Better to be an adulterer than a Mormon?: Evangelicals, Gingrich, and Romney

(Update: You may be interested in the January 20, 2012 follow-up post–Gingrich, Romney, and Evangelicals Follow-Up–in which I respond to a critique of the entry below)

On October 12-15, I had an amazing visit to Utah. I conducted a faculty workshop at Brigham Young University on abortion and personhood, and then gave a talk on my return to the Catholic Church. Both events were attended by faculty members from both the School of Law and the School of Religion. I also conducted a workshop in Salt Lake City for the LDS Public Affairs Office on the topic of Catholic Social Thought.  It was the first time I had visited BYU since 1992. My hosts–at both BYU and Salt Lake–were delightful. I had a wonderful time.

During the drive from Salt Lake to Provo after I had conducted my workshop on Catholic Social Thought, my friend and host, Robert Millet (an LDS Professor at BYU), shared with me a story that I will not easily forget. He told me of a Mormon friend who in conversation with an Evangelical Protestant had asked him whether a Christian who committed adultery would lose his salvation.  The Evangelical answered, “No.” The Mormon followed up with this query, “What if the Christian had murdered someone? Would he then lose his salvation?” The answer, again, was “no.” Then the Mormon asked, “Well, what if he had become a Mormon?” The Evangelical answered, “That’s a good question. I don’t know.” I joked with Bob, “Perhaps your friend should have asked what would be the state of the person’s salvation if he had murdered, or committed adultery with, a Mormon?”

Having spent over two decades of my professional life in the Evangelical world, the answers to this Mormon gentleman’s queries do not surprise me, though they, of course, shocked Bob, as it did the friend who had told Bob of the encounter. For the implication for this Mormon gentleman was clear: Evangelicals believe it is better to be a murderer or an adulterer than to be a Mormon.  I am, of course, not suggesting that Evangelicals are thoughtless bigots, or even that most Evangelicals share this gentleman’s lack of theological nuance and judgment. Far from it. If anything, I am convinced that his answers are borne of a deep commitment to theological truth, something that one rarely finds in a culture in which theological claims are treated as no epistemically higher than matters of taste. In this sense, his willingness to stand against the spirit of the age is admirable. But in another sense–tying a believer’s eternal fate to overt cognitive assent to a set of doctrines without regard to whether in fact the believer’s life reflects Christian virtue–seems not very Christian at all. It, ironically, reflects an acquiescence to the flip side of the spirit of the age: it treats the human person as a bifurcated being consisting of an all-important mind that consents to doctrine and an unimportant body that is alien to the “true” self.

This is why I am not at all surprised–as my fellow Patheos blogger, David French, reports–that a group of Evangelical leaders who met privately to discuss which presidential candidate to endorse did not even consider Mitt Romney. Apparently it was a contest exclusively between Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, with the former Pennsylvania Senator receiving the nod with an 85-29 vote. Amazingly, Gingrich was in the running, despite the former Speaker’s propensity to engage in questionable conduct when in the pursuit of political power. It seems, then, that a Mormon Newt without the history of moral foibles occasioned by political ambition would have received the same lack of consideration these Evangelical leaders gave Governor Romney.  Consequently, the message that our Mormon friends will hear from this is the same one heard by Bob Millet’s friend: better to be an adulterer than a Mormon.

In light of this, Evangelicals–indeed, all Christians, including Catholics, that connect their theological paternity to the Council of Nicea–have to reassess how their public actions and official statements communicate what they believe about statecraft and the moral qualifications for political leadership to a world already skeptical of their motives and their judgment.

(Update: You may be interested in the January 20, 2012 follow-up post–Gingrich, Romney, and Evangelicals Follow-Up–in which I respond to a critique of this entry)

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  • John Quin

    This seems to similar, if not the same, as the issue of Christian Particularism.
    i.e. is it better to be a Christian adulterer or an non-theist?
    As logically consistent as molinist based defences like William Lane Craig’s is, I just can’t bring myself to endorse/believe it.
    For me I favour almost a N.T. Wright view (at least as far as I know it) where Christ’s death extends the covenant to all people but perhaps it is our choices w.r.t. good/evil that determines our fate.

  • frjimt

    I guess the question i am left asking: do the mormon’s and 7th day adventist fall into the same category: that is denying the divinity of Christ.
    In addition: are we saying that with Mr. Gingrich’s entrance into the “Return to Rome” fellowship that you both share, does that mean he bears the the stigma of the past, as the woman caught in adultery.

    I remained puzzled, not about mr romney’s fidelity, love of family & his faith. I guess my concern lies with the little that i’ve heard about mormonism & the troubling, if true, promise that if he becomes POTUS that he’ll be rewarded with a planet of his own and be savior of that.

    So help me out here, fill me in, teach me…..

    • velihall

      frjimt: I’m sorry you’ve heard inaccurate information about mormonism. If you are really interested in answers, go to the source. Check out http://www.mormon.org or http://www.lds.org and see what the LDS Church is all about. As I would never go to a “Catholic hater” to find out what Catholics really believe, I hope you’ll avoid the same inaccurate path.

      The short answer, being POTUS has absolutely nothing to do with Mormon doctrine or theology or eternal outcomes. What does for Governor Romney, is his faith in Christ, how he lives his life, and how he executes his duties (i.e. with integrity), whether as POTUS or manager of olympic games or at Bain or wherever else. The difference it makes to him is really between him and the Savior at the end of the day.

    • Sara

      Well, frjimt, I’m a Mormon, so I hope I can help you out a little. First, and foremost, the proper name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We most definitely do not deny the divinity of Christ. He is our Savior and Redeemer, the only begotten Son of the Father.
      Now, I can’t say anything regarding Mr. Gingrich, except that if he has truely repented then he shouldn’t be judged by past mistakes, but if he has not…well, I leave that up to you.
      Finally, I’ve never even heard of POTUS before, I have no idea what that is or where you got it from. As far as our beliefs in the afterlife go, in a nutshell, God is our(you, me, and everyone else) Father, and like any good parent, He wants to be happy. Being the all-wise and knowing being that He is, He knows we will be happiest fulfilling our greatest potential, which, being His children, naturally, is to become like Him. Thanks to the Atonement, every person who has ever lived will be resurrected and receive some degree of glory. You know the whole sun, moon, and stars thing in Corinthians? That. Which one we get get will depend on our actions, but, except for people like Judas Iscariot, we will all get to one of those kingdoms.
      Now I’m not much of a typer so if you want more details you should check out http://www.mormon.org to learn more about the church and our beliefs. :)

      • Sara

        Correction: He wants us to be happy.

      • Eddy

        P.O.T.U.S stands for President Of The United States.

      • Brent

        Jesus chose Judas as His apostle. One of the apostles needed to betray Him. Obviously putting Judas in that position would not be fair in terms of later damning him. Christ even (purposely) skipped sealing his calling and election. We don’t the eternal outcome for Judas.

