Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The assassination of the first Mormon presidential nominee

The first Mormon presidential nominee was Joseph Smith Jr. who founded Mormonism in the nineteenth century, long before Mitt Romney or his father ran for president. He was assassinate shortly after he ordered the new press of some Mormon dissidents to be destroyed; however it wasn’t the dissidents that assassinated him; it was a mob in a nearby town that heard about it and latched onto the circumstances as an excuse to persecute the Mormons and attempt to run them out of town.

This was partially based on the prejudices of the time; and there was clear bigotry on both sides of the conflict. This was at a time when there was much more religious persecution than there is today, contrary to the impression that many of us have been given about history in the early United States. When I was young I was taught in school that the United States was a refugee where many people could practice there religion without fear of persecution unlike in Europe. There were some exceptions like the Salem witch trial but for the most part I was taught that the US went a long way to protecting religious freedom. It wasn’t until I did more research into history as an adult that I realized that there has been much more religious persecution in the US than I was previously led to believe. This hasn’t been limited to religious persecution; I didn’t learn about the Palmer raids until long after I graduated from school. The version of history, as well as current events that is taught to many people by the main stream media and the traditional education system has proven to be very selective and it has left many people without the knowledge they need about many subjects. With the potential election of a Mormon president who is running partially on his faith it is worth considering the history of that religion further, and how it could potentially impact society if he is elected. This doesn’t mean that we should believe that he will adopt the same beliefs that his predecessors did but in order to know for sure what might be different it would help to take a closer look.

I have covered some of this in previous posts about A Brief History of the Mormon Church , Mitt Romney’s Mormon Prophets, and Excuse me Mitt do you believe Jesus Christ was a polygamist? so I’m going to try to minimize the redundancy; however there are some things that had an impact on the circumstances that are worth mentioning at least briefly as well as some circumstances that followed it to consider how things have changed since then.

The events that surrounded Joseph Smiths assassination was at least the third time that the Mormons were run out of a state by the activities of a mob and the first two also involved the destruction of presses, on these occasions it was the opponents that destroyed the presses and were never held accountable. The first one was in Ohio which was recounted in Mormon Enigma and the second was in Missouri which was recounted by Richard Bushman in Rough Stone Rolling. It was partially in response to these events and the fact that Joseph Smith didn’t feel, with some justification, that the Mormons received adequate protection from the government including the federal government that he decided to run for president. He was nominated by the Mormons who tended to vote almost unanimously with little or no support outside of the Mormons so it was virtually out of the question that he would have been elected had he survived.

In addition to the conflict that they had with those that opposed Mormonism they also had conflicts from within; in fact there were constant disputes at times from people that claimed to have revelations from God that were perceived by Joseph Smith as a challenge to his authority. The final one which led to his assassination was over the subject of polygamy or spiritual wives as they sometimes called it. William Law and his followers started their own paper and published a first edition which exposed the practice of spiritual wives to those that didn’t know about it and had access to the paper before it was destroyed and the papers that Joseph Smith and his followers could get their hands on as well. The following are excerpts from the copies that survived. They may be out of context so it is advisable for those of you who are interested to read the full paper at Solomon Spalding.com or a larger abridgement at Utah Light House Ministry both of which also have extensively more coverage of Mormonism.

As for our acquaintance with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we know, no man or set of men can be more thoroughly acquainted with its rise, its organization, and its history, than we have every reason to believe we are. We all verily believe, and many of us know of a surety, that the religion of the Latter Day Saints, as originally taught by Joseph Smith, which is contained in the Old and New Testaments, Book of Covenants, and Book of Mormon, is verily true; and that the pure principles set forth in those books, are the immutable and eternal principles of Heaven, and speaks a language which, when spoken in truth and virtue, sinks deep into the heart of every honest man.--Its precepts are invigorating, and in every sense of the word, tend to dignify and ennoble man's conceptions of God and his atributes. It speaks a language which is heard amidst the roar of Artillery, as well as in the silence of midnight: it speaks a language understood by the incarcerated spirit, as well as he who is unfettered and free; yet to those who will not see, it is dark, mysterious, and secret as the grave.

