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Mitt Romney's Mormonism: A TNR online debate
The New Republic ^ | January 3-5, 2007 | Richard Lyman Bushman and Damon Linker

Posted on 06/12/2011 10:10:18 AM PDT by Colofornian

Friday, January 5

Dear Damon,

I appreciate your moderate and respectful reply to my objections. It is often hard for non-Mormons to understand how Mormons believe all we do. You at least see how Mormon beliefs and our way of life could be satisfying to educated, reasonable people, among whom you presumably would include Mitt Romney.

What troubles you is the implication of belief in prophetic revelation: Would Mormons perform any dire deed for their prophet no matter how contrary to conscience? And what about the belief that the United States and the Church might combine to dominate the world some day? Would Mitt Romney serve as the tool of Church leaders in facilitating a plan for world domination? His belief in revelation seems to require that he should.

These seem like perfectly legitimate questions, but they have a point only if you assume potentially dark motives on the part of Church leaders. You object that you do not use the word "fanatic" in your article, but the questions evoke the very image of fanaticism I was talking about: evil-minded religious leaders employing their spiritual authority over blindly loyal followers to magnify their own power. That is exactly the picture painted by the nineteenth-century polemicists who labeled Mormons fanatics. And they reached their conclusion in the same way as you do--by "teasing out" implications. The protestations of innocence by Mormons themselves mean nothing. Nor do their actions calm the fears. All that matters is that the reasoning from premise to conclusion--revelation to vicious action--is impregnable. Doubtless without meaning to, you are following the reasoning of the anti-fanatics to its fearful conclusion.

In evaluating the political implications of Mormon beliefs, you should use real facts about real events, not theoretical possibilities. Have Mormon leaders actually used their influence to manipulate politicians in the interest of world domination? What reason is there to think they have this on their minds? The reason Mormons are likely to find your analysis a phantasm is that we rarely, if ever, speculate about the world when the millennium comes. This is simply not on the agenda of active Mormon concerns, and it is certainly not a "core" belief. If anything, Mormons draw on the tradition that holds that many religions will flourish after the coming of Christ--a kind of American-style tolerance of all faiths. Mormons conscientiously carry the gospel to the world, but I have never heard a Mormon forecast political domination, much less collaboration with the United States government. Are you aware of Church leaders discussing such plans? No.

From your reply, I would judge that you are most concerned about loyalty to prophetic authority. Would Mitt Romney as president give way to immoral and illegal directives from Salt Lake? You make the subtle and interesting point that Mormons have no natural law tradition to constrain a Mormon president--either a president of the Church or the country. Since revelation trumps everything, where are the limits?

Your concern might be alleviated by considering how revelation actually works--in Mormonism and in biblical history. The scriptures themselves place heavy restraints on prophets. It makes a big difference that the moral law is enunciated endlessly in Mormon scriptures. The Ten Commandments were rehearsed in an early revelation, reinstalling them as fundamentals of the Church. Later, the Saints were told "no power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned." Could all this be overthrown by a new revelation? You think that revelation wipes the slate clean, negating everything that went before. But that is not the way prophetic revelation works, now or ever.

The proper analogy is to the courts and the Constitution. The law is what the courts say it is, we assert hyperbolically. Theoretically nine justices can overturn any previous interpretation of the Constitution on a whim. But, in fact, they don't--and we know they can't. Their authority depends on reasoning outward from the Constitution and all previous decisions.

The same is true for prophets. They work outward from the words of previous prophets, reinterpreting past prophecy for the present. That was certainly true for Joseph Smith, whose most extreme revelation--plural marriage--was based on plural marriage in the Bible. Prophets do not write on a blank slate. They carry forward everything that went before, adapting it to present circumstances. Like Supreme Court justices, they would put their own authority in jeopardy if they disregarded the past. The moral law, embedded in this revelatory tradition, exercises far greater influence on Mormon thought than the abstractions of natural law could possibly effect.

I am asking you not to focus so narrowly on what you take to be the logical implications of revelation. That is what critics of fanaticism have been doing for centuries. Look at the historical record of the past century as Mormons have entered national politics. Is there evidence of manipulation? Consider the Church's own renunciation of control over the consciences of Mormon politicians--a stand Catholics have not taken. Are you saying this is a false front? Keeping in mind the injunction in Mormon scripture to submit to lawful government, is there any real basis for concern?

Best, Richard

Thursday, January 4

Dear Richard,

I was delighted when I learned that you would be responding to my article on Mitt Romney. I admire your work on Joseph Smith and the beginnings of Mormonism, so I hoped for a critical engagement with the substance of my essay.

I must admit, however, to being disappointed with your response. Instead of answering the questions I pose, you dismiss them as a product of my overheated and paranoid liberal imagination. Unwilling to concede the validity of anything I argued in my piece, you claim that what I wrote "makes no sense" to Mormons--all the while failing to point to a single factual inaccuracy in my article. Rather than engaging with the theological concerns I raise, you say that they all flow from my belief that Mormons are religious "fanatics." Indeed, you consider this last point so decisive that you use variations on the word "fanatic" 14 times in your 1,000-word response--despite the fact that I never used it or any similarly harsh or dismissive adjective to describe Mormon beliefs in my article.

For the record, I don't consider Mormons to be fanatics. I consider them to be very seriously religious, and I think that their faith deserves respect--certainly far more respect than it has typically been accorded in the press and by evangelical Protestants. I am deeply impressed by the audaciousness of Joseph Smith's revelations. In addition to bringing forth a new 500-page book of scripture and setting out to correct ("retranslate") the canonical Old and New Testaments, Smith denied the creation of the universe ex nihilo, proposed that God has a body, and suggested that human beings can evolve into Gods themselves. More remarkable still, he persuaded large numbers of people to accept these heterodox beliefs and to risk (and, in many cases, to lose) their lives defending their right to affirm them. However odd Mormon beliefs may sound to orthodox Christians and doctrinaire secularists, these critics need to recognize that the LDS Church proclaims a vision of the world and God that speaks to something noble in the souls of millions of Mormons and the thousands of people who convert to the Church every year. (This is, in part, what Harold Bloom meant in The American Religion when he accurately described Joseph Smith as one of history's great religious geniuses.)

It is precisely my respect for Mormonism--my desire to take it and its religious claims seriously--that leads to my disappointment at your response to my article. You say that arguments like mine "baffle" Mormons. But why? I made three interrelated assertions in my essay--that Mormons believe Jesus Christ will return sooner rather than later; that, when he returns, he is likely to rule the world from the territory of the United States; and that the president of the Church is considered to be a prophet of God. Then I teased out various possible political implications of these theological commitments. In your response, you do not take issue with my three assertions, presumably because they are accurate statements of core LDS beliefs. Where my article becomes baffling is thus apparently in its discussion of implications. Mormons, you imply, would never follow a morally questionable or politically perilous pronouncement by the prophet in Salt Lake City.

I do not doubt that you and many other Mormons believe this. But can you tell me (and other non-Mormons) why--on what basis--you believe it? A devout Roman Catholic, for example, would have plenty of theological resources to grapple with an analogous question about following a papal edict. She might begin by pointing out that the Pope is not considered a prophet and is only rarely presumed to speak infallibly. She might then appeal to natural law, which an authentic papal pronouncement could never contradict. Then there is the closed canon of scripture. And a series of binding councils stretching back to the early days of the church. And a nearly 2,000-year tradition of relatively settled dogma and doctrine on faith and morals.

As I explained in my article, Mormonism has none of these moderating safeguards. It considers its leader to be the "mouthpiece of God on Earth." Mormon cosmology is arguably incompatible with natural law theory. It rejects the authority of every church council accepted by historic Christianity. And its scriptural and doctrinal traditions are fluid and radically open to revision in light of new prophetic revelations.

On the other side of the ledger, I also suggested that the hierarchical structure of the LDS Church has tended to have a moderating influence on its leadership and that it might very well continue to do so in the coming years. To this you have added individual conscience, which you believe would keep Mormons from following a questionable prophetic commandment unthinkingly. This is a promising start, but it is only a start. Conscience, after all, is a notoriously unreliable guide to right action--one that is most effective when it supplements firmer sources of morality and belief.

Does Mormonism contain such sources? If so, what are they? I taught at Brigham Young University for two years and count several Mormons among my closest friends, and yet the answer to these questions remains a mystery to me. And LDS culture today is shot through with so many unsettling contradictions that I find it hard to see how this mystery could be dispelled anytime soon. The Church is profoundly conservative, but its theological and historical foundations are incredibly radical (involving not only multiple acts of prophesy and revelation but also the establishment of a polygamous theocracy in the intermountain west). I know many intellectually curious and skeptical Mormons, but their curiosity and skepticism nearly always remains cordoned off from their religious beliefs. At the level of the ward (or parish), LDS church life is highly egalitarian, but individual Mormons tend to be extraordinarily deferential to ecclesiastical and political authority. I could go on.

