Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Mitt Romney and the Problem with Mormons

While I try to avoid political topics most of the time on this blog, enough people have asked about Mitt Romney that I feel a need to finally chime in.

It's hard to discuss Mitt Romney without considering the "R" word. Now in bringing up his religion as an issue, let me first state that I have nothing against his being Mormon. I really respect Mormons, for the most part, and some of my best friends are Mormon. In fact, I'm Mormon. But can we afford to have the security of this nation and even the world resting in the hands of a man who might have to disappear two or three nights a month to do his home teaching?? And what about all the other callings that some unelected bishop in Washington decides to give him? Unless that bishop is, say, Harry Reid, we would have to face all sorts of security issues. So we may need to start using appointed or elected bishops instead of the Church's current archaic system. Maybe even the People's Official President Elect could be in charge of the appointments to make sure that things go smoothly.

My big worry, of course, is that Brother Romney would be asked to serve as Young Men's President, and then we'd have kids playing basketball in the halls of the White House or rappelling from the sides of the Capitol building, giving Homeland Security all sorts of head aches. Is the nation ready for this? Is the world?

OK, on a serious note, I have to say I was impressed with his speaking style when I listened to a luncheon speach he gave a couple weeks ago. Very polished and agreeable. I don't think America could go for an LDS President, though, even if the country were more conservative, but I wish him lots of luck and hope he'll be the candidate with the fewest scandals. May we all have fewer scandals in our lives!

20 comments:

Ben said...

Sometimes the job DOES come before the Church. Not the belief or the testimony or faith, but actual church duties. Here in my stake (I am a student, and will be for 3.5 more years) my stake president tells us that we are here for school, education and future jobs. The church here is glad to have us. Put in the time that you feel is enough, but school and family come first. This does not effect the personal belief or conviction in the Mormon religion, prayer and scripture reading are still done, as well as sacrament meeting. Some of the other things are sometimes placed lower in priority. I am sure this is how it will be handled. I wonder if Steve Young had a chance to go to all the sacrament meetings he could when playing the raiders or the eagles on Sunday? He is still devoutly Mormon.

Anonymous said...

I'm just not sure about electing a President who thinks is is possilbe to be God someday

Chad Too said...

Just call him as Sunday School President. No one will even notice when he's not around

Mormanity said...

Cheap shot, Anonymous. The LDS perspective here is quite in line with the Bible and early Christianity, where we find the concept of theosis - the divine potential of human beings to be, as Christ said in quoting Psalm 82:6, "gods". Though the Bible's usage of this term goes against my grain, what word better describes the final state of sons and daughters of God who accept Him and become joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8), becoming like Christ (1 John 3:2), who put on the divine nature (2 Peter 1), and follow the commandment to become like their Heavenly Father (Matt. 5:48)?

C.S. Lewis put it this way:
"The command Be ye perfect [Matt. 5:48] is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were "gods" and he is going to make good His words. If we let Him - for we can prevent Him, if we choose - He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what he said."
-- Mere Christianity (Collier Books, MacMillan Publ. Co., New York, 1943; paperback edition, 1960; p. 160 - the last paragraph of Chapter 9, "Counting the Cost," in Book IV.

Mormanity said...

For more on the early Christian and restored LDS concept of theosis, the divine potential of human beings, see my Mormon Answers page on theosis at http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_theosis.shtml.

Anonymous said...

What Anon is really saying is, "I'm just not sure about electing a President who thinks is is possible to follow Jesus Christ."

Connor said...

Jeff,

Have you heard of Ron Paul? He's a conservative with an excellent record (void of flip flopping) worth looking into.

Anonymous said...

If only the POTUS were elected based exclusively on skills, intellect, character, experience, track record - the main prerequisites for any leader - there would be no second guessing who the best candidate is - Romney leaves his competitors in the dust. But alas, politics is sometimes a battle that is won by the imposition of the banal and the mundane.

Anonymous said...

Any man who thinks that business has no part or reason to contribute to a public health care fund, doesn't get my vote.

Oh, and I'm glad you agree that the fact that we are here to eventually become Gods *IS* church doctrine, because a lot of people have been posting it isn't lately.

Cath said...

I wonder what calling would be least difficult for a President to magnify...
He couldn't be the hymnbook distributor, because he'd be gone all the time. Ditto with the Sunday School President (they really do have to show up occasionally).
How about "inspirational quote submitter" for the back of the program in the white space under the announcements? He could just use his favorite quotes found by his scriptwriters during the preceding week. And if he got bored of Washington and Lincoln, he could even quote himself sometimes!

Casual Mormon said...

"Oh, and I'm glad you agree that the fact that we are here to eventually become Gods *IS* church doctrine, because a lot of people have been posting it isn't lately."

I get the impression that some non-members imagine that we mormons get together for church every Sunday and just spend the entire three hours high-fiving each other and bragging about how we are going to be "God" as soon as we die.

Messimoo said...

Hey, Brother Lindsay. Just thought I'd drop a little note to say hi! Say hi to your sweet wife for me!

Anonymous said...

We believe in exaltation. The possibility to become gods. Not the possibility to become GOD. Big difference.

Anyway, I can't say one way or another how I will vote. I would prefer to watch and see what all happens along the way before pledging any support.

Anonymous said...

Who better to vote for than someone who strives to choose the right and be perfect? Someone with high moral integrity.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on, Jeff, don't tease us like that. When I read your title, I thought you were going to approach this topic from a new angle, a pro-Mormon angle that we never see in the media. But instead you goof off for a couple paragraphs, then close with some non-profound comments that have already been beaten to death. I expected better.

Mormanity said...

