An evangelical problem?

mitt romneyWhile the 2008 Presidential elections seem a long way off — and we are still appropriately focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — I found a bit of presidential politics surprisingly refreshing. Here is an article in this month’s Washington Monthly on “Mitt Romney’s Evangelical Problem.”

In a country with only one non-Protestant president, the idea of a Mormon president would likely take awhile to get used to, and Amy Sullivan takes the difficult subject of religious doctrine head on. “To evangelicals, Mormonism isn’t just another religion. It’s a cult,” writes Sullivan.

Doug noted last month that The Atlantic touched upon the issue in a Romney profile for its September issue, but not enough attention has been paid to the elephant in the room when it comes to a Romney presidency.

Here’s how Sullivan frames it, as an issue of religious tolerance:

Americans have indeed become more religiously tolerant, but the first Mormon to run for president will clearly have to change some minds. In the late 1960s, the percentage of Americans who said they would not vote for a Jewish or Catholic presidential candidate was in the double digits; by 1999, those numbers had fallen to 6 and 4 percent, respectively (roughly the same as the percentage of voters who say they wouldn’t vote for a Baptist). Compare that to the 17 percent of Americans who currently say they would have qualms electing a Mormon to the White House. That number hasn’t changed one whit since 1967, the year that Romney’s father considered a presidential run (he abandoned the effort after making a gaffe about how the military “brainwashed” him into supporting the Vietnam War).

Some of this anti-Mormonism is a fairly fuzzy sort of bias, based mostly on rumors and unfamiliarity and the vague feeling that Mormons are kind of weird. It’s a wobbly opposition that can be overcome by good public relations that defuses concerns about the religion and shifts focus to the personality of the candidate. This is how someone like Romney gets elected in a blue state like Massachusetts, where even Republicans are generally tolerant.

Sullivan’s perspective is influenced by her childhood. Raised in a Baptist church, she was taught early that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were members of a cult, “a stronghold of Satan.”

More from Sullivan:

Evangelical Christians consider Mormonism a threat in a way that Catholicism and even Judaism are not. The LDS Church, they charge, has perverted Christian teachings to create a false religion. As John L. Smith, a Southern Baptist who runs Utah Mission — an organization that tries to convert Mormons — told Christianity Today: “Mormonism is either totally true or totally false. If it’s true, every other religion in America is false.” To be tolerant of Mormonism is to put evangelical Christianity at risk. And to put a Mormon in the White House would be to place a stamp of approval on that faith.

Southern Baptists have been particularly vocal about labeling the LDS Church a “cult.” In 1997, the denomination published a handbook and video, both with the title The Mormon Puzzle: Understanding and Witnessing to Latter-day Saints. More than 45,000 of these kits were distributed in the first year; the following year — in a throwing down of the proselytizing gauntlet — the Southern Baptist Convention held its annual meeting in Salt Lake City. Around the same time, a speaker at the denomination’s summit on Mormonism declared that Utah was “a stronghold of Satan.” When Richard Mouw, president of the evangelical Fuller Theological Seminary, tried to repair relations with the LDS community by apologizing on behalf of evangelicals during a speech in the Mormon Tabernacle last year, his conservative brethren lashed out. Mouw had no right, they declared in an open letter, to speak for them or apologize for denouncing Mormon “false prophecies and false teachings.”

And if/when the primary race gets nasty, as Sullivan adequately points out, religion will be an issue:

It’s likely that Romney’s primary opponents and prominent religious leaders will publicly take the high road, remaining mum on the issue of his Mormonism. But, says Marshall Wittman, former political director of the Christian Coalition and later an aide to McCain, “so much in the primaries takes place under the radar. It’s never publicly said, but it takes place in emails and word of mouth.” The push-poll script writes itself: “Would you be more or less likely to vote for Mitt Romney if you knew he was a Mormon, and that Mormons believe in polygamy?”

