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Wag the Blog: Romney and the Mormon Question

Over the weekend we reported that a member of Sen. Sam Brownback's (R-Kans.) Iowa campaign staff had circulated a series of anti-Mormon talking points aimed at raising questions about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) faith.

On Monday Brownback called Romney to apologize for the actions of his staffer (see 2nd item here).

In the campaign to date, Romney has chosen to deemphasize the specific tenets of his Mormonism in favor of stressing the fact that he is a person of faith. Asked at a CNN-sponsored debate in New Hampshire earlier this month about voters' doubts about Mormonism, Romney responded: "The values that I have are the same values you will find in faiths across this country. I believe in God, believe in the Bible, believe Jesus Christ is my savior."

And yet, many GOP voters still have doubts. In the most recent Post-ABC News poll, 30 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters said they would be less likely to support a candidate who is Mormon. Of that group, roughly half (49 percent) said there was "no chance" they could back a Mormon for president.

For today's Wag the Blog, The Fix want to know whether Romney's Mormonism is a legitimate campaign issue or a private matter. In other words, are the specifics of Romney's faith important for voters to hear in order to make an informed decision when assessing the Republican presidential candidates?

Sound off in the comments section below. We'll pluck a few of the most thoughtful and insightful and give them their own post later this week.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 19, 2007; 7:27 AM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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Comments

Well I have to say I'm a bit appaled at one of the comments I read as I studied and observed the LDS for a time and I must say that it really should not matter if Romney is Mormon at all. Someone up there put
If Romney believes he will one day be in paradise with his own planet and several virgins at his disposal - he should say so

let me tell you something thats not true no mormon that i have ever met believes that and ive met more then most of you can claim. also another point brought up about the temple and baptising someone in another persons name get your facts straight read the book of mormon just once and you'll see that they don't baptise people without thier permission.

Mormonism is a Christian religion no ifs ands and buts, jesus christ is thier savior and the believe only in the one god and as a matter of fact thier is a passage in the bible that supports the book of mormon for all of your information. Now im not here to defend mormons because i have my own problems with them but im not going to sit here and say romney shouldn't be allowed to run because hes mormon. That like someone saying that one guy cant run because he's catholic.

Catholic's are in my opinion the lowest of all Christians, they pray to mary and idolize mary, god says no false idols and thall shalt not worship any other before me what are catholics doing then? Openly gay priests, c'mon theres seriously something wrong there too, once again in the bible there a little comandment from god about being gay.

Most things people have heard about mormons is false, so romney should be considered because if hes not why the heck are you going to let a catholic run when after studying both religions and numerous other catholics are the worst. Once again in my opinion.

So romney should run and I believe even if he doesnt win he'll get more votes then most others. Religion really shouldn't be an issue so i may be strange to say that as a republican but, religious affiliation should not matter and neither should political, whats in the persons heart and what they can do to make this country better should be the only issue.

Posted by: Cameron, San Diego | July 7, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

In response to JanaM's last post:

You are misunderstanding the teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. You say that "If you believe in the Book of Mormon and follow the teachings of Joseph and Brigham, you are a Mormon!"
That's absolutely true. BUT, in order to be a Mormon, you can't pick and choose which of their teachings you like and which you don't. They taught that they were prophets here on earth (like Moses) and that the church was to be run through revelation, which should continue on. Therefore, what a later prophet says is taken to be revelation, and therefore law. Polygamy was later stopped, by a prophet, through revelation by God(as Mormons understand it). This does not conflict with the teachings of Joseph Smith or Brigham Young.

The Book of Mormormon itself teaches that man is to only have one wife. In the old testament, Abraham and others practiced polygamy. When it was directed by the Lord, it was sanctioned. When it was not, it was harshly condemned by the Lord.
This is not the only commandment that the Lord has chosen to play both sides on. The Lord said, "Thou shalt not kill." However, some old testiment armies were told to "utterly destroy" their enemies. Remember David and Goliath? The only real commandment is: Do what the Lord says, when he says it. The ten commandments are the law, unless the Lord Himself specifically directs otherwise.

So according to Mormon doctrine, the practice of polygamy is fine, IF it is directed by the Lord through revelation, coming to the CURRENT prophet (or president of the church). That is why those who practice polygamy today are NOT really Mormons.

You, of course, probably don't agree with the doctrine. However, the whole point of religious understanding is to try to see things from the perspective of those within the faith. Polygamy, revelation, and modern day prophets are not mainstream ideas. However, with understanding comes tolerance. I find that the more knowledge people get on the church, and the more members they get to know, the more respect they have for the church as a whole (even though they may still strongly disagree with many of the doctrines).

Posted by: John | June 27, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

It is a lazy practice to scratch the surface of a religion, and with that small amount of knowledge, take a general attitude about all who believe that way. The tenets of any religion can sound odd when taken out of the context of the faith by non-believers. Jesus Christ said "by their fruits you will know them," which is, I believe, good advice. So what if you can't understand exactly what someone in another faith believes, what has their religion made of them? Are the practicing Mormons you know good people? Do you trust them? The same question can be asked of Catholics, Muslims, Jehovah Witness, and Evangelical Christians. All of these religions are focused on helping their followers be better people and helping them live good lives. I think that there is more that unites those who believe in God than divides them. Mormons that I know who are active in their religion are decent, trustworthy, patriotic people; certainly nothing that I see in the actual living of their religion would disqualify them from elected any office, including the Presidency.

Posted by: Ian S. | June 25, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Those polygamists are living the way Joseph Smith and Brigham Young did.

Your false claim of 'they are not Mormon' doesn't wash with anyone who isn't Mormon.

If you believe in the Book of Mormon and follow the teachings of Joseph and Brigham, you are a Mormon!

Raymond, your denials are valiant but its just not gonna fly with 99.9% of Americans.

Posted by: JanaM | June 22, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

One final comment, in response to the egregious falsehoods that try to blame Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including Mitt Romney) for the crazy ANTI-Mormon actions of various polygamist sects.

The LDS Church excommunicates anyone who associates with those groups. Those groups reject the authority of the LDS Church and repudiate its doctrines. the most violent of those weird groups have threatened the lives of the LDS Church leaders, and even bombed Mormon meetinghouses.

Polygamists are no more Mormons than Lutherans are Catholics! Just as Lutherans protested and repudiated Catholicism, polygamists have repudiated Mormonism. Calling the polygamists "Mormons" is like saying Southern Baptists are snake handlers.

Anyone who confuses these two strongly opposed and separate groups probably doesn't know the difference between Muslims and Jews, or Buddhists and Hindus, or Sunni and Shia.

To reiterate: Mormons are people who marry only one wife (e.g. Mitt Romney), and are taught to be faithful to that one spouse throughout their lives, both mortal and in the hereafter.

Polygamists are NOT Mormons, are not affiliated with Mormons, are not a subset of Mormons, are not a type of Mormons; they are very explicitly ANTI-Mormons (in some cases to the point of threatening violence against Mormons), and they reject the authority and legitimacy of the 12-million-member LDS Church that is headquartered in Salt Lake City. Blaming Mormons for what Polygamists do is either incredibly ignorant or just plain dishonest, and a defamation of the real Mormons.

Posted by: Raymond Takashi Swenson | June 21, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney, by the standards normally used to assess someone's intelligence, including academic credentials (Harvard JD and MBA) and accomplishment (creating and managing the highly successful Bain Capital), is clearly in the 99th percentile of Americans, among the top 1% in intelligence. His integrity was demonstrated before an international audience when he rescued the scandal-ridden Olympic Games and put on, in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, a Winter Olympics that was universally praised by the international participants and made a profit that has endowed a legacy of Olympic venues for the communities that hosted the events.

Yet critics of Romney claim that his membership in the LDS Church means he must be stupid or a liar.

The basic "logic" of this criticism of Mitt Romney is the assertion made by both atheists and religious anti-Mormons that (a) Mormon doctrines are unbelievable and irrational, (b) Therefore, any intelligent Mormon cannot really believe these irrational Mormon doctrines, (c) Therefore, intelligent Mormons who claim to believe in Mormon doctrines are lying.

Apparently it does not occur to these critics of Mormons in general and Romney in particular that (x) There are many Mormons of unquestioned integrity, (y) Many of those Mormons of integrity are also obviously intelligent by all the standards applied to other people (articulateness in the language of intellectuals, advanced degrees from prestigious schools, achievements recognized among peers in academia, science, law and business), (z) Therefore, the doctrines believed by Mormons must have sufficient substance in them to appeal to people of integrity and intelligence.

The basic problem in the logic of the critics is that they assume they know proposition (a), even though, as soon as they start trying to describe Mormon beliefs, they are generally amazingly ignorant of actual Mormon doctrines, being unwilling to do the hard work of actually reading any of the thousands of pages of information available for free on the church web page at lds.org, a fact that demonstrates both the critics' lack of honesty and their lack of intellectual integrity.

The objective, verifiable facts are the remarkable intelligence of many Mormons of confirmed moral integrity (Mitt Romney being a prime example, but you can easily point to others, like Kim Clark, former Dean of the Harvard Business School, or Governor Jon Huntsman of Utah, who is a genuine scholar of Chinese language and culture and a former US trade negotiator with China and Ambassador to Singapore, or Michael K. Young, President of the University of Utah, formerly Dean at George Washington University Law School and Professor of Japanese Law at Columbia, or Cecil Samuelson, President of BYU and former Dean of the University of Utah School of Medicine). The other assertions (b) and (c) are conjectural and based on the critics' own ignorance and their own subjective unwillingness to even consider that any idea they do not personally hold could be true.

This is the logical fallacy indulged by people who think that being an intellectual means already knowing all truth and never having to confess ignorance about anything. Thus they demonstrate their utter incomprehension of the willingness to admit one's own ignorance that has been identified as the beginning of wisdom by Socrates and the foundation of the modern scientific enterprise.

The objective facts--many Mormons are manifestly intelligent and honest--should be the basis for drawing a conclusion about the question that is most subjective and requires significant study to examine, namely the rationality of LDS doctrine.

The fact is that many other critics of LDS doctrine have complained that it is too logical, too "convenient" (as Dana Carvey's Church Lady might say) in offering answers to quandaries that have plagued theologians for centuries, such as: the Problem of Evil; the inequity of damning to hell people who had no chance to hear and accept the Christian gospel (including innocent children who died in infancy); how an unembodied and impassive God can feel love (John 3:16); and why is it necessary for mankind to be resurrected bodily, like Christ, rather than simply enjoy eternity as unembodied spirits?

In sum, those who claim that Romney's religious affiliation means he is either stupid or a liar, are in fact revealing their own utter ignorance of Mormon doctrines and their dishonest unwillingness to admit the objective evidence of many Mormons' intelligence and honesty.

A recently published survey on the attitudes toward religions and religious believers among university professors indicates that Mormons are overrepresented in academia in proportion to their presence in the US population. Another survey found that Mormons study the Bible (not just the Book of Mormon) just as much or more than most Evangelical Christians. A third survey found greater familiarity with the Bible among Mormon teenagers than among teens of all other Christian denominations. Another study found that the greater the academic credentials of a Mormon, the more committed he or she is to the LDS Church and its doctrines.

The LDS Church has an Institutes of Religion program that operates near most major (non-Mormon) universities around the country to provide mature, college level instruction in religious topics for Mormons enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree studies at schools like Stanford and Yale.

In addition to two years volunteer service as full time missionaries, actively involved Mormons as volunteers fill all the roles in a congregation that, in other churches, are performed by paid ministers. In effect, every actively engaged adult Mormon is a lay minister, and serves as such throughout his or her life. The senior leaders of the LDS Church are not people with divinity degrees in careers as pastors, but people who have achieved success in various professions while giving 10 to 20 hours or more a week of service in volunteer ministry for decades. Among the LDS Twelve Apostles there are attorneys, several former college professors and university presidents, a state supreme court judge, a PhD internationally known heart surgeon and medical researcher, a nuclear engineer, and the former Chief Pilot and VP for Operations of Lufthansa--yes, he's German! Like any similar size group of Mormon adults (and like Romney), the majority are multilingual.

Anyone who tries to ridicule Mormons as stupid or dishonest is denying the plain fact that the most prominent people in the LDS Church both locally and internationally are often outstanding by any measure among their fellow citizens.

Since the conclusion that critics of Romney assert, that all Mormons are either stupid or dishonest, or both, is blatantly false, anyone with basic training in logic must conclude that the major premise of the critics' argument, that Mormonism is irrational, must be false.

--Raymond Takashi Swenson, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired), JD, LLM

Posted by: Raymond Takashi Swenson | June 21, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Nate In Appleton asks for response to the following:
True or false:
1. Joseph Smith made a living by claiming to find gold in the ground through "divination" (looking at rock in a hat through a hole in the hat) while living in New York as a young man. -FALSE. Joseph Smith Jr. worked with his father and brothers to clear and plant a 100 acre farm. This included cutting trees and burning them to ashes to sell as potash (a product which was shipped to New York and even Britain for use in making soap and gunpowder); planting wheat; planting an apple orchard; gathering maple sugar in the early spring; and making barrels for sale to other farmers. Joseph and his brothers also worked doing such things as digging home foundations, digging wells, etc. The use of stones to attempt to locate lost items was a widespread practice of folk magic on the American frontier, akin to water dowsing, which involves using a forked stick to locate sites to dig wells, a practice which continues to the present day in many rural communities. There is no record of Joseph ever actually finding anything of consequence, or of making any appreciable amount of money for doing so. The "hole in a hat" thing--apparently you have garbled something you heard.

2.Mormons under Brigham Young rebelled against the U.S. government in 1857. FALSE. The Utah Territory was organized in 1852, with Brigham Young appointed governor of the territory by the president. When the war with Mexico started in 1847, while the Mormons were still in Iowa en route to the west, they demonstrated their patriotism by agreeing to enlist 500 men in the US Army to march 1200 miles to Santa Fe and San Diego to secure the southwest, which they did. Some of the non-Mormon Federal appointees sent to Utah Territory were typical political hacks from the East who hated Mormons; one of them was a judge who had his mistress (he had left his wife in Ohio) sit next to him on the bench in court. Those appointees went back to Washington and told stories about Mormon disrespect for them as individuals that were inflated into disrespect for the United States. In the years leading up to the Civil War, President Buchanan (a Democrat and Southern sympathizer from Lancaster PA) thought he would make an example of the Mormons to dissuade Southerners who were already considering the notion of secession from the Union. Buchanan sent 1,500 troops (about a third of the standing US Army in those days) to march out to Utah (there was no railroad west of Iowa City back then) to "suppress" the "Mormon rebellion" and install the new territorial governor. Buchanan (whose administration is considered by most historians to have been a total disaster on all fronts) acted precipitously, without giving the Mormons a chance to give their side of the facts or having an independent commission investigate conditions in Utah, and without a single statement from Brigham Young or the Mormons communicating any rebellious intent. Buchanan did not even send a communication to Young explaining why so many professional soldiers were marching 1,000 miles to Utah; it was not for a vacation. Young and the Mormons, after having had state militias in Missouri and Illinois attack and kill some of them (including Joseph Smith), did not see any purpose in the movement of Army troops other than to impose a military tyranny. (You will recall that similar action by King George III was cited in the Declaration of Independence 80 years earlier as a basis for the American colonies' decision to declare independence.) Young told the Mormons to prepare to evacuate, while he sought to delay the arrival of the Army in Utah by burning the prairie and burning down to forts that the Mormons owned, and also by harassing the troops and stealing their horses and supplies. Young directed the Mormons to not harm any soldier, and no soldier was fired upon. By the time the Army neared Utah, Young was able to use a go-between to invite the new governor to Salt Lake City, where he was persuaded that there was in fact no rebellion, and the Army was allowed to come into Salt Lake Valley on the condition they establish their fort at some distance from the city. The whole thing was such a stupid fiasco by the Federal government that the tour guides at Buchanan's house in Lancaster don't even talk about it.

3. The Mountain Meadows genocide occurred, was carried out by Mormons, and the participants and the leadership of the LDS, including Brigham Young, lied about it. FALSE.
A summary of the historically verifiable information about the tragic Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1857 is posted at www.lds.org. It is based on extensive research for a new book that is being published by Oxford University Press in September. Basically, during the period when the Army was marching on Utah to "suppress the Mormon rebellion", a group of about 120 people (a large group of innocent people, but not the victims of a "genocide") from Arkansas were passing through Utah on the trail to Southern California (as were other groups). The Mormons were not selling supplies to such emigrants, because of the uncertainty of the pending Army invasion, which led to disputes with the group led by Mr. Fancher. Isaac Haight, a local Mormon leader in Ceder City, over a hundred miles south of Salt Lake, instigated a plan to attack the immigrant train, apparently out of fear that the men of that group planned to return from California with another military force to attack the Mormons. (It's not technically paranoia when somebody is really out to get you, and the Mormons had been attacked by military forces, and killed and driven from their homes, on several occasions from 1834 to 1847.) At the insistence of other Mormons, a rider was sent on the two day ride to Salt Lake to ask for guidance from Brigham Young on how to deal with the Fancher party. However, John D. Lee and a mixed group of Indians and Mormons initiated an attack, and the massacre was over by the time the messenger returned with Young's letter telling them to help the Fancher party rather than harm them. You will remember that in 1858, Young was no longer governor, and the US Army had a military force to back up investigations by US marshals. However, the Federal government only captured and convicted John D. Lee of the crime and executed him in 1877 by firing squad at the site of the massacre. No one, not even those who are most critical of the rest of the Mormons for the evil acts of a few people 150 years ago, has ever identified any rational reason why the Mormons as a body would WANT to harm the Fancher party. It did not give them any money, or goods. It did not improve their military situation vis a vis the invading Army, and in fact put the strenuous efforts of Young to negotiate a peaceful entry of the Army at risk. There were many other non-Mormon emigrants passing through Utah before and after, including many of the '49ers heading to the California gold fields, who were never attacked, but in fact were sold food and other supplies by the Mormon settlers who needed cash. Thousands of Mormons were even then walking on the trail to Utah, and any incident that would arouse enmity would make the journey of those people more difficult. The allegation that Young was somehow behind the attack has no solid evidence, and in fact Young repeatedly refrained from harming people who were frankly out to kill him. He did not react with violence to the murder of Joseph Smith in Illinois by an Illinois militia unit. He did not take the life of any of the Army soldiers who were intent on subjugating the Mormons, and targeting him specifically as the leader of the alleged "rebellion". Scores of other non-Mormons safely transited Utah in the years before and after 1857. At the same time, during the years of the Indian Wars, the US Army and state militias in Colorado and elsewhere committed what are now acknowledged to be atrocities by massacres of hundreds of men, women and children who happened to be Indians. Those who killed Mormons in Missouri and Illinois were never punished. And then there were massacres of whites by Indians, including some emigrant trains. The main reason the Mountain Meadows Massacre is brought up again and again is that it was almost the only time in the history of the American frontier that whites killed whites, and the Mormons were the perpetrators rather than the victims. Baptists and Methodists and Presbyterians in militias and Army units killing Mormons or Indians was such a commonplace that no one cares.

4. Blacks were officially considered second class humans by the LDS and were "unfit" for the "priesthood" as defined by the LDS until the 1970s. FALSE: It's in the nature of True-False questions that if any part of the statement is incorrect, it is false. Brigham Young had instituted a policy of not ordaining blacks in the LDS Church priesthood, and it had continued until 1978, when Spencer W. Kimball, then president of the LDS Church, spent several days praying about the policy and then asked the senior Church leaders, the apostles, to join him in confirming his belief that God wanted the practice to end. They did so, and the change was announced the following day. There have always been black Mormons since the early days of the LDS Church, including in the Salt Lake City congregation where I grew up, and in other congregations where I lived in Maryland and Colorado. By 1978, thousands of people in Ghana and Nigeria had converted themselves to Mormonism and were praying for a change in the priesthood ordination policy; as soon as the change took place, missionaries were sent there and baptized and ordained leaders for congregations, the nucleus of the tens of thousands of Mormons in those countries and other nations in Africa. Blacks serve as leaders of local, regional, and continent-wide levels of the LDS Church. Anyone interested in the issue of race and the Mormons should also be aware that some of the earliest Mormon missionary efforts were among American Indians (1830), and in Polynesia (1842), and to Japan in 1901. Your average Tongan is just as dark skinned as your average American black, but Tongans, Samoans, Hawaiians, Tahitians, and Maoris have been Mormons and Mormon priests since the missionaries first landed in their islands. Many of them live in Utah. In 2007, over half of Mormons worldwide live outside the US and speak a language other than English, including over 1 million Mormons in Mexico, and nearly that many in each of Brazil, Chile and the Philippines. Visit the campus of Brigham Young University and its branch campuses in Idaho and Hawaii and you will find an internationally and racially diverse mix of students. Far from being insular, the 1.5 million Mormons in Utah have extensive experience living among the people in other parts of the US and in foreign nations, with the language skills that come form that experience, making Utah the principal source of foreign language expertise for the US military and State Department. I myself have a Japanese mother, was born in Japan, served a mission there, and lived in Tokyo, Washington, DC, and San Francisco, in congregations with all the racial diversity of those locations.

5. Homosexuality and support for equal rights for women in the church and in society are currently, officially sanctioned reasons for excommunication by the LDS. FALSE: Having homosexual tendencies does not affect one's LDS Church membership. Being a practicing homosexual can lead to excommunication, just as being a practicing adulterer can lead to excommunication. Mormon teachings are that sex is only to be practiced between husband and wife. Equal rights in terms of civil rights are fully supported by Mormons and their church. Utah territory was the first place in America to enact voting rights for women, but the Federal government revoked it because most of those women were Mormons. The only "feminists" who have been excommunicated have been a handful of women who have attacked the Church's policy of not ordaining women in the LDS Church priesthood, including some who have advocated praying to not only the Father in Heaven but also the Mother in Heaven, despite the lack of scriptural authorization for such worship practices. My daughter-in-law and the mother of two of our grandchildren works as the chief database administrator of a large Utah company. Brigham Young University has female faculty in many departments, and awards degrees at all levels to women. The president of Deseret Book Company, the church's book publishing company, is a woman and popular Mormon author. The immediately previous governor of Utah was a Mormon woman, Olene Walker, PhD.

6. If a child is excommunicated, parents and siblings risk their "good standing" in the church if they stay in contact with former church members of their own families. FALSE. That is pure baloney! IN fact, the opposite is true. Family members and friends of anyone who has been excommunicated are encouraged to maintain ties of love and affection to the extent that the person will accept them. Often the person excommunicated is reconciled to the Church and returned to full membership, encouraged through those family ties. This falsehood is another example of how people who are ignorant about the LDS Church project onto Mormons the "odd" practices of other religious groups.
Defend your faith with facts and reason... if you can. Nate, since we are tossing out credentials, I have a BA in mathematics (magna cum laude, Phit Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi) from the University of Utah (the secular, non-Mormon university), a Juris Doctor degree from same (Associate Editor, Utah Law Review, for which I wrote an original article on the system of arbitration of legal disputes in territorial Utah by local Mormon church leaders), and a Master of Laws degree in environmental law from George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC. I am admitted to practice law in Utah, California, Washington, and Idaho. I have taught courses for UC Berkeley, St. Mary's College of California, Utah Valley State College, University of Idaho, and the Air Force JAG School. I am a retired Lt. Colonel in the Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps. I wrote a review of the book Mormon America for the FARMS Review published at BYU's Neal Maxwell Institute. For the last ten years I have been working on nuclear waste cleanup for the US Department of Energy.


Posted by: Raymond Takashi Swenson | June 21, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Janine and Diane C. Russell are both right.

However, I believe that America should be a secular country. Look, no religion can be proved right or wrong over another. many people here think religion should shape someone's worldview. Politicians need to quit following their faith and start following the circumstances of certain situations and the facts of social science. The Constitution prohibits religious tests for elective office, but it informally occurs anyway, and it is WRONG!!!! To follow the principles of one's one faith while governing is (or can be) in effect, forcing ones own religious beliefs on the nation. Former Sen. Fred Thompson onc said, "the founders were protecting the church from the state and not the other way around." He is dead wrong. Early New England colonial societies were based around religion, and the church dominated the state. Let us not forget the Salem Witch Trials. Let us not forget the treatments of Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams because they did not allow themselves to be forced to believe exactly as the others around them. Let us not forget that John F. Kennedy promised to NOT take orders from the Pope before being elected. The fact is, if one lets their religion guide him, then they force it upon others. If one lets religion guide him, their worldview is therefore idealistic, thus they will ignore facts and pragmatism that is a necessity for successful governing. When governing, one's religious beliefs should not even arise as an issue; or else, they are incompetent idealists with impractical policies doomed to fail. The President has used his religious views to guide him, which led him to pursue idealistic policies and therefore will leave having made no success.

