The Mormon case against Romney

I’m LDS, and I fully realize that the Mormon vote is going for Romney. He’s going to take Utah. And Arizona. Pardon me for not joining.

I know the thinking. When that LDS tag is attached, members of the Church all understand that the person is honest, loving, trustworthy, etc., and all the others are questionable. I don’t buy that. I’ve seen too much of life to just accept that premise without any question. The rough approximations of the assumption of the character of LDS people are true, but in specific instances, you can’t count on that as a perfectly reliable way to judge individuals.

Here’s what I’m getting at: The Romney campaign is fundamentally deceptive. And I think deep inside, most of the supporters know it. I heard a caller last night to the Mark Levin radio show who wanted to defend Romney. Mark gave him a few minutes to present his case to his audience, and as he spoke, Mark threw in questions to focus his comments and try to get down to the real reasons. When it was all boiled down, the caller realized Romney was a moderate, but felt that made him more electable. That was big reason #1. And big reason #2 was his business résumé.

If Romney were so honest, he would portray himself as a moderate. But he’s not. He’s trying to portray himself as the most conservative. We know that’s phony. How do you justify that, you character defenders of Romney? It’s a compromise of his ethics, and you know that.

So we see that Mitt Romney has figured out his line of attack against Rick Santorum. Santorum is a Washington insider and Romney is an outsider. So Romney is the anti-establishment guy who is going to come in to Washington and shake things up. Is that what we’re to understand?

Which is perplexing. Why then, is the Republican establishment rooting for Romney? Is the Republican establishment house divided against itself? Are they promoting their own undoing? Explain this to me, you Romney supporters. But you all know the answer. Romney is the establishment candidate who is trying to deceptively portray himself as the outsider.

It’s a character flaw. We can argue about how serious a character flaw it is. Maybe it’s not a fatal character flaw, but even you LDS people really know, deep down inside, that it’s a character flaw nonetheless. You know you would expect a higher level of integrity from the prophet. You have to know that.

Read my follow-up posting, Is Mitt Romney honest? An LDS perspective.

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About mesasmiles

By Dr. David Hall. Dr. Hall runs Infinity Dental Web, a small company that does Internet marketing for dentists. He has had a long-standing interest in politics and as a college student toyed with the idea of a political career.
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6 Responses to The Mormon case against Romney

  1. Caydon says:

    Thank you for your article. I appreciate your candor, though I may not agree with your political views. But that’s what makes our country great.

    Your quote, “You know you would expect a higher level of integrity from the prophet.” resonates with me, in that I feel that some of our LDS leadership is evasive about the truths in our faith that are the most important, at least to me, namely exaltation.

    Inside the LDS Church, Gordon Hinckley was very clear about what we believe: “On the other hand, the whole design of the gospel is to lead us onward and upward to greater achievement, even, eventually, to godhood. This great possibility was enunciated by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the King Follet sermon; and emphasized by President Lorenzo Snow. It is this grand and incomparable concept: As God now is, man may become!”

    However, when speaking to the press in 1997, Gordon Hinckley risked the appearance of equivocation. Why is it that even some of our leaders are evasive on this truth: “As man is, God once was; As God is, man may be.”

    Joseph Smith taught that: “First, God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heaven, is a man like one of you. That is the great secret.” “You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you”. And his teaching is indeed confirmed by Doctrine and Covenants 132:20.

    We believe, based on Joseph Smith’s revelations, that God the Father was not always a God, but was a man before he was exalted to godhood. Why is it that some of us seem embarrassed about that? I do not see that as something to be embarrassed about, but rather, an encouragement. For if God the Father was once a man, and was exalted to become a God, so too, I may be exalted to become a God.

    So why not proclaim this truth instead of hiding it?

    Response by David Hall:

    Interesting to get such a doctrinal question.

    I had to search this subject on Google. I have been a public affairs director in the Church, and dealt with questions from other churches, and a lot of this kind of thing, but wasn’t familiar with this “controversy.” But I have brought myself up to speed on it. You are apparently referring to statements attributed to President Hinckley by the press. I don’t have any problem with what Pres. Hinckley said, and I have some comments about it. The first is about what President Hinckley may be teaching us about this doctrine. I went to Brigham Young University, and while I was there I do remember some discussions in Sunday School classes and other settings about what God was like in His mortal life, and what our life could be like as gods. It got speculative sometimes to a silly degree. We do not know much about this doctrine, and some of the silly speculative statements that have been made have been twisted by vicious critics of the Church. There are scriptures that are clear that man can become like God. And there are statements by Church leaders to that effect. But I think it is entirely appropriate to emphasize that we know very little about exactly what that means, and therefore it is wise to not emphasize it. This is what President Hinckley was saying, and I not only have no problem with it, I entirely agree with that. Actually, I was telling people something similar in the early 90s when I was an LDS public affairs director in Iowa. And you will see that in Church lessons, Sacrament talks, and talks by our leaders on every level, we do not ever delve into what God our Father was like in His mortality. We simply don’t know anything more about it than that it existed, and I see no profit in discussing it. And I de-emphasized it especially in any questioning by non-members, essentially giving a very similar answer to what Pres. Hinckley said – as a Church, we know very little about this subject.

    Part of the reason for my response and what may be influencing the response of Church leaders, is my exposure to the nasty anti-Mormon film, “The Godmakers.” In that film, speculative notions about this doctrine, promoted by some Church members, were taken and used to fuel vicious and hateful attacks against the Church. And recently, Romney was ridiculed by some media personality who went out on the streets and asked people if they knew that Mormons teach that in heaven, we’ll get our own planet. Actually, we teach no such thing, but this is the sort of excess that is fueled by this imprudent speculation and actual ignorance. No, I agree with President Hinckely – stick to what we really know.

