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

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What Was the Church's Latest Secret Command to Harry Reid?

"When Mitt [Romney] says he belongs to a church that doesn't tell him what to do, that's false; it's a 24/7, do-what-you're-told-to-do church," according to a vocal critic of the Church, cartoonist Steve Benson, a former Mormon. We hear this a lot, the paranoid idea that Mormon politicians must blindly follow the dictates of Church leaders rather than representing the people and thinking for themselves. It's a common concern for Mitt Romney. So I guess he was secretly taking orders from Salt Lake when he was pro-abortion in the past?

I wonder how frequently Harry Reid receives secret orders from President Hinckley? Since he and Brother Hatch in the Senate are frequently on the opposite side of social issues, I suppose that at least one of them isn't fully obedient - or maybe the appearance of Mormon politicians thinking for themselves is all due to cunning design from Salt Lake, just to lure the populace into thinking that Mitt Romney might have a mind of his own?

I'd like to say more on this issue, but I just got a call from Salt Lake telling me to quit bringing up political issues and talk about chiasmus or something. I guess have no choice but to obey blindly and say yes. That is, yes, ma'am! (The call came from my mother.)

33 comments:

Salt Lake said...

Curses on you, Jeff! You have exposed our secret plan, the one we have been working on ever since we brought Brother Hatch from Pennsylvania to Utah, and since we pulled strings to start Harry Reid on his political road with the Nevada Gaming Commission. All, ALL was to lull the American people into a false sense of security as we prepared for this day when we are poised to put our man in the White House.

But you have exposed us! Alas!

Anonymous said...

I served a mission in Romania, and part of our mission included Moldova. The situation in Moldova was that the Moldovan government (from what I can best understand is pretty much still communist) had banned missionaries from Moldova because a grumpy Orthodox priest with friends in high places pulled some strings. It all started when some missionaries - of all things - knocked on his door.

Over the course of my mission, the time came when missionaries were allowed back into Moldova. Apparently there was a complicated legal battle (the banning was more or less unconstitutional - in Moldova) and missionaries were readmitted. Although the supreme court ruled in the church's favor, the minister of religion refused to abide its ruling until of course some pressure from outside was applied.

A visiting seventy involved in this process spoke at a missionary conference and made reference to Sen. Reid. I can't remember if he is on the senate religious freedom committee or not, but the quote that was thrown around was the famous "it isn't 1830 and there aren't 6 of us".

Yes, the US senate wrote a letter to the President of Moldova concerning the situation, from what I understand. The level of Sen. Reid's involvement? I don't know. I think Sen. Lieberman was involved in all that too.

Basically, we're talking about religious freedom and rule of law here, so it's not in the slightest controversial (during the ban converts could only be baptized if they could prove family relations to current members). I only make the comment that the irony is that even though nobody did anything improper, it seems a likely scenario (though I can't prove it) that those who are Mormons in Moldova would have a difficult time being church members to this day without Sen. Reid's help.

It makes you wonder? Would he have had the same influence as minority leader? Maybe the democrats needed to win that majority for a couple of years.

Please forgive my irreverence, and poor humor.

(btw MItt will devote his life to advancing the gospel, but of course through appropriate channels. Though he will not use the office of president to conduct missionary work, he may still do so as a private citizen. This in response to Mr. Benson's ridiculous comments.)

Sherry said...

I can't believe how much bad press there is out there about LDS because of Romney, but in a way, I'm glad. Because now maybe all those people who never understood he church will research it a little and open their hearts. We've done too many good works that people have seen, and the naysayers' words will backfire. Personally I don't care who is president, as long as it isn't Hillary :)

Halibut said...

I imagine that if Romney is elected he will not have the church weigh in on decisions such as building new roads, etc.

However I am sure that on the big issues such as abortion the church's stand will be considered.

Benson's article did not bother me at all. Yesterday I was asked about polygamy at work. do we seal multiple women to men in the Temple? yes

Did Billy Grahm carry weight with Presidents? Of course he did.

If you were making a decision on going to war----would you seek counsel? Of course.

Brian D. said...

When I think of Steve Benson--our sainted cartoonist at the Arizona Repugnant/Repulsive--I remember the words of a scripture from the Book of Mormon:

"When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish."

2nd Nephi 9:28


Benson is an extremely talented cartoonist, to be sure. I admire his drawing ability and appreciate a "different" viewpoint on the issues of the day.

I do disagree with how Benson paints Romney and the Church, though.

NM said...