Part of my thinking leads me to believe that a Romney campaign would do some good in raising a discussion on who Mormons are and what they believe. The other part of me thinks the political arena is the wrong place for that; it would just get too nasty. One thing is for sure: journalists love the idea of a Romney campaign because of how different it would be, and with the supposed rise in power of the voting bloc known as the evangelical right, the story is all the juicer.

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  • Stephen A.

    “Mormonism is either totally true or totally false. If it’s true, every other religion in America is false.”

    This is what fundamentalist christianity says to every other faith and christian denomination, too. So?

    I don’t see the problem right now, but I could see liberal christians ganging up on him because of his conservatism, and fundamentalist christians attacking him from the far right on theological grounds.

    In the end, a Hillary Clinton/Mitt Romney matchup would be a very easy choice for 97% of Republicans.

  • francis

    Wasn’t the first Mormon to run for president one Joseph Smith?

  • C. Wingate

    Stephen A., I think you’re missing a critical distinction. The Mormons are not Trinitarian, to put it mildly; their 19th century Scientology-like theology is in contradiction to every other Christian group, and certainly to doctrinally focused traditions such as fundamentalism. The fundamentalists think that the Catholics are wrong, to be sure, but the scope of error is entirely different. Listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing “Holy, Holy, Holy” sometime and notice how they’ve changed the words.

    Indeed, that is part of the discomfort about the Mormons. Externally, they are relentlessly normal; their theological innards are, well, weird. (That’s part of the reason I was fascinated by the Wash. City Paper story linked here earlier.) Will the “conservative Christian” support for GOP candidates survive this dissonance? I suspect that for voters, it may; people tend to be blissfully ignorant of the details of Doctrines and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. But for the Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells, it may be very hard for them to endorse a candidate who is, by their theology, patently non-Christian.

  • Scott Roche

    I’m not sure how much a man’s theology can affect how he would lead a country. Now his morality can certainly do that and morality is often (though not always) informed by theology, but I’ll say that I am comfortable enough with what seems to be typical of Mormon morality to vote for one. However for me it isn’t their morality that would be the determining factor in placing my vote.

  • Megan B.

    Right– the articles I’ve read seem to continuously conflate approving of Mormonism with being willing to vote for a Mormon. Or at least they seem to do so by spending so much time on whether Mormons are religiously “acceptable”.

    Comparing Mormonism exclusively to Judaism and Catholicism clouds the issue, too– why not ask whether someone would vote for, say, a Buddhist president? To me that actually seems more relevant, since given the underlying theology of Mormonism, I can say that even as a very tolerant evangelical Christian, they just don’t qualify as /theologically/ compatible with my worldview.

  • Michael

    But theological questions do matter to the core, Republican primary voters. If Romeny wants to survive, he will have to prove to Evangelicals and other religious conservatives that he is “one of them.” His politics may be in the right place on key social issues–like abortion and gay rights–but the fact that these voters are so driven and motivated by religious issues is what causes the difficulty.

    The alliance between born-again Protestants and conservative Catholics and Jews is already a fairly unstable one. Whether they are willing to embrace someone who the y believe is a member of a cult is quite another.

  • matt

    Ahem… The U.S. has had more than one non-protestant president. Aside from Kennedy the Roman Catholic the U.S. has had a president who was not even nominally Christian: Dwight Eisenhower. He was a Unitarian.

  • ECJ

    Do I think Mormonism is a Christianized version of polytheistic paganism? Yes. Would I vote for Mitt Romney even though he is a Mormon? Probably. The guy is from Massachusetts after all, and that is politically WAY more disturbing than his Mormon religion.

    So tell me who his opponent is, and I’ll give you an answer. Truth be told, the guy would have to be an axe-murdering pedophile to keep me from voting for him if the Democratic alternative is Hillary. But I suspect Romney is a more attractive alternative then Guilianni.