        As pointed out, referring to the rest of us, between him and God.

        To continue your line of reply, we are literally God’s children with the “potential” to be like Him. It is exhilarating and inspiring to consider that potential, and to then reflect it in the ways we conduct our lives. that is, trying our imperfect best to follow Christ, who lived and extolled for us a selfless life of service and love for mankind.

        The point is, whether or not one accepts the very hard to imagine (for anyone, any latter-day saint, absolutely anyone who has ever contemplated there nothingness compared to God) personal possibility that they could become gods, in this life this makes no difference except to be more motivated to live righteously and serve God harder.

        There are no megalomaniacs in The Church fed by the notion of superiority over others because of this tenet. EVERYONE has an equal shot at becoming like Our Heavenly Father. This is not limited to Mormons. It is the divine potential of all human beings, tempered by the wise, informed and fair judgement of the God of us all.

        What The Church offers is the truth of His nature, the authorized portal to His ordinances and the constant companionship of The Holy Ghost. But no devout Mormon with an understanding of their faith would claim a monopoly on what is good. That is, as any Christian should acknowledge, there are good Buddhists, good Muslims, good agnostics and atheists… good people all over this earth who may never have heard of Jesus Christ… who will be blessed by His Grace and receive the fruits of His Atonement. Again, anyone, not just Mormons, can one day (possibly) have their planets — and everyone will have immortal life (resurrected bodies) as paid for with the Savior’s blood and whatever glorious station He appoints them to at judgement.

        • Wootah

          Christ called Judas a son of perdition himself. I would call that pretty certain.
          http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+17:12&version=KJV

          God knows all of our outcomes. That doesn’t mean Judas didn’t have agency when he betrayed christ and that doesn’t mean he was chosen just to betray Christ. That would be unjust.

  • Thomas R

    Although that’s certainly part of it for many Evangelicals I feel this is a bit unfair. Even now I think many Evangelicals would be uncomfortable with someone going from Southern Baptist to Catholic which, I believe, is what Gingrich did. Possibly they’re just thinking, as I would, that President isn’t like pastor and that Gingrich is more reliable on their core issues.

    Granted I say this in part because I don’t like Romney, I came to prefer Huntsman to him so it’s not a Mormon thing, but I think it would work regardless. McCain was an admitted adulterer and Obama was not. So one could argue Evangelicals supported McCain because he was white or that they found “being an adulterer preferable to being black.” But even if that may have been a motivation for a few it’s still unfair. Less unfair than this, I think anti-Mormonism is more common with Evangelicals than racism, but still problematic.

  • Robert

    If these sentiments as outlined in this article are true, then I believe it safe to conclude that Evangelicals are bigots and need to be treated as such.

    • Jacob

      So we should treat them exactly the way we should treat everyone else and the way we want to be treated ourselves? . . .

  • http://www.reformedandconservative.com Michael Bauman

    All other things being equal, it’s better to be a forgiven Catholic — Gingrich, than a forgiven Mormon — Romney, especially when the Catholic is better informed, more experienced, more articulate, and has a better record of legislative achievement (not to mention that Catholicism is truer than Mormonism and therefore yields more benefits and advantages of many sorts.)

    God forgives and God regenerates repentant sinners. Unless we are prepared to say, and to substantiate, either that conversion is not real or that Gingrich is not converted, then I will continue to assert the authenticity of his change. I’ve seen nothing that makes me think it is not true. If anyone else has seen such contrary evidence, I’d be quite willing to listen and possibly to change my assessment. Gingrich seems to me a new and different man morally and spiritually from what he was. Given the truth of Christianity and the power of God in the gospel, it’s exactly what I’d expect. He has confessed, repented, and been absolved. I, therefore, will not continue to throw his errors in his face. He has acknowledged them repeatedly and publicly. Those allegations that are false he has denied.

    Good on him, and God bless him.

    • Mart Turv

      This is not a serious response is it?

    • Susanne

      Very interesting Michael, Mr. Romney has been a man of high morals and integrity.
      Faithful and devoted to his wife and his vows to God, as well as honest in his dealings with people. We as Americans are not use to
      a man with such decent character as President. As a Mormon Christian I am deeply offended that people are so mis-informed of what it means to be Christian. Didn’t Jesus say to Love one Another? I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise, because if you know the life that Jesus lived, even HE, the ONLY perfect person to walk the earth was misunderstood and crucified because of his beliefs and his refusal to deny God.
      May God Bless America with a good and decent President. God Bless you too Michael that you and others will truly be Christian.

    • Jennie

      Does that mean that you don’t think Romney can repent? Does it mean that you would rather vote for a man who has been married three times, wanted an open marriage which would allow for a mistress, and conducted his personal life in a manner that flew in the face of many of God’s commandments rather than one who has lived his life in keeping with the commandments every day? Romney has been married to the same woman for his entire marriage without one affair. Romney has worked 40+ hours outside of his regular work schedule to take care of hundreds of people who have been placed under his care for which he never got paid. Romney took on the SLC winter Olympics millions of dollars in the hole and made it one of the most successful Olympics in history by making money in the end. There’s no dirt to dig on Romney. None. No skeletons in his closet (very unlike Newt’s). He’s an upstanding man who values family and life and believes in God and Jesus Christ. He’s consistently done what he said he would do. It all boils down to his religion. That is cutting off your nose to spite your face no matter how you look at it. I’ll take a Mormon who has followed the commandments of God consistently throughout his life over a man who has held the commandments far beneath himself and completely ignored them repeatedly throughout his life.

    • Wendy Stebar

      Does not part of the repentance process involve trying to make amends to those who have been hurt by our past actions? Has he ever apologized to either of the two wives he betrayed? Why are we so accepting of his mistress/wife that equally shares the responsibility of violating his marriage. She was co-adulterer with him. She now stands next to him as a reminder, “to the victor goes the spoils, ” and remains mute as Newt answers most questions directed her way for her. Does she really feel conscious-free about her own role she now plays as a present day reminder of their sordid beginning? She now wants to be our First Lady. Actions have consequences. We can forgive and forget, but don’t rub our faces in it and expect to be absolved in the courts if public opinion.

      • http://yahoo steve duncan

        Can you immagine the wife of Gingrich as the first lady. What a wonderful example to all the young people out there! From France we here the women talk,”America has a new style; to be president you must be involved with another women, other than your wife for months in order to be elected, at least in the Rebublican party.” Or, ” She will have a lot to talk about when she visits a classroom of high school children here in France. Or, “She came here to vist and speak about American values and marriage.”

