Skip

Mitt sets the record straight
August 4, 2007 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Off the air, when no one is listening, Mitt succinctly deals with the Mormon question. (Shameless YouTube FPP)
posted by Crotalus (149 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 


Romney is a non-candidate, and it astonishes me that he's getting the press he does.

The radical Christian right is not going to vote for a Mormon. The radical Christian right controls votes critical for a Republican presidential candidate. Therefore Romney will not get the nomination. Its a waste of bits to even talk about him.
posted by sotonohito at 11:08 AM on August 4, 2007


Oh God, a link to the Politico.
posted by chlorus at 11:20 AM on August 4, 2007


But goddammit is he good looking.
posted by chlorus at 11:22 AM on August 4, 2007


Oh God, a link to the Politico.

Crotalus could have linked to the video at TownHall ("Perhaps knowing that the video was bound to get out, Romney's campaign sought to frame the story by posting it on its YouTube site and sending it to a friendly blogger, Dean Barnett of TownHall."*).
posted by ericb at 11:24 AM on August 4, 2007


sotonohito you are making a domain error in your application of symbolic logic to the behaviour of both religious folk and republicans. Both groups are quite evidently able to simultaneously hold logically incompatible beliefs as true with no real discomfort. Expecting them to arrive at your R based on your P and Q will only frustrate you. They have their own P and Q and maybe a different R as well as a willingness to violate logic.
posted by srboisvert at 11:24 AM on August 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


"But goddammit is he good looking."

Yikes. If he's "good looking" I must be flippin' gorgeous. Thanks for the egoboost!
posted by davy at 11:25 AM on August 4, 2007


Man, I always dream of candidates getting jumped like this. That's awesome!
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:27 AM on August 4, 2007


srboisvert I'll concede the point, but I still think I'm right. I mean, we're talking about people who claim that Catholics aren't Christian. As far as they're concerned Mormons are barely a step up from actual Satanists, or Scientologists, or whatever.

If you aren't part of a mainstream Protestant sect the radical Christian right will not vote for you, period.
posted by sotonohito at 11:27 AM on August 4, 2007


Romney is not dead in the water, but it'll be surprising to me if he goes far.

I think what this illustrates most is that "staunch conservatives" like the radio host don't believe people should be able to make choices for themselves.

Which is essentially the principle that led to the founding of this country.

It's also, incidentally, a big premise of the LDS faith. I was raised in the church (though I expressed my atheism quite strongly at the onset of adolescence) and the concept of "free agency" is a big one in their doctrine. The church is pretty good about telling its members what's wrong, and using emotional caging techniques to keep the guilt level high (not to mention isolating mormons into inward looking social groups to prevent the introduction of enticing, foreign concepts) but their doctrine of the creation pretty explicitly outlines draconian control as the methodology of Lucifer. They teach that Lucifer and Jesus presented plans to God for the souls of his children. Lucifer wanted to create a world where no one was allowed or able to commit sin, and that Jesus's plan gave everyone the opportunity to prove their worth on earth.

Freedom and liberty are preserved in the Mormon's doctrine of Jesus's plan. "Social conservatives" appear on their face to loathe such concepts.
posted by polyhedron at 11:29 AM on August 4, 2007 [6 favorites]


The Mormons worship Jesus Christ in their fashion, so I bet the Radical Christian Right would vote for him over a Jew, a Scientologist or an atheist.

Anyone who needs "JESUS" spelled out inside the fish can't be too bright.
posted by davy at 11:29 AM on August 4, 2007


You know, I think they would vote for him. The alternative is staying home, and Romney shares a lot of their views.

I was more impressed by this video than I expected. He's pretty much a pompous ass, but his arguments weren't horrible. And I certainly never expected to hear a Republican candidate talk about the necessity to separate religious views and political views, even if he is lying through his teeth. (But is he? I don't know.)

I had no idea he was #1 in Iowa. I guess I've been looking at national numbers.
posted by blacklite at 11:39 AM on August 4, 2007


He does not want to turn off voters who may be wary of Mormonism by talking in detail about what his church stands for, but he also runs the risk of offending social conservatives, like Mickelson, by appearing to downplay his church's strict teachings and playing up the presidency as a "secular office."
This is why I hate America. That any sizeable share of voters could be offended by a candidate describing the presidency as a secular office is frankly repulsive. Did half the country take civics class at Bob Jones U's No Faggits an' No Misceginatin' School of Gubermint?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:39 AM on August 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


polyhedron: Wouldn't it be cool if one candidate, somewhere, actually said any of that? About the Mormon church, or about any church? Sigh, dreams.
posted by blacklite at 11:40 AM on August 4, 2007


Anyone who needs "JESUS" spelled out inside the fish can't be too bright.

The Mormons stand out in contrast to mainstream Christian sects in that they appear to understand and obey the first commandment. They don't go for crosses or fish or other graven idols.

Too bad it's all just a bunch of fairy tales.
posted by polyhedron at 11:40 AM on August 4, 2007


The scariest thing here is the radio host who probably is representative of many, many republican voters.
posted by blacklite at 11:41 AM on August 4, 2007


Romney approvingly mentions Cleon Skousen, a Mormon big in John Birch Society circles in the 1960s, who may be best known for a bizarre anti-LSD spoken word album called Instant Insanity Drugs.
posted by jonp72 at 11:45 AM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


separate religious views and political views, even if he is lying through his teeth. (But is he? I don't know.)

He's not. Read Polyhedron's comment above. There is a strong libertarian streak within Mormonism. See how Robert Bennett approaches the issue of flag desecration for a classic example.
posted by Crotalus at 11:47 AM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


blacklite: It is easier to control people with fear and anger. Why would a politician appeal to logic and liberty when they'll get more votes by claiming dirty mexicans are flooding across the border stealing free health care and living off welfare?

It's too easy to get results by attacking freedom. In today's political climate, any attempt to protect and preserve the liberties of man is framed as enabling terrorists, drug dealers, hookers, or illegal aliens.
posted by polyhedron at 11:47 AM on August 4, 2007


You know, blacklite, I was impressed as well. To hear a politician in America separate religion from the government is unheard of but wonderful. Too bad the only time he felt comfortable to do this was when he thought the mic and cameras were turned off.

Unfortnately, I have to believe that this clip made its way into the wild to pander to the part of the population that doesn't believe there should be a separation between church and state.
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:48 AM on August 4, 2007


This is prime example of how the media likes to focus on the candidates and not the issues. Mickelson sounds like your typical dumb radiojockey, who mindlessly yammers on to fill space and avoid dead air, but contributes no insight.


Mitt for the win.
posted by JaySunSee at 11:57 AM on August 4, 2007


I may be in the minority here, but when I hear Romney discussing the theological underpinnings of his beliefs, I actually find him suprisingly more consistent here, given the flip-flopper image I had of him. By the way, part of my Ph.D. dissertation involved studying the anti-abortion movement in Utah. One of the reasons why the anti-abortion movement was so weak in that state, despite the high level of social conservatism among Utahns, is that Catholics and evangelical Protestants felt that Mormons were "soft" on abortion. The Mormon leadership is not going to get invited to any dinners at the National Abortion Federation anytime soon, but the evolution of Mormon doctrine on abortion in the 20th century is much slower and more equivocating than the blanket opposition expressed by Catholics and conservative Protestant sects.
posted by jonp72 at 12:01 PM on August 4, 2007


I'm pretty sure that for a long time it was Mormon doctrine that a person's soul came with the first breath. This is difficult to reconcile with anti-abortion extremism.

Abortion is considered a lesser sin than murder, to my knowledge.

These and other factors point to an ideological struggle within the church since the rise of Evangelical christianity to radicalize the Mormon's views on social issues. It has been slow to progress, but since the church was forced to capitulate on certain doctrinal issues (plural marriage for one) they have ardently tried to blend into the religious landscape. It's kind of sad. With the rise of fundamentalist extremist christianity, they have been consistently pulled to the right.

