Friday, March 27, 2015

Mitt Romney’s Mormon Prophets

Mitt Romney is pictured after a tour of the Massachusetts Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, September 2000, in Belmont Mass.

(This was originally posted on Open Salon February, 22, 2012)

During the Republican debate when the candidates were asked how their religious beliefs would effect the decisions that they made in the presidency I thought that Mitt Romney said something like, “I would also seek the guidance of our prophets in making critical decisions.” After checking the transcripts it became clear that that wasn’t quite what he said. The following is an excerpt from the actual transcripts:

My question, how would your religious beliefs, if you're elected, impact the decisions that you make in the office of the presidency? ….

BLITZER: Governor?

ROMNEY: Ron Paul makes very good point. I concur with that. I would also seek the guidance of -- of providence in making critical decisions.

And of course, ours is a nation which is based upon Judeo- Christian values and ethics. Our law is based upon those values and ethics. And in some cases, our law doesn't encompass -- encompass all of the issues that we face around the world.

The conviction that the founders, when they wrote the Declaration of Independence, were writing a document that was not just temporary and not just for one small locale but really something which described the relationship between God and man -- that's something which I think a president would carry in his heart.

So when they said, for instance, that the creator had "endowed us with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," I would seek to assure that those principles and values remain in America and that we help share them with other people in the world, not by conquering them, but by helping them through our trade, through our various forms of soft power, to help bring people the joy and -- and -- and opportunity that exists in this great land. GOP CNN Florida debate: Jan. 26, 2012. Transcript

He seems to have hesitated before coming up with the word providence which made me wonder whether or not what he meant to come up with was what I thought I heard. In fact, after reading more about the Mormon religion it would actually make more sense if that was what he said but that wouldn’t be politically appealing since most people aren’t Mormon. How would you “seek the guidance of providence?” In the Mormon religion they might do this by consulting with their leaders who they consider prophets. Actually he does deserve the benefit of the doubt on this since the phrasing seems to be my mistake but his views on religion and how Mormonism might effect his potential presidency is still a legitimate issue.

All the current candidates including Romney have made a big issue about religion and accused the Obama administration of carrying out an attack on religion; including the following quote from Mitt Romey that came from the last debate on February 22 in Arizona:

I don't think we've seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we've seen under Barack Obama. Most recently, of course --


ROMNEY: -- most recently requiring the Catholic Church to provide for its employees and its various enterprises health care insurance that would include birth control, sterilization and the morning-after pill. Unbelievable. Republican Debate transcripts Arizona February 22 2012

This particular comment didn’t address his own religion which he was raised on; but it still reflects his intention to use religion at least for political purposes. This isn’t a guarantee that he will take this position, if he gets elected, due to the fact that, quite frankly he flip flops on everything when the political pressure is turned up so you never know which position he will take on any given position. However that is another problem and it doesn’t make him any more credible. The beliefs that he might be most inclined to take seriously are those that he was raised in, which is Mormonism, or as they refer to themselves most of the time, Later-Day Saints. Whether he takes them seriously or not is hard to tell since he hasn’t discussed it much in his campaigns or at least not the details of his religion. He has often said that he takes his faith very seriously as do most politicians but that doesn’t always mean that they do; which might be just as well since when they do take it seriously they often put the emphasis on the most irrational aspects of religion. Mormonism has its share of contradiction, if not more; and they have been much better documented since this religion is still less than two hundred years old and the founder of the religion has often recommended extensive records be kept.

In a previous Blog on Mormons I reviewed A Relatively Brief History of the Mormon Church; there is an enormous amount of documentation on how this religion developed unlike religions that started hundreds if not thousands of years ago before they kept extensive records. The current discussion has rarely ever done a good job looking into the Mormon religion in the Mass Media but there are many other sources that do a much better job.