We believe that all men, professing to be the ministers of God, should keep steadily in view, the honor and glory of God, the salvation of souls and the amelioration of man's condition: and among their cardinal virtues ought to be found those of faith, hope, virtue and charity; but with Joseph Smith, and many other official characters in the Church, they are words without any meanings attached--words as ornaments; exotics nurtured for display; virtues which, throwing aside the existence of a God, the peace, happiness, welfare, and good order of society, require that they should be preserved pure, immaculate and uncorroded. ….

It is a notorious fact, that many females in foreign climes, and in countries to us unknown, even in the most distant regions of the Eastern hemisphere, have been induced, by the sound of the gospel, to forsake friends, and embark upon a voyage across waters that lie stretched over the greater portion of the globe, as they supposed, to glorify God, that they might thereby stand acquitted in the great day of God Almighty. But what is taught them on their arrival at this place? -- They are visited by some of the Strikers, for we know not what else to call them, and are requested to hold on and be faithful, for there are great blessings awaiting the righteous; and that God has great mysteries in store for those who love the Lord, and cling to brother Joseph. They are also notified that brother Joseph will see them soon, and reveal the mysteries of Heaven to their full understanding, which seldom fails to inspire them with new confidence in the Prophet, as well as a great anxiety to know what God has laid up in store for them, in return for the great sacrifice of father and mother, of gold and silver, which they gladly left far behind, that they might be gathered into the fold, and numbered among the chosen of God. -- They are visited again, and what is the result? They are requested to meet brother Joseph, or some of the Twelve, at some insulated point, or at some particularly described place on the bank of the Mississippi, or at some room, which wears upon its front -- Positively NO admittance. The harmless, inoffensive, and unsuspecting creatures, are so devoted to the Prophet, and the cause of Jesus Christ, that they do not dream of the deep-laid and fatal scheme which prostrates happiness, and renders death itself desirable, but they meet him, expecting to receive through him a blessing, and learn the will of the Lord concerning them, and what awaits the faithful follower of Joseph, the Apostle and Prophet of God, when in the stead thereof, they are told, after having been sworn in one of the most solemn manners, to never divulge what is revealed to them, with a penalty of death attached, that God Almighty has revealed it to him, that she should be his (Joseph's) Spiritual wife; for it was right anciently, and God will tolerate it again: but we must keep those pleasures and blessings from the world, for until there is a change in the government, we will endanger ourselves by practicing it -- but we can enjoy the blessings of Jacob, David, and others, as well as to be deprived of them, if we do not expose ourselves to the law of the land. She is thunder-struck, faints, recovers, and refuses. The Prophet damns her if she rejects. She thinks of the great sacrifice, and of the many thousand miles she has traveled over sea and land, that she might save her soul from pending ruin, and replies, God's will be done, and not mine. The Prophet and his devotees in this way are gratified. ……. Look for her after a little while, and you find friendship weeping over her untimely grave; and wondering that one who but so recently glowed with all the radiance of health and beauty, should so speedily be brought down to darkness and despair, you will be told of some wintry chill, of some casual indisposition that laid her low! But no one knows of the mental malady that previously sapped her strength, and made her so easy a pray to the spoiler. …….

Our hearts have mourned and bled at the wretched and miserable condition of females in this place; many orphans have been the victims of misery and wretchedness, through the influence that has been exerted over them, under the cloak of religion and afterwards, in consequence of that jealous disposition which predominates over the minds of some, have been turned upon a wide world, fatherless and motherless, destitute of friends and fortune; and robbed of that which nothing but death can restore.

Men solace themselves by saying the facts slumber in the dark caverns of midnight. But Lo! it is sudden day, and the dark deeds of foul fiends shall be exposed from the house-tops. A departed spirit, once the resident of St. Louis, shall yet cry aloud for vengeance.

