MORMONISM AND THE PRESIDENCY

Does Mitt Romney, an elder and former missionary of the Mormon Church, believe he will one day be a god…equal to Jesus…ruling his own planet? Does he agree with Mormon teaching that Jesus and Satan are brothers? That America is the Promised Land where Jesus will return one day to rule from the Garden of Eden, which Mormons believe to be Jackson County, Missouri? And do American voters have the right to know this?

When Barack Obama was running for president, he assured us he was a Christian. Pastor Rick Warren brought Candidate Obama to his megachurch and questioned him before a national audience. Obama’s answers seemed to satisfy and with Warren’s blessing, he proceeded to campaign. Never mind he sat for twenty years under a pastor who fumed Christian apostasy. Dr. Jeremiah Wright preached anti-Semitism, embraced homosexuality and abortion, and practiced open promiscuity. Obama and his family were mentored by Pastor Wright, but Obama said he was a Christian and that, in the minds of those who wanted to support him, made it so.

Almost three years into his presidency we see that those very anti-Christian teachings of Pastor Wright have made their way into policy. President Obama has suspended enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act and forcefully secured open homosexuality in the military. Against their protests, the Defense Department has ordered Christian Chaplains to perform same sex marriages in military chapels. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, has a champion in the White House and Israel, having been strategically undermined by this President, is in a fight for its life.

Do a presidential candidate’s core religious beliefs have any bearing on his ability to perform his duties? Rather than embrace the Judeo Christian ethic of hard work and personal responsibility, the current President incites envy between classes. Rather than speaking truth, he has embraced dishonesty to implement “hope and change.”

If Christianity means anything to a person, it results in transformation of their character to the character of the central figure of Christianity, Jesus Christ. One can say one is an apple tree but if fall comes and there are no apples, it might not be so. Are core beliefs of presidential candidates important or not? And does the voting public have a right to know what they are?

When the Founding Fathers established “no religious test” in Article VI they were precluding literal religious tests commonly used by the colonies to ascertain Christian orthodoxy among would-be local candidates. There would not be a national church, but there were state churches, and the denominations of those states wanted leaders to be faithful to those particular teachings. The Founders did not want federal office seekers to have to pass such tests in order to serve, but they never intended to infer it was of no concern to voters what a potential public servant’s deeply held views were in order to inform their vote.

So now again come questions about Mormonism and Mitt Romney. Dr. Robert Jeffress, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas declared in an interview after introducing Governor Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit that Mormonism is a cult.

To my knowledge there have been no follow-up questions to Dr. Jeffress to ask why he believes that. But there has been a quick rush to discredit him for saying it and another one to demand other hapless Republicans declare or defend what he said. No one seems to have asked Mitt Romney what he actually believes that might be of concern.

Evangelicals have not been spared this courtesy. Byron York of the Washington Examiner asked Michele Bachmann during the FOX presidential debate if, as an Evangelical, she believed she should submit to her husband. Rick Perry was asked by Brian Williams if he could sleep at night embracing the death penalty. Others have been asked if they thought mothers who aborted their babies should be prosecuted. Herman Cain was asked if he would appoint a Muslim to his cabinet. All of these go to the core of deeply held beliefs. It is at the very least instructive to hear their answers.

But, of course, pundits and questioners are not interested in deeply held beliefs, but entrapment. They play a dangerous game out of their own theological ignorance. It DOES matter what a person believes who runs for the office of President of the United States. It might not matter what they choose as a religious diet…whether they bow or kneel…or conform to certain rituals, but what they truly believe truly matters and has an effect on public policy.

It matters which God they worship. Modern American culture would like to persuade us all faiths are equal…all systems of belief basically the same, but in our rational minds, with the advent of radical Islam to our shores, we know inherently that isn’t true.

Everyone in this country has the right to worship the way he or she chooses…freely, but if they are running to be leader of us all, it does indeed matter what they believe and we as citizens have a right to know.

Why should a Christian theologian be ridiculed for telling us what he knows from his studies? Why should Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry be expected to explain it? Why don’t pundits, if they really care to know, ask intelligent questions to help us all learn what is true?

