grounds that it would vastly increase taxpayer funding of abortions and abortifacients. He chose to sign the bill. Again, whether his veto were overridden is meaningless. Romney had a chance to stand up for taxpayers who believe abortion is murder, and for and the innocent victims of abortions on demand. Instead, he put the last ceremonial nail in their collective and individual coffins. I posed a question no one has yet answered. If Adolf Hitler's Reichstag had sent forward a bill to enact a universal health care plan, and, because of the legislation, more Jews would be sent to taxpayer-funded concentration camps (where the end result was also death), what would you do? Would you sign the entire bill because your veto would be overridden anyway? Would you then brag about your pro-Jew record? If so, then Romney is your candidate. If not, then stand for something and oppose this charlatan.

2) On slave vs. indentured servitude in the Utah Territory: The State of Utah’s official website calls it “slavery” and “slave-holding”. Brigham Young, the second prophet and first territorial governor, called it slavery. In fact, Young referred to slavery as a “divine institution.” Perhaps their words can help you better determine whether I am maliciously deceptive, uninformed, or otherwise. See
http://www.helmsmansociety.com/Issues/2007/mittromney072507.htm#appendix2

3) On the relevance and modernity of sources cited in my article: Of the citations in Topics 2 and 3 for instance:
* Four are from the Mormon Doctrine & Covenants, which are considered canonized Mormon scriptures, representing current Mormon doctrine;
* Seven are from Mormon Semi-Annual Conferences, which are also considered part of Mormon scripture, and are re-printed by the Mormon Ensign. Two of these are from talks given by the current president in 2001, one from former president Benson in 1960, two from current apostle Packer in 1983 and 1992, one from elder Porter of the Presidency of the First Quorum of Seventies in 1994, one from elder R. Conrad Schultz in April 2002;
* One is from the Ward Teachers Message, printed in both the Deseret News and Improvement Era in 1945.
* One from the Journal of Discourses, volume 3. I did not think this quote out of character, as President Brigham Young was alive to approve or deny the first four volumes of the Journal of Discourses. He had retracted a brochure printed as far away as Brittain that he felt was inaccurate. And, again, I was attempting to briefly show that there was a track record of such statements.

4) On the interpretation of sources cited in my article: In most instances, I took the surrounding sentences so as not to take them out of context. I also did my best to include a direct link to the entire speech so that others can decide for themselves if the quote was taken out of context. The quotes are hardly unclear or vague.

As one example, how does one interpret the Mormon Article of Faith, "We believe in being subject to kings…," other than the LDS Church asserting that human beings should be subject to kings? And how does one rectify this position with the Declaration of Independence and America's war to begin the fight to free all mankind from kings?

How can one adopt the position that the Revolution was divine, and simultaneously be concerned about "the peace of every government allowing human beings to be held in servitude"? And is such "interference" really "unlawful and unjust"? Kings are never justified in being kings -- ever. The core philosophy of the American Revolution rejected these notions completely.

Someone implied that Mormons were boxed into this position because they had been persecuted for their beliefs. Who was killing them when they enacted slavery in the Utah Territory in 1852? Should we all sign up to support slavery whenever we are persecuted for our convictions? This scripture still stands as an Article of [Mormon] Faith, and, as I outlined, has been upheld by organizational prophets and apostles to this day.

5) On Mormons in political office: Romney's current religious leaders, and dominant scriptural authorities, command him to be subject to kings and to submit to mortal masters, ranging from political leaders to religious leaders. And the Mormon church leadership actively supports policies and politicians that blatantly defy the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. This is a dangerous combination, as I illustrated in Topics 4 and 5.

I did not write, however, that Mormons necessarily oppose all republican forms of government, which someone appears to have implied here. I wrote that Mormons believe in being subject to "kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." That would include being subjects in a republic. I concluded (in Topic 5) that several of their core, modern philosophies make Mormons dangerous to serve in a constitutional republic unless they could demonstrate a consistent track record of rejecting those particular philosophies. There is a difference.