It is difficult -- perhaps impossible -- to describe the wretchedness of females in this place, without wounding the feelings of the benevolent, or shocking the delicacy of the refined; but the truth shall come to the world. The remedy can never be applied, unless the disease is known. The sympathy, ever anxious to relieve, cannot be felt before the misery is seen. -- The charity that kindles at the tale of wo, can never act with adequate efficeiency, till it is made to see the pollution and guilt of men, now buried in the death-shades of heathenism. -- Shall we then, however painful the sight, shrink from the contemplation of their real state? We answer, we will not, if permitted to live. As we have before stated, it is the vicious principles of men we are determined to explode. It is not that we have any private feelings to gratify, or any private pique to settle, that has induced us to be thus plain; for we can respect and love the criminal, if there is any hope of reformation: but there is a point beyond which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. The next important item which presents itself for our consideration, is the attempt at Political power and influence, which we verily believe to be preposterous and absurd. We believe it is inconsistent, and not in accordance with the christian religion. We do not believe that God ever raised up a Prophet to christianize a world by political schemes and intrigue. It is not the way God captivates the heart of the unbeliever; but on the contrary, by preaching truth n its own native simplicity, and in its own original purity, unadorned with anything except its own indigenous beauties. ……

It is well known to all of you that the August election is fast approaching, and with it comes the great and terrible conflict. …..

In supporting Hyrum Smith, you, Citizens of Hancock County, are supporting Joseph Smith, for whom he (Hyrum) goes teeth and toe nails, for President of the United States. The question may arise here, in voting for Joseph Smith, for whom am I voting? You are voting for a man who contends all governments are to be put down and the one established upon its ruins. You are voting for an enemy to your government, hear Phelps to Joe in his affidavit before Judge King of Missouri:--"Have you come to the point to resist all law?" "I have," says Joe. You are voting for a sycophant, whose attempt for power find no parallel in history. You are voting for a man who refuses to suffer criminals to be brought to justice, but in the stead thereof, rescues them from the just demands of the law, by Habeas Corpus. You are voting for a man who stands indicted, and who is now held to bail, for the crimes of adultery and perjury; two of the graves crimes known to our laws. Query not then for whom you are voting, it is for one of the blackest and basest scoundrels that has appeared upon the stage of human existence since the days of Nero, and Caligula. ….. Nauvoo Expositor June 7 1844 first and only edition

After this paper was published Joseph Smith called for the destruction of the press as indicated in the following excerpts from “Rough Stone Rolling.”

At the city council meeting the next day, Joseph argued that the paper was “a nuisance, a greater nuisance than a dead carcass.” (for additional details see excerpt below) The term “nuisance” came from a passage in Blackstone that he would use to justify suppression of the paper. The Expositor was a “nuisance” because it threatened to bring the countryside down on the Mormons. “It is not safe that such things should exist, on account of the mob spirit which they tend to produce.” Joseph would later quote Blackstone to Governor Thomas Ford to prove the city council acted legally.
The legal fine points were lost in the subsequent chaos. The city council met for six and a half hours on Monday, June 10, “investigating the Merits of the Nauvoo Expositor.” They seemed to realize they were taking a huge risk when they finally passed an ordinance concerning libels, but they concluded that the action was necessary and legally justified. Joseph, as mayor, ordered the city marshal, John P. Greene, to destroy the Expositor and the major general of the Nauvoo Legion to assist. “About 8 p.m. the Marshall returned and reported that he had removed the press, type, and printed papers, and fixtures into the street, and fired them.” The posse, consisting of about a hundred men, gathered in front of Joseph’s house after the work was done to hear a speech. “I would never submit to have another libelous publication… established in this city.” He told them. “I cared not how many papers there were in the city if they would print the truth but would submit to no libe[l]s or slander.”

In the “considerable excitement” the day after, the dissenters stormed about saying “the Temple shall be thrown down Joseph[‘s] house burned & the printing office torn down,” possibly thinking of an anti-Mormon invasion. Francis Higbee predicted “in 10 days there will not be a Mormon left in Nauvoo.” Joseph’s enemies were persuaded that he had crossed the line in closing the Expositor. Whether or not the law of libels or abatement of a nuisance justified the action, he had trespassed freedom of the press, which had become nearly a sacred right in the United States. Joseph was deaf to these ideas. He did not grasp the enormity of destroying a press, especially one that was attacking him. Fear of another mob drove his action… Joseph failed to see that suppression of the paper was far more likely to arouse a mob than the libels. It was a fatal mistake.
The next day Francis Higbee entered a complaint before a Carthage justice of the peace, and two days after the event, Constable David Bettisworth was in Nauvoo to arrest the Prophet and his accomplices for riot in suppressing the press. The accused were released by the municipal court as usual, but the constable… was certain to return…

