Mitt Romney is steamrolling his way to the Republican nomination – thanks in part to the culture and connections of his Mormon faith. Important questions have been raised about his financial assets and history as a corporate raider. These issues alone render him unfit to serve as president. However, his indoctrination into and current leadership within the Mormon Church should be of even greater concern. This cult-like organization is a pyramid scheme tied to international power and wealth networks. Romney is actually a Bishop in the Church of Latter Day Saints (i.e., the Mormons.) If you look closely you swill see how he exhibits the arrogance and self-righteousness you would expect from a mid-level cult leader. His Mormon upbringing ensures he will always look down on the rest of humanity. The scary part is how far off base Mormonism is when it comes to truth, equality, and the American way.
One festering part of Romney’s Mormon problem is that those most opposed to electing a Mormon president are also the foundation of the Republican party – namely uneducated and conservative Evangelical Christians. This is really the battle of two powerful religious institutions – neither of which deserve as much recognition and respect as they receive in American politics. In this article, you will learn why allowing Romney to become president will give his cult much more credibility than it deserves. Read about how Romney dodged the draft during the Viet Nam War doing “missionary work” in luxury and safety. In addition, Mormon preaching and teaching cause social problems to persist, particularly inequality, sexism, environmental damage, and war. You will learn about all these important issues, plus more. The media and his opponents need to get over their timidity about discussing religion and start going after this madman with some facts. We must never have a Mormon in the White House (nor a Moonie or a Scientologist for that matter.)
Romney’s Mormon Problem: Mitt Romney and the weird and sinister beliefs of Mormonism by Christopher Hitchens – Oct. 17, 2011
The Mormons have a supreme leader, known as the prophet or the president, whose word is allegedly supreme. They can be ordered to turn upon and shun any members who show any signs of backsliding. They have distinctive little practices, such as the famous underwear, to mark them off from other mortals, and they are said to be highly disciplined and continent when it comes to sex, booze, nicotine, and coffee. Word is that the church can be harder to leave than it was to join. Hefty donations and tithes are apparently appreciated from the membership. Whether this makes it a cult, or just another of the born-in-America Christian sects, I am not sure. In any case what interests me more is the weird and sinister belief system of the LDS, discussion of which it is currently hoping to inhibit by crying that criticism of Mormonism amounts to bigotry. …
Recently, and very weirdly, the Mormons have been caught amassing great archives of the dead, and regularly “praying them in” as adherents of the LDS, so as to retrospectively “baptize” everybody as a convert. In a hollowed-out mountain in the Mormons’ stronghold state of Utah is a colossal database assembled for this purpose. Now I have no objection if Mormons desire to put their own ancestors down for posthumous salvation. But they also got hold of a list of those put to death by the Nazis’ Final Solution and fairly recently began making these massacred Jews into honorary LDS members as well. Indeed, when the practice was discovered, the church at first resisted efforts to make them stop. Whether this was cultish or sectarian it was certainly extremely tactless: a crass attempt at mass identity theft from the deceased. …
So far, Mitt Romney has evaded most questions by acting as if he was being subjected to some kind of religious test for public office. He’s been supported in this by some soft-centered types who think that any dislike for any “faith group” is ipso facto proof of some sort of prejudice. Sorry, but this will not wash. I don’t think I would want to vote for a Scientologist or a Moonie for high office, or indeed any other kind, and I think attempts to silence criticism of such outfits are the real evidence of prejudice. …
The Mormons apparently believe that Jesus will return in Missouri rather than Armageddon: I wouldn’t care to bet on the likelihood of either. In the meanwhile, though, we are fully entitled to ask Mitt Romney about the forces that influenced his political formation and—since he comes from a dynasty of his church, and spent much of his boyhood and manhood first as a missionary and then as a senior lay official—it is safe to assume that the influence is not small.
A new poll of Mormons in the United States finds that while one of their own is making unprecedented progress in a bid for the presidency, many feel uneasy in the spotlight, misunderstood and unaccepted in the American mainstream. Despite this, a majority of the Mormons polled said they believed that acceptance of Mormonism was rising and that the American people were ready to elect a Mormon as president. It is a sunny outlook for a religion that is consistently ranked near the bottom, along with Muslims and atheists, on favorability surveys of various groups. …
Mormons make up less than 2 percent of the American population. In a church known for its energetic young missionaries, three out of four Mormon respondents were raised in the faith, and about one in four were converts. Two-thirds of the Mormons polled described themselves as politically conservative (compared with 37 percent of American adults), and 74 percent of them said they were either registered Republicans or lean toward the G.O.P. (That compares with 45 percent of American adults over all.) …
Nearly all Mormons in the survey, 97 percent, said they considered Mormonism to be a Christian religion. That stands in stark contrast to the general public, of whom just over half agree. But a vast majority of Mormons in the poll said they believed in Mormon doctrines that were distinctive from traditional Christian churches: 94 percent said they believed that the president of the church is a prophet of God, and 95 percent said they believed that families can be bound together eternally in temple ceremonies. Only 22 percent said that some teachings of the Mormon church “are hard for me to believe.”
Mormons are more devout than those of other faiths, the survey found. Three out of four said they attended religious services at least weekly, while four out of five said they prayed at least once a day and tithed the required 10 percent of their income to the church each year.
Gregory Smith, senior researcher at the Pew Forum, said, “That is a level of religious commitment that is much, much higher than we see among the public as a whole, and is even higher than we see among other religious groups with high levels of religious commitment,” like white evangelicals and black Protestants.
“Mormons and evangelicals have a fair amount in common with each other,” Mr. Smith said. “Large numbers in both groups are politically conservative, are Republican and are religiously committed. “Despite that,” he said, “Mormons perceive a fair amount of hostility directed at them from evangelicals.”
A 2007 Pew poll found that 46% of the public says that Mitt Romney is very religious. But Romney’s perceived religiosity is not an unambiguous benefit to his candidacy, since many Americans are reluctant to vote for a Mormon for President. Though Mormonism is viewed as far less of a liability for a presidential candidate than not believing in God or being a Muslim, more people do express reservations about voting for a Mormon (25%) than about supporting a candidate who is an evangelical Christian (16%), a Jew (11%) or a Catholic (7%).
