Defending the Indefensible, Part II

There was an interesting Letter to the Editor in today’s Salt Lake Tribune. Written by practicing Mormon Tom Williams, the letter questions the “cost” of Mitt Romney’s run for the presidency. Not the actual dollar cost, of course, by the cost to the church itself.

Tom said:

Am I the only practicing Mormon who’s not excited about Mitt Romney’s run for president? It’s not like his first order of business will be a $10,000 tax credit for all Latter-Day Saints. (But imagine what that would do for the missionary effort.) In my mind there’s very little to be gained from Romney’s candidacy, and a great deal to be lost.

What does Tom mean? Well, he’s being realistic. He says:

First of all, Mitt Romney cannot win the Republican nomination. The Christian/evangelical bloc of the Republican Party will see to that.

Yes, Tom, you are right. That’s a given. Frankly, some of those “Christians” give me the heebie jeebies, especially when they are off doing meth and having gay sex when the congregants aren’t looking, but hey…. I love Christians. Most of them are just trying to live Godly lives, according to admirable tenets. Many Mormons are like that, too. I’m just not fond of hypocritical right wing nutjobs, no matter what religion they espouse.

But then Tom goes a bit astray in his letter, when he says this:

I’ll tell you what they’ll do. There will be discussions of LDS temple ceremonies, temple garments, polygamy, priesthood restrictions on blacks, blood atonement, Adam-God theory, etc., etc. They’ll bring up every anti-Mormon bullet point you’ve ever seen, and probably a few you haven’t. There will be quotes taken out of context, distortions of doctrine and kernels of truth buried in landfills of inaccuracy

Uh, Tom, shouldn’t these “bullet points” be REQUIRED for any thinking person to consider? Considering they WERE taught, and they ARE tenets, are you really saying you don’t think they deserve discussion? These things are awfully hard to defend. Perhaps THAT is why you don’t want them noted.

Frankly, if you’re going to look at a religion, are you just supposed to say, “Gee, those Mormons look happy. Think I’ll join them. I will ignore that man behind the curtain, and his six wives.”

Some of the Jim Jones family looked happy, too, even right before they were drinking the cyanide Kool-aid. Shouldn’t you, as a thinking person, LOOK INTO the “controversial” doctrines you are spouting off about in above quote? And in fact, would you not want your children, should they be considering joining another religion, to look a little DEEPER than happy faces?

Adam-God Doctrine IS hard to defend, because a man believed to a be a prophet, Brigham Young, taught that Adam was God, and God was Adam. No distortion there, Tom. It’s really that simple.

The problem with this teaching is that it was disavowed by President Spencer W. Kimball in 1976. And that’s okay. But Mormons teach that their PROPHETS are speaking with God. So where did Brig go astray? How do we decide WHEN he was speaking with God, and when was just being a man?

Who gets to make that claim? And how could we possible know it’s true?

Consider the Mountain Meadows Massacre, something Tom also mentions. There is LITTLE doubt that Mormons were involved in this horrible event. Even Mormon historians do not deny that. There is some quibbling over whether or not Brigham Young was directly involved, but given his violent and strong-handed approach to running the Mormon Church, I have little doubt he was involved.

Consider that Brigham Young ALSO taught Blood Atonement. That is, some sins are so grevious to the Lord, that they can only be atoned for by the spilling of the sinner’s blood. Brigham’s belief was, the way to love thy neighbor was to kill him, so he could atone for his sins. No, really!

Now take a person in this congregation … and suppose that he is overtaken in a gross fault, that he has committed a sin that he knows will deprive him of that exaltation which he desires, and that he cannot attain to it without the shedding of his blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for that sin, and be saved and exalted with the Gods, is there a man or woman in this house but what would say, “shed my blood that I may be saved and exalted with the Gods?”

All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood?

I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins. I have seen scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance (in the last resurrection there will be) if their lives had been taken and their blood spilled on the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but who are now angels to the devil … I have known a great many men who left this church for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation, but if their blood had been spilled, it would have been better for them, the wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbids this principle’s being in full force, but the time will come when the law of God will be in full force.