As Mitt Romney prepares to become the most serious Mormon candidate for president in American history, members of the LDS Church (and especially its leading scholars and intellectuals) owe it to themselves and to their country to think deeply and publicly about these issues. The alternative--striking a purely defensive stance and hoping the questions and concerns will go away--is simply not a serious response.

Best, Damon

Wednesday, January 3

Dear Damon,

Your anxiety about a Mormon politician knuckling under to a Mormon Church president replays the debate in 1904 over the seating of Apostle Reed Smoot in the United States Senate. Senators kept questioning church president Joseph F. Smith about his control of Mormon politics. Over and over, he assured the committee that he had no intention of dictating Smoot's votes in the Senate, but the questioning went on.

Now, a century later, we can judge the actual dangers of the Mormon Church to national politics from the historical record. Have any of the church presidents tried to manage Smoot, Ezra Taft Benson, Harry Reid, or Gordon Smith? The record is innocuous to say the least. There is no evidence that the church has used its influence in Washington to set up a millennial kingdom where Mormons will govern the world or even to exercise much sway on lesser matters. It's a long way from actual history to the conclusion that "under a President Romney, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints would truly be in charge of the country--with its leadership having final say on matters of right and wrong."

Mitt Romney's insistence that he will follow his own conscience rather than church dictates is not only a personal view; it is church policy. The church website makes this explicit: Elected officials who are Latter-Day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with one another or even with a publicly stated church position. While the church may communicate its views to them, as it may to any other elected official, it recognizes that these officials still must make their own choices based on their best judgment and with consideration of the constituencies whom they were elected to represent. You are going against all the evidence of history and stated church policy in contriving the purely theoretical possibility of Mormon domination. Is that not the stuff from which all paranoid projections on world history have been manufactured?

Liberals must be particularly cautious in speculating about the political intentions of religious groups because of their fascination with fanaticism. Fanaticism is one of the most firmly entrenched stereotypes in the liberal mind. The fanatic is the polar opposite of all that the liberal stands for and thus constitutes a particularly delicious enemy.

Joseph Smith ran up against the fear of fanaticism almost from the beginning. It was the chief underlying cause of the recurrent expulsions the Mormons suffered. When non-Mormons could find no specific infractions to warrant prosecution in the courts, they resorted to vigilante action to drive the Mormons out. The Mormon presence was unbearable because they were so obviously fanatics. Quite typically, the fear of fanaticism led democrats into undemocratic extremes. Mormons were deprived of their property and the right to live and vote in a supposedly open society. In 1846, after a decade and a half of recurring attacks in Missouri and Illinois, a body of armed citizens forced out the pitiful remains of the Mormon population in Nauvoo by training six cannons on the town.

The stereotype of fanaticism is essentially a logical construction. The seemingly airtight logic is that anyone who claims to speak for God must believe he possesses absolute truth with an implied commission to impose that truth on everyone else. Mohammed, to whom Joseph Smith was frequently compared, used violence. Joseph Smith, lacking the means, tyrannized his own followers and refused to acknowledge the truth of any other doctrines but his own. You assume that Mormon leaders, by the same token, will want to commandeer the United States government to advance their cause.

Nothing Mormons can do will ever alleviate these fears. It did not help that the right of individual conscience in religious matters was made an article of faith, or that the Nauvoo city council passed a toleration act for every conceivable religious group including Catholics, Jews, and "Muhammadans." Whatever they said, their neighbors could not believe that the Mormons' ultimate goal was not to compel everyone to believe as they did.

Your essay chooses not to look at the historical record, because specific facts are irrelevant in explicating fanaticism. It is the logic of revelation that counts. The Mormons have to be interested in world domination because their doctrine requires it of them. Furthermore, they are all dupes of the chief fanatic and will willingly do anything he requires. You cite as proof of this extravagant claim "more than one" undergraduate who said he would kill if commanded. No mention was made of students who said they would have refused. That method is in keeping with the management of the fanatic stereotype. There is no effort to give a balanced picture. Certain key facts or incidents are made archetypal. In unguarded moments or exceptional instances the true nature of the fanatic mind reveals itself.

The unquestioned belief in the potency of fanaticism makes facts unnecessary. Readers know in advance what to expect just as they foresee the ending of a romantic movie far in advance. The art of writing in this mode is to mobilize all of the foreknown elements and arrange them to reach an expected conclusion.

Damon, I thought you moved along judiciously through most of the essay, but you blew your cover in the paragraph of questions to Mitt Romney. There, you try to nail him on his beliefs about the church president being a prophet. It follows necessarily, you think, that, if Romney believes in current prophecy, the church will run the country under his presidency. That leap from assumption to conclusion in one bound is only possible if you are steeped in the logic of fanaticism. For Mormons themselves, it makes no sense.

You are caught in the dilemma that ensnares everyone preoccupied with fanaticism. You describe Mormonism in a way that makes perfect sense to non-Mormons and no sense to Mormons themselves. This means, to me, that you are describing the inside of your own mind as much as the reality of Mormonism. Mormons will hear a lot of this so long as Romney is in the race, and it will baffle them every time.

Best, Richard Lyman Bushman

By Richard Bushman and Damon Linker


TOPICS: Other Christian; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Theology
KEYWORDS: antimormonjihad; antimormonrant; bitterexmormon; blahblahblahblahblah; defendersofheresy; extremist; herewegoagain; inman; lds; mormoaner; mormon; mormonwhiners; mormophobic; prophet; religiousbigot; religiousfanatic; romney; takeitsomeplaceelse; zealot
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This has two responses from Mormon author Richard Bushman sandwiched around author Damon Linker's response to Bushman's initial comments. Linker, who taught at BYU for two years, wrote an article originally in TNR when Romney was jumpstarting his '07 POTUS campaign.

The order of these letters are:

* Bushman's Jan. 5 letter response to Linker;

* Linker's Jan. 3 response to Bushman;

* Bushman's Jan. 3 response to Linker's article

The original article is no longer posted @ TNR; I've read one source where the issue was technological -- not a removal for content concerns.

In a recent interview, Mitt Romney was Asked whether it's actually possible to separate his faith from his job as president should he be elected, Romney responded, "Absolutely. You don't begin to apply doctrines of a religion to the responsibility of guiding a nation or guiding a state."
Source: ABC The Note, see Romney: 'If You Want to Learn More About My Church, Talk to My Church'

Where does this Romney statement fail to reflect upon both Mormon history and past statements made by Mormon leaders?

I've captured nine areas of considerations based upon the Bushman - Linker exchange.

1 posted on 06/12/2011 10:10:24 AM PDT by Colofornian
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To: All
#1

Mormon Leaders: What have they said about Mormons in charge of the world?

From the 2007 debate: ...what about the belief that the United States and the Church might combine to dominate the world some day? Would Mitt Romney serve as the tool of Church leaders in facilitating a plan for world domination?...Mormons conscientiously carry the gospel to the world, but I have never heard a Mormon forecast political domination, much less collaboration with the United States government. Are you aware of Church leaders discussing such plans? No. (Bushman Jan 5 response to Linker)

Bushman's never heard a Mormon forecast political domination...Hmmm...what about the following quotes from his past leaders:

John Taylor was with Joseph Smith when he died -- surviving a wound -- and went on to become an LDS "prophet": “The Almighty has established this kingdom with order and laws and every thing pertaining thereto… [so] that when the nations shall be convulsed, we may stand forth as saviours…and finally redeem a ruined world, not only in a religious but in a political point of view.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p. 342, April 13, 1862)

LDS "apostle" Orson Hyde: “What the world calls ‘Mormonism’ will rule every nation...God has decreed it, and his own right arm will accomplish it. This will make the heathen rage.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 53)

So, don't you all look forward to when this LDS apostle's and "prophets'" extended "prophesies" will come into fruition? Why, supposedly "Mormonism will rule every nation" because they will be our "religious...and political" saviors!