The way I see it - any religion you believe in is fine, whether it be Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Atheism, Agnosticism, Mormonism, Satanism, Odinism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Protestantism, or whatever. Whatever you believe, however, you should acknowledge a few things:
A) That your beliefs have no proof of correctness
B) All religions in themselves are well-intentioned
C) You're likely only to believe in a religion you were raised upon
D) All religions have no proof of superiority
E) Religious beliefs regarding behavior are intended for self-control, and must not be written into law, for a democracy and a theocracy are 2 different things
F) The "freedom of religion" clause in the Bill of Rights allows for and recognizes the religious diversity of the nation
G) Religious doctrines are not to be followed when governing

If one allows their faith to effect their worldview, they are thinking idealistically, and forcing it upon others. Religious rules are for personal and individual compliance, not for law.

I don't care what religion Mitt Romney is - he can believe whatever he wants. Romney's real problem is that he hasn't been consistent on any issue (to indirectly quote Ted Kennedy about Romney, "he's pro-choice, he's no choice, he's multiple choice"), and has little governing experience. In my view, former businessmen are more likely to become corrupt politicians because their business careers were careers where they'd do whatever they can to make a profit. Plus, when one says anything to get elected they're also likely to be crooks. Be Mormon if you want Mitt, just don't force ME to live by your beliefs!!!!

Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater said it best: "I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C" and "D." Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?
And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.'"

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!"

There mustn't be any more religious tests. One who runs for office needn't even discuss his religion. The Presidency needs pragmatic governing; leave your religious beliefs at the door when you enter the White House.

xjspzx@peoplepc.com

Posted by: Justin Perez | June 21, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

JanaM:

If you want a fair account of Zina Young, see: http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2006_Zina_and_Her_Men.html
I'll admit, that lady has a complicated past.

But you can nit pick the church, interpret events, doctrines, and motives much differently than members such as myself. What it comes down to for members is the belief in personal revelation. I have studied the Bible and Book of Mormon, and asked God himself if they are true in humble prayer. And I believe that he has answered me. I don't care what you say about the church, my answer as to its truthfulness is not of men, and my personal experiences are unshakable. And the teachings of the church make me want to be a better person, and live a more Christlike life.

Returning to the issue at hand: What you believe about the mormon church is not what I believe about it, and I'll bet it's not what Romney believes, either. What me and members like me DO believe is that we must have faith in Christ, repent of sins, live and follow the commandments, and just be a good person. How terrible would it be if our President believed those things?

Posted by: Mark from Texas | June 21, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Well I was not alive in the days of Smith so how could I be his enemy?

You are free to call me a bigot, doesn't mean I am one. I am able, unlike you, to look at both sides of the Mormon issue and can see the deceit for what it is. Your faith is misunderstood because it is constantly changing. What is God's will one day is wrong the next. How one can be a part of a religion like that is beyond me.

If you scroll up to see my other comment you will see an example of a clear lie, on what is the Church's website. That is just one example of deciet that they have engaged in since the beginning of the church. I see deciet for what it is. A lie. You will most likely defend it. That, my friend, is the difference. And also a HUGE reason why your church is so 'misunderstood'.

Posted by: JanaM | June 21, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

To JanaM:

Just so you know, only Joseph Smith's enemies called him "Joe Smith." Check out what fairlds.com has to say about that book. That is, only if you want the truth. If it's funner for you to believe that we're a cult, without really examining your source, then I'm not going to hesitate in calling you a happily ignorant bigot. But I sincerely hope I'm wrong, and that you and others like you are just misled and misinformed.

Posted by: Mark from Texas | June 21, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

K, I'm a mormon, and I have been all my life. And honestly, if the LDS church really believed all the half-truths, misconceptions, and what most people THINK we do, then yeah- I'd never vote for a mormon either!! But we don't. I don't know a more misunderstood religion on the planet.

If you feel the need to examine a candidate's religion, then at least be fair about it. I wouldn't go to a Baptist preacher and ask what Methodists believe. So go ask a mormon what they believe (ASK, don't TELL them what you think they believe!). If you don't know any mormons, check out fairlds.com or mormon.org. Sure, you're not going to agree with all the beliefs, but ask yourself what specifically would cause a mormon to be a bad candidate?!

The church itself is only political on moral issues. Gay marriage and gambling are the only specifics that I remember the church actually telling people to go vote against. Other than that, there are mayors, senators, representatives, governors, and even cabinet level positions which mormons have done just fine in (in countries other than America as well), as boths dems and repubs.

Do not discount Romney because of his faith and the specifics of his religion which you don't agree with.


Posted by: Mark from Texas | June 21, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

If you want to read about the fraud that is Mormonism, read the book Under the Banner of Heaven.

It tells an interesting story about phony revelations from God, and how that resulted in the death of a mother and child.

It also gives a background on the church and how it all started. I must give Old Joe Smith props, he sure did know how to fool people.

Imagine any married man getting away with the line of 'its God's will' for you to marry/sleep with me, and having it work many times over!

Posted by: JanaM | June 21, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Based on the entries in this blog, it would seem to me that the "anti-mormons" are more of a cult than the mormons themselves. You dudes got issues. Does your consternation of the "mormon" beliefs really rise to the level of dedicating large portions of your life and emotional fortitude to actually trying bring them down? Wow, I feel bad that you can't actually find better things to do with your time. I know alot of "mormons".
Some of them are weird, most of them are very cool... most likely the average breakdown of most religons. As for religous consideration in politics... every man will treat his faith differently as obviated by muslim religons. To suggest that a man is entirely his religon is just plain stupidity. What a man does with his religon should be the lens, but alas, everyone will still think exactly the way they would like to in the end... especially the "anti-mormons"

Posted by: fritz | June 21, 2007 1:48 AM | Report abuse

rufus1133 - Seriously Dude, you're going to try to brainwash your infant with this stuff?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Mormon temples are not"churches" - they are sacred houses of the Lord., the same as the Temples of the Old Testament. Only those with the priesthood were able to enter the Temple. So by critizing the LDS church, you might as well include every religion that accepts the Old Testament as scripture.
This is just an example of how critizing one religion exposes ALL religions to the same ridicule. ALL religions have aspects and beliefs that are supernatural or pecular. It just might not be obvious to those who are not used to being the focus of such hostile scrutiny.

Posted by: Joel Cannon | June 20, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

All Mormons should be rounded up sent to camps and terminated if they don't conform to our (good christian) point of view. Mormons are secretive, bias, dangerous (add your own slur here) devils. A Mormon president, they shouldn't even be allowed in this (God's) country. Start the furnaces for these vermin

Posted by: Randy | June 20, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

My chains have been broken. There is nothing crazy about REAL freedom. I am not crazy. George Bush is Crazy. Bill O'REilly is crazy. Rush Limbaugh is crazy.I am an anonymous poster trying to get the fascists to think for themselves. To break their bondage themselves rather than waiting for _______________


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_cave

"Once enlightened, so to speak, the freed prisoner would not want to return to the cave to free "his fellow bondsmen," but would be compelled to do so. Another problem lies in the other prisoners not wanting to be freed: descending back into the cave would require that the freed prisoner's eyes adjust again, and for a time, he would be one of the ones identifying shapes on the wall. His eyes would be swamped by the darkness, and would take time to become acclimated. Therefore, he would not be able to identify shapes on the wall as well as the other prisoners, making it seem as if his being taken to the surface completely ruined his eyesight. (The Republic bk. VII, 516b-c; trans. Paul Shorey).[2]"

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 20, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

rufus1133 - Ever considered getting professional help for yourself?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm so sick of reading people's comments about Mormon's being "secretive" and unwilling to discuss the tenets of their religion, how many other religions do you know of that send all of their young men out on two year missions to teach about their church? If you are unaquainted with the specifics of this religion it is your own fault. I recommend to anyone interested that they go to a credible source rather than relying on so much of the heresay being spread around. A mormon friend of mine referred me to their Church's website which provides actual doctrines and beliefs of the church (www.mormon.org). Reading blogs from people who are formely members of this religion are of course not going to be accurate and littered with these peoples on personal feelings or biases.

Posted by: Jessica S | June 20, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"They are trying to beat your door down so that they can share this religion with you"

What join us or go to hell. They mock other religons. "my religon is better than your religon. "You are with us or against us". Sound familiar. Any religon that has the power to gain you or remove you from GOD is a false religon. It is said we are FREE from birth. We are God's children from birth also. The mormon/Cathlic church can never take that from. And the fact they they can threahten their followers with that proves they are false prophets. If you move for Utah to Boliva are you out of God's reach? If you are not in contact with the mormon church I guess so. I can pray to my christian God under a tree. Why do thye need the Church? False Prophets

Posted by: JKrish | June 20, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Gosh--with all this anti-Mormon bigotry going on, is it any wonder that Harry Reid, a devout Mormon, is a Democrat?

It would not be surprising, given the Democratic party's movement toward the center, that given all the anti-Mormon ranting within the GOP, that many Utah, Idaho, California, Maryland, Nevada and Virginia Mormons (where they constitute large groups of the population) would join the Democrats; at least there is an opening. And they have done it before--many Mormons in the last generation were democrats, you know.

Posted by: Sam Hampton | June 20, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Gary commented that "The reason so little is known about Romney's religion is that it is so secretive. That, in and of itself, is reason to ask questions, the first one being 'Why?'. Something is afoot when people have a set of beliefs of which they are unwilling to expose to the light of day. "
I appreciate the good laugh I got from your comments. The LDS faith, (short for Latter-Day Saints), currently has 53,000 missionaries all over the world, knocking on doors, trying to share their beliefs. How many people on this board have commented on being approached by LDS missionaries? How many times have you, yourself, turned them away? Come on! They are trying to beat your door down so that they can share this religion with you. Yes, Romney hasn't attempted to use his candidacy as a national stage to proselytize his faith, but why would he need to when there are 53,000 missionaries willing to do it for him?
As for other complaints that the LDS faith is "insular and distrusting of others not of their religion," I agree that some members of the LDS culture, may intentionally or unintentionally exclude those outside of their faith, and would also suggest that members in any tightly knit community, whether religious, ethnic, or even political in nature, often do exclude those outside their circle. Does this make this type of behavior excusable? Absolutely not, but we should recognize it as a personal vice rather than an accepted LDS practice.

Posted by: Autumn | June 20, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I know they do :).

Just trying to shine light on the blind. How do you explain what the color blue looks like to a blind person who is living in complete darkness and have never seen?

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 20, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Rufus1133 - Your street corner misses you.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the venom. I'm from San Jose CA (same city as Mr. Tillam)

His death left an impression on me. I found our recently he was agianst teh Iraq war. He STILL gave up a multi-million dollar salary in the NFL to join the ARMY Rangers. He was killed by his own people, then it was covered up for political reasons. He family during the whole ordeal where patriots. They were constantly attacked. Very sad story. We need more Americans like Pat Tillman. How many others would trade millions of a pro contract to serve their country? Look at the current NFL/NBA/MLB. Do you see that happening? Do you see Bush sending his unborn sons into a war when DEMOCRATS ARE IN OFFICE. I doubt it. The republican movement is playing their base like puppets. What are you gaining GOP members? Is it money? Is this the government you want. Is this how the media should run?

I think the people of the entire nation are smarter than the republcians give them credit for. They still think most people in thsi country are with them. They call the 06 elections an apperation. Before they said they would hold both house and senate. Once the republican presidential candidate is destroyed in the next election they will be forced to change their tune

Posted by: Rufus1133 | June 20, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Dialouge is dead. Rush Limbaugh/Hannity/O'Reilly/Fox NEws are to blame. Liberals will alwys engage in real conversations on topics of interest. Attacking people all day is not real conversation. I think the more people that watch Fox News the better. The reason being, the more people that watch the more people will be angry. You can't go out there and say, "the Democrats are for open borders the republicans are not." You can't say, "the liberals are crazy the conservatives are just being responsible."

Those are blanket statements that have no place in GROWN_UP conversation. Fox "News" time is almost up. Hannity and Rush are shaking in their boots. O'Reilly is almost done. The movement is over. Time to start re-building this great country. If the republicans only want to tear it done, they should be pointed out. Those that hate their country should go somewhere else, not change the country to their liking. The conservative movment is not america. George bush is not america. Bill O'Reilly is not america. THEY ARE JUST MAKING A FORTUNE off aMERICA. New York is AMerica. Kansas is America. CAsey SHeehan and his mom are america. Pat TIllman is AMerica. These fascist have SOLD AMERICA OUT

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 20, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Where are the Golden Tablets?

I asked a Morman if she believes in seven heavens and she got angry. When I come across people of differant faiths I try to get as much information about it, as I am interested. She started crying because I was being mean to her. ?????


I gave her a paper that showed that OTHER people believe in seven heavens, some were mormons. She turned cried to everybody that would listen that I was "attacking her religon. ????

Slaves clones dittoheads.

Posted by: Rufus | June 20, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cillizza,
If you are truly interested in the question you ask, I recommend you spend an hour or two reading posts at http://www.article6blog.com/, a blog by a smart, thoughtful evangelical, and a smart, thoughtful Mormon about that very question. It is the best source by a mile.

Posted by: Sludj | June 20, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The MAster is a slave WITHOUT their slaves. Rather

I never know if I'm just typing to fast or if CC is saboatging me. :)

Posted by: sorry | June 20, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

What can you do with a trillion/billion dollars? How is it even possible to spend that much money. What is the real differance between a BMW and a Bentley. How can these super rich people live in 35 room mansions with only their wife/husband and their maids/butlers?

Get back to the people that are making you what you are. "In a free society no man/woman is a slave. Each have a RECIPRICAL need for each other." The worker needs the owner and the owner needs the worker. The master is a SLAVE with THEIR slaves. This is how america is being bleed out, Mostly by the republicans. Outsourcing. Shipping jobs overseas. Paying the absolute minimum to your employees so you can make an absolute profit ( for your stock holders). If you worker quits, who cares their are 20 slaves lined up to fill his/her position. For less money probably. Slaves were out lawed at one time

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 20, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Fletch, even that site if filled with lies.
Case and point.
http://www.lds.org/pa/display/0,17884,5511-1,00.html

The truth is a bit more complicated.
Notice the chronology offered by the text: "widowed by her first husband" and then "later marriage to Brigham Young". In fact her first husband died 9 years after Brigham.

Here is the actual timeline of events:
7 Mar 1841 Marriage to Henry Jacobs
27 Oct 1841 Marriage to Joseph Smith
2 Jan 1842 Birth of Zebulon Jacobs, fathered by Henry Jacobs
27 Jun 1844 Death of Joseph Smith
2 Feb 1846 Marriage to Brigham Young (Zina was 8 months pregnant)
22 Mar 1846 Birth of Henry C. Jacobs, fathered by Henry Jacobs
3 Apr 1850 Birth of Zina Young, fathered by Brigham Young
29 Aug 1877 Death of Brigham Young
1 Aug 1886 Death of Henry Jacobs

Posted by: JanaM | June 20, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

What is the alternative? Blank poster? Go hide fromt he conservative movement? Go into a cave and let whatever they want to happen become reality? Who are the hero's today? Where are our leaders? I would say America no longer has heroes. Why is that, blank poster?

Greed. Republicans love to say, "We are not a democracy, we are a republic."

Read this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_founding_of_Rome

The top HAS to feed the bottom. Greed. HAs done this to us. These rich people do not care about this country. Our elected leaders are not PAtriots. They have all sold us out to corporations. Who will stop this? Congress, the justice department? Who wil' stop Rush and Fox "News" destruction of the American media? the FCC?

They are all mia. We used to be a nation of laws. I'm not saying I'm the man to fix this. I am a christian and believe God has us in his palm. Bush tried and failed his plan at a fascist takeover. Again, I am not the one who will change the world. I may or may not reach that person. Read the bible blanck poster. Don't hate on me.

God is Love. God is Hope. God is Guilt

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 20, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Rufus1133 - You've taken it upon yourself to "save" one of us each day. If that isn't ego, I don't know what is.

Humbly pompous?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_cave

"Once enlightened, so to speak, the freed prisoner would not want to return to the cave to free "his fellow bondsmen," but would be compelled to do so. Another problem lies in the other prisoners not wanting to be freed: descending back into the cave would require that the freed prisoner's eyes adjust again, and for a time, he would be one of the ones identifying shapes on the wall. His eyes would be swamped by the darkness, and would take time to become acclimated. Therefore, he would not be able to identify shapes on the wall as well as the other prisoners, making it seem as if his being taken to the surface completely ruined his eyesight. (The Republic bk. VII, 516b-c; trans. Paul Shorey).[2]"

Posted by: Rufus1133 | June 20, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"Get over yourself"

I have no ego :)

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 20, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

After reading all of the many comments made on this site, I find it very interesting, as an active Mormon, that so many non-Mormon's are telling me what I believe.

I cannot count how many of these posts claim to know something about the LDS faith and then proceed to misquote, obscure and twist it's beliefs into something that makes them comfortable in their hatred.

All too often people are taking their cues from anti-Mormons, excommunicated Mormons or others who have never even met a Mormon but for some reason feel threatened by them. If you want to know what Mormons are truly about and what they believe, go to the source.

http://www.lds.org

Posted by: Fletch | June 20, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I spent the evening reading this entire blog last night.

All I can say is that there is a lot of meanspirited, uninformed, uneducated, self appreciating bigots living in this world who wouldn't recognize Christianity if it bit them on the butt.

While I don't suspect that any of you have ever read the Book of Mormon, one wonders if any have read the Bible! Start with Genesis.

Before you continue burping on about things you know nothing about, you should probably educate yourself first.

Actually it was quite entertaining: John Smith? Bingham Young? Introducing my husband to a beautiful (what about ugly?) 16 year old girl? Non Christian? $cientology cult?

Isn't is ironic that the Southern "Born Agains" with Baptist being their "nominal religion" (meaning they never stepped inside a church) rail against the Mormons with their "blacks in the priesthood" history. Wasn't owning another person (black) was the God given right of the religious Southern folk?

Wow! I think I will go back to watching South Park and Big Love to get the "facts" about Mormons so I can write informed and correct blogs.

Posted by: jlhoser | June 20, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

slcathena,
"we've already had 8 years of someone who thinks he was pre-ordained the boy-king by God, and look where that has gotten us?" So if Bush was an athiest and took the same actions, you would feel better about that? People should judge politicians on what the actually do and not why they do it. If somebody is pro-choice and you agree with that position, does it really matter why they are pro-choice or what lead them to become pro-choice? You can look into why to see perhaps how strongly they believe that position (i.e., did the candidate just have a change of heart before an election or was this a position that they have held for a while based on a personal experience) or as a way to help determine if they are being truthful or not. Disqualifying somebody simply because they are religious is ridiculous and damaging to this country as it basically eliminates a majority of the people in this country from becomming president.

"is bound BY LAW from being actively involved in any canidacy in an organizational/administrative way." If you'll notice, i said that doing this SHOULD not violate the constitution. People throw around the "separation of church and state" like it was meant to mean that you can't even say the "G" word if you work for the government. That is simply not the case.

Posted by: Dave! | June 20, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

And there are horror stories about every religion.

So, we never vote for anybody!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

June 19 - I worked with a man who was nominally Mormon and never went to the ward or participated in any way. I asked him why he did not just petition to be taken off the "rolls" of the LDS. His reply was that if he did that, his family would suffer. The wife and children would be questioned or shunned by other members of the LDS. That, to me, was one of the worst things I had ever heard about a church, religion, cult or whatever.

My oldest grandson is LDS and he was married in the temple in Salt Lake City. I could not attend the actual wedding, nor could other members of the family because we are not Mormon and therefore not "worthy" to enter the temple. For a family-based group, the Mormons sure know how to ostracize people not of their beliefs.

I have read many books including the Book of Mormon and have studied this group and lived in Utah for almost 20 years. Never would I vote for a member of this group.

Posted by: Utahreb | June 20, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"Excuse me, but I really don't think you need you to "save" me. Get over yourself." - janine

Rufus1133 - I second that!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

The universal vice has struck again. Not to wax philosophical, but it is plainly obvious that the great friction of personal beliefs is grinding. Not that it has ever stopped since its introduction to society via Cain. Since then, it has gradually accelerated to its present zenith of hatred and war. Such an emotionally charged issue of religion makes it near hopless to discuss in any dignity or rationality. It appears that Romney will not only have to convince voters of the legitimacy of his religion, his presidential bid necessitates reversing the tide of the entire nation from ignorance and hatred to respect for one another.

Posted by: David | June 20, 2007 3:00 AM | Report abuse

Brendan, agreed. Mitt Romney's governance of Massachusetts left much to be desired - that is, on the infrequent occasions that he was actually in the state and not sashaying around the country tooting his own horn.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2007 2:45 AM | Report abuse

ANYone who puts the rules and regulations of ANY religion in a more privileged place than that held by logic and reasoned discussion is not qualified to be president. Mormon, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Jew, Muslim, Loyal Bushie, whatever. Religion should have no place in political life. Morality, sure, but religion, thank you, no.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2007 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Dave:

"What issues would those be? I don't see any. Wouldn't this person simply be labeled a strict constitutionalist? If I (non-Mormon) am a strict constitutionalist, that is ok. But if I were a Morman that believed that (or believed it because i was a Mormon), that would violate the separation of church/state?"

The problem is no one knows what that means, but we've already had 8 years of someone who thinks he was pre-ordained the boy-king by God, and look where that has gotten us? The idea of another heavenly inspired administration sits VERY poorly with me.

"How? If your life revolves around a church (any one), these are the people you would have helping you. If you were an athiest member of ACLU, would you not utilize your relationship with that organization? Church and state are not mutually exclusive. You can be religous, act religious, even try to legislate based on the teachings of your religion. It's just that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Building a fundraising database from the people you associate with should not violate the constitution."

Because the Mormon Church gets a tax break for being a religious organization, and is bound BY LAW from being actively involved in any canidacy in an organizational/administrative way. See the following piece from last October:

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/10/19/romney_camp_consulted_with_mormon_leaders/

Posted by: slcathena | June 20, 2007 2:30 AM | Report abuse

I have no problem with a Mormon being President. A person's faith should have no bearing on their ability to lead. However, I do have a problem with Mitt Romney being President.

Posted by: Brendan | June 20, 2007 2:25 AM | Report abuse

I suppose that if I believed all the half-truths and outright lies I've seen here about what Mormons believe I'd also wonder if any member of that religion has the capabaility of holding any public office. Sadly, what you read here is often the result of prejudice and/or ignorance. True, we Mormons have some strange beliefs, but so does every other religion that I know of (and even some non-religions).

That said, it's always a legitimate question how a presidential candidate's religion and/or philosophical outlook might affect the kind of job he/she would do as president. But the way to do that isn't to dwell on the perceived beliefs of the religion itself, but to look at what the candidate says and, more importantly, does.

In the case of Romney, much of the record is clear. He has earned gazillions of dollars as an executive (so it's fair to say money is an important value of his), and he served as the Republican governor of a Democratic state, ending up with a mixed record of sorts. And he has run a strong campaign for president, answering questions endlessly as all of them do and making his views known in scores of debates and other appeearances. There'e plenty there to like and plenty to dislike. (For me, his support for Bush is too much to stomach, and at this point I'm supporting Barack Obama for president.)

With all the information about Romney we have to go on, what difference does it make that Romney's religion doesn't accept the Nicene Creed? He isn't running to become America's bishop.

Would Romney lead an ethical administration? Does he share America's values? Could he help families? Is he honest? These are all legitimate questions that can be answered without dwelling on the all-too-often-inaccurate details that many people "know" about Romney's faith.

Posted by: Eric | June 20, 2007 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Would Christians, Muslims, and Jews expect candidates of their respective faiths to face historical scrutiny against the central tenets of their faiths when a candidate who shares their beliefs runs for public office? I don't think much of Joe Smith as a person or a prophet, but I will decide on Mitt Romney based upon his character and the policies he backs, not the nuances of his faith. These issues need not be a central part of public campaigns, but unfortunately, many people would rather relegate Mormonism to cult status than accept that different people with different backgrounds will understand and think of the spiritual world in different, but not irreconciable, ways.

Posted by: Kevin Steimel | June 19, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't care about the history of the LDS, or the belief system of the LDS, or anything else about the LDS. And for the most part I don't feel qualified to determine what is a mainstream religion and what is a cult. (Scientology being an exception)

How a person has lived his life should be considered when choosing a president. Mitt Romney seems to have lived a good life, seems to have a very nice family, and seems to have done extraordinarily well in the world of business. He may not be perfect, but he's a better candidate than any of the Democrats currently running.

Posted by: Jerry Baustian | June 19, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

slcathena,
"a Mormon needs to be the leader of the country to restore the Constitution (which is held to be a divinely inspired document by the LDS Church). That raises massive issues of the separation of Church and state..." What issues would those be? I don't see any. Wouldn't this person simply be labeled a strict constitutionalist? If I (non-Mormon) am a strict constitutionalist, that is ok. But if I were a Morman that believed that (or believed it because i was a Mormon), that would violate the separation of church/state?

"...in the run-up to announcing his candidacy Romney was found using LDS Church organizing lists, institutions associated with BYU, etc. That directly violated the separation of Church and State..." How? If your life revolves around a church (any one), these are the people you would have helping you. If you were an athiest member of ACLU, would you not utilize your relationship with that organization? Church and state are not mutually exclusive. You can be religous, act religious, even try to legislate based on the teachings of your religion. It's just that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Building a fundraising database from the people you associate with should not violate the constitution.