This is loving our neighbour as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it. Any of you who understand the principles of eternity, if you have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death, would not be satisfied nor rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. That is the way to love mankind. (Sermon by Brigham Young, delivered in the Mormon Tabernacle, Feb. 8, 1857, printed in the Deseret News, Feb. 18, 1857; also reprinted in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, pp. 219-20)

You know, Tom is right. That stuff is hard to defend. No wonder he doesn’t want Mitt to run. Although I’m a little confused with his claims of distortion. Tell me, how do you distort the above quote? It simply isn’t necessary. It says it all.

Good try though, Tom.

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About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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8 Responses to Defending the Indefensible, Part II

  1. Andrew says:

    I read this same editorial in the Trib. today. Last week on the bbc a person was being interviewd about o’l Mitt and what he thought the outcome of the election might be now that there is a mormon running. “He seems a bit tinny to me” responded the journalist. I thought “Tinny” how about as genuine as a three dollar bill. I’m sure some where in Mitt’s soul he is a good person but here in Utah it is very important to remember that independant thought and decision making are not only discouraged but looked upon as almost evil. Yes I said evil. For those of us here in Zion that have grown up in ths seggragated community I still cant for the life of me understand Tom was concerened about.

    If the Mormon Church is the only true church and it has the proof, as it has claimed, if I were Tom I would be the first to atain this actual proof and show it to the world – hey if its so true what are you afraid of Mormons.

    The thing that scares me most about a Mormon in the White house at this point in our country’s history is that buy 2008 our nation will have suffered through 8 years of president who not only did not make his own decissions but under his watch has taken away many of our civil liberties in suddle ways.

    Now look at the sheep, I mean Mormons. If the church feels it can manipulate an entire country like America in the same way it handles all it’s other problems with the spreading of cash and building parks and schools I wonder how long it take America to convince these idiots that they’ll need to pack their hand carts and get the hell out of America.

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  2. anndee says:

    He is a “hair” canidate. When I volunteered for the Olympics all the 40 something moms longingly looked at him and asked if we thought his hair was naturally that color. I heard a commercial on KSL announcing that they would be there when Utah’s favorite son announced his bid for the white house. As for me and my house we say – OBAMA,
    08, Oh Yeah!!! We think a banner above the porch in our tiny rural no. Utah town would make our fellow mormons have something to talk about. It would be one way to keep the home teachers away. I worked as an election judge in 2000 and was quite a novelty because I voted for Gore – my fellow judges made sure they told everyone who came in that I had not voted for W. I think that is a violation of the rules, but hey they asked, I told and they kept on telling. We actually got phone calls from someone in the high council later in the week asking if we were ok, and couldn’t understand why we were voting the way we did. So much fun in LDS country.

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  3. Cele says:

    In regards to Tom’s letter, which I didn’t read in the trib, and wouldn’t have read because it was so incredibly long and boring (I’m like that – I got half way through and skipped to the bottom paragraph) I don’t think Mitt has an ice cube’s chance in hell to run for the White House, but then stranger things have happened, W is proof of that. And there is always the chance I would have to eat my words.

    But what I do have to ask, in his diatribe about blood atonement, don’t Mormon’s believe in Jesus?

    Now the rest of us, aka non Momo Christians, squabble enough about what the Bible says, what the commandments are, and are generally too busy pointing fingers at others to live a Christian life, without having to throw the book of Mormon into the mix – thank heavens. But Mormons, 99.9 percent, of the time do not quote scripture, they quote the book of Mormon. And when they do quote the Bible it is from the Old Testiment. Mormons exhalt JS above Jesus every single time. I’ve never heard a Mormon quote Jesus. So I have to question if Mormon’s are Christians at all, or are the Smithians. Well, I guess I solved that with one word.

    I have always stood silent and shook my head at people who believe in the oneness of the Holy Trinity. To me there is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. When it comes to the Adam / God discussion I thought it was laid out in plain discourse in Genesis – so how did a whole “God following” religion miss that?

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  4. kd says:

    I agree with Tom Williams that none of the silly things he mentioned should be seriously considered in a presidential campaign. The fact that there is a massive political body (the LDS Church) with a vested interest in one candidate is something that needs to be debated. The fact that Joseph Smith was running for president is an issue. The fact that the BoM is essentially a prediction for the failure of democracy is an issue.

