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Why We’re Afraid of Mormons

BU-trained scholar says uninformed prejudice abounds

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Mitt Romney, mormon religion, mormonism, presidential campaign 2012

Why is this man smiling? Anti-Mormon prejudice could hobble Mitt Romney's campaign, a BU-trained scholar warns. Photo by Austen Hufford

By their underwear ye shall know them.

A recent USA Today story highlights how many Americans are “uninformed” about, and “wary” of, Mormonism, put off by such practices as the wearing of blessed undergarments as the sign of full fellowship in the church. And even though the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced polygamy in the 1890s (with the exception of a militant sliver), some non-Mormons suspect that “fundamentalist groups were somehow hiding in plain sight within the fold of the church,” says scholar Cristine Hutchison-Jones (GRS’11).

In fact, she says, “no one has been more aggressive about prosecuting polygamists in this country in the 20th and 21st century than Mormons.” As for that underwear thing, she notes that other religions invest certain garb with sacred significance. Facts aside, Mitt Romney’s Mormonism has alarmed some conservative Christian voters pondering his run for president.

Hutchison-Jones, a Harvard University administrator, is not Mormon, but an interest in religious intolerance led her to write her BU doctoral dissertation on “Reviling and Revering the Mormons: Defining American Values, 1890-2008.” (Those years marked the official Mormon abandonment of polygamy and Mitt Romney’s first run for president, respectively.) She began with the assumption that this would be another American story of a minority’s assimilation into, and acceptance by, the mainstream culture. To her surprise, she learned that Mormonism remains “really problematic for a lot of people. The negative images of Mormons far outlasted my expectations.” If voters’ self-description can be trusted, things may not be so grim. A Pew Forum poll in July found 81 percent saying that they were comfortable with, or indifferent to, Romney’s faith.

BU Today spoke with Hutchison-Jones about what prejudice against Mormons says about us and the prospects for Romney’s second bid for the White House.

BU Today: What do Americans in 2012 think of Mormons, and how much of what they think is accurate?

Hutchison-Jones: I think a lot of what Americans think they know about Mormonism is wrong. We think of Sister Wives and Big Love [TV shows about polygamous apostate Mormons]. There’s been a strong theme in the last 30 years in popular representations of Mormons of Mormon violence against non-Mormons, pioneer violence. There was a film in 2007 called September Dawn, about the Mountain Meadows massacre in 1857 [the slaughter of a wagon train by Mormon militia]. It is very historically inaccurate. I have gotten calls from friends and family who catch it on HBO and say, “I learned so much from that movie.”

Why do negative images of Mormons linger?

There are a couple of reasons. You had the rise of evangelical Christianity in politics, and for conservative Protestant Christians, Mormons are not Christians; Mormons are a cult. So you had an increase in the amount of anti-Mormon propaganda coming out of religious communities.

The other people who are uncomfortable with Mormons are socially and politically liberal Americans. Polls ask, would you vote for a Mormon presidential candidate? People who self-identify as liberal have a tendency to say no. There’s a tendency to see Mormons as a hegemony, as if they were en masse in thrall to church leadership. The Moral Majority reached out to Mormons, and because of that association, liberals tend to see Mormons as off-limits. I had to get over some of that myself. That was the expectation I came into my research with. I headed off to the Mormon History Association national conference, and the group of scholars there are by and large Mormon, and they are not in any kind of political lockstep. There’s a wide diversity of opinion.

With the Moral Majority, it seems Mormons were crawling into bed politically with people who had a prejudice against them.

It’s true. In the 1980s, the New York Times didn’t know what to do with Orrin Hatch, who rode into the Senate as a conservative Republican Mormon. Then conservative Republicans proposed a school prayer amendment to the Constitution. He said, “Absolutely not. I am part of a minority religion that has been abused, and I am not going to be party to telling anyone how they should or should not pray.” Hatch famously went on to work with Ted Kennedy for federally funded children’s health care. Mormons have a very strong sense of the common good.

The guys who did South Park did Book of Mormon on Broadway.

I would argue, vulgarity aside, that they have one of the most sympathetic and understanding perspectives on Mormons of contemporary representations. They never talk about polygamy, because they see it as ancient history, which it is.

If there is so much misperception, do universities need to offer more course work on Mormonism?

Any religion-in-the-United States course that’s taught in the department of religion is going to cover it. How well it’s covered, that’s another question. Mormonism usually gets a day. Whether or not you can justify an entire course, because they are less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, might be a little hard. On the other hand, Jews are an extremely small minority, and every university worth its salt has some kind of Judaic studies. And Mormonism is growing by leaps and bounds. The last time I saw a syllabus for [College of Arts & Sciences religion professor] Steve Prothero’s undergraduate course on religion in the United States, it included Jan Shipps’ book on Mormonism. It isn’t just a one-day passing thing. It’s reaching a point where it probably deserves some discussion in the context of world religion classes.

What do Americans’ views of Mormonism say about our ideals and values?

It boils down to our sense of ourselves as a nation in which church and state are separate. I would argue that Americans aren’t separating all religion from all politics. We’re just not comfortable with groups that don’t fit into a generally moderate, Protestant mold. I’ve got a colleague who did his PhD on images of conservative Christians as villains in Hollywood cinema. You can almost certainly tell in any crime drama that if somebody quotes the Bible, you’re later going to find out that they’re a psychopathic killer.

And we’re nervous about groups who openly say the church should be involved in our politics, whatever that church might be for that group. And Mormons wear their religion on their sleeve. The average Mormon spends something like 20 hours per week in activities at their local congregation. It’s really the core and center of their community, and they are absolutely open that their religion informs their social and political values. And Americans don’t like that.

Do you think Romney might lose the election because of his religion?

I think if Romney loses, it’s going to be for a variety of reasons. And yes, Mormonism may be problematic for him going forward. Conservative voters might be a little less enthusiastic about getting out the vote because they’re nervous that he’s a Mormon, and they’re the ones he needs. And you may find independents who find his politics appealing, but some of them might be put off by the association with Mormonism and the concern that Mormons are all conservatives.

271 Comments
Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

271 Comments on Why We’re Afraid of Mormons

  • Bill Kilpatrick on 07.05.2012 at 1:04 am

    This is an intelligent, thoughtful article about the relationship between Mormons and the popular culture, as well as about what that says about larger issues.

    • Brent on 07.05.2012 at 1:36 pm

      Interesting how society now accepts gay marriage as a legitimate relationship and condemns anyone who questions it as bigoted and hateful, yet society overwhelmingly rejects polygamy. If it’s wrong and mean spirited to say that marriage is between a man and a woman, than it is equally wrong and mean spirited to say that marriage is only between two people. If it makes people happy to be part of a polygamist relationship, than that’s their business. If society is going to redefine marriage, it’s hypocritical to not allow polygamy and anything else that may make people happy.

      • notamorman on 07.05.2012 at 1:51 pm

        Well in that case, it’s wrong and mean spirited to say that marriage can’t be between a man and a spoon.

        • notamorman on 07.05.2012 at 1:52 pm

          …and then that man and spoon would get a tax break.

          • Brent on 07.05.2012 at 2:23 pm

            Haha! The spoon is a funny scenario and maybe a bit of a stretch, but it’s not a stretch to say that within the next 50 years people will want to marry domestic pets. After all, science teaches that humans are evolved animals, so it’s not a stretch to think that their are people out there who would marry their dog of cat if it was an option.

          • CG on 07.05.2012 at 4:16 pm

            The difference is in the fact that polygamy can be damaging to society. In a polygamist society there would be a dangerous number of unmarried men which tends to increase crime and is unfair. There are high rates of depression in societies with demographic gender imbalances, as with too many men in China and too few in Russia. Polygamy creates problems in parts of Africa as well.

          • NiceMormon27 on 08.17.2012 at 3:53 pm

            I disagree with GC that only polygamy can be damaging to society. Same sex marriage can be equally (if not more) destructive. Think of it this way, if the entire human race suddenly paired up in to same sex couples, this shift in society would result in the extinction of the entire human race whithin at least a century.

          • PendanticFellow on 09.12.2012 at 10:00 am

            Well Nice Mormon, the difference is that people don’t just decide to be gay. In fact, the percentage of homosexuals has always been pretty much flat.

        • Tuiscint on 07.05.2012 at 5:18 pm

          I am going to have to agree with Brent on this one. Its hypocritical for society to demand everybody to accept the love between two people of the same sex but reject 3 or more consenting adults (keywords). Fanatic religious sects that force teenage girls into plural marriages is not the definition of polygamy. Just like I don’t have a problem with two guys who want to get married, neither do I with a guy and 3 women. Its their personal life and doesn’t effect me. The analogy of the spoon doesn’t work because the spoon cannot consent to the marriage, it is unable to sign a marriage certificate. If it could though, I would say let it marry whomever it wishes.

          • Brother French on 07.09.2012 at 11:26 am

            You say that marriages other than traditional marriage between a man a a woman don’t affect you, but from my experience that would be like me sayi8ng in 1950 that the few who started to experiment with drugs would never affect me. The problem is that both lead to a breakdown in society and a loss of our moral comopass. It’s my belief that what goes on behind closed doors affects all of us, and that everyone should endevor to do their very best in keeping the commandments. Just think how much better our world would be if everyone was just keeping the ten commandments.

          • Brother French on 07.09.2012 at 11:35 am

            Tuscint on

            Saying that how people live their personal life doesn’t affect you would be like me saying in 1950 that the one person in 5,000 that was experimenting with drugs would never affect me. The problem with marriages other than traditional marriage is that it would cause a breakdown of our society, and a loss to our moral compass. Actually, that is already taking place. I was 17 years old before I ever heard a girl swear, and I was raised in the San Francisco bay area. Only one girl in my high school got pregnant while I was going there, and she got married as did everyone else.
            Oh, for the good old days in that respect.

        • em on 07.06.2012 at 10:24 am

          That is the dumbest response I’ve ever heard. How can you compare the relationship of consenting adults to inanimate objects? You can’t. If you have an actual response, I’d like to hear it.

          • Brent on 07.06.2012 at 1:24 pm

            Maybe the countless number of generations before us who accepted marriage as between a man and a woman weren’t bigots after all. Maybe their view of marriage as a sacred relationship between one man and one woman actually protected society from the potential instability and, dare i say, harm that could come from opening the door on re-defining what a marriage is and isn’t.

        • Kent McMillen on 07.08.2012 at 9:20 pm

          Brent, I have read ESCAPE, by Carolyn Jessop, CHURCH OF LIES, by flora Jessop, and SHATTERED DREAMS, by Irene Spencer. The stories are similar in so many ways that I can’t help but believe that arranged marriages for young girls, to older men dates at least back to the 1940s. Females are brainwashed from birth to accept a marriage that forces them to share their husbands with other women. Still their natural human reaction is to want their husband to be faithful to them only. The “lost boys” are kicked out as young as 14 years old, to provide young ‘wives” for the older ruling men. Welfare fraud is rampant, and is referred to as: “Bleeding the beast”. Inbreeding is so rampant that fumaraise defiency is the worst on the earth, leaving children developmentally damaged for life. So parents can collect social security for them). Women are not allowed to drive licensed vehicles, to prevent escape. In Hilldale UT, and Colorado City AZ, the fundamentalist Mormon church controls all public services, including law enforcement. If you believe that the Mormon church does not tolerate polygamy, why was there no prosecutions for polygamy in Utah for 60 years, prior to Warren Jeffs arrest. Then the UT Supreme court threw out his rape conviction. It took Texas to prosecute and convict him for child rape. When asked, Senator Orrin Hatch said of polygamists: “They are nice people” Polygamy is illegal in all 50 states. I respect your right to disagree, but as a retired victim advocate, my sympathy is for the abused women in the FLDS. I could go on for hours!

          • John on 07.17.2012 at 3:11 pm

            The FLDS is to the LDS church as the Westboro Baptist Church is to the Southern Baptist Convention.

            I’d also recommend the documentary Sons of Perdition, that focuses on the lost boys of the compound, although my guess is you’ve already seen it.

          • anonymous on 10.15.2012 at 1:32 pm

            Read Under The Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer great book goes back to civil war era and uncovers the violence and secrets mormons dont want you to know

          • anonymous on 10.15.2012 at 1:34 pm

            Also, lookup Judge Haynes 2009 exposed himself in public bathrooms uncovered by an undercover he exposed himself to Justice K. Durham sent him on paid leave instead of prison=till the press died down then he kept his seat 2 more yrs!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • anonymous on 10.15.2012 at 1:44 pm

            Also in utah the church tells members not to read the news or nonfiction anything that will make them smart. Or think for themselves or give them autonomy. Theyre totally controlled through cameras that are everywhere, you cant go to the mall w/o them taking your picture unauthorized if you cross a public bridge but sinceits in slc, ut everything is private property your car will get booted even if you park an inch or 1/8 an in. Out of a line 24 hrs to pay a tow man who wants 100/15min. Goes through a police auction
            The men gang up on the women here even if the woman is right if its a mormon theyll seem nice at first but as soon as you defend yourself to their disrespect all the others anyone around whos male they gang up on the woman. You can watch a woman and kids be beatup here and noone does a thing its sick and disgusting
            The white dispatchers will take a report but mexicans wont

      • Craig on 09.12.2012 at 4:13 pm

        But society DOESN’T fully accept gay marriage. The bigotry that Mormons experience is a direct result of the bigotry they impose upon advocates of gay marriage. Mormons fighting gay marriage with their non-taxed temple money is well-documented. So Mormons don’t want to be taxed, but they want to control public policy. Mix this hypocrisy in with their belief in Magic Underwear, and they are simply not suitable to be in power…especially as POTUS!!! Unfortunately, bigotry is the only language they understand. I will gladly accept polygamy over bigotry and stupidity. MAGIC IS NOT REAL! Until Mormons accept that their ways are lunacy, I will stick with the same bigotry that they use with such ease.

      • anonymous on 10.15.2012 at 1:30 pm

        Lost respect for Oprah is the one who uncovers frauds of people needs to read: “Under The Banner of Heaven” by jon krakauer to understand why she shouldnt have had him on her show.
        1. 1990-91 Mormon church office putup a block put out flyers to brainwash members not to vote for equal rights of women/blacks==she shouldve asked romney if a black woman can be in mormon presidency or hold a position in office==Women are to have the kids along with be beaten put on prozac institutionalized if they defend themselves or file in court domestic violence the mormon judges will make them lose their kids home be on the streets==
        ask romney why 4 deseret industries a mormon run business sit in back of the shelters where all donations go to be sold in their stores nationwide and recycled=
        boys ranches paid off by local mormon judges where they get tortured abused and killed off disowned by fam members for acting out
        the mormon who adopted a russian child and sent him back???!
        mormons who hate on pedestrians harass them while they wait for trains yell out at them degrading class degrading cruel words mostly by youth mormon boys guys girls driving their parents suvs if you dont have a car in slc, youre a single woman young youre treated like s. like dirt or not standing next to a man youre outed
        its a member only community sociallite type of yet gay hillbilly barnyard aholes who heavily discriminate against anyone they see as lower class which are nonmembers even if youre not
        the tunnels underground a whole different side
        they lie cheat steal do drugs bring in drugs from s. america mexico the local Ogden, utah police force madeup of mormons fbi agents, dea
        sado masochists is what these people are generation after generation
        worship child rapists and murderers, they teach young boys theyre above girls so they stick objects up their genitals in barns and wonder why the youth is addicted to meth, crack etc turn them into prostitutes with HIV syphilis meth has been stastically documented but the HIV stats here notorious undocumented
        Larry h miller pays or gets paid to allow nuclear waste to be dropped off by trains 2hrs away and when the wind blows from the west we all breathe it in slowly to our own slow deaths==the other gases breathed besides the nuc waste that make the inversion slc has the worst air nationwide worse then LA, CA. but these sick people turn their heads party look for sex parties sadism/masochists who hate women say our grandchildren our children are here so they stay== wonder why they get ms or tb or hiv or early heart attacks strokes they just smile and act like everythings fine while the world falls apart around them they just eat theyre pigs they eat trash mcdonalds fast food all addicts obese addicts who gorge themselves and then pay for prostitutes
        disgusting filth of lives
        b young led mass murder of the franco wagon families piled their bodies sick like a pyramid proud of his deaths like hitler among raping the girls boys theyre mormons they think theyre gods they worship him on a statute j. smith same evil
        they spared one 4 yr old girl they didnt think shed remember, jon krakauer a journalist tracked her down her interview is in his history book on the violent mormon corp. led by all bus execs, lawyers, ceos, only prestitious positions who can control power of their monopoly

    • Salle on 07.06.2012 at 9:58 pm

      I think, so many people are so in tune on the Mormons, that they forgot, we are all Humans, there are so many religions out there! Why the Mormons? Because of Romney running for a president! Well U think all the Mormons are for him? A lot of us don’t agree with what he wants to do, if he’s in the office. I myself not for him, and You all forgot! We all believed! Jesus is our Saviour! Pray n ask for forGiveness, stop being ignorant toward the Mormons, a lot of us are very down to earth, caring, loving, respectful, concern, helping, spiritually, prayerfully, kindness, people you will ever get to know, and knowing..no matter who or what you are! Or what religion you are! We are all equal in the eye of Our Heavenly Father!..people should pray more!..and keep in Mind! What! And Who ever does in their Lives! Is their own doing, not anyone’s or any Religions Fault, their action is their Own, just because people do Stupid, ridiculous, out of Ordinary things! Is their own doing and their own Action..People Stop pointing fingers to Whomever they want to Discredited! Get a Life! n Pray, diligently!..Should never be Afraid toward the Mormons. We all the same, nothing’s wrong with any religion,…we all should be very thankful for all thy many Blessings we all being bless with in our Lives….Thank You…

    • Anon on 09.12.2012 at 9:26 am

      Romney being a Mormon has nothing to do with why I am afraid of him.

      • anonymous on 10.15.2012 at 1:47 pm

        You should be afraid if youre not a member. read under the banner of heaven by j. krakauer to know why
        also any members church leaders think and believe and teach there authority is above the law they dont honor the constition theyre prophets are against it.
        they want control of the world which does not inc education for women its all men in their world. also read a mormon america by ostlers

        • ?? on 11.04.2012 at 3:06 am

          dude you are totally ignorant on the subject of Mormonism! In the “Articles of Faith” which states what Mormons believe it say that they believe “in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” Women are encouraged to become educated, many women go to college and are still Mormons. Although men do hold priesthood powers in Mormonism, a family cant be had without women, and the family is central to Mormonism. So next time you go bashing on a religion you should study and learn about that religion. You are on of the people that this article was written for.

    • anonymous on 10.15.2012 at 1:49 pm

      its not a culture when its suppressed and oppressed and on a totalitarian fascist member or not member type of suppression, not when mormons control an entire state.

    • Matt00147312 on 12.15.2012 at 7:36 pm

      What this little expose did’t mention is that polygamy was outlawed by the church as part of an agreement for Utah to become a state. I am currently enrolled at the Univ of Utah and i can tell you that there are plenty of polygamist colonies still around out here and I know several students who come from that life.

    • LDSwomanoftruth on 08.24.2013 at 4:26 pm

      Anonymous. And others. Apparently all of u are not aware of the real beliefs of LDS. You truly have the FLDS mixed up with LDS. Latter Day Saint men respect and love their spouses. Would never degrade them the way you are talking about. Whether it be in UT or any other state. You want to know the truth, contact the missionaries. They can set you straight and maybe you might even feel the spirit tell you that what you are hearing is correct

  • Ken Dahl on 07.05.2012 at 1:23 am

    It’s hard for anyone outside of Mormonism to reconcile the belief system of a potential sitting president when some rather outlandish concepts regarding the past, the here and now, and the “latter-day” future of mankind are burned into that person’s spiritual and religious DNA. While the constitution precludes a religious litmus test, it doesn’t ban the informed voter from judging a candidate’s qualifications based on their core beliefs. Surveys have shown that an atheist candidate for U. S. president would never pass muster with the American voter. Is there some reason why an individual with a different, yet equally unacceptable idea about a god, or many gods, should not be scrutinized for unproven mysteries they choose to accept as a personal truth?

    Anyone who . . . believes the Garden of Eden and the beginning of mankind occurred in Independence, Missouri . . . believes Christ’s advance team will announce the looming 2nd coming at a Mormon temple and city in Missouri called New Jerusalem where prophets from all dispensations will gather with Mormon church leaders and members . . . believes going to the highest degree of heaven will require the practice of polygamy . . . believes god likely has multiple wives for the purpose of populating worlds without end . . . believes as man is god once was, as god is man may become . . . believes in order to go to heaven and be in god’s presence you must gain approval from Mormonism founder Joseph Smith . . . believes blacks are cursed by god with a dark skin for things they did in the pre-mortal life . . . believes American Indians are descendants of a Middle Eastern people and have a dark skin because god cursed them as explained in the Book of Mormon . . . believes a sixteen year old farm boy in Upstate New York was visited by God, Christ and angels, told all churches were of the anti-Christ, then later was told of a hidden box of golden plates which he translated into the ‘Book of Mormon’ some seven years later . . . believes those gold plates were later returned to an angel in a vast cave where an abundance of similar records were stored . . . believes 3 Nephites from the time of Christ as described in the Book of Mormon walk the earth today ministering to Mormons . . . believes God lives on a planet near the star Kolob with a human spokesman in Salt Lake City . . . believes special Masonic handshake rituals in the Mormon temple entitle that person to an exclusive pathway past the sentinels leading to heaven . . . doesn’t have my vote for President of the United States.

    By all means, go to mormon.org and lds.org to hear, see and read what they have to say about their new and improved 21st century organization. Then visit exmormon.org to get the rest of the many missing chapters to a rebranded Mormon storyline.

    • Moracle on 07.05.2012 at 10:25 am

      Go to “exmormon” to find out what Mormons believe?

      Should we also go to “ex-Catholics” to learn about Catholocism, or “ex-Baptists” to learn about Baptists.

      That’s like going to State Farm to learn about Allstate.

      To learn what any organization teaches or represents, you have to go to the source – the organization itself. Anything else would only be heresay and biased, personal opinion.

      I certainly hope no one in America is shallow enough to base their vote for President of the U.S. on anything other than what that person will do as holder of that office of government. Please don’t tell me I should vote for someone because of where they think the Garden of Eden was, or other things mentioned in this comment. What on earth do these things have to do with what one’s future performance as President will be?