Posted by: Dave! | June 19, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Skj1vip,
"They have their own internal welfare system, funded by those thithes, and they resent taxes, part of which go to fund welfare programs and schools for non Mormons, who are "lost" anyway. They hate the public school system, and favor vouchers and charter schools, so that they can use public funds to send their children to all LDS schools, where they will never be exposed to un Mormon ideas or history."
Let me see if i get this straight. They look to their family, friends and church for help when they need it instead of the government. They would rather give directly to charity instead of giving it to the government for some beaurocrat to determine where best to spend it. They support school choice which allows schools to compete against each other, thereby helping public, private and the education system in general. What exactly is the downside? Aside from that, I was completely unaware that Massachusettes ditched their welfare system and public schools under Romney. I am surprised that did not make the papers! Judge people on what they have done and what they say they will do. Everyone has their "weirdness". For cripes sake, Hillary had imaginary conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi but she is OK?

Posted by: Dave! | June 19, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

As far as I can tell there are 3 interesting issues surrounding Romney's faith, 2 that I haven't seen brought up yet, and one that I've seen mentioned tangentially.

First, the "White Horse Prophecy" in the Mormon Church is the reason that Joseph Smith ran unsuccessfully for the White House during his lifetime. There is an actual teaching in the LDS Church that a Mormon needs to be the leader of the country to restore the Constitution (which is held to be a divinely inspired document by the LDS Church). That raises massive issues of the separation of Church and state that far surpass any concern that people had about Al Smith or JFK.

Second, last fall in the run-up to announcing his candidacy Romney was found using LDS Church organizing lists, institutions associated with BYU, etc. That directly violated the separation of Church and State and while his excuse was that he was reaching out to "many faiths" the bottom line is that when asked which other faiths he had talked with he hadn't talked to any of them yet.

Finally, and the most interesting meta-question to me, most people (except for practicing Mormons) are of the opinion that Mormons are not Christians for the reasons Nate in Appleton as well as others have posted above. The question is, could ANY non-Christian win the presidency of the United States at this time, I'm pretty sure the answer is no. I personally wouldn't have a problem with a Buddhist, Atheist, etc. president, but most people in the country would, as a few studies, recently one from Gallup and discussed by Michael Berube here: http://www.tpmcafe.com/blog/coffeehouse/2007/apr/05/skepticism_about_faith have found.

Posted by: slcathena | June 19, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

In response to "Attorney Mike" post at 5:51

Dude, what are you talking about... You have my name in your post but did you read what I said? Here is a tip.... one post is at 1202 and the other is at 1003.

Your comment refer to the (I guess) Mormon (?) view of the resurrection of Christ, The creation of man in God' image, the nature of the holy trinity, homosexuality and abortion and the role of religion in the GOP primary. Very interesting, very nice.... nothing to do with the historical reality of Joseph Smith and of the Mormon church in the mid 1800s.
Sorry, "Attorney Mike", I'm going to have to go with the fact checkers (see earlier post for info on what these are) at PBS and the Encyclopedia Britannica on this one.
1.Joseph Smith claimed to be able to use "special gifts" to find gold in the ground while he was living in Palmyra NY in the early 1820s.
2. President Buchanan declared Utah to be in a state of rebellion in 1856 and dispatched 20,000 troops to quell the rebellion.
3. On September 7, 1857, between 120 and 140 people, every man, woman, and child over 7 years in the Baker-Fancher wagon train were killed by a Mormon force led by John Lee acting under orders from Brigham Young. Young and the leaders of the LDS lied and led a cover up that blamed local Indians for the massacre.
4. Blacks were not allowed into the Mormon priesthood until 1978 (The disco era).

5. Homosexuals and feminist intellectuals continue to be excommunicated from the Mormon faith on an ongoing basis.

6. The reports of families "shunning" excommunicated family members are based on individual cases. I am very pleased to hear that individual families stay in contact.

"Attorney Mike" please tell me, please, which of these facts are "False, False, False... you get my drift... cite your sources for your assertions and please don't tell me your local Mormon bishop told you so. If you cite my name, address the issues I raised... Don't rant on about articles of faith. These are facts... not beliefs..... but as a lawyer you SHOULD know the difference. If you don't, head right on down to Washington D.C..... I hear there are a lot of open slots in the Justice department right about now for folks who don't know the difference between facts and faith... you should fit right in. Call Monica Goodling she should get you an appointment right away... as long as you are a "Loyal Bushie"

Posted by: nate in appleton | June 19, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Romney's Mormon issue will not be an issue.

His campaign was already undermined by his shifty positions, and a Republican base would never vote for such a lack of consistency to begin with.

Posted by: jojo | June 19, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

To Marquise: Well, you certainly make being LDS sound idealic, all that free will and all, but what about that list of books you're not allowed to read?

And saying that men can't get into the Celestial Kingdom without a wife, either, does not make it OK that the place is restricted to married people - married people who have been sealed in the Temple only. A LDS can't be sealed to a non LDS, because a non LDS cannot enter the Temple, so all those wonderful "mixed" marriages you cite means that the LDS member must be satisfied with the lesser levels of Heaven. Just great!

I don't know where you live, but I live in Arizona, which has a very high percentage of Mormons, who were originally sent here by the LDS Church to colonize this neighboring state to Utah. Our State Legislature is controled by right wing LDS from heavily LDS districts in Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Snowflake, and Colorado City, where most of them live, bunched together, to control as many legislative districts as possible. Some LDS aquintences of mine were coerced by their Stake to move from Mesa to another district the Church were trying to turn into a LDS majority district. They weren't the only ones.

Our LDS legislators want to build a fence across Arizona's southern border, and round up every illegal in the state and deport them. They are opposed to all tax increases for any reason whatsoever, including extending ChildCare to all the State's children. They opposed making early kindergarten available to all children. They opposed raises for State employees, and for public school teachers.
They railroaded through legislation creating "Charter Schools:, private schools that receive, on a per child basis, the exact money from the State as public schools, and then proceeded to create hundreds of LDS Charter Schools, and put their children in them. The treachers there do not have to be state certified teachers, and religion IS taught there. They tried to pass a school voucher program, but the state Surpreme Court struck it down. So then they passed an act that allowed residents to designate $250 each of their state income tax due not go to the state, but to a scholorship fund to send students to charter schools, most of which are Mormon run and full of Mormon students (those not Mormon are Catholic). Meanwhile, the public schools are crumbling. And while public school students most pass a mandated test to receive a high school diploma, Charter School students do not, but they still get State tax money for each of their students.

I track how these LDS legislators vote, weekly, on the legislature's website. Talk about groupthink! It can be no accident that these LDS legislators vote exactly the same way every single time, and they control the speakership of the House, and Senate leadership, and therefore decide what bills get heard or advanced, exactly the way they do it in Utah. One of them, Karen Johnson, even said on her website that it was entirely appropriate for her to represent LDS interests, since her constituents were LDS. Seems she hadn't read the state constitution that states representatives must represent the interests and welfare of the state as a whole.
This behavior, and the arrogant and condesending way these people treat non LDS is why I think no LDS is fit for public office. They believe they are "chosen", and the rest of us are damned, and need not be heded.

And by the way, the Stake my former husband joined was a large Stake in a major US city, so those LDS were not some backwater country hicks who somehow got the doctrine wrong, like you seem to suggest. And yes, they did tell me black people had no souls, so I was pretty surprised when President David MaKay suddenly had a "revelation" that that was some how a big mistake after all. Just like plural marriage was a big mistake when Utah couldn't join the USA, even though Joseph Smith and Brigham Young preached it and lived it. Pretty convenient. How can you possibly believe this stuff? No wonder most thinking Americans think Mormons are nuts, and the LDS Church is a cult. If it walks like duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck!

Posted by: Skj1vip | June 19, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Obama's campaign grows up a little bit.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2007/06/sweet_column_obama_says_clinto.html

"Sweet column: Obama says Clinton hit memo slamming Indian ties his staff leaked is "stupid" a "mistake."

WASHINGTON -- Seeking to limit damage within the Indian-American Democratic community, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said Monday it was a "screw-up" and "stupid" and a "mistake" for his campaign to issue a memo slamming ties rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and her husband, Bill, have to India and Indian-Americans.

"In sum, our campaign made a mistake," Obama said in a statement released through a group of Indian-American supporters called South Asians for Obama '08.


"Although I was not aware of the contents of the memo prior to its distribution, I consider the entire campaign -- and in particular myself -- responsible for the mistake." "

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | June 19, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

fyi "Bloomberg leaves Republican Party
NYC mayor, subject of speculation about presidential run, now unaffiliated"

Looks like they are playing the old split the democrat ticket again. Another attempt at republican sabotage of the govenment.

Posted by: rufus | June 19, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

skj1vip - the Mormons sound a lot like the Evangelicals and other Christian fundies. Wonder why all these freakazoids can't get along.

Posted by: James | June 19, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

If not me then who. The news. The Justice Department? The FCC?

Those departmetns are all MIA until a democrat or independant are elected president. I wish that wasn't the case. But hey.

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

A (female) friend of mine who was studying to be a presbyterian pastor before she converted to Mormonism once commented that as a Mormon women she can (and is expected to) do more than she ever did as an associate pastor - she teaches, she leads, she performs ordinances, she preaches from the pulpit, she runs a large public relations committee, and the list goes on and on. While I disagree with the women who said that no LDS woman wants the priesthood because being a bishop/stake president is a lot of hard work (I think that is a cop-out answer and that it is equally true that few men want to be called to these very labor-intensive, volunteer positions), I think that the structure of the church gives women more opportunities to teach and lead than they know. I do not claim to understand why women are not currently given priesthood responsibilities, but I can wait for futher light and knowledge. In the meantime, I have decided to stop worrying about what I don't have and to start worrying about how to serve the poor, fight injustice (in and out of the church), love my neighbor, and better use the overwhelming power and responsibility I do have a a daughter of my Heavenly Father.

To skj1vp: I am sorry that you had such a horrible experience with mormonism, and I am sure that your beliefs about the church reflect your own experiences with some of its members. As a public-school believing, happily tax-paying, obidient to civil law, born-and-raised Mormon, I can tell you that my life (and my experiences with church members) are not the same as yours. I only know of only one family in my congregation who home-schools their children (and not for religious reasons), I attended (and teach at) non-LDS universities, I happily contribute to LDS (which are open to anyone, regardless of their faith or non-faith) and non-LDS charities and welfare programs, and I do not believe that I will ride into heaven on my husband's coat-tails (nor that he will ride in on mine). In fact, I know many LDS men and women who are married to non-LDS spouses and none have ever been encouraged to leave their spouse to ensure their future progression. While many, of course, hope that they can share something with their spouse that has brought them so much joy, members who truly understand their religion also understand that free will is paramount in God's plan. Marriage (in or out of the faith) is sacred, and strengthening the bond between couples is vital. I am sorry that your experiences ran counter to this (as I've said, mormons are very human and can make lots of mistakes).

Posted by: Marquise | June 19, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

not the one today ,excuse me

Posted by: rufus | June 19, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Then you are no the one today Janine. Don't stop or hate on me. Let that person live. Let me life. Peace in America should be of far greater concern to AMERICANS than a war half way around the world :)

Peace to you

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

The entire bible is not from God. God IS in the bible. I wouldn't follow it word for word. I don't believe that was the goal of the writers. It is VERY probable the writers of the bible were gnostics as well as Jesus himself. He may very well be the son of God. The facts are impossible to answer today 2000 years after the fact.

To blindly follow word for word is ignorance. Why is it that the conservative movement loves the old testement. Is it because that God was vengeful and used hate against his enemies? What happened to the love and tolerance of the new testment?

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, but I really don't think you need you to "save" me. Get over yourself.

Posted by: Janine | June 19, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Skj1vip -- well, that confirms everything I've heard about Mormons and women. No way. Nuff said.

Posted by: Sadie | June 19, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

The correct answers to Nate in Appleton's six "facts" about Mormonism are: False, False, False, False, False, and False. For a theology professor, he is surprisingly uninformed and biased against religions other than his own. Doesn't he know that:
1. The Bible states that Jesus was resurrected as a man with a perfected immortal body, with which he ate and drank with his apostles, and he then ascended to heaven in that same body.
2. God created man in God's image, he didn't create Jesus in Man's image. If our spiritual and physical bodies are similar to God's body, that doesn't denigrate God, it only elevates mankind as the children of a loving God.
3. The early Christians knew that God's son, Jesus, was a separate being from God the Father, and that is consistent with the Old and New Testaments. The Catholic doctrine of the "Trinity" was not canonized until a majority of a council voted for it 400 years after Christ's resurrection.
4. Governor Romney's statements as a social conservative are consistent with the conservative values of his church, which believes that (a)homosexual conduct is immoral and gay marriage should be illegal, but people who have homosexual tendencies should not be discriminated against; and (b)abortion should not be legal, except in cases of rape, incest, or where the mother's life is endangered by the pregnancy.
5. The Republican party will not choose their best candidate if they include or exclude a nominee based upon which church he or she was born into. Religious faith is personal, and there is no benefit in debating which miracles and which religious leaders each of us believes. If Governor Romney can beat Hillary Clinton, we should all vote for him.

Posted by: Attorney Mike | June 19, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

No disrespect Janine. My goal here is to save one person a day. That's it. No more. I'm not sinister. Someone that needs to hear what I say will. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow maybe 5 years ago. I'm just trying to do my job.

I need to save one person a day. If that person isn't you. Please ignore. MAybe you are though. Think about the future. Think about how history will record us

Posted by: Rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Sorry. That's how he's going to steal your vote.

There you go

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

To man ARE slave and clones. Individuality is the life blood. Creativity is important and would be gone if we are all the same. Mormonism is the same as conservatism. Worker bee's. No question asking working bee's. Is there anything wrong with that?

That depends if you agree with SLAVERY or not? I don't. I try and shine the light on all mormons, when they start to hate. I tell them, "I can worship me God under a tree. Why be a slave to a church."

Follow God not man. Slaves. clones. They should fit right in with dittoheads :)

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"And that what's Romney wants you to think. That's how is is goin gto STEWAl your vote. It's definatly not the issues. It's the poor persecuted against moron. This is simple misdirection. Trying to get you to focus on that which does not matter"

First of all, your second sentence is incoherent. Second, maybe that is what Romney wants me to think, but that also happens to be my opinion. Third, Romney isn't bringing the issue up, so he his campaign is not trying to get me to focus on it. As I said, I am not voting for him and nothing will sway me to vote for him. I just think it is stupid that his religion is causing this turmoil. It's not important but here all of us are typing away about it.

Posted by: Janine | June 19, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Wow l1btvn. Wow. That is on point

Posted by: rufus | June 19, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

l1btvn,
How can Mormon people be so good if their religion is so bad? Didn't Jesus say that by their fruits you shall know them?

Posted by: brian | June 19, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Just a comment on Skj1vip's post. I don't really want to go into all of the innacuracies and mistakes posted there, but I have repeatedly seen on these boards when discussing Mormons the idea that women cannot go to heaven without men. While it is LDS doctrine that women cannot attain the highest "level" of heaven without a husband, it is also true that a man cannot attain the highest "level" of heaven without a wife. Leaving out that last part makes it sound so much worse. By the way, who your father is has nothing to do with getting into heaven.

One other thing I've sees a lot of is people blasting Mormons for believing things that they (the critics) think mormons believe based on an episode of "South Park." Isn't that a little ironic? I know that I could never vote for someone who believes that south park is a good source for religious information.

Posted by: brian | June 19, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I believe that the specifics of Romney's faith are important for voters to hear. Which is why, before I get to Mr. Romney, I would start with Mormonism. I have read numerous articles and the most complete and dispassionate book available on the topic (Mormon America, by Richard and Joan Ostling - all 439 pages of it) and I reached at least one certain conclusion: that to be fair, one needs to distinguish between rank-and-file Mormons and Mormonism. The former appear to be solid citizens, hard working people, with strong family ties and a great passion for their faith and their church. The latter, Mormonism and the Mormon Church, are an altogether different matter.

In all religions one can find controversial, difficult to accept beliefs and in the history of all churches one can find negative historical events, equivocations about or suppression of the historical truth (I speak as one still searching for religious truth and certainly not trusting any church to have it all).

But, when it comes to Mormonism and the Mormon Church, the questions about the sanity of it all are overwhelming. The details of the presumed discovery and translation of the golden tablets of the Book of Mormon; the so-called translation of the Book of Abraham from Egyptian papyri, that all professional Egyptologists read instead as a banal funerary text; the very questionable character and activities of the founder, the prophet Joseph Smith; the total lack of archeological and DNA evidence for the story of Mormon; the secrecy surrounding everything (the temple rituals, the establishment of polygamy after a religious revelation, data about the retention of new members, the financial situation of the church etc.); the persecution and excommunication of a large and unending stream of dissenters; the belief in a continuous revelation, which makes for an ever-shifting and contradictory theology; the pretense to fit in the "mainstream' Christianity (while it is obvious that, except for the name - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -, the reported appearance of Jesus in America after his death, and the respect for the Bible - which is a version of the King James Bible corrected by Joseph Smith!, there is very little in common between the Christian and the Mormon theology): all of this and a myriad of other points (one could go on for pages) are so preposterous, questionable, and absurd as to defy belief.

But by far the most outrageous of all aspects of Mormonism (which explains the difference in my evaluation of Church/Mormonism and rank-and-file Mormons) is the rigorous thought-control and "saintly indoctrination" of the faithful by the so-called General Authorities, the FARMS (Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) and the CES (Church Education System): these, consistently and as a matter of policy, put the church's secular interests above historical and rational truth and hide any controversial aspect of the Mormon faith and history from the faithful. To conclude, in the words of the Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt (Ostling p. 263): "The Book of Mormon claims to be a divinely inspired record... This book must be either true or false.... If false, it is one of the most cunning, wicked, bold, deep-laid impositions ever palmed upon the world, calculated to deceive and ruin millions who will sincerely receive it as the word of God.... If true, no one can possibly be saved and reject it...". I have already chosen between these alternatives, but I would urge all who consider voting for a Mormon President in 2008 to read the book mentioned above or others and choose for themselves.

In the case of Mr. Romney, apart from evaluating his positions (themselves quite shifting), one has to face a preliminary choice, considering his former level in the hierarchy of the Church (a bishop). If he is unaware of the aspects of Mormonism I discussed above, then one has to doubt his discernment and has to wonder if he will have the sound judgment one expects from those who govern us. If he is aware of those aspects, then he is a participant in perpetuating a fraud and one has to seriously question whether truth will be for him always secondary to whatever goal he sets for himself and proposes to the country.

Posted by: l1btvn | June 19, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Rm above makes a good point. If an amish ran whould he be questioned? What if he wanted get rid of electricty and go back to their way of live. No tv no radio no computers. Whould we question his faith?

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

"When a person decides that they no longer believe in the LDS Church or is excommunicated, there is nothing that says that cannot maintain contact with their family members that are still LDS"

THAT IS THE DIFFERACE. A christian has a personal relationship with God. A man on earth can't excomminucate that, just as no man can resolve your sins (catholics). A christain, real christain, cannot be excommunicated on this world. That is called judgement day. That doesn't mean that chrsitians can't point out false prophets.

For instance, if anything I am saying today in the name of christianity I would hope a christian would come out and tell me where I'm wrong. That is where the mormen Romeny issue comes in. What if he believe, hypothetically speaking, all asians were born in hell. He may discriminate againt asians. ie Abortions, gays, economy, immgrants, foregin policy.

If his relion is going to influence his decision son these topics WE NEED TO KNOW. How and why. I wish they would leave religon out of politics compleatly like the founders intended. This way they could keep their religon to themsleves.

Posted by: rufus | June 19, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Hoyt Maulden is correct in his characterization of what Mormons believe, and they are not, in any meaningful sense of the word, "Christians". Yes, they believe in "Jesus Christ", but not the Christ recognizable to Christians.

I was once married to a LDS man, and heavily educated in their beliefs in a campaign to get me to convert. When I ultimately refused, the LDS church destroyed my marriage, because my husband could not "progress" or be eligible for the Celestial Kingdom if married to a non-LDS.

I (nominal Methodist) married my high school sweetheart (nominal Southern Baptist) at 18, and we went off to college on his baseball scholorship. He picked the college that gave him the best "deal": we arrived knowing no one there, and it was very lonely. A couple of LDS missionary boys "befriended" my husband, and were soon at our apartment every night but Wednesday and Sunday (when they were required to be in church). The efforts to convert us were relentless, but particularly aimed at my husband, not surprising, in that it is a religion that benefits males. A female can only attain Heaven based on the spritial accomplishments of her husband, or if not married, those of her father. She cannot enter the Celestial Kingdom on her own merits. I was outraged.
My husband was baptised, and became a priest, like all adult LDS men, could perform marriages, funerals, and other church sacrements. No women can attain the priesthood or perform these rituals, and at that time, no black person, of either sex, could either. Later, their current prophet had a revelation that black men could be priests, but only after it began to appear racist to deny them.
Thereafter, I was visited by the Stake president, who told me "we" (I was the only one with a job) had to tithe 10% of our gross income to the church, or my husband would not receive a "temple recommendation", and that it was also my duty to have as many children as possible, because the souls of our children were in the Pre-existence, waiting to be born into human life so that they could earn their way to the Celestial Kingdom. (These "souls" had been created by the sexual congress of God and his wife, but must pass through a human phase to get to Heaven). My husband stopped using condems, so I secretly obtained and took birth control pills. The pressure on me to convert was enormous, and my husband and I fought about it nearly everyday. He would even cry, and say I was preventing him from marrying me in the Temple, where we would be sealed to each other for eternity, and he could not go to the Temple to baptize his ancestors "who were in Hell because they hadn't been baptised in the Church", and he couldn't enter the Celestial Kingdom and become a god in his own right, all my fault.
Eventually, the LDS Elders understood that I would not join the church, so they introduced my husband to a beautiful 16 year old girl from an old LDS family. She always sat with him in church, and became his "special friend". After a year of this, he told me he had to divorce me to "save his soul". We did divorce.
This is America, and I believe any American is entitled to his religious beliefs, however pecuiliar, as long as they don't hurt other people. What concerns me here is that the LDS church grants or withholds the means to achieve salvation (by their lights) based on how obedient the members are to the demands of the church hierarcy and LDS tenets, and Mormons are raised to fear losing these religious privledges above all else. If they lose their temple privledges through disobedience, they can not perform the religious rituals (including baptising the dead) that allow them to earn their access to the Celestial Kingdom, and godhood. A LDS man, a priest, can never follow his own conscience, if it differs from church teachings or church authority, and civil law is considered to be inferior to church law and authority. For that reason, I would never vote for a member of the LDS Church for any position whatsoever in government. They do not represent the people; they use the position to benefit the aims of the LDS church.
Make no mistake - the LDS church considers all nonmembers to be lost and damned, and unimportant (unless converted). They have their own internal welfare system, funded by those thithes, and they resent taxes, part of which go to fund welfare programs and schools for non Mormons, who are "lost" anyway. They hate the public school system, and favor vouchers and charter schools, so that they can use public funds to send their children to all LDS schools, where they will never be exposed to un Mormon ideas or history. We elect a Mormon President at our peril; he will never belong to us, only to them.

Posted by: Skj1vip | June 19, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

'demonizing the LDS church with their wraths and spews of bigotries,'

they sure talk funny.

'I have no desire to be Bishop or Stake President. I don't know any LDS women that would want to be in those positions. They are hard to do, and I'm glad that I don't have to worry about ever filling those shoes. '

Remember Brave New World? Where everyone in the lower castes didn't want to be any higher, because it was so 'hard' to be an Alpha or a Beta, becuase they had to 'think' so much? And of course, the Alphas and the Betas got all the societal goodies.

Thanks JS, for reminding me why as a woman I find Mormonism repellent.

Posted by: Sadie | June 19, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

There are two issues here: what do Mormons believe, and will those beliefs negatively affect how Romney would run this country. To the first issue, I would invite all to visit the website www.lds.org. There, just about every question you could possibly have about Mormons is answered. There are no secrets. To the second issue I would invite many of you to look back at past presidents. We've had Quakers, Deists (who don't, by the way, have a traditional belief in God; Jefferson was one of them), evangelicals, protestants, catholics, etc. We've had them all. Many of these presidents we would consider our finest. How is it then that Romney's flavor of religion requires so much more explanation than other presidential candidates? Isn't his profession of religion and belief enough. He's already proven that he is not going to try to establish a theocracy, as ridiculous as that sounds. I think what's happening is that we have a bunch of religious bigots in this country who believe Romney's up to something sinister. If you look at the field of candidates, he's clearly the best qualified. So religion is the only way to try and discredit him. Wow.

Posted by: RM | June 19, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

It boggles my mind on how every time this topic comes up, the "experts" come out of the woodwork posting on things which they know nothing about, or cannot prove.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Michael,
I have no desire to be Bishop or Stake President. I don't know any LDS women that would want to be in those positions. They are hard to do, and I'm glad that I don't have to worry about ever filling those shoes. The Relief Society is a pretty hard job too, if you ask me.

