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 (The order was finally rescinded in 1976, luckily for Mormons considering job offers in St. Louis.)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."
Sounds like you're talking about general political affiliations here. It is a source of personal disappointment that Catholics show dispropotionately for rat everywhere.
I’m not a Mormon; I just read a biographical sketch of Reid last year.
Glad to hear it. “converts” are a lower class of mormon within the cult.
The hispanic vote is decided on ethnicity, not religion.
Flip through the history of Republican officeholders in the West and it is heavily weighted toward Catholics. They generally were late arrivals, coming west third wave but disproportionate in representation.
The Reagan Revolution was never Evangelical. It was Catholic and Mormon (and I ain't neither).
Once the pre-converts begin swallowing the Smith fantasy of the "golden plates," they will also drift down the "persecution complex" syndrome.
Smith and his family were known in their part of the country as people who claimed to be able to "read" stones placed in a hat, find "lost treasures (jewelry, money, household memorabilia, etc.)
Smith's "golden plates" story also closely resembled a story written and well known by many around the same time.
It is difficult to understand how anyone can accept Mormons' made up "faith" in today's world, especially in the West.
>> 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. <<
Then why do 77% of Mormons support Romney? (That poll is from before Huntsman got out, making Hunstman’s additional Mormon support all the more incredible.) Can it be that Mormons are more likely to agree with Romney that Kennedy was inadequate in his championing of women’s rights to tear their babies into a pulp? Or are they all supportive of state-run takeovers of the health care industry?
... of course, the irony is that Kennedy practically renounced his Catholicism to become President. Rather than explain the limits of papal authority and the legitimacy of moral concerns in the political world, he simply disavowed any obedience to the pope.
The Hispanic vote is most definitely a matter of religion, Protestant Hispanics are about a 50/50 vote, for instance Bush won 56% of Protestant Hispanics in 2004, and McCain won 48% of them in 2008.
I don’t see how you can say that any presidential election is affected much by the tiny number of Mormons, nor how Evangelicals were not the big players in 1980.
Reagan got 51% of Catholics which did make the third (possibly second) time in history that they had voted Republican for President, but Reagan won 61% of Evangelicals instead of the 1976 50%, when the vote was between the perceived as deeply religious, Carter, versus pro-choice/Watergate coated Ford.
Then why do 77% of Mormons support Romney? (That poll is from before Huntsman got out, making Hunstmans additional Mormon support all the more incredible.)
It's MUCH, MUCH higher in specific Western states like Utah.
A Mormon organization (FAIR) had a conference last August and revealed a Gallup poll of GOP voters in Utah. It said that 85% of Utah GOP voters planned to vote for Romney; another 11% for Huntsman. Both are Mormons. That meant only 4% of Utah Mormons have a non-Mormon in mind.
Source: Perception of Mitt Romney election to presidency would be similar to that of John F. Kennedy...
That 96% pro-Mormon vote by Mormons not only unveils...
...extreme identity politics
-- not to mention what some might regard as open "bigotry" vs. non-Mormon candidates...
[Note: While I acknowledge the reasons why Lds vote for fellow Lds candidates -- because of their religion...I personally don't consider it "bigotry"]
...But it also is similar to the last election cycle when 94% of Mormons in Utah & Nevada voted for Romney.
"While the former Massachusetts governors faith has been a flashpoint in his campaign, it was perhaps one of his strongest assets in Utah, where more than 60% of the states residents share his faith. Exit poll data shows Romney swept voters across the board, handily winning every social, economic, and generational demographic in the state, as well as 94% of all Mormon voters." (Susan Davis, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 5, 2008, Romney Wins Utah With Help From Friends [Note: The Wall Street Journal was citing MSNBC.msn.com...]
Per the Mormon Church, Mormons make up about 7.5% of Nevada's population. But according to the entrance polls so far, a whopping 25% of those who participated in the state's GOP caucuses are Mormons. And 94% of those people went with Romney.
