Skip to comments.How Mormons see the world ("Romney isn't our JFK")
Posted on 01/19/2012 12:38:38 PM PST by presidio9
Last week, the Pew Forum released the results of its Mormons in America study, the broadest survey of Mormon attitudes ever conducted by an outside organization. The results made headlines, in large part due to the Republican front-runner status of Mitt Romney, a devout and life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many accounts led with Mormons surprising perceptions of anti-Mormon prejudice: A whopping 46% of respondents said that Mormons face a lot of discrimination in modern America. Fewer Mormons said the same thing about discrimination against African-Americans (31%) and atheists (13%).
The specter of prejudice and persecution looms large in the Mormon myth. Under the leadership of founding prophet Joseph Smith, the early Latter-day Saints rarely got along well with their frontier neighbors, with tensions escalating to the point that the governor of Missouri issued an 1838 executive order calling for all Mormons to be exterminated or driven from the state. (The order was finally rescinded in 1976, luckily for Mormons considering job offers in St. Louis.) After Smith was killed by a mob in 1844, Brigham Young led his followers on a long exodus across the continent to the Salt Lake Valley, where they spent the next half-century in near-isolation. They were, in effect, done with America.
Even today, with Mormons more engaged in American public life than ever before, their sense of suspicion toward the outside world remains. When I attend my weekly church services, sermons and Sunday school lessons often come with anxious warnings about the dangers of the World not the planet we all live on, but an evil place with a capital W, an unimaginably depraved Babylon that surrounds the righteous at all times. From 1995 to 2008, the LDS church was led by a sprightly old man named Gordon B. Hinckley, whose sermons were marked by an irrepressible joie de vivre. At the age of 84, he told a New York Times interviewer, The world is good. Wonderful things are happening in this world. This is the greatest age in the history of the Earth. But Hinckleys sunny optimism never quite became his churchs.
Im sympathetic to the idea that we need to stand firm against the evils of modern life (war, racism, Are You There, Chelsea?), but this kind of gloomy siege mentality is counterproductive. Too often, the response is to disengage, like our pioneer forefathers. We stick to ourselves and overshelter our children. We develop thin skins, taking every late-night monologue joke about Romneys teetotaling ways or magic underwear as a sign of rampant discrimination. (I take it this is what many Mormons mean when they tell pollsters they are half again as put-upon as blacks, a ridiculous notion.)
This isnt just a Mormon problem, of course. Most religions, deep down, like to feel persecuted. American Christians insist theyre being oppressed every time the ACLU challenges a manger, even though they still live comfortably in a nation where every single President has shared their religion, God makes cameo appearances in the Pledge of Allegiance and on our money and Jesus gave the Broncos a division title behind a mediocre quarterback. But feeling downtrodden mobilizes the base, motivates the youth and provides paradoxical evidence of Gods favor.
In my experience, outright discrimination against lay Mormons is much rarer today than this poll claims, but the political arena may be another story. The Obama campaign has said that it plans to target Romneys weirdness factor (hint, hint, Mormon, nudge, not like us), and a recent Gingrich ad mocked as un-American Romneys fluency in French, a language he picked up as a Mormon missionary. A Gallup Poll last June found that 22% of Americans wouldnt vote for a Mormon from their own party, so Romney will face undeniable challenges getting out the vote in a general election against President Obama.
But it may comfort Romneys skeptics to know that there will be little Mormon triumphalism in their mans nomination or even election. In my experience, Romney isnt an icon of hope to his community the way John F. Kennedy was for Catholics or Obama for African- Americans. If anything, his rise makes us uncomfortable. What will they say about Mormons at work every time Romney makes a debate gaffe or an unpopular policy move? Why would we want someone as divisive as a politician to be our public face? Werent Donny Osmond and Jimmer Fredette doing just fine?
We dont particularly want to take over the White House. For better or for worse, after all that weve been through, Mormons would rather just keep to ourselves.
But Harry Reid is.
Usually in pairs.........
To bad the article sugar coated the “extermination order”, because they left out why the order was given.
To bad the article sugar coated the “mob story” and didn’t explain why J Smith was in jail and that guns were smuggled into his cell, then there was a jail break.......mob my foot. They way tell it he was a martyr, nope he was a thug.
I think Mormons are finally figuring out just how much inspection their wacky religion will undergo if Twitt is the nominee.
But many stayed behind, even Smith's wife and children. They weren't exterminated or driven from the state.
They wanted the ones who were instigating all the trouble to get out.
The White Horse prophecy says otherwise
For the record, for many Catholics, JFK wasn’t our JFK, either.
[The specter of prejudice and persecution looms large in the Mormon myth.]
Which persecution myth is used to keep Mormons isolated and part of a cult in a feedback loop. The North Koreans use the same “us against them” tactics. I feel sorry for my Mormon friends who I work with daily.
“I know JFK...
Why sure, Mormons don’t want one of their own in the White House. Sure thing.
Prior to Hoover's 1928 landslide victory, Catholics generally showed low turnout, and had no definite political affiliation. Smith did better with Catholics than Obama did with African Americans, and Democrats have counted on winning the Catholic vote, roughly 1/4 of the electorate (and growing) ever since.
Coincidentally, we can also thank Smith for the New Deal. FDR, who hated Catholics, rose to prominence winning the NY gubernatorial seat Smith abdicated and used his new coalition to push through his radical agenda.
I recall complaining about JFK to one of my non-Catholic friends. His reply was that now that JFK had broken the barrier, maybe some day we could get a real Catholic in office. So far it hasn't happened.
Harry Reid is a convert. He converted because his father in law (to be) couldn't stand the idea of his daughter marrying a non-Mormon.
I don't support Governor Boggs Extermination Order. I note, because the media and faithful historians never seem to do so, that the word 'extermination' didn't appear in heated discourse for the first time in Boggs' order.
LDS leader Sidney Rigdon spoke of a 'war of extermination' against the gentiles in his July 4, 1838 Oration at Far West: "it shall be between us and them a war of extermination . . ."
Texas would dance like a miser (see what I did there) in front of a pay toilet because the choice boiled down to a Republican or a Catholic (and a wet one at that). They would finally decide to go with the Republicans because they didn't have no Popes.
The Catholic vote would be strongly segmented by geography. In the East they fed the big city machines but in the West they tended Republican.
I'm "good pioneer stock" mind you, and a direct descendant of the Martin Harris family...you ?
Reid said ET Benson "led the church down the wrong path", and rather than excommunicate him they invited him to hang out with Monson and Oaks and give him premier seating (a row in fornt of Romney in fact)at General conferences.
So long as young Mormons believe that the rest of the world is against them, that they must continuously "be on guard against persecution from the gentiles" (aka martyrdom of Jos. Smith.)
They are taught to fear those who would persecute them for having the "real faith."
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