    • Nicole

      What a sad world this has come to. Are the 10 Commandments not important?! Adultery, I’m pretty sure was on that list. Shouldn’t we be looking for GOOD men to lead our country, not those that apologize only after being caught, men who openly criticize others for the same “sins” he himself is committing? People are being so close minded and prideful and refuse to open their eyes and see the good man Romney is. Mr. Bauman, you can choose to defend whomever you like and try to use your religion as a defense but in the end, deep down, you know you are wrong. Christians might want to re-read the Bible and pay attention to those Commandments I’m pretty sure was given to ALL people.

    • Ed H

      Michael, you are an ignorant brainwashed bigot. Try reading the chapters in “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” about Christianity just prior to and during the rule of Constantine and his sons. You will learn that the “church” had totally apostasized from the simple teachings of Christ and had many sects and beliefs. Most congregations were led by evil greedy men who had merged the Greek and Roman pomp and ceremonies and coruptions into their teachings. The Council of Nice was led and set up by Constantine, an evil Sun Worshiper, who killed one of his own sons during the council. After the Niacean Creed was established he sysmatically murdered all Christian sects that did not adhere to it. It is nothing but gibberish set up and defined by a group of evil men. If you will search the N. T. you wil find Christ pleading with the apostles to be one even as I and the Father are one. The Father, Chirst, and the Holy Ghost are One in Purpose, not One in Body.

    • Bill McBride

      In Mr. Bauman’s reply above, he seems to miss the question completely. All other things are NOT equal, and that is the entire basis of Mr. Beckwith’s original article. The question isn’t whether it’s better to be a penitent Catholic or a penitent Mormon, it is whether the character of an adulterer or a murderer is automatically better than that of a Mormon whose daily sins are of a more mundane nature. And more specifically, would you trust the Presidency to a Catholic/evangelical adulterer or murderer before you would to a Mormon guilty of lesser sins.

      Regarding the very well written article by Francis Beckwith, it truly brings to the surface the disturbing viewpoint of many evangelicals. They fear Mormonism, not because of that faith’s doctrine, but because of what they hear from their own church pulpits. I have been there and heard the hate preached against Mormons. It was disheartening. It reminds me of the religious wars fought in the Arab world between various sects of Islam, and its basis is just as specious.

      Politically, I am not a big fan of Romney, but it has nothing to do with his faith. He seems to be dedicated to his wife and family, as well as to his church. I just don’t like how he has conveniently shifted positions on issues or his coziness with Wall Street. I like Gingrich better, and think he would be a more interesting President. But for all his legislative accomplishments, he is a bitter pill for the independents to swallow. The election is about beating Obama, and Gingrich cannot do that.

      The race should really be down to Santorum and Romney. They are the only ones who have a shot at winning the general election. Romney would win more of the independent vote, and Santorum will get the votes of all the evangelicals who stay home, rather than vote for a fellow Christian who doesn’t follow their exact doctrine.

    • Derek O’Neil

      Mr. Bauman makes a valid point about former-Congressman Gingrich, a refreshing point about forgiveness and the power of Christ to change all of us during this mortal life. For a man who can commune with the Most High and receive a forgiveness of sins and who becomes a new man, is definitely one who may be ready to lead a nation. Moses, for example, was a member of the Egyptian royal house that oppressed and enslaved at least one nation, a government that slaughtered thousands of infants. Yet, he repented, and was then ready to lead a great nation in moral and political strength. So, with all of us being sinners, the ones who have truly repented, becoming a new man in Christ, would be one worthy to lead us in moral and political strength.

      Although I do not agree with Mr. Bauman’s statements about the veracity of the Catholic Church (and I believe the theologians of the Catholic faith would not claim it was truer than any other faith, but THE only true faith) as I am convinced and know that Mormonism is true, I do applaud his reminder to the world of the power of God to forgive, transform and empower His children. May we all look at each other as children of God, all precious and all needing to feel of His love and be changed by Him.

    • MHale

      Michael, I am concerned by your ignorance and narrow mindedness. It truly blinds you. “not to mention that Catholicism is truer than Mormonism and therefore yields more benefits and advantages of many sorts.” What are you 12? How did you come to that conclusion?

    • Paula

      Michael, your opinion about the truthfulness, benefits and advantages of the two religions is just that…your opinion. But if we are truly a nation of freedom of religion and non discrimination, the religion of each candidate should be neither a negative nor a positive factor in judging them politically. So sad that “Christians” quickly judge others as wrong and inferior, but happily offer forgiveness and redemption to those of religions they consider “truer.”

  • Rebekah

    Well as a Mormon I do find the answers to this as probably as shocking as Millet did. Their seems to be a good deal of disconnect because if a Mormon does as he or she is suppose to and keeps himself or herself morally and spiritually pure as possible doesn’t murder, doesn’t commit adultery and does all that he or she is expected to do as is required in God’s holy writings and yet his Evangelical neighbor is doing all the opposite things in his or her life. The question has to be wondered, whose soul and state before God is better? Yes, I realize that only God can forgive sins and if the Evangelical asks God to forgive and pardon his/her sins then God will listen. But their is something that seems off in the fact that in the concept that it’s better to be the most abhorred and most sinful thing on the planet than to be a Mormon who is living as uprightly as possible. It’s well just really, really odd and a bit well disconnected.

  • Zardarz

    It is a fairly well established fact that Judaism anciently strove to become monotheistic, Christianity likewise and Islam is monotheistic with an avowed profession on one G*d. As for the Evangelicals response to the question would a Christian lose his salvation if he had become a Mormon? It is fair, and accurate question not full of bigotry for a true believing Christian concerned with the immortal souls of their fellow human beings. While all manner of sin is forgivable such as murder and adultery, even Mormons seem to accept this premise, in the Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 4:7–18 in verse 10 it says, “And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; … [verse 18] “Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword.”
    However, to become a Mormon the Christian has to give-up a fundamental belief in a Monotheistic being with three essences; for a belief that accepts polytheism, three distinct members of the Godhead with the same mission. The Christian who has become a Mormon must also accept the idea of deification, or that humans can become G*d; this because Mormons believe they can become gods. Romans 8:17 “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

    Remember is these two acts alone one changes they kind of being God is and the nature of salvation offered. John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” In a monotheistic Christian world for grace to have efficacy one had better know which Christ they believe, Mathew 7: 15–23 as Verses 22 and 23 clearly show, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from, me you evildoers!’”

    This does not mean that there are not scriptural Old and New Testament arguments for Mormonism, it simply an attempt being made to show it is not a type of Christian bigotry to believe a Christian would loose their soul in embracing Mormonism.

  • Todd Arndt

    1. “All other things being equal, it’s better to be a forgiven Catholic — Gingrich, than a forgiven Mormon – Romney”
    – So let me fully understand your stance on this, Either you are Catholic or you are wrong and are not saved? If this is true, why is it that the Protestant, Baptist, ect… are not going to be saved? If this is also true, then WHY is it the others religious beliefs are not being dragged into the Spotlight?