Furthermore, the group of Americans most likely to say they value religiosity in a president – white evangelical Protestants – is also the group most apt to be bothered by his religion. More than one-in-three evangelical Republicans (36%) expressed reservations about voting for a Mormon, a level of opposition much higher than that seen among the electorate overall. These worries are directly linked to how Americans view Romney. The August Pew poll found that Romney’s favorability rating was much lower (54%) among those who say they would be less likely to vote for a Mormon than among those without such reservations (81%). …
There are substantial educational differences in opinions about Mormons: 64% of college graduates express favorable opinions of Mormons, as do 56% of those with some college experience. But fewer than half of those with a high school education or less (45%) have a positive impression of Mormons. …
Most Americans say Mormonism is very different from their own religion. Among non-Mormons who express a religious preference, more than six-in-ten (62%) say that Mormonism and their own religion are very different; just a quarter says that Mormonism and their own religion have a lot in common. The vast majority of white evangelical Protestants (67%) reject the idea that Mormonism and their own religion have a lot in common, as do smaller majorities of white mainline Protestants (56%) and white non-Hispanic Catholics (61%).
When asked to describe their impression of the Mormon religion in a single word, somewhat more (27%) offer a negative word than a positive one (23%); 19% give a neutral descriptor. The most common negative word expressed is “polygamy,” including “bigamy” or some other reference to plural marriage (75 total responses), followed by “cult” (57 total mentions). But while many people associate polygamy with Mormonism, nearly as many think of “family” or “family values” (74 total mentions). Other positive words commonly used to describe Mormonism include “dedicated” (34 mentions), “devout” or “devoted” (32 mentions), “good” (31 mentions), and “faith” or “faithful” (25 total mentions).
The LDS Church recently devoted efforts to discovering what the public thinks of them. A study found that “the most common negative associations with Mormonism included being: pushy, cultish, secretive, controlling, sexist, anti-gay, and polygamist.
There are two aspects of Mormonism that probably contribute to this perception. First, there is the obvious fact that the LDS Church actively proselytizes, most notably in the practice of training and sending missionaries all over the globe seeking converts and in the church’s famous TV and radio ads touting family values and a message of “we’re just like you.” Secondly, a commonly-spoken mantra of Mormonism is the idea of “every member a missionary,” the push for all members to share their beliefs with non-Mormons and invite them to come to church services and have missionaries visit them to teach them about Mormonism.
This can easily be ascribed to the rituals and codes of conduct not found in other mainstream Christian faiths. One could point to the endowment ceremony, which is reminiscent of masonic rites, the temple garments, which are to be worn at all times by endowed members, and the proscriptions against coffee, tea, alcohol, and tobacco found in the Word of Wisdom. There are many who claim that Mormonism is a cult because they believe it is not Christ-centered, or even because it practices mind control or “thought reform.”
LDS Church members who participate in the temple endowment ceremony covenant not to speak of the details of the ceremony outside of the temple. You would be hard-pressed to find a believing Mormon who would divulge what goes on in the temple in any kind of detail, an they are often deeply offended at the idea that former members speak openly of temple ceremonies, and that there are transcripts and recordings of the ceremonies available online. This practice is most troublesome to non-Mormons who are excluded when their LDS family members get married in the temple.
The LDS Church has a history of voting and acting as one, in accordance with the views of their leadership. For instance, in the earliest years of the church, members often voted as a unanimous bloc for whomever the president of the church told them. This was one of the main reasons their neighbors in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois were intimidated and threatened by the prospect of their area being inundated with Mormons. In more recent times, the LDS Church’s stance on Proposition 8 in California, which declared marriage to be a union between one man and one woman, demonstrated again the amount of control the leadership had over the public life of members. The church encouraged, some might say commanded, members to support (vocally and monetarily) the Proposition, and to of course vote in favor of the proposition.
The LDS Church’s Proclamation on the Family states that, “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” The LDS Church is patriarchal in structure and doctrine. Only men may be ordained in the priesthood, which is the authority to act in God’s name. Women do not preside over men in any capacity in the LDS Church. Women may only teach or have authority over children or other women.
Proposition 8 was not the only instance in which the LDS Church took a stance on LGBT issues. In 1993, Apostle Boyd K. Packer called LGBT rights activism one of the greatest threats to the LDS Church, stating, “The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals.” In the October 2010 General Conference, Packer also gave a scathing address in which he adamantly asserted that no one is born with a natural inclination to be attracted to members of the same sex, saying, “Why would our heavenly father do that to anyone?” In addition, the LDS Church has a history of being involved with political campaigns regarding LGBT rights, most notably in Hawaii.
The LDS Church quite clearly has a history of teaching and practicing polygamy, and while the branch of Mormonism centered in Salt Lake City publicly gave up the practice, there are a number of Mormon sects which still practice polygamy and which also claim Joseph Smith as their founder and the Book of Mormon as the Word of God. In addition, it is also possible for men to be sealed to more than one living woman at a time. A divorced man may be sealed to his new wife without having the first sealing cancelled, making him a polygamist in spirit if not in practice.
There’s an aura of secrecy around the faith that many find off-putting. One has to demonstrate certain markers of faithfulness before some of the inner workings of the faith are revealed. But in a world where institutional transparency is held at a premium, this just doesn’t fly with non-Mormons. There’s also the broader perception that many beliefs of Mormonism are, well, just kind of weird. From Joseph Smith reading holy tablets in a hat with his magic glasses to Jesus appearing in what is now the United States after his resurrection, there’s plenty that simply doesn’t sit well with those looking in from the outside. …
Let me try to restate this in simpler terms. Whereas most Christians recognize that there’s room in the faith to interpret and practice our beliefs in a number of different ways, there’s an emphasis in Mormonism on homogeneity that is starkly counter-cultural. Basically, you are to believe what “The Mormon Church” states as the beliefs and values of all Mormons, or you’re not a Mormon. It’s this hard-line fundamentalism that may ultimately be the wedge that keeps Mormons from being viewed as part of mainstream American culture. All of the other, more sensational, issues can be ameliorated, but rigid fundamentalism simply doesn’t fly in today’s America.
Mr. Romney, earnest and staid, who is deep within the labyrinthine Mormon hierarchy, is directly descended from an early follower of the founding prophet Joseph Smith, whose highly original revelation was as much a departure from historical Christianity as Islam was and is. But then, so in fact are most manifestations of what is now called religion in the United States, including the Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God Pentecostalists and even our mainline Protestant denominations. …
The Salt Lake City empire of corporate greed has little enough in common with the visions of Joseph Smith. The oligarchs of Salt Lake City, who sponsor Mr. Romney, betray what ought to have been their own religious heritage. Though I read Christopher Hitchens with pleasure, his characterization of Joseph Smith as “a fraud and conjuror” is inadequate. A superb trickster and protean personality, Smith was a religious genius, uniquely able to craft a story capable of turning a self-invented faith into a people now as numerous as the Jews, in America and abroad. According to the church, about six million American citizens are Mormons, and there are more than eight million converts in Asia, Africa and elsewhere. …
The accurate critique of Mormonism is that Smith’s religion is not even monotheistic, let alone democratic. Though the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints no longer openly describes their innermost beliefs, they clearly hold on to the notion of a plurality of gods. Indeed, they themselves expect to become gods, following the path of Joseph Smith.
