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.
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.