    – And for the Record, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” is patterned after the church established upon the earth by no other than JESUS CHRIST.

    2. The Repentance Process is between the Sinner and God, It is not for me to judge another man. Matthew 7:1 “Judge Not that ye not be Judged.” I am not the one who will do the Judging but I must take into consideration the importance of a man’s example and how he has lived his life. If we are going to have a man “REPRESENT” the United States, then do we want someone who has alienated so many people along the way that his effectiveness is greatly restricted?
    or
    Do we want to have a man who’s only problem is he has been a successful businessman who has used the existing rules and laws to his best benefit. Mitt Romney did not break the law, he did not get reprimanded by his peers, he has done what was required to turn businesses around (even firing people because that is what is necessary). Mitt Romney has the ability, know-how and desire to kick the people in the butt to make America Great.

    Gingrich had his hands in too many pocket and will not be able to get things done.

    3. “Given the truth of Christianity …”
    Christianity is defined by http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/christian
    Chris·tian
    1. of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings: a Christian faith.
    2. of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ: Spain is a Christian country.
    3. of or pertaining to Christians: many Christian deaths in the Crusades.
    4. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike: She displayed true Christian charity.

    It is amazing to me that the LDS “Moromon” faith try to live their lives patterned after Christ (Hey, just as Defined in the Dictionary). I have met many Catholic who are blind in what they believe and are led by the nose and told what to think.

    I challenge all who read this to do this, “Do your own research”, do not be a Robot and ask your priest or pastor what the correct answer is, and do as the BIBLE teaches in James 1:5, if any of you LACK WISDOM, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men Liberally but upbraideth not; and it shall be given him”

    up·braid
    1. to find fault with or reproach severely; censure: The military tribunal upbraided the soldier for his cowardice.
    2. (of things) to bring reproach on; serve as a reproach to.

    Very Respectfully, Sharing my thoughts shared through the Love of Jesus Christ
    Todd

  • David Winters

    Michael, I do not understand the first phrase of your argument. If both a Mormon and a Catholic are forgiven before God, who are you to judge that one is better than the other (all things being equal). Character does matter, and even if Newt has been forgiven, he has a poor track record of living his life in a way that gives me confidence that he can lead the most powerful nation on earth.

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  • Patrick J. Morris

    Michael, your statement that a forgiven Catholic is better than a forgiven Mormon directly goes against Acts 10:34-35 which states that “God is no respecter of persons.” So a forgiven X is the same as a forgiven Y.

    Also, the PEW Forum on religion and Public Life published a survey which directly contradicts yours statements about Catholics vs Mormons.

    It is quite troubling that our nation is in such a terrible moral situation and we are more willing to accept Newt, an adulterer and an all around terrible person, than Romney who is almost squeaky clean.

  • Dana Del Francia

    The damage of sin is two fold. 1st, sin does no hurt God! It is damaging not only to the sinner but to those who are sinned against. That is what defines a sin in God’s eyes. The greater the damage one perpetrates upon another, the greater the sin. The sinner may seem contrite to a priest, to the public, or in their prayers and seek forgiveness, but the hurt, pain damage to the one sinned against puts that person at a huge disadvantage in seeking God’s grace in their life. That is why murder and adultery are so difficult to receive God’s grace. It appears Newt’s Ex-wife has yet to accept Newt’s repentant statements for political advancement. Now those supporting Newt are casting stones at the one who was sinned against. “She’s just bitter!” exactly! That’s the cost of the sin Newt created and a burden he has cast upon her. She has now a much more difficult path towards God simply because Newt sinned! May God’s grace penetrate this poor women’s heart and allow her to heal. Of course Newt is just fine!

  • http://faceofother.blogspot.com Bruce Young

    Obviously the questions raised in this article are complicated. For instance, what factors make for the best president? The truest and most nuanced theological understanding? The best moral character? Will the best president be the person theoretically (according to one’s theology) most likely justified in God’s eyes, despite serious character flaws? And then there are factors less tied to theology, like leadership skills, knowledge of domestic and international issues, experience, etc.

    The story about an Evangelical Protestant preferring an adulterer or a murderer over a Mormon likely includes the proviso, “As long as the adulterer or murderer has confessed Christ as his Savior.” In the view of many Evangelicals, such a confession–either before or after the adultery or murder–would guarantee justification and salvation, on the grounds of “once saved, always saved” (also known as “the perseverance of the saints”).

    I’m not Roman Catholic, but it appears from the comment made by Michael Bauman that a murderer or adulterer who has been absolved by priestly authority would, in the Catholic view, be better off than a non-Catholic who had never committed those sins or who had committed them and repented but lacked absolution.

    Here’s my problem with both the Evangelical and the Catholic response: does notional and even emotional reliance on Christ (as expressed in the Evangelical acceptance of Christ as Savior) guarantee a change of heart? does going through the actions of confession and penance and receiving official absolution guarantee a change of heart? And is God interested in such a change of heart, perhaps even more than simple freedom from sin? Could it be that the means either Evangelicals or Catholics propose for obtaining forgiveness are valuable in God’s eyes primarily as a way of starting someone on the path toward that change of heart? And–back to politics–is a regenerate heart more important in a president than correct theology or even than officially “absolved” or “saved” status?

    I’m sure many Evangelicals would agree that merely assenting to Christ’s role as your Savior doesn’t finish the process God intends. And I assume absolution is not, in the view of thoughtful Roman Catholics, merely a magical action that changes a person without any serious engagement on their part. If the state of a person’s heart is what ultimately matters, then none of us really knows to what extent any of the candidates have obtained divine forgiveness or how far along they are in the process of becoming what God would like them to be.

    A few final questions. Do Evangelicals and Catholics believe that non-Evangelicals and non-Catholics–perhaps even Mormons–can experience peace with God, forgiveness of sin, and improvement of character, even without what they consider a correct theological understanding or (in the Catholic view) without priestly absolution?

    If such absolution is required, then no non-Catholic can claim to be forgiven of past sins. Michael Bauman suggests, though, that there might be such a being as “a forgiven Mormon.” If that means someone forgiven according to the Mormon view, then that would be someone who has faith in Christ, has sincerely repented (meaning changed in outlook and behavior), and is seeking to be obedient to God’s commandments–all of this accomplished with God’s enabling grace, leading to forgiveness of sins and change of heart through God’s redeeming grace. This process is nicely summed up in the Mormon belief that Christ will save people FROM their sins, not IN their sins. Is such an understanding theologically correct–or close enough–from an Evangelical or Catholic point of view? And how does its correctness or lack of correctness translate into reality? In other words, do Evangelicals and Catholics believe that Mormons who engage in the process I’ve described can really be forgiven?

    For political purposes, the point of these questions is this: Can we know–without knowing the hearts of the candidates–who among them, Protestant, Catholic, or Mormon, is really forgiven in God’s eyes and, beyond simply having been absolved of past sins, which of them has the godliest character?