As far as I know it was relatively common in the early 20th century for Mormons to indulge in coffee and other proscribed substances. When the temperance movement gained power and the government adopted a strict authoritarian stance on substance use, following the Word of Wisdom became one of the most important issues for a church member. I do not believe this to be coincidence. The Word of Wisdom is the Mormon doctrine that details healthy living (no smoking, "strong" or "hot" drinks, do not eat too much meat, etc.).

However they try to downplay it (and boy they do), the church's early history was pretty progressive for its time. They experimented with socialism, women's rights (an odd dichotomy with their view of the priesthood) and other social issues.
posted by polyhedron at 12:21 PM on August 4, 2007


I actually thought Romney made sense. He's running for a secular office and his faith informs how he lives his life, not necessarily the laws he would sign for others. For that, he uses his own moral compass, which is informed by his faith... So, I guess he'd still let us drink but we can't have abortions... Even though drinking is the number one cause of abortions.
posted by eperker at 12:26 PM on August 4, 2007


I think Romney actually handled himself pretty well in both of these tough, ambush-ish situations. He knew he'd get questions, obviously, but he didn't know what they would be, and how vehement they'd be. I think he's a pretty sharp guy.

Also, everything he says today directly contradicts everything he said five years ago and thirteen years ago. We can debate whether this makes him more frightening-- in that he's willing to say anything to anyone-- or less so-- because he aims to please, and won't go invading Iraq because God or Dick Cheney whispers it into his ear. Reasonable people can disagree on this issue.

Also, especially when he walks into the restaurant in that WaPo clip, he reminds me of Wink Martindale.
posted by ibmcginty at 12:28 PM on August 4, 2007


The Mormons stand out in contrast to mainstream Christian sects in that they appear to understand and obey the first commandment. They don't go for crosses or fish or other graven idols.

Don't they like to have a big ol' golden angel blowing a trumpet on top of their major churches? That's what I saw in a PBS documentary recently.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:29 PM on August 4, 2007


Don't they like to have a big ol' golden angel blowing a trumpet on top of their major churches? That's what I saw in a PBS documentary recently.

They don't wear angels around their necks, put angel bumper stickers on their cars, or put angel statues on their front lawns. The fact that most Americans think that Mormons are weird and exotic is ironic given how moderate and mainstream they are. (Except, I should note, for their strange aversion to teh gheys.)
posted by Crotalus at 12:32 PM on August 4, 2007


Grassroots politics in Mormonism was hijacked during the cold war by Southernized influences. The secularized outreach of the John Birch Society was very successful in going to the highest places in the Mormon hierarchy, but not without controversy. It didn't help that Mormonism was the face of American communism up to that point, so that many felt the need to cover this up with their rapid right-wing rhetoric, which survives today as Eagle Forum influence, quoting Cleon Skousen and others.

The Mormon views on government are firmly up in the air, as usual. You can't pin them down on abortion or evolution either, because they have confusing hybrid approaches, and because they have the position of arguing for obedience over principle. Sitting around wondering what Mormons believe is quite entertaining to watch considering they believe in a living mouthpiece for God who tactfully remains silent on the important issues they need to decide. So the traditional Mormon culture leads the way, as always. If this strikes people as confusing or contradictory, consider that the weakest link in Mormonism was always personal revelation of a lay clergy and the ability of its charismatics to sway entire congregations to their own beliefs, especially in disagreement (See the bookUnder the Banner of Heaven).
posted by Brian B. at 12:33 PM on August 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


So, I guess he'd still let us drink but we can't have abortions... Even though drinking is the number one cause of abortions

One of us is confused eperker. Romney is for people making their own choices, for both abortion and alcohol consumption. He has his own beliefs on these matters, but freedom of choice for the individual trumps all.
posted by JaySunSee at 12:33 PM on August 4, 2007


Mormons support abortion? I had no idea.
posted by delmoi at 12:35 PM on August 4, 2007


Romney is a non-candidate, and it astonishes me that he's getting the press he does.

What? He's Obama to Guliani's Hillary. He's obviously in second place in the republican primary, at a point where most GOP voters don't know Guliani is pro-choice. Romney is also ahead in Iowa, which is the first primary state, and the location of the radio show.
posted by delmoi at 12:37 PM on August 4, 2007


One of us is confused eperker. Romney is for people making their own choices, for both abortion and alcohol consumption. He has his own beliefs on these matters, but freedom of choice for the individual trumps all.

I know. I was just making a funny.
posted by eperker at 12:38 PM on August 4, 2007


fleetmouse:

It's a statue of the angel Moroni on top of their temples. Their temples are full of symbology, which I guess doesn't reconcile entirely well with my earlier statement. I never really spent too much time in a temple so I kind of neglected to consider that aspect. The Mormon temple rituals include a lot of mason derived stuff, to my knowledge. You do have a point.

There is some difference to me in the relatively private symbolism found in their temple worship (which only upstanding members held to a high standard are allowed to participate in) and the outward branding and essential worship of symbols like the crucifix.

I'm not quite sure the Mormon use of symbology in their temples rises to the same level of idol worship as the ever present crucifix in mainstream Christianity.
posted by polyhedron at 12:43 PM on August 4, 2007


The bit about Abortion is interesting. The radio host is saying he wants a president who would go up against the supreme court ant enforce an abortion ban over the wishes of the court. I don't think the radio host has thought things through very well. If the government tied to prosecute an abortion provider, the case would end up in... the supreme court, who would obviously uphold their own decision.
posted by delmoi at 12:50 PM on August 4, 2007


The Mormon temple rituals include a lot of mason derived stuff, to my knowledge.

That would be incorrect polyhedron. However, you are correct that there is much symbolism in temple ordinances. Symbols are a representational token for a concept, and far exceed what language of words can communicate.
posted by JaySunSee at 12:54 PM on August 4, 2007


Okay, the whole thing is about abortion, and... The Mormon church is not pro abortion. Okay, not surprising.
posted by delmoi at 12:56 PM on August 4, 2007


The closest Mormons come to cross necklaces and fish bumper stickers is their CTR rings and little iron rods.

CTR stands for "Choose the Right." The ring usually features the letters CTR (or their translated equivalent) on a shield. The shield is probably a reference to the tribes of Israel and God protecting those who follow his word.

The iron rods usually have the phrase "hold to the rod" or something along those lines. I don't recall exactly. It's a reference to a story about a dream an early church leader had (Joseph Smith maybe?) in which the people who held to this iron rod and followed it were led to an analogue of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Or something like that. In essence, it's a multilayered reminder that A) God's commandments are immutable and ineffable (solid iron rod), and B) that if you follow the commandments you will be led to the rewards of heaven.

I'm not sure when these little trinkets became popular but I'd bet a donut that they're pretty modern, and thus part of the fundamentalist radicalization of the church. Not to make excuses.

On preview, and back to the topic at hand:

delmoi, the radio host is expressing the widespread desire of conservatives, in clear terms, for a "righteous" dictator to save us from the perils of our constitution and by proxy freedom itself.

At this point in the game they have realized that they cannot constitutionally create the world they long for, and thus seek to elect a man so full of contempt for our judicial and legislative system that he will unilaterally attempt to bulldoze over the rules and procedures that stymie their thirst for fascism. GWB and the neocons have put us perilously close to this reality.

Every American should be troubled by the rise of popular support for authoritarian dictatorship. I'm not sure what the solution is.
posted by polyhedron at 1:02 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree with Romney on basically nothing, but it is refreshing to listen to a politician who appreciates not only that religion and state should be separate as others have mentioned in this thread, but that it is consistent 1) to believe that X is morally wrong and believe that X should not be outlawed, and that it is consistent 2) to believe that X is morally right and believe that X does not accord with my religious beliefs.

That is, he seems to appreciate not only that personal religious beliefs and politics can come apart, but also that 1) personal moral beliefs and personal political beliefs can come apart and 2) personal moral beliefs and personal religious beliefs can come apart.