I'm guessing that Mr. Steve Benson had some sort of Mormon belief before he moved away from it? How much gravitas does this article hold in terms of LDS' association with Freemasonry? Is it true? Does Mormonism have secret practices similar to Freemasonry?

Forgive for saying this, but all this talk of secrecy just sounds so incredibly eerie. =(

Latter-Day James said...

NM, comments like that seem a little fishy to me. You seem to be asking a sincere question or you are trying to appear as you are. The freemasonry question has been addressed before. It is on Jeff's FAQ page. Basically I don't feel as though your question is an honest one. I apologize if I am wrong. But I doubt I am.

NM said...

LD James,

No no. Do not misunderstand =) I have no hidden agendas. Such questions are best asked directly. And please know that my intention is that I want to dispel such myths...

...now the kind of information that I have acquired through t'internet have probably been blown well out of proportion (you might label as 'anti-mormon) and I just think that Jeff's blog is the safest way to finding some of the needed information =)

Again, I don't mean to cause offense.

Halibut said...

There are amazing similarities with Masonry that Benson talks about. And then there are many differences.

If anybody tells you there are no similarities they are ill informed.

NM said...

Thanks Halibut. I've always understood that Freemasonry's view on who God is as somewhat of a deist outlook (as opposed to a theist - who might see that God is personal)...

Latter-Day James said...

Go to Jeff's FAQ and type in mason and search. There you go.

Nick Literski said...

There is no such thing as "Freemasonry's view on god." While atheists are specifically forbidden from becoming Freemasons, the Fraternity simply requires belief in "a supreme being." Freemasonry is not a religion, does not have a theology, and does not presume to tell a man what to believe concerning that supreme being. Men of widely differing faiths sit together in lodge, harmoniously, because Freemasonry is protective of mutual respect in these things.

Mormanity said...

Thanks, Nick - well said.

And NM, statements like this send an eerie chill up my spine: "I just think that Jeff's blog is the safest way to finding some of the needed information." Haven't you watched any good anti-Mormon videos? Your soul is in jeopardy just reading this blog. You call that safe??

tatabug said...

I have to second Sherry's comment with regard to Hillary. But I would also have to add John McCain to that as well.

NM said...

Thanks Nick.

To be honest, I don't know THAT much about Freemasonry. I need to read up on it - and yes I have watched a few google-video type (mock-umentaries) on this, but as with anything, you can never be too sure as to its validity etc. People are easily sucked into believing consipracy-type documentaries, they're easy to believe and such 'documentaries' play into what people like to gossip about. An example might be this 'Loose Change' video, which look into alternative reasons for the 9/11 disaster...

Intersting, I have a 'friend' who is a freemason. He doesn't like to talk about it too much, but the thing that strikes most clear about him is his overt inclination for superstition. He claims to see ghosts during certain religious celebrations etc. The subject of 'schizophrenia' has crossed my mind, but even if it is, it doesn't seem to bother him too much if he has it.

Anyway, I have digressed.

Is anyone here a member of the Freemasons, who might like to educate the uneducated (me)?

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that someone that calls himself a former Mormon could make such ridiculous statements about the Church "telling us what to do". He must never have understood the concept of agency. He obviously never heard of the concept "let them govern themselves" by many Church leaders. Maybe he was one of those "blind followers" who wasn't capable of making decisions for himself.

To those who try to tell me that I'm subjugated to the rules and whims of the Church I say: The only one that has the final say in my personal and family matters is me. (Well, my wife too, but I'm making a point). The buck stops with me. I make the final decisions in my affairs. Not God, Jesus Christ, Gordon B. Hinckley, my stake president, my bishop, or any other Church leader makes my decisions for me. If I choose not to follow the wisdom and admonitions of the above then I'll suffer the consequences for ignoring sage and sensible advice. If I commit any serious transgressions then I'll have to answer to Church authority concerning my membership and priesthood. But I'm the one who gets to make the choice. I, and no one else, is bound by Church positions in our private affairs. The Church lays the guidelines but it is up to us, as individuals and families, to choose to apply them to our lives.

Halibut said...

You are correct that the Church does not control your life. However if you try to abide the law and covenants of the Church you are pretty well directed on big issues.

Listen to the good President H. at conference. He even tells us how to spend our money in a way. Tithe and stay out of debt. (And it is darn good advice).

As far as Masonry is concerned the books that deal with the church and Masonry are slanted one way of the other. Mormanity has a slant. If he was a Mason Mormanity would really be able to write on it.