There are other secrets also, not tell-able by the Mormon Church to those it calls “Gentiles,” oddly including Jews. That aspects of the religion of a devout president of the United States should be concealed from all but 2 percent of us may be a legitimate question that merits pondering. When I wandered about the South and Southwest from 1989 to 1991, researching American religion, I was heartened by the warmth that greeted me in Pentecostal and Baptist churches, some of them independent indeed. But Gentiles are not allowed in Mormon temples.
The hierarchy’s vast economic power is founded upon the tithing of the faithful, who yield 10 percent of their income to the church. I am moved by the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations but remain skeptical that you can achieve a lessening of money’s influence upon our politics, since money is politics. That dark insight has animated the Mormon hierarchy all through the later 20th and early 21st century. The patriotism of Mormons for some time now has been legendary: they help stock the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the military. …
Mormons earn godhead though their own efforts, hoping to join the plurality of gods, even as they insist they are not polytheists. No Mormon need fall into the fundamentalist denial of evolution, because the Mormon God is not a creator. Imaginatively liberating as this may be, its political implications are troublesome. The Mormon patriarch, secure in his marriage and large family, is promised by his faith a final ascension to godhead, with a planet all his own separate from the earth and nation where he now dwells. From the perspective of the White House, how would the nation and the world appear to President Romney? How would he represent the other 98 percent of his citizens?
At an appearance at George Washington University here Saturday night, Bill Maher bounded into territory that the news media have been gingerly tiptoeing around. Magic underwear. Baptizing dead people. Celestial marriages. Private planets. Racism. Polygamy.
“By any standard, Mormonism is more ridiculous than any other religion,” asserted the famously nonbelieving comic who skewered the fairy tales of several faiths in his documentary Religulous. “It’s a religion founded on the idea of polygamy. They call it The Principle. That sounds like The Prime Directive in ‘Star Trek.’ ”
He said he expects the Romney crowd — fighting back after Robert Jeffress, a Texas Baptist pastor supporting Rick Perry, labeled Mormonism a non-Christian “cult” — to once more “gloss over the differences between Christians and Mormons.”
Maher was not easy on the religion he was raised in either. He referred to the Roman Catholic Church as “an international child sex ring.” But atheists, like Catholics and evangelical Christians, seem especially wary of Mormons, dubbed the “ultimate shape-shifters” by Maher. …
Kent Jackson, the associate dean of religion at Brigham Young University, says that while Mormons are Christians, “Mormonism is not part of the Christian family tree.” It probably won’t comfort skeptical evangelicals and Catholics to know that Mormons think that while other Christians merely “have a portion of the truth, what God revealed to Joseph Smith is the fullness of the truth,” as Jackson says. “We have no qualms about saying evangelicals, Catholics and Protestants can go to heaven, including Pastor Jeffress. We just believe that the highest blessings of heaven come” to Mormons. As for those planets that devout Mormon couples might get after death, Jackson says that’s a canard.
You can’t have it “both ways” when it comes to Romney’s faith. You can’t say that his religious beliefs don’t matter, but his “values” do. The Christian worldview teaches that there is a short tether binding beliefs to the values and behaviors that flow from them. If the beliefs are false, then the behavior will eventually—but inevitably—be warped. Mormonism is particularly troubling on this point because Mormons believe in the idea of “continuing revelation.” They may believe one thing today, and something else tomorrow. This is why Mormons have changed their views, for example, on marriage and race. Polygamy was once a key distinctive of the religion. Now, of course, it is not. Mormons once forbade blacks from leadership roles. Now they do not. What else will change?
Even if a Mormon social teaching happens to concur with orthodox Christianity at this point in time, it is unreliable and subject to alteration. It’s tempting to say that “continuing revelation” has defined Romney’s career, who has changed his positions on same-sex marriage and abortion and just about every major “culture war” issue.
For evangelical Christians, Romney has some additional explaining to do. On such essential doctrines as the Trinity and the role of Jesus in salvation, there are major differences between orthodox (biblical) Christianity and Mormonism. But the real problem is that Mormons believe and teach an American history that is in many particulars completely unsubstantiated and in others demonstrably false. Mormons believe that the “lost tribes” of Israel actually ended up in America, and that Jesus visited America and these tribes during his incarnation. These are just a few of Mormonism’s highly idiosyncratic views of history.
Does Mitt Romney believe these views? Why or why not? Does he believe historical facts are matters of personal opinion? More to the point, does he really believe that, if he were to become the GOP nominee, he would not have to answer these questions before the world? Romney will face a Hobson’s choice. He will either affirm certain beliefs about reality and American history that most Americans will find false or flimsy, or else he will reject them be thereby “outed” as a hypocrite or traitor to his own belief system. …
At its core, Mormonism is—by Christian standards or by reasonable secular standards—an a-historical (and at times anti-historical) worldview. Evangelicals and others who argue that you cannot dismiss Romney based on his religion either miss or ignore this critical point. The boat of Mormonism is not tied to the anchor of either historical Christianity or even commonly accepted historical facts. Because the boat of Mormonism has been cut loose from that anchor, and is adrift in a sea of philosophies and ideas, any similarity between Christian and Mormon is historically temporary and not a reliable gauge of how Romney will govern.
My final point may seem minor to most Americans, but I think it should make a significant difference to evangelicals: As Theodore Roosevelt said, the presidency is a “bully pulpit.” Indeed, it has become the bulliest pulpit in the world. The entire planet hangs on what the occupant of that pulpit says and does. Placing a Mormon in that pulpit would be a source of pride and a shot of adrenaline for the LDS church. It would serve to normalize the false teachings of Mormonism the world over. It would also provide an opening to Mormon missionaries around the world, who could start every conversation: “Let me tell you about the American president.” To elect a Mormon President is to advance the cause of the Mormon Church. …
Certain qualifications make a candidate unfit to serve. I believe a candidate who either by intent or effect promotes a false and dangerous religion is unfit to serve. Mitt Romney has said it is not his intent to promote Mormonism. Yet there can be little doubt that the effect of his candidacy—whether or not this is his intent—will be to promote Mormonism. A Romney presidency would have the effect of actively promoting a false religion in the world. If you have any regard for the Gospel of Christ, you should care. A false religion should not prosper with the support of Christians. The salvation of souls is at stake.