Posted by: JS | June 19, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

"mr romney's family has a background in polygamy." - gt

gt, you do realize that Mr. Romney is the only Republican candidate still married to his 1st wife, don't you?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

" I can hold offices in the church just the same as any man."

Really, when were you named Bishop or Stake President? Or is the Relief Society equal in your eyes?

Posted by: Michael | June 19, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the tip MBA Mom. I have bookmarked the site. But for the record, while it no doubt has an interesting point of view, the fact that it is associated with BYU does not add to my faith that it is objective. This is an interesting site to get a shot at the official church position on a variety of issues. Frankly, I would be much more interested in a legitimate site for real scholarly work on the LDS... That is not UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE LDS. By the same token, I would be interested in publications put out by the Roman Curia if I was studying the Catholic Church..... but I would hardly expect to get an OBJECTIVE point of view. Having said that.... Thanks for the tip, have a great day. nate

Posted by: nate in appleton | June 19, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

pat.99 commented,
"I have heard a lot of strange stuff about the religion (e.g. only men can talk to God; a woman's soul is destroyed if she doesn't have kids; the leaders of the church can read minds) and I would like to see stuff like this brought up often (with refutation if necessary)."

These are all easy - every one is blatenly false. We believe that EVERY person (regardless of race, gender, etc.) has a right to personal revelation and a unique relationship with God and Christ. As a woman, I preach, I teach, I hold leadership positions (even over men), I do my own praying, and I recieve guidance from God for myself, for my family, and for my stewardships (e.g. inspiration about how I can best organize and lead a youth camp, or help with how to assist a family in need). Second, although families are central in mormon theology, a woman's soul is NOT destroyed if she is unable to or chooses not to have children. As someone who struggled with infertility for a number of years, I am grateful for that. While each couple is encouraged to share their blessings with children (also true in many other Christian and non-Christian faiths), the timing, number, and spacing of children (if any) is left up to the couple (who together can counsel with the Lord in praye about that decision). Third, the leaders of the church have never claimed to be able to read minds. They are human with human faults and foibles. While they may sometimes receive inspiration as to whether or not to believe someone's story (as may anyone who invites the Spirit to be with them), it's nothing like 'reading minds'.

Posted by: Marquise | June 19, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

When a person decides that they no longer believe in the LDS Church or is excommunicated, there is nothing that says that cannot maintain contact with their family members that are still LDS. That is absurd. I know a former LDS member that was once married and had a child, then left his wife to live as a gay man. He still maintains very close contact with his daughter, former wife, and other family members.

In addition - I am a woman that belongs to the same religion as Romney and do not feel oppressed in any way. I can hold offices in the church just the same as any man. In my marriage, we are equal partners. There is nothing that would make me feel oppressed by my husband or the church. When I have children, I hope that I'll be able to stay home with them to care for them. This isn't because the LDS Church mandates it (they don't), but because that's what we think would be best.

I've personally met Mitt, and he is a great person. In my years of following politics, he is one of the first that I feel the best about. Though I am a member of his faith, supporting him has nothing to do with it. I think he is the best candidate to lead the country.

Posted by: JS | June 19, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

mr romney's family has a background in polygamy. his early big money backing comes from a state controlled by the morman faith. that state has refused to address this same issue. mr romney has also refused to make absolutely clear how it is that he will rid this country of an illegal practice that virtually enslaves women.

if you can personally get behind a canidate and a religion with this sort of unaddressed issue, well'nough said.......

Posted by: gt | June 19, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

If Christian republicans have been asked for over eight years now to support a man for no other reason than he's "one of them," why should they just be expected now to roll over and support a man who they believe to be a member of a Utah-based cult as if reigion doesn't matter? The Republicans did this to themselves, they've lost all right to complain about it.

Posted by: Michael | June 19, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Rufus: One beef I have is with those, who in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, think that the Bible, written by around 300 authors over a long stretch of time and translated/changed ad infinitum, insist that it is the inerrant word of God---that in itself boggles my mind but doesn't bother me as much as the exclusion, hatred, etc. that people do in the name of God/Jesus. The other main beef is that some (clearly not all) religious folks think they have the corner on morality and salvation and that the rest of the human race needs to be converted and/or deserves to be cannon fodder.

Posted by: I live with mormons | June 19, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

No way would I vote for a Mormon, more specifically the equivocating Mr. Romney. No, Mormonism is not a Christian church, it is a sect. A teacher,I watched how Mormons filled the heads of unsuspecting reservation Navajo students with all kinds of nonsense about angel Moroni and J. Smith, while drawing them into the fold with food offerings and contrived social events. Desperate, hungry children are often easy targets. Does a nation have to be hoodwinked? I think not.

Posted by: ksdemocrat1 | June 19, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I also believe it is possible Jesus may have been a Gnostic. By saying "I am the son of God" he was telling us we all have the divine spark in us. Gnostic teachings go way back, and tibet is right there. He may have been the son of God.

After 2000 the facts are gone, but the message stays. Is his message truth? To me yes. Are the people claiming to be christians really christians? That depends on if you are following his laws or not.

Most are not. Therefore most cannot claim to be christians. And I, as a christin, have every right to call them on it. Think about the future. Will you kid ask "how is bush a chrisitan"? How is an coulter a christian af she said BLAH."

It's my job as a christian to point out false prophets. FOR OTHER CHRISTIANS. So other christians don't follow them done the path of desolution. We have to question those you would defile our religon.

Posted by: JKrish | June 19, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I just wish that mainstream newspapers would stop repeatedly talking about the "Mormon question" and actually articulate the differences between Mormonism and other religions. And I think they should do this regularly, not just once and figure it is "done". I am very tired of reading an article with all the poll numbers, all the vague comments about "misunderstanding the religion" and never even a summary of what people are actually talking about. I have heard a lot of strange stuff about the religion (e.g. only men can talk to God; a woman's soul is destroyed if she doesn't have kids; the leaders of the church can read minds) and I would like to see stuff like this brought up often (with refutation if necessary).

Posted by: pat.99 | June 19, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Then what is your gripe I live with mormons ? I don't understand. Is it Romney has to answer about his faith? Or that Jesus may or my not be the son of God?

I confused by your rebuttel. What are you trying to say?

Posted by: Rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Rufus, your latest post about who Jesus would be in current times is spot-on.

Peace.

Posted by: I live with mormons | June 19, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"Plus, the whole trip of Christ coming to the New World and building great civilizations etc. Where are the ruins, the forensic evidence of these great cities?"

Posted by: nate in appleton | June 19, 2007 03:03 PM

nate, if you seek scholarly research about Mormonism, the Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship may be helpful to you:

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/

Posted by: MBA Mom | June 19, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Rufus: 1. I never said I was a Christian. 2. I never argued with Jesus' messages, which can be found in other religions. 3. To me the issue isn't BEING right, it's about LIVING right--and I do not include guessing about which religion is "correct" in order to make it happen. 4. I love Jesus and anyone else who subscribes to the Golden Rule, and I really don't care what label I get for it.

Posted by: I live with mormons | June 19, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Mike,
to answer to your question at 12:49, about evidence of Christ coming to america i came across this magazine article about a tablet (or tablets) found in Michigan http://www.ancientamerican.com/article26p1.htm
I don't know if it's authentic or some kind of a hoax, but I think I'll delve a little deeper into it.

Posted by: JWood | June 19, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

If Jesus came back. He would be with the poor and down. He would not stand arm and arm with the "religous right".

He would be for ONE WORLD ONE PEOPLE. He would be for using the industrial machine to feed and house the world. not destroy and starve the world. What would HE do WHEN he comes back? Go do college and become a dentist?

I seriously doubt it. He would be the wise bum, trying to "help" eveyone he comes across, right next to you.

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The venom and silliness spewed from both sides has made me sad. As a practicing Mormon who HAS made a thorough study of the history, I can say that many of the claims made by anti-mormons are based in 'truth', but that a lot of the cultural and historical context is missing (I too would refer the truly curious to Bushman's 'Rough Stone Rolling' as cited above). There are many Mormons who do not question their faith and blindly follow what they have been taught from childhood (the same could be said of any denomination), but the majority of those that I know have in no way been 'brainwashed' - their actions and beliefs are based in study and prayer. They have sincere convictions based on personal experiences with the Spirit. Everyone is welcome in an LDS meeting house, but temples are different - they are not for normal congregational worship (in fact they are not even open on Sundays). They are set apart to maintain a sacredness - in a temple people learn about creation, make covenants with God (for example promising to remain faithful to ones spouse and promising to serve mankind), and take place in rituals (like marriage). I would also like to comment on the experiences of people who have had negative experiences living in Utah or Idaho. I too have seen instances of these kinds of behaviors when I lived in Utah. As unexcusable as I believe these kinds of exclusion are, as a social psychologist I can tell you that they are much more indicitive of any majority group than they are of mormons in specific (and, yes, mormons have all the faults of regular old human beings). I experienced many of the same things growing up in a majority Baptist town in Northern Louisiana. Christ's teachings (and those of the church) are of love, inclusion, and neighborliness, and I think you'll find that most of us try very hard to truly love all of God's children, regardless of their beliefs or even how they treat us.Personally, I will probably not vote for Mitt Romney because I am a democrat, but his faith has nothing to do with my decision.

Posted by: Marquise | June 19, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

All the 'murdering christians" over the last 1500 years. Those people are not christians. You cannot resolve that. If you hate hippies. If you HATE the poor. You are not a christian. No good can come from evil. "You reap what you sow." I don't care how many times you go to church in a day. You are a chisrtian by your actions and words. If you only care about money. You are not a christian.

Regardless of what George Bush or Buchnnan tell you

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"Another biggie for me is the business of Jesus supposedly going into the desert for around twenty years... for what? If he is/was truly the Son of God, why did he need twenty years to figure things out? The Catholic Church is doing a wonderful job trying to squash the idea that he was a gnostic who traveled to what is today Pakistan and India. How about the Trinity? Notice how it's patriarchal? What's up with no women priests?"

Does any of that make his message any less true? Does him being the literal "son of god" make his message more or less true in any way? We don't know the specifics. It's been over 2000 years, history is written by the victors. With that being said. He message is truth. Anybody who does not follow his model IS NOT A CHRISTIAN no matter what they tell you. Not everybody needs to be a christian. But those claiming to be christians need to follow his WORD."If you love me, follow my commands."

If you don't love him don't follow his commands. But don't claim to be a christain while PREACHING hate intolerance torture murder and so on and so forth.

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

anonymous at 12:38 PM asks "Would these people throw out a Buddhist who converted to Christianity because he 'waffled'? The argument is absurd and hypocritical."

-Anonymous, your comparison is absurd and illogical. Romney did not "convert," but rather adjusted his previously tolerant stance on a whole host of social issues specifically because he wanted to be acceptable to the Christian right. That's pandering, not conversion.

next, bluemarker at 12:41 says,
"Your decision of not voting him because of his religion is simply a manifestation of your hatred, arrogance and ignorance!"

-Bluie, I think I speak for a fair number of people when I say that I am not rejecting him because he is Mormon. I am rejecting him because I do not like his performance as governor of Massachusetts, where I live, and because I believe his only true commitment is to himself. His "values" that you mention seem to be for sale to the Christian right.

Bob Booth at 12:49 says,
"Is Romney's faith potentially damaging to our national interest? I will gladly take it--as a non-Mormon--over the crackpot cowboy Christian any day."

-Bob, Romney has been energetically courting the cowboy Christians for a couple years now. As long as they vote for him, he'll support their agenda. Pay attention.

kindergarten lds at 1:16 says - among other things:
"The LDS church and the name,Joseph Smith, will still remain intact and strong after several hundred years, and your name ... after 100 years, will somehow be forgotten with no marks of success in stopping the cause of the LDS church."

-To which I can only say, wow. Way to respond to a polite request for more information on the Mormons' positions on things. You sure know how to make friends in your kindergarten!

And there were a great many other things I would respond to, but just let me finish by saying, I think the Mormon faith is an artificial construct. Of course, that's true of all religions, but I really do think the degree of control exercised by church leaders over believers' work and social lives is stifling, unhealthy, and undemocratic. But that aside, I firmly believe - having lived in Massachusetts throughout Romney's time as governor - that he is a self-interested phony who is both unable and unwilling to see things in any way other than his own. And he's arrogant enough to believe that his way is best for everyone, and that they should be compelled to try it, whether or not they want to.

Posted by: Bokonon | June 19, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Nate: To me one of the greatest ironies of religion is that when given the choice to follow the script about loving or hating, so many people choose the latter by excluding, condemning, etc. With respect to the point of "so cruel, so antithetical to the spirit of Jesus Christ," I cannot add anything. Well said.

While the Bible may have more forensic and historical backing than the Book of Mormon, I am still disturbed by a great deal of it, not the least of which is Genesis. I'm not being flip when I point out that if Adam and Eve were the real deal, we'd all be products of incest. Another biggie for me is the business of Jesus supposedly going into the desert for around twenty years... for what? If he is/was truly the Son of God, why did he need twenty years to figure things out? The Catholic Church is doing a wonderful job trying to squash the idea that he was a gnostic who traveled to what is today Pakistan and India. How about the Trinity? Notice how it's patriarchal? What's up with no women priests?

Bottom line is that I don't have a problem with people choosing where to put their leap of faith---and whether in a religious context or not, we put our spiritual marbles -someplace-. I wish more people had enough sense to recognize that any religion--or choosing to forego it--has enough holes in it to at least make us think about it... and that in turn trying to force something involving belief onto someone else will be problematic, if not disrespectful.

Posted by: I live with mormons | June 19, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I never wrote that. It was a copy. Re-read and try again :)

Posted by: JKrish | June 19, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"yeah, go karen! more lies and smears from the anti-muslim, anti-black 'christian' bigots!

but then lying is all you people know -- lies and hatred."

A little defensive, are we?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

JKrish writes
"I think the whole thing is being brought up to try and make people think that Romney is some kind of weirdo because he is a Mormon, and therefore is unqualified to be president. I mean, there are other Mormons in government... Harry Reid, Orrin Hatch."

You make an interesting point in defense of Romney, but then offer evidence that favors the prosecution. Orrin Hatch is definitely a weirdo, and the case can be made for Reid too.

Posted by: bsimon | June 19, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

If the right didn't want religon in politics. THEY WOULD LEAVE IT OUT. Instead they are trying to get as much religon in politics as possible. And we"re wrong for calling them on it? I wish George Bush never evn mention Jesus/God. I wish religon wasn't even in the public dialogue. Who brought it in. I guess the lefties did that too, along with all the other problems of the last twenty years.

IF THEY DON'T WANT POLITICS IN RELIGON, STOP GOIN GAFTER RELIGOUS VOTERS. Stop twisting my reliogon so the right can line their pockets. They told us there would be FALSE PROPHETS. We need to call Romney and others like him out. False Prothets. Liars propogandists

Posted by: rufus | June 19, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

If the right didn't want religon in politics. THEY WOULD LEAVE IT OUT. Instead they are trying to get as much religon in politics as possible. And we"re wrong for calling them on it? I wish George Bush never evn mention Jesus/God. I wish religon wasn't even in the public dialogue. Who brought it in. I guess the lefties did that too, along with all the other problems of the last twenty years.

IF THEY DON'T WANT POLITICS IN RELIGON, STOP GOIN GAFTER RELIGOUS VOTERS. Stop twisting my reliogon so the right can line their pockets. They told us there would be FALSE PROPHETS. We need to call Romney and others like him out. False Prothets. Liars propogandists

Posted by: rufus | June 19, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"Look, I don't think religion and politics should be mixed at all. I'm not a Republican and I'm not supporting Romney (though I do like him as a person), I am just sick of hearing that Mormons are a cult, Mormons are secretive, Mormons wear special underwear. NO ONE REALLY CARES. I think the whole thing is being brought up to try and make people think that Romney is some kind of weirdo because he is a Mormon, and therefore is unqualified to be president. I mean, there are other Mormons in government... Harry Reid, Orrin Hatch, and I'm guessing the rest of the members of the Utah Congressional delegation. Maybe this is the price Romney will have to pay because of the factional groups of the Republican party that are obsessed with religious issues. But that doesn't mean it's right. It's religious bigotry no matter which way you slice it. "

And that what's Romney wants you to think. That's how is is goin gto STEWAl your vote. It's definatly not the issues. It's the poor persecuted against moron. This is simple misdirection. Trying to get you to focus on that which does not matter

Posted by: JKrish | June 19, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"Look, I don't think religion and politics should be mixed at all. I'm not a Republican and I'm not supporting Romney (though I do like him as a person), I am just sick of hearing that Mormons are a cult, Mormons are secretive, Mormons wear special underwear. NO ONE REALLY CARES. I think the whole thing is being brought up to try and make people think that Romney is some kind of weirdo because he is a Mormon, and therefore is unqualified to be president. I mean, there are other Mormons in government... Harry Reid, Orrin Hatch, and I'm guessing the rest of the members of the Utah Congressional delegation. Maybe this is the price Romney will have to pay because of the factional groups of the Republican party that are obsessed with religious issues. But that doesn't mean it's right. It's religious bigotry no matter which way you slice it. "

And that what's Romney wants you to think. That's how is is goin gto STEWAl your vote. It's definatly not the issues. It's the poor persecuted against moron. This is simple misdirection. Trying to get you to focus on that which does not matter

Posted by: JKrish | June 19, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

This country is really headed down the tubes. Kids in China, India and elsewhere are furiously studying science and learning foreign languages. What are we doing? Sitting around arguing about "faith" in all its whacko manifestations. What were the names, I wonder, of Adam and Eve's pet dinosaurs? Looks like the crackers were right- the South has risen again and their moronic Jeeesus culture has taken over.

Posted by: Michael | June 19, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

to living with Mormons: one of my son's friends from school is from a family that converted to the LDS faith and I always admonish him to be very respectful and to try and listen rather than speak when he is with his friend and these issues come up. It is really quite interesting to hear what middle school aged kids come up with when discussing religion and politics.
There is no doubt that there are millions of great people, with very healthy and productive families that belong to the LDS faith. I must say that my heart goes out to people who are born into that community and then through no fault of their own, (women seeking equality, GLBTs, intellectuals, historians), are not only thrown out of the church, but are forced to avoid any contact with their family members. That just seems to be so cruel and so antithetical to the spirit of Jesus Christ. Plus, the whole trip of Christ coming to the New World and building great civilizations etc. Where are the ruins, the forensic evidence of these great cities? With all due respect, both Scientology (sp?) and Mormonism seem to be the fruits of addled con men. There is just too much that is way, way out there. While there are elements of the Bible that appear to poetic myth making (Genesis, Revelations), the bulk of the book, written by over 300 authors, corresponds quite closely to the historical and the forensic evidence. Bottom line, nice people, free to exercise their choice of religious belief, very wacky faith, very, very problematic history.

Posted by: nate in appleton | June 19, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"Sick and tired of these Mitt's religion issues...As long as Mitt never breaks the rules and always states his firm belief in God; Then, he's the most desirable candidate for me."

Consistency is not your strong suit.

Posted by: Blarg | June 19, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I cannot find my invisible underwear. Can someone help me find them?

Posted by: Larry | June 19, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Look, I don't think religion and politics should be mixed at all. I'm not a Republican and I'm not supporting Romney (though I do like him as a person), I am just sick of hearing that Mormons are a cult, Mormons are secretive, Mormons wear special underwear. NO ONE REALLY CARES. I think the whole thing is being brought up to try and make people think that Romney is some kind of weirdo because he is a Mormon, and therefore is unqualified to be president. I mean, there are other Mormons in government... Harry Reid, Orrin Hatch, and I'm guessing the rest of the members of the Utah Congressional delegation. Maybe this is the price Romney will have to pay because of the factional groups of the Republican party that are obsessed with religious issues. But that doesn't mean it's right. It's religious bigotry no matter which way you slice it.

Posted by: Janine | June 19, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

faldwell WAs. That is

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Ever heard of the heritage foundation. Ever heard of Regent university who's goal is to INJECT RELIGON INTO POLITICS, despite teh constitution banning seperation of church and state. If they dont' want these questions, start obeying the constitution again. If a religous person is playin gpolitics we need to do what the founders intended. STRIP THEM OF THEIR TAX EMEPT/RELIGOUS STATUS. They are now politicans, as Falwell and Buchannan are. They are no longer people of the cloth. They are now politicans, and they get paid like politicans. They are misrepresenting the church. "God wants you to be wealthy."? Wow. A slap in the face of the God they claim to love

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Sick and tired of these Mitt's religion issues. It seemed to me that the minds of these anti-Mitt Evanglicals are darkened and overshadowed with fear. They lost the real vision of Mitt's leadership and his possible great contributions to America.

As long as Mitt never breaks the rules and always states his firm belief in God; Then, he's the most desirable candidate for me. Here, in Massachusetts, he never "Mormonized" the state.

If James Bopp, Sen. Talent, Mark deMoss, all known conservatives throw their support to Mitt Romney, then, why can't I?

I'm looking for the future of my chidren and the future of America.

Go Mitt. Vote for Mitt. Romney is the guy!

Posted by: Strong Evangelical | June 19, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Warren Harding, Theodore Roosevelt, William McKinley, James Garfield, Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, James Polk, J Monroe, and George Washington were all Masons.

John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore, Howard Taft were all Unitarian, which likely deny the absolute divinity of Christ.


Dwight Eisenhouser was a lapsed Jehovah Witness


Abraham Lincoln was the biggest religous misfit of all the presidents. If one examined Abraham Lincoln's beliefs, they would be viewed as heretical. In the words of Lincoln's friend Jesse Fell the president "seldom communicated to anyone his views" on religion, and he went on to suggest that those views were not orthodox: "on the innate depravity of man, the character and office of the great head of the Church, the Atonement, the infallibility of the written revelation, the performance of miracles, the nature and design of . . . future rewards and punishments . . . and many other subjects, he held opinions utterly at variance with what are usually taught in the church."

So, Lincoln like Mitt Romney held views which were likely at utter "variance" with many other churches. Is it fair to say it impacted his Presidency? No, it didn't and likewise, if he is elected, it will not affect Mitt Romney's presidency so long as his moral worldview, not necessarily a pure theological wordlview, is compatible with ideals of our society. And in every respect in terms of policy making, Mitt Romney has a healthy worldview which would be indistinguishable from any other typical Evangelical.

I am afraid, this purity of theology test is not unlike the test of faith we are seeing in Iraq. This kind of behavior is unhealthy to our democracy and to our society. I believe in my heart, America is above religous tests and its focus, historically, has been and will instead be on the political and moral wordview of any aspiring candidate for the Presidency. So far, in this regard, I don't see any problem with Mitt Romney or his faith.

Posted by: nowandlater | June 19, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"The Constitution clearly states that there shall be no "religious test" for any candidate running for office. "

If that's the case he should have made his religon an issue. Like Bush, he wants to yolk the strength of religous people but does not want the bad things. If he doesn't want these questions asked LEAVE YOUR RELIGON OUT OF POLITICS. They sure want the reliougs voters. If that's the case you have to answer the questions. If he wants to keep reliogon out of politics HE needs to do that.

Posted by: rufus | June 19, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

It is reasonable to evaluate Romney's Mormon beliefs when considering him for office, the presidency or otherwise. His party identifies closely with monotheistic Christian beliefs and their associated values, but it is altogether unclear that Mormon belief in multiple Gods derived from human beings yields the same, life guiding principles. It is wrong for Romney to package and sell his personal mormonism as a disguise for Christianity. In this approach he cheapens mormonism and acts in denial over it when he should confront the questions directly and clearly. America deserves to know if Romney expects to become a God after he dies and if so how that might impact his choices while a living president.

Posted by: MaryLou Harper | June 19, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

No, the particulars of Romney's faith are not a legitimate concern. How often are candidates of other denominations asked about the particulars of their faith? Was anyone asking John Kerry how as a Catholic he could believe in the Transfiguration, when the bread and wine in Catholic teaching, become the actual body and blood of Christ? No. Is anyone asking Sam Brownback how he could believe in the Pope Ex Cathedra, meaning that when the pope sits in a certain chair and speaks on matters of religious doctrine and morality that he is free from even the possibility of error? No. The Constitution clearly states that there shall be no "religious test" for any candidate running for office.

Questioning Romney's discerment capabilities or his ability to lead based upon the particulars of his faith is ridiculous and even un-constitutional if we are not going to apply a relgious test to candidates. If one delves into the particulars of any religion there is bound to be a leap of faith involved with certain teachings. Therefore, this whole "Mormon issue" is a non-issue. If anything should disqualify Romney from the presidency, it should be his views on the REAL issues (like saying he would double the size of Gitmo, for instance).

Honestly, I think if you look at the way Romney has lived his life then his religion could be viewed as an asset. The man reportedly does not drink, smoke, or curse. He has a beautiful, charming family and by all accounts is a loving and dedicated husband/father/grand-father. Some have even called him "too perfect". If you believe someone's religion plays a role in these areas of their life then I say bring on the Mormons, because they know what they're doing.