      This reads more like a vendetta from a former Mormon.

      • Jordan on 07.05.2012 at 11:15 am

        Hi Moracle,

        While you are right to note that an “ex-Mormon” site is likely to be biased, it is also important to remember that we are ALL biased. Mormons are biased in favor of Mormonism, main-stream Protestants are biased in favor of main-stream Protestantism. Atheists are biased in favor of Atheism. It would be foolish for anyone to presume they are devoid of bias. However, since biased sources of information are all we have to work with, it is best to proceed by simply taking that bias into account and trying to collect the primary-source information.

        Furthermore, all organizations have unsavory elements (E.g. Church congregants who gossip behind your back, political fraud in the white house, mounting student debt for BU students, etc…), but those organizations are unlikely to tell you about the unsavory elements upfront because they want to present themselves positively. For example, to find out what Boston University is REALLY like, you should go to the BU website, but it might also be useful to go to “ex-BUstudent.org” or some website like that. Of course those students will be biased by heaps of student loans and a potentially daunting future, but that does not make their case illegitimate.

        We are all biased, so let’s just try to deal with information as honestly as we can while acknowledging our bias.

        All the best!
        Jordan

        • Zeba on 07.05.2012 at 11:55 am

          I am a Mormon (cultural or middle-way), and I recommend mormonthink.com, it is a good subjective source. There are many different belief levels of Mormons. Obviously, most ex-mormons will have a negative bias, and most actively practicing Mormons will have a positive bias. Many Mormon fans of Mormonthink.com are viewed negatively by ex-Mormons and active Mormons.

          • John on 07.05.2012 at 12:52 pm

            MormonThink is an anti-Mormon source. Their stated objective is discredit the LDS Church.

            Go to en.fairmormon.org and do a search on MormonThink, and you will see a host of articles making the above very clear.

            Please, do not try to represent a biased anti-Mormon site as somehow unbiased. They clearly are not.

            John L.

          • Justin on 07.05.2012 at 4:18 pm

            Sunstone too.

          • Dandini on 07.05.2012 at 8:23 pm

            I also have read most of mormonthink and having come from a Protestant church that studies the cults, can say without doubt that mormonthink is anti-mormon and full of “smokescreens”…

        • Toby Dillon on 07.05.2012 at 1:21 pm

          Bias is normal, but if your interest is understanding culture, you want to see it from the insider’s eyes first. It’s the standard prima facie argument: Give me a positive “This is why it should be this way” spin, then read the criticisms.

          • Steve Gardiner on 07.05.2012 at 3:22 pm

            FAIR is Apologists from Brigham Young University. Not hardly a neutral group.

        • Chanel on 07.06.2012 at 11:34 am

          The problem with what he states are also “smoke and mirrors’ covering truths. While I won’t stoop to the level of addressing each of the individual comments he made about the mormons I will say that perspective would change every single comment he made.

          For example David likes to breath heavily and thrust himself up and down upon children.
          Creeper right?
          But what if David is a life guard performing CPR on a child who is not breathing after nealry drowning?

          Perspective people. In the language used. Think about it.

      • Steve on 07.05.2012 at 12:10 pm

        What do these things have to do with what one’s future performance as President will be?

        Well, if you want a simple direct answer, it calls into question the intelligence and gullability of that individual.

      • Phil Dolan on 07.05.2012 at 12:19 pm

        You should absolutely consult ex-Catholics and ex-Baptists about those religions. Plenty of crazy BS from all of them.

        • Holly on 07.05.2012 at 1:07 pm

          I think then you would be implying that Ken Dahl is crazy. Mormons are good at deflecting information they choose not to deal with. The truth is Mr. Dahl ‘s information was completely accurate. No one responding could argue that, so they choose to divert your attention to what he was associated with, hoping they could convince, the reader he was misinformed. The LDS church believes that they are the only true church on the planet, that arrogance is what upsets good folks that feel like they all have a place in god’s kingdom. So argue facts if you going to give Mr. Dahl a hard time you have no idea what it takes to be an ex-Mormon.

          • Michael on 07.05.2012 at 5:56 pm

            It’s not entirely accurate. I’ll give it to him that much of it is correct, but not all. And the parts which are correct, however distasteful and absurd they may sound, really aren’t. People have just focused and persecuted the mormon church for so long they tend to forget they “absurd” things their’s or other churches do; all proclaiming they do it in the name of God. We’re all guilty, but maybe one of us is right. Just sayin.

          • LanceMacho on 07.09.2012 at 9:52 am

            @ Holly,

            To reinforce what others have said: No, Ken Dahl’s comments are not all accurate. Where they are “accurate” is where they leave out crucial information so necessary for context. And where they are not accurate, well, those are just pernicious lies masquerading as accuracies. And all his comments are aimed at hurting the LDS church.

            There is only one standard to really judge the LDS church – go and visit one yourself! See the people, ask them questions, hear the range of answers, and be prepared to challenge yourself in your assumptions.

            You control the pace of the research, and if you do not like it or get uncomfortable, you can leave at anytime. But at least you will know much more than you ever will just by reading the opinion of others.

            Same goes for the Book of Mormon. Read it, pray about it – a spiritual exercise requires using spiritual processes to make it “fully real” and effective – and listen for the quiet answers that will come to you. Those answers may come as thoughts, words, or feelings, but when they do, you will recognize them for what they are: words from the Holy Ghost testifying of the truth of what you are reading.

            The LDS community asks nothing more of you. You should settle for nothing less.

      • Ken Dahl on 07.05.2012 at 1:27 pm

        The belief system of an individual, however solid or absurd, speaks volumes about their character and value system. Someone who embraces the nonsense portion of Mormonism reveals their ability to believe in things which aren’t true, and are made up.

        • Christianson on 07.05.2012 at 4:20 pm

          Ken, all religions read like nonsense to unbelievers. You’ve picked one that’s not yours and have decided, according to your beliefs and biases, that it seems like nonsense. Is it reasonable to expect that in this life I’m a human, but in the last I was a lion and in the next I will be an insect (if I’m not careful)? Is it reasonable to believe that salvation depends on whether or not one consumes certain animals or combines certain food products? Is it reasonable to assume that in the Eucharist the elements literally become the body & blood of Jesus Christ? Religion is not “reasonable.” There’s always a disconnect between what others view as reality and what believers accept. “Faith” can only be fully understood by someone with a similar belief system. I’ve lived in the Middle East, and trust me, Muslims don’t think the American Judeo-Christian tradition “makes sense.” I wish half this country would have the opportunity to live in a nation where their religious tradition is the minority and see themselves from someone else’s perspective. Americans claim to respect others’ beliefs, but we discriminate against someone solely on their religion, and we are quick to call their sacred beliefs “nonsense.”

          Holly, that “arrogance” isn’t exclusively “Mormon.” Most religions believe they alone are the ultimate “solution” with the exception of a few. We are all “arrogant” according to our way of thinking. Christianity absolutely claims to be the only truth, to the exclusion of other religions. Calling another religion a “cult” seems to me to be rather arrogant. Even if not explicitly stated, most religions contain elements that they believe are necessary for salvation, which are not found in other religions — for example the Catholic Church’s literal Apostolic Succession.

          • Ron on 07.05.2012 at 8:05 pm

            Christianson, well stated. I was going to say something similar and then read your thoughtful response. Many thanks.

        • T on 07.06.2012 at 12:08 pm

          Ken, I think you forget…we are 14 million strong and growing fast. Mormons will not be stopped by someone with small, demeaning, innaccurate, ugly thoughts like yours. You really sound like you have personal problems and hate yourself. I hope you find more worthwhile things to do in your life. Trust me, people have been saying the same old crap you’re saying for over 100 years…and we are still a happy, prosperous, faith-motivated people. You think your snide remarks will change any of that? Even states have ordered our extermination…Hey! guess what?? We’re still here!! So Ken…in the end. Save yourself some study time by doing your homework instead of writing ignorant things on here.

      • Tom on 07.05.2012 at 1:56 pm

        “I certainly hope no one in America is shallow enough to base their vote for President of the U.S. on anything other than what that person will do as holder of that office of government.”

        The majority of Americans are absolutely “shallow enough” to base their vote on many unrelated aspects of a candidate and religion is obviously one of the more common ones. Do you really think at this point in time that a Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, atheist, or anyone of any faith other than Christianity could be elected president of the US regardless of their qualifications? Yes, the US has a large number of Christians, so statistically candidates are more likely to be Christian, but we all know that’s not the only factor. At the same time, a person’s religion often says something about their beliefs and morals. Politicians always try to use their religion to gain an edge by showing they have ‘family values’ and belief in equality, justice, etc and it often seems to work.

        This seems obviously hypocritical to me when these same churches (not just LDS) campaign for the banning of gay marriage, for example. 80% to 90% of early volunteers who went door to door campaigning for CA’s prop 8 were Mormon and the Mormon Church contributed half of the $42 million raised in support of prop 8 (One article says they contributed $30 million). They also contributed $500k to campaign against gay marriage in Alaska and they worked to overturn a gay marriage bill in Maryland. I’m sure there are other examples.

        I’m fine with everyone having their own beliefs, but passing laws to ban gay marriage is clearly not advocating equality. I have the same problem with the Catholic Church or any church that spreads hate.

        • Jonathan Trottier on 07.05.2012 at 3:42 pm

          The reason why my church got so involved is because prop 8 was a moral issue. We push for anything that betters the community morally. But what we do not get involved in is political parties. The reason why we are against gay marriage and gay acts in general is because we believe that marriage is a very sacred covenant towards god and the between the spouses. And should only be done between a man and a woman. We also believe in a pre-mortal life and when were spirits we had a gender already with us.Thus a man acting like woman or woman acting like man is wrong and is a mockery to god. I cannot over state how sacred marriage is to our religion. We do not hate gays we hate the sin not the person. For more information try this website. Mormon.org

      • Justin on 07.05.2012 at 4:14 pm

        “To learn what any organization teaches or represents, you have to go to the source – the organization itself. Anything else would only be heresay and biased, personal opinion.”

        This would be true if the organization itself wanted to be identified as unique entity. In Mormonisms case they want to be viewed as “christian” when they are not so they work in shades of gray and deflect any non christian doctrine. Yes they are like a Chameleon changing colors based upon who they are talking to.

        • Moracle on 07.07.2012 at 3:52 pm

          If The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (please note the real name of the Mormon Church) were to present itself as Christian, and not actually be Christian, how many converts do you think would stay in the Church, after finding out they were duped into thinking the Church is Christian?

          I am a convert of many years, and I can guarantee any and all that this church is a Christian Church. If it were not, I simply would not be a member.

        • Juranmb on 07.17.2012 at 9:16 pm

          I can’t speak for the whole church, Justin, but count me as at least one member who couldn’t possibly care less whether or not you think I am a Christian.

      • Justin on 07.05.2012 at 4:17 pm

        http://www.hotm.com 40 year Mormon covering all topics of Mormons “One Nation Under Gods”.

        visit the site and study for yourself.

        Also It is incorrect to call something “anti” when they bring a more researched and informed perspective.

      • WestCoast on 09.13.2012 at 3:16 am

        “To learn what any organization teaches or represents, you have to go to the source”

        yeah because that’s always a credible source…

        Yes, you should absolutely talk to ex-catholics and ex-baptists. You’ll find a common thread of how ridiculous all their beliefs are. As for Mormons, they really take the cake – spend a whole day researching what they actually believe and then try to convince yourself that’s not a cult.

    • John on 07.05.2012 at 12:41 pm

      Ken,

      Your distorted representation of the faith I believe appears designed to discount the merits of the individual without considering their actual position on a given issue. Such a practice is “ad hominmem” which is a logical fallacy that should be eschewed. You should know better.

      If you want to look at how ‘Mormonism” might impact a given political candidate, you will find loyalty, hard work, honesty, self sacrifice for a greater good, Christian values, love of country and a sense of duty to likely be a large part of their values. Specific beliefs aside, these “fruits” are not only worthy of any given candidate for public office, but should be valued far and above any specific religious opinion. On this basis, honest people from any political persuasion should be anxious to see a Mormon candidate from their party elected.

      John L.

      • Justin on 07.05.2012 at 4:21 pm

        Not Christian in any way shape or form.

        Remember the vow you took in the temple. Your allegiance is to the Mormon institution.

        There is not any Christian sect that believes “Jesus is our brother and we will become gods as Jesus in heaven”.

        http://www.hotmtv.com

        • Tuiscint on 07.05.2012 at 5:46 pm

          Mormons are absolutely Christians. I don’t understand how people ever arrive at the assumption that they are not. A Christian, by definition, is someone who believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ, believes that Christ is their Savior and the Redeemer of mankind. “Mormons” preach of Christ’s divinity and teach His gospel. They stand with conviction to declare the Jesus is the Christ and give a lot of attention to spreading His gospel throughout the world. Furthermore, they provide humanitarian efforts throughout the world that are unparalleled by other large service organizations and non-profits. Service is a central concept of the Mormon belief system that stems from Christs teachings. The church does nothing to hurt humanity or individuals. If you don’t agree with the teachings of the church, that is fine and completely acceptable, but seeking to belittle, cheapen, and misrepresent the Church by accusing them of not being Christians is not only wrong and unfounded, it is not Christian.

        • Michael on 07.05.2012 at 5:49 pm

          The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints… I’m pretty sure they’re Christian. Unless we’re defining Christians as people who don’t worship Jesus Christ and accept Him as their Savior and the only way to be saved; then in that case yes.

          • Brother French on 07.08.2012 at 11:46 pm

            Michael

            I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In other words, I am a Mormon. I have learned many things about Jesus Christ while attending meetings there, and one day after partaking the emblems of the Sacrament I wrote the following.

            I hope you like it, and that you and all others who read this will realize that Mormons are indeed Christians.

            SACRED ARE THE THINGS OF CHRIST

            Sacred are the things of Christ;
            so great the price he paid.
            Reverently I ponder how
            his life he freely gave.

            I promise that I won’t forget
            the sorrows that he bore.
            I promise to remember him;
            my Savior ever more.

            Sacred are the things of Christ;
            I eat the broken bread.
            I recall his body bruised;
            to the cross how he was led.

            I promise to forsake my sins;
            I plead forgiveness now.
            I feel my burdens lift from me;
            I make this holy vow.

            Sacred are the things of Christ;
            I take and drink the cup.
            In Gethsemane he bled;
            On the cross they raised him up.

            I take his name upon myself;
            I’ll strive and show my faith.
            He is my Covenant Father now;
            Oh, praise his saving grace.

        • George on 07.06.2012 at 9:10 pm

          Justin, the Bible calls Jesus the Son of God. The Bible also says that all humans are children of God, and therefore heirs and jonit heirs with Christ. That makes Jesus and all humans brothers and sisters, unless you want to add or take away from the words of the Bible. Furthermore, many of the early Christian fathers wrote that God became man to teach man how to become god. You are right that most western Christian sects do not believe these things. That’s why a restoration was necessary.

          • Justin on 07.08.2012 at 11:54 pm

            George – I was Mormon for 20 years.

            1) The scripture that you share – Romans 8:17 has nothing to do with becoming “Gods” (capital G). I understand that as LDS you want to take pieces of scripture and twist them to fit Josephs theology. As Joseph stated in the King Follett discourse “as man is god once was and as god is man may be…”

            This is not Christian theology at all and is not a correct understanding of the passage if you study it. Romans 8:17 is Paul telling the Jews they were not part of gods new order (John 3:3) They had not been born again with regenerated eyes. To be part of this family you have to be in Christ, associated and identified with even His sufferings that you may share in His glory. We are joint heirs if we are born again. We will inherit the kingdom of heaven.
            His glory is everlasting life not “becoming a god” and populate your own world.

            I do not respond to belittle you. In fact I have a great amount of love for you and I want you to find freedom in a world without legalism. Don take my word for it. please study yourself there are a number of really good mormon resources that confirm what Mormonism is all about. I will name a few of your own. Richard Bushman, Todd Compton, Grant Palmer.

            You also mention that many of the early christian fathers wrote that god became a man to teach… You are correct it was called Arianism and it was abolished and swept off the face off the earth because it was a heresy.

            Last, you are telling me that god almighty could not preserve the words of his prophets and Jesus so he had to have a court documented occult treasure hunter lead a restoration that still has only 10 million members (4 million active). Please study and research your faith and its history.

          • LanceMacho on 07.09.2012 at 10:10 am

            @ Justin, @ George,

            The Joseph Smith quote about God once being like us and we having the potential to become like him is being misused.

            God is perfected in his attributes and character. Jesus asks his disciples to be perfect like God is. And we know that, at the last day, because of Jesus’s atonement, those who are faithful, obedient, and deserving will become joint heirs with Jesus of all that God has to bestow upon us. Thus through Grace, we too will become perfect.

            BUT WE WILL NEVER CEASE TO WORSHIP GOD THE FATHER!

            We will be LIKE God the Father in that we will be perfected, living with him eternally, but we will not be equal to Him.

    • Dan Cusher on 07.05.2012 at 2:33 pm

      Ok Ken, so you listed a bunch of weird things Mormons believe. Now put any one of those against this one: “Around two-thousand years ago, a virgin was impregnated by, and then gave birth to, a supernatural being…and she TOTALLY didn’t make it all up so that she wouldn’t have to admit that she had extra-marital sex.” Or this: “There is an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent old man in the sky who COULD end world hunger and bring about world peace, but instead of all that silliness, he’d rather watch me at all times to make sure I don’t masturbate or say bad words. He hates when I do that stuff!”

      Compare these standard mainstream Christian beliefs with any of the (alleged) Mormon beliefs on the list provided by Ken Dahl. I’m not trying to turn this around on Ken; my point is that EVERY religion contains beliefs that sound totally insane to someone who doesn’t believe them, and every president so far has been religious, therefore it is a fallacious argument that a Mormon would necessarily make a worse president than a mainstream Christian simply because Mormons believe some weird things.

      Romney would make a worse president than Obama for a whole list of reasons, but where he believes the Garden of Eden is located isn’t one of them.

      • Justin on 07.05.2012 at 4:38 pm

        Dan you miss the entire point.

        Mormons are not Christians. If this country want’s a non-christian leader than so be it.

        Romney and Mormons want to be considered Christian to gain the right wing Christian vote. They cannot do that if they are show for what they really are which is no different than the branch dividiens.

        • st thomas on 07.06.2012 at 12:40 am

          Justin, you have missed the entire point. You are not a Christian. You do not live the Christian gospel. You repeat something you heard your two-bit pastor say. Why don’t you try reading the bible? Given the quality of your posts you’ll probably have to use one of the worthless translations for nincompoops.

          • Justin on 07.08.2012 at 11:57 pm

            Thomas you may be right. I may not be a christian in your eyes. I am a Jesus follower and Jesus called a viper a viper.

          • Justin on 07.09.2012 at 12:26 am

            I also might add that we are commanded to defend the faith. I have no anger with you or any other but will defend the faith. I am not sure what a two-bit pastor is, but please study the Bible and research any faith that takes away from the bible and you will see that they just dont hold any weight.

            The apostle Paul understood the importance of apologetics in his ministry to the Gentiles. Paul was not only ready to preach the gospel, but he was ready to defend the gospel as well (Phil. 1:17). In this context, Paul is in effect saying that he is ready to stand up for the true gospel amid some who were preaching Christ with selfish, insincere motives. Like Paul, it is incumbent on us as Christians to be ready, willing, and able to defend the true gospel of Christ albeit many have embraced a distorted gospel of Christ that cannot save (Gal.1:6-9)

            Good luck in your journey. May you find peace and be born again.

        • John on 07.17.2012 at 3:19 pm

          Mormons may not be orthodox Christian, or traditional Christian, or Protestant Christian, but you have no right to tell 14+ million people who worship Jesus Christ that they’re not Christian. Well, I guess you have a “right” but it’s pointless and divisive.

    • Hello.... on 07.05.2012 at 3:56 pm

      Harry Reed is a Mormon. Should he be allowed to continue as Senate President? Does his religion allow him to think for himself. He is a Mormon. Shame on him……. This is ridiculous.

      • Justin on 07.05.2012 at 4:54 pm

        He probably doesn’t think for himself but for the church’s best interest. Nice red herring to keep bringing up…..

    • Justin on 07.05.2012 at 4:28 pm

      Ken nice post.

    • Jonathan Trottier on 07.05.2012 at 4:59 pm

      What is at mormon.org is very basic. But what you are talking about is extremely sacred and you are ruining how sacred such things are but I will address them.

      Garden of Eden in Independence, Missouri
      Independence, Missouri is probably the least understood topics in my church. Prophets have even said that it is one of the least understood topics. Right here are some very deep stuff that most members do not understand.

      Temple complex at Independence Missouri: All god has done he has just specified place. Adam Ondi Ahmin is place that is kept ready at all times the missionaries that maintain this huge amounts of acreage report directly to the prophet. They are to keep it “in a state of readiness.” What is going to specifically happen there we mormon’s have no idea.

      Polygamy: Here is the short answer. We don’t practice it any more that is ancient history like the article said. Long answer Your sealed to your first wife when she dies and you fall in love and get remarried and you die. According to what you believe to be right the man would have to choose between to do. If that happened to me I would have a hard time choosing because I would probably love them both. But we do not pratice it on the earth today.

      Joseph Smith’s approval to go to heaven: False we believe we have to have gods approval.

      Blacks being cursed: No we do not believe that either. I do not know why blacks did not get the priesthood and other prophets before blacks got the priesthood did not understand either. It is just like in the bible with Jews being taught first then the gentiles. We do not know why the gentiles did not get the gospel only that they could not get the gospel. In fact Mormons when we were getting kicked out one of the main reason why we kicked out of Missouri was because we would unbalance the vote and support and abolitionist. We respect Native Americans to one of the earliest missions of the church was mission to the Native Americans and to this day they are still able to receive the priesthood as long as they live worthy for it.