As discussed in the previous Blog I believe that if Mormonism is interpreted the way their leaders teach their followers to then it would fit my definition of a cult, as Robert Jeffress claims that they are; however I came to that conclusion for different reasons. Franklin Graham has recently come out and repeated this claim and once again the Mass Media hasn’t provided what I would consider an adequate review of the claim.
The definition that I prefer to use for a cult is simply an organization where the leaders dictate the truth to the followers without scrutiny. However, in practice there are many more details about how they do this and how they manipulate the people and other typical characteristics of cults.

As indicated in the previous Blog about Mormonism the early followers of Mormonism believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet from God and that he received revelations from God which they were supposed to accept without scrutiny, more or less. This seems to be typical of most religions except for the fact that the revelations that the Mormons receive have occurred in modern times and they continue to occur to this day; or at least many of the Mormons believe this. There is no evidence that can be confirmed for the skeptics but, of course the religious people routinely respond to this by saying that it should be taken on faith and that is what religion is about. If you accept my definition of a cult then it would mean that essentially if a God arranges to have the truth dictated to the people without scrutiny then that God would be behaving as a cult leader. This is what the Mormon God has allegedly done, assuming you believe these revelations are real, which the Mormons do. Many of these revelations are very extreme and they often include claims that God will “damn” or “destroy” those that don’t abide by his commandments. One of the most extreme and famous is a verse from the Doctrine and Covenants where God allegedly provides a revelation through Joseph Smith about the practice of polygamy and instructs his first wife to abide by it:

And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.

For I am the Lord thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph that he shall be made ruler over many things; for he hath been faithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.

And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law. Doctrine and Covenants 132: 52-4

There has been much debate about whether or not this was a legitimate revelation among the various sects of the Later-Day Saints. According to many historical documents Emma Smith reluctantly accepted this while her first husband was still alive; although there were many stories about her having conflicts with his polygamous wives which weren’t officially acknowledged until eight years after his death when the Church officially acknowledged the practice. This practice was a major contributing cause that helped lead to the murder of Joseph Smith, although the mob that participated in it may not have known it. This led to dissent within the church and one of the dissenters, William Law, published some of his objections in the first addition of a newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor, created to express dissent; he didn’t actually name polygamy as part of his objections but he strongly implied that it was his main objection and the people within the church knew it. Joseph Smith ordered the press be destroyed and the anti-Mormons in nearby Carthage used this as an excuse that led to his murder before it was done.

When the Mormons moved west to Utah Emma stayed behind and later indicated that she never believed that this revelation was a true revelation from God although she still believed that her husband was a prophet and her son, Joseph Smith III became the leader of the reorganized Later-Day Saints, which is perhaps the second largest sect of Mormonism and has never believed in polygamy. The Utah based LDS abandoned polygamy after a lot of pressure and another alleged revelation from God telling them to do so.

The fact that this debate goes on and that it often settled by using intimidation tactics to convince people to follow their leaders is what indicates to many including me that when religions are practiced in their most extreme beliefs that they constitute a cult. The Mormon religion involves prophets that dictate the word of God to their followers and in the early days there were many people that claimed that they were receiving revelations from God and there was much debate about whether these were from God or the Devil. In many cases they were settled by seeing who could intimidate the followers into joining behind one leader that would speak for God and that leader was Joseph Smith who had several revelations saying that he was the only one that would speak for God. These revelations were published as the Doctrine and Covenants.
These weren’t the only revelations or translations that he had; the first major one was the Book of Mormon which was translated from the “Golden Bible” as it was known (discussed briefly in previous post about Mormonism) and he also translated a new version of the King James Bible which may not have been complete and he translated a set of papyrus that later became known as the Book of Abraham. Part of the original papyri that became the The Book of Abraham turned up in a New York museum in 1967 the translation was checked by scholars and it was found to be false this story has been told in many places including this article about the Book of Abraham at Mormon Think. Regardless of the legitimacy of the translations by Joseph Smith the Mormons are taught to believe that they’re true; therefore it is worth considering as a hypot6hetical even if they aren’t.