    Perhaps the biggest issue is the extent to which Romney will appoint members of the hierarchy in his cabinet. This blurred line between state, church and business that we have in Utah is something that the US needs to avoid. (This same issue is relevant for the big mega Churches that run candidates).

    These issues do not mean that we should dismiss all Mormon candidates, but the fact that the LDS Church was set up as a dual religious/political issue is something that needs to be discussed. The fact that a candidate is Mormon is not a matter of discussion; However, a person being the Mormon candidate should be a matter of discussion.

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  5. Del says:

    Christians definitely have many faults.
    That was my pastor who was having Meth enhanced gay sex! It’s a good thing we aren’t the church of Ted Haggard. At least the Christian community has been quick to tell the world that what this pastor did was totally wrong.

    Mormons should not be afraid to hold their doctrines and teachings up for all to see. If the Mormon church is so true, why are you all so afraid to let people know your deep mysterious doctrines?
    Del

    Like

  6. Alicia says:

    Personally I think it IS important to consider Mormonism as an issue when it comes to Romney because frankly he made it one when he said that “the nation does need to have people of different faiths but we need to have a person of faith lead the country.” His response to the heckler would have been all right without that last part, but he lets it be known that religion is important in politics – how else do you explain why you would need a “person of faith” to “lead the country”??? If he hadn’t said that, I wouldn’t consider his religion all too much, no matter what my personal feelings are, I’d have just looked at his flip-floppy political record – although I pretty much never feel compelled to vote for Republicans … they all look a little off plus they’re batshit crazy usually. Romney’s about the same, he has this sort of wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing look and his hair looks like he sprayed it on out of a can O.o.
    http://atheism.about.com/b/a/258788.htm ~ a decent read; I’m not plugging atheism or whatnot ‘cos having faith is fine but using it as a “nyehhh I’m better than you ‘cos I have Jesus Christ on my side!” isn’t :/

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  7. Living in LDS country has been interesting to say the least…and I do agree with alot of Tom’s POVs.

    Regarding Alicia: I do have to say that religion has historically been extremely important in politics whether we like it or not. The dollar bill still says “In God We Trust”. Religion is everywhere… and I would have to say that Mitt is an interesting political candidate as long as he has the interest of the full body of Americans in mind and not just some special treatment to people of the LDS faith. But even so, it would not be any different than any other special interest group financing a campaign for Presidency and then expecting special treatment after they paid for the campaign. For example: The tobacco companies, weapons manufaturers, oil companies, NRA, etc etc.

    It will be intersteing to see what he has to say regarding the history of the church and finding a balance that convinces us that he will put the needs of Americans before the needs of his religious expectations. I will also be interested in whether or not the upcoming movie, “September Dawn” (www.septemberdawn.net.) will affect how he is perceived by the American public.

    Bottom line: I don’t care if Mitt or any other political candidate wants to wear special underwear, have a secret handshake, or have sex with an intern. I do care if he does not have this country’s best interest at heart.

    I think they all deserve a soapbox to stand on and express what they will do for this country and our American soldiers.

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  8. myrna says:

    I WAS RAISED A MORMON AND WAS TAUGHT ALL OTHER RELIGIONS WERE OF SATAN. GREW UP IN UTAH, BUT INTERESTING ENOUGH MY BEST FREINDS WERE CATHOLIC METHODIST AND BAPTIST, AND I KNEW THEY WERE NOT EVIL PEOPLE . WHEN I ATTENDED THEIR CHURCHES WITH THEM AS A GUEST I COULD SEE NO EVIL THERE EITHER.