2 posted on 06/12/2011 10:11:43 AM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: All
#2

Prophetic loyalty among vow-taking Mormons:

From the 2007 debate: It is precisely my respect for Mormonism--my desire to take it and its religious claims seriously--that leads to my disappointment at your response to my article. You say that arguments like mine "baffle" Mormons. But why? I made three interrelated assertions in my essay--that Mormons believe Jesus Christ will return sooner rather than later; that, when he returns, he is likely to rule the world from the territory of the United States; and that the president of the Church is considered to be a prophet of God. (Damon Linker, Jan. 4 2007 response to Bushman)

From the 2007 debate: What troubles you is the implication of belief in prophetic revelation: Would Mormons perform any dire deed for their prophet no matter how contrary to conscience?...evil-minded religious leaders employing their spiritual authority over blindly loyal followers to magnify their own power. That is exactly the picture painted by the nineteenth-century polemicists who labeled Mormons fanatics. And they reached their conclusion in the same way as you do--by "teasing out" implications. The protestations of innocence by Mormons themselves mean nothing...I would judge that you are most concerned about loyalty to prophetic authority. Would Mitt Romney as president give way to immoral and illegal directives from Salt Lake? (Richard Bushman, Jan. 5, 2007 response to Linker)

(a) Romney took a Mormon temple oath like all Mormons. He swore that he would "consecrate himself, his time, talents and EVERYTHING he now has, or WILL HAVE IN THE FUTURE, for the building up of the Kingdom of God here upon the earth, and FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ZION."

Allow me to define "Zion" as the LDS PR Web site (lds.org) defines its primary meaning: "membership in the [LDS] church."

(b) What about the question Bushman asks: would Mormons perform any dire deed for their prophet no matter how contrary to conscience?

Well, all we need to do is to look at this early 1960s survey of Mormons:

"Another survey taken in the 1960s found that not only do contemporary church members overwhelmingly disapprove of polygamy but only two in five said they would enter the principle if commanded by the prophets." [B. Carmon Hardy, Solemn Covenant, p. 339, citing survey published in 1963 by John R. Christiansen, "Contemporary Mormons' Attitudes Toward Polygamous Practices," Journal of Marriage and Family 25 (May 1963): pp. 167-170)].

If up to 40% of Mormons would go against their conscience in sleeping with another or allowing their husband to sleep with another, I think 40% who said "they would enter the principle if commanded by the prophets" in 1963 is pretty high!

(c) We also need to consider history: Joseph Smith, when he was "prophet-mayor" of Nauvoo, had his militia-legion swell to 4,000 members. As "prophet," Smith declared his candidacy for the president of the U.S. in 1844. Utah Territory was run like a police state by "prophet" Brigham Young.

3 posted on 06/12/2011 10:13:31 AM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: All
#3

Fluidity of Mormon prophetic, scriptural & doctrinal revisions (radical 180 changes):

From the 2007 debate: ...its scriptural and doctrinal traditions are fluid and radically open to revision in light of new prophetic revelations. (Damon Linker, Jan. 4 2007 response to Bushman)

From the 2007 debate: Could all this be overthrown by a new revelation? You think that revelation wipes the slate clean, negating everything that went before. But that is not the way prophetic revelation works, now or ever...prophets...work outward from the words of previous prophets, reinterpreting past prophecy for the present. That was certainly true for Joseph Smith, whose most extreme revelation--plural marriage--was based on plural marriage in the Bible (Richard Bushman, Jan 5 2007 response to Linker)

Bushman is either somehow oblivious to the changes below, or, more likely, more lying for the Lord.
* Polygamy change 1831 -- 'cause polygamy in the Book of Mormon was an abomination...something Bushman ignored; he also ignored the warnings vs. entering into polygamy in Deut. 17:17; it was NOT sanctioned by God; polygamy was changed again in 1890;
* Skin color changes for priesthood, 1978

4 posted on 06/12/2011 10:14:42 AM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: All; Elsie
#4

Per Mormon "prophet" Ezra Taft Benson, the Mormon Prophet Trumps All Things -- Even Beyond the Church:

From the 2007 debate: I taught at Brigham Young University for two years and count several Mormons among my closest friends...At the level of the ward (or parish), LDS church life is highly egalitarian, but individual Mormons tend to be extraordinarily deferential to ecclesiastical and political authority. (Damon Linker, Jan. 4 2007 response to Bushman)

Let's reinforce what Linker says:

Lds "prophet" Ezra Taft Benson gave a talk at BYU titled "Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet" that emphasized the precedence of living prophet's statements over those of earlier prophets. What were Benson's 14 fundies? [My commentary for each follows]

1. The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything. (Except when it later becomes too embarrassing for the church; like polygamy is celestial marriage or that Brigham Young taught for over 25 years that "Adam is God")

2. The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works. (Translation: Since living 'prophets' contradict what's in the Book of Mormon & the Bible, we'll ignore the Book of Mormon & the Bible when needs be)

3. The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet. (See comment for #2)

4. The prophet will never lead the church astray. (Well, except for the Mormon "jesus," who Joseph Smith said never kept a church together like Smith did, rendering Matthew 16:18 as some sort of "false prophecy")

5. The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time. (Ya hear that Mitt Romney?)

6. The prophet does not have to say “Thus Saith the Lord,” to give us scripture. (Except again if it's embarrassing to later Mormons...then grassroots Mormons will point out that instead of being a living 'scripture'-producing factory, well, you're 'only human and fallible,' after all)

7. The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know. (Well Kimball was right to be concerned -- more of what Lds leaders had been saying in the late 1940s along the lines of "When the prophet speaks, the thinking has been done" mentality!)

8. The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning. (We noticed)

9. The prophet can receive revelation on ANY matter, temporal or spiritual. (Still listening, Mitt?)

10. The prophet MAY ADVISE ON CIVIC MATTERS. (What say ye Mitt? What say ye Richard Bushman?)

11. The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich. (How 'Profitic')

12. The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly. (Is that why it took several Lds 'prophets' so long to overturn polygamy and many more than that to overturn skin-barring priestholder positioning in the Lds church? Just because they wanted to prove their social unpopularity???)

13. The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church. (So much for being a "true restoration" of the original church, which had no titled "counselors" or "first presidency")

14. The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the First Presidency—follow them and be blessed—reject them and suffer. (Ever notice how lock step Lds "prophets" are "sustained" minus no dissenting votes?)

(Benson's address given Tuesday, February 26, 1980 at Brigham Young University)

5 posted on 06/12/2011 10:15:56 AM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: All
#5

Mormon History of Theocracies in Nauvoo, IL and Utah Territory:

From the 2007 debate: It did not help that the right of individual conscience in religious matters was made an article of faith, or that the Nauvoo city council passed a toleration act for every conceivable religious group including Catholics, Jews, and "Muhammadans." (Richard Bushman, Jan. 3, 2007)

From the 2007 debate: The Church is profoundly conservative, but its theological and historical foundations are incredibly radical (involving not only multiple acts of prophesy and revelation but also the establishment of a polygamous theocracy in the intermountain west). (Damon Linker response to Richard Bushman, Jan. 4, 2007)

From the 2007 debate: Your concern might be alleviated by considering how revelation actually works--in Mormonism and in biblical history. The scriptures themselves place heavy restraints on prophets. (Richard Bushman, Jan. 5, 2007 letter response to Linker)

Sorry, Bushman. Let's review Mormon history. The Nauvoo City Council, headed by Joseph Smith, mayor ordered the destruction by mobocrats of a free press because it criticized Smith, the hoodlum mayor. [What difference did that make in Nauvoo re: the Expositor? Or Utah Territory? Where intolerance and even murder was the operative word for most outsiders in 1850s thru 1890s Utah?]

6 posted on 06/12/2011 10:18:29 AM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: All
#6

Mormon Theology: Y'all are Apostates now, but after you become Mormons after the Mormon christ returns, 'many religions will flourish':

From the 2007 debate: Mormons draw on the tradition that holds that many religions will flourish after the coming of Christ--a kind of American-style tolerance of all faiths. (Bushman, Jan. 5 2007 letter to Linker)

Say what? Bushman claims "tolerance" by Mormons when the leadoff chapter of their Doctrines & Covenants (1:30) claims that the Mormon church is the "only true and living church on the face of the earth."? Here, Mormons label Christians "apostates" and claim in their sacred book that 100% of Christian creeds are abominable to the Mormon gods...yet they are "tolerant?"

7 posted on 06/12/2011 10:19:18 AM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: All
#7

: When Mormon Leaders Have Talked, the Thinking's Been Done:

From the 2007 debate: Mitt Romney's insistence that he will follow his own conscience rather than church dictates is not only a personal view; it is church policy. (Richard Bushman, Jan. 3, 2007)

One of the criteria of a cult is thought control -- placing sharp limits on doctrinal questioning. Bushman insists that a Mormon POTUS' conscience would not be overriden. Well, here's a sampling from Mormon automaton thought from 1899-->2010!