Source: Nevada Mormons turn out for Romney (Mark Murray, MSNBC, Jan. 19, 2008)
Also, what most people miss is the correct definition of "extermination" in the 1835 time period. Webster's Dictionary of 1828 under "exterminate" has: "Literally, to drive from within the limits or borders. Hence, 1. To destroy utterly; to drive away...."
Source: MORMONS - PERSECUTED, PERSECUTOR OR BOTH?
A Mormon author, George W. Givens, likewise pointed this out in his book 500 Little-Known Facts in Mormon History: Latter-day Saints have universally condemned the notorious Haun's Mill Massacre by a mom-militia shortly after Missouri Governor Boggs issued the infamous extermination order...a second look at the definition of the word "exterminate" as it was used in 1838, however, might cause us to take a second look at Governor Boggs as well. An American Dictionary of English Language, published in 1828, defines "exterminate" as "literally, to drive from within the limits or borders." (p. 26) Bonneville Books, 2004
Q What implications does this have?
A Simply put, beware of Mormon Victimology Mythology!
Mormon Victimology Mythology: Or How Mormon Historical Revisitionists often need a Paul Harvey type 'rest of the story' to hold them accountable for their strange gaps in their history!
Early Summer, 1838 -- July 4, in fact: (c) Joseph Smith's "partner in cult 'crime'" is Sidney Rigdon's.
Rigdon chose this date to give an "inflammatory" sermon re: independence of the church from mobocracy. Rigdon "warned of a war of EXTERMINATION between Mormons and their enemies if they were further threatened or harassed." (Leland H. Gentry, Church History, p. 343). Lds writer Max Parkin conceded that Rigdon's June 19 and July 4 messages "further incensed the public against expanding LDS influences." (Church History, p. 348).
If Mormons were given history questions on understanding the word "extermination" in 1830s America, they would flunk outright! Certainly, what we almost NEVER hear from contemporary Mormon posters is that apparently the first group to threaten the other with "extermination" in Missouri wasn't Gov. Boggs. 'Twas Lds leader Sidney Rigdon four months prior to that!
To add even more to the complexity of why people acted as they did in those Missouri 1830s, the Lds Church History; Selections from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism adds other reasons:
(a) Sidney Rigdon's June 19, 1838 "Salt Sermon" reinforced local Mormon opposition;
(b) Lds militia officer Sampson Avard initiated a vigilante group known as the Danites
(c) Gamecock posted an article a few years back with a few interesting excerpts:
Late October, 1838:
[Author had just cited Lds apostle Bruce McConkie]: McConkie's dramatic rhetoric fails to take into account the fact that the Haun's Mill massacre took place just one week after the battle of Crooked River. [Former BYU History professor] Quinn writes: "A generally unacknowledged dimension of both the EXTERMINATION ORDER and the Haun's Mill massacre, however, is that they resulted from Mormon actions in the Battle of Crooked River. Knowingly or not, MORMONS HAD ATTACKED STATE TROOPS, and this had a cascade effect
upon receiving news of the injuries and death of state troops at Crooked River, Governor Boggs immediately drafted his extermination order on 27 October 1838 because the MORMONS 'HAVE MADE WAR UPON THE PEOPLE OF THIS STATE.' Worse, the killing of one Missourian and mutilation of another while he was defenseless at Crooked River led to the mad-dog revenge by Missourians in the slaughter at Haun's Mill" (Origins of Power, p.100).
Secondary source: Violence in Early Mormonism - Was It All Unjust Persecution?
From this same article posted by Gamecock: If violence against a certain faith were the only way to determine truth, then certainly the Mormons themselves would have to recognize that our Christian faith was just as viable as theirs. Can a Mormon, off the top of his head, recall when the last Mormon was killed just because he was a Mormon? Certainly we have heard of Mormons being tragically killed while serving missions, but these cases involve circumstances other than true martyrdom (robberies, car accidents, being mistaken for CIA agents, etc). On the other hand, it is not uncommon to hear of Christians around the world who are being killed because they refuse to denounce their belief that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. While martyrdom seems to be a thing of the past for the Mormons, it is a common occurrence among those who have placed their total trust in the Jesus of the Bible. (Bill McKeever)
Yes. Apt cultural discernment there re: Mormons.