1) is obvious everywhere throughout the video, but 2) comes out particularly when he can't get the radio host to understand that there are Mormons who believe that abortion is morally permissible, even though that belief goes against the position of the church. The radio host just repeats over and over that the church believes that supporting abortion in any form results in excommunication; Romney understands that what makes X right or wrong depends on properties of X, not merely on what the church says about X. Romney himself disagrees with the pro-abortion Mormons, but that is because of his beliefs about abortion and not his beliefs about what the church says about abortion. Romney clearly views the teachings of the church as a useful guide to identifying morally relevant facts about the world, but not as the source of morally relevant facts about the world. The former view is that of intellectually respectable religious folks everywhere; to see why the latter view is deeply flawed, read Plato's Euthyphro.

I wouldn't vote for Romney for president, but I'm confident that he'd receive an A in a course on ethical theory. Also, I think this is an outstanding post and I wish that everyone would just post great single link youtube posts without being nervous about the backlash.
posted by Kwine at 1:03 PM on August 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Also, everything he says today directly contradicts everything he said five years ago and thirteen years ago. We can debate whether this makes him more frightening-- in that he's willing to say anything to anyone...

Say "hi" to Flip Romney aka "Slick Dancing Mitt"

The Real Romney?
posted by ericb at 1:07 PM on August 4, 2007


JaySunSee: The presence of masonic symbols and rituals is definitely highly controversial within the church, but I know there are more than a couple obvious derivatives. The standard response from church authorities is pretty similar to your blanket denial.

Case in point, garments and the symbols and hand gestures associated with them. It is hard for me to see how these are not Masonic in origin.
posted by polyhedron at 1:07 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


For those who think Romney's emphasis on secularism is laudable, consider that it's probably just his only way of dealing with what he surely knows is a damaging fact in his campaign.

He urges pundits to lay off talking about religion not because he values the secular nature of the Chief Executive role, but because he's desperate to downplay his Mormonism. The best card he can play with that hand is to undermine any questions about his Mormon beliefs by defensively suggesting that they should be off-limits.

I seriously doubt Romney'd be urging pundits to lay off talking about his faith if he were an evangelical Christian...
posted by darkstar at 1:11 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Don't they like to have a big ol' golden angel blowing a trumpet on top of their major churches? That's what I saw in a PBS documentary recently.

You can watch PBS Frontline's The Mormons online here.

That is a statue of the angel Moroni:
"The angel Moroni depicts both a messenger of the restoration of the gospel and a herald of the Second Coming: 'for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds' (JS-M 1:37)."*

"The angel Moroni is an angel that Joseph Smith, Jr. said visited him on numerous occasions, beginning on September 23, 1823. The angel was the guardian of the golden plates, which Smith said were buried in a hill near his home in western New York, and which he said were the source material for the Book of Mormon. Moroni is an important figure in the theology of the Latter Day Saint movement, and is featured prominently in Mormon architecture and art. Three Witnesses besides Joseph Smith said they saw Moroni in 1829 visions, as did several other witnesses who each said they had their own vision."*
posted by ericb at 1:15 PM on August 4, 2007


Romney is quoted as saying that we need a person of faith in the White House. This is the just the Mormon way of saying that they are Christian, which awkwardly undermines Romney's pitch, because if one agrees, then it would be a person of the listener's own faith and not just any faith. He basically shot himself in the foot by running as the religious candidate, but of the wrong religion. He's running in the wrong party basically.
posted by Brian B. at 1:17 PM on August 4, 2007


darkstar: Isn't it funny how politicians embrace religion when it is expedient and bury it when it is not?

I find it awfully ironic that the evangelical/baptist hate of mormonism has led a Republican to adopt an ideologically sound and rational position on religion in politics.

Don't get me wrong, Romney is a two-faced tool.
posted by polyhedron at 1:18 PM on August 4, 2007


When I was in a rock band many years ago, music publications would sometimes claim we were an obvious derivative to groups we had never even heard of. When we read it, we were like "wha?"

Kinda like now.
posted by JaySunSee at 1:18 PM on August 4, 2007


That last comment was addressed to polyhedron btw :P
posted by JaySunSee at 1:19 PM on August 4, 2007


JaySunSee: You seem like a Mormon in denial. The garments, their symbols, and the endowment ritual (including the pledge to kill those who speak of them) are direct derivations of masonic symbols and ritual.

Curiously the church changed the endowment ritual in the late 80s/early 90s and removed the pledge to kill people who share their secrets.
posted by polyhedron at 1:28 PM on August 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


delmoi: The bit about Abortion is interesting. The radio host is saying he wants a president who would go up against the supreme court ant enforce an abortion ban over the wishes of the court. I don't think the radio host has thought things through very well. If the government tied to prosecute an abortion provider, the case would end up in... the supreme court, who would obviously uphold their own decision.

Ah, but you forget: in mainstream neocon philosophy, the President isn't co-equal with Congress and the SC, but actually their superior.

President Bush has already stated, on several occasions, that Congress has the wrong idea about, say, Law X, so he's either going to not enforce Law X or do something else entirely. He's also effectively suspended habeas corpus and created an entire class of "criminals" who have no recourse to the Supreme Court -- or any other court, for that matter.

In other words, the talk-radio host is asking a very serious question: "Given all the recent powers granted to the President, why don't you just declare abortion illegal and be done with it?"

We've gotten to the point in this country where the President can almost effectively rule by fiat, and the neocons know it.
posted by Avenger at 1:39 PM on August 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


You seem like a Mormon in denial. The garments, their symbols, and the endowment ritual (including the pledge to kill those who speak of them) are direct derivations of masonic symbols and ritual.

Curiously the church changed the endowment ritual in the late 80s/early 90s and removed the pledge to kill people who share their secrets.


I am a Latter-Day Saint, and I am not in denial. I only wanted to clear up some misinformation. You seem to know bits and pieces, but the context is wrong and assumptive.

Your last statement is a jimdandy, and I'd love to help you understand things better, but Metafilter isn't the place for such weighty discussion. Email me and let's talk.
posted by JaySunSee at 1:42 PM on August 4, 2007


Has Alfred E. Neuman entered the race yet?
posted by ZachsMind at 1:44 PM on August 4, 2007


When I was in a rock band many years ago, music publications would sometimes claim we were an obvious derivative to groups we had never even heard of. When we read it, we were like "wha?"

Kinda like now.


This doesn't make your point. Why would Mormon founders (or the bands you actually listened to) necessarily inform you of their influences?

It is not a secret that the Mormon temple ritual was virtually identical to the Masonic "five points of fellowship." However, the Mormon apologetical defense is that theirs is now part of God's restored version, both from the same ancient source. This is in accordance with Masonic doctrine at the time Mormons adopted it. (The same Mormon argument is made for all restored Christian doctrines, some of them which later turned out to be based on unreliable interpolations, under modern historical examination, thus discredting the entire claim.)
posted by Brian B. at 1:49 PM on August 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Your last statement is a jimdandy, and I'd love to help you understand things better, but Metafilter isn't the place for such weighty discussion. Email me and let's talk.

This common aversion places Romney's behavior into the proper context.
posted by Brian B. at 1:51 PM on August 4, 2007


JaySunSee: I know bits and pieces, sure, but I've neglected specifics out of a respect for practicing members like you and my parents. I also know that you're constantly directed not to pay attention to any outsider commentary on church history (as we are allegedly motivated by Lucifer and an evil desire to mislead believers) and thus will not accept any information I might present to convince you otherwise.

I also recognize the nigh-instinctual attempt to bring apostates back to the flock with private proselytizing and "weighty" discussion. I understand things quite well thank you very much.

However, due to the effective brainwashing methodology the church employs on children born or brought into the church, I have no desire to attempt to show members the aspects of church doctrine that are irreconcilable with provable fact.
posted by polyhedron at 1:59 PM on August 4, 2007 [6 favorites]


Brian B: It wasn't a well-thought out post on my part, I'll admit that. I'll also admit I'm not the most knowledgable LDS member or the perfect embodiment of what a LDS member should be, but heck, I at least try. Here's what I know:

Temple ordinances are divinely inspired, it's symbols can be referenced in the Bible, from Exodus to Genesis and in connection to the Temple of Solomon. I won't go any further than that because the matter is sacred and there are plenty of LDS sources that are a better source than this post on Metafilter.