Circa October 2010:
It's Oct. 24, 2010. Just weeks earlier, the Lds faithful had gathered for one of their two key 'y'all" come meetings in Salt Lake City, which are fed via satellite around the world to Mormons who can't make the trek to SLC. You would have thought that if an earth-shaking announcement needed to be made, it would have been made there. It wasn't. Perhaps too much media glare was on the conference. Therefore, more quietly, Lds leadership sent a world-wide circular letter to all church members. Here's two sources for that:
Source 1: Quit pestering us, church leaders tell membership in letter
Source 2 -- from a Mormon columnist, Robert Kirby: Wrestling with doctrine no match for me

From the first source:
On October 24th, the LDS First Presidency (led by Prophet Thomas S. Monson) wrote several letters that were to be read in Mormon Sunday services around the world. According to examiner.com, the first letter was “likely spurred by Boyd K. Packer’s most recent General Conference talk entitled ‘Cleansing the Inner Vessel.’ Church Headquarters has been receiving an increased amount of correspondence from its members about doctrinal issues. Because of this influx of correspondence, the First Presidency reminded and encouraged LDS church members to utilize their local church authorities – bishops, branch presidents, stake presidents, etc — before resorting to contacting Church Headquarters.” In other words, the Mormon laity was told to quit bothering their church leadership on issues related to doctrine. We can only wonder why the church is apparently receiving so many inquiries.

From the second source (Kirby): With only partial tongue in cheek, Kirby said: "According to the First Presidency’s letter, members with real doctrinal concerns were to seek the counsel of our local leaders — stake president, bishop, Scoutmaster, building custodian, etc."

Why? Well, per Kirby: "The letter...told/counseled rank-and-file Mormons to stop pestering church headquarters for clarification of church doctrine. Apparently some members get so stressed about the finer points of doctrine that they’ll fire off a letter asking for the final word. Church HQ can’t handle the demand...

There ya go. Just as the Wall Street Journal writer said: "placing sharp limits on doctrinal questioning" [Many an Lds historian has commented on this as well...do your own Google search with the words "faith promoting" in quotations...add the words "historian" and "Lds" to the search for better specific results]

Circa 2004:
”We discourage using sources that have not been approved by Church Correlation or the Brethren” (David B. Marsh, Church Curriculum Department, “Approved resources aid Book of Mormon study,” Church News Jan. 3 2004, p. 14)

Ah, that Lds hierarchical automaton bottleneck!

Circa 2000:
Mormon writer Orson Scott Card pens an article entitled Hey, Who are You Calling a Cult?
Ah, such irony! Card writes in the piece: What do they [cults] have in common?...AUTOMATONSs. The members are discouraged from thinking for themselves, and, insofar as possible, are turned into unquestioning "obedience machines."...Far from being robots, most of us Mormons are, by inclination and by doctrine, determined to make up our own minds about everything.
How funny! Keep reading the following comments, and then tell us if "Mormons are...by doctrine, determined to make up our minds about everything?"

Circa 1999:
”…in the Lord’s Church there is no such thing as a ‘loyal opposition.’ One is either for the kingdom of God and stands in defense of God’s prophets and apostles, or one stands opposed” (Lds “apostle” M. Russell Ballard, “Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers,” Ensign – Conference Ed., Nov. 1999 p 64)

[No disagreement tolerated. You cannot speak vs. a Mormon leader…you must, robot-like, be in 100% conformity!!! Elsewise you are deemed “disloyal”]

Circa 1984:
“No true Latter-day Saint will ever take a stand that is in opposition to what the Lord has revealed to those who direct the affairs of his earthly kingdom. No Latter-day Saint who is true and faithful in all things will ever pursue a course, or espouse a cause, or publish an article or book that weakens or destroys faith.” (Lds "apostle" Bruce R. McConkie, Conference Report, October 1984, p. 104)

Ah, such "fragile faith" -- IF EVERY single article or book content needs to go through a legalistic filter of how it's going to potentially effect the end-user -- the reader -- re: if it might be perceived as "weakening" a challenged faith!!!

Circa 1979:
"I would like to tell you something about the way the Church operates from headquarters. We often hear the Church referred to as a democracy, when in reality, instead of being a church where the body is governed by officers elected by the members, the Church is a THEOCRACY..." (First President Lds N. Eldon Tanner, "The Administration of the Church," Ensign (Conference edition) Nov. 1979 p. 42

Well, that makes ya wonder who would occasionally call ultimate shots if a Mormon was in the White House, doesn't it?

Circa 1978-1979:
“Recently, at the Churchwide fireside meeting held for the women of the Church, Young Women President Elaine Cannon made the following statement: ‘When the Prophet speaks…the debate is over (Ensign, Nov.1978, p. 108). I was impressed by that simple statement, which carries such deep spiritual meaning for all of us. Wherever I go, my message to the people is: Follow the Prophet” {First President N. Eldon Tanner, “The Debate is Over,” Ensign, August 1979 p. 2)

For the true Christian, wherever we go, we say, “Follow the Lord Jesus Christ as a disciple of Him” -- not a mere Salt-Lake City-based man [who MUST reside in the Salt Lake City area!]. Our message is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, how He came to earth as an ever-living God-man – the ONLY SON of God who bodes no pre-existent brother rivals, died for our personal sins, and was raised to the same glory He shared with the Father before all was (John 17:5).

Circa 1963:
"'The holy Priesthood is a system of laws and government that is pure and holy;...' (JD7:202) - 'a perfect law of THEOCRACY.' (Joseph Smith's Teachings, p. 322)" (As cited by William J. Critchlow, Jr. Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Conference Reports October 1963, p. 28)

Circa 1960, citing an earlier Lds time as well:
"President Heber J. Grant once said, 'Always keep your eye on the President of the church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, even if it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it…” (quoted by First President Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1960, p. 78).

Circa 1945: "He [Lucifer] wins a great victory when he can get members of the Church to speak against the leaders and do 'their own thinking.' He specializes in suggesting that our leaders are in error while he plays the blinding rays of apostasy in the eyes of those whom he beguiles. What cunning! And to think that some of our members are deceived by this trickery...WHEN OUR LEADERS SPEAK, THE THINKING HAS BEEN DONE. (Spoken @ a convention of Lds teachers: Ward Teachers Message, Improvement Era, June 1945 p. 354)

Circa 1900: "We sustain President Lorenzo Snow as the mouthpiece of God. Therefore, when he has anything to say to us as the mind and will of the Lord, it is just as binding upon us as if God spake personally to us (Abraham O. Woodruff, Conference Reports, April 1899 p. 7)

[Ah, forced feeding like little children]

8 posted on 06/12/2011 10:20:23 AM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: All
#8

Sorry, But Past Recent Prophets' Actions not Indicative of Future Performances...:

From the 2007 debate: Now, a century later, we can judge the actual dangers of the Mormon Church to national politics from the historical record. Have any of the church presidents tried to manage Smoot, Ezra Taft Benson, Harry Reid, or Gordon Smith? (Richard Bushman, Jan. 3, 2007 response to Damon Linker's article)

9 posted on 06/12/2011 10:21:54 AM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: All
#9

The sheer audacity of Joseph Smith's claims: Taking them seriously:

From the 2007 debate: I am deeply impressed by the audaciousness of Joseph Smith's revelations. In addition to bringing forth a new 500-page book of scripture and setting out to correct ("retranslate") the canonical Old and New Testaments, Smith denied the creation of the universe ex nihilo, proposed that God has a body, and suggested that human beings can evolve into Gods themselves. More remarkable still, he persuaded large numbers of people to accept these heterodox beliefs and to risk (and, in many cases, to lose) their lives defending their right to affirm them. (Damon Linker, Jan 4 2007 response to Bushman)

From the 2007 debate: It is often hard for non-Mormons to understand how Mormons believe all we do. (Richard Bushman, Jan. 5, 2007 response to Linker)

Indeed! The part about being gods-in-embryo and becoming full-grown gods, stealing worship...stealing prayer...stealing glory from the ONE TRUE GOD. Not very becoming of mere people! Why do we want that character trait in a president?

10 posted on 06/12/2011 10:23:21 AM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: Colofornian

It’s the liberalism, stupid.


11 posted on 06/12/2011 10:29:14 AM PDT by Larry Lucido (No free Lazamataz for you! Come back, one year!)
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The only way I’m voting for Romney is if joins a Christian Church and charges that fake profit Joe Smith with organizing the destruction of the Nauvoo Printing Press.


12 posted on 06/12/2011 10:30:17 AM PDT by NoRedTape
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To: Larry Lucido

Yup.

No point in obsessing over his religion when the liberalism is more than enough.


13 posted on 06/12/2011 10:31:24 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Colofornian

Mormonism is very similar to Islam...it came to its founder in a dream and is a syncretist religion, combining elements of the religions active in the area of its founder.

