Skip to comments.Hugh Hewitt Redefines Mormonism for Mitt Romney
Posted on 04/22/2009 12:10:00 PM PDT by Colofornian
Hugh Hewitt, a political pundit radio personality, wants the Mormon presidential election runner Mitt Romney in the Whitehousevery badly. He casts his pre-election vote in writing A Mormon in the Whitehouse? (Regnery, 2007). In defense of Romney, Hewitt also defends Mormonism better than some Latter-day Saints (LDS). This is strange for a Presbyterian, as what Hewitt claims for himself. It is possible and logically consistent that Hewitt could defend Romney as a republican without defending Mormonism, but he chooses otherwise. The reason that I find this strange is that Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, claimed that God appeared to him and told him that Hughs church, Presbyterianism, is not true. Gods official statement on Presbyterians is found in Mormon scripture. To remain faithful to the prophet Joseph Smith, Romney cannot believe other that what Joseph Smith wrote in his scripture, I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph SmithHistory 1:20).
Is Hewitt slipping in his faith? Or is he just plain ignorant that real Mormonism condemns his faith by name? This anti-Presbyterian sentiment (hence, anti-Hewitts chosen faith) is recorded where Joseph Smith had a vision of God the Father (as a male being) and Jesus Christ in the spring of 1820. Smith asked God which Protestant denomination was truethe Methodists, Presbyterians, or Baptists. Smiths vision, as found in LDS scripture, states that these three denominations alone were in Palmyra, New York (1:9). Smith then queried, Who of all these parties is right; or, are they all wrong together? (1:10). Clearly Joseph Smith wanted to know if Presbyterianism (Hugh Hewitts faith) was right or wrong. He was answered by a personal appearance of God the Father and Jesus Christ in New York, where Jesus directly told him, join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof (1:19).
Hugh is in big trouble with Jesus! To be most like his friend Mitt Romney, he needs to repent of his wrong Presbyterianism (since Jesus said so!) and repent of his creeds (beliefs) that are so abominable to Jesus, and repent of his corrupt faith. Of the three denominations, Smith singled out the Presbyterians as specifically not true. Hewitt needs to get right with the Jesus found in Mormon scripture. Mormon scripture is clearly anti-Presbyterian. Yet in the strangest twist of Hughs logic, he labels anyone an anti-Mormon in his book who has the same opinion of Mormonism as what Joseph Smith did of Presbyterians, but nowhere in his book did he call Smith (or Romney) an anti-Presbyterian.
Here is an example of how Hewitt defended Mormonism from his May 4, 2007 radio program:
Caller Greg: The question I have is, I know very little about Mormonism, and my question falls into the cult or denomination thing. I think, was it Pastore, a columnist with Townhall, wrote an article a couple of weeks ago? Its about the sum total of what I know about it.
Hewitt: I would encourage you to read my book, which of course is not a surprise to you, its available at Amazon dot com. I reject the cult title. I believe cult has about it an element of coercion, which is simply not applicable to the Mormons and it is a sect.
Caller Greg: Do you think [Greg was obviously drowned out and cut off the air by Hewitt.]
Hewitt: I just dont believe that you should call . Cult carries with it this wheezing of an organ in the background and the idea of chains in the basement and the Branch Davidian and James Jones and I think it is inappropriate for conversation. And when I see Frank next, Im going to argue that point with him. Cause, I just dont think if if and I do know where it comes from Walter Martin wrote the Kingdom of the Cults, but Walter Martin blames that Hinduism is a cult, that Islam is a cult, I dont think that he calls the Catholic Church a cult, but his definition is expansive. In the modern vernacular it means sinister and the Mormons arent just simply not sinister. Hey, Greg, thanks.
There are problems with Hewitts definition of cult. Hewitt does not distinguish between the scholarly definitions of cult from different fields of study, namely psychological, sociological, and theological. He first defined cult psychologically, which under certain circumstances is correct. Some cults use coercion on their members. He failed to tell his audience that this is the psychological definition and that there are other equally legitimate definitions in other fields of study.
To separate Mormonism from his coercion cult definition, he then tries to separate Mormonism from coercion. Had Hugh watched the PBS special, The Mormons, that aired just three days earlier (April 30 and May 1), he would have seen how Mormonism uses coercion and psychological pressure on its members. I would suggest that he view The Mormons online The Mormons (http://www.pbs.org/mormons/view) and pay special attention to the section on the excommunication of the Mormon intellectuals, many of whom were Brigham Young University educated, but when they intellectually differed with their church, then they were humiliated through excommunication. Also pay attention to the section about the pressure within Mormonism for perfection that gives LDS women a higher than national average of suicide and anti-depressant drug usage.