For me, that alone disqualifies him from my vote. Because Mormons believe in continuing revelation, it is possible that in the future the LDS church will renounce its heretical beliefs and come fully into the fold of orthodox Christianity. Many theologians and church historians believe the church is on such a trajectory. But if that happens, it is an event still well in the future. The Mormon Church of today is, by the lights of biblical evangelical Christianity, a false religion. If Mitt Romney believes what the Mormon Church teaches about the world and how it operates, then he is unfit to serve. We make him our President at great peril to the intellectual and spiritual health of our nation.
Anti-Mormonism is a fairly fuzzy sort of bias, based mostly on rumors and unfamiliarity and the vague feeling that Mormons are kind of weird. It’s a wobbly opposition that can be overcome by good public relations that defuses concerns about the religion and shifts focus to the personality of the candidate. This is how someone like Romney gets elected in a blue state like Massachusetts, where even Republicans are generally tolerant.
But moderate Republicans aren’t the ones who could derail a Romney candidacy. His obstacle is the evangelical base–a voting bloc that now makes up 30 percent of the Republican electorate and that wields particular influence in primary states like South Carolina and Virginia. Just as it is hard to overestimate the importance of evangelicalism in the modern Republican Party, it is nearly impossible to overemphasize the problem evangelicals have with Mormonism. Evangelicals don’t have the same vague anti-LDS prejudice that some Americans do. For them it’s a doctrinal thing, based on very specific theological disputes that can’t be overcome by personality or charm or even shared positions on social issues. …
Mormons believe that they are the fully realized strain of Christianity–hence the “latter-day saints.” They acknowledge extra-biblical works of scripture (such as the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants), follow a series of prophets who claim to have received divine revelations, and teach that God inhabits an actual physical body. This is all blasphemy to evangelicals; they argue that “the Bible explicitly warns against adding to or detracting from its teaching” and refer to the revelations as “realistic deception[s] by the Devil himself.”
Evangelical Christians consider Mormonism a threat in a way that Catholicism and even Judaism are not. The LDS Church, they charge, has perverted Christian teachings to create a false religion. As John L. Smith, a Southern Baptist who runs Utah Mission–an organization that tries to convert Mormons–told Christianity Today: “Mormonism is either totally true or totally false. If it’s true, every other religion in America is false.” To be tolerant of Mormonism is to put evangelical Christianity at risk. And to put a Mormon in the White House would be to place a stamp of approval on that faith.
Southern Baptists have been particularly vocal about labeling the LDS Church a “cult.” In 1997, the denomination published a handbook and video, both with the title The Mormon Puzzle: Understanding and Witnessing to Latter-day Saints. More than 45,000 of these kits were distributed in the first year; the following year–in a throwing down of the proselytizing gauntlet–the Southern Baptist Convention held its annual meeting in Salt Lake City. …
Silence is not an option. All of this leaves Romney in a real pickle. Thus far, he’s tried to follow in the tradition of other Massachusetts politicians and “pull a John Kennedy,” declaring personal faith irrelevant to his qualifications for office. This is a nonstarter. We live in a political era in which, thanks largely to Republicans, candidates are virtually required to talk openly about their religious views. There is no way a Republican, especially in a GOP primary, can avoid the issue–if for no other reason than the press won’t let them. …
As the first serious LDS presidential candidate, Romney is an oddity. News outlets will feature charts comparing Mormon theology to Christian doctrine, and stories detailing various dietary and clothing restrictions. Again, this may help demystify Mormonism for average voters who may be generally uneasy about the faith, but it will only serve to remind evangelicals of the differences between the two religions. Indeed, Romney faces an unwinnable dilemma: The more information that circulates about the specifics of his faith, the more hesitant evangelical voters will be to support him.
Conservatives are beginning to worry about Romney’s viability with evangelicals, even if they’re not saying so publicly just yet. One LDS politician has been quietly making the rounds to Washington wise men to get their sense of what evangelical opposition would mean for Romney in the primaries. Meanwhile, Robert Novak, who is as closely connected to conservative sources as anyone in the nation’s capitol, wrote in June that Romney’s Mormonism is “his one great liability as a presidential candidate.”
The tragedy–or, depending on your point of view, the irony–is that Mitt Romney may just be the most appealing candidate Republicans can field, the one most likely to win the White House by shoring up social conservatives and rallying business interests without frightening swing voters. Yet the modern GOP’s reliance on evangelical voters and its elevation of personal religiosity–strategies which have served the party so well in recent years–may doom the chances of this most promising candidate. Or, to put it in evangelical terms, it might be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for Mitt Romney to win the Republican nomination.
Romney’s religion pulls a curtain over parts of his life story because some important moments for Mormons are restricted to Mormons. After Mitt and Ann were married in Michigan in 1969, they flew to the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City for a ceremony where Mitt wore white robes and they were “sealed” for eternity. But Ann’s parents were not Mormon, so they were not allowed inside to see it.
Romney recoiled from ’60s counterculture and was “proudly square” as he went from seeing “The Sound of Music” with Ann to avoiding the Grateful Dead at college, Kranish and Helman report. While Stanford classmates like David Harris organized protests against the Vietnam War, Mitt got a deferment to go to Paris as a Mormon missionary. His position on the war mirrored his dad’s. When George Romney was for it, Mitt was for it; when George turned against it, so did Mitt, agreeing that Americans had been “brainwashed.”
At Harvard, Romney was in a nondrinking, nonsmoking, suburban, uxorious bubble with Ann, revolving around Mormon rituals, Mormon couples and the Mormon credo of strong, heterosexual, traditional families. “The parental roles were clear,” the authors of “The Real Romney” write. “Mitt would have the career, and Ann would run the house.” …
“The Real Romney” offers details about his days as a bishop of his church in Boston, including the time he sought out a single mother named Peggie Hayes and advised her to give up her soon-to-be-born son for adoption. She claims he threatened her with excommunication; he denies that. The book also features a colorful history of the candidate’s polygamous Mormon ancestors living in Illinois, Utah and Mexico — running from the law at times — that evokes the HBO series “Big Love.”
Petting is fondling a member of the opposite sex in areas that are private, personal, and sacred. Because of modern movies and television we must add prolonged kisses that involve the tongue and excite the passions as an off limits form of fondling. Even a simple kiss should be reserved for special occasions and for special people we care about.
“All those who have slipped into the disgraceful and most reprehensible habit of transgressing through petting should immediately change their lives, their habits, and their thought patterns, repent sorely in ‘sackcloth and ashes,’ and by confession get so far as possible a clearance from the Lord and the leaders of his Church so that a measure of peace may accompany them through their lives (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969, pp. 66, 67).”
“A kiss is an evidence of affection. A kiss is an evidence of love, not an evidence of lust – but it can be. Don’t ever let a kiss in your courtship spell lust. Necking and petting are lustful; they are not love. I don’t mind you kissing each other after you have had several dates; not the kiss of passion, but the kiss of affection.” – Spencer W. Kimball, address to missionaries, 2 Jan. 1959.