The following excerpt indicates essentially how many cults tend to act in practice:

And Satan came among them, saying: I am also a son of God; and he commanded them, saying: Believe it not; and they believed it not, and they loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish. Book of Moses Chapter 5:13

Once they’re taught to believe what they’re told from their leaders they can’t think for themselves if they take to extremes and they just do what they’re told by their leaders without understanding it. If you go to the Book of Moses and read the rest of it then you’ll see that Adam and Eve turned around and started following the right God but Cain followed Satan and this is replicated over an over again in many different stories both mythical and in real life.

The Doctrine and Covenants has many verses that tell people about how to handle their financial affairs and when and how to fight their enemies. These rarely if ever involve teaching them how to figure out these things for themselves; nor do the revelations teach the Mormons that they should learn how to get along with their enemies instead of fighting them generation after generation. These revelations do often involve alleged threats that are intended to be carried out by God; however unless the religion or cult carries them out in their name there is rarely if ever any follow through on these threats. The exceptions are generally when the faithful point to a variety of events that don’t seem connected and attribute cause to them, like when some fundamentalists claimed that 9/11 was retaliation for gay people having sex. Not everyone believes this interpretation of the cause and effect, to put it mildly. In fact there are several passages that discuss how God will seek vengeance to those that don’t abide over several generations; this keep the threat going when there is no follow up. 

If the hypothetical God which they chose to believe in was benevolent then you would think that he could do a much better job revealing himself in a manner that wouldn’t divide people into different groups that would fight among each other for thousands of years; and yet if you accept the text that are attributed to him then he is essentially instructing them to follow a course of action that will lead to inevitable conflict.

Or to put it bluntly, if this hypothetical God exists he’s staging wars for one generation after another; this isn’t benevolent or worthy of worship.

This doesn’t mean that Mitt Romney is the most devout Mormon or that he follows the most extreme version of Mormonism; in fact for a long time his faith wasn’t the main focus of his political career and he didn’t put much emphasis on it when he was running for office in Massachusetts. It is also worth noting that many of the revelations involve not forgetting to take care of the poor and the needy. Unlike Joseph Smith and Brigham Young who both grew up with the lower classes and did manual labor in their early years, Mitt Romney seems to have forgotten these however there is good reason to believe that he continues to promote the authoritarian aspects of the religions especially if he is the authority figure.

The Mormon Church did help him restore his reputation indirectly in 2002 when he was brought in to save the Olympics after a scandal in Utah. Utah is dominated by the Mormons including Gordon Hinckley who did a lot to reform the image of the Mormon Church for the public. According to Time Magazine he might be The Man Who Made Romney Possible by doing this. His predecessor was Marion G. Romney, cousin of Mitt’s father George Romney. Apparently Mitt Romney Sent Millions of dollars to Mormon Church in both tithing money which he donated and he also used his business deals at Bain Capital to steer numerous deals and other partners to the Church. According to John Heinerman and Anson Shupe “The Mormon Corporate Empire” 1985 the Mormon Church also has an enormous amount of investments in both the insurance industry and the media industry. Some doubts have been raised about The Mormon Corporate Empire by Malin L. Jacobs; however Jacobs had close ties to the church and it was also reviewed by Richard Ostling who didn’t have ties to the Church and he found it to be much more reliable; furthermore Jacobs didn’t address many of the issues that Heinerman and Shupe raised. Mitt’s strong ties to the Church could impact his willingness to regulate both these fairly and it could also indicate a partial reason why the Mass Media hasn’t been reporting many of the details about the Mormon religion nearly as well as they could have.
There is an enormous amount of information about the Mormon Church available from many reliable sources but the Mass Media rarely ever covers much if any of the most controversial details. The influence from the Church as reported by Heinerman and Shupe may provide a major explanation as to why they were able to improve their image so much without scrutiny. They have even more influence among many media outlets than the more widely reported reverend Sun Myung Moon owner of the Washington Times who is also considered a Messiah by his own followers. This may have been part of the reason why Gordon Hinckley was able to do so well when trying to reform the image of the Mormon Church without putting many of the most controversial aspects of the Mormon Church in the spotlight. On the rare occasions that they do make the spotlight they often appear to be portrayed as the actions of rogue sects from the Mormon Church like the Fundamentalist Later-Day Saints led by Warren Jeffs or his close associates now that he is in jail. This is only a partially accurate assumption. The polygamous sects including the FLDS are no longer part of the official LDS but they have their roots in the same doctrine as the LDS which practiced polygamy officially until 1890 and unofficially for at least ten years while it was underground before they truly abandoned it.