    So Stephen is right. People are generating a conflict here that doesn’t really exist. Evangelicals are not going to have trouble with a culturally conservative candidate because of religion. He is running for President – not chief evangelist.

    So why the non-story? Hrmmm. Why would the press be trying to start a fight in the Republican party? Hrmmm? Whatever could be their motivation?


  • Philocrites

    Ahem, Eisenhower wasn’t a Unitarian; he was a ex-JW turned Presbyterian.

    But William Howard Taft, Millard Fillmore, John Quincy Adams, and — depending on how you parse out the “Unitarian Controversy” of the early 1800s — John Adams were Unitarian church members. (They also all considered themselves Christians.) Thomas Jefferson, formally an Anglican/Episcopalian, was a deist who later in life discussed his sympathy for Unitarianism with Adams. Eisenhower’s Democratic opponent, Adlai Stevenson, was the last major party candidate for the presidency who was a member of a Unitarian church.

    As a post-Mormon Unitarian living in Romney’s Massachusetts, I’ve been watching him try to calculate how much anti-abortionism and anti-gay-marriageism it will take for him to overcome the anti-Mormonism of the Evangelical base he needs to court. I think it will take quite an unseemly bit more.

  • Tom R

    > “This is what fundamentalist christianity says to every other faith and christian denomination, too.”

    Uh, not quite, because “fundamentalist [C]hristian” is not a “denomination”, though it is a “faith. So conservative Southern Baptists would be quite happy to vote for a Presbyterian/ Reformed, a Brethren — or even the right sort of Anglican or Lutheran — who was theologically compatible about what the SBs see as the core non-negotiables of Christianity (including Trinitarianism, but not, interestingly enough, including adult baptism). You can criticise conservative/ fundamentalist evangelical Protestants for being conservative, but not for being sectarian or denominational, because that’s precisely what they make a point of not being. Indeed, one reason the C/FEPs criticise more hierarchical religions such as Mormonism and Catholicism as “cults” is that the latter insist that membership in their particular denomination is, if not the only way, then at least the fastest queue to heaven (or Kolob, ATCMB). Read any C/FEP literature on their definition of “cult” and “teaching that salvation is found through the cult’s organisation” is high on the checklist.

  • Lucas Sayre

    As a Catholic I can assure you that many Catholics have some of the same reservations regarding Mormons as evangelical protestants do. This is natural, because the Church of LDS is fewer in numbers and because its beliefs differ significantly among Christian religions, from most Protestants or Catholics.

    Btw, I would also like to point out that Mormons are technically protestants, in that they are Christians who protest the faith authority of the Catholic Church.

  • Stephen A.

    Uh, Tom. All I was saying is that Fundie Christians think all other religions are doomed to hell. Fundie Christians think most other Christians may go to hell. Of course liberal Christians barely believe in hell, so I didn’t include them. I don’t think this is controversial, it’s a statement of fact.

    Also, a (socially conservative) Southern Baptist would vote for a (socially liberal) Presbyterian? Maybe. But don’t count on it just because both are Trinitarians. I never remember the trinity being a big campaign issue.

    Though if someone pointed out some aberrant Mormon views on God’s nature, granted, some conservative Christians may have second thoughts. Most others won’t.

    But I’m sorry, ECJ, if Romney turns out to be an axe-murdering pedophile, even I would have to consider staying home on election day. ;-)

  • Stephen A.

    I think maybe matt was trying to say (though I could be wrong) that a Mormon – Ezra Taft Benson – was Sec. of Agriculture under Ike’s administration. Though that’s clearly not “president,” it’s a cabinet-level position.

    Also, did you all know that Democratic House Leader Harry Reid is a Mormon?

    Nary a word has been raised about HIS views on social issues. Wonder why? Probably because “Fellow church members are among his biggest detractors.” See:

    He’s the “right” kind of Mormon. A social liberal. See? Maybe Romney needs to be more of a “rebel” to get the press off his back about his religion – like Reid has.

  • Stephen A.