On a personal note, several have accused me of being out of touch with real Mormons. I have been intensely involved in Utah politics for over a decade, and have interacted with many Mormons for much longer. In Utah, I had the unique perspective of watching many “constitutional” Mormons give way under pressure from their religious leaders and local religious community. I marveled at how exquisite that applied pressure could be. Some Utahns do distrust government, but most trust their leaders more, and to the detriment of their independence and common sense. When push comes to shove, most of them will listen to their prophets above other people, and that is dangerous.

In my efforts, I believe I have met a few Mormons that could perhaps pull off the feat of remaining independent and true to their own personal political convictions (at least for a while). Romney is not one of them.



WOW.

dnewby said:
"As one example, how does one interpret the Mormon Article of Faith, "We believe in being subject to kings…," other than the LDS Church asserting that human beings should be subject to kings?"...

Well, I can think of a few other interpretations... but that is mostly because I know the rest of the article... We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."

Your intense focus on the word "King" at the exclusion of all consideration for the rest of the words and spirit and meaning simply astound me.

I mean, you don't have a problem with "presidents, rulers, and magistrates" or with "obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law" do you? So what's your beef? The king thing? You really think we're promoting Kings?

The suggestion wasn't made that Mormons were persecuted and therefore were boxed in to supporting kings as you said, ... The suggestion was that when this article of faith was written it was over 150 years ago!!!

Time for a history lesson, class. Who can tell me how many Successful Democracies there were in the world 150 years ago? Hmmm? Was it 50? How about 30? No? 10? Still no? What? You say 1? You mean to tell me that at the time this article of faith was adopted, virtually EVERY OTHER NATION on earth was more or less a KING-DOM? Hmmm... That should put some things into perspective...

You forget that up until very recently (perhaps not until the World Wars), Democracy was not considered much of a success by the rest of the world. We were proud of it. Many people wanted to come and be free, but it was so new and so radical, and the world as always was slow to see the light.

So to say that that article of faith is blasphemous, even Treasonous, because it includes the far and away most common form of government known to man, since the beginning of man, as one that people were subject to is plain silly.

Even Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and the rest of the founding fathers looked at rebellion against their government (a KING) or any other rebellion against government as a last resort. They believed that they were subject to their government (a KING) until such a time when the abuse of power and persecutions became too great to bear.

So you don't like a Monarchy. Good for you. As I said before, you're 150 years too late. The bloody revolutions have been fought. Most of the world agrees with you already. And no matter how much you try to twist it or over-emphasize one word written in context 150 years ago, Mormons also, along with their doctrine, (believe it or not), agree with you.

What that article of faith means, and the way that pretty much EVERY MORMON understands it (and yes, I'm going to assume that I know many more Mormons than you do) is this: WE SHOULD BE LAW ABIDING CITIZENS AND BE LOVERS AND PROMOTORS OF PEACE. That is the meaning AND that is the interpretation that MORMONS have. Unfortunately you got stuck on the 7th word. Or maybe you latched onto it, I can't be sure.

I can also tell you that Mormons DO believe that this is a choice land and that the founding fathers were inspired to create such a miraculous document as the Constitution of the United States. Virtually all Mormons believe this.

Mormons also believe that at some point the Constitution of these United States would "hang by a thread" and it would be saved and upheld by the honorable and good people of this country including not a few Mormons. This is something ALL MORMONS BELIEVE. In fact that belief comes from a prophecy by Joseph Smith himself.

Now, speaking of Mormon's views on slavery: MORMONS BELIEVE slavery to be a deplorable practice. MORMONS were among the first abolitionists. My Mormon great great grandfather was saved from a mob by a slave BECAUSE my gradfather was a MORMON and that slave knew and told my grandfather that the rescue was due to the fact that Mormons were abolitionists. It is rediculous to even think about refuting this fact based on all the evidence.