The Grand Master of the Utah Masons is LDS.

Masons are really pretty neat guys.

Halibut said...

You are correct that the Church does not control your life. However if you try to abide the law and covenants of the Church you are pretty well directed on big issues.

Listen to the good President H. at conference. He even tells us how to spend our money in a way. Tithe and stay out of debt. (And it is darn good advice).

As far as Masonry is concerned the books that deal with the church and Masonry are slanted one way of the other. Mormanity has a slant. If he was a Mason Mormanity would really be able to write on it.

The Grand Master of the Utah Masons is LDS.

Masons are really pretty neat guys.

Tonka said...

If by some miracle Romney gets the nomination, all it will take is a passing glance at Joseph Smith's wives, their ages, and their prior and post marital statuses to scare off most voters. Most members don't know much about the women he married, the circumstances of the marriages, or the feelings of Emma on the subject (both the public denials and her private writings on the matter). It should be an educational time for all of us.
As for freemasonry, there are many similarities to the story of the discovery of the Book of Mormon and a mason legend about a cave, sword, gold plate, and a hero named Enoch which I would love to see examined here Jeff.
Great post, btw.

Bookslinger said...

I'm for Fred Thompson.

The last actor we had in the White House was pretty good, in my opinion.

Besides, politics is mainly acting anyway; acting like you're right, acting like you know what you're doing.

NM said...

Tonka,

Are you LDS? Would you be able to give me a brief run-down as to the similarities between J. Smith's early accounts and this Enoch guy? Who is Enoch? Is it Enoch in the Bible?

Jeff,

Can I ask you, are you a Freemason?

Tonka said...

NM,
Yes, I'm a Mormon and have a card in my wallet to prove it.
And you're a big boy (or girl) and this is the internet. You can find the legend of Enoch if you know where to look (google it!).
:-)

Bookslinger said...

NM, why not go to the source?

http://www.freemasonry.org/

or for a 3rd party view:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemasonry

Those could be at least starting points.

SteSmo said...

Halibut,

Did you listen to Greg Kearney's speech at the 2005 FAIR Conference on Masonry and Mormonism? He is a Master Mason and a Latter-day Saint who I think satisfies, to a certain extent, both sides of the LDS-Mason controversy. You may want to check out his presentation. And, on a side note, I as well think that Masons are cool and Freemasonry is a facsinating institution. (I maybe hope to become a Freemason myself.)

Steve Smoot

NM said...

Are you guys pulling my leg or something?! I just don't know whether to believe any of you =(

So, Bookslinger, I saw this link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemasonry_and_the_Latter_Day_Saint_movement

So there ARE similarities between the two? And it seems (according to what I seem to be picking up from Halibut, Tonka and SteSmo) that LDS people are OK with being associated with Freemasonry?

Man, I just don't know enough about Free Masonry and I know many, MANY prominent people, i.e. the majority who wrote the consitition, presidents, world leaders etc. are...but I have always, ALWAYS had the impression that as Christians - we STAY AWAY from such organisations?! And in the past have always remained suspicious of priests (and other so-called church officials) who are Freemasons...

If we are Christians, i.e. have a personal relationship with God (and all that this entails - that we are reconciled because of His Son and that we are joint heirs etc.), what could Freemasonry possible offer?!

I ask people here to explain what FM is all about and its relationship with Mormonism because I just don't know what to believe, I really don't! I just fear that everything I've read (and watched) are all propaganda/anti-mormon etc...

Just to be clear on this, I need to say that I feel slightly uncomfortable that LDS (or anybody) aspire to be part of FM. I don't know. Am I just being ignorant here?

Bookslinger said...

NM,

The people here shouldn't really need to explain it to you. You've already been given the web site to go to, in order to get a good explanation about the overlap between freemasons and LDS. www.fairlds.org

Please go there. And read for yourself. The explanation has already been given, and I'm kind of lazy. :-)

And I'm actually with you on this one, in that I also feel no need to join the Masons. I'm already busy, and don't have time, and don't see any benefit in freemasonry for me.

BTW, no Mormons have ever suggested I join the Masons.

And yes, I think you're jumping to all sorts of incorrect conclusions. Please go read the www.fairlds.org articles about masons.

BTW, there are no OFFICIAL connections. Freemasons will tell you that their organization has no official connection to the LDS organization, other than some LDS members are also freemasons.

LDS church leaders will tell you that there are no official connections , other than some freemasons are also members of the LDS church.

If you want to learn what the "overlap" is, then go to www.fairlds.org and read the mentioned articles.