    • Dana Del Francia

      Thanks for providng thoughtful consideration regarding true repentance and forgiveness.

  • Nick

    Michael, I see your point about forgiveness, although I am not really sure that you, me or any mortal person can judge authenticity of a religion. It has been said many times that Mormonism is either correct or it is wrong. That for it’s members is a matter of prayer. Catholicism has time on it’s side and most theologies stem from the period in time when the Catholic Church charged indulgences for forgiveness of sins. I would argue that had that not occurred that there would be much less religious plurality in this or any country. But we have lots of theology all with bits taken from others as they have evolved, so my point is, good luck in your search for authenticity.

    But as far as Mr Gingrich is concerned, I think he is really Catholic and did not go through the motions. But I believe conviction is representative of our actions. While what happened in the past is the past, Mr Gingrich should feel a great deal of remorse in the pain that he inflicted. That remorse and desire to be more like the savior should lead him to an apology to those that he has harmed along the way. She claims that he never apologized, a fact that when speaking last night he did not question. Faith is internal and cannot be judged by mortal man, but we should be seeing clearly the outward expression of his inward faith.

    • Todd Arndt

      Excellent Point pertaining to Repentance: There are six steps for true repentance. If he did not sincerely ask for forgiveness then Step #4 was never done and then you have to ask yourself i he did truly repent??? The steps are as follows:

      1. Feel Godly Sorrow “For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.” (Psalms 38:18). The first step of repentance is to recognize that you’ve committed a sin against God’s commandments. Feel true sorrow for what you’ve done and for disobeying Heavenly Father. Feel sorrow for any pain you may have caused toward other people.

      2. Confess to God “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” (D&C 58:43). Pray to Heavenly Father and be honest with him. Tell him of your sin(s). If necessary confess your sins to your local church leader.

      3. Ask for Forgiveness “And it came to pass that I did frankly forgive them all that they had done, and I did exhort them that they would pray unto the Lord their God for forgiveness.” (1 Nephi 7:21). Pray to God for his forgiveness. Forgive others who have hurt you. Forgive yourself and know that God loves you, even though you’ve sinned.

      4. Rectify Problems Caused by the Sin(s) “And if it be stolen from him, he shall make restitution unto the owner thereof.” (Exodus 22:12)
      Make restitution by fixing any problems caused by your sin. Problems caused by sin include physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual damage. If you can’t rectify the problem sincerely ask forgiveness of those wronged and try to find another way to show your change of heart.

      5. Forsake Sin “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13). Make a promise to yourself and to God that you will never repeat the sin. Recommit yourself to obeying God’s commandments. Continue to repent if you sin again.

      6. Receive Forgiveness Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” (D&C 58:42). The Lord will forgive you when you truly repent with a sincere heart. Allow his forgiveness to come upon you. When you feel at peace with yourself you can know you are forgiven. Don’t hold onto your sin and the sorrow you’ve felt. Let it go by truly forgiving yourself, just as the Lord has forgiven you.

  • Mary W.

    Dear Michael Bauman:

    From one religious person to another–I too, strongly believe in repentance leading to God’s forgiveness, and in an ideal world, man’s forgiveness of the same. And, as you, I believe in electing moral people to public office. However, given the option to vote for a person who will make the best moral choice (ceteris paribus), I would have to consider the person’s ‘propensity’ for sin. The truly repented sinner is as clean before God as he was before sinning. God forgives perfectly. However, if there is someone who has not sinned in the first place, does that not give us a better idea of who is most LIKELY to not become corrupted once in the elected office? Past behavior is the best predictor of future performance (statistically speaking; I of course understand that individuals defy statistics). I think that to claim that a repented person of my own faith who has messed up all the way up until ‘yesterday’ (and is still reaping the temporal reward of those sins, by the way) is a more moral person than someone of a dubious religion who nonetheless has followed all the tenets of MY faith AND his own, is a bit of a stretch. To appoint a clergy of my faith, religion is an essential measuring stick. By all means, appoint a Catholic to lead a Catholic congregation. But as a leader of our secular nation as a whole, I respectfully believe your measuring stick is incorrect. It appears to me that the true issue at hand in your comment is Catholicism, not overall morality.

  • Mary W.

    p.s. – I am not saying that either Gingrich or Romney is a perfect man with no sin, regardless of any repentance or righteousness. I’m speaking in general terms with the assumption that no man is perfect, but that all can avoid MAJOR sins if they try. So I’m basically comparing, for example, adultery with no adultery. Just for clarification.

  • Steve Brooks

    Whether Newt Gingrich has been forgiven of his past sins of adultery is between him and God. But it is the attitude of the person who claims to have received forgiveness and salvation that reveals much about that person.
    Jesus taught a story in which he contrasted the pride and arrogance of a Pharisee and a publican. The Pharisee was not truly repentant whereas the publican was.

    …..the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
    I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other:

    Does Newt Gingrich seem more like an arrogant Pharisee or a humble publican?

    • Todd Arndt

      Ohhh, Ohhh (Raising my hand in class)…. The correct answer is “A Pharisee” and a wonderful example. Reading where Newt had the opportunity to make an Apology with possible meaning and had Millions to witness. Instead, he just denied and did not take responsibility for his actions. Everyone makes mistakes, I just do not think Newt is a TRULY REPENTANT MAN.

      • Rick

        I too do not believe Newt is a truly repentant man. I believe to be forgiven of our sins, we need to confess and apologize to those we have wronged. It does not appear to me that either Newt or Calista have or are even willing to ask for forgiveness from Newt’s second wife.

        • Rick

          And, just let me clarify …. while I personally don’t believe Newt is a truly repentant man, I should not be the one to judge. That is left to God.

  • ben

    So is mormonism not christan? I thought it was … I could have sworn I heard romney taking about christ or savior …

    • velihall

      Yes, Mormons are absolutely Christians. We believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. He paid the price for the sins of all mankind in Gethsemane and overcame death for us all on the cross. We love Him and worship Him and are extremely grateful to Him.

      When you hear that we are not, it is normally because either the person does not really know, or because we do not believe in the Nicean Creed. We believe that God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and Holy Ghost, are separate beings. That Christ volunteered to be our Savior, that He was born to Mary, lived a perfect life, and thereby was qualified as a sinless sacrifice to take our sins on Him. As we turn to Him by following His commandments, we can feel the cleansing power of that Atonement in our lives. We can feel peace and joy and one day return to live with Him and our Father.

      I encourage you as an honest seeker of truth to check out http://www.mormon.org for more information. Go to the source. As I mentioned in another source, if you want to know what the Catholic Church teaches, go to a Catholic source. Not a Catholic hater, or someone disaffected, or someone who “thinks” they know. Good luck in your search if you are searching.