“Shame on the girl who will let a boy fondle her body with his hands. Petting leads to something worse and whatever leads to something worse is bad itself. Petting is an abomination in the sight of God: and you know it-even if Mom or Dad or your teachers failed to warn you. Instinctively you know it. And you should know, too, that necking leads to petting. This boy who came to me, and others of you may have to put petting on your list of sins to be repented of.” – Elder William J. Critchlow, Jr., BYU Speeches, April 28, 1964, page 7
“My beloved young folks, do not excuse petting and body intimacies. I am positive that if this illicit, illegal, improper, and lustful habit of ‘petting’ could be wiped out, that fornication would soon be gone from our world. – Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, “Love Versus Lust”, BYU Speech January 5, 1965.
“Avoid necking and petting like a plague, for necking and petting are the concessions which precede the complete loss of virtue.” Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, “Safety in the Face of Dangers”, BYU Speech May 10, 1966.
God’s Prophets like Joseph Smith, Mosiah and Spencer W. Kimball have defined righteous sexuality for Mormons. Here’s a simple test for any True Believing Mormon who thinks they are not sexually repressed.
- Do you agree with Mormon scripture that sexual purity is “precious above all things?
- Do you agree that sexual sin is most abominable above all sins, except for murder or denying the Holy Ghost?
- Does the loss of “sexual virtue” make someone “unclean?”
- Would you rather have your son/daughter return from a mission/college in a casket than alive without their virtue intact?
If you answered yes to all four questions, then congratulations, you are a genuine True Believing Mormon! If you don’t understand what’s unhealthy about answering yes to all four questions, you are in denial. Keep on paying your tithing and ignoring that man behind the curtain.
If you answered No to any of the above four questions, then you do not agree with Mormon scripture and/or Church leaders. Therefore, you are not a complete True Believing Mormon. Since you do not follow the party line, you are most likely thinking for yourself to some degree.
- Multiple worlds with multiple Gods. They believe that God created many planets with many people and each planet has its own God. They go further to say that if you are good and special you can also become a God of your own planet. Did the Mormons create multi level marketing?
- Forgiveness. The Mormons believe that you can be forgiven of any sin except murder and denying the Holy Spirit. God is forgiving, until the second coming. After that, No more! You get what you get, so take care of your bad stuff now, before it is too late.
- There are multiple heavens. There are actually three according to the Mormon doctrine. One for those that do just ok, one for those that do better than average, and one for those that are really, really good. Sounds kind of like a report card to me A B C what kind of student are you?
- Priesthood. They believe that any worthy male can be given priesthood and have assigned duties. They did not allow this privilege to black men until 1978. Women are not allowed in the priesthood.
- Jesus visited America. The Mormons believe that there were spiritual things taking place in America at the same time Jesus rose from the grave and visited his disciples. The belief is that he visited Bountiful, Utah.
- Modern Revelation. The Mormons believe that the elected prophet of the time gets visits from god and gives him directions. The Mormons have a convention twice a year and the prophet tells them what the big man said.
- Mormons believe The Book of Mormon was written by and named after one of it’s supporting characters, who had the ghost of his son, Moroni, bid Joseph Smith publish it’s contents, which were, essentially, Jesus fanfiction.
- Formerly the Garden of Eden and the future site of New Jerusalem, Mormons believe that God called dibs on Jackson County, Missouri, specifically, as a sanctuary for those seeking religious freedom, which may come as a shock to anyone who’s ever had to live in Missouri.
- Notable Mormons include Glenn Beck, Stephenie Meyer, David Archuleta, and Aaron Eckhart.
In the early nineteenth century there was a Second Great Awakening in New England, the perfect time to make up a new denomination, as the local rubes were just wetting themselves with excitement about Christianity. Strangely enough, they were also dripping with piss over treasure hunting, but unfortunately for them, the metal detector hadn’t been invented yet. And Along Came Joseph Smith.
Professional scryer and purveyor of cake, beer, and the crazy white folk’s yabble-dabble that was so stylish at the time. For a price young Smith could help you find your fortune with nothing but a hat full of rocks. Like the Miss Cleo of his day, his “for entertainment purposes only” hoodoo was getting him into a pant-load of trouble, but rather than feeling any understandable fear or remorse by this time, Smith was apparently filled with spiritual conflict, as he was surrounded by religions of every kind, (and by “every kind”, we mean “every kind based on Christianity”) and just didn’t know which was the true church.
Then, while on a soul searching walk in the woods, presumably on his way to a snake-oil seminar, a pillar of light in the sky, summoned by a glorious Nordic Jesus, pinned him to the ground. After the formality of a brief probing, NJ instructed Smith to create the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a religion based on many plausible beliefs. As in the belief that magic underpants will protect you from sin, or that, after his resurrection and ascension into heaven, Jesus Christ returned to earth and — rather than do a victory lap of the Middle East — he went straight for Northern Missouri. Why not?
The Mormon church caught on like a wildfire of clean livin’ and Manifest Destiny, but around 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois, Smith had finally landed himself in prison on several charges, most harem-related. An angry mob came to deal him a taste of hillybilly learnin’, but, assuming they were the legion sent to rescue him, Smith lost his chance to escape and was shot to death, falling out of a window.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they believe your Church is wrong, your Christian creeds are abomination to God.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that there is salvation only in their church – all others are wrong.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that those who have been through their temples are wearing secret underwear to protect themselves from “evil”. This “evil” includes non – Mormons like you.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU about their secret temple rites at all. If they did, you would spot them as non Christians immediately.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that women receive salvation only through their Mormon husbands, and must remain pregnant for all eternity.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they intend to be gods themselves some day, and are helping to earn their exaltation to godhood by talking to you.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they intend to have many wives in heaven, carrying on multiple sex relations throughout eternity, until they have enough children to populate their own earth, so they can be “Heavenly Father” over their own planet!
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they believe Jesus had at least three wives and children while he was on this earth.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that the “heavenly father” they ask you to pray to with them, is really an exalted man that lives on a planet near the star base Kolob, and is not the Heavenly Father of the Bible at all.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that there are over one hundred divisions in Mormonism. They conveniently “forget” this while criticizing the many denominations within the body of Christ
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that the state of Utah, which is predominately Mormon, has a higher than the national average of wife-beating, child abuse, and teenage suicide.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that their prophet Joseph Smith was heavily involved in the occult when he founded Mormonism.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that there are many accounts of Joseph Smith’s first vision besides the one they present to you, and all are different
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that before 1978 they considered the Negro race inferior, and even one drop of Negro blood prevented a person from entering their priesthood.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that they consider the Bible to be untrustworthy and full of errors.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that Jesus’ death on the cross only partially saves the believer.