In the case of Mohammed, the religions around him were Judaism, Christianity and paganism. In the case of Joseph Smith, the religions around him were a sort of fundamentalist Protestant Christianity and spiritualism. He lived in what is called the Burned-Over District, because there had been so many Evangelical camp-meetings and revivals in Upstate New York at that time that there was really nothing left to revive. But at the same time, he and many of the other Protestant Christians of the time were practitioners of spiritualism: he made his living by going out looking for gold and treasure through a crystal held in the bottom of his hat.

While Smith may have been just a local charismatic nutcase who wanted to set up his communities everywhere, even driving out local residents of the towns he picked, Brigham Young was clearly the one who made Mormonism the aggressive force that it was...which had to be subdued by US troops.

So we have to be realistic about the foundations of Mormonism. It is little different from Islam.

However, I think there are some Mormons who actually want to be orthodox Christians, and they are the ones I wish we could preach to and attract.


14 posted on 06/12/2011 10:33:19 AM PDT by livius
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To: Colofornian

Bigotry against any political candidate based on his religion has no place in our Constitutional Republic. The former colonies were founded largely by people escaping religious repression and persecution in Europe. Their descendants, our nation’s founders, ensured that our Constitution guarantees both freedom from state sponsored religion AND that there shall be NO religious test for candidates to federal elective office.

Much of the opposition to Romney among self-described Christian conservatives is due to bigotry about Romney’s religion. Oh, it’s hidden behind excuses disguised as policy differences, but the naked, irrational hatred for him reveals the truth. And the MSM, loving divisions on the right as it does, plays up Romney’s religion just to get under the right wing’s collective skin.


15 posted on 06/12/2011 10:42:11 AM PDT by Wolfstar ("If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his friend." Abraham Lincoln)
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To: Colofornian

I’ve tried to avoid the Mormon issue, not because I agree with Mormon theology, but because I’ve known several good Mormon conservatives who just aren’t into dominionism. I would never support any politician who is, Mormon, Baptist, Presbyterian, or Catholic, and most certainly I would never vote for a Muslim, because Islam is dominionism. I guess you could call me a religious bigot, because I reject any religious candidate who would destroy our Constitution, just like I reject liberals. Now, as for Romney, he is two-faced, someone who sees himself as a progressive Republican and intellectual, and we would have nothing from him but a constant effort to appease the left. It’s his character, education and experience, and I don’t think it has anything to do with Mormonism. Romney care should be sufficient enough reason for Republicans to reject Romney, and if it isn’t, God help us.


16 posted on 06/12/2011 11:07:26 AM PDT by pallis
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To: Wolfstar
I see...you want bigotry...52,000 missionaries going worldwide along with TV and radio ads from the mormon PR campaign lying to Christians that their faith is "false" and mormonism is the only true faith. Get back to us when this bigotry against Christians is ended.

"Christians—those poor, miserable priests brother Brigham was speaking about—some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth, and at the same time preaching righteousness to the children of men. The poor devils, they could not get up here and preach an oral discourse, to save themselves from hell; they are preaching their fathers' sermons —preaching sermons that were written a hundred years before they were born. ...You may get a Methodist priest to pour water on you, or sprinkle it on you, and baptize you face foremost, or lay you down the other way, and whatever mode you please, and you will be damned with your priest.

- Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, v. 5, p. 89


Prophet John Taylor (1808 - 1887):


"Christianity...is a perfect pack of nonsense...the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century."

- Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, v. 6, p. 167

"Where shall we look for the true order or authority of God? It cannot be found in any nation of Christendom."

- Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, v. 10, p. 127

"What! Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast."

- Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, v. 13, p. 225

"What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing... Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest fools; they know neither God nor the things of God."

- Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, v. 13, p. 225


Apostle Orson Pratt (1811 - 1881):


"Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the ‘whore of Babylon' whom the Lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness. Any person who shall be so corrupt as to receive a holy ordinance of the Gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent."

- Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 255

"But as there has been no Christian Church on the earth for a great many centuries past, until the present century, the people have lost sight of the pattern that God has given according to which the Christian Church should be established, and they have denominated a great variety of Christian Churches ... But there has been a long apostasy, during which the nations have been cursed with apostate churches in great abundance"

- Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, v. 18, p. 172
“This class of men, calling themselves Christian, uniting with the various forms of the pagan religion, adopting many of their ceremonies and institutions, became very popular, and finally some of the pagans embraced Christianity and were placed, as it were, upon the throne, and what they termed Christianity became very popular indeed. How long has this order of things existed, this dreadful apostacy, this class of people that pronounced themselves Zion, or Christians, without any of the characteristics of Zion? It has existed for some sixteen or seventeen centuries. It has spread itself and grown and gone into the four quarters of the earth. It is the great ecclesiastical power that is spoken of by the revelator John, and called by him the most corrupt and most wicked of all the powers of the earth, under the name of spiritual Babylon, or in other words Babel, which signifies confusion. This great and corrupt power is also represented by John as presenting a golden cup to the nations, full of all manner of filthiness and abominations.”

- Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, v. 14, p. 346

“But as there has been no Christian Church on the earth for a great many centuries past, until the present century, the people have lost sight of the pattern that God has given according to which the Christian Church should be established, and they have denominated a great variety of people Christian Churches, because they profess to be. They say, "We have built chapels unto the name of the Lord; we call our Churches Christian Churches, they are called the Church of Christ, St. John's Church, St. Paul's Church, St. Peter's Church, and after others of the ancient Apostles;" and one who had never studied the pattern which God has given of the Christian Church would almost really believe that they are Christian Churches. But there has been a long apostacy, during which the nations have been cursed with apostate churches in great abundance, and they are represented in the revelations of St. John as a woman sitting upon a scarlet colored beast, having a golden cup in her hand, full of filthiness and abominations, full of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; that in her forehead there was a name written—"Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots." This kind of a church has existed in great abundance, for as John the Revelator says, she was to have her dominion upon many waters, and she was to make all nations drunken with the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

- Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, v. 18, p. 172

“Q. After the Church of Christ fled from earth to heaven, what was left? A. A set of wicked Apostates, murderers, and idolaters, who, after having made war with the saints, and overcome them, and destroyed them out of the earth, were left to follow the wicked imaginations of their own corrupt hearts, and to build up churches by human authority, and to follow after the cunning craftiness of uninspired men; having no Apostle, Prophet, or Revelator to inquire of God for them: and thus, because of wickedness, the Church, and Priesthood, and gifts, and ordinances and blessings of the everlasting Gospel, were taken from the earth, and reserved in heaven until the fulness of times, when it was predicted that they should again be restored among men to continue until the end should come.”

- Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, Chapter 16, p. 205


Prophet Wilford Woodruff (1807 - 1898):


"The Gospel of modern Christendom shuts up the Lord, and stops all communication with Him. I want nothing to do with such a Gospel, I would rather prefer the Gospel of the dark ages, so called"

- Prophet Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, v. 2, p. 196


Apostle George Q. Cannon (1827 - 1901):


"After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christendom, though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They all belong to Babylon."

- Apostle George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, p. 324


17 posted on 06/12/2011 11:12:18 AM PDT by greyfoxx39 (My God can't be bribed by money or good works. Romney's can.)
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To: Wolfstar

Horse hockey! Look at the man’s record. Abortionist, homosexualist, gun-grabber, big government socialist fascism (RomneyCare). Romney is closer to Teddy Kennedy than Ronald Reagan. In fact he denied Ronald Reagan. FR will never support a man with this record for president. We’re conservatives here!! You’re playing the liberal MSM card. They call us “racist” because we don’t like Obama’s abortionist, homosexualist, gun-grabbing, socialist fascist policies, big government. If you wish to support big government Romney, be my guest. But you’ll have to do it somewhere else!


18 posted on 06/12/2011 11:22:33 AM PDT by Jim Robinson (Rebellion is brewing!! Impeach the corrupt Marxist bastard!!)
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To: Colofornian
I appreciate your moderate and respectful reply to my objections. It is often hard for non-Mormons to understand how Mormons believe all we do. You at least see how Mormon beliefs and our way of life could be satisfying to educated, reasonable people, among whom you presumably would include Mitt Romney.

I think he spelled gullible and evidence denying wrong...

19 posted on 06/12/2011 11:32:02 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: Colofornian

And he comPLETELY left out ‘logic suspending’.


20 posted on 06/12/2011 11:32:52 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: Colofornian
Most folks have NO way of knowing what MORMONs 'believe' for if you ask 3 of them you'll get 6 opinions!

However; it is REAL easy to show what MORMONism, Inc. has PUBLISHED; and we do this quite frequently here on FR.