    Last week, I spoke with a Conservative fundamentalist I know (a rare bird here in New Hampshire, I’m sure) about our discussions here and asked her about Romney. She said she would DEFINITELY consider voting for him. I asked about theological issues and she didn’t care – abortion was Issue #1 with her.

    She was a big organizer in the state for anti-abortion candidates in the last election. That’s why I see no problem for Romney with Christian social conservatives.

  • dpulliam

    Stephen A., I believe the reason Reid doesn’t get much publicity for his Mormon beliefs is because he merely represents one congressional district. Sure, he is the technical leader of the minority party in the lower house of Congress, but his role is relatively insignificant, other than his symbolic role and limited political power outside of his district. Romney is a bit different in the sense that he is considering a national presidential campaign.

  • Stephen A.

    I’ll grant some ground on Reid’s relatively lower position (though he’s on the news EVERY night as the Democratic leader) but I think he’s getting a pass because of his moderate take on his Mormon faith.

    If he was a strong, outspoken social conservative who was guided by LDS theology, his faith would get far more attention, in my view.

    I think the same’s true for Orrin Hatch, who is a moderate and not really that outspoken. He also gets “a pass.”

  • Tom R

    > “Btw, I would also like to point out that Mormons are technically protestants, in that they are Christians who protest the faith authority of the Catholic Church.”

    Yup, that’s Mormons all right. Salvation by faith alone, not by works; and the original Scriptures (66-book version) as the supreme standard for faith and life, to which nothing shall at any time be added, whether by new revel- or… oh, wait.

    Lucas, by your standard the Eastern Orthodox are “Protestants” too. Me, I like words to mean something.

  • ECJ

    “Evangelical Christians desire to impose their religion through the power of the state, and so a Mormon would not be acceptable. A Mormon would not impose the correct religion.”

    Of course we are required to believe the premise because the NY Times believes it. But it does demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding about why Evangelical Christians re-engaged with politics. It was never about doctrine. It was about the systematic dismantling of established Law – principally through the Supreme Court – all in the service of libertine autonomy.

    Evangelicals can support anyone who will work to re-establish the concepts of Law which used to operate in this country. Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Jew. It just won’t matter. In this context, he is “one of us.”


    BTW. I don’t know, Steve. We are talking about Hillary here. Maybe we should relent on “axe-murderer” being a disqualifier.

  • ECJ

    Arrrgh! A slight copy and paste malfunction occurred above. Here is the whole post:

    There is an implicit premise buried in the affirmative side of this argument that should really be stated:

    “Evangelical Christians desire to impose their religion through the power of the state, and so a Mormon would not be acceptable. A Mormon would not impose the correct religion.”

    Of course we are required to believe the premise because the NY Times believes it. But it does demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding about why Evangelical Christians re-engaged with politics. It was never about doctrine. It was about the systematic dismantling of established Law – principally through the Supreme Court – all in the service of libertine autonomy.

    Evangelicals can support anyone who will work to re-establish the concepts of Law which used to operate in this country. Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Jew. It just won’t matter. In this context, he is “one of us.”


    BTW. I don’t know, Steve. We are talking about Hillary here. Maybe we should relent on “axe-murderer” being a disqualifier.

  • Stephen A.

    The idea that anyone would seek to “impose” a religion on America is a bit old fashioned, and incredibly impractical. How would one go about this, exactly?

    This notion went out of style in 1961, so I don’t know how anyone could seriously believe it.

    Still, I see folks on the left using this very line in the Roberts confirmation, and I shouldn’t be baffled as to how it survived to the 21st century.

  • John K

    “Yup, that’s Mormons all right. Salvation by faith alone, not by works; and the original Scriptures (66-book version) as the supreme standard for faith and life, to which nothing shall at any time be added, whether by new revel- or… oh, wait.”

    So Tom, who authorized you to set up the end all requirements for Christianity?