      Joseph Smith was 16 when he received the first vision and Book of Mormon: No he was not 16 he was actually 14 when in Palmyra, New York he had the First Vision. I mean what boy would lie about what at the time sounded absurd. I mean if he wanted more followers he could have told them that the trinity showed up. Why would a man die for a lie ? Why would a man lead his pepole through some of the most horrible trials for a lie? Why would a man suffer such adversity for a lie? A liar would realize it is not worth the trouble and try to worm himself out of the situation. But Joseph Smith stood tall and took on the adversities he was given. One time some men burst into his room took him from his wife and children. Left the door open and killed one of his babies through exposure. He had hot tar painted all over him and feathers on him to further humiliate him. They also attempted to poison him when they tried to stuff it in his mouth he clenched his teeth and they broke the vial but no poison made it into his system. When he walked in his house his wife tried to remove the tar. But tar when it cools does not easily come off so while it came off it took painful chunks of flesh off of him. When morning came he walked outside and preached of Jesus recognizing the men who did this act to him in the audience. A liar would not do that. A liar would not have walked out and preached knowing he and his family would suffer. How could a man who barely knew how to form a sentence let alone a book produce a book that has way more writing styles than any book ever written? How could a man who could only write his name write a book that added more words to the English language than Shakespeare. How could a man who had the education of a 5th grader write a dual history of two distinct cultures that the world did not even know about. I mean if it is fake it is some pretty darn elaborate fiction way beyond the capacity of a 5th grader. How could a man who was alive at the time that medical science was so primitive that no one knew about germs and if you washed your hands after every patient you would be able to double their chances of living. Reveal a lifestyle which is now the suggested lifestyle by modern science. This man was not delusional or liar because a liar would have gave in a long time ago.

      Kolob is another one of those doctrines we really don’t know much about. All that we know is in the pearl of great price. It is like the Quantum physics and very advanced science except this is religous quantum physics.

      The Masonic handshake is a very sacred part of the Endowment. The Endowment is to give pepole knowledge of the past (i.e Premortal life, creation). The present (Gods plan for us). The future (Second coming). This stuff is so sacred that we do not mention this stuff outside the temple. It is not secret we urge every member to live worthy to receive a temple recommend and pull out their endowments.

      Godhood for Man: We believe that “As man is God once was. And as God is Man will become.” In the bible Jesus calls us children of God. Well children are usually heirs to everything their parents have so would it not make sense since we are children of god can’t we become a god. I mean does a lion cub turn into a zebra no it becomes into an adult lion.

      Prophets and Third Nephites:
      “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
      (Amos 3:7)
      We believe there was an apostasy where divine inspiration was lifted from the earth. The Three Nephites were taken up because God wanted an apostasy for his children. Latter God decided it was time for prophets so thus came Joseph Smith.

      Either you are an ex-member who is trying to be Korihor like and trying to bring down the church if you are one of these people. Keep this quote in mind this quote.
      “Every time you kick Mormonism you kick it upstairs; You never kick it downstairs. The Lord Almighty so orders it.” Brigham Young
      I have a dad that is just like you and I sure do feel sorry for him because he is in this stage to. Also keep in mind that it is never to late to come back and any ward would welcome you back like family. If you showed up in my ward me and my ward would.

      If your a person who does not fully understand what your talking about or you do not know where to find the truth and you keep on running into hateful ex Mormon sites. Try Mormon.org it rocks any questions can be answered by missionaries.

      • Ken Dahl on 07.06.2012 at 11:59 am

        Jonathan, I suspect you will one day better understand your religion. Many of your comments hold errors. For starters Joseph Smith, in his own words, says he was 16 years old when this supposed visitation occurred. Perhaps you and others should brush up on early Mormon history: The Joseph Smith Papers would be a good place to start: http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/letterbook-1-1832–1835#7

        The Secretary of State archives for Missouri (Mormon War Papers 1827-1841) holds hundreds of documents regarding the ouster of Mormons from Missouri. Nowhere in the deliberations of the state assembly, field military or governor’s office does the issue of slavery ever come up. Mormons were breaking the law, not honoring their agreement with the state and harboring fugitives. That is why they were expelled from Missouri. The Mormon church has put lipstick on a pig with their sanitized and rewritten history. http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/findingaids/rg005-01.asp

    • Dean Wilma Peebles-Wilkins on 07.05.2012 at 5:05 pm

      As Ken Dahl noted in his comments, traditionally, Mormons excluded Black people because they were considered descendants of Ham and cursed with dark skin. In more recent times, Mormons, perhaps to increase their membership, began reaching out and recruiting Black people. Most African Americans remain uncomfortable with this history. I thought the article was very good and a significant contribution even though this concern was omitted.

    • Christopher Bolton on 07.05.2012 at 7:17 pm

      I was always told that it’s better to get info straight from the horse’s mouth rather than from a horse’s as…uh…other end. Going to exmormon.org is doing the latter. It’d be like someone going to an ex Southern Baptist group that focuses only on the SBC’s founding being based on supporting slavery and how Southern Baptists are all racists (despite the new SBC head being a Black pastor).

      Is this depiction fair? No. I gave some accurate info but that a lot of misleading info as well. this is what professional anti-Mormons do. The mix in false ino with some truth and those without knowledge of true LDS doctrine and practice are deceived. Ignorance, Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt are the antis’ tools of the trade which they use. They lie in wait to deceive (Eph. 4:14).

    • Anyomous on 07.05.2012 at 10:29 pm

      I like your post Ken. I see where everyone is coming from who has replied to your post. So now I am going to give my opinion. I do not vote for a politician based on their religion preference, I vote for what they stand for in helping this country. I do not like Obama, never have and never will. I think this man has led America in to the depths of hell and if he is re-elected will just continue that journey. I am a conservative Christian and I really don’t care that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. I feel he is the better candidate for presidency. We have had Christian presidents in our history and I am pretty sure not every American voting for them were thrilled about that, but they probably voted for that person because of the stand that person took for America; and that is what is important. I wish people would quit focusing on a candidates religion and the negative media the opposite candidate puts out there on them. I want to know what a candidate is going to do to help this country, especially now.

    • Salle on 07.06.2012 at 10:11 pm

      People! Read and Learn what The Mormon religion is all about! Before you all making any remarks about it….what all has being said! the differencies is! merely opinionize of all who know nothing!…Thank You…..

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson on 07.05.2012 at 2:41 am

    Thank you for this remarkably perceptive analysis. The basis for prejudice against Mormons is ignorance. Most people regard the Mormons as a blank slate on which they project their favorite fears about religious minorities. Liberals think that any dedicated religioys believers are mindless robots. Conservative Evangelicals think Mormons are faux Christians conducting a vast conspiracy to drag real Christians to hell. Neither group gives Mormons credit for individual intelligence or moral reflection, and assume Mormon animosity toward themselves. The fact that Mormons are a bit betterneducated than average, that they are overrepresented in academia, that Mormons with more education tend to be even more loyal to their religion, that Mormons have a more positive view toward people of other faiths–that is, are less religioysly prejudiced–than any other denomination, are simple facts of which their critics are totally ignorant. The criticsnat both extremes of the religioys spectrum only know one or two things about Mormons, and then extrapolate an entire bogeyman out of that. The most severe anti-Mormons at both ends are willing to invest vast amounts of time and rhetoric attacking Mormonism, but very little actually learning how Mormons themselves think. Their shared rationale is, this one thing I know about Mormons is so hateful to me, I do not want to waste any of my time gaining a sympathetic understanding of them. And the bottom line at both extremes is the determination to obliterate Mormons and their beliefs from society, to deny them the opportunity to participate in discussions about religion or public polucy in any forum controlled by the critics, and thus create a vicioys circle of prejudice reinforcing ignorance, which feeds prejudice.

    • ken rosen on 07.05.2012 at 11:02 am

      I know very little about Mormonism but if people are discussing their beliefs and practices and how they have or have not evolved over time we would be remiss not to mention one of their recent practices that has lately emerged, namely that the Mormons have been obtaining lists of deceased Jews and posthumously baptising them.

      • Carl on 07.05.2012 at 11:43 am

        When refering to “one of their recent practices,” it might be best to check your facts. Specifically, the practice has been discouraged, condemned, and can even lead to negative consequences for the members involved.

        An official statement relative to the disallowed practice (as well as a general description of what the real practice is and should be) can be found here: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/background-explanation-of-temple-baptism

        • ken rosen on 07.05.2012 at 12:10 pm

          “Again, Jews Fault Mormons Over Posthumous Baptisms”

          “But in 1995, after evidence emerged that at least 380,000 names of Jewish Holocaust victims were on baptismal lists in the church’s extensive archives in Salt Lake City, the church agreed to end vicarious baptism without consent from the descendants of the dead. Church officials also said the church would remove the names of Holocaust victims placed on the lists before 1995.

          ”For the last seven years, we’ve had entirely cordial relations with the Mormons,” said Ernest Michel, who negotiated the agreement on behalf of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, which is based in New York and claims 180,000 members. ”But the agreement is clear and they have not held up their end.”

          Last year, Helen Radkey, an independent researcher in Salt Lake City, gave Mr. Michel evidence that the Mormon lists still included the names of at least 20,000 Jews, many of them Holocaust victims and prominent figures like the philosopher Theodor Herzl and David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel. Ms. Radkey also provided Mr. Michel with evidence that many of these Jews had been baptized after the 1995 agreement.

          But Mormon officials say they remain in full compliance with the 1995 agreement.” An excerpt from a New York Times article in 2003 –http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/21/nyregion/again-jews-fault-mormons-over-posthumous-baptisms.html

          • Tom on 07.05.2012 at 2:09 pm

            Ken, this is the first thing I thought of after reading this article. I have seen part of one episode of Big Love and I’ve never even heard of the other TV show. I am not basing my opinions off shows or movies, I’m basing it off articles I’ve read. Regardless of the official policy, it seems to have still gone on after the 1995 agreement. Seems like Ken did check his facts Carl. In terms of history and religion, 17 years ago would still be recent. Are we supposed to discount an event just because it happened 15, 20, or 50 years ago? It still reflects on the organization.

          • Carl on 07.05.2012 at 2:15 pm

            From the same NY Times article:

            “Some Jewish genealogists agree with the Mormon interpretation of the agreement. ”I have a copy of the agreement,” said Gary Mokotoff, the publisher of Avotaynu, the International Review of Jewish Genealogy. ”The wording is vague in some places, but it definitely does not obligate the Mormons to scour their own archives on an ongoing basis.””

            Also:

            “”We have actually gone above and beyond,” said D. Todd Christofferson, a church official involved with the negotiations. The church removed the names of Holocaust victims listed before 1995 and continues to instruct its members to avoid baptizing Jews who are not directly related to living Mormons or whose immediate family has not given written consent, Mr. Christofferson said.”

            And the official response to Mr. Michel can be found here:
            http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-responds-to-jewish-news-statements

          • Carl on 07.05.2012 at 2:39 pm

            There appears to be some disagreement on the interpretation of the agreement between the Mormons and the Jews. Perhaps an additional agreement is needed to clarify.

            One thing, however, is clear. I have heard numerous statements read from the pulpit and in various other meetings for many years (likely 1996+, but perhaps starting before that) that have clearly instructed members of the church to not submit such names. The church does not condone such actions and can (and does) revoke database rights from those who violate the policies.

            Should the church do more to prevent it? Probably yes. There could be some form of filter that detects prohibitted names and (at a minimum) flags them for review before they are allowed to proceed. I don’t think this would be overly difficult, but I’m not the one who would have to implement it.

            Is the church obligated to do such? There is no honest way I could say yes or no, but it appears to me that the answer is no. A clarifying agreement would be needed to make it certain one way or the other. As a member, I would not be against the idea of a filter (like I described).

          • JC on 07.05.2012 at 11:57 pm

            Did they check to make sure there was or was not consent from the those who have decended from them? If there was relational consent, then they were in agreement…

      • Mark on 07.05.2012 at 11:56 am

        “I am shocked…shocked I say” to learn that Mormons practice baptism for the dead. OMG, maybe some day thay will baptise Baptists as well….Oh yeah, they already are.

      • John on 07.05.2012 at 12:48 pm

        The Mormon practice of proxy ordinances for deceased individuals is keeping with their desire and value to see all of humanity receive every blessing God has in store for them. As opposed to virtually every other religion in the world that condemns those who don’t believe like them to some eternal punishment, and even so with a sense of self aggrandizing glee over their own supposed good fortune, Mormons sacrifice greatly to give EVERYONE who has ever lived the chance to get exactly what they believe they themselves might receive from God. They are not closing doors on the past identities of those they do proxy work for, they open the door of opportunity to others. It is a selfless kindness that is unbelievably being used as a political pawn of contention to drive a wedge where none should exist. If anyone from any religion wants to go out of their way to perform some rite on my behalf so that I can get access to all that God has for me, I would never complain! I would consider the kindness and say “thank you!”

        John L.

        • Tom on 07.05.2012 at 2:12 pm

          Obviously a joke, but John you’re trying to tell me that Mormons would not be offended by http://alldeadmormonsarenowgay.com? Now consider that Mormon’s baptizing dead people is not a joke and tell me that you honestly don’t think baptizing Holocaust victims is not offensive to Jews. They have their own religion, they don’t want you to do them a “favor”. People always think that just because they believe something they’re doing everyone else a favor by forcing those beliefs on them.

          • Carl on 07.05.2012 at 3:29 pm

            Certainly, there are plenty of Mormons who would take offense at that, but I don’t think it would be as many as some might think. Even if that website were sincere, I think most Mormons would feel that it could have no impact on them. There are several reasons for this:

            1. Authority: Most people (Mormons or not) would question the authority of those behind the site to do such a “conversion” on anyone’s behalf. Likewise, many question the Mormon authority to perform any baptisms on another’s behalf.

            2. Power: Again, most people would contend that they have no power to actually cause a change even if they somehow had the authority. The power behind Mormon baptisms is also questioned.

            3. Agency: Even with both authority and power, Mormons believe strongly in agency (i.e., that they are free to choose for themselves and then reap the rewards or punishments that come from their choices). This could mean that some would actually choose to “convert,” but that others would likely choose not to. The same idea applies to Mormon proxy baptisms.

            The same three ideas apply to any group attempting to postumously convert any other group. If you don’t believe in the power or authority of those performing the work on your behalf, then it makes little difference what they do. If they are trying to help you reach heaven or send you to a significantly hotter place, it will make no difference.

            However, even with all of that, it is best to be considerate toward others’ feelings and try to work out ways that accomplish the goals of the organization doing the work while minimizing any offenses or hard feelings. This is one reason why the church has any agreement at all with any Jews. If you think about it, the church is under no legal or other obligations to care about offending anyone. If they wanted to, they could simply continue without caring what anyone else thinks of them. However, they work out agreements like the one in 1996 instead. It seems to me that they don’t desire to offend and are trying to be good neighbors.

          • John on 07.17.2012 at 3:55 pm

            Proxy baptism is done out of service.
            Deadmormonsgaynow is done out of mockery.

            And yet, I don’t see anyone holding a press conference demanding that deadmormonsnowgay be shut down.

        • ken rosen on 07.05.2012 at 5:48 pm

          John and Carl- first of all Carl whether the Mormon church has followed its agreement with Jewish organizations is bad enough–the point is that they baptized deceased jews (who of course could not defend themselves) and they baptized Holocaust jewish victims who were destroyed for being jewish, many of whom enjoyed and believed in their religion and culture and you would imagine after suffering horrible atrocities for their identities and beliefs and paying the ultimate price for them, do not want to be listed in some Mormon genealogy as baptized Mormons. The point is that as recently as 1995 jewish organizations had to point out to the Mormon church that this practice was wrong and offensive otherwise they never would have got it or stopped it or even thought about it.

          • Kyle on 09.17.2012 at 10:39 pm

            I have to agree with Carl about this topic. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has no legal obligation to change its policies about baptism for the dead but do so out of respect and at the request of those who feel their rights of religion are being imposed upon.

            There are two practices of the church that should be made aware to those who are having a problem with baptisms for the dead.

            1. Before a baptism for the dead is to be submitted. A deceased person is supposed to have been deceased for more than 90 years, or the submitter should get permission from kin before a baptism is submitted.

            2. The Church practices a policy that it teaches the members the rules that they should follow and then let the people mostly govern themselves.

            This means that rule 1 is in place, members of the church have been told about it, and should follow it. How ever the church does not have the resources to double/triple check every submission for Temple work and thus relies on its members to be honest.

          • Ken M on 10.04.2012 at 1:40 am

            So I think we need to clear something up here. Baptisms for the dead are indeed a service, and a service that is not considered by anyone to be binding upon an unwilling individual. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that baptisms for the dead, just like baptisms of the living, are only of force when the individual in question accepts the ordinance. They are not “listed in some Mormon genealogy as baptized Mormons” nor are they counted on some membership list. The record that is kept simply shows that their work has been done. We as a people have a very great respect for the Jews as a people, and indeed we believe that in a way they are part of God’s chosen people. And regarding the question of “whether the Mormon church has followed its agreement with Jewish organizations” – everything they have done to accommodate the wishes of these organizations is purely out of deference to them, and not out of any obligation or line that we’ve overstepped. That is, as a church. The church is made of individuals. And the individuals conduct the work of temple ordinances, including baptism for the dead, on a very personal basis. So it’s up to individuals, who make mistakes, and who are not always thorough or completely obedient, to accomodate the wishes of a very large group of people who pop up in geneaologies all over the planet. I say again that we as a Church have done nothing wrong.

      • cantabman on 07.06.2012 at 11:35 am

        It’s quite refreshing, Ken, to hear that a religious group (id est Mormons) allows the ‘nonbelievers’ in this life to have a chance at heaven through proxy baptism. Consider the fact that automatically assigning nonbelievers to hell after this life (with no reprieve) has been the general Christian, Islamic, Jewish, etc, tradition for millennia. Are we okay with other religions’ declaring our damnation because time has made this approach acceptable? I, for one, would rather have all religions give me the benefit of the doubt after I’m dead, similar to the Mormons.

  • JDD on 07.05.2012 at 5:21 am

    Given the reasoned analysis of modern mormonism given by Dr. Hutchison-Jones, the opening tone of the article is puzzling. Opening with a flippent remark about Mormon cultural practices is pretty much an ethnic slur.

    The sentence “And even though the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced polygamy in the 1890s (with the exception of a militant sliver)” also betrays ignorance that is puzzling given that Dr. Hutchison-Jones specifically refutes that very ignorance. Any practicing Mormon who embraces polygamy is excommunicated. Those polygamists occasionally mentioned in the news are not Mormons… they do not belong to the “LDS Church” to which Mitt Romney and other prominent Mormons belong. These polygamists belong to an entirely separate religion that is generally disliked by LDS. Even a simple google search could have easily revealed this fact.

    • CJinBrooklyn on 07.05.2012 at 10:20 am

      The FLDS call themselves “Mormons”. In fact, they would say they’re the “true” Mormons. Sound familiar? Just like mainstream LDS want to be called Christians (while others object), you have no right to define others religious identification.

      • David NYC on 07.05.2012 at 10:55 am

        Of course a religion has a right to define who it’s members are or aren’t. Are you saying that Jews do not have the right to say if someone else is a Jew or not – even if they truly aren’t? That Catholics cannot say that someone who calls himself catholic but who in actuality is not a member of the Roman Catholic Church, is not catholic? Your comment is nonsensical.

        • Steve on 07.05.2012 at 12:18 pm

          Jews are by matter of lineage and birth always Jews. If you understood anything about the Jewish heritage you would know that.

          • Tom on 07.05.2012 at 2:17 pm

            Steve, people can convert to Judaism. David’s point is that if some group of people with radical ideas goes around saying they represent Judaism that doesn’t make them Jews. It might cause other people to be misinformed about what Jews do and don’t believe. This is especially true in an organization like the Catholic Church which has so much structure. You can’t just form your own church and say it’s part of the Catholic Church even if those practices were once held by the Catholic Church in the past.

    • Zeba on 07.05.2012 at 12:22 pm

      Your statements about Mormon polygamy are misleading. It is true that polygamy is not allowed to be practiced by living Mormons, but it is very much still a believed practice (my fellow Mormons who attend the temple and have had a spouse die can confirm), and polygamy is still included in official Mormon doctrine (Doctrine and Covenants section 132).

      • Alec on 07.05.2012 at 2:04 pm

        I think both Mormons and non Mormons should look at why Polygamy was started. Joesph Smith (the Mormon Profit) practice polygamy and took on wives at the age of 15 and while his friends were away he would tell their wives God wants you to marry me. Joesph Smith was a horn dog. That is why polygamy is in the Mormon church to begin with.

        • Sean on 07.07.2012 at 6:49 am

          That’s a very adolescent comment, Alec. The practice didn’t begin until at least the 1830′s. Joseph would have been in his late 20′s-early 30′s by then, and the practice wasn’t instituted just for the sake of having sex; it was a way of building up church generations quickly in a hostile environment. It was also a means of providing for those women at a time when marriage was a highly valued institution in our society. It is commonly overlooked that best estimates have only attributed the practice to ~10% of the membership of the church during the period it was permitted, and those men were some of the most well-off in the church.

  • Brian on 07.05.2012 at 5:29 am

    Proof again, that racism is not the problem it used to be, rather religious intolerance is still the number one issue as it has always been. After all, our country was founded because of religious intolerance.

    • KathyBatesHatesOnMe on 07.05.2012 at 11:33 am

      As a minority, I can tell you that Racism is still a problem. Religious intolerance is a problem too. There are lots of problems.

      • Jackson on 07.05.2012 at 1:37 pm

        Really? REALLY?? Maybe in some parts of the country, and maybe in small circumstances, but I BEG to differ. This country has come a long way–look at Powell and Sec. Rice. I’m not a believe in affirmative actions (it is, truly, a race based policy). Blacks & minorities have been able to enjoy the advantage of affirmative action in college admissions. Soon, whites will be the minority and Hispanics the majority…will whites be given an advantage in college admissions? Shouldn’t they by default? How will this be perceived??

        • Tom on 07.05.2012 at 2:39 pm

          Jackson, are you trying to start an argument? Yes, you guys are right that racism obviously isn’t as bad as it used to be and yes, it has come a long way. But Kathy is right that it still exists. I think especially in a city like Boston you might not see it as much as other cities or parts of the country.

          “Soon, whites will be the minority and Hispanics the majority…”. This is really the statement that makes me think you can’t be serious haha. According to Wikipedia, 16.3% of Americans identify as Hispanic or Latino with 8.7% (more than half) identified as white Hispanic. 73.4% identify as white with 63.7% non-Hispanic white. So how soon exactly is this happening?

          “Blacks & minorities have been able to enjoy the advantage of affirmative action in college admissions.” Affirmative action isn’t just about being a minority. Asian Americans make up 4.8% of the population, but I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as Asian American affirmative action. The reason is because if you look at average education levels and household incomes they are higher for whites and Asians Americans than for Latinos and African Americans. This is obviously way off topic from the article.