Because conservatives want, at any cost, to beat Barack Obama in 2012 and some think Mitt Romney can beat him. Questions about Obama’s faith were useful to them in ‘08, but questions about Romney’s now are to be dismissed. They would rather diminish and humiliate Dr. Jeffress than allow the inconvenient teachings of Mormonism to surface.

Mitt Romney is free to practice Mormonism. And he is free to run for President of the United States, but he should not be free from answering questions about what he actually believes.

Once when we know that, we will be free to embrace or reject him based on truth, not obfuscation.

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13 Responses to MORMONISM AND THE PRESIDENCY

  1. Jim Hysong says:

    At last, clear and insightful analysis of this new “hot issue”. Religion is such an emotionally charged subject, with so many different beliefs and so many people with little understanding or knowledge of the various religions of the world. Throw in the media’s
    propensity to twist and misrepresent, it is a mindfield frought with danger that any smart political candidate would do well to avoid to comment … especially, comment on another’s actual or alledged religion of choice. However, a candidate should have no trouble with stating what they believe … and then we have to decide if we believe them! Thanks to Sandy for shedding truth, light. and common sense on this subject.

    Jim, NC

  2. Deb (of PTA) says:

    Hello Sandy!
    I wish there was a way to link your individual blogs to our e-mail or Facebook or other social networks. I know I would often like to share your insights directly with my friends but I’m not sure how to, other than cut & paste.
    Hope all is well with your and yours!
    Love, Deb

  3. Zac says:

    Though I often enjoy your articles, I was alarmed by the tone of your article on Romney’s faith and your invitation to out-of-line questions like that posed to Bachmann on her personal beliefs. Your selective and slanted introduction is apparently intended to scare your readers away from a faith and a candidate you don’t know enough about. I would invite you to visit http://www.lds.org or better yet, visit the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as Rev. Al Sharpton did after he attacked the “Mormon Church” to see what they really believe. I think your views and tone will change, as his did. Any person’s religious beliefs can be twisted to sound strange. The teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ were twisted by his accusers. It doesn’t change the fact that they are true and have redemptive power. Fear is not the way to lift or inspire.

  4. Michael says:

    From your opening paragraph I see you have been reading the anti-Mormon flyers. When you state “they play a dangerous game out of their own theological ignorance” you obviously are unaware that you include yourself with this “they” group? Especially with your comment about the, “inconvenient teachings of Mormonism “. Inconvenient to whom? Only the ignorant that more than likely still believe the LDS faith still practice polygamy. What you thought that also!? No doubt. Since you are adamant that “he should not be free from answering questions about what he actually believes” why do you not take the lead and interview him? No doubt he would enjoy educating the ignorant.

  5. Rev. Robert Jeffress spoke THE TRUTH. Even though he did not say that Mormonism was a “cult”, IT IS A CULT. When did the truth become hate speech?
    Mitt Romney truly, unequivocally believes that he will become a real “god” in the next life and be given his own planet to Lord over, in which he will call his wife, Ann, into in order to populate his planet with spirit children. Now, I ask you, would you truly vote for a man who truly believed he was going to become a REAL GOD AND BE GIVEN HIS OWN PLANET???? Or, would you question his judgment in the highest office in the land? Folks, this is the honest to God (no pun intended) truth. Wake up!
    If you want to be responsible before giving Romney a vote based on your feelings, versus, the truth about this man who will become both a god, and a president, this is a must read:
    The book: “Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters? The Mormon Church Versus The Office Of The Presidency of the United States of America”. You owe it to your country to inform yourself with the truth before going to the voting booth. There is too much at stake!

  6. Khristine Pettingill says:

    Ms. Rios,

    I read your commentary on OneNewNow. I want to reply to you in person. I am, like Mitt Romney, a “Mormon”, although we prefer to be called members of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints. I agree with your point that what political candidates believe affects the way he or she will function in office. I think those beliefs can best be determined by examining their lives. That is what people failed adequately to do with President Obama. He said one thing but lived something else. I think it’s interesting the doctrine you choose to highlight in your commentary. I thought it would be helpful for you to hear about some of the other, less well-known, things that Mormons do and believe.