(It is interesting to see MORMONs then attempt to 'prove' that what is in evidence is NOT to be believed, but some OTHER claim with NO evidence.)

21 posted on 06/12/2011 11:36:19 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: Wolfstar
Bigotry against any political candidate based on his religion has no place in our Constitutional Republic.

FACTS against his (or her) religion are QUITE welcome; however.

22 posted on 06/12/2011 11:37:40 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: Wolfstar
Bigotry against any political candidate based on his religion has no place in our Constitutional Republic.

FACTS against his (or her) religion are QUITE welcome; however.

23 posted on 06/12/2011 11:38:17 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: Elsie

There are many Mormon’s who consider themselves Christian. They are, of course, far from the truth of Christ, the living and only God. They are stuck with a cosmology based on reincarnation. Once they deny this and establish the Bible as the supreme book of faith they will be considered Christian. Until then, not so much.


24 posted on 06/12/2011 11:39:09 AM PDT by Louis Foxwell (This IS my blog site.)
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To: Wolfstar
Oh, it’s hidden behind excuses disguised as policy differences, but the naked, irrational hatred for him reveals the truth.

If there is ANYthing I hate; it's being NAKED!!!


Joseph Smith continues: "for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible" (from 1:12). "What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world" (, p.270).
 
Questions put to Joseph Smith: "'Do you believe the Bible?' [Smith:]'If we do, we are the only people under heaven that does, for there are none of the religious sects of the day that do'. When asked 'Will everybody be damned, but Mormons'? [Smith replied] 'Yes, and a great portion of them, unless they repent, and work righteousness." (, p. 119).
 
Brigham Young stated this repeatedly: "When the light came to me I saw that all the so-called Christian world was grovelling in darkness" ( 5:73); "The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of the salvation of God" ( 8:171); "With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world" ( 8:199); "And who is there that acknowledges [God's] hand? ...You may wander east, west, north, and south, and you cannot find it in any church or government on the earth, except the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (, vol. 6, p.24); "Should you ask why we differ from other Christians, as they are called, it is simply because they are not Christians as the New Testament defines Christianity" ( 10:230).
 
Orson Pratt proclaimed: "Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the 'whore of Babylon' whom the Lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness. Any person who shall be so corrupt as to receive a holy ordinance of the Gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent" (, p. 255).
 
Pratt also said: "This great apostasy commenced about the close of the first century of the Christian era, and it has been waxing worse and worse from then until now" (, vol.18, p.44) and: "But as there has been no Christian Church on the earth for a great many centuries past, until the present century, the people have lost sight of the pattern that God has given according to which the Christian Church should be established, and they have denominated a great variety of people Christian Churches, because they profess to be ...But there has been a long apostasy, during which the nations have been cursed with apostate churches in great abundance" (, 18:172).
 
President John Taylor stated: "Christianity...is a perfect pack of nonsense...the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century." (, vol. 6, p.167); "Where shall we look for the true order or authority of God? It cannot be found in any nation of Christendom." (, 10:127).
James Talmage said: "A self-suggesting interpretation of history indicates that there has been a great departure from the way of salvation as laid down by the Savior, a universal apostasy from the Church of Christ". (, p.182).
 
President Joseph Fielding Smith said: "Doctrines were corrupted, authority lost, and a false order of religion took the place of the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as it had been the case in former dispensations, and the people were left in spiritual darkness." (, p.266). "For hundreds of years the world was wrapped in a veil of spiritual darkness, until there was not one fundamental truth belonging to the place of salvation ...Joseph Smith declared that in the year 1820 the Lord revealed to him that all the 'Christian' churches were in error, teaching for commandments the doctrines of men" (, vol. 3, p.282).
 
More recent statements by apostle Bruce McConkie are also very clear: "Apostasy was universal...And this darkness still prevails except among those who have come to a knowledge of the restored gospel" (, vol 3, p.265); "Thus the signs of the times include the prevailing apostate darkness in the sects of Christendom and in the religious world in general" (The Millennial Messiah, p.403); "a perverted Christianity holds sway among the so-called Christians of apostate Christendom" (, p.132); "virtually all the millions of apostate Christendom have abased themselves before the mythical throne of a mythical Christ whom they vainly suppose to be a spirit essence who is incorporeal uncreated, immaterial and three-in-one with the Father and Holy Spirit" (, p.269); "Gnosticism is one of the great pagan philosophies which antedated Christ and the Christian Era and which was later commingled with pure Christianity to form the apostate religion that has prevailed in the world since the early days of that era." (, p.316).
 
President George Q. Cannon said: "After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christendom, though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They all belong to Babylon" (Gospel Truth, p.324).
 
President Wilford Woodruff stated: "the Gospel of modern Christendom shuts up the Lord, and stops all communication with Him. I want nothing to do with such a Gospel, I would rather prefer the Gospel of the dark ages, so called" (, vol. 2, p.196).
 

25 posted on 06/12/2011 11:39:46 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: livius; Colofornian; SZonian; SENTINEL
However, I think there are some Mormons who actually want to be orthodox Christians, and they are the ones I wish we could preach to and attract.

Some have crossed over into the Light.

26 posted on 06/12/2011 11:41:31 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: pallis
It’s his character, education and experience, and I don’t think it has anything to do with Mormonism.

Huh?

A person's most deeply held beliefs would NOT affect his OTHER characteristics?

What good are they then??

27 posted on 06/12/2011 11:43:15 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: Wolfstar

I’ll bump your post in agreement and give a nod to the accurate keywords posted for this thread...


28 posted on 06/12/2011 11:43:30 AM PDT by magritte ("There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself "Do trousers matter?")
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To: Louis Foxwell

yup


29 posted on 06/12/2011 11:44:42 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: greyfoxx39

Various religions can duke it out all they want on theological grounds, but when it comes to American elections, religious bigotry has no place. Period. Everything you posted is about theological arguments, not Constitutional ones.


30 posted on 06/12/2011 11:45:51 AM PDT by Wolfstar ("If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his friend." Abraham Lincoln)
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To: magritte

“Mormoaner” cracked me up.

Freegards


31 posted on 06/12/2011 11:55:04 AM PDT by Ransomed
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To: Colofornian

Its Romney’s political liberalism that is the major issue with most conservatives.

Mormon liberalism and its cultist nature doesn’t help, however.


32 posted on 06/12/2011 11:58:29 AM PDT by Reagan Man ("In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.")
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To: magritte

Thanks :)


33 posted on 06/12/2011 11:58:47 AM PDT by Wolfstar ("If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his friend." Abraham Lincoln)
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To: Wolfstar

Mitt·go·try

/mitt-got-tree/

–noun, plural -ries.

1. typically Willard Romney supporters who share a stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that allows for personal decisions to be guided by the conscience of the adherent.

2. the irrational belief that voters must only consider the stated positions of a candidate, instead of the totality of the candidate's character, opinions, beliefs and actions.

3. the actions, beliefs, prejudices, etc., of a mittgot, including whining and name-calling.

4. the condition caused by wearing tight underwear, in the belief it gives one the superiority to judge the beliefs, convictions and practices of others.


34 posted on 06/12/2011 12:27:20 PM PDT by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: Wolfstar
So if there was a man running for office who said and agreed with every single political point you have ever stood for yet was a Muslim and firmly held to what the Koran said, his religion would play no role what so ever in your decision to support him.

What I get a kick out of when folks like you start talking about the “religious test” and bigotry is that you want to confuse things. No one is calling for a constitutional test, you will rarely if ever see such sentiment here. Nor will you see any advocating for locking up peaceful followers of any faith or barricading entrance to the houses of worship.

HOWEVER because of both the freedom of speech as well as the freedom of religion we are allowed to SAY whatever and question whatever we wish about a religion as long as we don't do anything to impede its legal practice by its adherents. It is not bigotry to do such.

It is also NOT bigotry to question the judgment of a person based on personal choices including what they may believe when VOTING them into a position.

If we say “Those Mormons can't be on the ballot” that is using bigotry and impeding the individuals freedom of religion. However if we say we have issues with a Mormon (who by law is allowed to be on the ballot because there is NO religious test)being is this position for X reason and here is why, that is us expressing our position and we are allowed to do such by the very Constitution you desire to invoke in making you rather incorrect point.

Is that itself bigotry, perhaps in a way, but it is also a right, a right we have to determine who we put in positions of power over us. We are not simply talking about hiring a truck driver or a nurse or some other such position where beliefs could have little impact.

35 posted on 06/12/2011 12:38:04 PM PDT by ejonesie22 (8/30/10, the day Truth won.)
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To: Wolfstar; Colofornian
that there shall be NO religious test for candidates to federal elective office.