MORMONS WON’T TELL YOU that Joseph Smith taught that there were inhabitants on the moon, and Brigham Young taught there were inhabitants on the sun as well!
I’m a young, feminist atheist who can’t bake a cupcake. Why am I addicted to the shiny, happy lives of these women? …
Why, exactly, are these blogs so fascinating to women like us — secular, childless women who may have never so much as baked a cupcake, let alone reupholstered our own ottomans with thrifted fabric and vintage grosgrain ribbon? It’s not as though we’re sniffing around the dark side of the faith, à la “Big Love.” And it’s not about religion. As someone married to a former Saint (my husband left the church as a teenager), I certainly have no illusions about what life as a Mormon would be like, and I’m sure it’s not for me, which makes my obsession with these blogs all the more startling.
Well, to use a word that makes me cringe, these blogs are weirdly “uplifting.” To read Mormon lifestyle blogs is to peer into a strange and fascinating world where the most fraught issues of modern living — marriage and child rearing — appear completely unproblematic. This seems practically subversive to someone like me, weaned on an endless media parade of fretful stories about “work-life balance” and soaring divorce rates and the perils of marrying too young/too old/too whatever. And don’t even get me started on the Mommy Blogs, which make parenthood seem like a vale of judgment and anxiety, full of words like “guilt” and “chaos” and “BPA-free” and “episiotomy.” Read enough of these, and you’ll be ready to remove your own ovaries with a butter knife.
“It seems that a lot of popular culture wants to portray marriage and motherhood as demeaning, restrictive or simple, but in the LDS church, motherhood is a very important job, and it’s treated with a lot of respect,” says Natalie Holbrook, the New York-based author of the popular blog Nat the Fat Rat. “Most of my readers are non-LDS women in their late 20s and early 30s, college educated, many earning secondary degrees on the postgraduate level, and a comment I often get is, ‘You are making me want kids, and I’ve never wanted kids!’”
Indeed, Mormon bloggers like Holbrook make marriage and motherhood seem, well, fun. Easy. Joyful. These women seem relaxed and untouched by cynicism. They throw elaborate astronaut-themed birthday parties for their kids and go on Sunday family drives to see the fall leaves change and get mani-pedis with their friends. They often have close, large extended families; moms and sisters are always dropping in to watch the kids or help out with cake decorating. Their lives seem adorable and old-fashioned and comforting. …
There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about “the New Domesticity” — an increasing interest in old-fashioned, traditionally female tasks like sewing, crafts and jam making. Some pundits see this as a sign that young women yearn to return to some kind of 1950s Ozzie and Harriet existence, that feminism has “failed,” that women are realizing they can’t have it all, after all. That view is utterly nonsense, in my opinion, but I do think women of my generation are looking to the past in an effort to create fulfilling, happy domestic lives, since the modern world doesn’t offer much of a road map. …
Of course, the larger question is, are these women’s lives really as sweet and simple as they appear? Blogs have always been a way to mediate and prettify your own life; you’d be a fool to compare your real self to someone else’s carefully arranged surface self. And Mormons are particularly famous for their “put on a happy face” attitude. The church teaches that the Gospel is the only authentic path to true happiness. So if you’re a faithful follower, you better be happy, right?
The phenomenon of the happier-than-thou Mormon housewife blogger is so well-recognized it’s even spawned a parody blog, Seriously So Blessed, whose fictional author brays things like “We have non-stop fun all the time and are LOVING married life!” and “Speaking of fall, I kind of sometimes want to start a non-profit to help moms who go all of fall without blogging pics of their kids in pumpkin patches, because it seriously breaks my heart!”
So why are Mormon women such prolific bloggers? “It probably has something to do with the fact that Mormons are the world’s biggest journal-keepers,” says my husband, offering a partial explanation. Church elders have long encouraged members to keep regular journals for the dual purposes of historical record-keeping and promoting spiritual insight, and as a result Mormons are champion journalers and scrapbookers. In the 2000s, church elders began officially promoting new media technologies like blogs as a way of spreading the gospel, and the Mormon blogging community soon became so large it earned itself a punny nickname: the Bloggernacle. …
“Blogging is something they/we can do that feels productive, can potentially make money for our families and can be done from the home at any time,” Henderson writes. For young Mormon women, who face immense cultural pressure to stay home with children rather than pursue a career, blogging about their adventures in homemaking becomes a sort of creative outlet, a way of contributing to the larger world beyond the home.
The bloggers I read may be as happy with their lot as they seem. Or not. While some Mormon women prosper under the cultural norms for wife- and mother-dom, others chafe. Utah is, after all, the state with the highest rate of prescription antidepressant use, a statistic the president of the Utah Psychiatric Association attributes to the pressure among Mormon women to be ideal wives and mothers. The creator of Seriously So Blessed, an anonymous Mormon woman, addresses this pressure in an online archive of Mormon women interviews called the Mormon Women Project: “In any highly homogeneous culture we all feel pressure to be and look and think and act a certain way,” she says. “You start to think you need to be absolutely perfect in every area.”
Clearly, life for the Mormon wife is not all crafts and cupcakes. Even if it were, I seriously doubt that crafts and cupcakes are all that much fun when you do them all day, every day.
Here’s an interesting primer on cults that you can find in a book on advertising. The author of “Coercion: Why We Listen to What ‘They’ Say” describes religious cults as powerful pyramid schemes. Author Douglas Rushkoff lists 20 common steps of indoctrination in destructive cults. His steps are quoted in italics with my comments included below each step.
1. The Goal
Every cult has a stated, vague and metaphorical goal. Because this goal must serve as the “illuminated eye” of the pyramid, it cannot be attainable. Rather, it is expressed as an abstract idea – like “salvation” – which the cult members will enjoy once they have made it to the top of the pyramid. So what is the ultimate goal for Mormons? Nothing less than Godhood, not salvation. Mormons don’t talk about salvation as the ultimate goal. They talk about “Exaltation” and “having all that God has,” becoming “priests and kings” and having “kingdoms, thrones, principalities, powers, dominions and exaltations.”
2. A Charismatic Leader
All cults – whether spiritual or mundane – have a charismatic figurehead. The leader must be someone whose speech, manner and energy exert inexplicable influence. In religious cults, the leader attains his divine status in one of two ways. The first is by claiming to be the hand-picked successor to the last guru. The second is by claiming to embody an entirely new spiritual force – either to have been born sacred or to have suffered an “awakening” trauma or a sudden “new breeze” of insight. Most True Believing Mormons find the General Authorities to be very Charismatic. They are celebrities and almost worshiped wherever they go among the membership. Even Gordon B. Hinckley is charismatic enough to woo over Mike Wallace from 60 Minutes, who was so impressed with Hinckley he called him “charismatic.”