          • Racism... on 07.05.2012 at 3:45 pm

            Racism isn’t as bad in Boston?
            Wrong. It’s worse. I’m from Atlanta and Boston is the most racist place I’ve ever been, thanks mostly to BU students.
            Other minorities at BU will say the same.
            White people, racist or not, don’t get to decide that the world isn’t racist or “as racist” anymore. Only those who are on the receiving end of racism get to decide that.

          • Jackson on 07.05.2012 at 3:48 pm

            Not off topic; KathyBates brought up racism after all. Distill affirmative action down to it’s essence and what is it? A race base policy. It’s racial. You could even say it’s racist! It’s admitting one applicant over another based on…RACE!

            Go beyond wikipedia, which is not a great source anyways. The birthrate of minorities has surpassed those of whites. And by 2040 Hispanics (or Hispanic whites, if you wish) are expected to surpass non-Hispanic whites in the population.

  • Anmol on 07.05.2012 at 6:24 am

    Interesting article.. it’s true what she said about religious Christians being portrayed as villains in TV shows and films. To be honest, most religious figures in TV and film on the major American networks seem to be portrayed as corrupt or evil unless they’re an evangelical priest or a rabbi.

    Sad how so much intolerance exists in such a diverse country.

  • John Deltuvia on 07.05.2012 at 7:48 am

    “No one has been more aggressive about prosecuting polygamists in this country in the 20th and 21st century than Mormons.” And that’s one of the most scary things about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: that they got rid of a tenet of their beliefs in order to achieve statehood for Utah, and, having done so, use the law to persecute others who engage in non-monogamous relationships. As a Witch, I’d be *much* more comfortable with them if they were to try to change the law to restore freedom of religion in this Nation, starting with their origins. Instead, they persecute those who believe what they once believed themselves; in Biblical terms they are like Esau in the 25th chapter of Genesis; but they bought into American citizenship that way – and are as immoral as Jacob in denying basic life or liberty without payment.

    • Floyd on 07.05.2012 at 12:21 pm

      Don’t get too excited about this untrue statement that Mormons prosecute polygamists. Mormons in Utah do not prosecute polygamists at all. That is the fact.

      • Ryan on 07.06.2012 at 2:30 am

        The statement that “Mormons prosecute polygamists” is partially true but misleading. They excommunicate practicing polygamists. I am unaware of them actively seeking out polygamists, but it is considered a punishable offense within the modern church.

    • KarlinSLC on 07.05.2012 at 12:39 pm

      John, I appreciate your comment more than most. I am a Mormon, happy and unashamed. Two of my best friends are Wiccans. They are some of the brightest people I have ever known but just as your comment illustrates, there are many who make judgments about my faith because they simply do not know any better. Please allow me to edify you on the historical issue of polygamy as it relates to the Mormon faith. Polygamy was instituted in a time of dire need. As Mormons trekked west into the wild territories of the US in the 1830′s there was–quite simply–a shortage of able-bodied males to care for women and children. Many families had lost their fathers, husbands and older brothers to any of thousands of uncontrolled factors. The Mormon leadership instituted the practice of polygamy as a means of assigning responsibility for the well-being of these families to men who remained alive. They were tasked with leading and providing for people who were not originally theirs to care for. In this way, the leadership of the Mormon caravans assured that no individual was abandoned to the idea that: “they are not my problem, I have my own family to provide for.” Now that these people were a part of the patriarch’s family there was no question they were the patriarch’s responsibility to care and provide for. We often think of the benefits of polygamy as being without cost, and so immoral, but fail to consider the enormous cost and responsibility that gave rise to this practice among Mormons, so long ago. When Mormons finally arrived and settled the Salt Lake Valley in Utah, the practice was continued for only about one or two generations before it was terminated. You are correct that one of many reasons for the discontinuation of the practice was that it was not generally approved of by the leaders of the US; and the Mormon leadership of the Utah territory wanted to be incorporated into the US. However, make no mistake that it was not the primary reason for the cessation of polygamy. Mormons were finally settled. The population balance of male-to-female was being restored. Therefore, polygamy was no longer necessary. This is the reason that the Mormon Church condemns the practices of the FLDS and other splinter groups that continue in polygamy: it doesn’t work when the balance of male-to-female is roughly even. You have to eliminate the excess number of males in order to assign multiple females to one male. This creates an extreme abuse that anyone can see as wrong. In a way, we Mormons can be grateful for the FLDS’ continued practice of polygamy because it illustrates how polygamy ceases to be a viable practice beyond the date in 1890 when Mormon leadership closed the practice. I once questioned the issue of polygamy, like you and many others. I was raised in the Mormon faith to always question and search for answers because my belief was always my responsibility and no other’s. After much study, I discovered that my historical perspective of the practice of polygamy is much clarified. It was never an issue of Core Mormon Belief to utilize polygamy; but a practice that had specific purpose based on the needs of the time and place in which it was utilized. After the need had passed, the practice was correctly closed. Those who use the practice beyond the need succeed only in abusing the practice for their own selfish benefit.

      • Brother French on 07.05.2012 at 1:14 pm

        To your post I would add the following:
        Plural marriage goes back to Old Testament times, when Abraham, Jacob, David and Moses where commanded by God to have more than one wife that God might raise up a people unto himself. The doctrine that made it ok then is the same doctrine that made it ok for a short time when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was first being established. That doctrine is laid out in the Book of Mormon. Jacob 2:27-30 reads as follows:

        27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;
        28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
        29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.
        30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

        As you can see, verse 30 explains that under certain circumstances the Lord has commanded plural marriage and gives his reason for doing so.

      • Ken Dahl on 07.05.2012 at 1:45 pm

        If polygamy was a legal and accepted practice today, the LDS would be practicing it. The simple reason the Salt Lake City branch of Mormonism abandoned the practice was to get church assets back from the U. S. government. With church assets seized by the government and the corporate entity dissolved, there was no church. Google “the Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints vs. United States” to gain some insight. Today’s Salt Lake City Mormon church is not the same legal entity of the founding organization, thus church assets are now held by the Presiding Bishopric. The Salt Lake City church has no claim to the title, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” other than the copyrighted typeface and logo used on stationery and building signage. Bet you didn’t know that!

        The second reason for the timely “revelation” to cease the practice of Polygamy was a settled negotation with Washington to allow Utah’s statehood.

        • Brother French on 07.05.2012 at 4:24 pm

          Ken

          You said “If polygamy was a legal and accepted practice today, the LDS would be practicing it”.

          I doubt that your assumption is right because of the doctrine spelled out in my post above.

          The main reason for plural marriage being done away with was that the Lord had accomplished his purpose, and had raised up a people in these latter days to preach the everlasting gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. See Revelations 14:6-7. Please note when you read this scripture that there would be no need for God to send this angel to preach the everlasting gospel to those who dwell on the earth if the gospel was still on the earth in its purity.

          • Justin on 07.05.2012 at 4:34 pm

            The real reason Brother French is that Joseph got caught and thus got lynched for committing polygamy and polyandry.

            Don’t believe me?

            visit http://www.mormonstories.com – this is a site of faithful believing Mormons who want to know the truth about the history of their church. They have several podcasts on the subject. I can respect these believers because they know what they believe on don’t try to act Christian because they know they are not.

            In addition, the lord didn’t have any purpose in polygamy. Joe and his sexual appetite for new partners creating a convenient revelation. Just like everything else he “spoke for the lord” when it pleased him. He is no different than David Koresh, Muhammad or Charles Taft Russell

          • Brother French on 07.05.2012 at 7:09 pm

            Justin,

            You are being sucked in if this is what you believe. I know, because my great grandfather, and his parents were there right from the start.

      • Justin on 07.05.2012 at 4:48 pm

        Karlin -

        I don’t know you or what you have been taught but you need to research and the redact the following statement because it is flat our wrong and if you know this already then it is a damn lie “Please allow me to edify you on the historical issue of polygamy as it relates to the Mormon faith. Polygamy was instituted in a time of dire need. As Mormons trekked west into the wild territories of the US in the 1830′s there was–quite simply–a shortage of able-bodied males to care for women and children. Many families had lost their fathers, husbands and older brothers to any of thousands of uncontrolled factors.”

        Rather than write a lengthy novel please visit this very well done podcast on the topic http://hotm.tv/2007-episodes/

        - Polygamy was practiced by Joseph for years before giving the revelation
        - Polygamy was “the new and everlasting covenant” which meant if you didn’t practice it you couldn’t go to be with god to be a god in heaven.
        -Polygamy was still practiced by the church and Brigham Young well after it was renounced.

        Another great site to research is http://www.utlm.com

        I was a Mormon for 20 years until I started studying.

        • Brother French on 07.07.2012 at 7:27 pm

          Justin

          You said “Polygamy was “the new and everlasting covenant”.

          Anyone who has attended our Gospel Doctrine classes and studied the revelations that Jesus Christ has given to the Church in these latter days should know that the New and Everlasting Covenant applies first and foremost to the covenant of marriage between a man, and a women. Naturally, that would include plural marriages authorized by God but would not be limited to those marriages. Perhaps the following information will help you to become more familiar with our doctrine.

          Plural marriage goes back to Old Testament times, when Abraham, Jacob, etc., etc. where commanded by God to have more than one wife that God might raise up a people unto himself. The doctrine that made it ok then is the same doctrine that made it ok for a short time when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was first being established. That doctrine is laid out in the Book of Mormon. Jacob 2:27-30 reads as follows:

          27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;
          28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
          29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.
          30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

          As you can see, this doctrine is very clear, and verse 30 explains that under certain circumstances the Lord has commanded plural marriage and gives his reason for doing so.

          • Justin on 07.09.2012 at 12:18 am

            Brother French -

            Please show me the text in the OT that states god commanded old testament prophets to participate in Polygamy. Yes some had multiple wives in the OT but it was not part of the law which one had to follow in the OT to be saved (I also don’t see any being blessed for having multiple wives). Joseph took polygamy and turned it into a commandment from the lord that one had to follow to be saved. That is the major difference.

            Also you are supporting your argument with the BOM! Please support it with biblical passages not your own doctrine.

            Last, I have re-read my comments on here and I want to say that I share my research and hope with you in love. I have not hate towards you or any LDS.

            I would recommend reading a book by one of your own. A temple going faithful latter day saint named Todd Compton. His book “In Sacred Loneliness” does a much better job than I do explaining Joseph and polygamy.

        • Rachel on 07.07.2012 at 11:40 pm

          Justin,

          Brigham Young was dead when it was renounced.

          • Justin on 07.09.2012 at 12:08 am

            You are correct. Young had passed. I misspoke about Young.

            After the manifesto, Woodruff, the 12 and many others still practiced and took wives for years afterwards.

        • Brother French on 07.10.2012 at 6:15 pm

          Justin

          As I see it you are only using a portion of the scriptures (the Bible) and therefore your situation is like a Jury that has reached a verdict without hearing the defense witnesses (latter-day scriptures). In other words, the only reason you disagree with me is that you don’t know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that it is truly Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

          To get that witness directly from God a person must seek to know the truth in the way that God has prescribed. It is my opinion that to switch from being a detractor of the Church to being a believer is very difficult.

          It requires a lot more effort on their part than someone who has not first staked out such a position. However, over the years I have heard many members say that they did succeed in doing so. The following is how I personally think it must be approached.

          First and foremost a person must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ or at least be willing to do those things that will develop that faith. See James 1:5-7.

          Second, a person must read and ponder the Book of Mormon, giving special attention to those chapters and verses concerning the atonement of Christ. See the list below.

          Third, he must ponder and be willing to apply the principles of the gospel as taught by the BOM into his life. See John 7:16-17.

          Fourth, he must pray earnestly and fervently several times a day for guidance.

          Five, he must attend all our church meetings each and every Sunday to observe and understand how we apply the teachings of Jesus Christ into our lives.

          Six, he must repent of his sins.

          Seven, he must be ready and willing to join the Church when he receives his witness from God that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

          By doing these things he will show the Lord that he has a sincere heart and real intent. It is similar to listen to the radio. There are certain steps that must first be taken. A person must plug it in, turn it on, dial in the station, turn up the volume, and IF he hasn’t left out any of the steps and there is no interference he will get the message.

          I recommend this approach because it is exactly what my wife and I did, and we both received the promised witness from the Holy Ghost. In addition, during the forty years or so that I have spent in missionary work for the Church I have never once seen this approach fail. See Matt 7:7, Moroni 10:4-5.

          Here are some scriptures from The Book of Mormon concerning Jesus Christ and his atonement.
          2 Nephi 2 – Lehi testifies of the Savior as our Redeemer.
          2 Nephi 9 – Jacob testifies of the Atonement.
          2 Nephi 31–33 – Nephi teaches the doctrine of Christ.
          Enos – Enos experiences the power of the Atonement.
          Mosiah 2–5 – King Benjamin teaches of Christ.
          Mosiah 12–16 – Abinadi gives his life in testifying of Jesus Christ.
          Alma 5, 7 – Alma testifies of the Savior.
          Alma 17–22 – Lamanites receive the testimony of Jesus Christ.
          Alma 34 – Amulek testifies of the Atonement.
          Alma 36 – Alma experiences the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
          Alma 40–42 – Alma testifies of the resurrection and Atonement.
          Helaman 5 – Nephi and Lehi are instruments in God’s hands to witness of the Savior.
          3 Nephi 9–10 – The Savior invites people to come to Him.
          3 Nephi 11–18 – The Savior teaches the Nephites of the Father and of His doctrine.
          3 Nephi 27 – The Savior teaches His gospel.
          Ether 3 – The brother of Jared sees the Savior.
          Ether 12 – Ether and Moroni testify of the Savior and the power of His Atonement.
          Moroni 7–8 – Mormon teaches of the pure love of Christ and His Atonement.
          Moroni 10 – Moroni invites all to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.

          • John on 07.17.2012 at 4:00 pm

            By the way, Todd Compton is still LDS, as is his wife Laura, who founded mormonsformarriage.org. I happen to know them.

  • Z on 07.05.2012 at 7:58 am

    I will disagree with Hutchinson-Jones, most likely being a liberal from Harvard, the negative perception of a conservative is to be expected, “Conservative voters might be a little less enthusiastic about getting out the vote because they’re nervous that he’s a Mormon” History has shown us that despite Irish Catholic, JFK broke through the religious-political hegemony that existed before his time winning the presidency. Barack O. did it in terms of the racial barriers being the first Black president as no other before his time. Only two examples needed which tells us that American voters find a way to present new opportunities for new leaders and is always pioneering the “first of something” to be elected; if anything it presents an aura of mystery and intrigue which is not necessarily divisive, perhaps the contrary specially considering the lack of leadership we find ourselves in now-a-days.

    I can guarantee that when it comes time to get this current president out, conservatives all around will bound together in unison. Being Mormon will not affect Mitt Romney, specially if he has the backing of ministers and other important political figures, which he will! Mitt has already exceed B.O. in fund raising, not to mention has the backing of some important figures in battle states of Ohio, FL and others. If recent gubernatorial and house elections are any indication of what is to come and I mean any sign of the political shift in this country, get ready for some real change you will be able to count on! One only has to look at local elections. Martha Coakley/Scott Brown race ring a bell anyone? I can’t wait until all the promises of B.O., or should I say broken promises are exposed (here’s one: raising taxes) by Mitt and they go head to head, it will be epic, or see the likes of Marco Rubio/ Allen West up against Biden. ROMNEY 2012 all the way!

  • Peter on 07.05.2012 at 8:11 am

    “We think of Sister Wives and Big Love [TV shows about polygamous Mormons]…”

    I don’t know if the statement in brackets came from Barlow or Hutchinson-Jones but it is statements like this that perpetuate the myth that Mormons are polygamous. Even in this context, trying to explain that Mormons do not practice polygamy, it is mis-stated that these shows are about “polygamous Mormons” The characters/participants in these shows are not Mormons, and major story lines ine the shows revolve around the conflicts between themselves and Mormons.

    Most members of polygamous groups, whether in Utah or not, have never been members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    • Rich Barlow on 07.05.2012 at 10:51 am

      We’ve amended the sentence to “apostate Mormons.” Thanks for raising this point.

      • David NYC on 07.05.2012 at 11:00 am

        To be an “apostate Mormon”, you have to have been and still be a Mormon. Mormons are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If a polygamous person is not nor has been a member of the LDS church, then they can not be an apostate LDS or “apostate Mormon.”

    • Ryan on 07.06.2012 at 2:42 am

      In reality, those that still practice polygamy would denounce the modern LDS church as being the true church. The “Mormon” church is the apostate church, leaving behind some of the early beliefs of the founding leaders.

      “Most members of polygamous groups, whether in Utah or not, have never been members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

      This is not entirely true. Although they may not have been baptized into the modern organization, they follow almost all of the same beliefs and use the same set of set of scriptures.

  • Sam on 07.05.2012 at 8:15 am

    The biggest PR problem Mormons have is that they stay in Utah and the West. In the rest of the country, it is much less likely that people are acquainted with someone who is Mormon. Research shows that people who know individual Mormons have a much more favorable opinion of Mormons than those who don’t.There is also that competition thing–apparently Baptists and Evangelicals are mad when members of their church leave to become Mormons. This has given rise to some of the most inaccurate, un-Christian, crazy anti-Mormon propaganda. The goal of such drivel seems to be to keep people as far away from Mormons as possible. I guess because once people actually visit a Mormon church or meet actual Mormon families, they see it’s not that weird or crazy. I think “Christian” churches are really shooting themselves in the foot when the perpetrate lies and try to stir up prejudice. Sooner or later, when people figure out their church, however well-meaning, was lying to them about what Mormons believe, they start to wonder what else their church was lying to them about. Interesting article, but did it really have to begin by talking about underwear?

  • Joel cannon on 07.05.2012 at 9:37 am

    Cristine Hutchison-Jones seems to be very well informed about Mormons, but the poor journalist illustrates the problems of how hard it is for normal people to sort out the misinformation they learn for popular media. I do appreciate the good intentions and respectful tone of the article.

  • Tim on 07.05.2012 at 9:55 am

    Somewhere along the line some fundamentalist Christians determined to try to undermine The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or, “Mormon” church) by asserting that they were not Christians. Perhaps it will help to set that record straight.
    • The name of the church bears His name.
    • Every meeting of the church opens and ends with a prayer that is offered in “the name of Jesus Christ.”
    • Every member looks to Him for their salvation, and ONLY to Him.
    • Every member is taught to follow His example of service and compassion.
    • The church is organized after the pattern of the church organized by Jesus in His ministry.
    • The church’s members are taught to be good citizens and to honor the laws of their own land.
    • The church’s members are taught to be tolerant of other’s beliefs (a courtesy that perhaps someday will be more universally reciprocal).
    • The church’s members look to Him in times of trial for inspiration, peace, comfort and reconciliation.
    • The church’s doctrine and practices are, upon honest examination, entirely consistent with those found in the same scriptures that other Christians use to guide their faith.
    Yes, Mormons are Christians. For a deeper examination, you may want to explore Mormon.org.

    • Michelle on 07.05.2012 at 12:10 pm

      To correct you, Tim, a lot of the things you’ve listed are not specific to the Christian faith, such as being good citizens or religious tolerance (these are just good manners). Starting and ending with Christ’s name means nothing. One who does not believe the same things Christians do can recite a prayer in his name with little comprehension of its meaning or just complete lack of faith. You follow Christ’s example. A lot of people follow MLK Jr.’s example… what does that make them? Now for the real grit of my response…
      Here are a couple of points the Christian church acknowledges that I don’t believe the Mormons do:
      1) Original sin
      2) Jesus Christ was man AND GOD (at the same time, all the time, NEVER just man)! (Nicean Creed, very important!)
      3) The Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost)

      Granted the last one I’m less sure if the Mormons believe or not, but either way unless they agree with all three, they are NOT part of Christianity. It’s not a big deal though. Be proud of your faith. Why is it so important to be accepted by a group that clearly doesn’t share your beliefs. Just because you both hold Jesus Christ in such high esteem doesn’t mean you are of the same religion. Did you know that Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Mormons all pray to the same God? You don’t see Muslims and Jews trying to get together and form one religion with two very different sets of beliefs. Why must Mormons be so anxious to bust into Christianity? Be strong on your own! You’re different. Own it!

      • Michelle on 07.05.2012 at 12:31 pm

        Correction:
        The Trinity is not 3 independent beings but 1 being made up of 3 parts. Kind of tricky I know, but very important in Christianity. If you believe they are 3 seperate deities then no dice.

        • Christian on 07.05.2012 at 1:52 pm

          Michelle,

          The dictionary definition of a Christian is a believer and follower of Christ, and this is what a Christian is at its most core level. Tim was pointing out that Mormons have Christ as the center of their religion, and therefore, are Christians. What you point out is that Mormons don’t agree with certain interpretations of Christ’s Gospel like other Christian denominations do and argue that this disqualifies them from being Christians. Mormons are Christians because they believe in and follow the doctrine of Christ as they believe the Gospel was taught and revealed through the scriptures and modern-day Prophets. Just because they differ in their beliefs on certain doctrines of Christ’s Gospel doesn’t mean that they are not Christian’s, just that they have different opinions on doctrinal points of Christ’s Gospel.

          By the way, this isn’t unique to Mormons. There is a reason there are so many different denominations within the Christian Religion, there are varies opinions of key doctrinal points of Christ’s Gospel that people cannot agree upon.

        • Brother French on 07.05.2012 at 2:38 pm

          Michelle,

          We Mormons believe the Holy Bible is the word of God (insofar as it is translated correctly), and we use the King James version. We also believe the The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and we use it as a companion book of scripture to the Bible.

          Here ar some scriptures from The Book of Mormon that will help you to know that Mormons are Christians.