You do have one good point here, though... yes, there were some people in the United States 150 years ago who didn't have the same problem with slavery that Joseph Smith and the majority of Mormons did. Some of these were Baptists, some Methodists, and yes, some were even Mormons. You might want to include Brigham Young in this group.

Brigham Young was a great man, in my estimation. He did many things that probably no other man could have done at that time. He got the saints out of the hands of the mobs and successfully to their promised land. He set up communities and managed great waves of immigration from all over the globe. He inspired a people to do far more than they could have done on their own. I could go on, but you get the picture.

Was he pro-slavery? Perhaps. A few people back then were. You may have heard of the Civil War... brother against brother... father against son... that type of thing. There wasn't always the same consensus on the issue that there is today.

But there is something that some people don't really understand about Mormons. Yes, we hold our leaders up to some pretty high standards. We expect our leaders to be men of character and virtue. We believe them to be, like the prophets of old, men of God. But we also know that they are men.

Joseph Smith was a man. He was a prophet, but he had his faults. He mentioned this fact on many occaisions.

Brigham Young was a man. He was great, but he wasn't perfect. Did everything he ever say originate from the mouth of God? No. Do Mormons believe that it did? No. Are Mormons required to believe that everything that comes out of a prophet or leaders mouth is inspired? No.

Joseph Smith said slavery was wrong. Brigham Young didn't have as much of a problem with it. I agree with Joseph Smith on this one. So does virtually every other MORMON.

The final one of your assertions that I'd like to deal with is that "the Mormon church leadership actively supports policies and politicians that blatantly defy the Constitution and Declaration of Independence." and "In Utah, I had the unique perspective of watching many “constitutional” Mormons give way under pressure from their religious leaders and local religious community. I marveled at how exquisite that applied pressure could be."

First of all, I must ask, is the entire substance of your argument that the Mormon leadership is in defiance of the Constitution based on the work "king" from that article of faith? Because if it is, my argument has been made. If not, what are your examples of this great defiance?

Next, can you give us some examples of how these previously principled "constitutional Mormons" were forced by the Mormon leadership to "compromise their constitutional values" and under what "exquisite pressure" they were thus coerced?

I know that you maintain this great idea of yourself as being on the outside looking in... the observer to the Mormon Chess-game who can see the moves better than those actually involved in the day to day workings... Somehow you see things that no other Mormon sees. You see that, even though we hold ourselved to be principled, country loving people, we actually don't love our country but really deep down want a king.

Somehow you see that though we believe that we can get answers to our own prayers for our own lives and that we THINK we know the leaders are still men, men that we should trust and revere as inspired, while still maintaining a reasonable mind of our own -- in reality, you are somehow keenly aware that with the snap of someone's fingers Mormons everywhere would simply lose all reason and bowel control and file into the slaughterhouse / Jonestown / Waco / whatever, ready to make our own King to defy the United States.

Where did you get your Crystal Ball? Or is that Crystal Meth?

The point is, I know what I believe. I know what Mormons believe. I know what Mormons teach. I know how Mormons feel about such things as life, liberty, freedom, apple pie, carrot salad and pretty much all the rest.

You, as you have repeatedly and most glaringly revealed, do not.

Now is it possible that Mormons haven't all read every obscure piece of literature ever published by a leader or member of the church? Of course. Are there things that could come as a surprise to us about actions taken 150 years ago by people we've grown to honor and respect? Certainly.
But is it possible to not know that you believe something that you really do believe? No. If you don't know about it, you don't believe it. The fact that YOU, dnewby, somehow knows about it doesn't make it my belief.

It's even possible for things to be said and written by certain church leaders that are just plain wrong and not what the membership believes at all.

I'm sure we can think of something that some leader of another faith may have said in a religous context that may not have been exactly what they really believed when it was all said and done..., or does that just apply to 150 year old Mormons? Oh, wait... what about "The Earth is the Center of the Universe"... (I could go on).

