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It was once said of George Romney, Michigan governor 1963 to 1969, “There but for the grace of God goes god.” The quip was made in response to his photogenic GOP brashness, but there’s a grain of theocratic truth to the taunt.
Romney was a Mormon, born into a polygamous family in Mexico, his birth making him ineligible to run for United States president. Son Mitt was born in 1947 and raised in Bloomfield Hills, so there’s no obstacle to his presidential bid. Getting elected is another story.
There is, however, concern about Mitt’s religion among Christian evangelicals. Mitt they argue is not a true Christian, but a member of a cult started by Joseph Smith, Jr., in upstate New York, in 1830. (The year Smith translated the Book of Mormon, from golden plates left in his keeping by an angel named Moroni.)
Mark Twain called the Mormon bible “printed chloroform”. Many quotes are verbatim from the King James New Testament. Its slant: Jesus visited the Americas after his resurrection, preaching to native populations. (How much lasting good it did is debatable.)
According to Mormon teaching, male priesthood members in good temple-endowment standing will be exalted in the afterlife, and with their wife (or, plural wives) will also become a god over their own planet, as Adam once was on earth, with wifey Eve.
An “end times” turf war exists between biblical fundamentalists and the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). The LDS Church is one of the world’s fastest growing faiths (6.5 million members; estimated wealth at $8 billion). With membership predicted to triple in 20 years, it poses a theocratic turf threat to traditional born-again faiths.
Up until the mid-1880s the practice of polygamy was a tenet shared among many Mormon leaders and priesthood Saints. (Smith had 44 wives; President Brigham Young, 55. But who’s counting?) And, while anyone practicing polygamy today is excommunicated, an estimated 30,000 persons are actively engaged in plural marriages in Arizona and Mexico.
Jon Krakauer in his eye-opening history, “Under the Banner of Heaven,” quotes Mormon President, Prophet, Seer, and Revelator John Taylor (1880): “God is greater than the United States . . . Polygamy is a divine institution. It has been handed down direct from God. No nation on earth can prevent it. The United States cannot abolish it.” Utah was granted statehood by abolishing the practice.
Biblical traditionalists fear that Mormon missionaries will continue to steal converts, gain stronger political and economic clout, and – as God’s Restoration Church, self-styled – at some future date press for legal resumption of the overt “spiritual blessing” of polygamy as optional to those spiritually inclined to practice it. (So, much for LDS $20 million, tax-free recent opposition to California same-sex marriage.)
The Mormon Church is homophobic (“masturbation leads to becoming gay”), conservative, aligned with Focus on the Family and the American Family Association in promoting antigay platforms.
Mitt’s Church also practices baptism for the dead. Recent proxy baptisms for Holocaust victims got the church in hot baptismal water with Orthodox and Conservative Jews. (Oh, yes! Blacks were excluded – their color the biblical “mark of Cain – from the LDS priesthood until 1978.) Just a tad, shall we say, Angel Moronic.