    I MOVED ALL OVER THE U.S IN EIGHT DIFFERENT STATES AND P.S. PROFESSED TO BE A MORMON AND NOT REALIZING I NEVER REALLY KNEW WHAT THE RELIGION TAUGHT SINCE MY HUSBAND WAS NOT MORMON AND I HAD NOT GONE THROUGH THE TEMPLE. I DID ATTEND CHURCH AS A TEENAGER AND WAS ENGAGED TO THE BISHOPS SON AT ONE POINT AS A YOUNG ADULT AND NEVER ONCE DID I HEAR IN CHURCH MOST OF THE MEAT OF MORMONISM. IT WAS ALL ON TOPICS ABOUT HOW TO BE A GOO MORMON, MOTHER, HOUSE WIFE, HOW TO SUSTAIN FROM SEX ANDF SIN OR I WOULD BE NO BETTER THAN A PIECE OF CHEWED GUM AND NO MAN WOULD WANT ME. AS A YOUNG GIRL THIS CAN BE DEVASTATING TO HEAR IF YOU HAD ALREADY BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. THIS WAS NOT TEACHING ADMITTING YOU BLEW IT AND THAT YOU COULD ASK FOR FORGIVENESS OR AT THE LEAST YOU BLEW IT AND TRY NOT TO AGAIN, IT WAS TELLING THESE GIRLS THEY WERE WORTHLESS . THIS COULD BE ONE REASON WHY SUICIDE IS VERY PREVELANT AMONGST TEENAGE MORMON GIRLS AND WOMEN AND WHY UTAH IS JOKINGLY CALLED THE PROZACK CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

    I MOVED BACK TO UTAH AT THE AGE OF 44 AND MOVED NEXT A WOMAN WHO HAD JUST LEFT THE MORMON CHURCH, AND TOLD ME WHY. AS MOST MORMONS, I JUST FIGURED SHE WAS DISGRUNDLED AND WONDERED WHY SHE HATED THE CHURCH SO MUCH. TO A MORMON, (EVEN THOUGH THEY DON’T REALIZE IT) TO QUESTION IS TO HATE.
    YOU SEE THIS ATTITUDE OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

    TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT, I READ A BOOK THE NEIGHBOR GAVE ME
    AND DID NOT BELIEVE THE BOOK AND WAS MAD AT WHAT IT SAID AND
    DECIDED TO SHOW MY NEIGHBOR SHE AND THE BOOK WAS WRONG, SO…… I WENT TO THE SOURCE ITSELF THE MORMON CHURCH AND ALL IT BOOKS. I STUDIED THE BOOK OF MORMON THE JOURNALS OF DISCOURSES, THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE , THE DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS ETC. , AFTER WEEKS OF STUDY OF MORMON DOCTRINE,
    I WAS EMBARRASSED TO THINK THAT I HAD GONE ALL OVER THE U.S. AND TOLD PEOPLE PROUDLY THAT I WAS A MORMON. THEY PROBABLY KNEW MORE ABOUT IT THAN I DID AND THEY MUST HAVE THOUGHT THAT I BELIEVED THAT MEN WOULD BE GODS AND THAT JESUS WAS THE BROTHER OF SATAN. MORMONS BELIEVE IN POLYGAMY, THEY JUST DON’T PRACTICE IT BECAUSE THE LAW WILL NOT ALLOW THEM TO, SO… THERE ARE A FEW BRETHEREN WHO CARRY ON THE EVERLASTING COVENANT FOR THEM UNTIL THE DAY THAT THEY WILL BE ABLE TO CONTINUE IN THE POLYGAMIST LIFE STYLE. THE POLYGAMIST ARE CALL ED THE FUNDAMENTALIST MORMONS, DOES THAT TELL YOU ANYTHING. THEY DO BELIEVE THEY WILL HAVE MANY WIFES AND CONCUBINES IN THE HEREAFTER. THE FIRST WIFE MARRIED TO THEM IN THE TEMPLE HERE ON EARTH WILL BE THE HEAD GODDESS. MY CHILDREN TOLD ME THEY WERE TAUGHT IN CHURCH THAT THE MOTHER GOD, OF MORMONISM IS NOT EVER SPOKEN OF BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WANT HER NAME TAKEN IN VEIN AS FATHER GODS IS. THIS BRINGS UP THE FACT THAT MORMONS DID BELIEVE AT ONE TIME THAT ADAM WAS GOD. THIS STANDS TO REASON, SINCE YOU BECOME A GOD TO GET YOUR OWN PLANET TO POPULATE AS ADAM DID. MORMONS BELIEVE THEY ARE SPIRIT BABIES OF THE FATHER IN HEAVEN. SENT TO HIS PLANET TO GET BODIES SO THEY CAN BECOME GODS AND SOMEDAY HAVE THEIR OWN PLANET WHICH MAKES THEM THE FIRST MAN. OR THE ADAM OF THAT PLANET TO BRING DOWN ALL OF THEIR SPIRITUAL BABIES TO GET BODIES AND ON AND ON. (YOU BETTER HAVE A LOT OF WIFES TO POP OUT ALL THOSE BABIES TO POPULATE A PLANET. IMAGINE BEING A WOMAN AND BEING PREGNANT FOR ALL ETERNITY.