          2 Nephi 2 – Lehi testifies of the Savior as Redeemer.
          2 Nephi 9 – Jacob testifies of the Atonement.
          2 Nephi 31–33 – Nephi teaches the doctrine of Christ.
          Enos – Enos experiences the power of the Atonement.
          Mosiah 2–5 – King Benjamin teaches of Christ.
          Mosiah 12–16 – Abinadi gives his life in testifying of Jesus Christ.
          Alma 5, 7 – Alma testifies of the Savior.
          Alma 17–22 – Lamanites receive the testimony of Jesus Christ.
          Alma 34 – Amulek testifies of the Atonement.
          Alma 36 – Alma experiences the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
          Alma 40–42 – Alma testifies of the resurrection and Atonement.
          Helaman 5 – Nephi and Lehi are instruments in God’s hands to witness of the
          Savior.
          3 Nephi 9–10 – The Savior invites people to come to Him.
          3 Nephi 11–18 – The Savior teaches the Nephites of the Father and of His
          doctrine.
          3 Nephi 27 – The Savior teaches His gospel.
          Ether 3 – The brother of Jared sees the Savior.
          Ether 12 – Ether and Moroni testify of the Savior and the power of His
          Atonement.
          Moroni 7–8 – Mormon teaches of the pure love of Christ and His Atonement.
          Moroni 10 – Moroni invites all to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.

          Also, the Bible contains a prophacy relative to the coming forth of The Book of Mormon in these latter days.

          About 600 B.C. God commanded the tribes of Israel to keep two scriptural histories rather than one as they had done in the past. The “Stick of Judah” (the Bible record) was still to be kept by the tribe of Judah, but the new record, the “Stick of Ephraim”, was to be kept by the tribe of Joseph. Thus, God also referred to it as the “Stick of Joseph”.

          This new record was soon hidden from world when the Prophet Lehi and a small group from the tribe of Joseph were led by God to the Western Hemisphere. However, God declared to the Prophet Ezekiel that he would bring it forth to be joined with the Stick of Judah prior to the gathering of the twelve tribes of Israel in the latter days. Thus, God said these sacred records “shall become one in mine hand” (Ezekiel 37:15-21. Also see 2 Nephi 3:12 in the Book of Mormon).

          Today, we know the Stick of Joseph as the Book of Mormon. It covers a period of history from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D., and contains the writings of some of the greatest prophets who ever lived. As a companion book to the Bible (the Stick of Judah) it provides another Testament, and a second sure witness to both Jew and gentile that Jesus is the Christ!

          To learn more about the coming forth of this sacred record visit mormon.org on the internet.

      • Wyoming on 07.05.2012 at 1:05 pm

        A couple of points of clarification:

        * Mormons do not believe in original sin in the same way as creedal Christians. We believe we will be punished for our own sins, not for Adam’s transgressions. We believe that the perception that an unbaptized infant is somehow damned, limited or punished in any way is a evil belief.
        * Jesus was always God. He became man through the process described the bible.
        * We believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as a ‘Godhead’. They are united in purpose, but separate entities. We believe that the creeds were uninspired, man-made documents that redefined God in a way that the Apostles and early Christians would not recognize.

        Nearly all Mormon converts were Catholic or Protestants before joining the LDS church. They were Christians before conversion and after.

        • Ken Dahl on 07.05.2012 at 1:48 pm

          Yes, can’t wait to see how Mormons are going to deal with converting Islamists since polygamy is the rule rather than the exception.

        • Tom on 07.05.2012 at 2:49 pm

          If “Jesus was always God” then how are the Father and the Son separate entities?

          • Dandini on 07.05.2012 at 9:32 pm

            Tom – if you truly believe that Jesus prayed to himself… and not to his Father in heaven… then you would also not be able to believe that Jesus Christ was a separate, divine entity from his Father…

            Christ taught that he was the Son of God and that his Father was also our Father…

            Christ always prayed to the Father…

            All three (3) were witnessed as separate, divine individuals for the Bible… God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit were evidenced together at the same time, in the same place, yet as three (3) separate, independent and divine individual beings – at Christ’s baptism in the River Jordan

            Christ always taught that he was the Son… and never proclaimed that he was God the Father… find one sentence without interpretation, to show that Christ stated “I am God”… there is not one anywhere in the Bible…

            The Apostle Stephen saw two (2), divine and separate beings, Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God…

            but that is one perspective…

      • Jonathan on 07.05.2012 at 1:29 pm

        Michelle – Regarding the “The Christian church” acknowledgements vs. Mormon beliefs:

        Number two is incorrect. Mormons most certainly believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. This is quite clear and easily verifiable (see the Book of Mormon – almost any page – or mormon.org).

        With regard to number 3, Mormons believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost (all divine), but believe that their “one-ness” is that of purpose and unity, not of person or substance as some of the creeds declare.

        With regard to defining the boundaries of Christianity, its not as simple as picking a couple of beliefs that some faiths hold to but another does not. For example, Roman Catholics have many distinctive beliefs. Does that make catholics not Christian because they are the only church that believes in transubstantiation or praying to saints? Who decides what these criteria are? The fact of the matter is that Mormons believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that he is divine, that the Bible (including the New Testament) is the word of God, and that our salvation is dependent on him. This is at the very core and center of Mormon belief. There is absolutely no parallel between Mormon beliefs about Jesus and that of Judaism or Islam. To them (assuming they know something about Mormon beliefs), the question of whether Mormons are Christian is painfully obvious.

      • Brother French on 07.05.2012 at 1:52 pm

        Are Mormons Christians?

        Of course we are Christians. We believe in Jesus Christ! In addition, every good member of our church strives to follow Jesus Christ by keeping his commandments and doing the will of their Heavenly Father.

        We are Latter-day Christians. There are also Nicene Christians. Both are followers of Jesus Christ even though they differ in doctrine as to what God is like. I refer you to the following if you want to know more on the subject:

        Simply put, Nicene Christians believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one and the same God, and that he (God) is a spirit without a body, parts or passions.

        The two bottom line differences are that we Latter-day Christians teach that Jesus Christ is a separate person from his Heavenly Father and from the Holy Ghost. We also teach that Christ has been resurrected with an immortal, glorified, spiritual body of flesh and bones like his Heavenly Father’s, and that he is still resurrected today. See Hebrews 1:1-3, Revelations. 1:10-18.

        In addition, Joseph Smith talked face to face with God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ in what we call “The First Vision”. Therefore, there is no doubt in our mind that our doctrine concerning the nature of the Godhead is true.

        You can also refer to John 17:20-23, 20:17, Luke 22:39-44, Acts 7:55-56. These scriptures, and scores of others, show that Christ is a separate person from his father. However, the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost are united as “one” in purpose, thought and actions.

        In reference to Revelations 1:10-18 which I mentiond above please note Christ’s own statement that he is still alive (resurrected) and always will be! Also, pay particular attention to the fact that he laid his hand on John’s shoulder proving to John that he was the resurrected Christ.

        • Alec on 07.05.2012 at 2:24 pm

          The issue is you did something against christian law. Having another book (the Book of Mormon) and the fact that you claim Jesus came to America after he was in the middle east. You give a different image of Jesus than christian have been given. and change is not popular among the religious and conservative. they are not quick enough to adapt as they need to.

        • Justin on 07.05.2012 at 4:52 pm

          Brother French -

          Don’t you have a baseball field baptism to perform somewhere.
          Speak the truth. Lying is a sin and your works are filthy rags to god.

        • Ryan on 07.06.2012 at 2:55 am

          Brother, the first vision was revised multiple times and isn’t evidence of God and Jesus Christ being separate beings. Joseph could never get his story straight and he didn’t even write the final version himself. Unfortunately, the Bible is very contradictory and using it as “proof” of anything can be difficult.

          Personally, I don’t care if Mormons are Christians or not, what really matters is if Romney can separate his beliefs from politics. If he can forget that he’s Mormon and first think of himself as president, the nation might do ok.

          • Brother French on 07.07.2012 at 7:42 pm

            Ryan

            Everybody knows this thing of the first vision being revised multiple times is used as a straw man. Everyone who was there from the beginning of the Church knows that Joseph Smith saw two personages just like Stephen the Martyr did before they stoned him for saying so.

            As to Mitt Romney – you have no worry whatsoever as proven by his four years as the Governor of Mass.

      • Mike W on 07.05.2012 at 3:43 pm

        @Michelle,

        As a Mormon, we get a little touchy and offended when people tell us that we aren’t “Christian.” It implies that we don’t believe and follow Christ, which we whole heartedly do. He is the focus of our beliefs and everything we do in our church. There are so many people that misunderstand us and what we believe. Saying that we aren’t Christian implies we don’t believe in Christ and furthers the misunderstanding.

        I know we do see eye to eye on everything with all of Christendom, which is fine. We are happy to talk with people about what we have in common and where we differ (we have more in common that you think). I think we “own” our differences quite well actually.

        For us, it comes down to the definition of “Christian.” I think most of society would define the term “Christian” as simply believing in Jesus Christ and following Him. A very simple and inclusive definition.

        Dictionary defines it as follows: Adjective: Of, relating to, or professing Christianity or its teachings. Noun: A person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

        Most of Christendom believes you must adhere to a set of beliefs (Nicene Creed, et al)that all Catholic or Protestant churches have about him to make you a Christian. I find that view vary narrow. So narrow that you exclude us from it.

        So you can say that we’re not Christian in your traditional sense, but that we still believe in Christ and the teachings about him in the Bible. If you can acknowledge that fact when you say we’re not Christian but we still believe in the same Christ, then we’re cool. We just don’t want people thinking that we believe our salvation comes through someone other than Jesus Christ (e.g. Mormon, Joseph Smith, etc.). So we don’t care if you accept us in your “club”, but we just want people to understand who we are: Followers of Jesus Christ. We aren’t fighting to be in any club, we are just trying to make sure our beliefs are better understood.

        And just to correct a couple of points you made above:
        1. Original Sin – You nailed it, we don’t believe in this at all.
        2. Jesus Christ was man AND GOD (at the same time, all the time, NEVER just man)! – We actually agree on this point. Jesus had a mortal mother and a divine Father. He is the only begotten Son of God in the flesh.
        3. The Trinity – While we don’t follow the Niceen Creed, we do believe in God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We believe them to be one Godhead, made of those 3 distinct beings beings, one in purpose. We commonly point out Jesus’ baptism as evidence of this point, with all three present at the same time.

        • Justin on 07.05.2012 at 5:00 pm

          Mike you don’t believe in the same Christ. You believe he is your brother!!!

          • Sean on 07.07.2012 at 7:33 am

            So, if Christ is the Son of God, and as Paul and John said, “we are heirs with him” and “now are we the sons of God,” then how are we not brothers? Did he not say, “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God (John 20:17).” Has the definition of “brother” been changed? Don’t get me wrong, we do not put ourselves on the same level with him; He has done much more for us than we could ever do for ourselves. But through the salvation he offers, he makes us “as he is.”

        • Michelle on 07.06.2012 at 5:59 am

          Yeah… the Trinity is kind of a biggie… so if your so concerned with being a “Christian”, agree with the doctorine of the Christian church or decide you don’t care. Seriously! You guys have a seperate divine book for crying out loud! Even the catechism of the Catholic church won’t go as far as to put itself on the same level as the bible! They recognize it is written by man. In fact, it’s mostly a mere interpretation of the bible itself! Also, according to video for Mormon sunday school education I saw, you don’t believe in a virgin conception of Christ! Honestly! Why is it such a big deal to be called Christian when your beliefs are so far from it that you literally push Christians away like a bad smell in a small room. If its that important to you convert (though I would not recomend this as it shows little faith). I don’t mean to attack you, but it bothers me that people are so concerned with a label. I am a product of a Muslim father and Presbyterian mother. Labels are not an issue for me because I realize that religion should be about the way we worship God, not what we call ourselves. This could be the new religious revolution perhaps, rising above labels. That be wonderful. I’m very much sick of the labels of religion, as well as the prejudice.
          To others who responded to my reply:
          Did you read it? Simply following a man’s example simply makes him an idol or makes you a cult. Religion is much deeper than that. Thanks for skimming!

          • Sean on 07.07.2012 at 9:24 am

            Michelle,

            The Trinity was defined by Catholic Bishops in 325 AD as part of the Nicene Creed and is, therefore, an interpretation of various doctrinal sources. That Catholics and Protestants still accept that interpretation does not give them a monopoly on the “label,” as you put it.

            Personally I don’t have a problem with “Christians” thinking I’m not one of them. There are plenty of differences between us. However, it is misunderstandings and inflammatory statements like, “Simply following a man’s example simply makes him an idol or makes you a cult” that I take issue with.

            To trivialize someone else’s faith and experiences with statements like that is rude and inconsiderate. Many of us have spent countless hours studying scriptures (the Bible included), praying, pondering, identifying our true feelings, considering very deeply what we are taught and what we read. We have felt and experienced things that have confirmed our beliefs, and through this process learned for ourselves that God is mindful of us. The decision to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not one that is usually taken very lightly. It means a life-long commitment and dedication to upholding and practicing the very things that Christ taught. In some cases, it means giving up family relationships and life-long friendships, because others do not condone the new member’s decision to join. (My own mother made that sacrifice, as did I).

            I don’t feel the need to be identified with “Christians” because I want to “fit in.” But I do want them to understand that I believe the same church Jesus Christ established anciently was RESTORED through Joseph Smith. (This goes beyond the Protestant belief that the original church was corrupted, but could be remedied by different interpretations and reformations). I do want them to understand that I have made a serious commitment to follow Christ and do what he told us to do.

            We don’t have to agree on everything, but don’t tell me what I believe is not “Christian” implying that I do not believe and follow Christ. What I am not is a “Traditional, Protestant, Evangelical or Orthodox Christian.” While some of our doctrines are “different” they are rooted in scripture, just not in “orthodox tradition.” “Traditional Christianity” has thousands of sects because of differences in interpretation. In my mind there is no difference.

            So, in all honesty, I don’t care to be associated with “Traditional Christianity;” I have a broader view of Christianity than that.

          • Michelle on 07.09.2012 at 4:15 pm

            Sean,

            I apologize. First though, just want to clarify, when I said
            idol I didn’t mean like a golden calf or something, I meant idol like someone you admire or aspire to be like. So my bad, I should’ve seen that coming.
            But I really do need to apologize. You’re right. I was rude. I think, honestly, the reason most ‘Christians’ are reluctant to call Mormons Christians is because it is so different. New book, new Prophet, new ideas… doesn’t sit too well with people who are set in their ways and sure of themselves (like myself). The validity of the Book of Mormon is also a big if for many non-mormons. I think this is where the big ‘Christianity’ question comes in.
            You’re right. It seems like an exclusive club. But honestly, you follow Christ, like you said so do you really need the membership? You’re right, originally Christian meant follower of Christ (or literally, “little Christ” I believe), but after the unification of the church in 325 AD the Christian Church was born and with it a set of beliefs, anything out side of which was called heresy.
            Wait! Still sorry… you’re not wrong! Though the church (which is now broken up into many different denominations that do all share basic beliefs) was very quick to cry heresy in the past, it is not so now. The church has become more open and hopefully more accepting. The truth is the message of Christ (I hope you’ll agree) was brotherly love and unity, kindness to others, no judgement. Please forgive me for ever judging you or being rude. I was in the wrong. You are right Sean! (not all, but definitely Sean). Thank you for being understanding and patient where I was not.
            Sincerely, Michelle

      • Tim on 07.06.2012 at 9:32 am

        1) Original sin. Actually, the original transgression brought about a state wherein Adam and Eve were required to leave the innocent state in the garden and bring about the rest of the human race in a fallen world. They were accountable for their own transgressions. We are accountable for our own. The point here is that all transgression and sin require the atonement of Christ to overcome.
        2) Jesus had a mortal mother and a divine Father. This is a sacred point that is beyond anyone’s perfect comprehension. The fact is, we look to Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer. The way I see it, His divine parentage have Him the power to overcome and provide salvation. His mortal parentage have Him the ability to more personally understand our mortal trials.
        3) We believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. Your view of how this works may be different. That is OK. The foundation of Mormon faith is that they are real we are grateful for what Jesus did to bring reconciliation and comfort in time of need.
        Why can’t you accept that we hold Jesus as the Christ? Who are you or anyone else to define our relationship with Christ?

      • Amy on 08.09.2012 at 5:32 pm

        Amen! I’m LDS and I have been to a “Christian” church. Our beliefs are not at all the same. I believe in, love and worship Christ, but I have absolutely no desire to be labeled “Christian.” I love being a Mormon. I love that my children have never had to see their father act like an idiot while being drunk (I grew up watching my dad get drunk). I love that our children are taught to be modest from a young age. I love that when I was diagnosed with cancer and was unable to take care of my young family, the members of my church stepped in and brought in meals, visited me in the hospital, got my kids ready in the morning and took a lot of pressure off of my husband. I love that I know almost every single one of my neighbors by name. So make fun of us, persecute us (we’re used to it by now), call us a cult, say we are hate-filled bigots (all though, as far as I know, no mormon has gone through a drive-thru and harassed a poor worker for not believing the same way they do and then posted it on YouTube…) but at the end of the day, we are good, hard-working people just trying to raise our families and live in a country that hates us and are constantly trying to make us ashamed of our beliefs (proof from all of the negative, hate-filled bigoted comments on this board).

  • Doug on 07.05.2012 at 9:59 am

    10 Facts You Should Know About Mormon History and Belief before Shooting Your Mouth Off
    1. Mormons believe in a trinity of three divine persons; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost who are one in purpose.
    2. 1832 – A runaway slave named Elija Able is baptized and ordained to the priesthood. He serves multiple missions to Canada where he would be safe from the Fugitive Slave Laws. He was probably the first black Mormon.
    3. 1833 – While about half of all Mormons were residing in Missouri, a slave state, Joseph Smith received a revelation that became section 101 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Verse 79 says “Therefore it is not right that one man should be in bondage to another.”
    4. 1838 – Mormons were expelled from Missouri under threat of extermination (Executive Order 44). A petition of complaints against them made no mention of polygamy but complains that Mormons invited “free negroes and mulattoes” to join them in Missouri.
    5. 1844 – Joseph Smith runs for president with a plan to free all slaves by 1850. He is murdered the same year.
    6. 1852 – Utah enacts the most liberal divorce laws in the United States and possibly the world. Any woman who insists on a divorce gets one. Meanwhile, Brigham Young imposes a lineage restriction on the Aaronic and Melchezidec priesthoods; withholding them from presumed descendants of Ham.
    7. 1869 – The Utah territorial legislature which was dominated by Mormons voted to give women the vote. At the time, only Wyoming had female suffrage.
    8. 1887 – The federal government takes the vote away from Utah women (Edmunds-Tucker Act) .
    9. 1978 – Governor Bond of Missouri officially rescinds Executive Order 44 (which had not been enforced for over a century) and formally apologizes for it. The same year Spencer W Kimball and the quorum of the twelve decided to end all lineage requirements for holding the Aaronic and Melkezidec priesthoods.
    10. Mormons believe that Jesus is co-eternal and co-equal with God the Father and also believe that Jesus was begotten by the Father before the creation of all worlds.

    • KathyBatesHatesOnMe on 07.05.2012 at 11:32 am

      Don’t Mormons also believe that they will one day become gods in heaven and that god himself was once a man? I think that’s the belief that makes people say that they’re not actually Christians.

      • Ken Dahl on 07.05.2012 at 1:58 pm

        1. Joseph Smith’s “First Vision” was initially described as an encounter with one being. Many years later he developed the concept that the ‘godhead’ consisted of 3 distinct personages, God the Father having a body of flesh and bones having once been a man.

        2. The Mormon god apparently revealed to his servant the prophet, Brigham Young, that blacks can’t hold the Mormon priesthood. Up until 1978, Mormon prophets taught that blacks were less faithful in the premortal life and cursed with dark skin in this life.

        3-7. The Mormon War Papers held by the Secretary of State for Missouri tell a very different story. The extermination order against Mormons was issued because of tyranny and lawlessness. It had nothing to do with slavery. Smith was in a Illinois prison awaiting extradition for the capital offense of treason. Hundreds of hours of discussion by the state assembly, governor and military leaders in the field never mention slavery once. http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/findingaids/rg005-01.asp
        Leading up to the civil war, the only western state/territory to allow slavery was Utah. Smith’s presidential platform suggested using tax revenue to buy all slaves then send them to Texas. He also promoted releasing all prisoners throughout the U. S. believing his Mormonism would transform them.

        The Governor or Missouri and the State Legislature ordered the military to put down the Mormon insurgency. Why? The Mormons were breaking the law, not observing the agreement they had with the state and were harboring fugitives.

        http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/findingaids/fulltext/rg005_01-B02_F01-15.asp?rid=b02_f08&ref=js

        “It was considered by me that full and ample powers were vested in you to carry into effect my former orders, the case is now a very plain one, the Mormons must be subdued and peace restored to the community; you will therefore proceed without delay to execute the former orders, full confidence is reposed in your ability to do so, your force will be amply sufficient to accomplish the object; Should you need the aid of artillery I would suggest that an application be made to the Commanding Officer of Ft. Leavenworth for such as you many need, you are Authorized to request the loan of it in the name of the State of Missouri.”

        “I therefore again repeat that you are authorized and full power is given you to take whatever steps you deem necessary and such as the circumstances of the case may seem to d[e]mand to subdue the insurgents and give peace and qui[e]t to the country. The ringleaders of this rebellion should be made an example of and if it should become necessary for the public peace the Mormons should be exterminated or expelled from the State.”

        Governor L. W. Boggs
        Commander in Chief

        So, the Mormons were not goody-two-shoes innocent in this matter whatsoever. It was so out of control the governor recommended calling in the US artillery from Fort Leavenworth to return Missouri to a state of peace and quiet that existed before the Mormons showed up.

        8. Due to its unwillingness to obey U. S. laws, the LDS church was dissolved by the government. Today’s Mormon church in Salt Lake City is not the original corporate organization. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Corporation_of_the_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-Day_Saints_v._United_States

        10. This is a patently false statement. Mormonism teaches that Christ was the first born in the premortal spirit world. He is literally the spirit brother of all mankind. Having received his celestial glory, Christ now sits on the right hand of God. They are not equal but share equally in power and glory.

        • Dandini on 07.05.2012 at 8:44 pm

          Ken – “Hundreds of hours of discussion by the state assembly, governor and military leaders in the field never mention slavery once.”