Other high profile incidents which the Church has been involved in include the Mark Hoffman murders which Gordon Hinckley wasn’t directly involved in but he was involved in buying many documents from Mark Hoffman which later turned out to be forgeries and he was also involved in attempts to conceal many documents which might have portrayed the Church in a negative light. In fact many books about Mormonism that were written in the early eighties still have errors as a result of these forgeries; this includes a minor error in “The Mormon Corporate Empire” which didn’t deal directly with the forged documents but as they were going to press the murders were in the news so they felt obligated to include a brief paragraph about it at the end of the book that gave both the Mormon church and Mark Hoffman the benefit of the doubt which it soon became clear that they didn’t deserve.

This was exposed during the investigation of the Hoffman murders which occurred despite a lack of cooperation, if not obstruction of justice, from the Church; this was further reported in “The Mormon Murders” By Steven Naifeh, Gregory White Smith and “Tracking the White Salamander” by Jerald Tanner (free online copy as well as much more information about the Mormon religion). the Mormon Church has had a long history of trying to control the information that is presented about it which dates back to its origins at a time when the information from anti-Mormons was often as distorted if not more distorted than the information that the Church put out. The Mass Media is now much more inclined to present the Mormons in a positive light but if you look at other sources there are often as many exaggerations and satires about it as there was in the nineteenth century.

These exaggerations and distortions are much more common when it comes to aspects like polygamy, sacred garments or “magic underwear” as they’re often referred to by critics and the Mountain Meadows Massacre in the 1850’s however a close look at the truth is often almost as negative as the exaggerations and satires.
A bigger issue should probably be the amount of influence the Mormons have in the insurance industry and the fact that they don’t rely on science to make important decisions on issues like Climate Change or pollution. As explained recently in a blog about Santorum etal including both Mitt Romney and Back Obama endorse Health Care Waste and Fraud the insurance industry is involved in an enormous amount of waste; and the portion of the money people pay for their premiums that actually goes to their own health care isn’t nearly as much is it could and should be due to the enormous amount of money the insurance companies pay on other activities including advertising and lobbying or keep for profits. His position on the environment could be just as negative if it is impacted by his Mormon beliefs or by his business ties and judging by his rhetoric as a candidate they would be if he is actually elected president.

On a comparatively minor point it also appears that Mitt Romney has admitted that he has baptized Jews after death without permission as pointed out by Francoise Arouete’s Blog “Romney Admits to Baptizing Dead Jews!?” From a policy position for most secularists this hardly seems important but most religious people would consider this highly offensive if it was brought to their attention whether they’re Jewish or not since they also practice this for people of all faiths. Combined with silly satires about his underwear and the fact that Romney is such an incredibly bad candidate it is hard to imagine that he could actually get elected president though. The only reason he seems to be a front runner for the GOP nomination is because of the fact that the rest of the field is so bad and the only reason he appears to be competitive in the polls with Barack Obama is probably because Barack Obama isn’t much better and the Mass Media has been unwilling to provide good coverage of anything let alone educate the public about the issues and present sincere candidates to them.