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    • Mike Brinson says:

      Very thoughtful and well said Dave. I appreciate your insightful response, and I appreciate the original thought which drew out the response posted by Caydon.

  2. Ted Suhaka says:

    President Hinkley’s answer to the question posed to him by Larry King, concerning the LDS doctrine of eventual exaltation and godhood, was the wise response, considering the media venue. The Savior warned his saints to take great care in how they teach and disseminate doctines of the kingdom which are especially sacred. The prophet was merely heeding the Master’s sage warning when he taught, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Of course, by citing this scripture I’m not using it to make particular reference to Mr. King. Rather, I use it to refer to those unenlightened, spiritually immature people who stand ever ready to mock and trample upon sacred things.

  3. Caydon says:

    David, I really appreciate your answer. It is very carefully balanced and well-reasoned. Clearly the talk about planets by anti-Mormon media is meant to ridicule and marginalize our belief, and should be vigorously refuted. But don’t you think that we should at least publicly acknowledge that while we do not know much about what God the Father was like when he was a mortal, that we do in fact believe that God was mortal at some point? And likewise, though we do not have any details on our life when we become Gods, that we do in fact, believe this? Hinckley saying that, “I don’t know a lot about it and I don’t know that others know a lot about it” is certainly a very careful maneuver, but it seems to come awfully close to equivocation to me.

    More Response by David Hall

    I think what Pres. Hinckley did was prudent. It is not equivocation to emphasize one part of an answer rather than another. And it is not prudent to open up everything to everyone. There’s a principle that the Savior used in his teaching by teaching in parables, so that those who were sincerely interested could figure out what he meant by certain teachings, and others were not allowed to understand. Why does he have to reveal all that information to people who wouldn’t even understand it? Or, taking it a step further, Heavenly Father treats us the same way and we could similarly ask why He doesn’t let us know more clearly what He was like when He was mortal? He has His reasons why all that information wouldn’t really be good for us at this time.

  4. SandyLester says:

    There are many words that can be said but the bottom line is this, if Romney is the nominee the race will be between a guy who thinks he is god and one who thinks he will be god.
    As the author said: Romney is a liar and he is a liar because he mormon not in spite of it.

    Response by David Hall:
    Ooooh, nasty! Real, honest-to-goodness religious bigotry, right in front of us, folks, to look at in wonderment.

    And just as a clarification – this is what I mean by people who read into these doctrines taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and don’t really understand those teachings. We don’t teach that we will be God. But we do believe that we are children of God, and we believe the Bible when it says that those who live righteously will be like God (1 John 3:1-2, Revelation 3:20-22). Beyond that, we don’t claim to know much about the subject.

    And as a clarification of another point, there is a big difference between lying, which is something Bill Clinton did with great finesse and Barack Obama does with great brazenness, and the lack of political courage being displayed by Romney, which seems to be born out of a desire to be liked and approved of by others. I have never found Romney to lie about anything, where Barack Obama does that in seemingly every subject he addresses. I did not accuse Romney of lying.

    So Sandy, it sounds like anyone who doesn’t share your religious beliefs, whatever they are or aren’t, is a liar in your eyes. Is that so?

    You know, mocking someone’s religion is a very easy thing to do. Any religion has beliefs that could be mocked, and it is rather childish to do that. Christ was mocked, and it didn’t take a lot of intelligence to do that. I was in Junior High when Kennedy ran for President, and his Catholicism was mocked and some wouldn’t vote for him simply because of that. We have grown up as a country since then, but in your case, it looks like not completely. At some point, I hope you will grow up and get over this and learn a quiet deference and wholesome respect for other people’s sacred beliefs.

  5. A less myopic view of Mitt Romney’s entire history might render a more generous view of his good example even when there are other “pure conservatives” in the room. As Mormons we have been counseled many times to get involved in the politics of our communities.
    However, do we really need to vett our best candidates through our church connections? A recommend should suffice, but really? Time to reassess our optics as seen through the article Vl provisions of our constitution.
    I’m voting to win. Any betrayal of a winning hand may well be expected from some of our most self-respecting conservatives and church goers. All are free to vote as we please. We’ve just had an accounting for 2008. Can we expect any less for 2012?

    Comment by David Hall:
    In personal relationships, of course we take a generous view of people and their faults. But in voting for President, in such a critical time as this, that course is dangerous. I am reminded about a comment that Pres. Hinckley made during the impeachment trial of Pres. Clinton, when asked whether he forgave Clinton. He clarified that, of course, on a personal level, he forgave him, but this was about his fitness for office, and judging is appropriate there and should not be confused with forgiveness.

    I think you are being naively dismissive of the perils of our times and the need for courageous leadership to confront them. And if you are indeed “voting to win”, you are gravely misguided if you think that means we Republicans pick a moderate as our candidate. History does not bear you out, and in fact seems to indicate that victory is best assured by bold, likable conservatives. We have a long string of defeats under the banner of Republican moderates. That, of course, is not the chorus the Republican establishment is singing, but they have motives that are very different from mine, and I don’t listen to them. Read my earlier post about the myth of Romney’s electability.

    The scriptural standard for office, from D&C 98:10, is, “Wherefore honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.” In 1972, when he was Church Commissioner of Education, Neal A. Maxwell commented on this scripture. He said, “In the Doctrine and Covenants, section 98, verse 10, we read that we should seek out men who are wise, good, and honest. When I first read these criteria years ago, they seemed quite general to me; they don’t now. Too often leaders can lead men astray because they lack one or more of these qualities. A leader can be bright but dishonest, and a leader can be honest and conceptually inadequate. A man may be a good man and yet lack the wisdom to cope with complex circumstances that can come upon him. This triad of virtues, for me, is a significant guide to selecting future leaders in any representative government.”

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