Monday, June 17, began Joseph’s final week in Nauvoo. Feeling the noose tightening, he turned Nauvoo into an armed camp. When the news came on Tuesday that the mob “threaten[ed] extermination to the whole Church in Nauvoo,” he assembled the legion and addressed them from the platform of a partially constructed building across from the Nauvoo mansion. Standing in full military dress, he raised his sword to the sky and declared he would not give up without a fight. Clayton said that Joseph “urged them in strong terms not to shed innocent blood.—not to act in the least on the offensive but invariably on the defensive and if we die—die like men of God and secure a glorious resurrection.” Then he put the city under martial law and marched the troops up Main Street. Through the week, armed Mormons moved in from the outlying settlements to prepare for battle. Reports of armed attack on Mormon farms arrived almost daily. Joseph deployed the troops throughout the city to prevent invasions by water or land. Joseph naively believed that benevolent higher officials would rescue him. That week he penned a letter to U.S. president John Tyler asking for aid while keeping Governor Ford informed of mob action in hopes he would intervene. Joseph had earlier explained to Ford the rationale for closing the Expositor, confident that he had acted legally. He never thought of himself as a lawbreaker. His reliance on the much-disputed municipal court, he said, came from his desire to observe legal procedures established under the Nauvoo Charter. He admitted he may have erred in judgment. “If it be so that we have erred in this thing. Let the Supreme Court correct the evil.”

Ford acknowledged that Joseph could have been deceived by self-serving politicians into believing the municipal court was authorized to hear all cases. Joseph’s great error in the Expositor suppression, Ford said, was acting without allowing the proprietors to defend themselves. Joseph conceived of the suppression as an executive action of the city council; Ford thought it should have been a judicial proceeding with both sides heard. Joseph was quite willing to argue his position, but not before a Carthage court. “I have ever held myself in readiness to comply with your orders and answer for my proceedings before any legal tribunal in the state,” but not where the witnesses would “put themselves into the power of an infuriated, blood thirsty mob.”… Additional excerpts at Gospel Doctrine and Google Richard L. Bushman “Rough Stone Rolling” 2007 p.540-
Joseph’s justification was published in the Deseret News thirteen years later after they began openly practicing polygamy in the following excerpt.

Mayor said if he had a city council who felt as he did, the establishment (referring to the Nauvoo Expositor) would be declared a nuisance before night; and then he read an editorial from the Nauvoo Expositor. He then asked who ever said a word against Judge Emmons until he attacked this council; or even against Joseph H. Jackson or the Laws, until they came out against the city? Here is a paper (Nauvoo Expositor) that is exciting our enemies abroad. Joseph H. Jackson has been proved a murderer before this council, and he declared the paper a nuisance, a greater nuisance than a dead carcass. They make it a criminality for a man to have a wife on the earth while he has one in heaven, according to the keys of the Holy Priesthood; and he then read a statement of William Law's from the Expositor, where the truth of God was transformed into a lie concerning this thing. He then read several statements of Austin Cowles in the Expositor concerning a private interview, and said he never had any private conversations with Austin Cowles on these subjects; that he preached on the stand from the bible, showing the order in ancient days. What the opposition party want, is to raise a mob on us and take the spoil from us, as they did in Missouri; he said it was as much as he could do to keep his clerk, Thompson from publishing the proceedings of the Laws, and causing the people to rise up against them; said he would rather die tomorrow, and have the thing smashed, than live and have it go on, for it was exciting the spirit of mobocracy among the people, and bringing death and destruction upon us. ….. Full article Deseret News September 23 1857