As stated above, men are men. Women are women. The LDS church is an organization made up largely of mankind, and as such is NOT perfect, but is subject at times to the mistakes of these men and women. The fact that we believe these men and women to be generally wholesome, wise, and inspired people seeking to follow God doesn't change the fact that they may say or do things at times that seem a little funny, (or even dreadfully old-fashioned as if it was said 150 years ago or something), especially when viewed by omnicient biengs such as yourself.

By Anonymous Generallee, at July 31, 2007 at 8:40 AM  


Oh, I forgot...

I do agree with you on one more thing.

I also don't feel comfortable with Mitt Romney's previous public position on Abortion, and his earlier descisions to maintain the status quo on abortion in Massachusetts.

I also think that almost every reader of this blog agrees with you on that point as well.

Most of us wish people would not get abortions, and none of us want to pay for them.

I don't agree with your continued comparison of Romney to Hitler, nor with signing a document that "ceremoniously" allowed the continuation of a law that allowed abortions to signing the use of concentration camps into law.

I do identify with the need at times to use extreme examples to illustrate a point, and I understand your emotional need to declare the evil of the wrongs that you are trying to bring an end to.

But where we really differ is in pragmatism. Where you say there can be no compromise, while wanting to agree with you, I live in the real world. And I'm not the only one here.

Is abortion wrong? Certainly. Should we elect someone who would further make abortion accessable and paid for? Not in my view.

But while that is why you claim you don't like Romney, that is precicely why I support him. Because he is no longer the Governor or Massachusets, maintainer of the status quo on Abortion.

Romney has changed his position. He has admitted to being wrong. He has always privately opposed abortion, and now he sees the need, just as you do, to publicly oppose abortion.

Is his stance on abortion weaker than yours? Possibly. Is it weaker than what you want for a president to have? It seems like you think that's a yes.

But the problem comes on voting day. If there is no one that would further your cause more than Mitt Romney on election day, what will you do? Just not vote?

Because that is very likely, in fact almost certain, the scenario that will play out.

The Democrats publicly declare and recieve accolades from their supporters BASED ON the fact that they intend to expand and subsidize abortion procedures in this country. So, pragmatically, you're left with the Republicans. And just as pragmatically, most of the Republicans must be ruled out based on the fact that they are unelectable for other reasons, despite how lovable they may be.

There really are no more than 4 choices. Romney, McCain, Thompson, and Rudy.

Can you honestly believe that any one of the other three would further your cause more than Romney? You've really missed some facts if you do.

And furthermore, for further pragmatism's sake... we not only need to be concerned with which republican can possibly win the primary vote, but also which one could beat Hilary or Obama. Because if we don't beat Hilary or Obama, our abortion cause will be suffering some serious setbacks, my friend.

I support Romney because he can win. I support Romney because I believe him when he says he opposes abortion. I support Romney because I believe he is the most intelligent, moral, and capable man for the job. In fact I believe that to say otherwise after having all the facts is not only dangerous, but reveals either deep prejudice or a fair amount of ignorance.

By Anonymous Generallee, at July 31, 2007 at 9:32 AM  


Sorry, I'm new to this site, and did not see where this article had shifted until today. I will attempt to respond when I can.



I'm still waiting.



In October 1988, more than a year before the collapse of the Berlin Wall in November, and during the Cold War, Mormon organizational apostle and Second Counselor in the First Presidency, Thomas Monson, organizational apostle Russell Nelson, First Quorum of the Seventy member and counselor in the Europe Area presidency, Hans Ringger, and other local officers, held meetings with Chairman Erich Honecker and other state officials of East Germany.

Current Mormon president Gordon Hinckley described Erich Honecker at the funeral of former president Ezra Benson, after praising Benson’s staunch opposition to communism:

“I cannot imagine two men [Honecker and Benson] so different in the causes they espoused, in what they did for mankind, and in the philosophies by which they guided their lives.