Thanks to blunders by Rick Santorum like the following it does appear that he is going to gain the nomination due to the fact that there is no one else:

Earlier this month, Santorum brought up the subject at the American Heartland Forum with conservative leader James Dobson. “They have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands, but half the people who are euthanized every year, and it’s 10 percent of all deaths, half of those people are euthanized involuntarily in hospitals, because they are older and sick,” Santorum said. “So elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital. They go to another country. Because they’re afraid because of budget purposes they will not come out of that hospital if they go in with sickness.” He said the Dutch wear bracelets saying “Don’t euthanize me.” “Rick Santorum comments on euthanasia in the Netherlands cause stir in Dutch media” Boston Globe also reported in “Santorum attacks Dutch euthanasia, what would he say about doctor-assisted suicide in Oregon?” Oregon Live

These facts seem to have been simply made up to appeal to the emotions of Santorum’s followers and they often seem to work with his constituency. Mitt Romney is appealing to a similar constituency that doesn’t check facts and he has indicated that he may act on many of his bizarre beliefs if he can get away with it. The only reason that he appears to be getting the nomination is because his opposition, as presented by the Mass Media is even more insane; and by the same token the only reason Barack Obama may seem like the more credible candidate is because the Republican Party is so bad.

The Mass Media continues to tell the majority of the public that we have to choose from the candidates that collects the most money from corporations for our nominees then we can only chose from either the most corrupt Democrat or the most corrupt Republican. If the public wants a true democracy we’re going to have to stop accepting this false hypothesis and create a candidate from the grass roots level and stop playing the game on the terms of the corporations. This will require some form of Election Reform; and we need to rely much more on alternative media outlets since we can’t trust the corporate media for our information.

(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

Americans seem so much more hung up on religion than Europeans.

Sarah Cavanaugh February 27, 2012 07:39 PM

You raise some important concerns here. If Mitt Romney, as president, fails to follow the precepts of the Mormon Church (one of which is to proselytize and baptize dead souls to save them from eternal damnation), he is subject to excommunication.

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall February 27, 2012 09:14 PM

Sarah, not all Americans but many especially those that have been raised in rural areas and what they call “Red states,” the Republicans are relying on religion to enable them to manipulate their electorate while the Democrats often use more subtle tactics.

Stuart, I’m sure you’re aware that excommunication is a standard threat to keep people in line within the Mormon Church; others may consider it a joke. But you’re right if they think they can use this to coerce Mitt they might however it would do a lot to expose their tactics to the public so it would probably be an empty threat if it is too high profile.

Thanks all

zacherydtaylor February 28, 2012 10:05 AM

I think Hitchens had it right when he wrote that book about how religion poisons everything.

Myriad February 28, 2012 11:06 AM

Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins etal made many good points but at times they often overlook many unsolved mysteries; and I suspect a close look at all the historical text about the Mormon religion will indicate that this is one of them.

The religious interpretation of this doesn't make sense but it is extremely hard to figure out why this and many other religions didn't fall apart much sooner. How were these irrational people able to organize a society so effectively when they had such a hard time thinking rationally? If nothing else this is a major unsolved sociology and psychology mystery.

zacherydtaylor February 28, 2012 11:22 AM

You seem very negative and nievely uninformed about real life Mormons dispite your limited research. The threat of political intereference from the Mormon church is no greater than any other church to which a President may belong. The talk here of excommunication is nonsense and completely with out precident. You are suffering from misinformed hysteria.

Tom Broderick February 29, 2012 03:50 PM

Tom, no doubt there is a lot of misinformation or contradictory information about the Mormon Church which is why it helps to check multiple sources which review different positions. In most cases the most credible researchers or critics of the Mormon Church are Mormons or former Mormons, some of whom were excommunicated for writing or speaking out against the Mormon Church; one of the most notable ones was Sonia Johnson who was excommunicated for her support of the ERA and criticism of the church, another one was Deborah Laake who wrote a book, “Secret Ceremonies,” about her life and marriage in the Mormon Church.

Other sources that I have found to be quite credible include Mormon Think and Jerald and Sandra Tanner; all run by Mormons or former Mormons; the Tanners apparently have ancestors that were strong supporters of the early Church including Brigham Young who was apparently Sandra’s great-great grandfather.

