Mitt Romney, Multiple Worlds, Middle Initials, and Me

Mitt Romney, Multiple Worlds, Middle Initials, and Me February 20, 2018

 

Las Vegas Temple photo from official LDS website
The Las Vegas Nevada Temple (LDS Media Library)

 

Every once in a while, I read a complaint by some critic of the Church or other about the odd and uniquely Mormon habit of using middle initials in the names of Church leaders — leaders like Heber J. Grant, David O. McKay, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, and Henry B. Eyring.

 

This complaint always reminds me of still other Mormon leaders, such as Ulysses S. Grant, General Robert E. Lee, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Warren G. Harding, Herbert W. Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, General George A. Patton, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Edward M. Kennedy, William F. Buckley Jr., and Gerald R. Ford.

 

Mormons are so weird!

 

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I enjoyed this piece by the ever-interesting Jeff Lindsay:

 

“Joseph Smith and the Concept of Multiple Inhabited Worlds: Just Simple Borrowing from Others?”

 

For what it’s worth, along the way Dr. Lindsay calls attention to yet a few more errors (rather redundantly, by this point!) in the lamentable “CES Letter” that has confused and misled more than a few good people out there.

 

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Mitt Romney has announced that he is seeking to represent my adopted home state, Utah, in the United States Senate.  I’m very pleased about this, and I support him enthusiastically.  But I’m including the following three items for their explicit or implicit Mormon connections, not as political statements:

 

The Atlantic:  “Why Romney Is Running for Senate:  The former Republican presidential nominee extolled his adoptive state’s values as a better option for his party, and his country, as he announced his bid for Senate.”

 

In order to fully understand that Atlantic ad, it might not hurt to have watched the advertisement in which Governor Romney announced his candidacy:

 

 

And then there’s this, which I find (among other things) quite odd:

 

National Review:  “Romney Is a Misfit for America”

 

To be clear, Michael Brendan Dougherty’s article doesn’t represent National Review‘s official position.  A number of writers at National Review — Kathryn Jean Lopez, for example, and, most notably, David French — have been vocal admirers of Governor Romney for many years.

 

But Dougherty’s argument remains strange.

 

For one thing, I’m quite confident that, as a one-time missionary and a long-time lay Church leader, Brother Romney has spent considerably more time dealing with “ordinary people” and their everyday problems — e.g., financial need, marital disharmony, substance abuse, depression, problem children, unemployment, and the like — than the politicians whom Dougherty presumably regards as less patrician and more “democratic.”  A Latter-day Saint bishop or stake president — and Mitt Romney has been both — simply cannot escape involvement in such matters.  (I speak here with some slight authority, as myself a former bishop.)

 

For another thing, Mitt Romney isn’t seeking to represent America right now.  He’s seeking to represent Utah.  “He has no idea,” says Dougherty, “how to make a majority of voters choose him.”  Well.  Really?  He was elected governor of the heavily Democratic state of Massachusetts.  He also won enough Republican primaries to become the party’s 2012 presidential nominee.  And I would be delighted to bet money against Dougherty that Mitt Romney will handily win a majority of Utah voters and will easily be elected to the Senate of the United States.

 

***

 

In case anybody is interested:  I accepted an invitation just Monday afternoon to participate July’s FreedomFest 2018.  I will be speaking on whether faith and reason can be reconciled, and will very likely also be chairing another session.  I’ll share details when I know them.

 

Posted from Oceanside, California

 

 

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