    Did you know that we do not believe in any premarital sexual relations? We believe in complete chastity before marriage and complete fidelity after marriage. Did you know that we regard our bodies at temples, so we do not believe in using any substance that will cause addiction or harm to our bodies, including alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, coffee and tea? Because of this belief, we also do not believe in tattoos or body piercings, with the exception of one pair of earrings in women. Did you know that we believe in self-reliance and emergency preparedness? We believe in having emergency supplies for 72 hours, food and supplies for 3 months, and long term supplies where possible for one year. We also have one of the largest women’s relief organizations in the world–the Relief Society–that works to provide relief to suffering people in the community and in the world.

    Did you know that we have a tremendously strong youth program? Our youth ages 14 and above attend one hour of Gospel instruction every day, in most places before school begins. We do not believe in dating before the age of 16, and then after that, encourage dating in groups until youth are closer to marriage age. We believe in modesty, in that girls and women are encouraged to wear shorts and skirts that come down to the knee. Boys are encouraged to keep hair cut short and trim and to keep a clean appearance. Did you know that youth are discouraged from viewing or participating in anything that demeans sexuality or glorifies violence? As a general rule, we don’t watch rated R movies and we fight against pornography. We even have a booklet, called For the Strength of Youth, which every member receives when he or she turns 12, outlining all of this and many more standards of decency and morality, such as being honest, being a good family member, getting a good education, and using appropriate languange. (We don’t believe in swearing.) Here is a link to an online copy, if you are interested. http://lds.org/manual/for-the-strength-of-youth-fulfilling-our-duty-to-god?lang=eng

    Did you know that men and boys ages 12 and above gather every 6 months as a worldwide church to worship and be instructed on how to be good sons, fathers, and followers of Christ? Girls gather once each year with their mothers, and women gather together every year as well. Did you know that Mormons believe in families, in mothers nurturing children and fathers leading the home? Generally we have larger than average families where children do chores, help siblings, and try to love one another. We are encouraged to instill these values by making it our highest priority to have daily family scripture study, daily family prayer, and one night each week dedicated to being together as a family. We even have a worldwide statement called The Family: A Proclamation to the World that outlines what we believe about families, just in case someone isn’t sure. See it at this link: http://lds.org/Static%20Files/PDF/Manuals/TheFamily_AProclamationToTheWorld_35538_eng.pdf
    You might say, yes well, all of this takes place in a few organized congregations. I ask you to test it. Find congregations all over the world–France, Switzerland, Spain, South Africa, Japan, Hong Kong, Argentina, and in any medium sized city in the United States. Ask about any of these things and you will find that they are common practice and belief everywhere. Go to any high school anywhere and try to pick out the Mormon kids. They are the ones who are dressed modestly, but stylishly, with no weird piercings or weird hair or weird tatoos, and they are unusually clean cut. Find me any congregation of another religion that has such an organized, wide spread program to arm their members with the ability to fight evil.

    Yes, there are exceptions to these standards, but what I am describing is the general rule. I know that Mitt Romney’s family abides by these standards because I spent eighteen months doing humanitarian and missionary work with his son, Tagg, in southern France.

    You may not agree with some specific points of our doctrine, but how can you say that this life style is dangerous or cult-like or negative in any way? We espouse everything that is moral, good, happy, loving, productive and family-oriented. Jesus said, By their fruits ye shall know them. Matt 7:16-20 What greater fruits are there?

    I just wanted to be sure you knew the real truth about who we really are.

    Regards,

    Khristine Pettingill
    California

  7. Tami Hansen says:

    I find it interesting that you chose to use the ideas in your first paragraph to then build your article where you believe we, as a nation, have the right to a presidential candidates core beliefs. Do you feel like the questions posed are the core beliefs of Mormonism?