I dont know how Hewitt missed these things, but a scant Internet research would have shown him a much different story:
Ken Ponder, Ph.D, MORMON WOMEN, PROZAC® and THERAPY, Mormon Women, Prozac and Therapy Julie Cart, "Study Finds Utah Leads Nation in Antidepressant Use," Los Angeles Times, 20 February 2002, A6.
Degn, L. Yeates, E. Greenwell, B. Fiddler, L. Mormon women and depression, Sunstone magazine
Hilton, Sterling C, et al. 2002. Suicide Rates and Religious Commitment in Young Adult Males in Utah. American Journal of Epidemiology. Vol. 155, No. 5: 413-19. Suicide Rates and Religious Commitment in Young Adult Males in Utah
Even a pro-Mormon BYU study admits that Mormon women use more anti-depressants and commit suidide more than the national average http://www.usatoday. com/news/health/2004-04-02-mormon-depression_x.htm [Link no longer active]
Contrary to what Hewitt said, coersion, in fact, applies to Mormonism at several levels, therefore it indeed fits within his first description of a cult.
Hewitts next foible was to create a self-styled definition that is not found anywhere, Cult carries with it this wheezing of an organ in the background and the idea of chains in the basement and the Branch Davidian and James Jones and I think it is inappropriate for conversation. From where did he get this? This is not what most people think when they hear the word cult. Hugh most likely means Jim Jones, with apologies to all of the James Jones existing elsewhere. There is no question that the Branch Davidians and Jim Jones (the Peoples Temple) were cults, but what made them so? Did they have organs or chains in basements? Neither one did, but perhaps Hugh was thinking of the famous organ at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.
It appears that what Hugh was attempting was, again, a psychological or sociological definition of cult. I would suggest more sound and scholarly definitions of a cult from qualified writers who list Mormonism as a cult like sociologist Ronald Enroth, Ph.D. (Evangelizing the Cults, 1990), theologians Alan Gomes, Ph.D. (Unmasking the Cults, 1998); Drs. Nichols, Mather, and Schmidt (Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cults, Sects, and World Religions, 2007); and a host of others, including some from Hewitts reformed Protestant background, like Dr. Jan K. Van Baalan (Chaos of the Cults, 1938; Gist of the Cults, 1944), Dr. Anthony Hoekema (Four Major Cults, 1963; Mormonism, 1973), Dr. Ravi Zacharias (Kingdom of the Cults, general editor, 2006), and Josh McDowell and Don Stewart (The Deceivers, 1992).
Hewitt stated, I do know where it comes from. This I doubt, after hearing his answer. The term cult was first used of Mormonism in 1898. Hewitt continued, Walter Martin wrote the Kingdom of the Cults, but Walter Martin blames that Hinduism is a cult, that Islam is a cult, I dont think that he calls the Catholic Church a cult, but his definition is expansive. Since I began working with Walter Martin in 1976 and I have continuously been on the staff of researchers and editors for his works since then, I think that I am better positioned than Hewitt to say what Walter Martin taught.
Hewitt is absolutely wrong. Martin did not state that Hinduism and Islam are cults. Hugh owes Christians an apology for his careless denigration of Martin and his works. Beginning in 1985, Martin included several chapters on world religions in his best-selling Kingdom of the Cults, but he always made clear distinctions between cults and world religions. What Hewitt claims to know is a fabrication.
Hewitts final statement, In the modern vernacular it means sinister and the Mormons arent just simply not sinister. This has a twofold problem. It does not define the word cults, but perhaps it describes what some cults do. I challenge Hewitt to find any scholarly work that uses sinister and cult interchangeably as mutually definitional terms. A good theological definition of a cult is a group of people basing their beliefs upon the worldview of an isolated leadership, which always denies the central doctrines of the Christianity as found in the Bible (Josh McDowell, The Deceivers, 1992, 15). Mormonism, as what McDowell includes in his book, fits that description with Smith isolating himself from apostate Christianity and creating a worldview in opposition to biblical Christianity that contains gods, goddesses, populated worlds, spirit children, and the progression of mankind toward godhood.