Well, if you must know, I don't trust either party. But I am deeply impressed with the integrity and Constitutional values of Ron Paul. I'll keep my eyes on him.

David said...

Just because Mitt Romney and I share the same faith doesn't mean he automatically earns my vote. Being LDS is certainly a big plus in my book, because I know where he stands on issues that affect the family. But I need to take a very hard look at his positions on other issues as well. And I have a very hard time trusting ANY politician from Massachusetts, even a Republican.

Anonymous said...

I am not a latter day saint, but I wouldn't have to much of a problem voting for Mitt Romney if he makes it to the general election. I think that he is seperated enough from strict ideological political dogmas that he can approach problems with common sense without having to worry about any neo con baggage. He's a problem solver and a consensus builder, something that this country is in desperate need of after 8 years of Clinton followed by 8 years of Bush.

Robert said...

Orson Scott Card had some really interesting points on Mitt Romney's presidential run. His essay about is available on his site, Hatrack.com. For one, he points out that he knows first-hand how the church deals with members who are public figures, and he knows most of them are glad as long as you do your job honorably and they tend to leave you be. That's more than a lot of people can say for their religious leaders, so Romney's religious stance shouldn't be a negative. Shouldn't. I'm not completely satisfied that it's a "won't". At first I pointed out to my friends that his candidacy would be in jeopardy because of his membership, to which the wiser ones said "It won't be because he's Mormon, it's because he's been pro-choice in the past, and that makes it hard to win in the Republican Primary." In the end, if he loses, members shouldn't rend their clothes and cry out against the media or the electorate for being anti-Mormon. People get defeated for all kinds of reasons. If he loses, it will more likely be because someone else is more popular. So far, though, he has not met with a lot of criticism from people I might've expected it from, and his fundraising efforts are top notch. He certainly looks the part of a front-runner at this point, but his campaign may be peaking early. In a year, this topic would be interesting to revisit.

Another interesting thought from Card: his book called "Empire" is utterly fascinating, an excellent read. It's based on the idea of a new Civil War in the USA, and he says he was approached to write it. He saw immediately the "Red State/Blue State" dynamic would be an obvious one to focus on in what might cause such a battle. His analysis of the political climate is very much on point. The venom in politics right now has made it almost impossible for either side of the political wars to come to a table to really solve any problem, and I don't just mean the ones they are specifically disagreeing on. Some things should not be opposed by Republicans just because a Democrat suggested it, and vice versa. I really liked this book and how much it made me think. The other points this book made (like where we are in our evolution as a culture/nation/entity whatever).

josh maready said...

my little brother wrote this essay called "My take on Mitt." enjoy! -josh

I've just read some really odd, mass-emailed letter from Mitt Romney's
son-the one about him spending his day searching for some ill-fated
anchor that was dropped to the ocean's floor during a fishing expedition
and was (hours later) miraculously found because of Mitt Romney's
super-presidential power to, I don't know, recover lost boating
accoutrements. It was a little on the, ahem, "fishy" side. The story's
take home value was of the " if he could do this, he could do anything"
variety. Yeah, it failed to elicit the writer-intentioned tug on my
heartstrings, too.

Anyway, this got me thinking about how I've grown a little weary
(already!) of the seemingly un-researched, ill-considered Mormon
allegiance to this no-chance-in-heck-of-winning recovering social
liberal who has compromised on issues that really matter for political
expediency. After all, this is the guy who, in his unsuccessful 1994
campaign for senate against Ted Kennedy, said he would provide "more
effective leadership" than Ted Kennedy in providing "full equity" for
gays and lesbians. More gay-friendly than Ted Kennedy? Is that even
possible? In that same campaign, he also said that he opposed a
constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage (remember the Church's
position in favor of just such an amendment last year?), and advocated
gays serving openly in the military. Wow. What happened to that Mitt
Romney? Has he "seen the light," or is he playing politics? But the
Kerry-esque flip-flopping gets better (or, I guess, worse). In that same
1994 challenge against Kennedy, our good "Brother Romney" said he
thought abortions should be safe and legal AND even supported the use of
RU-486 (emergency contraception that induces abortion). Don't worry, he
changed his mind on that later, too. In his Massachusetts gubernatorial
run in 2002, he said he supported Roe v. Wade. Here cometh the flop: in
2005 (humph, that's curiously close to now, which is curiously close to
the great race to the primary...), he said he had a change of heart
about abortion after studying stem-cell research. I don't know by what
we should be most frightened-the fact that he supported abortion, or
that it took scientists explaining stem-cell research to convince him of
something the prophets have been saying since, oh, 1973? He went from
"pro Roe" to "firmly pro-life" in a surprisingly short period of time!
Is this the Mitt Romney you've been supporting?

Look, I'm not saying Romney's a bad apple-not by any means. From all I
know he's a decent person. But he's not the golden boy the Mormon masses
have made him out to be. So, this is something of a personal plea to my
stalwartly conservative, well-intentioned LDS friends and family: know
the man, not simply his religion. Know what he says, and see if what
he's done matches.

So, who am I going to support? Well, I don't know just yet. If this
primary race were a buffet restaurant, I'd demand my money back and
leave. I don't like any of them. Heck, I might even wind up voting for
ole' "Today where will I sit Mitt?" But, I'm going to know just about
everything there is to know about him and his policies before I do.
Remember, it's okay to be the only minivan in the chapel's lot without a
Romney for President bumper sticker, and you still don't have to have a
"Romney recommend" to get into the temple. Let's show the world that
Latter-day Saints have the brains to understand that it takes more than
a religion (even one with all the truths) to make a man. If Romney
treats his religion like his politics, he might (oh my heck) be a Zen
Buddhist by next November (oh, come on, you know that was funny).

Good luck "choosing the right" one.