Posted by: Janine | June 19, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

No, the particulars of Romney's faith are not a legitimate concern. How often are candidates of other denominations asked about the particulars of their faith? Was anyone asking John Kerry how as a Catholic he could believe in the Transfiguration, when the bread and wine in Catholic teaching, become the actual body and blood of Christ? No. Is anyone asking Sam Brownback how he could believe in the Pope Ex Cathedra, meaning that when the pope sits in a certain chair and speaks on matters of religious doctrine and morality that he is free from even the possibility of error? No. The Constitution clearly states that there shall be no "religious test" for any candidate running for office.

Questioning Romney's discerment capabilities or his ability to lead based upon the particulars of his faith is ridiculous and even un-constitutional if we are not going to apply a relgious test to candidates. If one delves into the particulars of any religion there is bound to be a leap of faith involved with certain teachings. Therefore, this whole "Mormon issue" is a non-issue. If anything should disqualify Romney from the presidency, it should be his views on the REAL issues (like saying he would double the size of Gitmo, for instance).

Honestly, I think if you look at the way Romney has lived his life then his religion could be viewed as an asset. The man reportedly does not drink, smoke, or curse. He has a beautiful, charming family and by all accounts is a loving and dedicated husband/father/grand-father. Some have even called him "too perfect". If you believe someone's religion plays a role in these areas of their life then I say bring on the Mormons, because they know what they're doing.

Posted by: Janine | June 19, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I just want to ask everyone posting here, "How would you feel?" How would you feel if people were bound and determined to bring out the things about your religion that were misunderstood, especially through the blurry vision of history? How would you feel--because it could happen to people of any religion. While we need to look closely at the lives and policies of every candidate, I would remind those of the Christian right to remember their Savior and perhaps a little more like him in every aspect of their lives--even political.

Posted by: Becca | June 19, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

A respected Jewish author (who's name I unfortunately cannot remember) once remarked that it's no surprise that Mormonism is America's unique contribution to world spirituality. Why? Because Mormons believe that people can become 'little gods' reigning over their own little worlds. The author remarked that nothing is more American than that.

Under this criteria, a Mormon might actually be the most qualified person to be president, because whether he knows it or not, he understands our psyche a lot better than most of us might want to think. That's not a plus for Mormonism. It's a big minus for America.

Posted by: vajent | June 19, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I am not anti-mormon but will say one thing from a christian perspective. I will say it loud so you can hear it;

FINDING GOD SHOULD NOT CLOSE YOU EYES. FINDING GOD OPENS YOUR EYES TO THE "REAL" WORLD.

To many morman, in my opinion are clones. They all look/act/talkdo the same things. That is nto freedom. That is not what God wants from us. We are individuals. Individuality is a great thing. Individuality should not be discouraged as the conservatives/mormons would have you beleive. Living in a cave in fear is not CHRISTIANITY. Hatin gMuslim is not christianity.

LOVING GOD AND GOD LOVING YOU IS CHRISTIANITY.

The right inthis country has defiled my religon and continue. I think Romney, by his words, is defiling his own religon. Where would his God stand on torture? The war on "terror"?

Posted by: rufus1133 | June 19, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The only legitimate question about a candidate's religion is how they view the separation of church and state and whether or not you believe their answer.

If Romney was a board member of the LDS, "Does his Mormonism matter?" and "How does Romney view the separation of church and state" would be one and the same question. No different then if a Catholic Cardinal was running (and yes I know the church wouldn't let that happen, just humor me here).

I've always believed a person's actions and not their words. Romney may have been born a Mormon and he may call himself a Mormon, but he hasn't exactly let the positions of the LDS rule his political actions. Since his positions in MA have not reflected his new found social conservatism, I'm far more interested in knowing just how far Romney would go if he were President in appeasing the far-right of the Republican party.

Posted by: muD | June 19, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Matthew writes -

"I have to admit, though, I'm more concerned about a Jewish candidate who might have split loyalties between the U.S. and Israel."

Jews do tend to support Israel, so it is fair to ask them about Israel; Moslems do not tend to support Israel, so it was fair to ask Ellison about it; Evangelicals tend to support Israel, so it is fair to ask them about it.

Probably only fair to ask Jews, Evangelicals, and Moslems about supporting Israel because no one else is invested in that region, right, Matt?

Posted by: Ice Nine | June 19, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Nate: very good posting and sticking with the facts, as opposed to kindergarten lds who--big surprise--debates like a kindergartner! To him/her it's "my religion is bigger than yours and will be around when you're not." Wow, that's persuasive! I have the very same questions about the faith as you do, and as my name suggests, I'm currently living with some Mormons. I will grant without reservation that these in particular are wonderful people (as one can find wonderful people affiliated or not with any religion). On a tangent, one thing that kicks my butt is that religions base so much of what they want their members to do based on fear; I don't find it hard to conclude that they feel that we are "bad," "sinners," etc. by nature and would go down the toilet unless we admitted to our fear enough to be ruled by it. Yuck. In fact, one Mormon I know (but feel free to substitute any religion) says she lives her life in her frantic necessity to burn the candle at both ends because she's scared that she isn't worshipping God correctly.

Posted by: I live with mormons | June 19, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

the the other republicans it's not mormonism is "their faith". What a crock. What about the treason they and their parties commited the last 6 years

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

You see the games they play? Hillary "they don't want me because I'm a woman". The republicans "the reason they dislike us is becaus eI'm a mormon."

It could never be their stances on issues. It has to be an external boogy-man. Just like elementary school kids

Posted by: rUFUS1133 | June 19, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Wow, what a terrible branding towards the lds faith, a cult?
If the lds people used to have their testimonies with the Lord Jesus, being the Christ, Redeemer and Savior in this world, the lds church is a cult?

Is this not ridiculous, those people who belong to the churches which names carry not the name of Jesus Christ, claimed they're the real Christians? How absurd!
And the LDS people who always share testimonies about Jesus Christ and the name of their church, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are referred by these self-appointing Christians as cults? Huh?...there's really twisted in this scenario.

By the way, let's picture it out, if the Christians are really doing their part, they should always strive to live a righteous life, always live in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And always convey understanding and love. And not tend to provoke anger and hatred.

Now let's see, who have the right to claim as the true Christians versus the cults.

If the LDS people used to remain humble and always set their assemblies in tuned with the gospel(not attacking other denomination in their sacrament services, not bashing others because it's not in accord with the true teaching of God)versus these self-righteous unChristians who are glorying themselves demonizing the LDS church with their wraths and spews of bigotries, anti-mormon speeches and literatures, proclaiming the cause of contention and restricting a candidate to be elected in the highest office because he's a Mormon. Now, who is the true Christian and who is the cult? It's simple analysis: by their fruits and conduct, you can know them.

Sure, the cult people are those who don't please the Lord, they who are hypocrites, they who are bashing, they who are blinded by the knowledge they have, they who are bigots, they who are happy in attacking a Christian religion, they who are spreading lies and fallacies and most of all, they who are afraid to lose because they're religion is not guided by the spirit of truth.

Judge ye, people with the spirit of contention for ye are the modern cultists.
Ye strive to live a righteous life and yet, it's only surfacial, But, deep inside, ye are the ravishing wolves. If ye professed being true Christians, then ye must study in your hearts the truth of all things. And stop being bias, full of prejudice and intolerance.

If ye really know who really belong to a cult, ye know for sure, ye are the ones!
For in ye, the spirit of lies and hipocrisy.

If you react furiously with this, then, it's true, I'm not mistaken, ye are members of a cult.

Posted by: kindergarten lds | June 19, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Mormons, God has a few rules. One is only Christians go to heaven. HE has favored our country for centuries but don't count on it if we elect a polygamist. NO PAGANS IN THE WHITE HOUSE!

Posted by: Alex T. | June 19, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Religious voters have little interest, I think, in debating finer points of theology. They're concerned with "values," or social conservatism, which transcends numerous religious denominations, and whatever his past positions have been, Romney is offering that now. I think conservatives in the South and elsewhere may well swallow their misgivings and vote for him if he carries the early primary states.

Posted by: peter | June 19, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Aren't Mormons the ones who believe a fire-breathing salamander gave their founder the word of God

No, I think that's the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But they're all about the same.

'Mao, Stalin, and Lenin also believed in abolishing religion. The results of their politics were quite the opposite of world peace.'

Yes, and that's also true of GW Bush, isn't it?

Nobody is talking about abolishing relgion. Simply in keeping it to yourself and not trying to tell everyone else how to live their lives.

Posted by: Cassandra | June 19, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"The reason so little is known about Romney's religion is that it is so secretive. That, in and of itself, is reason to ask questions, the first one being "Why?". Something is afoot when people have a set of beliefs of which they are unwilling to expose to the light of day."

Posted by: gary | June 19, 2007 10:53 AM

Secretive or just not well-known?

This website offers a wealth of credible information about the LDS faith:

http://www.lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg

And if you want to learn more about Joseph Smith, read "Rough Stone Rolling" by Richard Bushman. Scroll down to read the Editorial Reviews by the New Yorker and Publishers Weekly:

http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Smith-Rough-Stone-Rolling/dp/1400077532/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-5678525-0140466?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182275418&sr=8-1

Posted by: MBA Mom | June 19, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Aren't Mormons the ones who believe a fire-breathing salamander gave their founder the word of God or is that Jehovah's witnesses? I get these nutball religions confused.

Posted by: James | June 19, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

[obama] 'His preacher is an anti-white bigot, and has espoused violence against white Americans. '

yeah, go karen! more lies and smears from the anti-muslim, anti-black 'christian' bigots!

but then lying is all you people know -- lies and hatred.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Can Mitt tell me when Jesus is coming back to Missouri?

If this idiot keeps talking about how being a "person of faith"makes you better qualified to run a country then he shouldn't act surprised when people start to question his beliefs.

And Brownback should just quit while he is ahead. The man advocates forcing rape victims to give birth to their rapist's children. I think he would be happier running for a Taliban leadership position.

Posted by: Maria | June 19, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Mormons believe that Jesus will next appear on Earth in Missouri. Maybe people in Missouri should vote for Romney. Jesus's appearance would make Missouri a great tourist attraction.

Posted by: Jane | June 19, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Revelation (presumed, anyway)
is part of Mormon faith. This
means that the LDS Church
president can, at any time,
issue a "command from God and/or the Heavenly Mother "
about any matter at all. Hence, in the recent past, libertarianism has been
"revealed" as a divine principole of government.
Hence two questions that the
news media have so far not
addressed at all:

(1) Some political decsions
must be antithetical to
libertarian values, by
definition. How would Romney
deal with this conflict between a revealed LDS doctrine and his office ?

(2) What would he do if a
so-called revelation was
contrary to good government ?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I think it is important that people know what informs a potential candidate's thinking, whether that be his religion, belief in science, or other philosophy. The problem I see with being Mormon is in having to explain that religion's superstitious, racist and absurd dogma. The Book of Mormon states unequivocally that African-Americans were created inferior by design to be the servants of Whites! They prohibited blacks from joining the church until recently. And women are treated no better in that religion than they are in the Muslim religion. It is interesting that both the Muslim religion and Mormonism advocate polygamy, which I'm sure is a reflection of how each view the role of women in society (as breeders and servants of men). How could anyone vote for a candidate who professed to be a believer in such a sexist and racist religion!

Posted by: Stephanie | June 19, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

----------
Imagine no religion (and that includes yours, bucko), and we can maybe begin to imagine World Peace.

I'd line up and support any candidate that either:

1) Says that religion has no place in politics and acknowledges thet religion has in fact corrupted politics in recent times
2) Admits he/she is a humanist, agnostic or God forbid (pun intended) atheist.

Posted by: Mikey | June 19, 2007 01:07 PM
----------

Mao, Stalin, and Lenin also believed in abolishing religion. The results of their politics were quite the opposite of world peace.

Posted by: Allison | June 19, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I've seen Gov. Romney at one remove (from Rhode Island) and feel that, unless I happened to miss it, he didn't try to turn Massachusetts into a second Utah. Most of my Republican friends (none of them Mormon) were pretty happy with his tenure and my general impression is he was a fairly decent governor.

If you are honest, every religion seems "weird" to an outsider. Most adherents, however, are not fundamentalists. Those people are easy to identify such as Huckabee and Brownback. I'd rather vote for Gov. Romney than a zealot (be s/he Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, et. al.). Nothing in his history makes me think for a moment he would impose Mormonism on America (not that he could even if he was President) or he would take orders from some old man in Utah.

That being said, Gov. Romney does seem to share his (political) "faith" with another notorious Massachusetts individual--Senator Kerry. Romney's flip-flops make Kerry look like a rock of consistency. While I can trust a change of heart on abortion, his other numerous flip-flops are the work of a pure politico looking to win the next election. I'd vote for Romney, ver 2.6 (Romeny against Senator Kennedy, when he tried to run to the left of Kennedy on certain social issues) in a heartbeat. If he does win the nomination, look for him to track back to center faster then you can say "amen".

Posted by: Sean | June 19, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Who cares if Romney is Mormon? He is an American and his approach to our nation's problems and the direction he'd lead the government is more important that his religous faith.

I have to admit, though, I'm more concerned about a Jewish candidate who might have split loyalties between the U.S. and Israel. Which brings up a good question: Why is it okay to bash, criticize, and just someone because they are Mormon yet not acceptable, often among the same folks, to do the same because someone is Jewish? The double-standard is pretty glaring between this and the previous election cycle.

For the record, I'm Catholic, registered Republican, and am truly sick and tire of folks judging candidates on their religion. Maybe an agnostic or athiest would be a better choice.

Matthew

Posted by: Matthew | June 19, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

kindergarten Ids, just out of curiosity, is English your first language? It is not my first language, (we spoke Spanish in my house). You have a very creative approach to our common language, very flowery, very archaic. It is worth noting that while singing the praises of your "stately horse", you failed to address the fact issues. Is it possible that your yourself are not familiar with these elements of the history of the Mormon faith? Or are these issues just too difficult to address? I am afraid that until I see compelling evidence to the contrary that cites a credible source that I can check for my self, I will have to depend on the fact checkers at PBS and at Harper and Row.... What is a fact checker? These are educated and trained individuals that actually check reality before airing an episode on PBS or publishing an 830 page reference book. You may have heard of them.... Facts... they are cunningly hidden in ... BOOKS! Devilishly clever don't you think!

Posted by: nate in appleton | June 19, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Hang in there Karen.

A few months ago I simply asked a question about what Obama's church actually has displayed on it's website and was pilloried for it.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Bokonon,
"In a nation such as ours, which purports to honor religious diversity, the only real solution is to make it a prerequisite for office that a candidate promise NOT to base ANY decision solely or primarily on his or her religious belief."
For someone who was raised a Catholic, you seem to have little understanding of the concept of faith. I'm not even that religious but i realize that faith is not something you can just turn off or separate yourself from. For many, who they are as a person and what they believe is guided by their religious faith. For instance, say you believe that killing someone is wrong. Is that based on your belief in the 10 commandments? Or in your knowledge of the law? Or what your parents taught you? Does it really matter where that belief was derived from? Or does it just matter that people know what you believe and either agree with you or disagree with you?

Posted by: Dave! | June 19, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"very few mainstream Mormons actually know and understand their history and the tenets of their religion." - Mikey

And Anglicans, and Baptists, and Catholics, and Episcopalians, and Jews, and Lutherans, and Methodists and Presbyterians, and on...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The Jews don't believe Jesus was the Messiah. You don't think fundamentalist christians would have a problem with that?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh I see we got ourselves a real live winger in Karen. How are things on the planet you live on, dear?

Let me guess... you don't believe in evolution and you think GW Bush is a great president. Not only that, but you think we're 'winning' in Iraq, right? And you think all Muslims are evil too, right?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama's Church has its own issues. His preacher is an anti-white bigot, and has espoused violence against white Americans. He has been forceful against interracial marriages. There is little doubt that Obama attends a church that is headed by a violent, anarchist bigot with violent tendencies.

Posted by: Karen | June 19, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"If a member of the Jewish faith was running for president, would so many Evangelical Right be decrying his faith?"

Absolutely!

Maybe worse.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

This is tangential, but some poster suggested that the "founder of Dell" was a Mormon.

Michael Dell dropped out of UT Austin to sell computers out of the trunk of his car, in the late 80s. I have met him once. He is Jewish and his wife is Jewish and they were major contributors to the Austin Jewish Community Center, which is locally called "The Dell" by everyone.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 19, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

well karen, harry reid doesn't go around flaunting his relgion... that's the point. and harry reid isn't president, with his finger on the red button of annhilation.

'Spreading lies and amplifying confusions' but 'kindergarten lds' you simply did not address what these were, did you? and reading your post made me more inclined to thiink you lds people are loons.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

This is the same press that tells us that Islam is a religion of peace, and praised that one was elected as a congressman in Minnesota. Now, a Mormon elected in a liberal state is running on the issues, is being attacked for his religion, although not one person can prove it has entered into his policy making. How many Mormons flew planes into building in the last decade.

Posted by: Karen | June 19, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I think that it is very telling that supporters and advocates of the LDS will not respond to the simple challenge of answering a few questions of fact. Its a free country, folks are free to believe what they want. The fact is that Romney's whole rationale for his campaign is his effort to fill the opening on the hard right of the GOP that McCain and Rudy have created by their positions on a variety of issues. And ever since the hard core opponents of the civil rights movement in the south moved into the GOP in the 70s and 80s, evangelical and fundamentalist elements within the GOP have exercised what amounts to a veto in the primary over candidates seeking the GOP brand label. Having moved religion to the center of their political party, and faced with Mitt's unseemly pandering to the most conservative elements in the party, the issues raised by his faith will probably end up being determinative in the primary.
Mitt's failure to address these issues dooms his campaign, no matter how much money he can raise. Just ask President John Connolly or President Phil Gram.

Posted by: nate in appleton | June 19, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

A candidate's religious faith is relevant to the extent the candidate brings it up on the campaign trail and bases policy positions on it. If Romney now opposes gay marriage because "God created Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve" then his religious beliefs become relevant because at least one of his policies is based on it.

I'm a Democrat and the only GOP candidate I would even consider voting for would be Guiliani but Romney is close to the bottom of my list of the unacceptable Republicans. His blatant flip flopping on so many issues just to appeal to the Christian Right (much of which apparently doesn't like him solely because he is Mormon) makes him inherently untrustworthy to be president.


Posted by: LouisXIV | June 19, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

mikey -- amen

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Odd how the press wasn't obsessed with Harry Reid being majority leader and being a Mormon.

Posted by: Karen | June 19, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

As a secular person living in Idaho Falls, I am surrounded by Mormons, so the postings above have been very interesting, to say the least. I too am troubled by most of the points made in the blogs, and certainly believe knowing more about the belief system of the Mormons is crucial in deciding whether to vote for one or not! (I would not!) One other belief that is troubling to me is the Mormon acceptance that the current head of their church, (in whatever time) is a latter-day prophet, with the authority to initiate a change in the church's tenets, and is an authority for church doctrine and practice. All of my neighbors are very nice people, but this doesn't mean I want a President who practices and believes this religion!

Posted by: Patricia in Idaho | June 19, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Nate Appleton writes:
Let cut the hype on "anti-Mormon" bias and loaded terms like bigotry. Answer the questions. These are not issues of opinion or analysis. These are fact issues. Defend your faith with facts and reason... if you can

Nate, I am a kindergarten graduate, not a master of Political Science, and not a Phd-taker. But, for a challenge, you're so familiar about wrong facts circulated by the enemies of the LDS church. Are you sure, your being a bible-lecturer put you on the right place to bash another religion. tsk,...tsk,...tsk,... what a poor job you landed. Spreading lies and amplifying confusions.

For an unwise theologian like you, it's easy to boast your degree, but in reality, in plain language, your substance is void.

As for the issues you are raising, you remain still a fly stinging a stately horse. And even if you will gather all your materials and forces of discrediting the LDS church, still, you can't succeed. The LDS church and the name,Joseph Smith, will still remain intact and strong after several hundred years, and your name, Nate in Appleton, after 100 years, will somehow be forgotten with no marks of success in stopping the cause of the LDS church. Can you take that? But, I predict, that will surely come to pass.

So, with all your issues, who cares to answer them?

I better watch the numbers growing of Mitt Romney rather than reading your nonsense comments in this section.

Posted by: kindergarten lds | June 19, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

The Libby prosecution clearly was the dirty work of the leftist anti-war movement in this country, just as WaPo columnist Richard Cohen describes.

After all, the reason Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed to investigate this matter was because a left-wing government agency (known as the "Central Intelligence Agency") filed a criminal referral with the Justice Department, as the MoveOn-sympathizer CIA officials were apparently unhappy about the public unmasking of one of their covert agents.

In response, Bush's left-wing anti-war Attorney General, John Ashcroft, judged the matter serious enough to recuse himself, leading Bush's left-wing anti-war Deputy Attorney General, James Comey, to conclude that a Special Prosecutor was needed. In turn, Comey appointed Fitzgerald, the left-wing anti-war Republican Prosecutor and Bush appointee, who secured a conviction of Libby, in response to which left-wing anti-war Bush appointee Judge Reggie Walton imposed Libby's sentence.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

While I continue to believe that a candidate's religion is a private matter, I agree with the many posters who think it is fair to ask a candidate his/her views on issues that may have "religious" implications. What is not fair is to assume, by assumption, as a math professor once warned me against, that any particular apparent view of a sect is the view of a candidate who is a member. A current example follows.

My former Governor and our President is a member of the UMC, but mainline Methodism is not apparent in many of his expressed opinions and some of his conduct. This last assertion of mine was a view shared by so many Methodists that the placement of the Bush 43 Library at SMU was threatened by it.

Judge Romney by his actions in the public arena, his stated views as they have changed, and all the political company he keeps, not by the company of co-worshippers he keeps on Sundays.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 19, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

White House loyalists have begun arguing that clemency for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby -- either a pardon or a commuted sentence -- would be a way for an embattled President Bush to reassert himself, particularly among conservatives.

The White House has not ruled out a pardon for Libby, sources say. But several Republicans, who sense a movement in Libby's favor, said a more likely possibility might be a presidential commutation -- a reduction or elimination of Libby's 2½-year federal prison sentence. Such a move, they said, would be less divisive for the country.

A well-connected Republican whose views have reached Bush's inner circle said that if Libby goes to prison, "It would be seen by the religious and policy conservatives as the president abandoning his loyalty virtue for the hedonistic pleasure of political expediency."

...and the lawless rightwing base continues to push for the destruction of our system of justice. Why? Because it's easier to steal under anarchy.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

My Father and Grandfather were committed members of the Masonic Lodge. I often glimpsed Dad practicing for the lodge meeting, and he always admonished me that it was secret But one time when he was stressed and in a hurry he left his manual where I could see it. Of course I jumped at the chance. Even as a young boy I was disappointed at the intellectual quality of what I read. It didn't matter. The values that formed and motivated my Father and Grandfather were self sufficiency and self reliance . . . the values that shaped the Wild West. Those values are the real values of the Mormons. Their secret temple rituals give them a feeling of being special, but they will quickly adjust if confronted. Just like their change of position on polygamy so Utah could become a state. Some Christians might find such accommodation distasteful, but practically all Christian churches have done the same thing. The Evangelicals have become little more than cheer leaders for conservative Republicans and in the process have justified a war that should be deeply repugnant to any real Christian. The liberal Christian churches have almost completely given themselves over to advocacy of equality, which is, of course, a secular ideal.
Should Mitt Romney be criticized for being a fake Christian? Why? . . . he's just like the rest.

Posted by: Dale R Evans | June 19, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The destruction of emails on RNC servers continues apace: House investigators have learned that the Bush administration's use of Republican National Committee email accounts is far greater than previously disclosed -- 140,216 emails sent or received by Karl Rove alone -- and that the RNC has overseen "extensive destruction" of many of the emails, including all email records for 51 White House officials.

They must have lots and lots and lots to hide.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

As an agnostic ex-Mormon Bishop it is quite humorous to see the "persecuted" Mormon apologists turn this thread into a defense of their religion. Unfortunately, thanks to efforts in sanitizing their history and the excommunication of (Boyd K Packer's) enemies of the church, which included feminists, homosexuals and intellectuals (wow, who wants thinking people?), very few mainstream Mormons actually know and understand their history and the tenets of their religion. Face it, Mitt, D&C 132 cannot be more explicit. The new and everlasting covenant of PLURAL marriage is the law of heaven.It was only stopped for political reasons - not by commandment.

However, what is even more absurd is varous sects of all religions laughing and pointing at each other claiming their version of God is the only version certified and licensed by the creator. "We are the righteous chosen ones! You are the evildoers." Sound familiar?

Imagine no religion (and that includes yours, bucko), and we can maybe begin to imagine World Peace.

I'd line up and support any candidate that either:

1) Says that religion has no place in politics and acknowledges thet religion has in fact corrupted politics in recent times
2) Admits he/she is a humanist, agnostic or God forbid (pun intended) atheist.