First go search and read on your own, mainly at www.fairlds.org. Just type in a search there for:
masons

Then read the first two articles that come up.

But ya know, that kind of stuff is a higher esoteric level. You're welcome to read it. But there is a lot more basic stuff that I think would help you before you get to that esoteric stuff.

I think you should read our Sunday School manual "Gospel Principles" at www.lds.org in the Gospel Library, under Sunday School. There are 47 lessons there that cover the basics of LDS beliefs. That's what the church officially teaches investigators and new members.

Personally, I wouldn't want to discuss the higher things without first going over the basics.

And good luck to you in your quest. I admire you in your efforts to seek after the Savior, and I'm glad that you're still interested in finding out what LDS believe.

So I hope you'll forgive me in referencing those two articles at www.fairlds.org and forgive me for being too lazy to recap them and type it all in here.

NM said...

Thanks BookSlinger

Sam said...

>As for freemasonry, there are >many similarities to the story of >the discovery of the Book of >Mormon and a mason legend about a >cave, sword, gold plate, and a >hero named Enoch which I would >love to see examined here Jeff.

Well, as a fairly experienced and well read 32nd degree Freemason (and a Temple endowed member of the Church), I can tell you out of all that you said, I have only heard of Enoch and he only because he built the two pillars that flank the entrance of every Masonic Lodge. Never have I heard tell of any "Masonic" legend of a gold plate, sword, or cave. You might have to enlighten me on that one.

I can also say that I believe that being a Freemason makes me a better person and member of the Church and vice versa. There are some similarities between the temple ceremony and Masonic ritual, but they are only superficial (at least to my mind.) Their purposes, methods, and viewpoints are totally different, while some symbols and terms are similar. So I call it superficial. I think Jeff covers it pretty well on his LDS faq, as he covers everything.

And speaking of Greg Kearney, I believe that Freemasony DID have an ancient beginning. Masons debate the origins all the time and noone has come up with an answer. But I do believe that it is very likely that we began with the Templars who had their beginnings connected with the Temple of Solomon, so it is possible.

And Steve, I have enjoyed very much my membership in the Fraternity, and I encourage you to think about joining. Someone mentioned that the Grand Master of Masons in Utah was a member, well so is his successor, who also happens to be my semi-distant cousin, Glen Cook. He would be an excellent person to get into contact with if that was your desire. We need good members.

Any questions, please ask.

SteSmo said...

Sam,

Thanks for the encouraging words. I definatly am considering on becoming a Freemason. The motto of the Freemasons, that is, to make good men better (isn't that it - or something like that - Sam?) pretty much sums up why I am considering on joining. That and the strong community bonds that Freemasonry seems to generate. But hey, we'll see what the future has in store. I spoke with someone in the Salt Lake City Masonic Temple about how to become a Mason, and was given some helpful information on the subject.

Thanks again for the encouraging words.

Steve Smoot

Skill and Beans said...

"If we are Christians, i.e. have a personal relationship with God (and all that this entails - that we are reconciled because of His Son and that we are joint heirs etc.), what could Freemasonry possible offer?!"

Well, I guess we could say the same about Rotary International or any other organization focused on civic matters, fellowship, service, etc. Or clubs and societies of any kind. But I think there may be many creative ways we can express our Christianity in honorable fellowship, even if some secret handshakes or ancient traditions are involved.

In the 1800s, Free Masonry was the major social organization. It was common for civic-minded people to be involved, and not because of spooky motives. I think we need to drop some of the paranoia.

NM said...

Skill and Beans,

Again, I need to re-iterate the fact that I know nothing about Free Masonry. Are there handshakes (secret or not) involved in LDS that are similar to Free Masonry?

Sam,

In your experience as a 32nd degree mason, are the presumptions made by non-FMs that Free Masonry have occult-ic practices hold any gravitas? Is it just another myth that Free Masonry are involved with mystical/occultic practices? Again, please forgive my ignorance; I really do know NOTHING about this subject...

Latter-Day James said...

I am trying not to be a jerk here. My wife chides me on this. NM, if you know nothing please study it. As for "secret" handshakes and such...LDS people like to say that what happens in the Temple is sacred not "secret". This is not a forum where this should be discussed in any detail. Thanks for you understanding.

Anonymous said...

NM,

This is a lot of fuss from someone that does not believe in religious ordinances such as baptism is necessary. Why do we care what the Freemasons or the Mormons or any other group does? I think we still have freedom of religion.