I'm through discussing this in public.
posted by JaySunSee at 2:07 PM on August 4, 2007


JaySunSee: "Why did Joseph Smith become a Mason?" By Elder John A Widtsoe.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:09 PM on August 4, 2007


full disclosure - i'm a freemason. *waggles fingers in air*
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:10 PM on August 4, 2007


If you didn't want to discuss it in public, you probably shouldn't have publicly disagreed with me.

For the record, a point is more effectively conveyed when accompanied with factual argument, rather than a blanket dismissal of what I said. That's just ignorance manifested.
posted by polyhedron at 2:12 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


polyhedron: My conversion was based on feelings of my heart, and every fibre of my body, not because I was intellectual ly persuaded.

Believe me, there are more than a few of us Latter-Day Saints that wouldn't be doing all that we do in the church if the truthfulness of the restored gospel wasn't felt in every molecule of our being. There's hardly a day that goes by that I'm not amazed about the whole thing.
posted by JaySunSee at 2:20 PM on August 4, 2007


An immediately interesting thing about this interview is to hear Romney having to confront political positions that seem to be from another Mormon (Cleon Skousen) and experiencing some apparent discomfort at it. I'd never wondered before if some of the more reactionary political philosophy of past high-profile Mormon participants might come back to bite Romney from the right, but the interview seems to have just such a moment.

More interesting, though, is the bind that the host places Romney in. He's essentially asking Romney state a straighter allegiance between the tenets of his faith and how he would govern. If Romney does this, he exacerbates fears about essentially placing the nation under Mormon governance -- something that can badly hurt him not only with secular voters, but also with evangelicals who are suspicious of Mormonism. And if he doesn't, he has to deal with how that choice (along with some of his past) throws his credibility as a social conservative into question.

On one level, I think former isn't really worth much concern (see this transcript of the recent Pew Forum event discussing Mormonism and politics for some reasons why, as well as a pretty good read in general on the topic). But I'm personally relieved to see him choose that horn of the dilemma. Because even though I believe policy wouldn't be made in Salt Lake City if Romney were elected, enough of the recent rhetorical collisions between polticis and theology are unnerving that it's reassuring to hear almost anyone state they understand there's a need for some real separations.

Then again, it may simply be the smart thing to do as well, since Romney's campaign strategy is probably quite frontloaded in that it will rely on doing really well in Iowa and New Hampshire in order to up his credibility... and I don't think those places are evangelical in the same way the South is.

As far as they're concerned Mormons are barely a step up from actual Satanists, or Scientologists, or whatever... If you aren't part of a mainstream Protestant sect the radical Christian right will not vote for you, period.

sotonohito, I don't agree with you that Romey's loss is a forgone conclusion, but I agree it's a possibility for the reasons you've outlined.

And I think the whole situation is fascinating. Because if you accept that Romney is the most viable candidate whose social values most closely match those of the christian right (which, as I said, Romney some faces a dilemmas about, but compared to Giuliani and McCain, he may well make out anyway), the way the nomination turns out could make a very interesting test regarding:

(1) how big the christian right's influence really is at the moment
and/or
(2) how much of it really sees Mormonism as a more of dangerous spiritual enemy than a potential social/political ally.

There's no question that evangelical protestant christianity has a strong influence on the Republican party, nor that some of it does see Mormonism as "barely a step up from actual satanists." I think there is a question of how far both go, though, and it'll be interesting to see those questions meet a situation that will likely be revealing.
posted by weston at 2:23 PM on August 4, 2007


As an active mormon, I appreciate a lot of the things that Romney says, and the esteem he is held in, but if I were american, I sure wouldn't vote for him. His views on torture, and homeland security scare the heck out of me. But he seems like a nice person, quand meme.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:29 PM on August 4, 2007


I'd never wondered before if some of the more reactionary political philosophy of past high-profile Mormon participants might come back to bite Romney from the right, but the interview seems to have just such a moment.

Trust me, if he makes it through the primaries Mormon views on race are going to bite him hard in the ass. Take, for example, this quote from a Mormon prophet, seer and revelator:

Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so. (Brigham Young, March 8, 1863, Journal of Discourses, 10:110)

Now, Mr. Romney, do you believe Brigham Young was a prophet of God?
posted by Crotalus at 2:43 PM on August 4, 2007


Now, Mr. Romney, do you believe Brigham Young was a prophet of God?

I do. I also know Brigham Young and every other prophet who has ever lived were not perfect and made mistakes, just like the rest of us. Brigham Young was a hard-nosed prophet who occupied the office of church president in a very charged period of time. Any other man's knees would have buckled under such immense pressures - Brigham on the other hand lost his cool. God always puts the best man in positions of leadership, but it's not always the smartest or even the most spiritual sometimes. It's the person who will get the job done.
posted by JaySunSee at 2:56 PM on August 4, 2007


It's the person who will get the job done.

And for Latter-day Saints, the guy who was best suited to "get the job done" was also a guy who invariably believed in the innate inferiority of black people. Decade after decade. Certainly such views weren't uncommon at the time, but these aren't common men. They're prophets, seers and revelators. Given all the messages they imparted from God through the years, I'm amazed that it took God as long as it did for him to get around to the "pssst: blacks aren't inferior" revelation.
posted by Crotalus at 3:04 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Crotalus: No Mormon doctrine ever said blacks were inferior. Ever. Skin of blackness was a sign of a curse, it was not the curse itself. The curse was a withdrawl of the Spirit, the blackness of the skin prevented intermarrying between the Nephite and Lamanite tribes.
posted by JaySunSee at 3:13 PM on August 4, 2007


No Mormon doctrine ever said blacks were inferior.

I didn't say there was. I said ALL the prophets of God, up to and including Spencer W. Kimball, are on record saying that they believe that blacks are innately inferior. I give you Joseph Fielding Smith:

There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient, more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less...There were no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits. (Doctrines of Salvation, by Joseph Fielding Smith, 1954; 1:61, 65-66)

If that guy was God's mouthpiece, I must be the second coming of Christ himself.
posted by Crotalus at 3:23 PM on August 4, 2007


Mormons believed that blacks could not hold the priesthood until the 70s.

How does that not demonstrate a belief in the inferiority of black people?
posted by polyhedron at 3:23 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


If your prophet says something on God's behalf, and it's wrong, he's a false prophet, and should be killed, according to the Bible.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:24 PM on August 4, 2007


Now, Mr. Romney, do you believe Brigham Young was a prophet of God?

If Democrats start questioning Romney about the weird beliefs of the founder of his particular religion, then they end up looking like the ones who are arguing that political candidates must be only of certain religions.

Now, personally, I think being a fervent practicer of any organized religion is a sign that you haven't really thought things through very hard and that you lack the courage to break free of group-dictated moralism and to assert them on their own merits... but I understand most people don't agree with me.

To those people, asking a question like that is a lot like bringing up completely ridiculous things in the Bible and then asking a candidate if they believe Paul was truly writing the inerrant word of God, or whatever.

It makes the unquestioningly religious far too uncomfortable for them to ever want to see it asked of their potential leaders. It's "rude".
posted by blacklite at 3:32 PM on August 4, 2007


I didn't say there was. I said ALL the prophets of God, up to and including Spencer W. Kimball, are on record saying that they believe that blacks are innately inferior.

I know that's not true right off the bat, because Spencer W. Kimball prayed and pleaded with the Lord time and time again, asking when Blacks could have the Priesthood. He might have been as puzzled as myself and many other LDS members are about the matter.
posted by JaySunSee at 3:32 PM on August 4, 2007


but Metafilter isn't the place for such weighty discussion...

This common aversion places Romney's behavior into the proper context.


"The two briefly returned to the air to wrap up the show -- where Romney sidestepped Mickelson's request that the candidate come back to the show to further discuss issues....Again asking Romney to come back to show, Mickelson offered, 'I hope we can do this so we can expend some quality time on here rather than the sound bytes.'

'No, I don't like coming on the air and having you go after me and my church,' Romney testily responded.