  • Tom R

    “So Tom, who authorized you to set up the end all requirements for Christianity?”

    John K, please re-read more closely. I was not defining who is and is not a [true] Christian. What I was saying, spelled out, is that the Protestant Reformation was (read a history book — _any_ history book) about two principles: sola fide and sola Scriptura. While they allow some differences in interpretation, they are definite enough to set limits. Catholics and Protestants alike will agree that Protestants accept, and that Catholics reject, these twin doctrines. Mormons reject these two documents. Ergo Mormons are not Protestants.

    Mormonism did not emerge from someone re-reading the original Bible and saying “Hey, we’ve been reading these final revelation wrong for 1500-2000 years” (by which standard Wesleyans, Campbellites and even SD Adventists qualify as Protestants). Mormonism, rather, is founded on the principle that “God gave humankind new revelation in the early 1800s, and if your private judgment disagrees with that of Joseph Smith and his successors, then so much the worse for your private judgment.”

    Re the Evangelicals vs Mormons disagreement: I suppose what makes it so remarkable is that, apart from theology, Mormons and, say, Southern Baptists are remarkably similar (socially, politically), especially now the Mormons have (officially) dropped polygamy. It’s not like, say, a Baptist/ Catholic political alliance which would fall apart over _political_ issues such as banning alcohol or contraception, or a Baptist/ Jewish political alliance which would fall apart over _political_ issues such as prayer in schools, or a Baptist/ Wiccan political alliance which would fall apart over… pick one.

    Re “Presbyterians”: I meant those Presbyterianswho regard John Calvin as a great theologian, not those who regard him as a reactionary homophobe with a distressing failure to condemn the sin of global warming. Shoulda been clearer.

  • ugh

    Romney would not be the first Mormon to run for the presidency; Orrin Hatch made a failed attempt in 2000.

    I’m not sure what to think about all of this. I recall when Liberty University, (Jerry Falwell, Chancellor), decided to contract with Marriott to to the catering, there was an outcry among the evangelicals. “How could we fund the Mormons?!” Falwell’s, response, “We’re hiring them to cook, not teach Sunday School.” This is probably the most level headed thing Falwell has ever said in his life.

  • Tom R

    > “We’re hiring them to cook, not teach Sunday School.”

    Ah, but would they make coffee?!!

    The American People Demand To Know!

  • manaen

    I read with interest your comments about whether to accept a candidate from my faith (LDS).

    Maybe you’d like to consider this scenario: The Republicans could use a successful blue-state pol to widen their base. The Democrats could use an experienced, credible, pro-life veteran from a red state to get some traction away from the coasts. Romney vs. Reid: our Mormon can beat your Mormon.

  • Tom R

    Manaen, you’ve reminded me of another factor that might help Mitt win the Proph- … er, the Presidency: ticket-balancing. I read once that one factor that help JFK overcome fears that he’d put Jesuits in the White House was that his running-mate, LBJ, was a Disciple of Christ, ie well within the mainstream of American credobaptism evangelicalism. A lot of the “weirdness” (sic) of having an Orthodox Jew as Dem VP candidate in 2000 was balanced by having a Gaean-cum-Baptist as his running mate. I bet if Romney shares the GOP ticket with a conservative “Trinitarian/ Nicean” Christian (Protestant, Orthdox, or Catholic), that would win back some of the evangelical (and Catholic?) voters who are suspicious of the LDS Church.

    It’s rather unfair, in a cosmic sense (no pun intended!) — given that you can have two Methodists on the GOP ticket in 2000 and 2004, or two Baptists on the Dem ticket in 1992 and 1996, without anyone batting an eyelid — but that’s how the cookie crumbles.

  • Tom R

    (ctd)… Of course, to get to the point of sharing the ticket at all, Romney faces the problem that Amy Sullivan identified: surviving the GOP primaries, in which candidates run as individuals and not as a duumvirate, unlike the gen. elec.