    • Thomas R

      The Catholic Church, so far as I recall, deems Mormon baptism to be invalid because they are not Trinitarian as we understand the term. I don’t know if this means we can’t deem them Christian or if we can deem “non-trinitarian” Christianity to be “Christian of an invalid form.” Making them akin to Oneness Pentecostals, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others with variant views on the Trinity. I personally tend to think of Mormons as Christians, but I would say I do consider them to be highly heterodox therefore more akin to something like Jehovah’s Witnesses or Christian Science. (That being said I do like that they deem their faith to come from a revelation of God rather than a Biblical-interpretation. It’s a greater break, but it makes more sense to me)

      Evangelical Protestantism is different. They emphasize the idea that there can be no Book but the Bible and I believe no Prophet after the Apostolic-era. From the traditional understanding of many Evangelical-Protestants Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy were also “not Christian” or barely so.

      • http://krandle.com/kstreetjournal k

        I think you are right in making that last observation. My own feeling is that anyone who professes a belief in Christ and then takes it upon themselves to reject or castigate others who strive to follow the teachings of Christ – by that acts proves themselves to be, in fact “not Christian.” I think probably only Christ himself is qualified to decide who is and who isn’t. If he’d be inclined to waste his time in such a discussion.

        I think that I am not qualified to comment on the differences in our beliefs about the Trinity; I do not know enough about the exact doctrine of the Catholic church. From my experience in the southern US, I have come away with the impression that the protestant view tends to be all over the map – couched in formulaic language that really serves to obfuscate the point, masking particulars with passion.

        Our own belief is that there are three members of the Godhead: God the father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. That is our trinity. We do not believe that God and Christ are the “same person,” but at this point, the departure in belief actually has more to do with the corporeal nature of God. We believe that he is the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Person who is and was from the beginning, unchanging – and father of all our spirits. But my use of the word “person” suggests what I believe, that he does have a body, discrete from the body of Christ. But that spiritually, they are one in understanding, purpose, work. My feeling about all of this is really based in my New Testament reading, bolstered by other LDS resources.

        I think debating the spiritual nature of these things is fairly ridiculous; we are ants debating about the nature of the being whose pant legs we are climbing. That we would quibble over details that we, in our mortal nature, have NO understanding of whatsoever is asinine – in my opinion. Turning our backs to each other, pointing fingers, fighting like children over something, the scope of which is beyond our ability to understand – the only winner here is Satan, who doesn’t care who wins the fight, as long as we end up hating each other. It’s just stupid.

        I can explain what I believe. And you can explain what you believe. And my Evangelical cousin can explain what she believes. But none of our words have the slightest impact on what IS (thank God). Thus, what is, is – and we are left only with the obligation to follow the words of Christ to our last bit of strength. Encouraging each other. Loving the best we can. Choosing as wisely as possible, and hoping always for the best for one another.

        After my hours of reading in these religious/political blogs this morning, I finally understand why the non-religious left is so terrified of having a person of ANY religion at all standing at the helm of this country. The nastiness, the backbiting, the arrogance, the fingerpointing – the debate over who has repented enough and who hasn’t, over who should be thrown into lakes of fire and brimstone over their religious opinions and who shouldn’t be – I find it ghastly, frightening, exhausting, embarrassed, heartbreaking.

        I want to apologize to God for all of it. And I think that anyone who thinks he knows exactly who God is or how his mind works is asking to be greatly surprised in the end.

        • http://krandle.com/kstreetjournal k

          Sorry. Didn’t close my italics when I meant to.

      • Todd Arndt

        Your Comment about being a Trinitarian or not believing in the “TRINITY” is not understood by many Catholics. Wikipedia defines:
        trin·i·ty/ˈtrinitē/
        Noun: The Christian Godhead as one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

        Then let me ask you this question. When Jesus was hanging on the Cross and he said in (Luke 23:34) “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do….”. If Jesus IS GOD and Jesus is the Holy Ghost and God is the Holy Ghost…. Why was Jesus talking to himself on the Cross?

        As far as the Bible and the Book of Mormon, as you can see the Vast Majority of LDS people are well versed in both. Many people think the Mormons have their OWN BIBLE and it is called the Book of Mormon but this is far from being true. If you truly consider what the Bible is…. The Bible is a record (an Account) of what happened in and around Jerusalem. It is a Genealogical record, a history of the times and first hand accounts done by the Inhabitants of the area.

        The Book of Mormon is nothing more and nothing less than a Record by the people who traveled across the Ocean and landed on the American Contenant (Not Specified exactly, but artifacts have been found ranging in North, Central and South America).

        In Luke 10:13-15, Jesus reappears to the people of the Far East and he says to them “… There are others of my Flock who are not of this Fold” Who was he talking about??? The Book of Mormon has the answer in 3 Nephi 10 and 11, Christ descended to the people of the America’s. The same Shaking and Darkness spoke of in the Bible are also documented in the Book of Mormon…

  • http://www.livejournal.com Phillip Hall

    The question is not weather to stone Gingrich. The question is not weather he is condemned to hell. The question isn’t weather to include him in friendship. The question is weather he ought to represent the united states, empowered with the presidency, and put his finger on the nuclear button.

    • DeRigeur

      The question is…well, I am not sure what THE question is. However, one question is how can you graduate from middle school not knowing the difference between weather and whether.

      Mr. Gingrich will not be the first president who committed adultery. Nor will be the first divorced president. He has says he repents of it, and I take him at his word. He will be an infinitely more qualified president than the current occupant of the white house.

      Barack Obama was the first president that admitted to doing cocaine. Any concerns from those who are now so worried about Newt’s past indiscretions?

  • Michael

    You missed the whole point. Go back to the questions that were answered by the unknown Evangelical: Can a adulterer be saved. Yes. Can a murderer be saved. Yes. Can a Mormon be saved. I don’t know. What are we to make of those answers?

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  • Other Ben

    I try to think in more practical terms in relation to some of the prior comments. Actions speak louder to me than any religion or creed. If a man is of strong character and treats others fairly then he can believe what he wants for his path to salvation. On the other hand men who have crossed the line for serious moral offenses towards others like murder, adultery, etc. then I don’t care what he claims about forgiveness, I will never trust that man with any important responsibility. I will never let a repentant child molester near my kids and I will never go into a business venture with a repentant adulterer because of their prior ability to prove they are capable of making deplorable decisions. God may ask us to forgive, but it does not mean I need to trust the person or pretend nothing ever happened. I look at my candidates through their actions because those and not faith tend to be the better predictor of future actions. Just my two cents.