Or right now, I'd settle for a Unitarian/Universalist. Or maybe a Buddhist. How about just an honest pagan?

Posted by: Mikey | June 19, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The executive branch ignores the law. That's the unvarnished way of summing up the results of a new study by Congress's nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, which took a look at 19 legal provisions formally challenged by the Bush administration but signed into law as elements of larger bills.

In six cases, federal agencies disobeyed the law, the GAO revealed.... In a mega-exertion of executive power, Bush has challenged over 1,100 sections of various bills, more than all presidential administrations combined.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Mitty wants to double the size of Guantanamo and torture more people. Over 100 detainees [who may simply be innocent victims of 'sweeps' have died after 'enhanced' interogation.

Do Mormons favor torture and murder? Many 'christians' ;ole buish seem too. But maybe they beleive in a different Jesus than I do.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Trudi Giuliani was too busy shopping for new frocks to go to those Iraq Study Group meetings.

Its so difficult to find something in her size!

Posted by: Tom3 | June 19, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

as someone who was brought up catholic i can tell you all as a fact that everyone who isnt catholic is wrong and is going to hel...hahahaha oh...oh man i couldnt keep a straight face there. sorry its just to funny to think that someone is going to be better or worse at reforming healthcare, border secuirty, or fixing our forgien poilcy (notice how that doesnt just relvolve around iraq) based on a few simple differences in doctrine, and as for the person who said that mormonism is the scientology of the 1800s you are correct but then again the following are to be considered the scientology of there own age lutheranisms1500s, calvanism 1600s, episcopalians 1700s, baptistsearly 1800s , catholics 1BCE , jews 3000 BCE , muslims 900 CE,...oh wait everyone except for the fire worshippers. but then again they were the outcasts during the there own time because of the dominant religion (dinosuar worship) was very intolorent of others

give me an amen if you get where im coming from...or can read through my spelling

Posted by: Andy from baltimore | June 19, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

http://www.exmormon.org/blacks1.htm

Here is the historical position of LDS on black people.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Here an issue with Romney's religion: How can anyone call themselves serious Moromon and support both abortion and homosexual rights when the LDS frowns on both?

Posted by: Sean Scallon | June 19, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

No one's religious beliefs could be as damaging to our national interests as George Bush's zeal to see the ultimate Biblical prophecies happen NOW. So, that's the question we voters face: Is Romney's faith potentially damaging to our national interest? I will gladly take it--as a non-Mormon--over the crackpot cowboy Christian any day. If the electorate has learned anything over the past few years, it is that resumes do matter. Romney has an incredible executive resume and is now running the most competent campaign in either party (and I say that as a Democrat).

Posted by: Bob Booth | June 19, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't there be SOME evidence if Jesus had come to America? When is this supposed to have happened? Didn't the Indians notice? Bottom line, if he actually believes most of his own religion's tenets, there's no way he should have any chance at the presidency.

Posted by: Mike | June 19, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

blue marker: for christ's sake, shut up.

' Are you the inspired devils' -- just which cult do you belong to, exactly?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Bigots here, bigots there, bigots everywhere! So much bias and prejudice and blah, blah, blahs and the winner is, still the same,... MITT ROMNEY!

Who the heck are you people bashing his religion. Are you the inspired devils who try to dishonor him because he, by example, who has the true Christian values and lives his faith to the fullest! That's why he's so much blessed (wealth, family and wisdom to lead), Unlike you stubborn hypocrites of various faiths who are just good in words but not manifesting Christianity in actions.
Are you sure you are gaining rewards for undermining Mitt's religion. Come'on whatever bashing you will say or lies you will spread, you are still a disgrace to Christianity.

Your decision of not voting him because of his religion is simply a manifestation of your hatred, arrogance and ignorance! What a lame decision! How stupid conclusion!

It's very troubling to note that some so-called Christians here are looking to vote for a womanizer rather than Romney.
They are looking to vote for someone who had lost marriages because of a mistress rather than Romney who exemplified a faithful and loving husband to his wife.

Is this the standard of these hypocrite so-called Christians?, I think it's not.

I believe that being a true Christian means values-oriented, God-loving, people-serving and full of faith. And Romney excelled in this!

Now, if your forte is just good in attacking Mitt's religion, then you are not a true Christian, and if you say that you are not voting Mitt because of his religion, you are a loser!

YOU ARE DEFINITELY A LOSER. PERIOD. AMEN.

And take note: You better go back to your school and study again the constitution!



Posted by: blue marker | June 19, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"The one you better watch is Obama who hides the fact that he is Islamic."

Barack Obama belongs to a Christian church. He is not a Muslim, and it's impossible to hide a "fact" that isn't true.

Posted by: Blarg | June 19, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Bigots here, bigots there, bigots everywhere! So much bias and prejudice and blah, blah, blahs and the winner is, still the same,... MITT ROMNEY!

Who the heck are you people bashing his religion. Are you the inspired devils who try to dishonor him because he, by example, who has the true Christian values and lives his faith to the fullest! That's why he's so much blessed (wealth, family and wisdom to lead), Unlike you stubborn hypocrites of various faiths who are just good in words but not manifesting Christianity in actions.
Are you sure you are gaining rewards for undermining Mitt's religion. Come'on whatever bashing you will say or lies you will spread, you are still a disgrace to Christianity.

Your decision of not voting him because of his religion is simply a manifestation of your hatred, arrogance and ignorance! What a lame decision! How stupid conclusion!

It's very troubling to note that some so-called Christians here are looking to vote for a womanizer rather than Romney.
They are looking to vote for someone who had lost marriages because of a mistress rather than Romney who exemplified a faithful and loving husband to his wife.

Is this the standard of these hypocrite so-called Christians?, I think it's not.

I believe that being a true Christian means values-oriented, God-loving, people-serving and full of faith. And Romney excelled in this!

Now, if your forte is just good in attacking Mitt's religion, then you are not a true Christian, and if you say that you are not voting Mitt because of his religion, you are a loser!

YOU ARE DEFINITELY A LOSER. PERIOD. AMEN.

And take note: You better go back to your school and study again the constitution!



Posted by: blue marker | June 19, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Bigots here, bigots there, bigots everywhere! So much bias and prejudice and blah, blah, blahs and the winner is, still the same,... MITT ROMNEY!

Who the heck are you people bashing his religion. Are you the inspired devils who try to dishonor him because he, by example, who has the true Christian values and lives his faith to the fullest! That's why he's so much blessed (wealth, family and wisdom to lead), Unlike you stubborn hypocrites of various faiths who are just good in words but not manifesting Christianity in actions.
Are you sure you are gaining rewards for undermining Mitt's religion. Come'on whatever bashing you will say or lies you will spread, you are still a disgrace to Christianity.

Your decision of not voting him because of his religion is simply a manifestation of your hatred, arrogance and ignorance! What a lame decision! How stupid conclusion!

It's very troubling to note that some so-called Christians here are looking to vote for a womanizer rather than Romney.
They are looking to vote for someone who had lost marriages because of a mistress rather than Romney who exemplified a faithful and loving husband to his wife.

Is this the standard of these hypocrite so-called Christians?, I think it's not.

I believe that being a true Christian means values-oriented, God-loving, people-serving and full of faith. And Romney excelled in this!

Now, if your forte is just good in attacking Mitt's religion, then you are not a true Christian, and if you say that you are not voting Mitt because of his religion, you are a loser!

YOU ARE DEFINITELY A LOSER. PERIOD. AMEN.

And take note: You better go back to your school and study again the constitution!



Posted by: blue marker | June 19, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

After six and a half years of a president whose favorite "philosopher" is Jesus and whose every word is a lie, I think we can assume that the "faith" of politicians is about as substantial as a dew drop in the Sahara.

Posted by: John | June 19, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm a member of the same faith as Romney's and its wonderful that this issue is being raised. It gives a chance for all the bigotry and ignorance to be voiced and exposed.

If a member of the Jewish faith was running for president, would so many Evangelical Right be decrying his faith? Would the media run and publish poll after poll on the bias against Judaism?

The truth is, many of these people have been taught to despise anything relating to Mormons since they were wee children. They know very little about it, and are too myopic to see how similar we are in beliefs and values. Whether one of Romney's relatives 120 years ago was a polygamist is completely irrelevant. Is the sexual fidelity of Great Grandfathers fair game for all the candidates?

Think about it.

Mitt Romney is incredibly talented and a highly successful leader who has the same values as conservatives. When conservatives balk at him, its purely a bigoted faith complaint. Saying he "waffles" is an excuse. Would these people throw out a Buddhist who converted to Christianity because he "waffled"? The argument is absurd and hypocritical.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

it appears to me that romney has changed his positions so much that any campaign he runs would be dogged by hecklers wearing giant flipflop or giant waffle costumes...that is the important thing to consider about him..not his religion..and i personally judge anyone who comments disparagingly about the religion of another as a bigot who is nor worthy of holding office...

Posted by: w04equals666 | June 19, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Bigots here, bigots there, bigots everywhere! So much bias and prejudice and blah, blah, blahs and the winner is, still the same,... MITT ROMNEY!

Who the heck are you people bashing his religion. Are you the inspired devils who try to dishonor him because he, by example, who has the true Christian values and lives his faith to the fullest! That's why he's so much blessed (wealth, family and wisdom to lead), Unlike you stubborn hypocrites of various faiths who are just good in words but not manifesting Christianity in actions.
Are you sure you are gaining rewards for undermining Mitt's religion. Come'on whatever bashing you will say or lies you will spread, you are still a disgrace to Christianity.

Your decision of not voting him because of his religion is simply a manifestation of your hatred, arrogance and ignorance! What a lame decision! How stupid conclusion!

It's very troubling to note that some so-called Christians here are looking to vote for a womanizer rather than Romney.
They are looking to vote for someone who had lost marriages because of a mistress rather than Romney who exemplified a faithful and loving husband to his wife.

Is this the standard of these hypocrite so-called Christians?, I think it's not.

I believe that being a true Christian means values-oriented, God-loving, people-serving and full of faith. And Romney excelled in this!

Now, if your forte is just good in attacking Mitt's religion, then you are not a true Christian, and if you say that you are not voting Mitt because of his religion, you are a loser!

YOU ARE DEFINITELY A LOSER. PERIOD. AMEN.

And take note: You better go back to your school and study again the constitution!



Posted by: blue marker | June 19, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I remember when folks thought that if President Kennedy was elected the Pope would run the U.S. Now that turned out to be a pretty silly notion.

The one you better watch is Obama who hides the fact that he is Islamic.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait for MikeB to pitch in with an anti-Mormon diatribe.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Whenever asked about providing porn in Marriott properties, Bill Marriott always hides behind the copout, "If we didn't provide it, our guests would go to the competitors who do."

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I am not a Morman, but live amongst them here in Western Montana.

The question posed can be answered two ways. Should it be a Campaing issue? I say no. we should not judge a political candidate by his faith.

But faith has been a campaign issue, even before the religious right became a strong segment of the Republican party. Take the Catholic question raised during the campaigns of Al Smith and JFK.

The fact is, it is a campaign issue. It may put the GOP in a no win situation. The GOP has enjoyed majority support among both Mormons and fundamentalist Christians.
On the one hand, if Romney gets the nomination, some fundamentalist Christian, who emphatically do NOT believe Mormons to be fellow Christians, may stay at home in the general election.

On the other hand, If Romney doesn't get the nomination and Mormons perceive that the primary reason was his faith, THEY may stay at home. In addition, there are elements of both groups that are swing voters and may be inclined to support the Demnocrat.

Brownback is reaching for that fundamentalist vote, but he is sure to be an also-ran. I expect the major candidates for the Republican nomination will stay quiet about Romney's faith. That way they are in a better position to smooth feathers if they get the nomination.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | June 19, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

There are vague grumblings on some right-wing web sites about another Mitt Romney values issue. This one involves his ten years as a board member at Marriott, and how they seem to have made millions of dollars off in-room porn. Millions and millions. And millions.

Pay-per-view sex in American hotel rooms may generate $190 million a year.

Mitt Romney sat on the Marriott Board from 1993 to 2002, owns Marriott stock, and reported an $80,000 campaign donation arranged by J.W. Marriott last April.

Marriott has provided its guests with entertainment including:

Bad Wives 2
Bi Bi American Pie
Dark Meat Sandwich
Hustler's All Girl Slumber Party
Kinky Kouples Sex Games
Maximum Ram
 Nasty Office Nymphs
Naughty Neighbors
Naughty Collegiate Schoolgirls
Newlywed Infidelities
Quick n' Nasty - Petite Poundings
Risque Biz & Bad Habits
Spring Break Pantyhoes
Ten Xtreme - Interracial Facials
Three Women & a Resort
Women in Uniform Special
Young As They Come

And they've taken that money, and given it to Mitt Romney.

Posted by: what does he really believe? | June 19, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Still waiting, lets hear from a true believer in the LDS... Facts... true or false

Posted by: nate in appleton | June 19, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON -- The race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination has become wide open, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows.

...Yet the Democrats' overall strategic posture as 2008 approaches remains far stronger. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, who has strengthened her lead in the race for the Democratic nomination, leads Mr. Giuliani by 48% to 43% in a potential general-election matchup after trailing by a similar margin three months ago.

Despite Mr. Thompson's rise among Republican contenders, he trails the second-place Democratic candidate, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, by 50% to 31% in a hypothetical November 2008 contest.

Posted by: report on this, CC | June 19, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Several of the views expressed above seem to be prejudiced; however, several others seem to be well-informed criticism. It's true that all religions have their quirks which are incomprehensible to outsiders, but (maybe because they were so insular for so long) Mormon and mainstream society seem - in some cases - to have developed along similar but not quite equivalent lines.

Religion and religious belief have become divisive forces in our society, divinding us along arbitrary lines rather than emphasizing what we all have in common. I was raised a Catholic, but have had friends and family members who grew up Protestant, Jehovah's Witness, Jewish, and Muslim - although no Mormons. It was the willingness to abandon those artificial distinctions which made those friendships possible, although some only for a short while.

I was greatly uncomfortable with Bush's conservative Christianity when he was elected, and his subsequent actions as president - many explicitly motivated by his religion - have only confirmed those feelings. I was similarly uncomfortable with Joe Lieberman's aggressive support of militant Israeli policy, which often seemed to be motivated by his faith, rather than his intellect. I am sure that I would feel similarly about Romney and his Mormonism in the unlikely event that he is elected president.

In a nation such as ours, which purports to honor religious diversity, the only real solution is to make it a prerequisite for office that a candidate promise NOT to base ANY decision solely or primarily on his or her religious belief.

Posted by: Bokonon | June 19, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I am an optimist, but I feel that the average American is not so close-minded and bigoted as to believe all the anti-mormon lies in these commments and let it influence their vote. I hope I am right, for the sake of our country.

Posted by: Blair | June 19, 2007 10:08 AM

Blair,

Which claims are lies?

Posted by: just askin' | June 19, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON - Rudolph Giuliani's membership on an elite Iraq study panel came to an abrupt end last spring after he failed to show up for a single official meeting of the group, causing the panel's top Republican to give him a stark choice: either attend the meetings or quit, several sources said.

Giuliani left the Iraq Study Group last May after just two months, walking away from a chance to make up for his lack of foreign policy credentials on the top issue in the 2008 race, the Iraq war.

He cited "previous time commitments" in a letter explaining his decision to quit, and a look at his schedule suggests why - the sessions at times conflicted with Giuliani's lucrative speaking tour that garnered him $11.4 million in 14 months.

On one day the panel gathered in Washington - May 18, 2006 - Giuliani delivered a $100,000 speech on leadership at an Atlanta business awards breakfast. Later that day, he attended a $100-a-ticket Atlanta political fundraiser for conservative ally Ralph Reed, whom Giuliani hoped would provide a major boost to his presidential campaign.

The month before, Giuliani skipped the session to give the April 12 keynote speech at an economic conference in South Korea for $200,000, his financial disclosure shows.'

when asked about the iraq war, he shrugged and said, 'maybe we'll win, maybe we won't.'

now, there's leadership.

Posted by: all you need to know about rudy | June 19, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

mpiccolo writes
"To see what members of the Church of JESUS Christ of Latter-day Saints really believe..."

What a group calls itself does not necessarily infer on that group membership in other groups with which they might wish to be associated. For instance, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explicitly and clearly distances itself from The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To the vast majority of Americans one looks like the other. But the LDS very much wants to distinguish itself from the FLDS, which still practices polygamy. Both claim to be the true church of Joseph Smith.

Posted by: bsimon | June 19, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

In response to "David Glick": in addition to a Masters degree in Political Science and four years in a Phd. program, (I taught philosophy, which requires a detailed knowledge of the Bible), I am quite knowledgeable on most legitimate religions. I knew enough about the LDS to know that whatever else they may be, they have little or nothing to do with the faith that springs from the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. So.... to you and all the other defenders of the LDS... put your money where your mouth is. True or false:
1. Joseph Smith made a living by claiming to find gold in the ground through "divination" (looking at a rock in a hat through a hole in the hat) while living in New York as a young man.
2.Mormons under Brigham Young rebelled against the U.S. government in 1857.
3. The Mountain Meadows genocide occurred, was carried out by Mormons, and the participants and the leadership of the LDS, including Brigham Young, lied about it.
4. Blacks were officially considered second class humans by the LDS and were "unfit" for the "priesthood" as defined by the LDS until the 1970s.
5. Homosexuality and support for equal rights for women in the church and in society are currently, officially sanctioned reasons for excommunication by the LDS.
6. If a child is excommunicated, parents and siblings risk their "good standing" in the church if they stay in contact with former church members of their own families.

Let cut the hype on "anti-Mormon" bias and loaded terms like bigotry. Answer the questions. These are not issues of opinion or analysis. These are fact issues. Defend your faith with facts and reason... if you can

Posted by: nate in appleton | June 19, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

In unusually stark terms, Mr. Bloomberg expressed his frustration with the state of the nation, touching on campaign-style issues like the war in Iraq, immigration, education, health care and crime before a crowd of more than 1,000 employees at the Google campus here.

"Whoever out of those 20 becomes president I think has to do something about a country that I think is really in trouble," Mr. Bloomberg said, referring to the current crop of candidates. "There's the war, there is our relationships around the world."

"Our reputation has been hurt very badly in the last few years," he continued, criticizing what he called a "go-it-alone mentality" in an increasingly interconnected world.

Posted by: is he running? | June 19, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

To see what members of the Church of JESUS Christ of Latter-day Saints really believe...go to www.mormon.org

Learn the truth from the original source.

Posted by: MPiccolo | June 19, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Thinking back over the blather last week over Sen. Reid's (D-NV) comments about Gen. Pace, it's quite astonishing that the White House could with a straight face attack Reid for questioning Pace's competence only day's after they'd fired him -- for incompetence.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

'Wrangling between Bush administration aides and U.S. intelligence agencies is holding up talks with Moscow on future monitoring of the thousands of nuclear weapons that the United States and Russia still aim at one another.

The 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) established the elaborate scheme of inspections, data sharing, advance missile test notifications and satellite surveillance. But the accord will expire in December 2009, and the U.S. spy satellites that locate and monitor Russian missile sites are stretched thin by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, concerns about North Korea's and Iran's nuclear programs and other threats, current and former U.S. officials and experts said.'

While we debate 'issues' the clock is ticking on our very survival, as the fundamentalist rapture cult that bush belongs to embraces and tries to bring on the Nuclear Armegaddon. You think relgion doesn't matter?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

His faith didn't exactly give him any of these consevative morals until about 2-4 years ago when he was thinking of running for president...

Posted by: mbw | June 19, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Chris is absolutely right. If Romney is running on his beliefs as a 'person of faith' we need to know exactly what those beliefs ARE. We have every right to question, becuase it affects every aspect of governance.

It is true that the Mormon Church lobbies very hard, as an organization, against the rights of women, for one thing. All women should be aware of this.

Posted by: Cassandra | June 19, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"In other words, are the specifics of Romney's faith important for voters to hear in order to make an informed decision when assessing the Republican presidential candidates?"

To reiterate what I said above, it's impossible to know if the specifics of Romney's faith are important if you don't know what the specifics are. Further, it's lazy and disingenuous to try and avoid difficult questions about Mormonism, and thereby take a permissive stance towards ignorance about it, by riding under a banner of religious freedom and equality.

Romney does need to have a JFK moment, but he needs a preparatory step that Kennedy didn't. People understood the tenets of Catholocism and accepted that it wouldn't determine Kennedy's choices in office. Once they understand the tenets of Mormonism, they can decide whether or not to make the same decision about Romney. But they deserve a chance to make the choice without being accused of religious intolerance.

Posted by: Chris | June 19, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse


"Salt Lake City writer John Llewellyn, a former member of a fundamentalist LDS Restoration denomination, says:

'The key factor in controlling a polygamist cult is in brainwashing the young women to inculcate upon their impressionable minds that everything not condoned by the prophet is evil, that they cannot go to the celestial kingdom unless they live in a plural marriage, and that the gates of heaven will be closed to the disobedient'." 1

Posted by: is this christianity? you decide | June 19, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse


Utah state Senator Ron Allen said:
'We have thousands of women pulled out of school at an early age, forced into marriages with older men, kept isolated from society, constantly impregnated, and often placed on public assistance with no financial means of their own. They are forgotten citizens facing abuse and fear. On top of it all, the victims are constantly taught that God is just pleased as punch about the whole deal. It has to stop'."

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I agree with some of the previous comments that there is nothing in Romney's past that denotes he is unfit to run for the presidency because of his faith. One of the central teachings of the Mormon faith is that Jesus Christ lives and will help people return to heaven. I can't possibly see this as a controversial issue.

I know values are important to the GOP, and I believe to the Dems as well. Mormons embody good, wholesome values that would only make our country stronger. I'm not advocating a Mormon to be our president, but I believe if people were more educated about the subject they would realize this is not an essential issue to running for president. Mormons are Christians - period.

What irritates me is that people refuse to accept that Mormons are Christians and therefore make it an issue. If you are going to analyze Romney's faith, analyze the rest of the candidates faith. Are they as involved in or committed to their faith as Romney? Do they uphold the values taught in their religion or do they just profess to be of a certain denomination without practicing what is taught.

I think it takes courage to be a Mormon in a world that is becoming devoid of family values, honesty, integrity, etc. At least the Mormons are doing something to promote those things. What are the other candidates doing in their private lives - as that is what the press is making this out to be. It is a personal matter. If he believed in principles that were contrary to those listed in the Constitution then, yes, it would be an issue for me. Since he doesn't, I don't believe it will affect his ability to be a president. We don't live in a country that has a state religion - so why are people paranoid? They should educate themselves as to other faiths and the way government works and I believe they will find that Mormonism will not adversely affect our country.

Posted by: Holly Walker | June 19, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Any candidate whose faith was directly involved in questions of federalism and state sovereignty should be required to answer for that. Simple.

Posted by: dc student | June 19, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Originally in the Mormon faith, it was considered perfectly fine for a 40 year old man to have a harem of his 14-year-old nieces. That isn't a relgion, it's an Inbred Pedophile Playboy Club.

Incidentally, there are still two large groups in the Southwest who practice this.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Of course his Mormonism matters. Republicans have run on the Holier-Than-Thou ticket for years.

Posted by: SoCAL X | June 19, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

John B writes
"The Mormon apologists who keep insisting that Mormons really, truly are Christians are missing one key point: most other Christians do not consider them to be so. It's as simple as that"

John is exactly right. I was raised Catholic, sent to parochial school through 4th grade, after which my folks transferred my brother and me to a Christian school. We were pariahs. Dirty, mary-worshipping heathens. Such views are not necessarily universal among evangelicals, but they are certainly prevalent.

Posted by: bsimon | June 19, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Romney's Mormonism is an irrelevancy. His greater problem is his apparent shifting allegiance on specific social conservative issues. It is likely that his positions have (or have not) been informed by his religion but his positions (and inconsistency) are no more attributable to Latter Day Saints than to any other religious politician. You can find numerous examples of others who waffle just as much - and on the same topics - but no-one picks on them just because they happen to be a Southern Baptist or a Reform Jew or some other denomination.

Romney also has a substantial public record which seems to indicate he can balance his personal beliefs and civic responsibilities. The petard he should be hoisted on should focus on what he says and does, not on his theological foundations.

Posted by: Not FromNauvoo | June 19, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Though I hate the hyper-religiousity of American politics, I don't think I would reject a candidate solely because of the religious faith he or she adheres to. People tend to belong to particular churches for family and cultural reasons as much as anything else. It's what they do with their beliefs that matters.

However, one recent Romney factoid makes me nervous. A liberal Mormon women lawyer in Massachusetts recently gave an interview about conversations she had with Mitt on the subject of abortion while he was in Massachusetts. In one conversation, she praised him for taking a pro-choice view on abortion in his Senate race in 94. His response suggested to her that he only took that position after receiving permission from Mormon church leaders to do so.