  • Tom R

    > “Ahem, Eisenhower wasn’t a Unitarian; he was a ex-JW turned Presbyterian.”

    Well, technically JWs * are * small-U unitarians; they believe in God and Jesus, but deny the Trinity.

  • kandy H

    Mormon’s beleive that faith without works will get you nothing. The correct name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The artilce said that they beleive in polygamy which is not true. If the article is wrong on a fundemental issue such as this why should I beleive the article as fact. If you want to know what a member of a church beleives you ask a member in good standing not its detractors.
    Whether I vote for a person for president is on whether I Beleive that person is a leader and has the ability to do a good job.
    I like how Mitt has been able to work with the oppisition party. I am democrat and I might vote for the man. WOW

  • Cicero

    Some fact corrections: Senator Reid is minority leader of the Senate, he is not a Congressman. The minority leader of the House is Nancy Peloski.

    Senator Reid represents the entire state of Nevada. A state divided between the original Mormon settlers, sunshine retirees, and gambling interests- all of which can explain a Democratic Mormon as a Senator.

    Senator Reid is nominally in opposition to Roe vs Wade- although his behavior since his elevation to minority leader has left many wondering if his position means anything more than words in the air. He could face the same problem that Senator Dashelle (another nominally pro-life Democrat) did.

    Conservatives tend to believe that the proof is in the pudding- they are very results oriented- hence their current disatisfaction with the Bush administration. The is no “progressive wave” in the country. Conservatives are disatisfied with a Republican Government they consider to becoming weak in the knees in areas of conservative interest. (Such as smaller government, immigration, ect.) Most conservatives are willing to forgive a little, on the idea that the War has caused alot of fatigue among Republicans, but there is still demand for someone who will act and get conservative results. I think this dynamic will be far more important in the Republican primary than theological issues.

    Interestingly enough, most of the Mitt Romney promoters I know are from the South and are evengelicals. Mainly because they believe that of the four “major” candidates (McCain, Giuliani, Allen, and Romney), Romney is the most likely to actually get the results they want. It is a common debate about McCain- Many point out that he is the most conservative of the bunch, but his opponents shoot right back by pointing out that McCain is the least dependable in actually achieving the conservative results.

    I am sure that many Social Conservatives would prefer Brownback, but most have decided he is not going to win. Our dream candidate would be Jeb Bush- except 1. He’s not running, and 2. His last name. Thus we are diving up between Allen (safe, keep us in a holding pattern until Jeb Bush or Blackwell runs in 2016), Gingrich (oddly enough, probably because he got results in ’94), and Romney (hoping he can both be elected, and get results).

  • Richard Jenkinson

    Whatever happened to “Love thy neighbor”? If those who would vote against Romney because of his religion would examine what a christian should be and do, animosity toward another on the basis of religion would not be an issue.

    I am a Mormon, to use the nickname imposed on us, and a Canadian. Thus, I have some insight and at the same time, possibly more detachment from the politics of the USA. The one thing the church in question teaches is that one’s agency, the right to choose whatever to believe and how, is paramount. Joseph Smith himself said that he would defend to the death anyone’s right to believe and worship the way he would like, for what would harm one group would certainly harm another.

    I have not seen, in our present ‘enlightened’ period of history, anyone capable of imposing a large-scale, disliked set of critera on the American people. There are sufficient ‘checks and balances’, I believe, to steer the course correctly. I have read a number of biographies of US presidents, from Washington to Kennedy. My leanings are toward Adams, Roosevelt, Lincoln, Truman and Kennedy. It’s not because of their religion in the least, nor of their party; each has had areas of problem in his administration, but by and large, their hearts were in the right place, for people of all strata of life.

    Can we not look at someone in that manner without denigrating him for something that helps him cherish and support others, be they what they may choose? It may not be Romney; there are some Mormons for whom I would not vote even if I could, because there is much more to consider than religion. I personally think Romney understands that. It appears that too many others don’t.