3. Sacred Doctrine
Most cults have a sacred text or doctrine. Often a cult will adopt an established text, like the Bible or the Koran. Others use a spontaneously revealed doctrine. These are usually “channeled” or transcribed. Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, Ensign, General Conference Talks, etc..
4. Divine Coincidence
New members must learn of the cult as if by grace. If the members believe they came to the cult through conscious or rational process, then they are in a position to take responsibility and credit for their participation. Cults try to avoid this perception because members should be separated from their sense of willpower in order to be fully indoctrinated. Most converts see their discovery of the church as a divine coincidence of some kind. Missionaries thrive on stories of divine intervention and every convert has that as part of their story of joining the church.
5. Positive Results through Commitment
While discovery and introduction are almost always free, the newcomer is told that he will experience satisfaction only when he has made a financial or equivalent commitment. At sales meetings for another of the cults I investigated, writing a check was equated with the first step toward changing one’s life, and new members reported feeling results the moment they made this commitment. For Mormons, this commitment is primarily expressed in tithing. Tithing is affectionately known as “fire insurance” in the Mormon Church and the Bishop does not see you as a member in good standing if you are not a full tithe payer. Those who do not pay tithing are second-class members that are not given leadership callings, cannot perform church ordinances or attend the temple (endowments or family weddings). Most True Believing Mormons think something bad will happen to them if they stop paying tithing and superstitiously attribute good luck experiences to their paying of tithing. What follows are temple recommend cards which for many believing Mormons is a symbol of their worthiness and self-esteem.
6. Extraordinary Measures
Once new members have made their initial surrender or contribution to the cult, they are asked to do something that contradicts their judgment. What’s important is that the act goes against the new members’ own internal sense of appropriateness. The members must get used to acting against their own values. The big examples of this are found in the temple. Everything from garments, naked touching and secret handshakes go against what most people would consider extraordinary. The full-time missionary experience is also full of required behavior that goes against the many people’s internal sense of appropriateness. One of the hallmarks of all destructive cults is their bizarre rites of passage, which Mormonism has in spades.
7. Member Complicity
Once an extraordinary measure is taken, the members are rewarded with complicity in the greater pyramid. To get out of the cult after this act of complicity, a member will have to own up to all of the cult’s practices as if they were his/her own. This goes back to what happens to people in the temple. After accepting garments for life, being touched while naked, making loyalty oaths and learning secret handshakes, members are then rewarded with inclusion into the temple club and the privileges that includes. Being a temple card-carrying member is a huge sign of complicity. Apart from the temple, church leadership positions also work this way.
8. A Cycle of Breaking “Self”
After extracting extraordinary measures and complicity, the cult exploits the commonly practiced spiritual discipline of self-denial and demands increasingly difficult acts of faith from its followers. Sometimes these requests seem to benefit the cult – members are instructed to donate huge sums of money or contribute tremendous time and labor to the cult. Just as often, however, these requests will be completely arbitrary or even against the interests of the cult. By interspersing real requests with these random and bizarre instructions, the cult can avoid the appearance of self-interest. It can also paralyze the followers’ ability to second-guess cult actions. To people who weren’t born in the church, Mormonism is very demanding of time and restrictive on behavior. And it gets worse the longer you strive to be a “Faithful Mormon.” Compared to a normal life, the church demands more of people and it only gets worse as you climb the church hierarchy, just like other destructive cults.
9. Confusion and Transference
By alternating self-interested and random demands, the cult brings its followers into a state of great confusion – they aren’t sure how to please the cult. Sometime leaders will reward members who fail to carry out commands, and punish those who complete them successfully. The confused cult member will eventually regress to a childlike state and transfers parental authority to the cult leaders – which is why so many cult leaders insist on being called “Mother” or “Father.” Confusion and Transference is all about reducing people to childlike dependence on the church through confusion. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the Mormon obsession with “following the spirit” which leads to all kinds of personal confusion. Titles like “President,” “Bishop,” and “Apostle” all imply these people are authority figures that should be obeyed. True Believing Mormons accept that people with these titles are more “in tune with the spirit” and in a state of personal confusion will cling to their leadership. The whole church system is demeaning to adults and reduces the faithful to dependence, not independence.
10. Prescriptive Behavior
Like any victim of induced regression and transference, once their ability to make decisions have been suspended, the cult members look to their leaders for guidance on how to behave. They long for direction on what to think, do and believe. The Church has Sunday School, Priesthood instruction, General Conference, Stake Conference, Leadership training, Patriarchal Blessings, Seminary, Institute, Scriptures, Magazines and more for dishing out instructions on how members should think, do and believe? The Mormon Church is about 90% instructions on behavior and beliefs. The other 10% is testimony bearing, which is modeling of correct thinking and behavior. In what church lesson or speech are they not telling you overtly or covertly how to think, act and/or believe? That’s what Mormonism is all about! It’s not about “finding your own way” or “discovering your true self.” It’s about obedience. All good Mormons know that obedience is the first law of heaven.
11. The Goal of Inclusion
Once transference has been achieved, the elusive stated goal of the pyramid cult is replaced with the much more tangible one of establishing a relationship with the cult leaders and acceptance in the cult. The cult members become, in effect, siblings competing for their parent’s approval. The result is a prolonged psychodrama that capitalizes on unresolved issues from the members’ own family backgrounds. The cult leaders orchestrate emotional battles, pitting members against one another as they seek to develop a “special relationship” with the leaders. Because Mormons are reduced to a childlike state, they become obsessed with acceptance and its evil counterparts, judging and gossip. Mormons are obsessed with acceptance and being defined by the group. One way to gain acceptance in the group is through unquestioned loyalty and obedience. Other ways include putting up an elaborate façade of perfection – the Mormon image. Another is to gossip and put down others because this makes you feel better about yourself (temporarily).
12. Never Expose Uncertainty to Those Lower in the Pyramid
By the time a member is this far into a cult, he/she is required to preserve the illusion of its cohesion and perfection. Since a member’s sense of status and nearness to the leaders are directly related to how many people are beneath him/her in the cult hierarchy, he/she must always make an effort to recruit more members. Cult members seek new recruits to raise their own positions in the hierarchy. Members’ statures are directly related to their ability to maintain the appearance of steadfast devotion to the cult. They cannot reveal any lingering doubts about the divinity of the leader lest they lose their own places in the hierarchy to more ardent followers beneath them. A cult member’s very position in the pyramid is defined by his ability to quell the doubts of those beneath him, without being thrown into doubt himself.