'I'm not going after your church; I agree with your church!' Mickelson replied somewhat incredulously."*
posted by ericb at 3:35 PM on August 4, 2007


but Metafilter isn't the place for such weighty discussion...

I suspect that many here beg to differ with that assertion.
posted by ericb at 3:37 PM on August 4, 2007


I was referring to temple ordinances, ericb
posted by JaySunSee at 3:40 PM on August 4, 2007




I was referring to temple ordinances, ericb

Why can't/shouldn't they be discussed here?
posted by ericb at 3:42 PM on August 4, 2007


I'm guilty of having done some bad things in my life, mostly through omission, fear or ignorance, but I don't think, even at my very worst, I would have ever sensibly proclaimed that one's "Skin of blackness was a sign of a curse..."

I'll keep my gloriously curseless, delightfully meaningless melanin, thank you. That brand of bile is yours alone.
posted by Haruspex at 3:43 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Trust me, if he makes it through the primaries Mormon views on race are going to bite him hard in the ass.

Right, that's not a surprise to me, though. The surprising thing for me was watching Romney get gnawed on from the right for not being sufficiently like Cleon Skousen.

It was almost like the host was saying "the problem a conservative ought to have with you is that you're not Mormon enough" (or, at least, more like specific other Mormons).
posted by weston at 3:45 PM on August 4, 2007


I was referring to temple ordinances, ericb

If I had sekrit religious lores that outsiders may not know of, I'd be pretty ashamed to talk about it in public, too.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:45 PM on August 4, 2007


Spencer W. Kimball prayed and pleaded with the Lord time and time again, asking when Blacks could have the Priesthood

Have you read the Miracle of Forgiveness? How long have you been a member of the church? Did you know that Spencer W. Kimball believed that when Native Americans converted to Mormonism they would eventually turn into white people?
posted by Crotalus at 3:46 PM on August 4, 2007


Good looks can be a curse too Haruspex. I have to deal with that everyday.
posted by JaySunSee at 3:47 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Discussing the relative merits of religious beliefs is ... depressing.
posted by blacklite at 3:53 PM on August 4, 2007


Have you read the Miracle of Forgiveness? How long have you been a member of the church? Did you know that Spencer W. Kimball believed that when Native Americans converted to Mormonism they would eventually turn into white people?

I've read Miracle of Forgiveness several times, and will sometimes pick up the book and read a passage or two. As for how long I've been a member, I'm not going to answer that question. For your third question yes, and I think that's remarkable.
posted by JaySunSee at 3:53 PM on August 4, 2007


BTW -- we had an interesting discussion regarding the influence of Masonry on another religious sect, specifically a protestant Irish secret order -- The Royal Arch Purple Degree of the Orange Order -- in Ask MetaFilter two weeks ago.

Salt Lake City Tribune: Mormon connection to Masons explored ahead of 'Da Vinci Code' sequel.

The book is The Solomon Key. Also check out The Guide to Dan Brown's The Solomon Key.
posted by ericb at 3:53 PM on August 4, 2007


The Mitt Romney Deception
(by Brian Camenker -- conservative, homophobic activist):
"Despite recent statements across the country by Governor Mitt Romney claiming he's pro-life, pro-family and a committed conservative, a broad investigation of his actual statements, actions, and public positions over the years indicates that he has spent his entire career speaking and governing as a liberal - and that his new found conversion to conservatism very likely coincides with his candidacy for the presidency.

The information in this report is gleaned from public records, press accounts, internet web sites and research (as well as personal observation) by my organization, MassResistance, a grass-roots pro-family group that has observed Governor Romney for over a decade. We have analyzed his legislation, met with his staff, lobbied for and against his agenda (depending what it is) and otherwise compiled considerable research on his administration.

We believe this report is necessary due to a calculated effort by the Romney campaign to revise his history and portray the Governor as far more conservative than the record indicates. Already, the Governor's staff is making appointments with the nation's leading conservative leaders to convince them that he should be the standard bearer for the conservative movement in the upcoming presidential elections."
posted by ericb at 4:01 PM on August 4, 2007


Can anyone recommend some reading specifically regarding race and the Mormon church? Please and thanks.
posted by The Straightener at 4:09 PM on August 4, 2007


Black Mormon History 101 is the only book I know of regarding the subject, and I have not read it.
posted by JaySunSee at 4:12 PM on August 4, 2007


Flip Romney in 1994 in a letter to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts saying that he would be a stronger advocate for gay rights than Senator Edward M. Kennedy:
“We must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern.”
I was for the gays before I was against them! I'm not an opportunist, I've evolved. And no, in my religion Man did not co-exist with the Dinosaur! (Oh wait. Did they? Let me check with my aides and advisors. I'll get back to you on what my current position on that is.)
posted by ericb at 4:14 PM on August 4, 2007


Organizational racism isn't particularly attractive, JaySunSee. Neither are feeble squibs of desperately diversional humor.

But — baaaaaack to the topic at hand. It would indeed be an interesting watershed of sorts in the US's political history if the presidential choices narrow down to a compartmentalizing Mormon with queasy conservative credentials and a fondness for makeup, a half Kenyan/half Kansan Northern orator with a damnable middle name, an occasionally cross-dressing much married once pro-choice now pro-torture ex-NYC mayor with clinging issues of corruption, and the Hillary.

As so often before, I do wish Samuel Clemens were available to comment.
posted by Haruspex at 4:15 PM on August 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


See LDS.org, "the Official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," on abortion. (And the whole Topic List.)
posted by davy at 4:15 PM on August 4, 2007


(Hey ericb, you'd make a good reference librarian, if you aren't already.)
posted by davy at 4:16 PM on August 4, 2007


Can anyone recommend some reading specifically regarding race and the Mormon church? Please and thanks.

Yes. You're welcome.
posted by Crotalus at 4:18 PM on August 4, 2007


I'll keep my gloriously curseless, delightfully meaningless melanin, thank you.

Haruspex, the term you're looking for is "white and delightsome."
posted by brain cloud at 4:20 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Black Mormon History 101 is the only book I know of regarding the subject, and I have not read it.

Thank you.
posted by The Straightener at 4:22 PM on August 4, 2007


I also know Brigham Young and every other prophet who has ever lived were not perfect and made mistakes, just like the rest of us.

I guess Mitt Romney has made many mistakes in his positions on social issues since 1994 -- seeing that he has reversed (also known as "flip-flopped") on so many now that he is a candidate for President.

I say po-ta-'toe', you say 'pah'-ta-toe; I say 'flipper,' you say 'mistaker.' Let's not call the whole thing off!
posted by ericb at 4:24 PM on August 4, 2007


The Lord isn't racist Haruspex. He wasn't racist in ancient times when He banned Gentiles from entering the temple, nor was He racist when He banned blacks from the temple. It just wasn't their time yet.
posted by JaySunSee at 4:29 PM on August 4, 2007


Only pre-1981, brain cloud. Post-81, it's all about teh 'purity.'
posted by Haruspex at 4:29 PM on August 4, 2007


As so often before, I do wish Samuel Clemens were available to comment.
"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."

"My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its office-holders."

"The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet."

"In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing."
posted by ericb at 4:35 PM on August 4, 2007 [6 favorites]


Indeed, ericb. And I also offer Twain's occasional midrash:

"We have to keep our God placated with prayers, and even then we are never sure of him — how much higher and finer is the Indian's God... Our illogical God is all-powerful in name, but impotent in fact; the Great Spirit is not all-powerful, but does the very best he can for his injun and does it free of charge."
posted by Haruspex at 4:44 PM on August 4, 2007


The Mormon prophet/profit was persuaded by the National College Athletics Association to include blacks into full participation in the church, otherwise BYU football would have to play themselves, it was not divine revelation that gave blacks the priesthood, it was football.
posted by hortense at 4:45 PM on August 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


it was football

Actually, it was the inability to discern who did or did not have ancestors of African descent in Brazil's racial hodgepodge that brought the issue to the fore.
posted by Crotalus at 4:47 PM on August 4, 2007


Every time I go to Salt Lake City I think "Wow, this would be a beautiful part of the world if the Mormons hadn't taken a shit all over it". The simple fact that Mormons treat the planet as completely disposable should scare anyone from giving them power.
posted by cmonkey at 4:52 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually, it was the inability to discern who did or did not have ancestors of African descent in Brazil's racial hodgepodge that brought the issue to the fore.

