Skip to comments.Mormon Twentysomething: Debunking a Mormon/Romney conspiracy theory
Posted on 08/14/2010 1:24:41 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
It is a truism of modern media that few subjects draw more attention than politics. If you're a savvy journalist or blogger looking to attract page views in today's 24-hour news cycle, the shortcut to success requires slapping some political "analysis" on to whatever story you're covering, like so:
"University releases groundbreaking cancer study: What does it mean for Obama?"
Of course, I've been guilty of this to some extent in my (young) journalism career. And having spent the past few months interning at a national news outlet with a website that has scores of competitors, I understand all too well the occasional need to quickly pick a unique angle and go with it. Which is why I was not all that surprised when the press began buzzing with an interesting conspiracy theory connected with a new LDS ad campaign.
The campaign in question consists of commercials airing in nine middle-America markets. Each ad zeroes in on the life of an interesting Latter-day Saint. Seems pretty benign, right? Not if you ask page view-hungry journalists.
On liberal website Salon.com, Alex Pareene writes, "But are Mormons just trying to convince Americans that Mormons are 'normal,' so that in 2012 they'll consider voting for Mormon King Mitt Romney? (These ads are running in four or five potential swing states, after all.)" He goes on to quote a church spokesman who insists "this has nothing to do with Mitt at all," but of course, by raising the question, Pareene is clearly hinting that it's a legitimate concern.
And he's not the only one. The idea has been floated in several news outlets. I haven't been able to track this theory back to its root, but I suppose it was bound to come up.
The problem, of course, is that it's ludicrous. Even if you believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is sinister enough to claim political neutrality and then secretly coordinate PR efforts with a potential presidential candidate, how would such actions benefit Mormonism? As I've written before, a Romney presidency would open the church up to unrelenting attacks from the left and most likely alienate potential converts who happen to be Democrats. If Romney governed like a true social conservative, the church might gain favor among the Republican base, but it's doubtful that we'd see swarms of evangelicals suddenly endorsing LDS doctrine.
In reality, this ad campaign is about what PR ad campaigns are always about: improving public image. The church's central message to the public has become distorted in recent years, especially in the wake of Proposition 8, and these commercials are intended to remind people that Mormons aren't all crazy, self-righteous cultists.
So, what is the central message the church is trying to communicate? Our full-time proselyting missionaries might answer that question with an Article of Faith or a line from Preach My Gospel, but the people in these commercials are not missionaries, and I think one of them explains it very well:
"This is the bottom line to me. The Mormon church teaches good principles. I think it makes people better. It'll take a bad person and make 'em good, and a good person and make 'em better."
That may not make for a sexy political story, but it has the advantage of being true.
McKay Coppins is a journalism major at BYU. His weekly blog chronicles the Mormon twenty-something experience. McKay's column, "Mormon Twentysomething," appears Fridays on MormonTimes.com.
It amazes me that some posters on FreeRepublic seem to fear or detest Mormons more than they do Muslims.
No, not at all. It’s just that the subject has been on my mind because many of the posters from WA state are backing a newbie for the Senate, who has aligned himself with Ron Paul and I’ve been thinking that they are willing to accept someone who aligns himself with Ron Paul, whose foreign policy is exactly the same as Cindy Sheehan’s, but tore into Mitt Romney for being a Mormon.
As an atheist on the sidelines, I have to agree with you. Personal prejudice is one thing, but no one’s been able to explain to me what “threat” there is in Mormons believing what they wish.
Some folks are getting into a weird place where their legitimate opposition to Multiculturalism (as opposed to the genuine mix of cultures that has always been part of this nation) and ILLEGAL immigration has led them to be against anyone who doesn’t believe in precisely what they believe in. That’s not what being an American or a conservative means to me.
I would vote for a conservative LDS. I would not vote for a follower of the moon god, no matter if he appeared to be another Reagan. That said, I would not vote for Mitt Romney. He has proven himself far from conservative and far from trustworthy.
Reid and Romney are not conservative.
Shame on anyone claiming they are.
So the LDS takes a beating in California, a wealthy populous state, due to Section 8, and they run a campaign in culturally different from California, Mid West states. That just happen to be ones Mitt needs.
Noting to see here.
Why Mitt Romney/Pratt is just an obscure guy from Massachusetts, er, Michigan, er Utah...that happens to ...um be ...oh yeah....attend, every now and then a Mormon Temple.
It’s not like he comes from and is hooked up to, and his family is and always has been Mormon royalty.
It just that some at higher headquarters, S. Lake, messed up and put the California damage control money into those Mid West states. ( You know those wacky Mormons! Haha! )
How can the author not see a Romney presidencey as good for Mormonism? Increased membership is not just the only thing to be looked at. What about just general acceptance of Mormonism? /rhetorical
I don’t like Mitt Romney but have no issues with Mormons until they start sawing the heads off infidels.
have no issues with Mormons until they start sawing the heads off infidels.
isnt he that liberal who used to work for Newsweek ???
Hardly a conservative writer...
McKay Coppins from the artice...
“The problem, of course, is that it’s ludicrous. Even if you believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is sinister enough to claim political neutrality and then secretly coordinate PR efforts with a potential presidential candidate, how would such actions benefit Mormonism?”
Oh Coppins is hoping many people dont know about the mormon White Horse prophecy...
Williard Mitt Romney sees himself as a fulfillment of that Joey Smith “prophecy...”
That the mormons would save America some time...
You will see the constitution of the United States almost destroyed. It will hang like a thread.... A terrible revolution will take place in the land of America.... [T]he land will be left without a Supreme Government,... [Mormonism] will have gathered strength, sending out Elders to gather the honest in heart... to stand by the Constitution of the United States.... In these days... God will set up a Kingdom, never to be thrown down.... [T]he whole of America will be made the Zion of God.
- Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., May 6, 1843, in Roberts, John, Journal of John J. Roberts
[W]hen the Constitution of the United States hangs, as it were, upon a single thread, they will have to call for the Mormon Elders to save it from utter destruction.
- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 2, p. 182, February 18, 1855
- George Romney, interview in A Mans Religion and American Politics: An Interview with Governor Romney, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1967, v. 2, p. 25
[T]here will be a complete change of government. Washington, D.C. will cease to be capital. The present national bureaucracy will have its end. The internal conflict will sweep away the current system of governments and will pave the way for the political kingdom of God and the millennial kingdom through which Jesus Christ will rule and reign.... A new government will be established among the saints and that political Kingdom of God will espouse and uphold the principles of Constitutional government.
That is a nasty thought for you to carry no matter which direction that one looks at it from.
Mormonism is a non-Christian religion that has always directed it's efforts, wealth, advertising, trained door to door salesmen, at getting Christians to leave Christ, that is about as serious as anything can get, in fact it is the most serious threat in the existence of all that exists, naturally people will respond to a campaign to destroy souls.