    With a quick Google search I came upon a website called Mormon.org which gave me much more insite into the Mormon church and their beliefs: “Jesus Christ, our Savior” (didn’t Dr. Jeffress claim Mormons did not worship Christ but Joseph Smith? Interesting…), “God’s plan of happiness”, “Restoration of the Gospel”, “God’s Commandments”, “Christ’s Church”, “Joseph Smith”, “Book of Mormon”, and “Articles of Faith”. Quite amazing that a church that supposedly doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ has so much about him on there information page. The last one I found particularly interesting as it seems like a more detailed list of their core beliefs.

    I believe the main point of your article to be that we, as a nation, have a right to know what our candidates deeply held beliefs are; which I agree. However, I wonder if there is truly an interest in what the candidates believe or is it more for tearing apart and tearing someone down because of this belief. Wasn’t it the Pharisees and Sadducees in the Bible who eventually condemned Christ because he didn’t follow the traditons of the Jewish faith at the time? They were always there to complain and criticize that he wasn’t doing things the way “their” laws required.

    I honestly don’t care if Mitt Romney receives the Republican nomination, or becomes president, but I do know our country could do a whole lot worse. I know several Mormons who are honest, hard working, and Christ-like in their treatment of others. More than I can say for some who claim that they are true Christ following “Christians”.

    Just something to think about…

  8. tom says:

    Ms. Rios needs only to look back in recent history to see that Mr. Romney has not only been questioned about his faith, but he has addressed it head on. Please see his speech, “Faith in America” in 2008 when he last ran for president – http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2007/12/text_of_romney.html

  9. Dear Sandy,
    Your demonizing comments on Romney and Mormonism fall into the usual categories and sound like something you found on the internet on an anti-Mormon site. If you would read just a teensy weensy bit of the Book of Mormon (like the title page for example) you would see that it testifies of Christ and stands as another witness for the Bible. I am a “born again Christian” raised in the Methodist Church. I converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 38 years ago after my own Protestant Pastor insisted that I had NO need for baptism. Excuse me? He apparently didn’t read the New Testament. Christianity is a very LOOSE term these days, depending on the sect and their particular beliefs and Bible interpretations. I personally lean towards Joel Osteen. He is much more Christ-like in his opinions and begs off due to his own admitted ignorance on the subject. Much more admirable than your article.
    You just blew out a bunch of negative stuff that throws other ignorant people right off course with you. I could respond to all of those attacks (with Bible verses) but it would take pages….and who wants to read that when they won’t even go to the original source? Please do your homework and get your own copy (B of M) from two of those handsome young men in white shirts and ties that ride around on bicycles all over this world. I LOVE that people who call themselves Christian declare that I, as a Mormon, am not. WWJD? P.S the Book of Mormon is given away for free. No excuses.

  10. I LOVE that my comment was saved for moderation? How convenient for YOU! I once wrote an article to my local paper….. after they had bashed the Mormons for days in regards to their children having Halloween spoiled by us as it fell on a Sunday that year. They MODERATED my remarks about Halloween being on Sunday as I let them know that myself and my Mormon neighbors had our kids go out on Saturday (to our church parking lot) and we still passed out candy on Sunday to anyone that showed up on our doorsteps. They took MY idea and passed it off as their own….saying everyone should be magnanimous and try to get along with each other. BA HA HA HA!

  11. John McNary says:

    I am sorry that you are as misinformed regarding what Mormons believe as many others. One can only wonder who it is that spreads the lies and half-truths, and to what purpose. I was taught that Satan is the father of lies, but I do not think good Christians would purposely follow him. Yet the lies and half-truths are repeated over and over. Good Christians, who I believe value honesty, repeat what they do not know for a fact, and they have for over a hundred years, when everyone knew Mormons had horns. Today, the charges are more sophisticated, but no less misleading. I guess the thing that worries me the most is the making of an orthodox Christianity, to which, if you do not belong, you are considered an outcast; unclean. There seem to be new Pharisees of the New Testament, who determine what the law of the New Testament says. If you do not fit within their definition of the New Testament doctrine, they will stone you politically. Well, it is no wonder Thomas Jefferson had such a problem with orthodox Christianity. He was a rational, fair minded person. I’m not sure the same can be said for many of those commenting on what Mormons supposedly believe. It is obvious that you never really studied what Mormons believe, but have simply sipped from the tainted trough of the enemies of the Mormon church. This ignorance does not become you.