Additional sources that I have found to be mostly reliable include Richard Bushman and Leonard Arrington both of whom were devout Mormons and still presented material critical of the Church. Apparently, according to Richard Ostling Leonard Arrington was criticized for his work at one point; the details of this aren’t at the top of my head but it was in his book “Mormon America.

Of course you or anyone else is welcome to find your own s9ources to check; whether you agree with me or not. Thanks for responding. zacherydtaylor March 02, 2012 09:48 AM

I was raised an Irish Catholic a heritage I am very proud of and I was baptised a Mormon over 30 years ago, my real life experience just does not fit with what you write. To call us a cult is insulting to my intelligence. And I find it hard to accept most of what you have written, it is just not real life as I have experienced as a Mormon. I have found the church to be compasionate and loving, we are taught that no priesthood power can be exerted only by love, patience, brotherly kindness and this has been my experience. Freedom of individual choice is the purpose of our existence, this life is a test to see if we will follow the God of love or choose evil. However every person on earth has already succeeded in their pre earth life and has come to earth to experience and learn from our earthly challenges.

I find the scriptures are wonderful, for the deeper one digs the more prophesy I see fulfilled. For instance Joseph Smith gave us 13 Articles of Faith possibly the most prophetic was number 10. "We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent." To me that New Jerusalem was built in Salt Lake, complete with it's dead sea, in the tops of the mountains, a new temple in a desert region that blosomed as a rose. Joseph Smith sent apostle Orson Hyde to dedicate Jerusalem for the returning of the Jews. One hundred and seventy years ago, on October 24 1841, a Sunday, Elder Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve climbed the Mount of Olives. There, with pen and paper, he recorded a prayer of dedication previously given him by revelation. In the prayer, he asked the Lord to inspire “kings and the powers of the earth” to help “restore the kingdom unto Israel.” He also prayed that the Lord would remember his promises to all the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

In the years since that prayer, we have seen the fulfillment of many of Elder Hyde’s requests the nation of Israel came into existence in 1946. More are yet to be fulfilled. Muslims are also the children of Abraham and Christ will ultimately be a Messiah to the Jews, a Savior to Christians and a prophet to the Muslims.

The USA was also shaped and enlarged by early Mormon pioneers. Not a lot of people realise how important a role the early Mormons played in claiming the west for the USA. Mormons left the USA as it was in the mid 1840’s after being driven, burned out and murdered. The state of Missouri passed a law, an extermination order, legalising the murder of Mormons. The early Mormons were driven by mobs and persecution from their city of Nauvoo in Illinois. Many Mormons died enroute, but they chose to leave the USA and settle in the Salt Lake valley and Rocky Mountains, which was a territory of Mexico. The USA was only half the size it is today before Mormons pushed west and colonised the wilderness, before the cowboys got there, I think it's fair to say they were the original cowboys and ranchers. The USA had recently been humbled in defeat by Mexico in the Alamo. A Mormon Battalion was formed at the request of the US government, this army marched well over a thousand miles south and across the continent to California and the Pacific Ocean. The gauntlet was thrown down in challenge to the Mexican army, the Mexicans decided not to fight. The Mormons were the first “Americans” in many parts of California. Mormon Battalion members found gold while working in a lumber mill. This chance discovery triggered the Californian gold rush of 1849. The San Francisco 49’ers were born. With the safety of migrants proven by the Mormon Battalion, the way was open and Americans flooded west to California thus establishing what we know now as mainland USA, this Mormon push westward almost doubled the size of the USA.

I have written a book and published a web site on how I have seen the fulfillment of prophesy from Genesis to today, powerful evidence in my estimation that there is a God watching over us who values our freedom to act and leaves us to experience the consequences of our actions as part of our individual eternal growth and development. see

The last words between Jesus and his Apostles as recorded in Acts 1 v6-7 "they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power." It is now obvious that after 2,000 years God keeps his promises and kingdom of Israel is now restored. This is all part of the Restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The tribes of Irsael led by the tribe of Ephriam were scattered (old testamant) as were the tribe of Judah the "Jews". The Jews have been restored to their land of promise and Ephriam has received its blessings to become a multitude of nations (Genesis48:19) including the inheritance in "the utmost bound of the everlasting hills," (Genesis 49:26) being the everlasting hills running from the north pole to the south pole, the Rockies and Andes mountains.