And at the time (1978) Bob Jones University recently lost a court decision over their segregation policies, placing federal loans and funding of students in total jeopardy. BYU's turn in court was next.
posted by Brian B. at 5:06 PM on August 4, 2007


Who keeps Atlantis off the maps?
Who keeps the Martians under wraps?
We do, we do


When I think of the word "Mormon", I always feel that second "m" is superfluous.

But that's me.
posted by bwg at 5:18 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


My conversion was based on feelings of my heart, and every fibre of my body, not because I was intellectual ly persuaded.

Actually, it was intellectual persuasion, despite your denial. You intellectually accepted the idea that feeling an emotion by following their methods, as they described and promised, was a valid form of verifying the same information they were presenting. It's called the power of suggestion. A very old trick of circular reasoning. At any rate, you should think twice about defending the parts that don't make you feel good:

From Mormon Doctrine (1999 edition, p.616) by Bruce R. McConkie (a Mormon apostle).

Racial degeneration, resulting in differences in appearance and spiritual aptitude, has arisen since the fall. We know the circumstances under which the posterity of Cain (and later of Ham) were born with the characteristics of the black race. [1966 edition reads instead: "cursed with what we call negroid racial characteristics."] (Moses 5:16-41; 7:8,12,22; Abra. 1:20-27.) The Book of Mormon explains why the Lamanites received dark skins and a degenerate status. (2 Ne. 5:21-23.) If we had a full and true history of all races and nations, we would know the origins of all their distinctive characteristics. In the absence of such detailed information, however, we know only the general principle that all these changes from the physical and spiritual perfections of our common parents have been brought about by departure from the gospel truths. (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, pp. 148-151; vol. 3, pp. 313-326.)
posted by Brian B. at 5:33 PM on August 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


The Lord isn't racist Haruspex. He wasn't racist in ancient times when He banned Gentiles from entering the temple, nor was He racist when He banned blacks from the temple. It just wasn't their time yet.

As a wee Catholic schoolgirl, I became very well acquainted with the "mysterious ways" dodge and I swallowed it whole until my junior year of high school. I've always been a bit ashamed of how long it took me to figure out that that it was indeed a dodge.

JaySunCee, you make my timorous 15-year-old self look like Charlotte Cordray.

There's a categorical difference between Gentiles, i.e., adherents of a belief, and blacks, i.e., an entire category of human beings set aside because of their pigmentation. Your religion enshrined racism as a tenet. That's a fact. Your god is petty and superficial, willing—if not eager—to exacerbate racial problems and divisions. Why should you listen to such an entity? Why trust it?
posted by vetiver at 5:38 PM on August 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


"God moves in mysterious ways" is a polite way of saying "Shut the fuck up, I don't want to think about it."

And I repeat: the Bible very plainly says that if a self-professed prophet says something that turns out to be false, that individual is a false prophet and must be killed. Smith and later Mormon "prophets" were pretty openly racist. JaySunCee, shouldn't Smith and his later successors be killed, if you believe in the Bible? Or do you really believe that nonwhites are inferior and cursed by God?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:20 PM on August 4, 2007


I'm constantly dumbstruck that one group of child-like fantasists (Christians) can even try to distinguish themselves from another group of child-like fantasists (Mormons). Betty and Barney Hill have more bona-fides than any of these religious jackasses.
posted by docpops at 6:21 PM on August 4, 2007


How memetic!
posted by five fresh fish at 6:23 PM on August 4, 2007


You can't spell "Moroni" without a Moron.
posted by spock at 6:57 PM on August 4, 2007


"I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters — and the Church does not speak for me." -- John F. Kennedy
posted by kirkaracha at 6:59 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Gentiles, i.e., adherents of a belief"

Actually, "Gentile" means NON-adherents of a belief: it meant originally non-Jews and then was broadened to include non-[whatever-one's-in-group-is]. E.g., the Farkites and heathen BoingBoingers are Gentiles in relation to us of the True Filter of Meta.
posted by davy at 7:17 PM on August 4, 2007


"You're missing my point!"

"No, you're missing MY point!"

"Nehnehnehneh"
posted by oxford blue at 7:19 PM on August 4, 2007


I wish someone to ask Mitt if he believes that his father really was brainwashed, instead of his hair, smell, dog , wife, and faith.
posted by hortense at 8:23 PM on August 4, 2007


Betty and Barney Hill have more bona-fides than any of these religious jackasses.

I am deeply annoyed that I know who those are.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:24 PM on August 4, 2007


An entertaining and enlightening thread, cheers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:39 PM on August 4, 2007


Note to self: "I'm through discussing this in public" does not mean that a person is through discussing something in public.

Also: my secular self is highly entertained by this entire thread, and the popcorn was delicious as well.
posted by davejay at 10:34 PM on August 4, 2007


In all fairness, 1958 President/Prophet David O. McKay suggested opening the priesthood to blacks,and was over ruled by his councilors also this was the year that McConkie first released Mormon Doctrine which was quickly withdrawn because of McConkie's identification of the church of the devil:Roman Catholic Church,he was sent on a mission to New Zealand for something like eleven years,while the Vatican and Mormon church played allies during the cold war.
posted by hortense at 10:43 PM on August 4, 2007


sotonohito, I don't agree with you that Romey's loss is a forgone conclusion, but I agree it's a possibility for the reasons you've outlined.

But the thing is: Who the fuck are the republicans going to nominate? The unrepentantly pro-choice, pro-gay, cross dressing Rudi Guiliani? It seems extremely hard to believe. Friend Thompson has only raised $3 million, he was supposed to get into the race in July and he didn't, and he's already fired his campaign manager before even officially entering the race. The republican field really sucks this year, and frankly, Unless someone like Huckabee gets some traction, or republicans go totally insane and nominate Guiliani Romney has a good shot. McCain who? Ron Paul?

I wouldn't be surprised if Romney ends up walking away with this thing.

Crotalus: No Mormon doctrine ever said blacks were inferior. Ever. Skin of blackness was a sign of a curse, it was not the curse itself. The curse was a withdrawl of the Spirit, the blackness of the skin prevented intermarrying between the Nephite and Lamanite tribes. -- JaySunSee

Huh? So all blacks are cursed? Wow. Well fuck that shit. Mormons definetly dropped a couple pegs in my book, thanks to your comment. I hope you're satisfied.

Good looks can be a curse too Haruspex. I have to deal with that everyday.-- JaySunSee

(This is a joke, but the premise, of course, is absurd. The only people who think good looks are a curse are attractive people who lack the empathy or smarts to actually put themselves in the place of an unattractive person)


The Lord isn't racist Haruspex. He wasn't racist in ancient times when He banned Gentiles from entering the temple, nor was He racist when He banned blacks from the temple. It just wasn't their time yet.-- JaySunSee

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but there are a lot of black Jews, in places like Ethiopia, there are lots of Black Jewish Israelis. The catholic church is very active in Africa one of the contenders to replace John Paul the IInd was from Nigeria, and Martin Luther King, Jr was a protestant preacher (well Baptist, which is I think a subset of Protestantism). There are obviously lots of black Muslims. The bottom line is that this sort of racism doesn't exist in any other strain of Jewish derived monotheism, other then a few evangelical whackjobs in former slave states. It's certainly pretty disturbing to hear, and definitely making me think less of Mormonism.
posted by delmoi at 11:11 PM on August 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Great thread: thanks especially Brian B., polyhedron, and eric b.
posted by orthogonality at 12:03 AM on August 5, 2007


This thread has been very educational. Turns out Houellebecq was wrong.
posted by Sparx at 12:25 AM on August 5, 2007


The iron rods usually have the phrase "hold to the rod" or something along those lines.

A symbol means what you put into it. For some people, a cross hanging from the neck is little more than a fashion statement.