  • http://www.reformedandconservative.com Michael Bauman

    For the record, I am neither a Roman Catholic nor a Mormon. I am a Reformed Protestant Christian and a theologian. I have been for 30 years. It is my calling and obligation to make theological assessments. In that capacity, I am persuaded by Scripture, history, and reason that Catholicism is closer to the religion of Jesus Himself than is Mormonism. I am persuaded that Reformed protestantism is closer still, having captured more of His theology and practice than either of them. Saying so is a matter of informed conviction, not bigotry, despite the outrage of some above.

    I reached the conclusion that, since truth matters so very much, the closer to the truth one is, the better off one is, probably in many ways. I’d be happy to hear others dispute that point if they wish. But truth matters, and this seems to me to the truth: None of us stands before God on the basis of one’s own morality, righteousness, or habits of mind and body, however lofty or impressive we think them to be. We stand by grace or not at all. We are converted or else we lost.

    Gingrich, it seems to me, is a converted and redeemed man. He is not what he used to be. For that, we and he all ought to be glad. I am quite happy to believe that Romney is a redeemed man as well, even though I am further from endorsing his Mormonism. Between the two men, Romney apparently has the more moral past, at least by the indications open to us. Between the two men, Gingrich has the better record of political achievement, as well as being better informed, more articulate, more compelling, and more insightful. He is clearly better on his feet. He is the man, not Romney, whom I want talking face to face with folks like Putin.

    Having an immoral past does not disqualify you from political power, especially if you are a person made new by God Himself. “The best man” is not necessarily the same as “the best man for the job.” I consider Jimmy Carter a good man, but a quite horrible president. I think the same of Obama. I consider Ronald Reagan, divorced though he was, a fine president. David was a king, but also a murderer and an adulterer, though still, we are told, a man after God’s own heart. Solomon, known for his wisdom, had several hundred wives, far outstripping Gingrich on the point.

  • Pkpost

    Let’s be honest, we’ve covered all the bases already. If an atheist who was initially raised a Muslim but spent 20 years practicing a racist form of Christianity at a black supremacist church can end up being President, than electing a Mormon would be a blessing. If an older man who was engaging in marital infidelity by repeatedly [ED: crude description removed] that was almost his daughters age at the time while talking about classified information on the phone (while all the rest of us were repeatedly lectured that we weren’t electing the Pope and it was none of our business) can be President, than infidelity does not matter.

    Mitt Romney has a Constitutional right to his religious beliefs, and anyone who holds his religion as a more important issue than his political stances is part of the problem. It is ideas that matter, not the way we worship God.

    • http://krandle.com/kstreetjournal k

      Lovely. Except for the crude part.

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  • Dayle Rust

    If someone repents and asks us for forgiveness are we not as Christians required to forgive? If we believe this commandment, then wouldn’t Christ also forgive everyone who truly repents regardless if they were Mormon, Evangelical or Catholic? To say one group can and one group can’t be forgiven would completely nullify Christ teachings of forgiveness. I ought and should forgive Newt for his infidelity and short comings. That however does not take away the negative consequences of his behavior. In other words, I can except Newt in full fellowship of Christ, but not wish for him to be the President of this country. His behavior has caused him to be an extremely poor example of good leadership. Just as any Mormon, Evangelical or Catholic minister could be forgiven for infidelity and excepted back into the fold of Christ, but not be given a high leadership position as a result of that forgiveness.
    In my opinion, Newt has forfeited the right of the presidency by his years of infidelity and his public hypocritical behavior towards others who had the misfortune of being caught in office doing the same immoral behavior.
    I think the fact that he is leading in the poles now in South Carolina says more about South Carolina then it does Newt.
    God help South Carolina and God help the Republicans if that’s who they want to lead their party. If that is the case, their will be at least one Mormon from the Carolinas who will be voting for Obama.

    • Todd Arndt

      AMEN!!!!

  • DougH

    For whether Gingrich has repented his adulteries, that is between him, his ex-wives, and God. As a voter, what I need to be concerned about is not whether Gingrich has repented but rather what those adulteries say about the character of a man that wants to be elected president, and whether he is fit for that position. When it comes to personal character, Romney certainly seems the better choice (and Santorum and Paul, from what little I know about their personal lives – certainly, I haven’t heard anything untoward about them).

    For the matter of personal salvation, God’s justice requires that in the end all his children have the opportunity to come to know Christ and accept his atoning sacrifice. And that means that what we will be judged on when we stand before the judgment seat is not what we know, but what we are – our character, as evidenced by how we chose to treat those around us, exactly as Jesus laid out in the parable of the Sheep and the Goats.

  • http://Patheos Stephen

    Let me put it to you this way. Did Romney get a Mansion when he was Governor? No. Will Christ award him one in the hereafter. That is up to Jesus.
    Now what makes anyone of religious persuasion for that matter able to decide who will or will not go to heaven. It has to be based on a righteous judges decision. Hard to find very many of them around.
    Fear not there are righteous judges and those who will be able to progress beyond the grave. What is salvation it is different even among the evangelicals. So each pastor is different. Is Christ divided. No. Salvation is from sin and death. Well were do we find this. The prophet Mormon clarifies this among other things in the collection of records that he compiles from the history books of his time. Fear is only for the ignorant or those who don’t know spiritual things.
    One last comment Mormons don’t have a monopoly on heaven or Christ, but we do believe all things and hold fast to the things that are good as Paul taught. God is just and my degree of heaven will be different than yours as the mansions are different so also are the things of the spirit. Everyone will have there own merrit and it is through Christ that we are saved in the end. I haven’t been to heaven and neither have you. My favorite movie is Baptist at our Barbeque, where Mormon’s invited baptist to the BBQ and had a great time. I hope your salvation is as good as mine, enjoy.

    • Todd

      Stephen, I really enjoyed reading your comments, I too have seen this movie and to see how putting religion aside and just being Christ Like in our behavior is how we ALL should govern our lives.

  • CallMeDan

    I’m more concerned with the ethics and morality of Romney’s business conduct and governance. The danger of focusing exclusively on “pelvic morality” — as much fun as it is to poke fun at Gingrich — is that larger issues get swept under the rug (incidentally, I think that more time should be devoted to Gingrich’s non-sexual moral issues). Sex and dogma are distractions.

    • Todd

      Romney operated a business within the Law, Romney made (not sure how much money he made) but it is a Crime to be Successful? People always talk about how WONDERFUL the Kennedy family was? Now the father make all that money breaking the law with Bootleg Alcohol and again…. Saved the money in Off-Shore accounts and AGAIN LEGAL.

      Here is a man who trimmed FAT off companies, made many of them run better, taught them how to get things done and although there are companies who lost jobs, was he able to turn them around? Is there businesses out there that should be closed down and not saved? ABSOLUTELY!!!

      I remember the movie OPM (Other Peoples Money) and Pretty Woman. They take faltering companies and create organizations that contribute to the GNP (Gross National Product).

      So again, explain to me why Romney is be hammered for being successful?