I think it helps to look at the bigger picture.

Tom Broderick March 03, 2012 06:22 AM

Tom, thanks for your reply and the link to your book; I don’t have time to read it all right away but when I have more time I’ll take a closer look.

No offense intended by the discussion about the possibility that Mormonism might be a cult; as indicated in both my posts about Mormonism I don’t believe that the people that sort through the details of Mormonism to find the flaws and figure out the truth are cult members; this would contradict the definition that I provided.

Many religions focus primarily on their compassionate aspects which are, of course good, but some shift to the authoritarian aspects of the religions and become more aggressive at times without sorting through the details. You are correct that there was a lot of persecution of the early Mormons by other religions that were intolerant; but this indicates the problem. Both sides were acting out of emotion, trying to control the discussion of the truth and rushing to conclusions without accurately reviewing their own positions.

As for the benevolence and trustworthiness of God, as indicated in both posts about Mormonism it seems to me that he could have opened a line of communication between multiple religions and attempted to arrange for peaceful solutions to their disputes yet he didn’t. In my opinion this should raise some serious doubts.

On a minor note, if I remember correctly the Mormon militia was formed after lobbying from the Mormons, not at the governments request although they authorized it. This was at a time where they were subject to persecution from people that weren’t being held accountable by the states. However a close look at the history might raise doubts about both sides.

Good day, as indicated before I’ll take a closer look at your book when I have more time.

zacherydtaylor March 05, 2012 09:38 AM

You are confused I do not refer to the Mormon Militia which was formed to protect innocent Mormons from murderous mobs when the government seemed unwilling or unable to provide protection for Mormon families and citizens. The Mormon Battalion was formed after they had been driven out of the Mormon city of Nauvoo in Illinois.

The Mormon Battalion was commanded by regular officers of the US Army, the Mormon Battalion members were regular soldiers in the US Army paid a wage by the US Army to go and fight against Mexican forces, there by opening the way for the expansion of the United States of America to the West.

Also The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints is not a cult. Members are free to come to church on a Sunday or not, to listen to it’s teachings or ignore them. No forceful authority is exercised, people are free to come to church or ignore it. To even suggest it might be a cult is insulting and inflammatory.

My book is about the covenants or promises God made in the bible to ancient Israel and how he has kept his word as an intellectual and logical witness to his existence, based on Irish history.

In the church however we encourage people to develop their own personal relationship with God, to pray and receive answers that they may know for themselves and expand their faith.

I personally had an experience similar to Joseph Smith which is why I became a Mormon. As a young man of 19 years, life was very good to me, however I determined one night in prayer I should serve God, though I was raised a Catholic I was not sure it was the “true” church and if I was to give my life to God I wanted to be in the true church. In the course of an hour of earnest prayer I prayed that God would show me the true church if there was a true church and I would join. I felt a presence gathering in my bedroom as if an angel were about to appear. I was afraid I said “do not appear whoever you are just show me another way.” The following day two Mormon missionaries knocked on my door. They told me how Joseph had prayed to find the true church - I had my answer. To convert was not an easy emotional journey but God still answers my prayers and after 30 years I am confident I am a member of the true church.

Tom Broderick March 06, 2012 02:01 AM

Tom, you’re probably right about the Mormon battalion fighting in the war for expansion; in fact that may have been the beginning of the Mormon participation in the military for all I know. However this may not be as noble as implied; the battle against Mexico was a battle for expansion by conquest. Furthermore, as pointed out in the Mormon Corporate Empire the Mormons have had an enormous amount of influence in both the military, CIA and the FBI etc. this is presumably because of the authoritarian attitudes that are taught in the Mormon Church. The Mormons aren’t the only ones that teach this authoritarian attitude; James Dobson and the evangelicals also has done this and they contribute a lot to the military. The reason for this is because they’re taught to obey without question.