If that is true, that upsets me.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Romney should not be expected to explain the tenets of the church. There are church representatives whose full-time calling it is to explain the tenets of the church and who do it very well. Romney is a member but does not speak for the church. If persons want to know about the church they should go to the church and talk to its authorized representatives. Romney is a spokesperson for his campaign and not a spokesperson for his church.

Posted by: Lori Blomquist | June 19, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Many thoughtful comments here. As a long-time Salt Lake resident and a member of a mainstream Protestant church,I have mixed feelings. I do not agree that questions concerning the candidacy of a devout LDS person equate to prejudice. And I have to add here that the comments by Utahreb are quite accurate, although certainly not a part of the PR package presented by the media-savvy Church.

To me, the two most frightening aspects of Mormonism, as practiced by its American members, are thus: 1) the singlemindedness with which their needs and desires (usually fueled by an overwhelming mission to proselytize) are pursued, frequently to the disadvantage of the general population. The 2002 Winter Olympics were signed, sealed and delivered by the LDS church, with only a few scandalous examples of "insider trading." The location of the Medal Ceremonies is a case in point--a parking lot was pressed into service, solely because the television camera shots of the awarding of the medals would have as their background an unobstructed view of the Mormon Temple, rising majestically in the background. These Olympics were designed to burnish the image of the LDS church.
However, most distressing to me is also most basic to them. Witness the name--"The Church of of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." "Latter Day" refers to the doctrine that this planet is in its final days before the "end days" and the return of Jesus Christ to Jackson County, Missouri. What results from this Apocalyptic view is that long-range planning for climate change, overpopulation, pollution, agricultural deficiencies, etc. are not addressed as pressing issues. After all, we're not going to be around that long, are we? Salt Lake City and Logan have the "worst air" in the country, Utah schools have the lowest per capita expenditure (but are now fighting out-of-state proposed tax-funded private school vouchers, to the detriment of the struggling public school system.) The bottom line remains that, at least in Utah, the Mormon church can promote and fulfil any project it wishes. Unfortunately, the wishes are usually those that will primarily benefit the church
If Governor Romney is the Republican nominee, he, and the party and the LDS Church, will have to deal with a multitude of faith issues which will have a negative effect on the general population. No, it's not a "bias and prejudice" issue; it's a question of becoming aware of the power of a theocracy vs. the general population.

To compare the candidacy of JFK with that of Governor Romney is apples and oranges. John F. Kennedy was a nominal Roman Catholic--Mitt Romney is a devout Mormon.

Posted by: Saltlakesandy | June 19, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

People are free to believe whatever they want. But having said that, Mr. Romney's character flaws would prevent me from voting for him for president, not his religion.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

One problem with trying to judge a person by their religious beliefs is that most people are too lazy to do the research to find what those beliefs really are. They watch a documentary on PBS for example, and think they now know all about Mormons.
" Tony Story" posts that Mormons belief they will have their own worlds in the next life with lot's of virgins at their disposal. News to me, and I grew up LDS in SLC. Now that I live in NYC, I still haven't ever heard that one taught. And no, Mormons do not believe that - it just shows that their are a number of idiots out their who will believe every thing they hear at face value - without taking the time to use a bit of intelligence to see if it is true.
The people at both ends of the political spectrum who say they would never vote for a person of a certain religious faith are fools at best and are dangerous to the values of this country.

Posted by: David Glick | June 19, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Anybody who supports Chimpy and the Repukes is NOT a real Christian.

Who Would Jesus Torture?

Posted by: Tom3 | June 19, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The WSJ goes high with, and everyone mentions, that Iraq was ranked as the world's second most unstable country by the 2007 Failed States Index, which is produced by Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace. Iraq was fourth last year, but now the only country that ranks worse is Sudan.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Mormons are the $cientology cult of the 1800's.

Amazing what a century can do to make your whacko cult respectable.

Posted by: Tom3 | June 19, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The Mormon apologists who keep insisting that Mormons really, truly are Christians are missing one key point: most other Christians do not consider them to be so. It's as simple as that, I think that as the evangelical Christians who make up a large part of the Republican voting base find out more about Mormonism, they will be even less inclined to consider Mormons to be Christians.

I am neither Mormon nor Christian--all religions are cults to me--and I neither know nor care whether Mormons are Christian or not, but as an outsider it's amusing to see the arguments over who is or isn't admitted to the "club", as well as the arguments over who is qualified to say so in the first place. Republicans have been fomenting this kind of "us vs. them" religious mentality in American politics since the 1980's and the chickens are finally coming home to roost.

Posted by: John B. -- Washington, DC | June 19, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

While I do have problems with the tenets of Mormonism, and particularly with the less seeemly details of its founder, Joseph Smith's, career, I prefer to keep my objections to a Romney/Mormon presidency in a different context. We are about to emerge, let us hope, from an administration which has unwisely and as often as possible bridged the Framers' separation of church and state, both in word and in deed. Given the unremitting evangelization central to Mormon practice, I want no more presidencies which dabble in contextualing national affairs in some "faith-based" framework or which proselitize for any form of religion or merely religion in the abstract. I want a secular government which does not clothe its policies--and its mistakes, as the Bush presidency habitually has done, in some smarmy and ignorant version of "faith" or which seeks to circumvent the obstacles wisely placed in the path of any national theocracy by the Constitution. Though I am myself a churched Christian, I want no presence of religion in governmental life beyond what has always appeared on the currency and in the prayers with which Congress opens its sessions. Religion is better left a private matter. One need only look at Islam's centuries-long war between Sunni and Shia over who was the legitimate heir of the Prophet to discern what the penetration of religion into national affairs leads to.

Posted by: Ward | June 19, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

USAT leads with U.S. commanders in Iraq rejecting a recommendation made by Army health experts that troops receive a one-month break after they spend three months in a combat zone. U.S. troops in Iraq are spending more time in combat than those who fought in Vietnam, Korea or World War II, and experts say continuous exposure can lead to serious mental-health problems.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

The reason so little is known about Romney's religion is that it is so secretive. That, in and of itself, is reason to ask questions, the first one being "Why?". Something is afoot when people have a set of beliefs of which they are unwilling to expose to the light of day. How can we as a nation want someone be president when their beliefs are unknown and in this case, from someone who makes claims about his political beliefs contingent upon the moment and audience? (He now claims he is against abortion and tried to be to the left of Senator Kennedy when he challenged him for his senate seat.) Perhaps being of a religion, which is unwilling to discuss what it stands for, suggests what is noted here.

As an aside, I also wish to add that having experienced Mormons, I have noted that they are insular and distrusting of others not of their religion. It is impossible to know who or what Romney is, but in dealing with other nations and peoples of the world, especially in times such as we live, this may be the wrong person for the job, because valid questions asked, go unanswered.....

Posted by: gary | June 19, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

The only question is whether any candidate would obey his or her religious leaders/texts rather than representing all citizens. The JFK question. Romney and all the other candidates should address that question.

I'd take a democratic Mormon over a theocratic Catholic or Baptist any day. Not to say Romney necessarily is one.

Posted by: Greg Ohio | June 19, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

WOW...

You don't need to read anything from the alleged "mormon bashers" on this blog... just read the comments from self-professing mormon 'MPetrie'.

He/she declares that they are a "Christian Denomination" that believe:

*Mormon do believe that God was once a man (not on this earth) and he gained his status as God.

* Mormons believe Jesus came to America after his resurrection and ascension into heaven. (hello? anyone? anyone?)

* The Mormon Temple is only open to members of the church in good standing.

* Mormons believe that in order to be saved, you must have received specific ordinances (baptism, etc) by one who actually has the authority to perform the ordinance.

* Even though current living, breathing Mormons get baptised on behalf of dead people... "The deceased person on the other side then has the freedom to accept or reject the baptism. It does not automatically make them mormon."

* People say that mormons believe that they will die and go to heaven and become gods. They obtain a god-like status but they are in NO WAY equal to God.

* Finally... one of the founders of Dell Computers is a Mormon...

So everything should be just fine.

Maybe if Steve Jobs were a Mormon I could have been convinced.

Go and do some research people... Mormonism is a sick and twisted cult. And a core part of the Republican Base - conservative evangelicals (of which I am not one) - know it, therefore meaning Romney has no chance.

Adios Mitt.

Posted by: Tony Story | June 19, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm sick of this talk of religion and faith in politics. I want practical solutions to real problems. Screw the religious people in this country! See what pandering to them has gotten us so far? Do you want more? For crying out loud, get real!

Posted by: John Paul | June 19, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Romney's not a Mormon...he's a $cientologist!

He recently said his favorite book was "Battlefield Earth", a second-rate trashy sci-fi novel by $cientology cult founder L. Ron Hubbard.

Nobody could possibly like that trashy novel (which was made into a stinkeroo of a movie with cult member John Travolta)

The only explanation is that Mitt is a $cientologist.

Posted by: Tom3 | June 19, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

". . . no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." (US Constitution, Art. VI).

Many individuals commenting here apparently do not believe in the Constitution since they seem to think a religious test IS appropriate.

Posted by: Diane C. Russell | June 19, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

We've already had one guy who thinks God tells him to attack other countries on a whim and kill thousands of people, and that hasn't worked out so well, so I'm kind of disinclined to vote for anyone who runs strongly as a 'person of faith'. How about a 'person of competence' for a change?

All this flogging of religion and kowtowing to fundamentalists [who are all enemies of reason and rationality, no matter what their faith] is taking us back into the superstitious past, and rendering us unable to compete with other countries in science and technology. We need to stop hding from our own shadows and talk not about what we fear, but what we want to accomplish in the future.

Mitty is also just plain too easily led, too hypocritical, and too much of a butt-kissing flipflopper to be a leader.

Posted by: drindl | June 19, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Bottom line: The more people know about the facts, not a variety of opinions expressed on this or any other blog, but the facts that you find in real encyclopedias or for instance, "The Perennial Dictionary of World Religions" 1981, Harper and Row, Keith Crim, ed, the less likely they are to consider Mormons a legitimate branch of the Christian faith or even a legitimate religion. Ergo- the more informed the public becomes, the less likely Romney will get the nomination, much less the general election. Lets do it people, find legitimate, informed sources of information and lets learn a little of our country's religious and political history. Our future depends on it.

Posted by: nate in appleton | June 19, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to whiteline for the most insighful thing on this I have seen: "It's a legitimate campaign issue only in the sense that Gov. Romney can't have it both ways. He can't go to conservative Christians trying to score points by saying he is a "person of faith" and then say it's irrelevant or illegitimate when asked to amplify what "faith" is." The only problem with the comment is that there is noone who can deliver this line of attack (who can throw the first stone if they all wear their faith in their sleeve?). It is clearly highly relevant to asess the judgement of a person to know whether they are a believer in some crank cult -- and whatever one's views on christianity, it is quite beyond doubt that john smith was a crank and lds is a cult. Would you want a president who believes in allien abductions and in the advice of his chaman? No? Then you should not want this type of cranks either.

Posted by: atheist | June 19, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution, in one of the few references the document makes to religion, guarantees that no religious test be applied for a person to hold office. This means that the government can't make the office of president Christian-only for example. So, this determines that a Mormon can be president.

Second, any arguments referencing separation of church and state as a reason for or against Romney's candidacy do not hold true. This First Amendment clause simply prohibits the establishment of a national religion and guarantees religious freedom. So it's not illegal for Romney to be Mormon and he can practice his religion any way he sees fit.

Since Romney is free to practice his religion and also eligible to run for office, any discussion of his faith should be initiated by the candidate himself. If he opens that door then he owes the country a true accounting of his beliefs, or at the very least, an accurate discussion of what Mormons hold to be true.

This would be a nice and honest gesture on the part of the Romney campaign and could help dispel misconceptions about his faith.

The negative is that the media, his opponents, and the Christian right would use his faith as a basis for attacks later in the campaign.

Therefore Romney is in a no-win situation. If he is open and honest about his faith and explains the tenets of Mormonism, then this can be a positive in the immediate future. But as the topic is continuously talked about on TV and during debates, it will become a negative.

I suppose of Romney views his faith as an asset and is proud to be Mormon, then he will open up and explain and then later proudly defend his beliefs. If he knows being Mormon is a political liability then he will continue to be vague and not really discuss his faith any more than the other candidates, trying to make it a non-issue.

It will be interesting to see which path he chooses, shedding light not only on the role of religion in politics, but the role of religion in Romney's own political life. Quite a test of character I say...and an unfair one at that.

Posted by: John A. | June 19, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"Much was made of JFK's Catholicism when he ran, and now Romney must endure the same."

Not a good analogy, given that JFK's religion was nearly 2000 years old when he ran for president, while Romney's is less than 200 years old.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Ones faith or religion has to be considered when we, as the people, are choosing the one person to represent us for the next four years. Whoever we elect as our leader will in fact be making decisions for us during this period of time in office.

Posted by: lylepink | June 19, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

there is a reason Romney is trying to deemphasize the specifics of Mormonism.

Posted by: Carroll Bruce | June 19, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

fr utahreb:

>...Living in Utah for almost 20 years, I could tell you stories of children being ostracized, harassed physically and verbally, shunned because they are not Mormon. Adults refused jobs because they were not Mormon. Job interviews where applicants are asked what ward they are in. And the list goes on. ...<

I'd be reporting that interviewer/company to the EEOC, as it is illegal to ask what religion the applicant professes.

Posted by: Alex | June 19, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone's religion should be a litmus test for capable public service. However, Mormonism is like the negative (or positive) of the Nation of Islam. They are the inverse of each other. Both started with extremely racialist tenets preached by charismatic leaders about "chosen people" and contemporary messiahs. Then again, most religions in their infancies did the same.

I am very leery of anyone coming from a religious background that includes labeling an entire race of people as being soulless and unable to obtain the same rewards as a so-called "chosen" people.

Mormonism began with the thought that black people had no souls and were not able to go to heaven. I don't believe in the heaven/hell fantastic afterlife scenerio, but to religiously endorse discrimination is a HUGE minus in the character department.

Posted by: Gabriel | June 19, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

". . . no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." (US Constitution, Art. VI).

Many individuals commenting here apparently do not believe in the Constitution since they seem to think a religious test IS appropriate.

Posted by: Diane C. Russell | June 19, 2007 08:49 AM

The Constitution guarantees that no religious test will prevent a citizen from running for the office of president. The Constitution does not, and cannot, guarantee that voters' decisions won't be informed by a candidates personal, religious beliefs.

These are two different things.

Posted by: KJ | June 19, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Romney's campaign ultimately depends on the ignorance of most voters on the truth about his church and his faith. Mormons themselves are of two minds on the possible impact of his run. See the New York Times, June 11, 2007 article by Laurie Goodstien: "Romney's Run Has Mormans Wary of Scrutiny". A brief exerpt: At the core of these tensions is that Mormons consider themselves to be Christians who believe in Jesus Christ and the Bible, but many of their tenets and practices have been denounced by other churches as heretical.

Some Mormons have watched with concern how Mr. Romney has responded to grilling by interviewers about his church's distinctive doctrines.

Mr. Romney has been questioned about the Mormon definition of God, polygamy, the location of Jesus's arrival when he returns to earth, and even a mysterious saying attributed to Joseph Smith Jr. called the "White Horse Prophecy," which some interpret as a prediction that when the American Constitution is hanging "by a thread," a Mormon will rescue the nation.

Mr. Romney's tendency to gloss over Mormonism's history and distinctive tenets has upset some fellow Mormons. Some said they cringed when Mr. Romney said on "60 Minutes," "I can't imagine anything more awful than polygamy."

Tom Grover, 26, a Mormon who is the host of a weekday talk show on politics on radio station KVNU here, said that while he thinks Mr. Romney has handled the scrutiny admirably, some of his callers were incensed about Mr. Romney's repudiation of his own ancestors' polygamy. The church outlawed the practice a century ago, but members are taught to understand that polygamy had a theological and historical context in the church, which Mr. Romney's remark ignored.

"That really left a bad taste in people's mouths," Mr. Grover said.

Posted by: nate in appleton | June 19, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Um, didn't we elect a man (Bush) who met this countries religious 'test'. A man who people say is guided by God. Well for someone who passed our religious 'test' he sure hasn't been guided very well. I guess we as a people don't really know what religion someone should be to run this country.

Posted by: Kyle | June 19, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

As a conservative Republican, it boggles my mind how some refuse to vote for Romney but would have no difficulty voting for Newt (who twice divorced his wife to marry his mistress) because he is "saved" and goes to the "right church."

Unbelievable.

Posted by: FLHIGHLIFE | June 19, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I am simply amazed at some of the comments on here where people attempt to explain mormon beliefs and get it completely wrong. One of the comments above tried to explain the beliefs and called Joseph Smith "John Smith". If someone can't even get the name of the founder correct, how can they be trusted with their other information? Mormonism is a Christian denomination. It is NOT a mainstream Christian religion however. Many of the differences come down on how scripture is interpreted. Mormons believe God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons, not one entity like that of the Trinity. Mormon do believe that God was once a man (not on this earth) and he gained his status as God. There is hardly anything known about how this all happened so it is not taught in depth. The Bible says God has always been God. Mormons interpret that to mean that TO US God has always been God and there has never been a time where he has ceased to be our God. Mormons believe Jesus came to America after his resurrection and ascension into heaven. The Bible does not mention this happening but it also doesn't say a lot of things so we have no reason to say it did not or couldn't have happened. The Mormon Temple is only open to members of the church in good standing. This is not strange. Read your Old Testament. You actually had to be of a specific blood line in order to be permitted to hold the priesthood and officiate in the Temple. Christ threw people out of the Temple for defiling it with their actions. Guess they too weren't worthy. Someone above says Mormons baptize deceased people which makes them mormons. This is not true. Mormons believe that in order to be saved, you must have received specific ordinances (baptism, etc) by one who actually has the authority to perform the ordinance. Mormons believe that authority was lost shortly after the death of the apostles. That authority has since been restored and there are billions of people who have not received a valid baptism. So, in order for those people to receive that saving ordinance, names are submitted to the Temples (not just any name they can find) and mormons are baptised on their behalf. The deceased person on the other side then has the freedom to accept or reject the baptism. It does not automatically make them mormon. People say that mormons believe that they will die and go to heaven and become gods. They obtain a god-like status but they are in NO WAY equal to God. They will always be subject to him and worship him. The Bible DOES teach this. The Bible does say that those who are saved shall sit in God's throne as Christ did. They shall inherit all the God has. The IS taught in the Bible. I have been a Mormon in Utah all my life and I am a very normal person. I can attest that Mormons do NOT teach each other to talk bad about other religions. They do not teach each other to seclude themselve from those who are non-members. Those who engage in this practice are ignorant and self-centered and are not following the teachings of the church. The church strongly encourages members to not work on Sunday WHEREVER POSSIBLE. Some careers require work to be performed on Sunday and the Church understands that. Romney's religion has made him a better person. It does affect the way he lives his life but I am 100% certain that he will not start imposing Church guidelines in the White House. By taking the oath of office, his primary responsibility is the country. I can guarantee that you will NOT see Romney imposing tenants of the Mormon faith into the government. People who say that he will try to "mormonize" the White House are simply fear mongers. MANY mormons in business and politics have been successful in the past and there is no reason to believe that a Mormon president couldn't do the same. Harry Reid is an active Mormon. He's the top Democrat in the nation. Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services is a mormon and he does a great job. Senator Orrin Hatch is a very high-status member of the Senate. The Founder of Dell Computers was a Mormon. The founder of JetBlue was a mormon. The founder of the Marriott Chain of Hotels was a mormon. I guarantee that if Romney becomes President, people will look back at him and say, "Man... am I glad we did."

Posted by: MPetrie | June 19, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

i'm not swaying one side or the other right now, and I'm not mormon, but it's pretty amazing that so many people will readily share information that they are completely ignorant about. If you really want to know what mormons are like, talk to one. Every mormon I've met (practicing, as in goes to church regularly, etc) has been more than nice to everyone, very hardworking, and they are probably the least likely people to call your faith wrong. Not one has tried to force me into their faith, although I've been invited.

Whats wrong with that? Nothing, to me it means they love going to church, which is more than I can say for most people. You all act like they get a $10,000 bonus for recruiting members or something. You've never invited your friend to something you want to do?

If you really want to know what mormons believe ask one, and ignore the garbage coming from the keyboards of the ignorant

Posted by: andrew | June 19, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Blair writes
"Maybe I am an optimist, but I feel that the average American is not so close-minded and bigoted as to believe all the anti-mormon lies in these commments and let it influence their vote."

Blair -
If you are Mormon, which I suspect you are, could you clarify which comments included anti-Mormon lies? As I mentioned a few minutes ago, many Americans don't know the first thing about Mormonism. For those of us outside the faith, its difficult to know what Mormonism is; for instance, did the PBS program get it wrong? How so?

Posted by: bsimon | June 19, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

J'ai un vision.

Posted by: Joan d'Arc | June 19, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I think for most voters the question is less whether his religion is an issue than what, exactly, his religion is. Honestly, I could not tell you, briefly and persuasively, what the difference between Mormomism and Christianity are (or is it a type of Christianity?). If Romney wants this to be a non-issue (he is getting press over each gaffe, after all), instead of focusing on similiarities he should come out and state--just once--how his religion is distinct from Christianity and Judaism. Only after people know the differences can they decide if they consider those differences important.

Posted by: Chris | June 19, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Some scientists studying the early Mormon writings have posited that the founder was likely schizophrenic and hallucinating.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

"Do I believe this person's faith with require them to choose their religious beliefs over execution of their duties as President?"

Anyone who follows their religion's teaching re overturning Roe v. Wade, which is the law of land, falls into the above category.

Posted by: On abortion | June 19, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I have no problem with a Mormon. My problem is that he is a republican. We can't elect another republican whoever the candidate is. The Constitution depends on it.

The Bush administration's crass politicization of everything from Justice to CPB has left the leadership of these organizations in tatters and pushing a perverse agenda that has nothing to do with a true conservative agenda, but pushes Bush's strage view of the world.

If a Republican is elected most of these ideologues will stay. It may take 10 years to clean up the mess this administration has made in the machinery of government to return it to some semblence of operational.

The first thing that has to happen is that all of Bush's political cronies must be removed.

Posted by: chitown huslter | June 19, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Brad Gilbert writes
"The only reason Romney's church is under fire is because it sells press and because opponents see it as an easy way for lower-rung candidates to sling mud on a more popular one."

I disagree. The reason Romney's church is under fire is because most Americans don't know much about Mormonism. Upon learning more about that faith, much flies in the face of our knowledge of history and religion. Whether its the now-abandoned practice of polygamy or the ongoing practice of baptising the dead, there's a lot about Mormonism that feels foreign - or just plain wrong - to Americans of other faiths. Mr Romney hasn't been very clear about what his beliefs are - does he believe the Book of Mormon as a literal work? My understanding is that he has to - to remain a Mormon in good standing. Many Americans will likely find such a belief to be a negative in a candidate - not unlike how many Americans find a belief in the Bible as the literal word of God to be a negative in a candidate.

Posted by: bsimon | June 19, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

The fact that any candidate (Romney, Brownback, Tancredo) would raise their hand to declare proudly that they don't believe in Evolution is sufficient reason to declare them ignorant dolts who have no business leading the most advanced nation on Earth. The US under Bush has been falling behind the rest of the world in science due to this Know-Nothing mentality. Incidentally, Muslim fundamentalists don't believe in Evolution, either, so anti-Evolutionists are just playing into their hands.

Posted by: Pro-Evolution | June 19, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

How fine to see US evangelicals and zealots ostracize a candidate because of his faith. They are the ones who always complain that religion should imbue the state and school systems. Obviously, they mean onlty their own particular brand. God talks to them, not others.

It would be great if we could elect a US president who promised never to claim divine sanction or to appoint anyone who does not leave private faith at home and limit his or her public mission to fulfilling the Constitution amd laws. How sweet if, instead of boasting that God Bless America, he merely say that we all fall short, but must at least try to treat others as we would have them treat us. End of sermon!

Posted by: JKoch | June 19, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

While the polls may say that many voters will not vote for a mormon, I would like to see another poll asking similar people to state who they think the mormon is. I've run into tons of people who seem to think we are like the Amish, or live in compounds like the Branch Davidians. Does the average american even know the Romney is a mormon? I'm not sure.

Maybe I am an optimist, but I feel that the average American is not so close-minded and bigoted as to believe all the anti-mormon lies in these commments and let it influence their vote. I hope I am right, for the sake of our country.

Posted by: Blair | June 19, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

All religions are whacky and weird in some way or another. Christians ritually drink the blood and eat the body of Christ, for goodness sake. Isn't that a little weird....? So, then, how can we possibly say that the Mormon faith is worse/weirder than any other faith.....just because it's less popular, doesn't mean it's any weirder. What really bothers me is candidates have to profess their belief in God to even have a chance at the presidency. It would be so refreshing to hear a candidate say..."I don't know if God exists. NO ONE KNOWS, no one will EVER know, we can only hope. So, let's focus on the things we KNOW, like our health care system is a disaster, the war is a disaster, our public education system is a disaster...and on and on." I'd vote for that person, regardless of party affiliation, in a heart beat. Unfortunately, that would be an extremely brave and courageous thing to say, and politicians are generally pretty cowardly creatures.