          Duh… don’t study history much… it would have been difficult to bring up slavery as that was one of Missouri’s greatest resources, and would have looked bad for the state…

        • T on 07.06.2012 at 11:50 am

          There’s a scripture in King James bible Romans 8:17 that reads,”And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we malso may be glorified together.” We (All people) are Children of God..this is the first principle we teach in the Mormon church to our children so that they understand their divine heritage and purpose here on this Earth. We are here to do God’s will and fulfill the supreme plan of our Heavenly Father in which Christ is the mediator of this great plan. What is this plan? Look at the life of Christ, he set the ultimate example of what we as people should do here. He was born, was baptized by an authorized servant of God, John the Baptist. He taught the people about his Father in Heaven and that he came to do His will in preaching against sin. He sacrificed all he had (even his life) so that people might follow God and live forever with Him in Heaven. He was crucified and rose again as a ressurected glorified God who sits on the right hand of God the Father. Christ has set the example of righteous living, now he awaits our return as we strive to follow his example he set on this Earth, and then by the grace of God…we can become “joint heirs” receiving all the Father hath in stoe for his children. What Good Father would not want to give and let his children have the very best? In effect, God wants us to enjoy a fullness of joy, happinness and blessings that he does…so we therefore become like Him, a God.

      • T on 07.06.2012 at 11:58 am

        I posted a response to your comment a few posts down from you. I am a Mormon, we ARE christians…the name of our church is “The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints.” We are the Saints of Christ’s true Church in these the latter-days. “Mormon” is a nickname people gave us because of the Book of Mormon, which we hold in equal breadth and esteem with the Holy Bible. If anything, other church’s “baptists, calvinists, catholics” etc. should be viewed with a more skeptical eye since there is no mention of JESUS even in their church names. Please go to http://www.mormon.org to learn more. This Ken Dahl guy is NOT a Mormon, but a hater who has nothing else to do with his life except talk bad about a people who have never wronged him. He sounds like he has personal problems.

    • ken rosen on 07.05.2012 at 11:55 am

      I was not aware of the anti-slavery history of the Mormons, but that makes it even more inexplicable why they had discriminatory, exlusionary doctines and practices towards blacks that were not lifted until 1978.

      “Under the racial restrictions that lasted from the presidency of Brigham Young until 1978, persons with any black African ancestry could not hold the priesthood in the LDS Church and could not participate in some temple ordinances, such as the Endowment and celestial marriage. Black people were permitted to be members of the church, and participate in other temple ordinances, such as baptism for the dead.[23]

      The racial restriction policy was applied to black Africans, persons of black African descent, and any one with mixed race that included any black African ancestry. The policy was not applied to Native Americans, Hispanics, Melanesians or Polynesians.” –Wikipedia

      • Ken Dahl on 07.05.2012 at 6:07 pm

        Oddly, the Mormons felt it was necessary to have a revelation removing the priesthood restriction. There is NO revelation establishing the policy in the first place. It was instituted because of racism. The granting of the priesthood should have been started with an apology for the racism of the church until 1978. Couching the 1978 announcement as a ‘revelation’ is absurd.

      • Dandini on 07.05.2012 at 9:01 pm

        Ken – being aware is what history is all about…. that includes not always knowing why God chooses to do what He does….

        Historically the “mark of Cain” or “curse of Ham” came from interpretations of Bible stories and was a commonly accepted concept of the early 16th to the 19th century Christian religions of Europeans and Americans regarding people of black skin – According to historical scholars, early interpretations of the Bible in Syriac Christianity combined the “curse” with the “mark”, and interpreted the curse of Cain as black skin. Some argue that this may have originated from rabbinic texts, which interpreted a passage in the Book of Genesis (“And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell”) as implying that Cain underwent a permanent change in skin color. The explanation that black Africans, as the “sons of Ham”, were cursed, possibly “blackened” by their sins, was advanced only sporadically during the Middle Ages, but became increasingly common during the slave trade of the 18th and 19th centuries. The curse of Cain was used to support a ban on ordaining blacks to most Protestant clergies until the 1960s in both the U.S. and Europe. Look at your Baptist churches – The split between the Northern and Southern Baptist organizations arose over slavery and the education of slaves. At the time of the split, the Southern Baptist group used the curse of Cain as a justification for slavery. Some 19th and 20th century Baptist ministers in the southern United States taught that there were two separate heavens; one for blacks, and one for whites. Many Protestant groups in America had supported the notion that black slavery, oppression, and African colonization was the result of God’s curse on people with black skin or people of African descent through Cain or through the curse of Ham, and some churches practiced racial segregation as late as the 1990s. The Civil Rights movement occurred in the 1960s, culminating in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Historians know that the “Act” didn’t change centuries-old bigotry, prejudice, and segregation (voluntary and involuntary) overnight. In fact, it was not until 1995 that the Southern Baptist Convention officially renounced its “racist roots” and denounced racism and apologized for its past defense of slavery. And though early in LDS Church history there had been “opinions” spoken by a few LDS church members about the “mark of Cain” or “curse of Ham” being the main reasons for skin color being black, it is not and never has been taught as LDS church doctrine.

        Maybe it has something to do with God’s “timing”….

        Today there are over 1 million Mormons of black African heritage worldwide. While African-Americans make up just 3 percent of Mormons in the United States, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center study, they make up 9 percent of Mormon converts… In Africa, now at just over 300,000 Latter-day Saints, church membership has grown by almost 10,000 new members per year, and they now have 3 LDS Temples there, and are building 2 more.

        • Justin on 07.09.2012 at 12:47 am

          Dandini -

          In your experience that may be true, but I believe you stated that you were a convert?

          I remember several times as a young man born into the covenant my bishop telling all of us young men that Cain was cursed by god to be black and work the earth. In addition, I was also told by my bishop that blacks were “fence sitters” in the great war in heaven thus they were marked with black skin.

          I know that the Bishop was just a “man” and that he was not speaking for the church, but that is the problem with the “official doctrine” of the church it changes so much no one knows what is what.

          • Brother French on 07.10.2012 at 10:18 pm

            Justin

            The doctrine of the Church doesn’t change! God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Jesus is the Christ, etc. etc.

            What does change are the opinions of the members. For instance:

            Bruce R. McConkie wrote the following about the 1978 revelation extending the Priesthood along with all its responsibilities and blessings to all men.

            “I was present when the Lord revealed to President Spencer W. Kimball that the time had come, in His eternal providences, to offer the fullness of the gospel and the blessings of the holy priesthood to all men. “Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whosoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.”

            “We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelli¬gence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.”

            “It doesn’t make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June 1978. It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any parti¬cles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the gentiles.”

            In other words, it is now time for members and non-member alike to forget all the statements that limited the fullness of the gospel to those of black African descent. After all, that was 34 years ago, and if I am not mistaken in the world today approximately 200,000 of our 14 million members have black African ancestry.

    • Madelin on 07.05.2012 at 12:28 pm

      Are you sure about number ten? I’ve read a lot about LDS and from those sources (and from numerous conversations with Mormons) I would have to disagree. I’ve always heard/ read that Mormons believe he was God who became man, but was a mortal man on earth… not God. Many Mormons have told me this. I lived in a community where there were more Mormons than Catholics, and almost the same number as the Protestants. I am almost 100% sure that I am not wrong here… comments?

      • Quiet_Dave on 07.05.2012 at 2:36 pm

        @Madelin,
        Doug has it right, all ten. The Saints believe that our Heavenly Father had to progress through obtaining a physical body to become who and what he is. We do not have any specifics (that I’m aware of) on how all that worked, only that he had to progress the same way we do. We believe he is physically present on a planet known as Kolob. Most of us, do not concern ourselves with details that will be made known to us when we are properly prepared to receive them; in the Father’s timeline, not ours.

        There are many things that we believe we will receive, not when we feel we need the knowledge, but when Christ or our Heavenly Father feels we need it. We walk by faith, trying to receive and practice those things he has already provided, and that we are so woefully inadequate to right now. We preach that revelation from God, his instructions for us, come “line upon line, precept upon precept.”

        I want to thank, Rich Barlow, for a thoughtful, balanced and well-written article. There are many things that traditional Christian denominations will not accept of our beliefs. Just as Baptist, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Catholics, and other denominations will never agree between themselves on every point. I believe Samuel Clemons said that “Differences of opinions is what makes for religions, politics, and horse races.”

        • Dandini on 07.05.2012 at 9:11 pm

          Quiet Dave — not sure where you get your information…. but the actual explanation of “Kolob” is that it is a star, and it never had been taught by scripture that it is a planet… Abraham 3:13 and 16 will help clarify that for you….

          Good thing I was raised as a hard studying Lutheran (Missouri Synod) and taught Sunday School and was a youth group leader…. before joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints… keeps me on my toes….

  • Rich on 07.05.2012 at 10:56 am

    I think all of this is a great discussion. My insight is something that touched my life. A great friend of mine was not allowed to attend her daughter’s wedding ceremony as well as her rest of her guests because we were not part of the church. This was her only daughter and none of her grandparents or brothers, or best friends were allowed to witness.

    • Walter Sobchak on 07.05.2012 at 4:24 pm

      These are wonderful family values eh?

  • Larry Lawton on 07.05.2012 at 11:11 am

    I agree with others that the social conservatives will hold their collective noses and vote for Romney. His difficulty might well be in attracting liberal independents. As a Mormon, I’ve encountered about as much sheer ignorance and deep prejudice among liberal as among evangelicals. Sad, because we expect education to create tolerance. Ms Hutchison-Jones is the exception, and that’s a very sad state of affairs.

  • Nathan on 07.05.2012 at 11:26 am

    It is too convenient to analyse Mormon History post 1890. Prior to 1890, it would be possible to characterize Mormonism as a THE MOST IMMMORAL RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT in world history. Normally, you have to go into the political arena to find such widespread corruption and pyramids of power. – - If there was a politcal group for the descendents of Pol Pot or grandchildren of Idi Amin, would we consider their history by ignoring their beginnings?

  • KathyBatesHatesOnMe on 07.05.2012 at 11:30 am

    I just find it funny that BU puts up an article about Mormons and then they sit down and do an interview with a non-Mormon. It seems to me that a Mormon would be the right person to asks these questions to because they’re actually living the lifestyle. But of course it’s more advanced to use an ‘expert’ who has just read up on the religion. I’m sure they know all that they need to know. You talk about diversity, but do you live it? Things that make you go ‘hmm’

    • Molly on 07.05.2012 at 12:20 pm

      Actually, as a non-Mormon it would be refreshing to hear the opinion of a non-Mormon expert, but also a Mormon. At least then the biases might even each other out. As to having a Mormon only… out of the question! Of course your opinion would be completely biased! You would want to sell your religion, evangilize. Personally, I’m more comfortable hearing a more objective point of view on any religion (including my own). I don’t trust those practicing a religion to give me an honest summary of their religion good and bad points. They would only want to share positive aspects and avoid anything controversial or negative completely.

      • Sean on 07.07.2012 at 11:10 am

        “I don’t trust those practicing a religion to give me an honest summary of their religion good and bad points. They would only want to share positive aspects and avoid anything controversial or negative completely.”

        If that were true we (Mormons) wouldn’t be posting on this thread. :)

        Look, not everything about the church is rosy and perfect, but that’s more because it’s made up of imperfect people trying to do what they feel are the right things. It’s perfectly legitimate for people to ask about the history and doctrines of the church, even if it is uncomfortable for us, and you might actually be pleasantly surprised to find that not all of us are “evangelical” in our responses. Sure, we get excited if someone shows an interest in what we believe; it’s an opportunity to get to know each other and build friendships. But to distrust someone just because of their affiliation with an organization? Would you apply the same logic in conversing with someone from the Occupy Movement, or the Tea Party? What about your local PTA or United Way? Or anyone else with a “cause?” Seems you’ll never get the full picture if you’re only interested in talking with their enemies and observers. (Perhaps an Anthro course could help you understand why that’s not a preferred method of discovery. Just a thought).

      • Brother French on 07.07.2012 at 9:15 pm

        Hi Molly

        You are right. However, in this case the Mormons simply declare their beliefs while the anti-Mormons slam them and their religion with hate filled rhetoric. Now, since we all know that hate doesn’t come from s loving God there is no need to look into what the anti-Mormons have to say:

        For instance I posted:

        Are Mormons Christians? Of course we are Christians. We believe in Jesus Christ! In addition, every good member of our church strives to follow Jesus Christ by keeping his commandments and doing the will of their Heavenly Father.

        We are Latter-day Christians. There are also Nicene Christians. Both are followers of Jesus Christ even though they differ in doctrine as to what God is like. I refer you to the following if you want to know more on the subject:

        Simply put, Nicene Christians believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one and the same God, and that he (God) is a spirit without a body, parts or passions.

        The two bottom line differences are that we Latter-day Christians teach that Jesus Christ is a separate person from his Heavenly Father and from the Holy Ghost. We also teach that Christ has been resurrected with an immortal, glorified, spiritual body of flesh and bones like his Heavenly Father’s, and that he is still resurrected today. See Hebrews 1:1-3, Revelations. 1:10-18.

        In addition, Joseph Smith talked face to face with God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ in what we call “The First Vision”. Therefore, there is no doubt in our mind that our doctrine concerning the nature of the Godhead is true.

        You can also refer to John 17:20-23, 20:17, Luke 22:39-44, Acts 7:55-56. These scriptures, and scores of others, show that Christ is a separate person from his father. However, the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost are united as “one” in purpose, thought and actions.

        In reference to Revelations 1:10-18 which I mentiond above please note Christ’s own statement that he is still alive (resurrected) and always will be! Also, pay particular attention to the fact that he laid his hand on John’s shoulder proving to John that he was the resurrected Christ.

        Then came the venomous reply to my post:

        They said:
        Brother French – Don’t you have a baseball field baptism to perform somewhere. Speak the truth. Lying is a sin and your works are filthy rags to god.

        • Justin on 07.09.2012 at 12:36 am

          Brother French,

          Scripture was quoted.

          Lying is a sin: Leviticus 6:1-4

          Your works, my works, all works are filthy rags before god:
          “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind – Isiah 64:6″

          The baseball baptism comment was not fair to you, as I do not know if you have performed any of them and I apologize.

  • Handsome Pete on 07.05.2012 at 11:40 am

    If you’re concerned about polygamous ancestors, then the father of the current POTUS must really freak you out, having been married simultaneously to two American women and one African woman.

    • Meghan on 07.05.2012 at 12:23 pm

      Yeah… I’m pretty sure no one but red neck back woods hill billies care about that (which is probably hypocritical of them, lol). Most people are pretty aware that polygamy is no longer accepted by the Church of the Latter Day Saints. So… calm down.

    • Jackson on 07.05.2012 at 1:22 pm

      Boom. Well played Handsome Pete. I can’t believe BU included this article in their daily brief/email/whatever.

  • William on 07.05.2012 at 12:00 pm

    With the racist language used in Mormon Scriptures Dark Skinned American have a good reason to fear a Romney Presidency. I( have not seen any mention of Mitt Romney ever rejecting these racist teachings and the 1978 “Revelation” did not do anything to change the message in the scriptures.

    • Larry Lawton on 07.05.2012 at 2:30 pm

      William on, the Romney family (along with most members of my faith) has a long history of being in favor of civil rights. One problem Mitt’s father (George) had with the right wing of the Republican party in his 1968 campaign was in his work for civil rights, both as governor of Michigan and on a nationwide scale. I’m old enough to remember when the ban on blacks having the priesthood was lifted in 1978. Everyone I knew rejoiced in that change, and delighted in the fact that almost all church members had now reach a level where they could treat all races as brothers. As for the “racist language” in Mormon scriptures, it’s nothing compared with the comandment to Moses and Joshua to destroy all non-Hebrews, and even thir own kin who would not eschew worship of the golden calf.
      In the Book of Mormon, the term “Lamanite” (used at first to describe the group with darker skin) changes in meaning, and for the vast majority of the text, is merely used to describe those who do not follow Christ, much as Jews use the word gentile.

      • Jackson on 07.05.2012 at 3:52 pm

        Well said. I’m aware of Romney Senior’s efforts as well.

      • Larry on 07.05.2012 at 9:49 pm

        Larry the 1978 “Revelation” is meaningless unless the scripture supporting the LDS historic hatred of Dark Skin is denounced.

        In the bible I do not remember the authors taking the time to produce detailed descriptions of “awfulness” of their targets (victims) like the Author’s of LDS scriptures did. The LDS Scripture were created to deal with and applied to Mormon’s own Countrymen!

        • Sean on 07.07.2012 at 11:49 am

          Perhaps you ought to go back to the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua and see what the Lord said about the people of Canaan and the lands round about.

          Truth is, hatred of people with different shades of skin color is not taught in the church. In fact, hatred of any person is severely frowned upon and considered sinful. What is taught is hatred of sin, mostly in ourselves.

          In all my years in the church I’ve never heard ANYONE preach about hating anybody else, regardless of nationality, creed, gender, sexual orientation or affiliation. Now, I’m not so naive as to think it doesn’t happen, particularly in regions of the country where such things are prevalent generally, but any who do are not espousing the doctrines of the church. The commandment is to love one another, period.

  • JTM on 07.05.2012 at 12:27 pm

    I find it ironic that Hutchison-Jones is encouraging tolerance of Mormons. As someone who grew up in the western US, where Mormons are generally either a majority or a significant minority, I have found Mormons to be almost uniquely intolerant of those who do not share their beliefs. Their attitudes towards women and minorities, in particular, are so medieval as to be almost barbaric, and are inconsistent with a free, open, and tolerant society. Until just a couple of decades ago, their theology held that nonwhites were incapable of salvation, a belief that was changed only out of political expediency, as was their convenient ban on polygamy a century ago. The history of Utah politics, even after statehood, shows a consistent blurring of the line between church and state.

    My worry about Romney is that he is well known as a politician who will say anything if he thinks it will get him elected, and it’s impossible for voters to know where he really stands on issues such as women’s rights and antidiscrimination. I suspect that down deep his social views are as reactionary as those of LDS church elders. I don’t want to take a chance as having someone like that as president.

    By the way, “September Dawn,” may have been a horrible movie, but there isn’t much of the history in it that’s made up (aside from the silly romance). Though there is no “smoking gun,” the circumstantial evidence supporting Brigham Young’s direct involvement in the massacre of the Fancher party is overwhelming. Perhaps it is an overstatement to compare Young to Pol Pot or Idi Amin, but he was clearly a zealot who considered all “nonbelievers” to be evil, as well as being a sexual predator who preyed on teenage girls. How anyone in good conscience can follow a religious doctrine developed by someone like that is beyond me

    • Vader on 07.05.2012 at 1:20 pm

      “Their attitudes towards women and minorities, in particular, are so medieval as to be almost barbaric, and are inconsistent with a free, open, and tolerant society.”

      And yet, an overwhelmingly Mormon Congressional district in Utah just nominated Mia Love, a black woman, as the Republican candidate for Congress.

      But I appreciate your excellent if unintentional illustration of Hutchison-Jone’s point.

      • JTM on 07.05.2012 at 1:45 pm

        Yes – Mia Love, a Haitian Mormon married to a white Mormon, whose views of women and minorities are in fact a great example of what I find undemocratic and intolerant. She’s even further to the right than Brigham Young!

        • Vader on 07.05.2012 at 5:27 pm

          So your objection is that she isn’t a *real* woman, or a *real* minority?

    • Green Acres on 07.05.2012 at 1:35 pm

      Just to correct a couple errors in your understanding in your comment about nonwhites being incapable of salvation. I can only assume you are referring to the ban on blacks receiving the priesthood.

      1) there was never a “nonwhites” prohibition as some of the earliest missionary endeavors were among the native americans and hawaiians,

      2) it was not that blacks were incapable of salvation, it was freely acknowledged that salvation was for everyone, regardless of race/skin color. Blacks were taught and baptized. The only thing that was withheld during mortal life was ordination to the priesthood. It was freely taught that at some point (whether in this life or eternity – that part was rather freely debated in spite of supposed “authoritative opinion” on the subject – particularly Bruce R. McConkie), the rites withheld because they required ordination to the priesthood would be available to ALL in eternity, just as salvation for ALL (“whites” and “nonwhites”) who lived during periods in the earth’s history when or where the gospel of Christ’s salvation was available.

      • Green Acres on 07.05.2012 at 1:38 pm

        Sorry, meant to say “during periods in the earth’s history when or where the gospel of Christ’s salvation was UN-available.”

      • Green Acres on 07.05.2012 at 1:40 pm

        Sorry….”Christ’s salvation was UN-available.”

      • JTM on 07.05.2012 at 2:14 pm

        This still doesn’t explain why the pronouncements of LDS church leaders have consistently asserted that blacks are “the cursed descendants of Cain” who are, like women, unable to achieve “the highest heaven,” and that Native Americans were “made red by Jesus” as a punishment for nonbelief.

        However much the church has moderated their rhetoric in recent years (due to public scorn), they have never formally denounced these interpretations. In my opinion, any theology that denies the equality of human beings is fundamentally anti-American. You’re entitled to your own opinion, of course.

        • Sean on 07.07.2012 at 12:44 pm

          Sorry, JTM, I must disagree. Mormon theology does not deny the equality of human beings; it requires obedience to the laws of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which some outside the church have interpreted to be the same thing. In fact, they are quite different.

          For example, no where in the teachings or doctrines of the church does it say that women are “unable to achieve the highest heaven,” as you put it. Men and women are equally kept from that privilege if they do not live worthy of it.

          I’m sorry you’ve obviously had some bad experiences with some Mormons. That is unfortunate. Being a Mormon in the west I can honestly say that I’ve never intentionally been exclusionary or intolerant to anyone. Some of my best friends over the years have been black, some Hispanic and some gay. Each of them knew that I cared about them, even if we didn’t agree on lifestyles or religions. While I’m sorry that your experience was not pleasant, I don’t think everyone in the church fits with your description of it, or its leaders.

          And obviously, I don’t think my religion is anti-American. I’ve often found that those suggesting such things are often much less just and tolerant than they try to appear to be. I hope you are not one of them.

    • Tom on 07.05.2012 at 3:02 pm

      Romney will absolutely say anything to get elected. My distrust of him really is separate from my negative opinions of the Mormon Church.

      • Jackson on 07.05.2012 at 3:24 pm

        “Say anything to get elected”…this is different from Obama how?
        unemployment below 8%
        health care debates televised
        war on drugs
        cutting the deficit in half
        not raising taxes on the middle class
        ending the bush tax cuts
        closing Gitmo

        • Jackson on 07.06.2012 at 11:42 am

          Tom I’m still waiting for you’re reply. Time to admit all politicians are the SAME!

    • JmThms on 07.05.2012 at 4:03 pm

      Actually, you are manifesting intolerance and bigotry. Funny how that goes, isn’t it?