By the time they published this article they were openly practicing polygamy, so it was difficult to deny part of what they wrote in the Expositor instead they tried to justify it according to their beliefs without putting too much emphasis on the fact that they had previously kept this secret and that they didn’t tell the woman that they were being lured into a religion that practiced this until they already separated them from their families and this practice was even more extreme when they used in in Utah which was even farther awy from their families than Nauvoo. Any details about the claim that they misled these woman have been overwhelmingly refuted by many sources including “Wife No. 19, or The Story of a Live in Bondage” by Ann Eliza Young, Brigham Young's Apostate Wife (also free) and some more recent reviews that have involved studying many different sources and fact checking them. What they’re doing now is down playing the coverage of the more coercive aspects of Mormonism and pretending they never existed; if they actually go to the trouble to deny or justify it then someone will almost certainly come up with a rebuttal with much stronger evidence. Those that know what to look for and where can find it but those that rely on the corporate media for coverage about how this religion affected people then and now will not get much if any information.

Joseph Smith responded to the Newspaper and the threat of mob violence by inciting his own followers to destroy the press and potentially escalating the violence himself. If things had turned his way then he might have become the inciter of mob violence against his enemies and at times the leaders of the Mormons did just this including the Mountain Meadows Massacre after he died. As it turned out his destruction of the press didn’t stop the mob; instead it provided them with a justification to act. This has been typical of many religions throughout history. One religion in power would maintain their power with the help of mob violence and the repressed religion would incorporate martyrdom into the religion; then on numerous occasions when the repressed religion rose to power they often used the same tactics that were used against them. This led to a situation that Richard Bushman described in the following excerpt.

They had lived in the South long enough to know that southern officials ignored the crimes of rioters. Judges and sheriffs closed their eyes to the crimes of the people. As one student of mobs has written, “the more mob violence accelerated in deadliness in the south the less likely the authorities were to interfere, or if they did they took the side of the mob. Richard L. Bushman “Rough Stone Rolling” 2007 p.355

This mentality is almost certainly the result of an authoritarian upbringing and it has been very common in many religions as I have discussed in several posts including Dobson’s Indoctrination Machine. This has led to a situation where people don’t sort through the details and find out the facts before passing judgment and pursuing solutions they just follow their leaders based on the version of truth that is maintained by the group.
In both incidents involving the destruction of a press in Ohio and in Missouri the mob acted out of anger and the people involved were never brought to justice or if they were they were acquitted by people that adopted the same beliefs. After the destruction of the press in Nauvoo when there was a cry for a trial against Joseph for destroying it he initially responded by arranging a trial in Nauvoo which led to an acquittal due to the fact that it was held by Mormons. Then when that wasn’t satisfactory they eventually agreed to another trial which resulted in his being held in Carthage where he wound up at the mercy of the mob and was assassinated. After an outcry for justice for the assassination there was another trial under the control of the anti-Mormons which led to acquittals. None of these trials made a sincere effort to sort through the details or find an impartial jury or judge.

This was actually quite common in the nineteenth century; the most widely cases known now are those that involve slavery where the same mentality was applied and they continued to hold trials in this manner until the civil rights movement in the 1950’s and 60’s at least. There are still some signs that this is still going on like the Trayvon Martin case.

Mormon reliance on censorship, or attempted censorship, to preserve their beliefs without scrutiny didn’t end with the death of Joseph Smith; in fact a closer look at the history of Mormonism in Utah in their early days will almost certainly indicate that it increased when they were isolated from the rest of society. President Brigham Young, under the plea that it was a false history and would do mischief, ordered the suppression of “Biographical sketches of Joseph Smith” by Lucy Mack Smith, his mother and he underwent several attempts to challenge their beliefs one way or another including an effort by William Godbe who raised doubts about the legitimacy of the Book of Mormon. Some of these doubts could have been established through critical thinking but that isn’t the way it was presented. William Godbe and E.L.T. Harrison were visited they asserted by “a band of spirits”…[and] they received “a constant stream of communication by means of audible voices from a number of most distinguished historical personages.” Once again there was a conflict by different people that claimed to receive revelations and it was resolved by coercion and the use of political power. This was described by Leonard Arrington in “Brigham Young: American Moses.” 1985 p.355-62 Additional descriptions of this story are available free on line at ebooksread “The Rocky Mountain saints” by T.B.H. Stenhouse and Sacred Texts “History of Utah, 1540-1886,” by Hubert Howe Bancroft 1889. 
Neither the Mormon Church nor the opponents of the Mormon Church are as authoritarian today as they were then, otherwise it is much less likely that they would even consider supporting the same Mormon nominee as they are now even if it is reluctantly on the part of many evangelicals; however they still are much more inclined to rely on the beliefs that are presented to them by their leaders as fact without scrutiny and they’re much more likely to vote as a block without checking the facts. This has been demonstrated in the town hall meetings of many of the Republican candidates and the questions they have received from their constituency and the focus on the trivial discussion about Barack Obama’s birth certificate as well as their focus on the preservation of life of fetuses without being concerned about the quality of life after babies are born or the threat to life by wars and environmental destruction.