As with many, your application of the 'religious test' is flawed and ignorant. The religious test has to do with LAWS forbidding officeholders from being of specific religious beliefs. There is absolutely NOTHING in the constitution that relates to it being forbidden of individuals to use a person's religious beliefs as a CRITERION for their suitability for office.

BTW wolf - muttbots in other arenas are making religion an issue in support of mutt. In that case, evaluation of his religious beliefs are more than justified by people.

36 posted on 06/12/2011 1:08:48 PM PDT by Godzilla (3-7-77)
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To: Elsie

“What good are they then??”

In the case of Romney, as I see him, ...nothing. That’s part of my point. Do you have a different one??????????????????... (?)


37 posted on 06/12/2011 1:35:21 PM PDT by pallis
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To: Wolfstar; Godzilla; aMorePerfectUnion; magritte
...our Constitution guarantees both freedom from state sponsored religion AND that there shall be NO religious test for candidates to federal elective office.

Your constitutional ignorance slip is showing.

First of all, Article VI isn't addressed to voters; voters don't qualify who gets to be -- or who doesn't get to be -- on a given ballot.

Guess who produces ballots Wolfstar? (That's right; if you're able to somehow figure that out--it's the govt!)

So. Let's provide you, Wolfstar with some remedial education you failed to get elsewhere:

Point 1- RELIGION: Religion IS NOT a qualification or disqualification for public office; but it's certainly one quality of voter discernment among many others...namely, voting record, present position statements & rampant inconsistency of past position statements, social issues' stances, character, viability, scandal-free past, etc.

Article VI, section 3 of the Constitution is aimed at the candidate (must be of a certain age and must have resided in our country for a certain number of years)...
...And the government...
... so that religion does not become a disqualification to keep somebody otherwise eligible for running for public office. Article VI, section 3, is not aimed at the voter. Otherwise, voters would have to 100% disregard character, beliefs, other-dimensionly commitments, and spiritual discernment in weighing candidates.

POINT 2 - ELIGIBILITY: [Newsflash!! Every person on the ballot, & even most write-in candidates, have proper "qualifications" to not be excluded from office consideration (based upon religious grounds). Of course, millions of us have the "qualifications" to be considered a potential POTUS & shouldn't be excluded outright from a ballot because of the religion we hold! Nobody has a "Religious Ineligibility" tattoo on their forehead!

POINT 3- BOTTOM LINE: You confuse "qualifications" (language within the Constitution) with "qualities." (language that’s NOT in the Constitution). I focus on what voters base their votes on in the "real world": Qualities

Article VI says absolutely nothing...nada...zero...about how voters must weigh--or not weigh--the "qualities" of a candidate...So, nowhere does Article VI say that voters MUST 100% disregard character, beliefs, other-dimensionly commitments, and spiritual discernment in weighing candidates!

"Qualifications" have to do with what gets a man on a ballot. "Qualities" has to do with who gets elected.

Note the above before you continue to export your ignorance, Wolfstar.

38 posted on 06/12/2011 2:16:27 PM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: Wolfstar; Colofornian; Jim Robinson
Everything you posted is about theological arguments, not Constitutional ones.

If your argument was on constitutional grounds, why play the "bigot" card?

Your first sentence was, "Bigotry against any political candidate based on his religion has no place in our Constitutional Republic".

Everything I posted was in response to your nasty accusations of bigotry...and I see you have no reply to the examples of mormon bigotry in my comment.

Mormons are practicing anti-Christian bigotry every day of the year with their missionary program. Deal with it.

39 posted on 06/12/2011 2:44:16 PM PDT by greyfoxx39 (My God can't be bribed by money or good works. Romney's can.)
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To: pallis
I’ve tried to avoid the Mormon issue, not because I agree with Mormon theology, but because I’ve known several good Mormon conservatives who just aren’t into dominionism.

Please read posts 3, 4, 5.

What most people don't get is they tend to judge Mormonism by the average Mormon they know. If you'd been around in 1840s Nauvoo, IL -- judging Mormonism by the average Mormon you knew back then...that, too, would have been a mistake...because shortly before Joseph Smith died, he moved into emphasizing multiple gods and becoming a god yourself. That was a change.

If you would have known Mormons in the 1830s...saying, "Gee I knew Mormon XYZ and he didn't think of himself as a god..." that's where you make the mistake of judging a dominion-based religion -- or at least potentially so depending on what Lds "prophet" is at the helm...with your average Mormon.

Sorry...as Damon Linker says in this article: Your average ward Mormons tend to be quite deferential to your political and religious authorities. Some Lds "prophets" on other hand, have a track record for dominionism.

And when it comes to POTUS, that's where it matters. Because he could be the "prophet's" puppet.

40 posted on 06/12/2011 3:09:32 PM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: Wolfstar
Bigotry against any political candidate based on his religion has no place in our Constitutional Republic.
(said Wolfstar, who apparently wouldn't -- if he consistently applied this -- consider the jihad Muslim-ness of a candidate...)

Tell you what Wolfstar: Let's see if you're man enough to be consistent here: Romney got 90-95% of the Mormon vote in '08 from Western states' Lds. That means that a LOT of Mormons voted for Romney either soley or primarily on the basis of a shared religion. Was that "bigotry" in your eyes?

41 posted on 06/12/2011 3:16:27 PM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: Colofornian

“And when it comes to POTUS, that’s where it matters. Because he could be the “prophet’s” puppet.”

Well, I haven’t read all the post for this thread, but I have paid attention to the Romney debacle for the past 15 years of so, and I’ve read pretty much everything Walter Martin and the Tanners and others have written about Mormonism. I’ve lived in a Mormon community, converted a Mormon missionary in my living room, made friends with Mormons, and found Mormons I can’t stand, none of which matters when it comes to my opinion of Romney. I have no doubts about him being a progressive, Republican intellectual, in his own mind, and that means he will make a horrible president. I seriously doubt that we need to fear the LDS church using Romney as a puppet to dominate America with Mormonism.

Let me clarify my point about dominionism. I am no more wary of Mormon dominionism than I am Calvinist dominionism, Historicist dominionism, or Catholic dominionism. I hate them all equally as much as I hate leftist dominionism and ivy league dominionism, and that includes neocon dominionism. Don’ t let me forget my utterly vile contempt of Islamic dominionism. I don’t need the Mormon church to despise Romney. I would despise him if he were to convert to a Methodist, and I would keep despising him until I could see sincerity and a change of character because of his devotion to Christ.

I have no problem with the points you are trying to make. Bringing religion into your decision about a candidate for president is perfectly reasonable, and it is perfectly reasonable for you to share your convictions with the rest of us. Thank you. You bet I’ll consider someone’s religion before supporting them or voting for them. As I got so snidely told in the previous response to me, religion should have an influence on what someone’s character is. That isn’t always true, and personally I don’t think it has much to do with Romney. ...Now I’ll get someone telling me I’m a Romney apologist.


42 posted on 06/12/2011 5:11:29 PM PDT by pallis
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To: magritte; Wolfstar; Godzilla
I’ll bump your post in agreement and give a nod to the accurate keywords posted for this thread...

Why am I not surprised that once again you're on the wrong side of the issue? As Godzilla and others correctly point out a little later, our Constitutional "expert" provides a flawed interpretation.

So, magritte and wolfstar, are you saying that there are no religious beliefs, no matter how bizarre, which would disqualify a candidate in your opinion? All of us have a point at which we would conclude that those religious beliefs are too weird and where we couldn't, in good conscience, vote for a candidate who holds to those positions. Whether Mormonism is beyond that point is a personal decision but I'd be reluctant to criticize someone who draws a line just because they draw it at a different point than I do. The question isn't IF we draw a line but WHERE.

43 posted on 06/12/2011 5:28:09 PM PDT by CommerceComet (Governor Romney, why would any conservative vote for the author of the beta version of ObamaCare?)
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To: pallis
Your post response was reasonable. Let me raise a few clarifications:

(1) You said: I seriously doubt that we need to fear the LDS church using Romney as a puppet to dominate America with Mormonism.

Scripture is clear we don't need to fear man or his man-made organizations -- like the Mormon church.

You use the word "fear"...I use a Biblical word: "concern."

Even God has shown his concern for people groups:
10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:10)

(2) You said: I am no more wary of Mormon dominionism than I am Calvinist dominionism, Historicist dominionism, or Catholic dominionism.

From a practical recent historical angle, I can understand this. I addressed that, however, in post #9: Past Recent Prophets' Actions not Indicative of Future Performances

I'm saying just because the world has gotten used to a typical "businessman" "prophet" like a Monson, a Hinckley, a Harold B. Lee, etc. -- doesn't mean that a more theocratic style like a Joseph Smith or a Brigham Young couldn't come along as some new Mormon "prophet" that could coincide with an Lds POTUS.