The second part of Hewitts statement, that Mormons are not sinister, is debatable. Mormons are quite often sinister, in spite of what Hewitt claims. We could talk about such sinister things as the Mountain Meadows massacre, or the numerous scandals through the ages, which is why the Wall Street Journal once stated that Utah is the securities fraud capital of the United States (WSJ, 2/25/1974 and Utah Holiday Magazine, October, 1990), but that aside, I think that Hugh contradicts himself here since he admits that the Mormon Olympic scandal, which was an international embarrassment to the Mormon Church, was straightened out by none other than his wonderful friend, Mitt Romney. How can he say on one hand that Mormons are not sinister and on the other hand state that Mormons were caught in a bribery scandal with the International Olympic Committee that Mitt Romney had to straighten out? Queer, isnt it? The Mormons even fit Hughs last definition of a cult with their sinister actions, which is why Romney had to rescue their reputation.
As the author points out, LDS' "scripture" specifically says "Presbyterian is untrue" -- something you don't find in reverse among revelations claimed by Christianity.
Harry Reid holds more power than Mitt Romney and yet his Mormonism has never been reported as a matter of public concern.
Its a lot easier to defend his Mormonism than his whacked out politics.
See, the problem was he asked which Protestant denomination was true. ;^D
(You haven't read any of FastCoyote's posts on some of these threads, then...he's from Nevada & could fill you in)
I just think it is a man crush thing with Hugh. Lawyers in love. Republican Metro’s. Policy wonks who can do socialism better. I imagine when together they giggle a lot.
Hugh Hewitt’s show sucks. But he’s a good guy.
Harry is a way better politician. That’s what happens when you relize politics is hardball and no place for faint-hearts, lollygaggers, hair combers and RINO nancy boys. Bwarny Fwank had more political stones than Mitt.
This may come as a shock, but Catholics think Baptists, Mormons, Lutherns and everyone else has it wrong. Lutherns think Baptists, Catholics, Mormons and everyone else has it wrong too. Why would the LDS faith be any different?
Why would ANY denomination say, “Well, we think we have everything right, and those (insert opposing denomination here) also have it right .... but gosh, please give us your tithing”. Episcapalians think key concepts in Christianity are ignored or wrongly interpreted by Protestants, and visa versa. The LDS believe that the bible is missing key components that were taught by Christ and practiced in the early church - but have been dropped or removed over time.
Mitt is running as a Conservative Republican. You can either vote for him, or you can chose not to. What does his faith have to do with anything? If anything, his faith is HARDER to follow than most others (no drinking, smoking, cheating, attend your meetings, pay 10% tithing, ect). Of all the ‘conservative’ candidates last election, he was the only one with one wife.
Sounds about right.
A lot. This isn't a Mormon country. Mitt has said his Mormanism is integral, inseparable for him. So, he either compartimalizes his faith and is a total secular administrative manager, or he pulls from his minority faith and leads with a steady Mormon view. This fundamental conflict could, as I feel it does, explain Mitts inability to take and execute strong positions. It would of been better, and more honest of him if he went full out as Mormon President. He would of been honest, unconflicted. He's 60 now, too old to still have flip flopping struggle of who he is publicly.
It is not right to say doctrine doesn't matter at all. Take Islam, for instance. It would be dangerously naive to assume, as American civil religion does, that all religions are pretty much the same. It's true that most religions share core ethical teachings, but orthodox Islam also teaches unambiguously that there is to be no separation of religion and state, that non-Muslims are to live subservient under law to Muslims, and in some sects that Allah commands a jihad or "holy war" be waged against non-Muslim "infidels". To the extent that a Muslim wishes to preside over our pluralist liberal democracy, he will have had to break radically from his faith's fundamentals.
Liberals who insist that religion has no place at all in American politics have to account for the Christian roots of many social reforms. Consider for example the abolitionism and the civil rights movement. When faced with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and other black clergymen explicitly appealing to Christian scripture against Jim Crow, Southern segregationists groused that religion had no business in politics. You can't praise religion's role in political discourse only when it advances causes of which you approve or is practiced by constituencies blacks, say, that vote Democratic.
If God doesn't exist, then by what standard do we decide right from wrong? If a society recognizes no independent, transcendent guardian of the moral order, will it not, over time, lose its self-discipline and decline into barbarism? The eminent sociologist Philip Rieff, who was not a believer, said that man would either live in fear of God or would be condemned to live in fear of the evil in himself.
Mitt, himself, has placed his Mormon faith under scrutiny. In his famous speech on Mormonism, Mitt said that a person should not be rejected . . . because of his faith. His supporters say it is akin to rejecting a Barack Obama because he is black. But Obama was born black; Romney is a Mormon because he accepts the beliefs of the Mormon faith. This permits us, therefore, to make inferences about his judgment and character, good or bad.