The most devout Mormons have been much slower to moderate their beliefs due to the fact that for most of their history after they moved to Utah they have been isolated from the rest of society and when they went out on recruiting missions they did so in groups or usually pairs that were supposed to keep to themselves and attempt to recruit others to their religion without listening to others or straying from their beliefs. The more moderate Mormons have, on the other hand, done some of the best research into Mormonism that is available and attempted to sort out the truth, whether they left the Church entirely or not. Unfortunately Mitt Romney and many of the politicians with the most authority aren’t among these moderate Mormons. It often appears that many of the followers of Mormonism follow their leaders without much if any scrutiny so that those that get elected tend to reflect the beliefs of the Mormon leaders not the more moderate ones that sort through the details. I have cited several examples of that in previous blogs about A Brief History of the Mormon Church and Mitt Romney’s Mormon Prophets, including when they reversed their support for the MX missile after being told by their leaders to do so; when they opposed the Equal Rights Amendment; and when Ann Eliza Young was initially reluctant to vote because she didn’t understand the issues and was told how to vote by their leaders without any attempt to understand what she was voting for. One of the most important incidents, in light of the current legislation threatening the rights of woman may be the opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment; this was stopped by a small margine largely as a result of the opposition from the Mormons and many women voted against it without understanding it even though it wasn’t in their best interests. Sonia Johnson was one of the few Mormon women who supported the ERA and she was excommunicated from the church for her support of it.

In a Brief History of the Mormon Church I mentioned a large number of high profile Mormons that have made the headline for one reason or another including murder or polygamy; one of the most famous was Mark Hoffman who was closely tied to the Mormon church when he sold them many documents which later turned out to be forgeries. Since then there have been several other high profile Mormon cases involving violence including Josh Powell and perhaps a couple of people that set booby traps in Utah that could have done serious damage if they had been triggered by someone. It is highly unlikely that Mitt Romney would be directly involved in any thing like these stories however the policies that he supports may make them much more likely indirectly and a couple other stories may be more important due to the fact that they may involve people that are some what close to Romney and support his campaign. These are the stories that have recently come out about JT Ready and an older one about Scouts Honor that has been reported again due to the connection that one of Romney’s leading donors has to the suppression or attempted suppression of this story.

Frank VanderSloot, a billionaire was exposed recently on the Rachel Maddow show for his attempts to cover up a sex abuse case that happened at the Boy Scouts and appears to involve abuse by Mormons of children which was followed up by a large attempted cover-up. This was reported by Jody May-Chang and LDS sex child abuse blogspot. This hasn’t been unprecedented in the Mormon religion; their have been many other stories similar to that including an attempt to suppress a study about child abuse in the Mormon Church and two professors had to leave the Church to publish their findings. Jason Todd Ready has also had close ties to Russell Pearce as indicated in a story at the Daily Beast and Russell Pearce is a supporter of Mitt Romney who has a hand in the immigration laws that Romney has supported in return. Russell Pearce: I 'Absolutely' Believe Romney Called SB 1070 A 'Model’ As far as I know Mitt Romney isn’t as close to Russell Pierce as he is to Frank VanderSloot but this is the type of cover up that the public should expect if he is elected president.