“Erich Honecker was the iron-fisted communist ruler of East Germany, the feared and despised builder of the Berlin Wall, the practitioner of the godless dogma of oppression and slavery to the state. He died a refugee from his native land. He was able to leave his country and thus escape prosecution and possible execution because of the serious condition of his health.

“On the other hand, Ezra Taft Benson was the fearless and outspoken enemy of communism, a man who with eloquence and conviction preached the cause of human freedom, one who loved and worshipped the Prince of Peace, the Redeemer of mankind. He died in the love of people across the world, a man respected and reverenced, a man for whose well-being millions constantly prayed.”
Source: Gordon B. Hinckley, “Farewell to a Prophet,” Ensign, July 1994, 39.

In 1988, however, Benson was the president of the LDS Church from 1985 to his death in 1994. Hinckley was an organizational apostle and Benson’s First Counselor in the First Presidency. Monson was Benson’s Second Counselor in the First Presidency.

During the meeting, the LDS Ensign reported on East German state secretary for Religious Affairs, Kurt Loeffler, as follows:

“Mr. Loeffler said that Latter-day Saints in the DDR have the government’s respect because they are law-abiding, loyal citizens who believe in strong families, have a strong work ethic, and desire world peace.”
Source: “German Democratic Republic to Welcome Missionary Work,” Ensign, Jan. 1989, 74–75.

Loeffler believed Mormons are law-abiding, loyal citizens to a communist dictatorship? And the LDS Ensign reports this as though it were a compliment?

Years later, Monson stated in a Mormon Conference that he told Honecker the following:

“We would like to tell them that we believe in honoring and obeying and sustaining the law of the land.”
Source: “Thanks Be to God,” Thomas Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, Ensign, May 1989, 50 (Sunday Session).

Honecker apparently replied:

“We know you. We trust you. We have had experience with you. Your missionary request is approved.”
Source: ibid.

Mormons believe in “honoring and obeying and sustaining the law of the land” in a communist dictatorship, where people were imprisoned and tortured for speaking out against oppression, attempting to leave the country, etc.? Honecker, a murdering dictator, whose ruthless regime oversaw the terrorization of millions of innocent Germans, trusted the Mormons?

What does this message say of the thousands of East Germans who courageously defied Honecker’s rule of terror and immoral statutes and dictates. It is an insult to all that they fought for. Thankfully, they did not obey, or the Berlin Wall might still be standing today.

On a personal note, I had relatives on both sides of the Berlin Wall. I remember visiting the wall on many occasions, and seeing the x-marks on the wall that supposedly marked the place where East German freedom-lovers had attempted to cross and escape, and had been killed by Honecker’s regime. I find such passivity reprehensible, and dangerous not only to foreign countries, but to the future of freedom on this continent.

There is a peculiar double standard going on in much of American society today. It is ok to criticize someone for being a dues-paying member of, say, Planned Parenthood or the ACLU. We hold these individuals fully culpable and responsible for supporting the activities of these organizations.

On the other hand, some consider it biased and bigoted to applying the same level of accountability to individuals who financially support, and who take oaths to support, religious organizations. Under the cloak of religion, these organizational affiliations are magically unaccountable and unimportant in our political lives. This is hypocritical.

The Mormon church has a demonstrable track record, both past and present, of encouraging human beings to obey tyrants. Those who are active, faithful members of the Mormon church are required to support it and its leadership. They are therefore culpable and responsible, and voters should hold them equally accountable for their affiliation.

(Additional note: Unborn babies would likely not consider my analogy to be extreme. That is what is being missed in this conversation. Ideas have consequences, and there are real victims of real tragedies right in front of us.)



dnewby-


While I expect General Lee to more fully expose your absurd arguments, I'll snipe a couple of your claims.