I tend to keep my light under a bushel at work (unless somebody else engages me in talk about church, etc.), but I keep some cryptic, highly personal reminders around. For example, I've never been to Rhode Island or know anybody there, but I have picture of the Rhode Island state flag that I glance at now and then: Seeing an anchor and the word "Hope" is pretty good reminder. Also, sometimes I look at this image and remember my favorite line from Brazil: "We're all in this together."
posted by pax digita at 3:24 AM on August 5, 2007


delmoi I definately agree that the current Republican field is pretty damn barren. There's the possibility that it might even result in large segments of the radical Christian right (rCr) simply staying home during the primaries and even the real election.

If that's the case, Romney might have a chance, but I still think that the rCr is desperate enough for a candidate, any candidate, who will pander to their single criteria, and that the candidates who aren't already declared as non-Middle Of The Road Christian, will fall all over themselves to talk about how Mainstream Christian (TM) they are.

The winner may be a dark horse we either haven't heard much from yet, or possibly McCain. Guliani is more likely than Romney, IMO, but not much.

If it weren't for the fact that he's a Mormon I'd say that Romney is a shoe in, despite the fact that his former positions on issues such as abortion, equal rights, and gun control are anathema to the Republican party as a whole. Republicans have, in the past, shown a willingness to ignore such things as long as the candidate swears that he didn't really mean it and he's seen the light now. But I still maintain that for the rCr knuckledraggers the simple fact that he's a Mormon will automatically lose him their votes in the primaries.
posted by sotonohito at 4:20 AM on August 5, 2007


I asked one of his campaign workers here in NH about his position on immigration reform and she told me he wants to build a wall around the country (and when I expressed astonishment, amended that to omit the coasts). I said, "He wants to build a wall between the US and Canada?" and she said, "Just as soon as the wall between the US and Mexico is done."

I find it difficult to believe that anybody could actually hold that position so I emailed his campaign, but they haven't answered and it's been two weeks.

Anybody know if this is true or that campaign worker was just high?
posted by joannemerriam at 10:51 AM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


joannemerriam If you want there to be a wall around the country, that's his official positon. If you think the idea is silly, the campaign worker was just high.
posted by sotonohito at 2:59 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


sotonohito, that's awesome.
posted by joannemerriam at 3:18 PM on August 5, 2007


Everybody, please reread my posts:
  • Blacks are not cursed.
  • God is not a racist. In fact, all during the Priesthood-ban white-skinned Anglos of Hamitic lineage were also banned from the Priesthood and the Higher Ordinances of the Temple, so it's obviously based on other criteria.
  • God's entire Plan of Salvation cannot be shoehorned into a MeFi thread. That's not how we learn. We learn step by step, precept by precept, by study and experimentation. Knowing God will require stepping with faith into a spiritual realm. Mere intellectualizing will not get you there. If you need to know everything about a certain subject before you believe and allow it to be a big part of your life, stop using electricity.
Obviously, I can't possibly address every lie and inaccurracy within this thread, and I don't have all the answers anyway. I am not an authorized spokesperson for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, only a member who knows the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and who read some startlingly obvious fallacies within this discussion and felt compelled to correct them.

Those who are curious about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ need to investigate further, ponder and pray about it. Those who do so with real intent will find the truth.
posted by JaySunSee at 7:17 PM on August 5, 2007


There, there. It all works out in the end. Ultimately it matters nought what the naysayers say. The truth will out.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:25 PM on August 5, 2007


And let's get back on track: what isn't important is whether or not the man's religion is hack fiction, but whether his policies will be made based on religious or factual grounds.

It seems, in a quote way back in the thread, that Romney is for greater freedom of choice. Perhaps he understands that free people are valuable people. Greater freedom adds value to religion: worship by choice and faith, not coercion.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:38 PM on August 5, 2007


bringing some former mormon insight here:

I don't think he is placing emphasis on the separation of church and state in order to distance himself from his faith.

1) when you look at the goals of the fanatical christian right and then look at their means to those ends, I doubt they would mind voting mormon if it meant they could demolish roe v wade. I mean, espousing the seperation of church and state is a MUCH larger liability than being mormon - as far as the right goes.

2) mormons have an article of faith (think pillars of islam) that says "obey the law of the land". It just might be that he has a genuine respect for the constitution and the traditional interpretation of entanglement. He casually mentioned "agency" which seriously is a corner stone of the mormon faith.
posted by nihlton at 12:18 AM on August 6, 2007


That's not how we learn. We learn step by step, precept by precept, by study and experimentation. Knowing God will require stepping with faith into a spiritual realm. Mere intellectualizing will not get you there. If you need to know everything about a certain subject before you believe and allow it to be a big part of your life, stop using electricity.

This sounds disturbingly like how Scientology works.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:28 AM on August 6, 2007


The letters q and k sound the same too. So what's your point?
posted by JaySunSee at 6:10 AM on August 6, 2007


JaySunSee - what you're saying sounds damn strange to me. Really. Hard to defend some of the statements made by past LDS leaders, because to an outsider they seem blatantly racist, while others just seem kind of insane.

On the other hand, to the uninitiated, I'm sure that a lot of other deeply held religious beliefs are incomprehensible to outsiders. (That's why I'm a scientist - I like believing in things that have a 95% probability of actually being true, based on facts, rather than faith - there's [slightly] less argument about it.) While I still might think you're in some sort of denial, or perhaps a wee bit delusional from my perspective, I do admire your perseverance, in the same way that I grudgingly admire other Mefites who continue to support otherwise seemingly indefensible faith-based positions despite the logical Metafilter mass assault.

For the rest of you, laugh at the LDS folks all you want. They'll still just keep smiling, knowing that in the end they'll just convert you by baptism after you're dead. Who wins that round?
posted by caution live frogs at 6:46 AM on August 6, 2007


Let me cut to the chase, because I'm growing tired of this thread. Go to a mirror, look into your own face, and ask yourself this: If I mock and insult another person's dearly held beliefs, am I being a decent human being? Would a tolerant person try to undermine the very faith some have died for?

Go ahead. I dare you.
posted by JaySunSee at 6:51 AM on August 6, 2007


If you're directing that at me, kindly re-read my statement. I'm telling you (fairly clearly, I thought) that I neither understand nor agree with your views but admire you for sticking to your guns in defending them. A lot of religious beliefs do not make any logical sense. A lot of religious beliefs do not make sense to outsiders. This does not mean that the beliefs are illogical or meaningless to the initiated. Your defense of your beliefs actually impressed me more in this thread than the attacks on them - I don't agree with what you say, but I like your determination in keeping cool about your responses without giving an inch.

Unfortunately, the "not giving an inch" part is why religious debates don't usually go anywhere... if my snark on the reported post-mortem baptisms offended you, I apologize, but that doesn't mean I have to like the reports that it happens, does it?

As for the mirror, meh. I make fun of people for precisely that reason. I figure people mock me all the time; it's part of being human, so I mock in return. People who are good at it get jobs as stand-up comedians.

Also, for the record, on Romney's religion - if I remember my history correctly, there was quite a big fuss over another non-Protestant Presidential candidate years ago. You may recall a guy named Kennedy? Lots of concern from some ends that if he was elected, the Pope would end up running the country. About as big a concern as anyone thinking that a President Romney would be controlled by anyone in Salt Lake City, if you ask me. Running for president is more about personal ego than private religion. Religion is just one more tool the candidate can use to garner support.

The people who really run Washington are the lobbyists, as always.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:02 AM on August 6, 2007


My question was for anyone who reads it, and especially for those who are guilty of it in this thread and on this website.

As for your answer, I'll let it speak for itself.
posted by JaySunSee at 7:12 AM on August 6, 2007


Fine, so be it. It doesn't detract from my thinking you did a good job of holding up under pressure here.

I will say, for your thoughts, that we might admire people who died for a belief but that doesn't mean the belief was worth dying for. Any study of world history will show that to be true.

As a (nominal) Catholic, I've got the "dying for my incomprehensible beliefs" thing pretty well covered. Lots of Catholics have been killed for believing things that seemed crazy to outsiders.