    Why not just look for the one who will have his heart in the right place and who will stand up for the American people, not just for political office!

  • Crystal Burnham

    Well folks, what is the definition of a Christian? Someone who believes in Christ. The Mormons do, the Baptists, Christians, Catholics all believe in Him. What is the definition of a cult? Webster states: “A community or system of religious worship and ritual.” That about covers everyone mentioned above, doesn’t it? How about not fighting over who believes what but look at the man. Is he a moral man? Can he do the job? Kennedy did a wonderful job and I’m sure Mitt Romney would do just as well. He did a good job with the Olympics and with Massachusetts. Are we getting petty or what?

  • Lynda

    As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I would like to recommend a wonderful official web-site to all who would like to know of our true beliefs. It is Unfortunately there are many who are threatened financially by our church and will make false claims concerning it. More than once has someone said to me “That isn’t what our Pastor said about Mormon’s”
    As for our future President Mitt Romney, (I am still checking him out myself)I know that he has good moral values and that is very important for our county to thrive. I had a friend ask me if I would vote for Hillary Clinton or John McCain (I am an AZ resident) and I said neither one of them. I strongly hope that there will be better options than those two. Well, it looks like there will be if Romney is a candidate. There is hope for America! Thank you.

  • Ovala Toiaivao

    I’m a naturalized U.S. citizen orignally from the island of Samoa and I’ve been reading with great interest this on going media frenzy about Mitt Romney’s presidency aspirations and the problems he faces because of his Mormon faith. I mean, c’mon folks, why should his religion be an issue? If the man is honest, has integrity, successful, and have the ability to accomplish great things, then why on earth should his religion matters? I would think that if he’s such a good man,(and he’s certainly proven and shown that he is), then his religion mustn’t be that bad after all for a Satanic cult cannot possibly produce such a good and upright American like that, could it? Seems to me there’s a lot of hypocrisy in so called Christians who profess a love of Christ and yet would not vote for an honest man simply because of their bitter hatred of his faith. Is that what their Jesus taught…Since when was hatred a Crhistlike virtue? Interesting!!! I just find it very disturbing that one’s hatred of a certain religion would be a reason for keeping him or her from doing what’s best for the nation and the country. Let’s choose a leader based on the character and integrity of his heart rather than on the basis of his religious beliefs.

  • David M. Bresnahan

    Day after day some newspaper somewhere decides to run the same old tired story about unannounced Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, declaring that a Mormon could never be elected president because the evangelical Christians would never support him.

    The first thing to remember is that some reporters have nothing original to report, so they regurgitate the same story many others have already written. It’s easy to pick on the Mormons, so why not jump on the band wagon?

    There’s just one problem. The vast majority of Americans do not believe such reports for one simple reason – they are not true and we all know it.

    Mormons are everywhere, and most people have encountered them enough to know the claims that Mormons are not Christian and are actually quite evil cannot possibly be true. But it is no surprise that rival church leaders complain about a church that actively proselytes new members, which is a threat to the offering plates of the churches who lose members as a result.

    Actually, they are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Those who claim they are not Christians apparently missed the name of the church.

    Perhaps that is because the press frequently ignores the official name and uses the term “Mormon” as if that is the actual name when it is not. They should read the Associated Press Stylebook which says: “…the official name is preferred in first reference in a story dealing primarily with church activities.”

    Many LDS teens get up before the sun and gather in groups to study the scriptures together. It’s called early morning seminary. Those same kids in recent studies were found to be doing a better job of living the clean values taught by their church leaders and parents than kids of other faiths.

    The interesting thing about LDS kids is that their behavior is not based on fear or compulsion of any kind. These kids are good because they want to be good.

    LDS families live their religion. They not only go to church on Sunday, they set aside one night a week as “Family Home Evening.” They sing, have a brief lesson that is often given by one of the kids, play games, eat junk food, and pray.