      • JTM on 07.05.2012 at 5:39 pm

        Yes, it IS funny, possibly ridiculous. Regrettably, I must confess that I am guilty of being intolerant of intolerance.

        However, unlike me, Mitt Romney is a leading figure in an intolerant religion (or cult, if you prefer) who’s trying to become the most powerful person on the face of the earth. That frightens me a great deal, considering his track record of saying whatever resonates with the “focus groups” and seldom being candid or consistent about his convictions.

        • Jackson on 07.07.2012 at 4:24 pm

          You’re confusing Mitt Romney with Tom Cruise. With regards to “consistency” Ron Paul is the only politician who is ideologically honest and consistent with every vote/statement/piece of legislature…don’t even try to say Obama.

        • Jackson on 07.07.2012 at 4:25 pm

          You’re confusing Romney with Tom Cruise.

        • JmThms on 07.08.2012 at 12:23 pm

          Its clearly not ‘intolerance’ that you are intolerant of. It is ideology with which you do not agree that motivates your intolerance. Not all behavior is worthy of tolerance. Birkenstock Bigotry is intolerance on a high horse with hypocrisy. Liberalism in many ways qualifies as the ‘intolerant religion’ you so passionately oppose.

  • Redd68stang on 07.05.2012 at 12:28 pm

    I think people need to stop making assumptions and research the Mormon religion. How can you talk about a religion that you haven’t studied. Its like saying that all Muslims are violent.
    I encourage everyone to spend a week and read up on Mormonism. Make your own decision and let the people that choose to be Mormon be Mormon. With all religions you can’t force someone to be a member. Most religions won’t change for the beliefs of a few. Most christian religions belief in the same basic laws as the Mormons.
    I invite all to study the religion and make a decision for yourself.

  • Fred Barrett on 07.05.2012 at 12:57 pm

    There are so many who seem to desire to connect The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the church of the devil. That should tell those who profess to be Christians who actually study the bible that there is something wrong with these attacks against the church that bears his name. Even the Savior was accused of receiving his power from Beelzebub who was the chief of the devils or in other words Satan. It was The Church of Jesus Christ that their nick name Christians came because of their membership in it.

    The bible itself tells us that the history of the earth and world was divided into 7 periods of time and those periods are called dispensations which refers to what the Lord dispensed to his people in each dispensation.

    It is clear that all things were not a part of each of those dispensations. Except of course the dispensation of the fulness of times where as Paul tells the Ephesians in Chapter one verse 10 of the very bible many Christians claim is inerrant. That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: That would include all things as well as plural marriage (polygamy)

    It is clear from that same bible that plural marriage (Polygamy) was a part of the gospel plan among those such as Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob as well as many other patriarchs in the old testament and if we actually had the total information on those generations after we read about in the new testament it was practiced after the Savior’s resurrection and ascending into heaven. That practice has existed since the beginning until the puritans altered tradition. It is still practiced among a number of the religions of our day.

    Of course if one does not believe the bible to be inerrant then it would not matter whether it was a part of the gospel in other dispensations or not.

    It was essential for plural marriage (polygamy) to be restored if but for a brief period of time as we read in Ephesians. The Lord will have a tried people, and anyone who would be required by the Lord to enter into plural marriage would definitely have a major trial especially when that man would confront his wife with the news that the Lord had commanded them to take another wife into their family. I would not desire to present that to my wife under any circumstances. On the other hand their were many who left the church rather than accept the will of the Lord. There is no doubt this happened in the 1890′s the fact that there are yet polygamists who claim to be latter-day saint when they’ve never belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    The irony of this is that no matter how one tries to explain the gospel a sound bit here and there does not show the whole complete plan of salvation. WHen it is all blended together and we don’t look beyond the point it is most simple and marvelous. By their fruits ye shall know them.

    I would remind you that I am not the mouth piece for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but if one was to accept the bible as inerrant I would think that every verse would be considered by those who say it is inerrant.

    I do appreciate this author who has exerted an honest effort to clear up some of the misgivings folks have concerning our brothers and sisters who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • BU LDS Student on 07.05.2012 at 1:26 pm

    While I appreciate the some of the facts posted in the article, and the opportunity to hear what non-LDS people think about predjudice against the Mormons, I wish that this article had presented views from both Mormons and those who aren’t. To say that the creators of South Park and the Book of Mormon Musical are the most sympathetic to Mormons in today’s popular culture just because they don’t bring up polygamy doesn’t make them sympathetic- the satire and ridicules made on current beliefs and practices are less sympathetic to me than the ridicule of those practices, such as polygamy that are no longer practiced in the church.

    Perhaps the next article can be written from the view of those students who are Mormon at BU, who can be found through the BU Latter Day Saint Student Association. Even at BU, I have seen moments of predjudice from both students and professors.

  • Alec on 07.05.2012 at 1:43 pm

    I agree the issue with polygamy is in the past with the majority of Mormons but, you cannot ignore certain things about their past. You cannot ignore the fact that their profit allowed polygamy so he could marry other men wives. While one of Joseph friends was away he married his wife. He also married a 15 year old. The issue with polygamy is the fact that it was started in their church because their profit was a horny guy, then they had to change. This article does not really address the fundamental issues the Mormons face with other Christians. Like how Christ came to America and how native Americans are red because they were punished by God. Or how Joesph Smith said he translated Egyptian Hieroglyphics before it could be translated. Mormons are the issue because their religion has never been vetted in the public eye.

    • Larry Lawton on 07.05.2012 at 2:43 pm

      Alec, substantial DNA research has failed to find a single child of Joseph Smith other than through his first wife, Emma. That seriously undercuts the theory that “their profit (sic) was a horny guy.” Joseph Smith was indeed “sealed” to other men’s wives, but with the clear understanding that they would only be married to their husbands in this life, to Joseph Smith only in the next. …and, of course, a fifteen-year-old woman was often married in the 1840s, and it would be a good thing if she could be married to an older established man. A community leader would be even better.

      • alec on 07.05.2012 at 3:07 pm

        Larry, what does it matter that a child cannot be found? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absences. The fact that he married many women among two sister in which he had raised as his step daughters is not right. The evidence is in the fact that he married any women or girl he wanted.

      • Ryan on 07.06.2012 at 3:11 am

        You’ve overlooked signed affidavits of some of his wives that clearly indicate sexual activity and letters from others which indicate the same behavior.

        “Joseph Smith was indeed “sealed” to other men’s wives, but with the clear understanding that they would only be married to their husbands in this life, to Joseph Smith only in the next”

        How is this not wrong? Worthy, Mormon men, denied Godship because Joseph married their wives… sounds about wrong to me.

        If we are to use the same logic that you’ve presented: rumors state that Joseph ordered abortions (and was friends with an abortionist) for some of his wives. The lack of evidence (lack of children) must mean that he truly did force women to have abortions. Of course, there is almost no evidence to support this claim, but the fact you can’t disprove it makes it valid :) There is, however, more evidence to support the theory that he did have sexual contact with his wives.

  • Dave on 07.05.2012 at 1:53 pm

    For as tolerant as liberals claim to be, they’re rather intolerant

    • Alec on 07.05.2012 at 2:11 pm

      religion it self encourages intolerance (read the Bible). Most liberals do not pretend to be self rightous in the public eye then toss all moral out the window while trying to make an extra million off of the poor.

      • JmThms on 07.09.2012 at 1:42 pm

        BS. Totally incorrect. Most liberals do indeed pretend to be self righteous in the public eye with their phony BS about ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’. Then go ahead and attack and show prejudice against ideologies with which they disagree. Exhibit A the threads in this discussion. Exhibit B the PAC not inviting BYU to join their Birkenstock club because they ‘are not a good fit’. And they profit – indeed they feed on – the so called masses of ‘oppressed’, ‘victimized’, and ‘under-privileged’ they supposedly ‘serve’.

    • Tom on 07.05.2012 at 3:05 pm

      Every organization claims to be tolerant and most are generally intolerant. Being intolerant of intolerance seems ok though haha.

      • alec on 07.05.2012 at 3:16 pm

        Science is not. Science provides explanations based on a process. Religion is emotional and culturally based. People believe in Religion first, then find evidence to back up their belief. Science follows the majority of the evidence and then makes a conclusion. The key is science is allowed to change their theories, or edit them when evidence says to. Religion does not use evidence they use faith, and changing their laws would mean they had to admit they do not really hear God or have his chosen word.

    • JmThms on 07.07.2012 at 2:14 pm

      Liberals are among the most intolerant people today. Its their way or the highway. Witness the Birkenstock Bigots of the PAC and their ‘policy’ of not having any non-secular institution be part of them. Now that’s diversity isn’t it?!? Just too good for those backward, regressive religious people! P.S. the term ‘Progressive’ is the biggest misnomer in American political history.

  • Jackson on 07.05.2012 at 2:00 pm

    In that last paragraph, the BU scholar overlooks the paramount motivation in voting for Romney: O-B-A-M-A. Obama. Any conservatives who find Romney’s religion unappealing are going to push this aside (as they should) because President Obama has a record to defend.

    Adding more debt–$4.939 trillion to be exact–in 3.5 years than the 4.899 trillions added in Bush’s 8 years in office. Foodstamps. Solyndra. Obamacare…which supreme court decision withstanding, is still viewed as an unfavorable law 60+/30+. The polls don’t lie. It’s going to be an exciting election.

    • Alec on 07.05.2012 at 2:07 pm

      You should keep in mind that Bush did not put the Iraq or Afghan war on the budget. Obama did once he took office and it increased the spending massively. Obama has not spent as much as projected because Bush did not pay for the war or even out the cost on the bill.

      • Alec on 07.05.2012 at 2:20 pm

        Also the Majority of Americans want Opponents of the law to move on and deal with other issues, like the economy. Not only that, since republicans took the house all they have done is block legislation. That will not go unnoticed.

        • Jackson on 07.05.2012 at 3:11 pm

          That’s what the MSM wants you to think re:the court. But polls leading up the Supreme Court decision showed NO wavering on the law’s low favorability rating (which has been consistent since it was “passed”). This didn’t change over night thanks to the ruling.

          Everyone supposedly can’t stand the house right now, but I take little issue with anything they’ve blocked. Besides, on things that really MATTER, like Obama’s budget for our country…that was voted down 414-0 by the house March and then a 2nd time by the Senate, 99-ZERO.

          And Obama had the House and the Senate for two years. He whines a lot about congress but unfortunately many of us remember 2008-2010.

    • JTM on 07.05.2012 at 2:16 pm

      I assume you mean “Romneycare”? (Let’s give credit where it’s due!)

      • Jackson on 07.05.2012 at 3:19 pm

        Absolutely. I dislike Romneycare. But it’s implementation is well within our State’s rights. If I really wanted to, I could move. Obamacare is federal government overreach. Hopefully it will be go the way of Dred Scott.

        • JTM on 07.05.2012 at 4:58 pm

          Why don’t you consider moving to Utah and converting to Mormonism? Then the church can tithe you 10% to take care of the less fortunate – - Mormons only, of course. Even better than Romneycare – - more like Obama’s “socialism.”

          • Jackson on 07.07.2012 at 4:20 pm

            I make a ton of money here so I’m not going anywhere. Nice try.

  • mb on 07.05.2012 at 2:58 pm

    Im amazed at how many people feel a need to argue over my faith. Im a Mormon. Im a good person. I serve my community and help my neighbors on a regular basis without asking for anything in return. I love my wife and 20 month old son and make an honest living trying to provide for them. My wife is an M.D working on getting her P.h.d. who immigrated here South America. We’ve both worked hard to get to where we are today. If you want to waste your lives trying to prove my Mormon faith wrong than be my guest but ultimately the welfare of my soul is MY business and at the end of the day, I can sleep well knowing that ive tried to live my life as a good, decent and hard working person who doesn’t try to pick apart others views and beliefs. Im far from perfect but at least im not a douche to others based on ignorant misconceptions and lies. Ultimately, judge me on merits and actions rather than my background, religion, political views or the color of my skin.

    • Tom on 07.05.2012 at 3:31 pm

      MB, I agree to a certain extent that your religion is your own business and people can be ignorant with their opinions. However, when an organization claims to teach tolerance, but supports intolerance at the same time, it reflects on you that you continue to be a member of that organization. You might not agree, but I consider actively campaigning against gay marriage with time and money to be supporting intolerance. Especially when a federal appeals court found CA prop 8 unconstitutional. How do you think it makes LDS look that they spent $20 to $30 mil in support of a proposition that was ruled unconstitutional? If you want everyone else to leave your religion alone, why doesn’t your religion leave them alone? What business is it for a religion to be passing laws saying how others should live their lives? I have the same problem with any church that campaigns against equality.

      • Hello.... on 07.05.2012 at 4:17 pm

        Democrat Harry Reed is President of the United States Senate. He is a Mormon. Perhaps we need to replace him with a good Non-Mormon Republican. Vote Republican and you can get rid of another Mormon…..who is currently President of the Senate. This subject is embarrassing and ridiculous. I hope everyone votes based on who they think will do the job and get us out of debt and get our economy going. Obama and Harry Reed have had their chance. Time for a new idea.

      • Brother French on 07.06.2012 at 5:16 pm

        Tom

        The problem is that those who for some reason think it’s important to be against Mormons, and to persecute them, state negative opinions and quote inaccurate and out of context information from dubious sources as facts in a hateful manner.

        Also, note that those who do so seem to have studied only one side of the issue. Then, they summarily dismiss additional information posted by Mormons in response to their posts. For instance, someone inferred that Mormons were not Christians. In reply, I posted something to study if a person really wanted to know if Mormons are Christians or not. I didn’t get any response other than one short hate filled reply. Evidently there are few seekers of truth out there. The following is what I posted:

        We Mormons believe the Holy Bible is the word of God (insofar as it is translated correctly), and we use the King James Version. We also believe the Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and we use it as a companion book of scripture to the Bible. Here are some scriptures from The Book of Mormon that will help you to know that Mormons are Christians:

        2 Nephi 2 – Lehi testifies of the Savior as our Redeemer.
        2 Nephi 9 – Jacob testifies of the Atonement.
        2 Nephi 31–33 – Nephi teaches the doctrine of Christ.
        Enos – Enos experiences the power of the Atonement.
        Mosiah 2–5 – King Benjamin teaches of Christ.
        Mosiah 12–16 – Abinadi gives his life in testifying of Jesus Christ.
        Alma 5, 7 – Alma testifies of the Savior.
        Alma 17–22 – Lamanites receive the testimony of Jesus Christ.
        Alma 34 – Amulek testifies of the Atonement.
        Alma 36 – Alma experiences the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
        Alma 40–42 – Alma testifies of the resurrection and Atonement.
        Helaman 5 – Nephi and Lehi are instruments in God’s hands to witness of the Savior.
        3 Nephi 9–10 – The Savior invites people to come to Him.
        3 Nephi 11–18 – The Savior teaches the Nephites of the Father and of His doctrine.
        3 Nephi 27 – The Savior teaches His gospel.
        Ether 3 – The brother of Jared sees the Savior.
        Ether 12 – Ether and Moroni testify of the Savior and the power of His Atonement.
        Moroni 7–8 – Mormon teaches of the pure love of Christ and His Atonement.
        Moroni 10 – Moroni invites all to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.

        Also, the Bible contains a prophecy concerning the coming forth of The Book of Mormon in these latter days:

        About 600 B.C. God commanded the tribes of Israel to keep two scriptural histories rather than one as they had done in the past. The “Stick of Judah” (the Bible record) was still to be kept by the tribe of Judah, but the new record, the “Stick of Ephraim”, was to be kept by the tribe of Joseph. Thus, God also referred to it as the “Stick of Joseph”.

        This new record was soon hidden from world when the Prophet Lehi and a small group from the tribe of Joseph were led by God to the Western Hemisphere. However, God declared to the Prophet Ezekiel that he would bring it forth to be joined with the Stick of Judah prior to the gathering of the twelve tribes of Israel in the latter days. Thus, God said these sacred records “shall become one in mine hand” (Ezekiel 37:15-21. Also see 2 Nephi 3:12 in the Book of Mormon).

        It will be interesting to see if all I get is hate speech and ranting in return this time.

      • JmThms on 07.09.2012 at 1:46 pm

        Actively campaigning against gay marriage may be ‘intolerance’ to you but that is your issue. I would suggest that you campaign for gay marriage instead of launching ad hominem attacks against those you disagree with. That is under-handed.

    • BU Lady on 07.05.2012 at 3:46 pm

      Cheers to that from a non-Mormon!

    • Walter Sobchak on 07.05.2012 at 6:13 pm

      Exactly. What kind of person would spend any kind of effort to convince people that their religion is wrong? What is this country coming to? Just the other day I got a knock on the door from two guys in white shirts and ties who were there to tell me that their church was the only true church on earth.

      • Brother French on 07.06.2012 at 5:30 pm

        I think better stated that those missionaries were there to teach you that Jesus Christ has re-established his church in these latter days.

    • Michelle on 07.06.2012 at 6:11 am

      Props on the wonderful life! More power to you for your strong faith. I’m not Mormon but I applaud anyone who has such faith. It’s a shame that so many are concerned with such petty things (like labels) and cannot bask in the light of their faith. I would never dream of proving your faith wrong! Merely pointing out that is not the equivalant of another.

  • Walter Sobchak on 07.05.2012 at 4:04 pm

    Why do negative images of Mormons linger?

    1. Mormonism is extremism. There has been a tradition of demonizing all other religions since the church’s founding. In the Book of Mormon we read:

    “Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the who** of all the earth” 1 Nephi 14:10

    Mormons teach that all other religions are led by the devil. This has been upheld by Mormon prophets and apostles since Joseph Smith. A more contemporary apostle had this to say of other religions:

    “What is the church of the devil in our day, and where is the seat of her power? …It is all of the systems, both Christian and non-Christian, that perverted the pure and perfect gospel …It is communism; it is Islam; it is Buddhism; it is modern Christianity in all its parts” – Bruce McConkie

    How is Mormonism to be respected by anyone outside of the religion when abhorrent statements like these are left to stand? These attitudes of elitism and arrogance make common ground between members of other churches and Mormonism impossible to find.

    2. All too often, the Mormon church has found itself on the wrong side of history. They were firmly against the civil rights movement and they battled the ERA ammendment in the 80s. More recently, they exercised their political might to deny homosexuals the right to marry.

    To this day, the church does not allow women to occupy any of the top leadership roles (General Authorities). Women weren’t even allowed to speak in their bi-annual meetings until the 80s. At the last General Conference, only two women spoke in the public meetings of the conference over the 8 hours of instruction. the remaing 20+ talks were given by men. To say that women’s voices are equally valued in the Mormon church is absolutely false.

    3. The Mormon church makes no apology for their racist past and continues to endorse the notion that dark skin is a curse. The Book of Mormon is littered with the notion that God places a dark skin as a curse for unrighteousness.

    A recent Mormon prophet claimed that he observed that Indian children placed in Good Mormon homes often were lighter than their brothers and sisters on the reservation.

    The Mormon Church makes no apology for this extremely racist notion.

    It’s my opinion that the Mormon church has earned the negative image most Americans have of the church. Polls tend to suggest that the more people learn of the Mormon church and their history, the less likely they are to have a positive opinion of them.

    • Justin on 07.05.2012 at 4:25 pm

      Well put Walter.

      Now wait for it, wait for it.

      Here comes the Mormon spin.

    • Hello.... on 07.05.2012 at 4:27 pm

      Harry Reed is a Mormon. Should he be allowed to continue to serve as President of the United States Senate?

      • Walter Sobchak on 07.05.2012 at 4:38 pm

        Is Harry Reed running for President? If he were, you can bet that the Evangelical right would have a field day with Mormonism.

        Should he be allowed to continue to serve as President of the United States Senate?

        That’s up to the voters of the great state of Nevada.

        • Hello.... on 07.05.2012 at 4:51 pm

          Not only up to Nevada but also up to the other members of the United States Senate from all over America. Pretty obvious you do not care he is a Mormon. Probably third most powerful person in politics. Amazing a Mormon can be in such a position….

          I think you would be right the Evangelical Right would make fun of his religion. I am not sure just because they would do it that it makes it O.K. for you or any one else to.

          But if it makes you feel better just keep it up. Just be Happy!

          • Walter Sobchak on 07.05.2012 at 5:58 pm

            I’m always happy to explain why Mitt’s religion elicits so much negativity.This certainly isn’t to say that belonging to this religion should disqualify and individual for office. Never have I argued that Harry Reid and the additional 14 Mormon members of congress should be disqualified because of their professed religion.

            The question was asked why negative opinions of Mormonism Linger. According to polls, this negativity is increasing. The Pew Research center did a study on American’s opinion of Mormonism in 2007. A subsequent study was done this year.

            Here are the numbers from the Pew Study in 2007:
            % of People saying they would be less likely to vote for a Mormon:
            36.8 – Evangelical Christians
            20.9 – Christian (non evangelical)
            21.5 – Non-Religious
            29.6 – Conservatives
            21.3 – Moderates
            27.6 – Liberals

            This data has changed according to a very recent study by David T Smith(2012):
            % of People saying they would be less likely to vote for a Mormon:
            33.6 – Evangelical Christians
            27.1 – Christian (non evangelical)
            40.9 – Non-Religious
            31.6 – Conservatives
            31.7 – Moderates
            42.7 – Liberals

            Mitt Romney’s candidacy has brought Mormonism out into the open. It seems that the more people learn of Mormonism, the less likely they are to have a positive opinion of it.

    • JmThms on 07.07.2012 at 6:07 pm

      1. The anti-Mormonism and general theophobia of those of you on the Left is certainly extreme – much more so than the behavior of modern Mormons. And as far as ‘demonizing all other religions’ what are you doing with regards to Mormonism? Can you say hypocrisy?

      2. As far as being on the wrong side of history, you once again should take a look at your own ideology. Bigotry certainly is on the wrong side of history, and anti-religion bigotry in general and anti-Mormon bigotry specifically is alive and well today. Especially among those of the Left. Berkinstock bigotry is still bigotry, regardless if its perpetrators are the supposed ‘progressive’ ones. It just makes it that much more hypcritical.