Mitt has promised to fully obey Mormon teachings without hesitation and without question.
In his February 26, 1980 speech at BYU titled Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, LDS President Ezra Taft Benson maintained the Mormon Church President spoke with inerrant authority on "any matter, temporal or spiritual " and was "not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time."Mitt either intended to honor his promises to follow another man's instructions, or he lied. In the case of the former, we are entitled to know where these directives lead, and in the alternative, we should be concerned about Mitt's honesty.
As a Temple Mormon, Mormon Bishop and Stake President, Mitt has sworn among other things, he recognizes the President of the LDS Church as a "prophet, seer and revelator," and will "obey the rules, laws, and commandments of the gospel" as proclaimed by Mormon Prophets.
Mitt made these solemn vows with the understanding they effect "time and all eternity."
For these reasons, among others, I assert Mitts beliefs are indeed a legitimate issue for determining his qualifications for elected public office.
Only because those pesky Feds put an end to polygamy.....
TO criticize Romney, one should look at his politics and history, not his religion.
This author seems to say that no Christian should ever vote for any Mormon. I reject that.
>> This may come as a shock, but Catholics think Baptists, Mormons, Lutherns and everyone else has it wrong. Lutherns think Baptists, Catholics, Mormons and everyone else has it wrong too. Why would the LDS faith be any different?
I think you may be surprised. There is a difference between doctrinal distinctions (which exist in multitude between the various Christian denominations), and saying a religion or denomination is “wrong”.
As a Baptist, we acknowledge that we are not the sole path to Salvation. We believe that there are doctrinal differences between our denomination and that of Methodism, Lutheranism, and even Catholicism ... but that these differences are debatable, and certainly do not make other denominations “wrong” in the larger sense (i.e. “wrong” with regard to the path to Salvation).
It appears that LDS is referring to Christianity as “wrong” in the same respect as we would refer to Muslims or Hindus — not as we would refer to other Christian denominations.
Of all the conservative candidates last election, he was the only one with one wife.
The rest practiced polygamy ????
Let’s look at your statement realistically...
“Of all the liberal candidates for the Republican ticket last election, (Romney) was the only one with one wife.”
But in the case of a recinding of the 1890 ordinance from Woodfuff...
Or Romney’s final trip to the mormon “celestial kingdom” (top bunk)..
Whichever comes first...
He will have a multitude of “wives”...
or so Romney believes...
I am in several ecumenical groups/organizations where I work with fellow Methodist, Baptist, Lutherans, Episcopalians and Catholics, where we all share the same exact message of salvation with others.
We quibble and argue over the centuries on liturgical procedures and such, but in the end the Body of Christ is just that.
The LDS doesn't see it that way...
And why isn't Reid more of a concern to official Mormondom? I registered concerns on several FREEPER posts about the Reid-BYU connection when BYU invited him as an October 2007 speaker before the entire student body & faculty. Reid took the opportunity to slam Evangelicals. Reid gets warm reception at BYU
Oh, and what was that warm BYU Fall '07 response to Reid by 4,000 of BYU's faculty and students?
According to that FREEP-posted article: At the end of his speech, Reid earned a standing ovation from a small percentage of the crowd and applause from the rest.
My response then -- including my response to Reid's blasting of Evangelical Christians was:
I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all awrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt...
Joseph says this "revelation" took place around 1820...well before any Mormons set foot in Missouri or Nauvoo.
So we have Harry Reid, 2007, at a BYU-sanctioned event: "They [Evangelical Christians] are the most anti-Christian people I can imagine, the people from the Christian far right." vs. Joseph Smith, 1820ish: "...all their creeds [of Christian sects] were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt."
Smith and Brigham Young weren't exactly spinning in their graves upon Reid continuing the Mormon acrimonious tradition of open bigotry, hostility, villification, and misjudgment.
If Mormons want to continue to this day of calling Evangelicals anti-christs, much to the standing ovation and applause of its student body and faculty, so be it. We can't stop Mormons from maligning Christians; but I would appeal to Mormons to stop maligning God's Word by saying that all Christian creeds are an "abomination" (a modern-day word for that would be "putrid").
His DemonicRat Faith takes preference over his upbringing faith!
I think Hugh's highly intelligent -- just lacking discernment on this issue. And one show by Hugh highly praising Romney's intelligence was in my opinion accurate. I think Romney is quite intelligent; just discernment-challenged. So it's one intelligent man finding commonality with another.
By I think our coalition-building needs to go beyond common intelligence -- and at times beyond shared values. I think we can build bridges with LDS on most issues -- but not all.