There are many reports that have been written in many books and articles that clearly indicate that many of the Mormon leaders have used coercive methods to keep their followers in line. One blatant example was when, “BYU refused to let women professors issue a study of seventy-one LDS women who had suffered childhood abuse; two of the professors quit and published the research in 1999.” (Richard N. Ostling, Joan K. Ostling “Mormon America” 1999/2007 p.353-5) There are many more examples where this one came from and they clearly seem to indicate that many within the Mormon leadership do use coercive tactics when it is necessary to keep some of their followers in line.

No offense intended but you’re personal experience sounds like it could have been interpreted differently and I suspect many people might have done so if they had similar experiences. As indicated before I suspect that if your God was as benevolent as you seem to believe that he could have communicated in a manner that was a little clearer. Thanks for replying.

zacherydtaylor March 06, 2012 10:21 AM

I think the LDS history and theology is wonderful though often misrepresented by opponents, who are often more interested in mudslinging than establishing the facts. However what is more relevant to the Presidential election is what have Mormons working with the White House done in the past. One great example is Elder V Dallas Merrell a Mormon (LDS) church leader who worked with President Ronald Reagan’s administration and established a process for assessing and training leaders that became the subject of a Presidential Executive Order that was implemented throughout the entire federal government. This is an example of the type of political leadership a Mormon is likely to promote. See

One might also consider the leadership publications of Stephen Covey another influential Mormon; including “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” These teachings have been applied in most major corporations in the USA, government and organizations around the world, and are currently available in most book stores.

Tom Broderick April 08, 2012 04:22 AM

Hi again Tom, I agree that some of the people that oppose Mormonism may be more interested in mudslinging; however clearly I don’t think all of us are like that. I noticed others like Orin Hatch and the Romney campaign have indicated that they think that most if not all of their opposition that use religious grounds are prejudiced. My own belief is that if people check the facts and rely only on legitimate concerns, which I try to do, then it isn’t prejudiced. It will be up to others to find out if I am right or not by checking the facts themselves.

Thanks for the link; however I am skeptical of this questionnaire. It seems to me that it could have been presented in a less controlling manner. I can’t understand why they couldn’t just put all 29 questions on one page. This seems more efficient; whenever I have encountered a questionnaire like this I have never taken the time to fill it out. This is the first I heard of this particular person and his influence with the Reagan administration but I have heard of other Mormon influence on the Reagan administration including the citation of their welfare program. The problem is that they haven’t portrayed it as accurately as they should have. This was reviewed by John Heinerman and Anson Shupe in “The Mormon Corporate Empire” which I cited in the article; they have concluded that there are many problems with it and that it hasn’t done what it is supposed to. As indicated previously this was refuted by Malin Jacobs but I have indicated that this is probably an inadequate rebuttal and furthermore I have seen additional information including some by Ann Eliza Young, one of Brigham’s wives, who wrote about how Brigham didn’t do much for the welfare of the majority of his people; instead he kept most of the money they earned for himself. This was of course the early stages of the Church caring for the poor since it was published in 1875; a copy of “Wife No. 19, or The Story of a Live in Bondage” is available at What is Mormonism? for more details.

What is Mormonism? Also cites a good passage that would be a good example of leadership if it was implemented properly; they quote Brigham Young who said, “Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test.” ( Journal of Discourses v.16 p.46) as well as other good quotes. The problem is that when people attempted to do this in many cases they confronted an enormous amount of opposition and pressure; when Brigham was alive a lot of it came from him, now it comes from others in many cases. Ann Eliza wrote about a lot of this and there is more that involved the Godbeites and many other incidents as well as other incidents in more modern time.

This isn’t the type of authoritarian leadership that would be compatible in a democratic society.

Thanks for responding, although I disagree with some of your conclusions.

zacherydtaylor April 09, 2012 11:56 AM

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