    I HAVE A SISTER MARRIED IN THE TEMPLE, AT AN EARLY AGE. SHE IS TWO YEARS OLDER THAN ME AND NEVER KNEW AT AGE 46 THAT THE CHURCH BELIEVED THAT THEY WOULD BE GODS. TRUST ME, HER HUSBAND KNEW. THE MEN ARE REALLY INTO THAT, OF COURSE THE MEN ARE TO CALL THE WOMEN FROM THE GRAVE IF THE WOMEN ARE TO BE RELEASED FROM THE GRAVE AT ALL. WHICH MAKES HER HUSBAND THE MEDIUM BETWEEN HER AND HEAVEN, HE SAVIOUR, WOW!

    WHEN I TOLD THREE OF MY AUNTS WHAT THE CHURCH TAUGHT, THEY
    NEVER KNEW THEIR HUSBANDS WERE TO BE A GOD, IN FACT, WHEN I TOLD THEM, THEY SAID, IT WAS REDICULOUS TO THEM AND THAT IT WAS OF SATAN. A WEEK LATER AFTER TALKING TO THEIR BISHOPS ….THE ANSWER WAS, OF COURSE. WHY WOULDN’T OUR FATHER WANT US TO BE LIKE HIM.

    I COULD GO ON AND ON AND ON, I DO WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I LOVE MORMON PEOPLE, MOST MY FAMILY ARE MORMON BUT……I DO NOT LOVE THE MORMON CHURCH OR THEIR DECEPTIONS. THEY ARE A CULT AND CONTROL THEIR PEOPLE AND LOCK THEM IN BY FEAR, BY SECRET VOWS, A TWISTED WEB OF OF LIES, AND UNDESERVED LOYALTY.

    MORMONS ARE SINCERE PEOPLE, BUT, SINCERELY WRONG AND I PRAY FOR THEM ALL REGULARLY. I ASK GOD TO EXPOSE THE CULT FOR WHAT IT IS AND FREE THESE PEOPLE FROM ITS HOLD.

    IT IS IMPORTANT TO ME WHAT RELIGION A POLITICAL CANDIDATE IS AND WHAT HIS MORAL DECISIONS ARE BECAUSE IT SHOWS WHETHER HE OR SHE USES GOOD JUDGMENT, OR NOT. ANYONE WHO IS NOT OPEN MINDED ENOUGH TO CHECK THINGS OUT AND JUST BLINDLY FOLLOWS A CULT AND GIVES LOYALTY TO SOMETHING THAT IS OBVIOUSLY FLAWED TO ANYONE WHO REALLY CARES TO CHECK IT OUT, OR, ANYONE WHO IS IN SUCH A HIGH PROFILE, IMPORTANT POSITION AS PRESIDENT OF THE U.S., SHOULD HAVE BETTER JUDGMENT THAN TO PLAY AROUND WITH INTERNS.( THIS I SAY NOT BECAUSE OF MORALS ALTHOUGH IT IS IMPORTANT), SHOULD NOT BE IN OFFICE. ITS SCARY TO THINK THAT SOMEONE THAT IS IN SUCH A POSITION HAS SUCH POOR SELF CONTROL AND JUDGMENT WILL BE USING THAT SAME SENSE OF JUDGMENT WHEN IT INVOLVES OUR LIFES AND OUR COUNTRY.

    THANKS FOR READING MY RAMBLING,

    MYRN
    x MORMON

    P.S. THERE IS A GOD AFTER MORMONISM, KEY WORDS, A GOD.

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