It's a rather interesting Mormon dichotomy approach re: history.
More important to Mormons than July 4 is July 24 -- Pioneer Day...corresponding with the Mormon settlement of Utah.
As FR poster Zakeet can tell you, Mormons killed many more from its Utah base than any few victims the Mormons could actually round up by name and recount for history purposes.
So, here, 90% of Mormon longevity has been operative from its base in Utah, yet Mormons somehow want to both highlight Pioneer Day, yet focus on about less than two years' worth of time in what happened in MO and Nauvoo in the first 10% of Mormonism's life span.
And even then, Mormons overdramatize how long the persecution lasted in Missouri:
* It was about 100 days in Jackson Co late spring/early Summer & early fall of '33;
* Another month or so-- maybe 40-45 days in Sept/Oct 1838 -- violence all occurring in Oct...and even THEN it was two-way violence with Mormon militia instigating some of it!
* All told in MO, 'twas less than 5 months actual real time.
Once you look under the hood, in the first 100 of those days in 1833 MO it was done by less than 50 people in 1 county (400-500 did attend a council in mid-July but we have no record of how many in attendence of a mtg acted upon it...showing up at an event doesn't make you an oppressor or persecutor ...and the committee who then attempted to foist themselves upon the Mormons were only 12 men...(Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in Church History, p. 133-134) --- out of a state-wide/co-wide pop of how many?
Joseph Fielding Smith says mob of 500 (p. 135) no violence but threatened it July 23, 1833. Smith says "about 1200 members forced to leave Jackson co." (p. 209) but the committee which forced them out only specified 11 families according to Smith earlier in the book. They forced 9 of 11 families to leave within a few mos. warning -- and the two remaining would finish up their business goods (Smith, p. 135).
Of course, some things happened in Nauvoo in 1844-1845...But Nauvoo was essentially Mormon run up through 1844 -- including its entire city council!
Actually, this isn't true. Catholics (especially the Irish variety) were Democrats in the nineteenth century and had no problem whatsoever with allying with the South. As a matter of fact, both the Pope and Northern Catholics tended to be Southern sympathizers. After the War the "Solid South" and Northern big city Catholics became the Democrats' first two bloc votes.
The ante-bellum South was, after all, the last gasp of medieval feudal Europe and was very different from the post-bellum Bible Belt South.
Less than a quarter of Mormon voters (22%) have a favorable view of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat; 51% of Mormon voters have an unfavorable opinion of Reid while 27% express no opinion about him.
That leads us back to the previous made point, low participation. They had the power to be kingmakers (and did with Cleveland) but generally did not use it. They were active in local politics but had no stake in the larger national issues.
Smith caused so much dissension wherever he settled that the government finally had to step in after Smith virtually claimed that neither he nor his followers needed to obey U.S. laws, claiming that the land on which they were living were no longer part of the U.S., printing their own currency, organizing their own militia, offending other citizens in the area, he was ultimately charged with sedition.
Another thing that today's Mormons have not learned is that their esteemed leader also discredited the so-called "three witnesses" (Martin Harris who also claimed to have "visited the Moon;" Oliver Cowdrey, who was both a thief and counterfeiter; and David Whittmer, who said that the leaders were blind and had "gone deep into error") to his fraud, excommunicating them, ridiculing and demeaning them.
How Mormons see the world
Emma Smith, I believe, returned to NY State and remarried..
It seems we were both incorrect, she moved to Illinois and moved on with her life.
I stand corrected.
Me too. I thought that she went back to NY and joined a church near Palmyra NY..