Posted by: Angie | June 19, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Religious beliefs should remain a private matter. However, when candidates make it a public matter, then the public has a right to ask questions. If Mitt Romney is courting the religious right, then his religion is fair game.
I'm still trying to figure out why God is more concerned about abortion and gay marriage than hunger, poverty and war.

Posted by: leona simoninsky | June 19, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

No and you shouldn't feed into the hype by asking bigoted questions.

Posted by: James D | June 19, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

No and you shouldn't feed into the hype by asking bigoted questions.

Posted by: James D | June 19, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Until recently, all I knew about Mormanism and the LDS was that pairs of young men were sent out for two years at a pop to spread the faith. Every once in a while I would see them on their bikes. I didn't really care one way or another. Then I happened to catch both of the two hour specials on PBS on the faith and the church. I now believe that if most American voters educate themselves about the church, the faith, and particularly the leadership of the LDS, they will find it almost impossible to vote for a follower of this church. I encourage people to go to the PBS website and go to the link to the program co-produced by American Experiance and Frontline, "The Mormons".
Briefly, the founder, John Smith comes across as a blend of con-man, megalomanic, and mental case. Most voters will be repelled by the practice of polygamy. I doubt that many American know that the Mormons, under the leadership of Brigham Young, rebelled against the U.S. government in 1857. They carried out an attack on a party of non Mormon settlers on September 7, 1857. The Mormons, led by a local leader, John Lee, acting under orders of Brigham Young, attacked and killed every man, woman, and child over the age of seven in a valley called Mountain Meadows. The attack was blamed on local Indian tribes in a cover up directed by church officials in Salt Lake led by Brigham Young. To this day church officials deny responsibility.
Equally disturbing is the extreme secrecy surrounding the religion, (especially temple activities and finances), the long refusal to allow blacks to serve as leaders within the church, and it's policy of excommunicating dissenters. Following excommunication, immediate family members must cut off all communication with former church members, cutting the ties that bind parents with children and brothers and sisters. Church approved reasons for excommunication include sexual orientation and support of equal rights for women.
I encourage all voters to educate themselves on the core tenets of the faith, the history of the church and its leadership, and the relationship of the church to modern politics. This is not just another Protestant denomination.

Posted by: nate in appleton | June 19, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

George Washington believed that a President had to behave as though he had no faith in order to serve the interests of the country, this is a view that finds less and less support each year. It sounds like an advocacy of realpolitik. Since the split in recent years is between a muscular Christianity and a charitable Christianity, we are entitled to specifics, as to how a candidate's personal faith will color his behavior as President. This is more true of Romney than most, since not much is known about his particular faith by most Americans.

Posted by: Andrew Donaldson | June 19, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Those who think "Mormonism is a denomination of Christianity" need to spend more time on the web, and especially on Christian discussion boards. Mormons may consider themselves Christian but most non-Mormon Christians, and probably the vast majority of conservative and evangelical Christians, most certainly do NOT view the Mormons as Christian--quite the opposite in fact, they believe Mormons have been led astray by the devil himself.

I once had the privilege of overhearing my Jehovah's Witness neighbor arguing with two poor Mormon kids who came to her door; she kept saying, over and over, "where in the BIBLE does it say that?" Of course many Christians don't believe Jehovah's Witnesses to be Christian, either; funny how self-identified Christians are willing to count practically everybody as "Christian" when it's convenient (especially when they insist we are a "Christian" nation), then turn around and define "true" Christianity so narrowly as to be only the members of their own little sect. This practice, and the Republican party's conflation of religion with politics, are coming back to bite them, and may very well sink Romney's candidacy.

Posted by: John B. -- Washington, DC | June 19, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

J'ai un vision.

Posted by: Joan d'Arc | June 19, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

All of this talk talk talk, bashing bashing bashing, and I'm right and you are wrong. It goes on and on and I'm sure it has for Governor Romney's entire life. And with all of this you know what Mr. Romney would say in return? He would say the same thing he did to the athletes and spectators of the world during the closing ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics, "Love Ya".

Posted by: Kyle | June 19, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me that Mitt Romney's "Mormon question" has become an even greater issue played out in today's media than John F. Kennedy's "Catholic question" had decades ago. I cannot remember a time in which anyone's denomination has come under attack to the extent Governor Romney's has in this presidential race. I find this especially interesting given that we are in the midst of a global-wide cultural movement that claims to embrace diversity, tolerance, and respect for the individual. It looks to me that while some minority groups are protected from public discrimination, other groups are open game. The only reason Romney's church is under fire is because it sells press and because opponents see it as an easy way for lower-rung candidates to sling mud on a more popular one. The thing that is most unfair is that much of the mud being slung is pure hogwash, for example the Brownback camp issued a statement saying that Mormons believe in a different Jesus Christ--does Sam Brownback actually believe that there is more than one?

Posted by: Brad Gilbert | June 19, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

For an insider's view of what it's like to grow up in the Mormon church read ex-LDS member Tom Gessel's profile on the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard web site.

http://www.harvardhumanist.org/?page_id=43

Posted by: jo4sun | June 19, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Judging from the very existence of this discussion, as well as some of the above comments, I am sad to see that religious bigotry is alive and well in the US. People are unduly worried about Romney's denomination and unwilling to grant Mormons the status of Christian even though they admit they know little about his religion.

Much was made of JFK's Catholicism when he ran, and now Romney must endure the same. There is nothing in Mormon doctrine that disrespects the Constitution. Quite the contrary: the Thirteenth Article of Faith states that "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." Hmm, not very subversive stuff. It is only fear and ignorance of the unknown that are now causing people to make Romney's chosen denomination an issue. True, the GOP has, wrongly I believe, made a candidate's personal faith an issue, but Romney's Mormonism is irrelevant. It's time to grow up and judge a candidate on his policies and not his denomination.

Posted by: Jonathan W. | June 19, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me that Romney wants to have it both ways: hold out his "faith" as something making him a good candidate, somebody who's worth voting for, but sweep the details of that faith under the rug because most people--and particularly the conservative Christian voters he's wooing--find them rather weird. But since the Republican party has been making faith and religious belief a political issue, surprise surprise, you can't have it both ways.

Posted by: John B. -- Washington, DC | June 19, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Since the present administration has held that it has God on speed dial, I think the religious beliefs of any candidate are fair game.

And no other religion, to my knowledge, refuses someone entry to its church. If you are not a Mormon in good standing, "worthy", do not have a "temple recommend" from a bishop of a Mormon ward, you cannot enter one of their "temples".

Gosh - I thought all churches were God's houses and that all were welcome there. Not in the Mormon theology, evidently.

Living in Utah for almost 20 years, I could tell you stories of children being ostracized, harassed physically and verbally, shunned because they are not Mormon. Adults refused jobs because they were not Mormon. Job interviews where applicants are asked what ward they are in. And the list goes on.

But the worst part is the hypocrisy. No Mormon is supposed to work on Sunday. Steve Young, former professional quarterback, played football every Sunday during the season and is held up as a wonderful example of a good Mormon. Guess he tithed lots of money from his Sunday work so it was okay for him to not follow the doctrines.

There is more - but anyone who delves closely into the beliefs and practices will get an eye-opener.

Posted by: Utahreb | June 19, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Since the present administration has held that it has God on speed dial, I think the religious beliefs of any candidate are fair game.

And no other religion, to my knowledge, refuses someone entry to its church. If you are not a Mormon in good standing, "worthy", do not have a "temple recommend" from a bishop of a Mormon ward, you cannot enter one of their "temples".

Gosh - I thought all churches were God's houses and that all were welcome there. Not in the Mormon theology, evidently.

Living in Utah for almost 20 years, I could tell you stories of children being ostracized, harassed physically and verbally, shunned because they are not Mormon. Adults refused jobs because they were not Mormon. Job interviews where applicants are asked what ward they are in. And the list goes on.

But the worst part is the hypocrisy. No Mormon is supposed to work on Sunday. Steve Young, former professional quarterback, played football every Sunday during the season and is held up as a wonderful example of a good Mormon. Guess he tithed lots of money from his Sunday work so it was okay for him to not follow the doctrines.

There is more - but anyone who delves closes into the beliefs and practices will get an eye-opener.

Posted by: Utahreb | June 19, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I have to say that, as a "Mormon", it has been fascinating to me to watch all of this nation's prejudices come out of the closet in these months leading up to the primaries. We think of ourselves as tolerant and open-minded, and this election will give us a chance to prove it. Do you believe blacks are as smart as whites? Do you believe women as capable to govern as men? And do we believe that a man who believes deeply in grace AND works can rule a nation? For every hateful comment we make about a candidate, we reveal our deepest, ugliest, and most unfair prejudices. America's true colors are coming out--and they're not pretty.

Posted by: Becca | June 19, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

It's a legitimate campaign issue only in the sense that Gov. Romney can't have it both ways. He can't go to conservative Christians trying to score points by saying he is a "person of faith" and then say it's irrelevant or illegitimate when asked to amplify what "faith" is.

Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, and Osama bin Laden could all stand up at a South Carolina GOP meeting and legitimately claim to be "people of faith"

Posted by: whiteline | June 19, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

To the extent that Mormonism is a highly-misunderstood faith, voters owe it to themselves to investigate the beliefs of the Mormon church thoroughly, and logically. Once so armed, these same voters owe it to themselves to ask the question: "Do I believe this person's faith with require them to choose their religious beliefs over execution of their duties as President?" The same questions and half-truths were posed about JFK and Catholicism, which is a much more well-known religion.

Posted by: John | June 19, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Diane, individuals are allowed to consider whatever factors they want in electing a president. If voters choose to consider religion, that's not a religious test. A religious test is when the government bars someone from holding office because of their religion. There's no Constitutional issue here.

Posted by: Blarg | June 19, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

The purpose of the original post was not to foment debate on Mormonism, but to question whether Romney's religious belief is a legitimate campaign issue.
Therefore, rather than dissect what the Saints believe, let's discuss whether a candidate's practice of a "minority" religion should be a deciding factor.
To that question, I say of course it should. If one's religious faith does not help shape his or her world-view, what's the point of acknowledging that one believes in the teachings of that faith?
To call oneself a believer but not to practice the faith is hypocritical and reveals much of one's character.

Posted by: marklemagne | June 19, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm unwilling to concede that LDS is a denomination of Christianity. From what I know, LDS beliefs are divergent in several material ways. Not being a member, I also know virtually nothing about any of their rites or ceremonies.

I think that Gov. Romney's faith is a campaign issue in the same way that faith has become one for all of the candidates. As I see it, the problem is that Americans know substantially less about LDS than most other faiths and what we do know is shrouded in mystery, rumor, and innuendo (i.e., polygamy, Joseph Smith & LDS's origins). While I think that Romney's approach ("I am a person of faith") is a solid one for this early in the campaign, it ultimately won't be sufficient. As the poll indicates, for some, his religion alone is reason enough not to vote for him.

There is much to like about Gov. Romney if you're disposed to vote Republican. He has the right look, no closet skeletons (yet), solid experience in both business and politics, and he's show the ability to raise money. If he stays competitive, though, his religious beliefs will demand a clearer explanation. Perhaps it's best for Gov. Romney to embrace this need as an opportunity to convey his faith, educate many Americans, and turn it into a positive? As it stands, the longer he allows the questions to persist by answering in generic terms, the closer he gets to losing the confidence of his would-be supporters.

Posted by: Billy C. | June 19, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I am less worried about the spiritual tenets of Mormonism than what devoted believers hold each other responsible for in the political realm.

Mormons were quite instrumental in massing opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. They have been equally active in marshaling opposition to same-gender marriage and civil unions. Often, this is not spontaneous action based on religious belief, but instead organized political activity using the structure of priesthood quorums and the woman's organization, the Relief Society.

For example, when my Mormon ex-wife and I lived in Colorado, church telephone contact lists were used to rally opposition to the state lottery. In California several years ago, there were reported instances in which priesthood leaders "assessed" members certain monetary amounts in support of a ballot initiative amending the state constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.

Mormons will tell you the church structure is apolitical, and indeed to preserve their tax-exempt status, you'll never hear partisan politics over the pulpit at an LDS sacrament meeting. However, the members are so well organized socially that their informal structure makes a convenient network for rallying member support in favor of the conservative political and social causes that most Mormons hold close to their hearts.

Mitt Romney has been a stake president (diocesan leader) and is quite aware of the organizational efficiency of the LDS church in promoting causes. I also worry that many members may feel morally obligated to support a priesthood leader, to a much greater extent than a Catholic or Baptist.

Posted by: DualAg | June 19, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

". . . no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." (US Constitution, Art. VI).

Many individuals commenting here apparently do not believe in the Constitution since they seem to think a religious test IS appropriate.

Posted by: Diane C. Russell | June 19, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

It is extremely ironic that it was a Brownback staffer that circulated the anti-Mormon talking points. Brownback, and many of his staff, themselves, are "true believers" in the Medieval Church to the point that their faith "informs" their political outlook, on many current issues, (i.e. birth control, stem cell research, 1st Amendment, etc.). The electorate is justifiably suspect of these attitudes and pronouncements and should level the same scrutiny on any candidate whose religious beliefs overshadow common sense and reason, (Brownback??). I didn't notice the same questions being raised about Joe Liberman's faith in 2000, of for that matter Geraldine Ferraro's in 1984. Why is is politically correct to raise these issues about Romney, now?

Posted by: L.Sterling | June 19, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Of course, debate about a candidate's faith has merit in a political campaign. This is a nation that is now routinely eroding the separation of church and state and this sad reality makes it imperative that the voters understand the belief system of any seeker of public office. All those who are any ballot in this nation have an obligation to the voters to be explicit in how their faith would impact public policy.

The American people succumbed to a marketing campaign in the 2000 election which resulted in an immoral person riding on the coattails of religion into the White House only to then use the Office of President to launch the first pre-emptive war in American history. History should never be allowed to repeat itself. All candidates must explain how their faith will impact decisions in the Oval Office.

Posted by: SCVoter | June 19, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Would I want a Mormon president? See what they believe.

God was once a man just like us. Mormons believe if they remain faithful to all their prophets' teachings, they will become equal to God with their own planets and with multiple wives/goddesses having spiritual babies together for eternity. Lucifer is Jesus' brother. Jesus (not God) is Jehovah of the Old Testament. God had literal, physical sex with Mary to conceive Jesus. All other Christian denominations are an "abomination" in the eyes of God. (They are more bigoted than their serious critics.) Mormons believe no one outside the Mormon priesthood has any authority to perform baptisms; to be saved, we must all be baptized by a Mormon priest - when we are alive or after we are dead. Mormon sacred undergarments protect them from their spiritual enemies, meaning all other Christians. The Garden of Eden is in Jackson County, Missouri, which is also the site planned for the second coming - after their new Mormon Temple is built. Polygamy is temporarily suspended here on earth until Mormons get to heaven. Blacks have dark skin as punishment because they were not heroic in their previous, spiritual life during wars in heaven.

They don't believe or have faith as we do - they "know" Joseph Smith's claims are true and they must recite this to each other on a regular basis. They don't believe in God as we do (see above); they don't believe in the Bible as we do (it is secondary to Book of Mormon plus their prophets' teachings, and is "full of errors"); they don't believe in Jesus as we do. Mormons believe J Smith "restored" an "apostate" Christianity. We will not be saved unless we believe this - either while we are alive or in our next life. Not one unique Mormon principle or practice can be traced to the Book of Mormon or the Bible - everything Mormons do and "know" comes from their Prophets' pronouncements over the years.

Many good Mormons and even Mormon historians over the years have been excommunicated for uncovering lies by Joseph Smith - Kinderhook Plates, Book of Abraham "translation". DNA proves American Indians are not descended from Jews and they did not originate from the Lost Tribe of Israel who floated on a raft to North America.

Mormons are not honest in regards to what they believe nor their history. They have a very overdeveloped sense of persecution and dismiss many atrocities committed by their members/leaders over the years (Mountain Meadows Massacre, Mormon Militia/Wars in Missouri). Many Mormons are nice people, but I would not want a president that believes this obvious pack of untruths and then is disingenuous about how different his church is from Christianity. Finally, Smith prophesized that in a time of national crisis, a Mormon national leader would rescue the US Constitution and our form of government from peril and destruction. Yikes!

Posted by: Hoyt Maulden | June 19, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Many people I have known while growing up here in TN were very religiously conservative. Politics aside, the idea that Mormonism is a "cult" is readily spread directly from the pulpit durring the hour-long sermons that happen in every church in this area, three times a week. No one should expect these voters to vote for a candidate that "middle america" will agree on, but anyone expecting to win a primary should expect to be able to appeal to the "he's one of us" attitude, and a mormon will not be able to do that in many parts of the rural south, in my opinion.

Posted by: greeneville, TN | June 19, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

What the Mormon issue should highlight... and unfortunately is not, is that Mormon's as an extremist group stand for a lot of negative things, which the Republicans also stand for on a much smaller scale. The discouragement of women in the work force, the cutting off of its members from people "outside the community," the strict control over individual freedoms, and the antagonism towards people of other faiths. All of these are commonly encouraged in Mormon communities to a much larger extent than they are in the community at large, even to the extent that it bothers "conservative Christians" who ostensibly support evangelicalism, are against immigration, are for legislating morality, and who encourage women to stay at home and "strengthen the family."

I do not know how Mr. Romney feels about the practices of his church vs. the practices of his party, but Mormon control over the white house has the risk of standing for all the things Republicans don't like about the Republican party.

Posted by: Bradley Gardner | June 19, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

A person can be highly moral, intelligent, and righteous (right-doing/right-believing/right-living) in absence of any religious faith. Having said that, if a person is shrouding their true beliefs in an effort to reach out to persons of other faiths, that is disengenuous at best (or a lie, depending upon intent.) If the tenents of the Mormon faith are being questioned, either Romney is ill-informed, or he is being misleading ... or, quite possibly, the questions are designed with the intent of pushing him into a corner on an issue that has little or no bearing upon his ability to lead/make decisions as president. Americans are not above prejudice, and these questions of faith call to judgement -- whether that is their intent or not. Whether the Mormon church is shrouding the tenents of their faith is (in my opinion) the central issue of these questions, not whether Mr. Romney could serve as an effective exectuive representative of the U.S.

Posted by: Wayne | June 19, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I think Romney's ability to instantly change prior positions to appeal to the GOP base is more worrisome than his Mormonism. That being said, however, there are tenets of the religion that would be so bizarre to mainstream Christians that Romney understandsbly doesn't want to discuss them.

Start with Joseph Smith, in NY state, claiming that an angel gave him gold plates which only he could read--and could only read if they were placed inside a hat
--and you see why folks might find Mormonism a touch odd.

Anyone who wants a thorough historical explication of the religion's origins--told in a very sarcastic way--should seek out the South Park episode from a couple years ago that deals with the issue. Don't expect Mitt to add it to his campaign materials.

Posted by: Jack | June 19, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

First of all, Mormonism is a denomination of Christianity and to say anything on the contrary is simply ignorant.

What matters in the election, is not whether or not Romney is a Mormon. Contrary to popular belief, not all Mormons harass you on the street or refuse the "demon drug" of caffeine, and nowhere in the Book of Mormon can one find support for polygamy.

Romney should be open about his interpretation of his faith, not because he's Mormon, but because he is a Presidential candidate. As such American people deserve the opportunity to consider whether his moral and religious views will advance or obstruct the direction in which they feel US policies should made.

Posted by: Mallory Anne | June 19, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Cheryl, you can rest assured that Gov. Romney has been taking heat from the press for his changed positions on social issues. It's in practically every article I read about him, as are the questions about whether or not his Mormonism is a disqualifying factor for many voters. Perhaps the only reason you haven't noticed it is because he is not yet his party's nominee as was John Kerry when the accusations against him began to fly.

Posted by: Ron | June 19, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Ever since the 'pube party decided that they were the "holier than G_d" party they became at the same time the party for whom one's religion is most certainly NOT a private matter when running for political office. They CANNOT have it both ways saying we want your christian vote and then saying that their faith is off limits for voters' consideration.

I hope the dems think very long and hard before going the way of the 'pubes. Not only will they turn off those of us who are NOT christian and those who consider religion to be a private matter with no business in government, but because they would be the "johnny come latelies" they likely would shoot their leg off as opposed to just shooting themselves in the foot. Let us allow the 'pubes to implode upon themselves, by themselves, and just good riddance to bad rubbish.

Posted by: spike59101 | June 19, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

At the core of "Mormonism" is selfless service to others cloaked in the name of religion for those who want to know.

Posted by: Harold | June 19, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

It is legitimate to ask about "the temple" with everyone wearing white and Mormons getting baptisted in other folks names (unbeknown to the other folks) converting them to Mormonism. Why? John Smith and Bingham Young? Americans should hear the entire story -- watch PBS (the Mormons). Very eyeopening stuff. No, I would never vote for Romney. By the way, why hasn't "flip-flop" been used on him..guns, abortion, gay marriage, universal health insurance in MA, pardons? Come on, you reporters, bust him up like you did Kerry. Remind the swift boat ads?

Posted by: Cheryl Park | June 19, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

It is legitimate to ask about "the temple" with everyone wearing white and Mormons getting baptisted in other folks names (unbeknown to the other folks) converting them to Mormonism. Why? John Smith and Bingham Young? Americans should hear the entire story -- watch PBS (the Mormons). Very eyeopening stuff. No, I would never vote for Romney. By the way, why hasn't "flip-flop" been used on him..guns, abortion, gay marriage, universal health insurance in MA, pardons? Come on, you reporters, bust him up like you did Kerry. Remind the swift boat ads?

Posted by: Cheryl Park | June 19, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

It is legitimate to ask about "the temple" with everyone wearing white and Mormons getting baptisted in other folks names (unbeknown to the other folks) converting them to Mormonism. Why? John Smith and Bingham Young? Americans should hear the entire story -- watch PBS (the Mormons). Very eyeopening stuff. No, I would never vote for Romney. By the way, why hasn't "flip-flop" been used on him..guns, abortion, gay marriage, universal health insurance in MA, pardons? Come on, you reporters, bust him up like you did Kerry. Remind the swift boat ads?

Posted by: Cheryl Park | June 19, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

So... Does this only apply to the President? How about the Senate Minority Leader? Should Senator Hatch be removed from the judiciary committee? Can I be elected dog cather?

Can anyone point to a single Mormon doctrine that would disqualify Romney from office? Something concrete and decisively egregious that would have all Christians block the road the 1600 Penn. Ave.?

Posted by: Justin | June 19, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

The religious convictions of a candidate are without question a legitimate and essential campaign issue. Every person, candidate or not, views the world through certain filters. Our gender, race, ethnicity, education, etc. are all filters which affect how we interpret and respond to the world around us. Religion may be one of the most profound and influential of these flitering devices. If we are to more thoroughly understand how a candidate will view and respond to the issues they will face as a national leader, it is essential to have an underatanding of how their religious views color and shape their perception of the world.

Posted by: Kenneth in South Carolina | June 19, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

A persons religious beliefs are very relevant. The Republicans have been making them so for years. They can't get away with generalisations to sweep the issue under the carpet now.

If Romney believes he will one day be in paradise with his own planet and several virgins at his disposal - he should say so.

Mormonism is no denomination of Christianity.

Does Romney believe Jesus Christ visited the United States of America in person like all other mormons?

Give us answers Mitt. Your party is responsible for us now demanding them.

Posted by: Tony Story | June 19, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

No, Mark in Austin, being a Mormon does not disqualify him... although I don't know enouh about the faith to be comfortable saying "it's just like any other."

What DOES disqualify him is his convenient morality and willingness to adopt any position he thinks will bring him votes.

Also - his apparent feeling that he is entitled to be taken seriously as a candidate simply because he is wealthy. Yes, I know he's not the first to feel that way (see Perot, Bloomberg...) but I still think that it's counter to everything this country is supposed to stand for.

Posted by: Bokonon | June 19, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney should not be elected (or not) because he's Mormon, but rather because he's a clueless dolt.

Posted by: TWard | June 19, 2007 7:51 AM | Report abuse

How can any politician - especially a Republican - say that one's faith shouldn't matter in a presidential race when the GOP has been making that issue number 1 for years. Romney's Mormonism will matter as long as the faith of every other candidate is also scrutinized or played up (see: Obama, Huckabee, etc.). It's not discrimination when it's being done to everyone else, too.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: matt p | June 19, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Absent historical evidence that an individual's religion informs him to become bigoted, or antisocial, or violent, or unethical, or ultimately unable to preserve and defend the Constitution, we should treat it as an irrelevancy.
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I heard a female shi'ite Iraqi parliamentarian on NPR explain that Iraq's problems would be solved once Sharia law was imposed. Were she running for office in the USA, we would be free to reject her because her religion has informed her in a way that would not permit her to uphold our Constitution.
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Nothing in Romney's life that we have heard indicates he falls into the the category of persons whose religion would undermine them in the performance of their duties under and to the Constitution.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 19, 2007 7:49 AM | Report abuse

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