You have to admit that you have a few things against you here. Most importantly, the world takes a dim view of religions started within recorded history. We like religions to be old enough that plausible deniability comes into account - "Oh that sounds crazy? Well, it was mistranslated." Harder to do when the founders spoke modern English. That makes it difficult. I also can't help but think that you might have taken my comment better had it been farther upthread, before too many others had already gotten you on the defensive.

You really haven't been posting here long. Don't know how long you've been lurking. Go see some of the threads that devolved into anti-Christianity if you want to see some real flame-outs (just search for "evolution" for starters, or look up anything posted by bevets if you want your brain to hurt), and you'll understand better why I thought you stayed pretty classy in your defense of your beliefs.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:30 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know, I never thought I'd say this, as a resident of Massachusetts who had to endure a full governorship of the man, but for once, I'm with Romney on this one. It's one thing to ask him how his faith will influence his leadership (although even that is problematic in a lot of ways), but putting a candidate's religion on trial with the assumption that he cannot diverge from official doctrine is flat-out offensive. It was offensive when they did it to Kennedy. It was offensive when they did it to Lieberman. It's a way of announcing, "America is a protestant country, anyone else must come under suspicion."
posted by Subcommandante Cheese at 8:23 AM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


JaySunSee, you've been accorded far more patience and respect in this thread than would typically be given. I suggest you accept it gracefully.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:57 AM on August 6, 2007


Go to a mirror, look into your own face, and ask yourself this: If I mock and insult another person's dearly held beliefs, am I being a decent human being?

Damn, I need more eye shadow.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:08 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


The word "gentile" is not really about adherence to belief; it's about race. It refers to non-Jews, in the context of looking at Jews as a racial group. It's a Latinized version of the Hebrew "goy," which literally means just like "the people" (compare: Latin gens == family, clan) but is used to refer to members of non-Jewish races.

So yeah what can I say God was racist.
posted by grobstein at 9:35 AM on August 6, 2007


Meta.
posted by ericb at 10:03 AM on August 6, 2007


JaySunSee wrote "Would a tolerant person try to undermine the very faith some have died for? "

Answer #1: Yes. Not all faiths are worth tolerating.

Take Apartheid in South Africa. It was a faith, it was deeply held, and people died for it. It was also a faith that I not only refuse to tolerate, but will celebrate its death and dance on its grave. Other, more Goodwinized, comparisons could also be made.

The thing my fellow liberals often tend to ignore or deny is that not all faiths/cultures/societies are worth preserving, and that some are worth actively trying to kill.

Answer #2: Yes. I can tolerate your faith without respecting it, and I figure that any faith that can be undermined doesn't deserve to stand.

I'm a memetic Darwinist: if your ideas [1] can't survive and thrive in an environment of harsh competition then they aren't worth having, so yeah, I'll try to undermine your faith if I feel like it and I see absolutely no conflict between that and the fact that I also tolerate you and your faith.

You seem to have a delusion that "tolerance" means welcoming uncriticaly and with open arms. It doesn't. It simply means that I will not attempt to use the power of the state to prohibit your religion, or to restrict your rights because you are a follower of your religion. I tolerate your religion and will, simultaniously, try to undermine your faith if I feel like it.

[1] Or mine, for that matter.
posted by sotonohito at 10:20 AM on August 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Wow. All of the discussion, dialogue, and arguments here, and all I can think of is one thing.

"mitt romney or mittout?"
posted by sephira at 10:36 AM on August 6, 2007


It's threads like this that made me cringe when I heard Romney was running.

Regarding his looks, I think he looks like the guy that played the governor of New York in Heroes. I am pretty sure he can fly too.

Disclaimer: I am a proud Mormon and Liberal Democrat. I have heard Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore speak live (although not at the same event). I also once got an email from Stewart Brand and saw Bruce Sterling at a reading at Powell's. So there.
posted by mecran01 at 11:03 AM on August 6, 2007


If I mock and insult another person's dearly held beliefs, am I being a decent human being?

Can be. Depends on the beliefs, and how rudely you mock them. Many decent people would mock and insult another person's dearly held belief in the superiority of one race over another, for example.

Would a tolerant person try to undermine the very faith some have died for?

Well, let's parse this out.

If I convert you to my faith, I must, almost always, undermine your previous faith in the process, and surely all faiths have had at least one person die for them. Mormons are prominent evangelizers. Ergo, the mormon faith is intolerant, since it undermines faiths that people have died for, and therefore cannot reasonably cry for tolerance itself. So if you're right about undermining faiths being intolerant, we don't need to pay attention to you because you're not calling for tolerance; you're only calling for special treatment of your own intolerant group.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:14 AM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Let me cut to the chase, because I'm growing tired of this thread. Go to a mirror, look into your own face, and ask yourself this: If I mock and insult another person's dearly held beliefs, am I being a decent human being? Would a tolerant person try to undermine the very faith some have died for?

Plenty of people have died for bad religious beliefs
posted by delmoi at 11:20 AM on August 6, 2007


Teh mockeries! When will ti end! Oh noes!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:22 AM on August 6, 2007


God is not a racist. In fact, all during the Priesthood-ban white-skinned Anglos of Hamitic lineage were also banned from the Priesthood and the Higher Ordinances of the Temple, so it's obviously based on other criteria.

Which revelation process was used to determine this lineage, and can you cite an example and/or the official policy of your claim?
posted by Brian B. at 4:19 PM on August 6, 2007


God is not a racist. In fact, all during the Priesthood-ban white-skinned Anglos of Hamitic lineage were also banned from the Priesthood and the Higher Ordinances of the Temple, so it's obviously based on other criteria.

JaySunSee, this is just for you:

Elder Le Grand Richards, from an interview by Wesley Walters and Chris Vlachos on August 16, 1978, Church Office Building, Salt Lake City:

Walters: On this revelation, of the priesthood to the Negro, I've heard all kinds of stories: I've heard that Christ appeared to the apostles; I've heard that Joseph Smith appeared; and then I heard another story that Spencer Kimball had had a concern about this for some time, and simply shared it with the apostles, and they decided that this was the right time to move in that direction. Are any of those stories true, or are they all?

Richards: Well, the last one is pretty true, and I might tell you what provoked it in a way. Down in Brazil, there is so much Negro blood in the population there that it is hard to get leaders that don't have negro blood in them. We just built a temple down there. It's going to be dedicated in October. All those people with Negro blood in them have been raising money to build that temple. If we don't change, then they can't even use it. Well, Brother Kimball worried about it, and he prayed a lot about it. He asked each one of us of the twelve if we would pray--and we did--that the Lord would give him the inspiration to know what the will of the Lord was. Then he invited each one of us in his office--individually, because you know when you are in a group, you can't always express everything that's in your heart. You're part of the group, see--so he interviewed each one of us, personally. to see how we felt about it, and he asked us to pray about it. Then he asked each one of us to hand in all the references we had, for, or against that proposal. See, he was thinking favorably toward giving the colored people the priesthood. Then we had a meeting where we meet every week in the temple, and we discussed it as a group circle. and then held another prayer circle after the close of that meeting, and he (President Kimball) lead in the prayer; praying that the Lord would give us the inspiration that we needed to do the thing that would be pleasing to Him and for the blessing of His children.

And then the next Thursday--we meet every Thursday--the presidency came with this little document written out to make the announcement--to see how we'd feel about it--and present it in written form. Well, some of the members of the Twelve suggested a few changes in the announcement, and then in our meeting there we all voted in favor of it--the Twelve and the first Presidency.


Divine revelation, or committee vote? Tricky one, that!
posted by brain cloud at 4:30 PM on August 6, 2007


CBS News: "Soon after the Democratic debate, Romney said, 'I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman.' He was referencing a question from the Democrats' debate in which an animated snowman asked about combating global warming. He never committed to the original debate and has yet to accept an invite to the one in November."

The Snowman from the YouTube debate is back to taunt Mitt Romney.
posted by ericb at 1:49 PM on August 15, 2007


« Older Partisan Politics for Kids   |   Did somebody say "lox?" Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post