      3. It is true that the Mormon church has a racist past – just like that of just about EVERY institution in American history save abolishionist themselves. It is true they were late in changing their ways. However, it is not true that the current Mormon church is racist. I just sat in on a talk by a Mormon who happens to be black. He travels to various LDS wards around the country and speaks about blacks in the Mormon church. He emphasized that that the Mormon church has racism in its past (and again, as do Catholics and Protestants) and spoke with some specificity. Now, if the Mormon church allows him, and even encourages him, to do this does that sound like the Mormon church today is racist? I suggest you make an effort to get past your own bigotry. Then maybe Mormons may evoke a more positive image in your own mind.

      • William on 07.08.2012 at 9:51 pm

        The only thing that matters is that the racist writings are still in the Mormon Scriptures and still used in Mormon churches. Until the church apologies and at the very least adds some kind of church document that supersedes the original racist scriptures, Mormon church members are not fit for public office.

  • Daniel T. Moran on 07.05.2012 at 4:14 pm

    I am so very pleased to see this wonderful discussion going on and I think Ken Dahl hits several nails on the head. But I think that the most telling thing is Mitt Romney’s refusal to discuss his faith with reporters. He has said that is faith is the most important thing in his life and that he would govern as President by using principles extolled by his faith. One has to wonder why he thinks questioning what all that means is appropriate. I can only guess that it is because he knows that it would keep him from the Whitehouse. He is in essence saying that Mormonism is what defines him as a person and then follows that by saying he won’t talk about it because it is a private matter. I don’t think so. If his belief is so deep and Mormonism is the answer to the great questions of existence why is he not trumpeting that all over the country. He did it in France when he was on his required “mission” as a young man spending two years trying to convert the French. Now he is silent. That cannot be acceptable.

    • Ryan on 07.06.2012 at 3:19 am

      Religion is only important when it can help someone get elected, as it significantly helped Rick Santorum. Romney knows it will hurt him to talk about it openly so he doesn’t discuss his faith. Typically the church teaches that God > Everything (including family), but apparently that doesn’t apply to politics: Politics > God > Everything else.

    • JmThms on 07.07.2012 at 10:59 pm

      This is not a ‘wonderful discussion’. It is better characterized as cheap shots against Mormons and Mormonism. As I have been telling everyone I know, its just a matter of time before the bigoted narrow-minded Left starts attacking Romney’s Mormonism. And here we are. Mormons are not perfect but with the bigotry demonstrated in these threads neither are you.

  • Justin on 07.05.2012 at 4:56 pm

    Article should be called “Why do Mormons want to be called Christians when they are not”.

    That is what this entire discussion is about.

  • B Lewis on 07.05.2012 at 5:30 pm

    “Scholar” Cristine Hutchison-Jones says, “No one has been more aggressive about prosecuting polygamists in this country in the 20th and 21st century than Mormons.”

    That’s not a very “scholarly” thing to say. (1) Mormons can’t prosecute ANYONE in their capacity as a Mormon. The government enforces the law, not “Mormons”. (2) OF COURSE the most polygamists are going to be prosecuted in the hotbed of polygamy. You’re not going to find nearly as many polygamists to prosecute where there aren’t many Mormons.

    Sounds like real “scholarship” was tossed out the window for this article.

  • Dandini on 07.05.2012 at 8:03 pm

    Daniel – Don’t need to question it…. just look at the “fruit” that is produced….

    2012 – A new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University- Latter-day Saints “volunteer and donate significantly more than the average American and are even more generous in time and money than the upper quintile of religious people in America…. When it comes to the time they spend volunteering, the average adult American LDS member contributes as much as seven times more than that of the average American… Self-interest in this group didn’t apply, which goes against all economics principles.” The published findings further indicate that these “prosocial behaviors” are reflective of Latter-day Saint teachings, which emphasize service and charity to others.

    “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us” (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010), a sociological study conducted by scholars Robert D. Putnam (Ph.D.), and David E. Campbell (Ph.D.)

    Among the study’s findings related to Latter-day Saints are the following:

    • Mormons are among the most devout religious groups in the country. (American Grace, 23-24)

    • Mormons are among those most likely to keep their childhood faith as adults. (137-138)

    • Mormons are unusually giving – Collectively Mormons are among the most charitable of Americans with their means and time, both in religious and nonreligious causes. (452)

    • Mormons are among those most friendly toward those of other faiths, including those outside of Christianity. (505-508)

    • Mormons are among the most likely to believe that one true religion exists, but are also the most convinced of any group that those outside their faith can “go to heaven” or gain salvation. (535-537 & 546)

  • Debra Piepgrass on 07.05.2012 at 8:45 pm

    As a seminary teacher, I need to let you know the facts.

    In 1890 at the time of Utah statehood, 112 YEARS AGO, the LDS Church ( Mormons ) decreed that polygamists would, ever afterward, be subject to church excommunication. This unfairly maligned religion ‘cleaned house’ of polygamy since 1890 to an unprecedented degree, in comparison with other religions along with their religious detractors, largely protestant, yet Big Love, and other programs, continue to perpetuate undeserved myths unfairly regarding Mormons to this day.

    This is the point that is most important to make in such an article as yours: Polygamists are NOT ALLOWED to be Mormons, as of 1890. There is no such thing anymore, and for a VERY LONG TIME, as an apostate polygamist Mormon. That is why polygamists groups had to leave. After 1890, polygamists had to set up entirely different groups / churches, like the “Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” headed by Warren Jeff’s, now in jail. Mormons are at the forefront of prosecuting polygamists, so this denigrating myth is far worse, for far longer than for most groups trying to emerge from bigotry. I read an article which researched numbers of polygamists in various religions before several states came into the U.S., such as when Utah renounnced polygamy in order to become a state in 1890, and discovered that Baptists were listed as having 5% of their respective members being polygamist, vs. 2-3% of Mormons being polygamists. This is if you count total male polygamists. If you count families, 2 to 3% translates into 20 to 30% of families affected in some way by polygamy in the family.

    I can think of no other religion with more widely held myths which turn out to be lies, that are believed by more people, currently, regarding what they believe, than the Mormons, meaning the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This name indicates that the Church is named for followers of Jesus Christ. People mostly have to live outside Utah to hear, “Are you a Mormon?” rather than “Are you LDS?”. At least the public should be aware that Mormons are followers of Christ. They, themselves, believe that only through the grace of the Lord God Jesus Christ can mankind be saved. There was a Baptist that said Mormonism was a cult because Mormons didn’t believe in being saved by grace, which is totally false.

    The ‘cult” word name-calling toward Mormons, is another form of bigotry that should have gone the way of the ‘Frito Banditio” in regard to Latinos. This word is still commonly used perjoratively and with bigotry just to make a new or otherwise “picked on’ religion sound ‘bad’, making an association that makes the maligned group sound freaky, like groups whose members end up committing mass suicide. t’s true that there is an academic college term for a ‘temple cult’, which applies to groups such as Jews or Mormons, who erect temples, but this would need to be pointed out, otherwise, it becomes a ‘catch all’ term denoting bigotry, according to the dictionary definition, which definition can be construed to mean just about any maligned religion, not just a new religion.

    You are right,there are many very recent programs, still, such as September Dawn, filled with factual errors, made in order to make Mormons sound bad, meaning it was filmed for bigoted purposes. Another program recently that I saw about polygamy on TV was about a group which had nothing to do with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but the program threw in an unfounded statement,, long since refuted, about the founder of the LDS Church as the sole reference to the LDS Church in the whole program, saying that Joseph Smith was an adulterer who started a Church in 1830. The more you learn, the more impossible this statement turns out to be. There have been a couple of children who have had written evidence, and even whose DNA, has been traced back to other fathers than Joseph Smith in years since, that were attributed to Joseph Smith Jr. just to slam him a in the100+ years after his death.

    Harry Reid and Mitt Romney are both Mormons. Like Catholics, they neither show signs of being in lockstep with the leader of their Church, any more than JFK.

    • JTM on 07.06.2012 at 1:34 pm

      Surely as a seminary teacher you should know that Mormonism isn’t called a “cult” because the LDS church is focused around temples. It’s because of the way the religion operated in its founding years, through fear, intimidation, psychological control and xenophobia. Read up on the lives of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Both of them, especially the latter, shared the same sort of sociopathic narcissism displayed by Jim Jones and David Koresh, who were likewise cult founders. To be fair, many religions, possibly most, started out as “cults.” Today, the LDS church has modified some of its more outrageous teachings, such as polygamy and racism, so I suppose it probably is more a “religion” than “cult,” depending on how you want to define such things.

      You say that September Dawn has factual errors. What are they? Can you name ONE? The historical context is fully supported by serious historians. Try Juanita Brooks, The Mountain Meadow Massacre; Will Bagley, Blood of the Prophets; and Sally Denton, American Massacre. The last is written by a Mormon.

      The difference between such serious historians and the version you get from mormons.org and other LDS sources is that the LDS church relies on “official church records” that they will not permit outsiders to examine (and which probably don’t exist.)

      The huge gap between the objective evidence and the LDS spin on things is why, as Walter S. points out above, the more people learn about Mormonism, the less favorably they feel towards it. I look forward to an election season in which the American public learns the evidence-based history of the LDS Church.

      • JmThms on 07.08.2012 at 12:26 pm

        Xenophobia? Don’t make us laugh! You would probably die with your Birkenstocks on or at least pass out if you found your self on a street in Salt Lake City or Provo! Ha ha. Mormons have much more to be afraid of with the likes of you than vice versa.

  • Michael on 07.07.2012 at 2:23 am

    Why does it matter again? I’m sure we can dig up bad things on any religion and start spewing them out at each other like a mud fight. But that just leaves everyone dirty and upset. If we’re focusing so much on the negative aspects of another religion or just what we don’t like about it and what we think is wrong with it, then we’re spending too much time not trying to become Christ, quite the opposite in fact. There’s quite a difference between trying to share your religion because it makes you happy, and trying to belittle and attack another because you don’t like it.

  • Tyler on 07.09.2012 at 4:42 am

    South park has a pretty accurate portrayal of Mormonism… The creators grew up in CO and had lots of exposure to the religion.

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s07e12-all-about-mormons

    • John on 07.17.2012 at 4:05 pm

      They get a couple details wrong, but for the most part, yeah… Mormons are cool.

  • Amy on 07.09.2012 at 8:26 am

    I dislike Mormonism for a variety of reasons, the chief one being it’s politically manifested obsession with denying equal rights to gays and lesbians. When Romney was Governor of Mass., he actually stood with a crowd in front of the State House, chanting, “Let the people vote”, in regards to same sex marriage. I could care less if Mormons think they can “convert” dead people to their faith while wearing “celestial underwear” or whatever – all religions have odd aspects to them – but the political intrusion of a church, AS a church, into the secular sphere, is deserving of every suspicion.

  • FightTheGoodFight on 07.09.2012 at 4:28 pm

    Just one question… and please do reply… Why in the heck is religion a part of politics ever!? Who cares if Romney is Mormon! His beliefs should not effect his policies. If religion really was seperate from state, our country would be a lot less backwards. Seriously, neglecting religion of course, is there any actual reason gays can’t get married? Seriously, gimme a reason. Anyone else agree as to the seperation of church and state part?

    • John on 07.17.2012 at 4:04 pm

      Exactly. It shouldn’t. The first religion ever became a real issue with the presidency was JFK, and no one cared Nixon was a Quaker. Huckabee made sure Romney’s religion was a problem in 2008, Republicans made sure Rev. Jeremiah Wright was a problem in 2008, and in 2012, Democrats are going to make sure Romney’s religion is still a problem.

  • TheRealSlimShady on 08.08.2012 at 2:48 pm

    The world ought to be concerned about a Mormon like Mitt Romney becoming a puppet for the church in Salt Lake. Some posters have made claims about separating politics and religion but the LDS church and its followers have made VERY clear in documented recent cases that most mormons, Mitt Romney included, are suspect in positions that permit them to impose laws tailored to THEIR morality. Let’s look at a couple LDS church examples of interest: Tax-free, this $40 billion dollar LDS political machine involves itself readily in politics, as it coordinated anti-gay efforts in California (proposition 8) and then again in another country, Argentina (failed, and tried to hide its involvement, some say). These groups aggressively proselytize with success in less educated countries, and their tax-free machine gets as involved as it can in the affairs of others.

    And there is a financial manipulativeness as well…..Joseph Smith was one of the first to dump his religious-proseltyzing costs on the American taxpayer, and the Mormons of today are not so different. Utah was the state with the highest average of bankruptcies in the early 2000s, continuing in the footsteps of Joseph Smith. And Mormons never need to worry about the debt dump, really: The church has food warehouses and more or less a complete welfare system. The system shamelessly hides its finances, too– a recent Business Week article lambasted the LDS church for its evasiveness about its finances. It’s unsurprising that Romney is much the same since they both manipulate the American system. A gay Ex-Mormon in Central America told me over dinner that, in a word, Mormons are “calculating”, and not in an especially good way.

    The intrusion into the morality of others is obvious, and the Mormons would love to have a good religious pawn in the struggle to impose restriction on others’ lives. One bizarre and perfect recent example: A sex education ban in Utah schools recently SAILED through the Utah Mormon legislature (70% Mormon, a theocracy, really), paying absolutely NO heed to research that shows the value of public sex education. The dogma of the area is very evident and clearly represented in government laws. A likely reason the governor vetoed the bill: The move would have been viewed as too extreme with a Mormon on the national ticket this year.

    There must be half a dozen other examples of the secretive mormons that cause one to be concerned about one as president. In yet another example, bigger incarcerated populations directly benefit the business of private prison companies, some of which are from Utah (surprise). Moral mandates imposed in govt PLUS the bonus of federal funds for more privatized incarceration. And people wonder why the Utah economy has been improving recently LOL

    There are many concerns here about Romney and the Mormons, and the real dangers of a rich ideologue candidate should not minimized by the public. Occasionally a Harry Reid or JFK appears that does a good job of separating church and state but this is not the case here.

  • Steven Lehar on 09.12.2012 at 8:26 am

    This article carefully timed for maximum effect is a deliberate distraction from the DISASTER of the Obama administration and the ruin they are bringing to this once great nation! We don’t give a DAMN that Romney is Mormon if he promises to balance the budget! We care deeply that Obama is a socialist, communist, Muslim sympathizer, and believer in Black Liberation Theology, and hell-bent on bankrupting this country! Talk about scary dogma! Don’t change the subject!

  • Paarwan on 09.12.2012 at 9:35 am

    This is likely true for all religions eh? I suspect in a Christian-dominated country, most voters will not feel this way, but as a non-Christian who’s lived in the “Bible-belt”, I can easily say that we were very afraid of Christians! Mostly those who wore their church “uniforms” and went from house to house literally yelling that we are going to hell, and other similar rubbish. I do not want to rehash all my terrible memories here; just trying to make a point (I think) that fear can be attributed to anything in the right (wrong?) conditions.

    It’s probably good for the candidates that I am not a voter, huh!

  • Student on 09.12.2012 at 2:38 pm

    Innocent Muslims and Sikhs are being attacked and MURDERED in this country at an all-time high and people care more about the “persecution” of Mormons? Give me a break…

    • anonymous on 09.13.2012 at 12:19 pm

      Missouri once had a law legalizing the killing of Mormons, the only such law in American history. Maybe you should do some research before you attack a religious system which helps many.people find a path in life

  • Mass on 09.12.2012 at 3:11 pm

    Romney may be a mormon but he didn’t bring those values when helping the lower middle class and working poor in Mass. His shortcomings have nothing to do with his religion.

  • Lyndsi on 09.12.2012 at 4:15 pm

    Hi There! I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or in other words, a Mormon. I am also a BU grad student. I appreciate Rich Barlow’s article and I also appreciate all of the comments, both positive and negative. I think any attention to the church is good attention, because it allows people to ask questions and find answers. Though I don’t know yet who I’ll vote for in the presidential race, I do know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I know that all that is unfair and wrong about life can be reconciled through His atonement. I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ that tells us more about Him. God has not left us alone to figure these things out. He has given us prayer to find answers. Websites, books, and people can provide many opinions and answers, but let’s not forget who the ultimate source of answers is–God.

  • Humble on 10.28.2012 at 5:40 pm

    It is not for us to say who, in the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see into men’s hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge. It would be wicked arrogance for us to say that any man is, or is not, a Christian in this refined sense… When a man who accepts the Christian doctrine lives unworthily of it, it is much clearer to say he is a bad Christian than to say he is not a Christian
    - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1952), 11.

    An interesting article on this very subject:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/opinion/im-a-mormon-not-a-christian.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1350759430-Yt+tRkPWOWwIZXRvfzqSVQ

  • WhatMattersMost on 11.25.2012 at 11:50 pm

    I am LDS, and I haven’t always been, but I think there is a clear answer to why so many people are misinformed and very aggressive in their beliefs towards the Church as a whole. I would not believe that I was part of the true Church of Jesus Christ if everyone in this world agreed with us.

    “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” – Luke 6:22

    Most ignorant people coming out against this Church are only solidifying my testimony of this gospel.

    Joseph Smith was told that “that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.”

    Prophecy fulfilled.

  • melissa on 01.12.2013 at 7:01 pm

    I am a learned Jewish woman, but have always been a seeker of the spiritual. I have gone through many a Christian inquiry at all different denominations of churches. They all have one thing in common….They all believe that their own church is the “real” one. Especially the Catholics..although they do have the longest chain of historical relation to Jesus. The Amish are the only people in my opinion that live by example and don’t have to go around converting and baptizing and bible thumping and this and that…. maybe some Bruderhoff, Mennonites or Hutterites as well. The Anabaptists seem to be more mild mannered. I think G-d works in mysterious ways. There are enough spiritual paths for everyone. G-d, in my opinion is not so narrow as to only provide one path to life. In every part of the world he opens doors to different peoples at different times. It’s truly a futile question to ask what is the true church? I do not believe there is a true anything. All of religion pretty much relies on faith essentially. We were not there 4,000, 2000, or in the year 1830 to see if Joseph Smith really got those tablets. Faith is a gift from a higher place. It makes people calm and happy to have hope. I believe it comes in many forms. Imagine if there were no such thing as faith or hope and man only had his intellectual faculties to make heartfelt, emotional or spiritual decisions. No one would believe in anything they could not see. There would have been no Abraham…no beginning. Only visual idols. People make G-d much more complicated than I am sure He is meant to be…

  • John Cunningham on 01.15.2013 at 1:47 pm

    religion has lost its battle in europe, drugs, prostitution and education have won. and they do not have the problems that we in the us have. there is no name, item or situation in the bible or book of mormon that fits the time period.there was no alphabet with the symbols to produce the sounds, we do not translate names the sound would stay the same. they did not exsist! faith and belief violate the basic laws of education by not being fact, and are not allowed in asia or europe.

  • mormon12girl on 02.20.2013 at 12:46 am

    The church of jesus christ of latter day saints is different than the fundamentilist church of jesus christ. First is the fact of poligamy, WE DON’T Practice it! We are christians, just with a few extra books to boot. We also have 1 God. We are alowed to learn, and if you read our scriptures it actually encorages seeking knowledge. I believe my church is true not just for the sake of believing, but because this feeling I get when I pray, read my scriptures, go to church, follow Christ’s example, and it makes you smile and feel like you are loved, It is the holy ghost, and that is why our church is true. Most things you read about mormons are very misleading; if you want real information try mormon.org. it is made by mormons, so no lies. Really, we mormons are just a church, the true church, but we are real and have more proof than most churches. I am not saying that your church isn’t true, just that it isn’t the whole truth. And try missionaries, they spend 2 years on a mission to teach, to explain our church. Bye, and we are not a cult.

  • rpwiri on 03.15.2013 at 3:06 am

    Hello,I want to say something. Do not waste time on anti gay marriage. Because the hope is Jesus Christ, the Bible. It says our bodies is not for fornication. When we die, we go heaven. There is no sex in heaven. That’s it.

  • Save This on 10.28.2013 at 3:42 pm

    I grew up Mormon. I was told several times a week that if i went against the teachings of this organization that I would not be able to be with my family after this lifetime on earth. These ideas were too much for me before the age of 8, when I was baptized and made a member. I went through the motions as most 8 year old children might, as to not want to upset the rest of the family unit, or spend the afterlife in eternal damnation. I found out it was too late and the hell is actually here on earth now. This is how it feels to know the judgments cast by the family on anyone family member who chooses to have their own ideas. This organization uses evil fears, judgement, and guilt to manipulate it’s members from birth through the family unit. Suicide starts to sound pretty good to those who have been judged, shamed, and disrespected by their family as a whole for eternity. That’s me. We aren’t even close to having all the answers these organizations claim to have. What’s right and wrong is born and learned each new day. The great message to be learned from the teachings of Jesus Christ is to love one another without judging, or trying to force your ideas upon them. That’s it folks. Evil manipulators have used these great writings to deceive vast numbers with the devil hiding in the several details that differentiate the organizations. I will not dignify any of these groups as a Religion. A social disease has afflicted our better judgement, and courage to find the truth and knowledge in our daily lives.

  • Jonathan Wright on 03.24.2014 at 1:46 am

    I’m 17 years old just sayin and Ive beeen laughing my butt off because of how rediculous most of you sound fighting about mormonism. Its their religon. Someday we will see what is right if thats what your worried about! Love eachother! Grow up! No matter what religion any of you believe in let this go. With all my heart not only with these comments and most other websites about things like this, let it go.

  • TJ on 07.10.2014 at 3:57 pm

    Thank goodness this article was fairly balanced. The majority of people do not bother to do research for themselves about anything, regardless of the subject. Sad.

    And it is sad that people would rather have an adulterer who lied to his wife as U.S. President over a Mormon. The ignorance and bigotry is mind boggling. The majority of negative information on Mormons is a caricature of Mormonism. And why are the Mormons the only ones who are treated this way? No other religion whether it be Christian or nonChristian is attacked and treated the way the Mormons are treated in the U.S. What is appalling is there are so called Christians who make a living lying about and attacking Mormons and only Mormons.

    There is a Baptist church in Texas that teaches, in 2014, that Blacks are cursed with the curse of Cain, and say all people who are not Caucasion are inferior, and use the Bible to defend their hate. So where is the “Christian” outcry over this church’s racism? Silence, but yet these same silent people bring up the Mormons racist PAST. Hypocrisy at its finest. Why do these racist so called Christians get a free pass for their racist beliefs? Why do Pastors and Ministers who behave badly get a free pass?

    This is why this country is going in the sewer.
    Christians refuse to confront their own past and behavior because it is easier to ignore it and make someone else the scapegoat.

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