      There are 4 men vying for our vote to represent the Republician Party, Ron Paul is WAY LEFT, Santorum who seems like a very likeable man who does not have the foresight to run a campaign to be on the Ballot in ALL the states and I believe this is an issue with other candidates.

      Romney has all his ducks in a row, ready and prepared for the Long Haul, I do not think this should come down to what religion someone is but rather what they have done and what they can get done. Obama can not do the Job, Gingrich was FIRED by his PEERS and we Romney who by ALL ACCOUNTS saved the Olympics, Ran MA Government for 4 years and then tried to Enter Congress from a DEMOCRATIC STATE as a Republician.

      Obama is in FEAR of Romney, he knows Romney can defeat him. He knows that Gingrich may speak quickly on his feat but will NEVER have the backing of the American People. Morally, Ethically, Ability??? How can ANYONE think that Gingrich can beat Romeny in these areas?

  • Jeff

    To many who read or hear the word “Mormon Church” or “Mormon” they might believe that we as “Mormons”believe in and worship Mormon. For the benefit of anyone that doesn’t as I at one time didn’t ,Mormons are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We do believe in Jesus Christ just as strongly as other Christians believe in him . We believe he is the only begotten Son of God as you do. We believe in the Holy Bible as well. Mormon was a man who lived in the Americas in the third or fourth century AD who abridged a set of writings on metal plates that had been collected from 600 years before Christ until his day. We as he,Mormon,did believe in and worship Jesus Christ. Now there are differences in our faith from OTHER christian faiths but we are a Christian faith and are not the devil.
    Thank you

  • http://www.reformedandconservative.com Michael Bauman

    If a man has been forgiven; if he has been made a new creature by God Himself; if his sins have been separated from him as far as the East is from the West; if over the intervening years he has demonstrated obvious and public signs of change; and if he has been absolved (as Catholics, not I, insist); do you still call him an adulterer?

    I recall the moment when Augustine returned home after his conversion in Milan. His former girlfriend (I think) called to him: “Augustine, Augustine, it is I!” He turned to her and said: “Yes, but it is not I.”

  • Dayle Rust

    Can Augustine avoid the consequences of his past sinful life? Can he repair all the damage he’s caused others by his past sins? If he committed adultery, can he give back this woman her virtue? What has been done is done and his actions set into motion a series of consequences that will follow him the rest of his life. Even King David suffered greatly for his sins. Did he repent, yes, was he forgiven yes. But he lost all credibility of this children and his kingdom was later divided. Those consequences were related to his sins and not conditional of his repentance. What Christ has told us is we can be forgiven and find peace in our lives by repenting and forsaking sin. He promises us peace and happiness not power and prestige. The consequences remain for us to live with and it is possible to do so in peace and happiness with the help of Christ.
    I’m glad Newt has repented and I hope and pray that his journey through this process has been sincere. That doesn’t mean that I should vote for him because now he’s considered a good Catholic and forgiven. I’m not in the habit of gifting my alcoholic friends a bottle of wine for their birthday. That would be a gross error of judgment on my part.

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  • http://krandle.com/kstreetjournal k

    I haven’t read all the comments; I have to feed the horses and the weather is coming down on our heads at the moment. I just wanted to share this story with you: years ago, my cousin, who is born-again (I apologize for not being familiar with the many flavors of protestantism) and who had been living with her husband in the middle east in answer to a call they felt to proselyte there (very, very carefully) came to visit us. They are sincere, passionate people and spent several days (bravely, I thought) in the household of their Mormon cousin. We had a good time together, and only fell into a discussion of religion on the very last afternoon. I ended up trying to communicate our feeling for Christ: we speak of Christ, we teach of him, we look to him for our salvation, he is our Lord and savior, brother and friend. He is the son of God. And the I looked at them and said, “But you believe we are not Christian?”

    My cousin’s husband sat thoughtfully for a moment, and then had to admit, very politely, “We still believe you are going to hell.”

    And I said, totally puzzled and a little shocked, “But why?”

    His answer: “Because you don’t believe what we believe.”

    And that was it. The discussion went on with no acrimony whatsoever. But beyond that point, I no longer believed even in their ability to reason, and I wondered what could make anyone so arrogant and blind and absolute about unseen things. When I heard a sound bite on the news last month, an Evangelist woman saying (in response to a question about Gov. Romney) that she couldn’t possibly put a person whose beliefs were so opposite hers and dangerous in a position that could allow him to bring harm to the country, my mouth fell open. And then I was angry.

    How does this kind of ignorance fit into the Christian mind? I don’t understand. And I will say this, before I go drown myself in the rain, that I have good friends who are Evangelist in profession who are NOT like this at all, whose minds are good and hearts seem to actually understand the words written over and over in the New Testament. Who are able to look at lives lived and get over strictures based on – what? The innate human need to hate? Just to make things clear, I do not believe that my cousin is going to hell because our understanding of the same thing comes from two slightly different perspectives. I do not believe that you are going to hell because you are Catholic. I do not believe it is my business, as a Christian daughter of God to worry about who is going to hell and who isn’t, but rather, to see real good where it is, and to work hard to live kindly, honestly, thoughtfully – trying to serve anyone I can while I still have the power to walk, speak, write, cook, teach, love.

    The necessity for this whole discussion breaks my heart.

  • Kristen

    I found this website that is a great resource for explaining who Mitt Romney is and who Mormons are.
    http://mittromneymormon.net/

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  • Zardarz

    I first commented as to why Mormons are not Christian, Mormons are polytheist at worst and henotheist at best, this in no-way can be construed as orthodox biblical Christianity. While their beliefs attitudes and lifestyle may exemplify Christian virtues, while they pray to G*d through Christ they cannot be deemed Christian in any orthodox sense of the word.

    Why a Mormon should not be president leaves the field of this discussion and involves the belief in a literal oracle of G*d, for Mormons a living prophet. To follow G*d’s will a Mormon must follow the prophet. Looking at Mormon history, there is a genuine desire to follow the words of their leaders –leaving homes to this day and literally moving whole communities in the 1800s. Looking at the MX missile project in the 1980s, one can see a shift in Mormon’s attitudes and beliefs. The MX missile project was seen as a great financial boon for some of the more rural counties of Utah and had great support until in a LDS conference talk, Spencer W. Kimball, the prophet at the time said, “Our fathers came to this Western area to establish a base from which to carry the gospel of peace to the peoples of the Earth, it is ironic, and a denial of the very essence of that gospel, that in this same general area there should be constructed a mammoth weapons system potentially capable of destroying much of civilization.” Attitudes in Utah and the Mormon community saw an immediate change, one that was very outspoken against the MX missile system. For me, one must ask, when voting for a Mormon in any elected capacity, what will they do when the prophet of the LDS Church speaks?

    • potter

      So, you have never listed to someone make a good point and changed your mind?

  • potter

    *listed – sorry I meant: listened


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