First, everyone considers the East Germans who fought tyranny to be courageous heros and martyrs. However, no informed person credits them for taking down the wall or causing the tyranny to end. The wall went down because the USSR imploded economically(w/Reagan's help).


Second, you make clear that (a) Mormons were very against communism (Mormon leaders wrote many books/pamphlets against communism and spoke about it in General Conferences (international Mormon meetings that all members view via satelite)). But you don't like Mormons because (b) Mormons in East Germany led peaceful, law abiding lives under tyranny.

Regarding (b), the Mormons had two choices (i) The Mormon Church could have pushed their members to revolt against a form of government they didn't believe in (communism) only to be murdered, destroying the Church's chance to have any further influence in East Germany. Or, (ii) they could make clear that they were against communism and publish books about it, but tell their members in East Germany to hold strong and suffer the repression until it changed, thus allowing the Church to influence East Germans in the present and future. They chose the latter. Mormons tend to not be strict objectivists (as you appear to be). Rather they tend to have Kantianish transcendental views, but are also pragmatic w/concern for utilitarian outcomes.

Arguing that the Mormon actions in this regard (which appear to be completely reasonable, consistent and ethical) rival the ethics of the abortion pushing Planned Parenthood or the NAMBLA defending ACLU is idiotic and dishonest.


Third, how does this relate to presidential politics in the United States w/respect to Mitt Romney? Even if we accept your absurd claim (that Mormons will necessarily follow any goverment no matter how tyrannical), how is that relevant to American politics where pretty much all people (certainly Mormons) agree that we have a constitutional government w/checks and balances that should be upheld?



DNEWBY...

Once again you completely ignore the previous rebuttals to your previous arguments and come up with new evidence to try to prop up your delapidated claims.

You don't deal with the arguments made against you, you simply come up with new ones for me to try to refute, though I must say, your new arguments are no less silly than your earlier ones.

So the quandry I face, is should I dignify this post any more by illistrating your foolishness any further or should I insist that you answer the previos post.

Well, mainly because most people are probably no longer looking at this and don't care weather I dignify your arguments or not, I will do both.

I do demand that you answer the previous post or face more ridicule (of which you appear to be a glutton for).

As for Mormons behind the iron curtain:

Your argument: Because Mormons didn't violently oppose the iron-fisted communist regimes they are then culpable for their existence and share some responsibility in the deaths and the suffering that these regimes caused. Mormons love and support tyrants.

OK... first of all, you have absolutely no proof that some Mormons didn't try to escape or didn't violently oppose.

All you know is from statements made by leaders of the LDS church that they were encouraged not to commit suicide but to seek a peaceful resulution, and that by the late 1980's those governments had a favorable view of the LDS church when compared to other denominations that were attempting to bring in missionaries.

(This just makes me wonder what you think about Mahatma Ghandi).

Have you ever stopped to consider what would happen if all the good people left those communist regimes or died trying? Who would be there to effect positive change? Who would be around to make the final push for freedom from the inside when the economic forces and pressure from the outside were great enough?

The answer to that is no, by the way. In fact the answer to any question that begins "did you ever stop to think..." for you seems to always be no.

Secondly, Mormons have families. For them to rebel puts much more at risk than the common single student-age youth that most revolters were had to risk.

But my final argument is once again related to history. Your argument shows once again how little you really know about that subject. You know little blips and soundbites, but you have no real comprehensive view of history.

Either that your you are so bent on proving a point, and with your argument style never feel the need to answer the points you don't feel comfortable answering, so you don't mind completely disregarding facts. I think this is just as likely, but both are probably true.

Here is the point. The founding fathers, who you so grandly (and rightfully) praise, and who you hold to be the standard for all freedom loving people would have been held culpable for the crimes of the British Crown if you were holding them to the same standard that you currently are trying to hold Mormons to.

Why do I say this? Because it took the people of the colonies DECADES to form enough of a consensus to even attempt a revolt. It didn't happen in days, months or years.

Even then, the people still were not completely united and it took years after the revolution to really gain complete independence.