    Sandy, it is not important how they split up the conservative religious vote, just as long as they do it. If they can get ordinarily rational people to chase shadows of religious bigotry, so much the better, for it further discredits Christianity in general. I am saddened by how easy it is.

  12. Phil T. says:

    10/14/11

    Dear Ms. Rios:

    A cult of intolerance was unveiled Oct. 7 at the Values Voter Summit attended by social conservatives in Washington DC. Some there, who misunderstand the Constitutional right of religious freedom, labeled the religion of a Mormon presidential candidate a non-Christian cult.

    Several observations help disprove this label.

    Jesus Christ is referred to repeatedly in 400 page hymn books placed in pews at chapels of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed Mormon).

    The LDS Church (through BYUTV) has produced and will air on Oct. 16 the first U.S. Documentary mini-series on the making of the King James Bible to celebrate its 400-year anniversary. Called “Fires of Faith” it uses re-enactments to capture the religious persecution suffered by those who sought to translate the Bible into English. This event made the Bible available to the religious refugees and founding fathers who brought forth an America with religious freedom.

    The just released DVD “17 Miracles” is about Mormon pioneers who fled America because of religious bigotry in the 1850’s – they settled the desolate wilderness that became Utah. Perhaps after viewing it social conservatives will ask themselves if their religious convictions would give them the courage to accomplish what the Mormon pioneers did in the face of religious persecution. Some on those treks died for their fellow Mormon friends which according to Jesus Christ qualifies them to join ranks with all the other great Christians. Are we “just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man [or woman] of any other denomination…? [because] the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves.” (Joseph Smith, 1843.) Before it grows too late social conservatives had better grasp the importance of walking “…together for a ways on the same path in order to secure our freedom to pursue our separate ways when that is necessary according to our own beliefs.” (Dallin Oaks, 2011.)

    Social conservatives and religious leaders should insist that every presidential candidate preserve, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. Starting now, all candidates should allow only religious freedom questions or “plead” Article VI – “No religious test shall ever be required as qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

    Sincerely,

    Phil Taylor
    Vista, CA

    P.S.
    Perhaps your pastor friend can avoid this:
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/so-why-is-a-church-state-separation-group-asking-the-irs-to-investigate-pastor-jeffress/

    By using this:
    http://newsroom.lds.org/official-statement/political-neutrality

    Needless to say I have no interest in hearing from any church leader who uses the supreme liberal Obama supporter Chris Matthews to try to prove he’s Christian and then broadcasts it on his “conservative” church web-site.

  13. Kelly says:

    Having just finished reading your article “Mormonism and the presidency” I would like to make a few comments.
    Yes, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and yes, I do believe in all of the things which you informed the public of in your opening paragraph. Your opening paragraph is where I take exception to the article. Had you left out the first paragraph I would have agreed whole heartedly with the rest of the article. But, when you begin by asking if the electorate should know certain things about a candidate’s beliefs and then immediately cite those beliefs, it tells me that you have an agenda, a purpose for writing the article, beyond just posing the question “do American voters have the right to know…?”.
    I am a Nuclear Imaging Technologist, but before becoming such, I was a general building contractor. If you were to ask me how to build a house I would not start by telling you about the roof trusses as it would make little sense without first telling you about the foundation which supports the walls which in turn support the trusses. You and many “evangelicals” are quick to try and balk at Mormonism by talking only about the roof, which in and of itself, i.e., taken out of context, makes little sense to people not of our faith and in many cases, if not most, leaves them thinking we are just plain nuts. Which is, I believe, the whole agenda behind you article to begin with. To attempt to prop up Governor Perry’s falling poll numbers by attacking Governor Romney’s belief system, I would have hoped was beneath you. But, politics does have a way of getting people to do and say things that they would not normally do or say.
    One last thing, no, I will not be voting for Romney simply because he is Mormon. Personally, I like Cain but I don’t think he is electable at this point in time.

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