    LDS families send their kids to church one night during the week, not for religious services, but instead they send their boys to Boy Scouts and their girls to “Young Women.” The LDS Church sees those activities as tools for shaping the values of their future leaders.

    Mormons pray a lot. They pray each and every day individually, as married couples, and with their families. Their children learn to kneel by their bed and say their prayers, saying a prayer that comes from their heart because they use their own words rather than something memorized.

    The adult men team up with a teenage boy as a partner and visit other members of the local congregation once a month or more. “Home Teaching” is one of the ways the LDS Church stays in close contact with each member and offers more than just preaching to help people live a better life.

    No one is paid. Not a dime goes to the local church leaders, teachers, organists, or minister known as a bishop. All the members have an opportunity to volunteer to serve one another. Members are able to serve as missionaries, and they do so at their own expense and without pay.

    Do they believe in Jesus Christ? Are they Christians? They certainly seem to be living as Christ taught. They not only go to church, they actually go out into the world and live what they are taught in church. They read and study from the Bible, and they also study The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

    Their message as they knock on door after door is that the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. They claim to represent Jesus Christ and say that they want to bring people to Christ. Sounds Christian to me.

    Like millions of others, I am a Latter-day Saint convert. I have known Mitt Romney personally. We do not always agree on every issue, but I can honestly say that he is a very good, moral, honest man who is also the best qualified candidate I have seen for president. He has a track record as governor that should be used to evaluate his potential as president, and his Mormon beliefs and values have made him a better governor. The same will be true if he becomes president.

    In reality the typical evangelical Christian is not much different than a Mormon.

    They both want the best for their families, and they both do their best to live according to the beliefs of their religion. Some of their doctrines are different, but their values are not. As more and more people focus on values instead of doctrines they will recognize that having a Mormon as president is just what this country needs.

  • machucada

    To evaluate how religion would affect Romney’s Presidency if he were elected, Romeny would do well to encourage voters to look at how it has affected him as a holder of public office in Massachusetts. Not many Massachusetts residents seem to claiming that Romney is beholden to Mormonism over anything else in developing state public policy.

    Mitt would also do well to encourage voters to consider looking at his father’s record as governor of Michigan. George Romney, also a Mormon, was widely respected among his own constituents. When it comes right down to it, the religion of a public official is only one of many factors, and if history is any judge, quite a minor one in setting public policy. In my opinion, Romney would be an effective leader who would use common sense over political motivation in his agendas, but each intelligent voter should be encouraged to make her or his own evaluations based on factors that will actually substantively affect Romney’s decisions if elected (assuming of course he runs and gets the GOP nomination).

    Whatever one may understand about Mormonism (and it appears to be widely misunderstood), must be tempered with how those perceived tenants of Mormonism (without regard to the accuracy of those perceptions) will affect a Presidential Candidate’s decisions in the real world.

  • HiveRadical

    I think it will be fascinating if Mitt ever gets anything really going. The last time our faith had a serious contender for the office of President of the United States he was executed largely to prevent him from trying to run again. Evidently the conspirators that planned Joseph Smith’s murder were largely those of political and leadership that saw a genuine threat in a future canidacy of Joseph Smith for election to the office of president of the United States.

  • Ovala Toiaivao

    I truly believe that if the ministers of all the so called Christian faiths would stop teaching false informations about how evil and Satanic the Mormons are and concentrate on preaching true Christlike love as personified by the Jesus they’re getting paid to pay lip service to, then all this hatred and bitterness toward Mr. Romney’s religion would not be a factor at all, and we can then concentrate on electing a capable leader after all. And by the way, if the Mormons are truly evil and Satanic, how is it their lives manifest quite the opposite? I believe the scriptures said that “by their fruits, ye shall know them”. I’ve seen much of what is good and pure and praiseworthy in the Mormon faith to believe that it’s Satanic or evil in any way. Believe me, I know. I’m a son of former Protestant parents who converted to the Mormon faith.