Furthermore, the American Revolution was fought on American soil, months away from the homeland of the oppressor who was also fighting many other significant wars at the time and had their troops deployed elsewhere.

Americans also had the virtue of knowing and having the same interests as most other colonists.

But even with all of these advantages it took the colonists DECADES to even decide to revolt, and years after that to formulate a somewhat viable plan and that came only when the British had over-extended themselves and the colonists had grown to a certain level of strength.

There are many other contrasts as well.

The folks behind the iron curtain faced a very strong military (one of the strongest the world had ever seen) not to mention intrusive police forces and local leaders. These forces were also very local... not dispersed around the world as the British of 1776 were.

The folks behind the iron curtain (during the time you suggest they should have actively advocated revolt) had no chance to come to a concensus. They couldn't even trust their own neigbors or even family at times.

Lastly, the LDS strategy worked!!! After years of speaking out against the evil of the government from the outside, but yet not advocating suicidal revolt from the inside, the communist governments gave into the twin forces of outside disapproval and inner desires for freedom (fostered by the Mormons on the inside), and the wall came down. For years before this, (pretty much the entire time contrary to your one-sided view), Mormons had been advocating freedom from the inside.

Another history lesson for you. Can you tell me how many "successful" revolts their were in the world time the Soviets took over? No, I suppose you can't. But the fact of the matter is, there were about two or three successful revolts. And that's if you consider the bloody French Revolution successful.

Revolutions against iron-fisted governments have been known to be the bloodiest of affairs and very rarely successful.

In fact, before the American Revolution, where the conditions were about as good as they could possibly be for the revolters, there had never really been a successful revolt led by any people against their government.

These revolts were always dealt with quickly and brutally, and most people involved were murdered along with their family and friends. Rights for the weak and oppressed were rarely gained in these affairs, but consolidation and expansion of power for the ruling body was usually the story.

So to advocate revolt with no consideration of the circumstances was and still is complete irresponsible stupidity. (And yes, I'm including you in that summation).

The LDS church's position is intelligent, rational, pragmatic, and correct. They always advocate freedom and encourage members of all nations to advocate it and fight for it as well. But not all fights are good fights or even noble fights.

Furthermore, it took the people behind the iron curtain (including not a few Mormons as you like to point out) less time to revolt than it took the American colonists! Only 40 years!

You, dnewby, are full of double standards and constantly talk past the issue or make up entirely new ones. You obviously have one agenda and logic and reasoning (to say nothing of historical fact) are not going to get in the way of that agenda. This is propaganda at its best (or at least it's most obvious form) It sounds a lot like the tactics of someone you love to talk about... Adolph Hitler.

By Anonymous General Lee, at August 11, 2007 at 11:47 AM  


P.S. Mitt Romney understands the world situation correctly. He also follows world events and history well. He knows that the people of Iran dissapprove of their government and will soon destabilize it and replace it. He advocates this approach. So do I. And I'm a Mormon.

By Anonymous General Lee, at August 11, 2007 at 11:51 AM  


PPS.

The comparison of LDS leaders to Communist and Fascist tyrants of the world needs no response as the claim itself reveals it's stupidity. But I'll respond anyway.

That is a very, very stoopid claim. Silly. Utterly rediculous. Laughable. Once again your agenda made clear and laid bare.

Oh, and by the way, if I wanted to disobey, I could. All Mormons can. Most Mormons do from time to time. If the leaders told me to attempt to assassinate Hillary Clinton I would DISOBEY THEM. That's right. I would NOT do it.

But the fact of the matter is, they are not going to ask any such thing of any of the membership. They are going, instead, to ask them to love their neighbors, work hard, and make the world a BETTER place. While I know these authoritarian demands are extreme for you, most people, I'm afraid, are going to see value in this form of "Tyranny".

By Anonymous General Lee, at August 11, 2007 at 12:11 PM  



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