My point to you in my last post might be that if somebody sized up even Joseph Smith in the early 1830s -- as having no concern about his domineering ways -- well that was easily altered in his later years.

All I'm saying is: Don't let your guard down 100%...'Cause as Damon Linker points out in his 2007 response to Bushman:

"Mormons, you imply, would never follow a morally questionable or politically perilous pronouncement by the prophet in Salt Lake City. I do not doubt that you and many other Mormons believe this. But can you tell me...why--on what basis--you believe it?"

(And Linker went on to say that "Mormonism has none of these moderating safeguards" such as built in to the RC Pope, the closed canon of Scripture, binding historical councils of the church, a steeped tradition, etc.)

44 posted on 06/12/2011 5:42:20 PM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: Jim Robinson
If you wish to support big government Romney, be my guest. But you’ll have to do it somewhere else!

Hi Jim. Thank you for your reply, which focused not on Romney's religion, but on several issues where many conservatives, myself included, part company with Romney.

The title of this thread is "Mitt Romney's Mormonism: A TNR online debate." My initial reply on this thread focused solely on that -- a discussion of Mitt Romney's Mormon faith. I was NOT supporting Romney, but the Constitution.

Above all else, politically I'm a Constitutional conservative. Freedom of religion and no religious tests for candidates for public office are cornerstones of our Republic. As such, I take them as seriously as I do the rest of the Constitution.

As you pointed out in your response to me, there are multiple policy issues on which people can evaluate Romney. Although all individuals are free to use whatever criteria they wish, including religion, as the basis for their votes, I'm opposed to making that the sole focus for any candidate, Dem, Rep or otherwise. Again, the title of this thread is "Mitt Romney's Mormonism." In my long participation on FR, I don't recall ever seeing a similarly focused thread about any other candidate's religion.

I do NOT support Romney for president. At this early stage, I have doubts about all the candidates and support no one yet. If they get in the race, I believe Sarah Palin and Rick Perry are going to duke it out for the nomination, and I will vote for whichever one gets it. If they don't get in the race, I'm going to take a serious look at Tim Pawlenty. To me, Romney is what was once called a "Rockefeller Republican," and I have always been against that wing of the party.

45 posted on 06/12/2011 6:01:06 PM PDT by Wolfstar ("If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his friend." Abraham Lincoln)
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To: Wolfstar; Jim Robinson
Although all individuals are free to use whatever criteria they wish, including religion, as the basis for their votes, I'm opposed to making that the sole focus for any candidate, Dem, Rep or otherwise

So am I. Hence, the phrasing I used in post #38 I've used DOZENS of times going back to 2007: ...certainly one quality of voter discernment among many others...namely, voting record, present position statements & rampant inconsistency of past position statements, social issues' stances, character, viability, scandal-free past, etc.

In my long participation on FR, I don't recall ever seeing a similarly focused thread about any other candidate's religion. [Wolfstar]

Dennis Kucinich was a candidate in '08. But he was a Democrat. He's also a New Ager. Were Kucinich a RINO Republican like Romney & he was running again, you better believe you'd see a lot of New Age threads on FR.

Otherwise, show me a popular cult similar to Mormonism -- made up of conservatives -- who frequent FR & have a few POTUS candidates...hence, you can't name one...hence, the explanation as to why you don't see similarly focused threads.

46 posted on 06/12/2011 6:12:14 PM PDT by Colofornian (I already have a God as my leader. Why do I need ANOTHER one as POTUS?)
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To: greyfoxx39; Jim Robinson
Everything I posted was in response to your nasty accusations of bigotry...and I see you have no reply to the examples of mormon bigotry in my comment.

First of all, I could not easily reply earlier as I was posting from my cell phone while at work. I work shifts and was on today from 6:00am to 2:00pm Pacific time.

Secondly, the title of this thread is, "Mitt Romney's Mormonism: A TNR online debate." My contribution to this debate was and is to say that religious bigotry against political candidates has no place in our Constitutional Republic. There are many reasons for conservatives to oppose Mitt Romney on policy grounds. We need not oppose him on religious grounds. I oppose Romney on several policy grounds, state-run health care being at the top of my list. But I do not give a fig about his religion.

You ask, "why play the bigot card?" Please read this carefully, because I'm choosing my words carefully. If Romney's religion is the SOLE reason someone opposes him, then that is religious bigotry.

You say Mormons are practicing anti-Christian bigotry every day. I was raised a Roman Catholic, and still consider myself a Catholic, thus Christian, even though I do not now practice any organized religion. Yet I have been offended here several times over the years by FReepers who self-identify as Christians, yet who call Catholicism a cult and deny its history as the first Christian church.

So you see, Mormons have no corner on religious bigotry. Look what Muslims do to non-believers, for whom they invented the word "infidel." Me, personally, I'm disgusted with ALL organized religions. Look at the priest sexual abuse scandals. Look at the recent admission by the Dalai Lama that he is a Marxist (barf!). Look at the so-called liberal Christian churches. I remember one of their leaders being heavily involved in forcing Elian Gonzalez to go back to communist Cuba.

I believe in God, the bible and Christ's beautiful teachings, but I don't believe in any organized religion. The person who started this thread wanted a debate. This is my contribution to the debate.

47 posted on 06/12/2011 6:25:06 PM PDT by Wolfstar ("If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his friend." Abraham Lincoln)
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To: Colofornian; Jim Robinson
So am I.

Thank you. At least you understand the core point I was making. As for Kucinich, hahahaha. Can't help laughing. He was never a serious candidate, but one of those fringe types who runs every cycle only to raise their own personal profile.

Can't prove a negative, though, so how a Republican fringe whacko candidate like Kucinich would be treated on FR on religious grounds will never be known. We see a lot of comments here about Obama and his affinity for Islam, so who knows.

The overwhelming majority of Republican candidates for president are Christians from one of the Protestant denominations, so it's rare for religion to even be discussed as an issue, as Romney's Mormon faith has been. I can't help wondering if there was a serious Republican candidate for president who happened to be a Roman Catholic, how would FReeperdom treat that person.

48 posted on 06/12/2011 6:40:26 PM PDT by Wolfstar ("If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his friend." Abraham Lincoln)
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To: CommerceComet; Wolfstar
Hey CC:

Wolfstar said:Bigotry against any political candidate based on his religion has no place in our Constitutional Republic. The former colonies were founded largely by people escaping religious repression and persecution in Europe. Their descendants, our nation’s founders, ensured that our Constitution guarantees both freedom from state sponsored religion AND that there shall be NO religious test for candidates to federal elective office.
Much of the opposition to Romney among self-described Christian conservatives is due to bigotry about Romney’s religion. Oh, it’s hidden behind excuses disguised as policy differences, but the naked, irrational hatred for him reveals the truth. And the MSM, loving divisions on the right as it does, plays up Romney’s religion just to get under the right wing’s collective skin.

I did not read this as "Letter of the law" statement as others have analyzed, but a general statement that the Founding Fathers probably disapproved of religious bigotry, which I agree with. Of course voters can use any reason they want to decide on a candidate; fat, tall, stupid, Mormon, bible thumper, talks funny, whatever.

As far as "weird" religions go, it depends on the candidate. I think YEC evangelicals are nutcakes, but if they have good conservative credentials and it's not in their platform to force all students to believe the earth is 6000 years old, so what? Same with Muslims, Jews, Hindus, et al. Mormons believe weird stuff, Christians believe weird stuff. Just keep it out of policy.

If you can: Cut spending. Cut taxes. Reform Medicare & Social Security. Get us out of 3 wars. Restore the 2nd Amendment.
I don't care what creed you are. I don't need a Chief Religious Leader.

Jews think Christians are deluded and the entire Christian faith is false. Does that mean you wouldn't vote for a Jew?
49 posted on 06/12/2011 6:53:23 PM PDT by magritte ("There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself "Do trousers matter?")
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To: magritte; CommerceComet
If you can: Cut spending. Cut taxes. Reform Medicare & Social Security. Get us out of 3 wars. Restore the 2nd Amendment. I don't care what creed you are. I don't need a Chief Religious Leader.

Exactly, Magritte. Bringing religion into any political debate is a recipe for potential disaster, in my opinion. There are plenty of policy-oriented issues that we can evaluate Romney (or any candidate) on without resorting to pointing fingers at his religion.

50 posted on 06/12/2011 7:03:08 PM PDT by Wolfstar ("If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his friend." Abraham Lincoln)
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