13. Never Expose Uncertainty to Those Higher in the Pyramid
Eventually, any expression of doubt at all is deemed offense against the cult. To spread one’s misgivings to a higher member is, in effect, a challenge to that member’s own resolve. Confessing one’s misgivings to a higher member merely affirms the latter’s superior status in the pyramid. As an institution – not just a culture – Mormonism punishes doubt and disbelief in its truth and authority claims. Honest, sincere questioning will not earn any points or blessings in Mormonism. It’s systemic, not cultural and follows the pattern of Mormonism being a destructive cult right up there with the Jehova Witnesses and Scientology.
14. The Cult Precludes All Other Commitments
One by one, each member’s connection with the real world must be reinterpreted as base “attachments” that need to be limited or purged. The member’s original religion, job, friends, spouse and children are less important that his relationship with the cult and its leaders. The members must not gain positive reinforcement from anything or anyone outside of the cult. Family and social bonds are reinterpreted as distractions from the higher values the member is adopting. All real-world associating, inevitably and by design, come into conflict with one’s commitment to the higher goal. One of the great lies of Mormonism is that it is extraordinarily “family friendly.” Most Mormons buy into this myth because the church stresses that image so much. But there is little substance behind it. One of the main purposes of Mormonism is to make families into mini-cults that reinforce the larger cult’s objectives of control.
15. Never Refuse a Request
A member may never refuse a request made by a cult leader, or in the name of the cult. To do so is to place some other value ahead of the sanctity of the group. Members can refuse church callings, but it’s frowned upon and that’s no way to get ahead in the cult. In non-cult churches people recognize that the church is a voluntary organization and there are no serious ramifications if you turn down a request. But in the Mormon cult, it’s not volunteer work but “callings from the Lord” and tremendous pressure is brought to bear on people to accept “callings” to work. Ask the twenty-year-olds that didn’t go if they feel second-class for not going. Mormons are conditioned to accept callings despite their better judgments.
16. All Requests Can Be Challenged
A cult member who has made an inappropriately personal or self-interested request in the name of the cult will be challenged. On the other hand, members who are in the leader’s favor can get away with almost anything of those beneath them. Real churches have moral and ethical obligations to their members. But if you’re in a church that doesn’t teach or enforce what the church owes the members, then you’re probably in a destructive cult. In Mormonism, the church doesn’t owe the members anything – not even financial disclosures or honest history.
17. Never Take Action in the Cult Leaders’ Names
The cult leaders are free from all responsibility. To make a request in the cult leader’s name is to blame the cult leader for any ill will that might result. To use the leader as an excuse is just another way to express doubt. If the church isn’t working for people, the church teaches that it’s the members’ fault, never the leadership. Mormons held the common belief that “the church is perfect, but the members aren’t.” In other words, the system is perfect and never to blame.
18. Act Automatically
Members must strive to act in accordance with the cult leaders’ wishes without thinking. The conditioning, confusion, and fear to which the members are subjected result in a set of new behaviors that take the place of what normally might be called intuition or instinct. Once achieved, this automatic behavior is a welcome relief from the constant questioning of one’s own actions. Obedience is the first law of Heaven! Isn’t that what Mormons are taught? Are there any church lessons on real critical thinking?
19. Witness and Accept the Leaders’ Faults
Once they reach the highest levels of the cult pyramid, members are privy to their leaders’ darkest actions. Members must also come to terms with the abusive behavior of their leaders. Mormon missionaries also experience this cult phenomena first hand. True Believing Missionaries in the field think their assignments are inspired and the Mission President is a prophet. Those who end up working in the office learn the President has a dark side that is petty, arbitrary and cruel. Yet those exposed to this still propagate the myth that the President is divinely-inspired leader.
20. The Cult Leaders Are Perfection
The final stage of cult indoctrination is to accept the leaders as the perfect center of the universe, from which all else derives. The “fully evolved” cult member thus understands all the pain and suffering as resistance to the cult leaders’ divinity. The leader is the single point of entry for God and perfection in the otherwise imperfect universe. Once cult leaders have achieved such a stature in his followers’ minds, the leader can ask them to do anything, even to kill themselves. They already have been trained to go against their own instincts. Thwarting one’s natural tendency toward self-preservation becomes a pleasurable, almost fetishistic obsession.
The doctrines of Mormonism grew more strange as the cult developed. Note that these doctrines are written by Mormon writers, (including source citation) and not anti-mormon writers. Some of the strangest of current Mormon doctrine are as follows.
- The true gospel was lost from the earth. Mormonism is its restoration, Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce R. McConkie, p. 635. They teach there was an apostasy and the true church ceased to exist on earth.
- We need prophets today, the same as in the Old Testament, Mormon Doctrine, p. 606.
- The book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible, History of the Church, 4:461.
- There is no salvation outside the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormon Doctrine, p. 670.
- There are many gods, Mormon Doctrine, p. 163.
- There is a mother god, Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 443.
- God used to be a man on another planet, Mormon Doctrine, p. 321.
- After you become a good Mormon, you have the potential of becoming a god, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 345-347, 354.
- God the Father had a Father (Orson Pratt in The Seer, page 132; One of the purposes of the Seer was “to elucidate” Mormon Doctrine, The Seer, page 1, 1854.
- God the Father has a body of flesh and bones, Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22.
- God is in the form of a man, Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, page 3.
- God is married to his goddess wife and has spirit babies, Mormon Doctrine p. 516.
- We were first begotten as spirit babies in heaven and then born naturally on earth, Journal of Discourse, Vol. 4, p. 218.
- The first spirit to be born in heaven was Jesus, Mormon Doctrine, page 129.
- The Devil was born as a spirit after Jesus “in the morning of pre-existence,” Mormon Doctrine, page 192.
- Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers, Mormon Doctrine, p. 163.
- A plan of salvation was needed for the people of earth so Jesus offered a plan to the father and Satan offered a plan to the father but Jesus’ plan was accepted. In effect the Devil wanted to be the Savior of all Mankind and to “deny men their agency and to dethrone god.” Mormon Doctrine, page 193; Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, page 8.
- God had sexual relations with Mary to make the body of Jesus, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, p. 218, 1857.
- Jesus’ sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 247, 1856.
- Good works are necessary for salvation, Articles of Faith, p. 92.
- There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, p. 188.
- Baptism for the dead, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. II, p. 141. This is a practice of baptizing each other in place of non-Mormons who are now dead. Their belief is that in the afterlife, the “newly baptized” person will be able to enter into a higher level of Mormon heaven.
- There are three levels of heaven: telestial, terrestrial, and celestial, Mormon Doctrine, p. 348.