Fortunately I think that it is extremely unlikely that he can be elected; in fact I think that the bigger potential threat is actually another Barack Obama term. The Romney campaign appears to be so clownish that it is hard to imagine that he could possibly win this. This should raise even more questions; why is the political establishment running such an absurd candidate? This may seem far fetched to many people but regardless of why this is happening this is a good opportunity for academic researchers to study how obedient people are in various religions and who they’re inclined to vote for. This would as I have stated before in Human Research Subjects be a field research project which would mean that academic scholars study the behavior and voting patterns of the public under certain circumstances. This isn’t a conspiracy, by the strictest definition, and it is routine; however it is rarely well reported in the Mass Media. People that know where to look for this material can find it and the ones that are often the most likely to do so are those that want to use it to better understand how best to manipulate the public with political advertisements. If this was taught to the majority of the public then it would go a long way to enable them to learn how to avoid being manipulated.

The researchers could study how many Mormons blindly obey their leaders when casting their votes and whether or not they attempt to scrutinize the issues; and at the same time they could study the way the evangelicals follow their leaders and there luke warm endorsements of Mitt Romney. They could also study how inclined many people are to accept the lie given to everyone, by the Mass Media, that they should only choose between the candidates that they cover, which are the same candidates that take an enormous amount of donations from the corporations and do the bidding of the corporations while giving the majority of the public lip service.

The acceptance of this lie is one of the greatest threats to democracy that is facing this country.

Fortunately there are many people waking up and realizing that it doesn’t have to be that way judging by the Occupy Wall Street protests and many other organizations at the grass roots that are also conducting major protests. These people may finally wake up and realize that they can look at the candidates eligible for president and listed at Project Vote Smart and choose someone that actually represents their interests. Previously I took a closer look at Jill Stein and came to the conclusion that there is much more reason to believe that she will do much more to represent the best interest of the public than either of the two candidates authorized and purchased by the corporations; furthermore she may have much more support than the corporate media is attempting to imply. That doesn’t mean that she is the only one that should be considered but we shouldn’t accept the lie that we have to choose from the candidates chosen for us by the mass Media even thought there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to indicate that they don’t have any interest of doing what is in the best interest of the American people.

Contrary to the claim that you would be throwing away your vote if you don’t vote for someone that they say doesn’t have a chance, you would actually be throwing away your vote if you do. Voting for these corrupt politicians would mean that you are approving them on some level and fulfilling the role that the corporate media is asking you to fill. This claim that sincere candidates don’t have a chance is only true if people believe it.

Mitt Romney may not be a trustworthy candidate but every time the public votes for the lesser of two evils the choice gets even worse the next time around.

If people wake up and realize how corrupt these people are then, on the other had we can actually elect someone sincere for a change and we can get real reform.

(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.

"Neither the Mormon Church nor the opponents of the Mormon Church are as authoritarian today as they were then..."

You've gone from believing in one historical myth in your childhood--the innocent-as-a-babe Birth of a Nation myth--to believing in another one in your adulthood--the ever so common history-is-different-today-than-it-was-way-back-then myth. The LDS frequently discipline wayward members, including sending young people to boot camps and conversion schools if their ideas and/or sexuality does not come up to par. They can shun adult members of the LDS, too, which, considering the very weird closeness of all social and business ties in many large Mormon communities out West, means you're fucked. People commit suicide all the time after this happens. It's a sick and twisted organization.

Other than that, a very enlightening post. The blackout on even mentioning his "faith" in the media is just one more disturbing example of censorship of critical dissent in America at large TODAY.


Dr William Lee May 09, 2012 01:53 PM

I think you have to look at it this way Zachary: this is not a Christian country, no doubt the Christians have done most of the fighting and dyeing for it and would really like it to be a Christian country, but the facts remain that this country is rooted in the principles of Free Masonry. The tea bagging movement under the auspices of the Koch's has turned into a Mahdis cult in the true spirit of tenth century Islam. Mormonism is a practical way for the average Christian to adapt the egalitarian precepts of masonry and structure them within a belief in Jesus Christ. I am all for forcibly converting the Evangelicals and Catholics, which largely comprise the Tea Bagging movement, to Mormonism before they found their own Deobandi school somewhere in the Southland. Mormon power! Zachery. Mormon power!

@Dr. Lee: How many “witch's” and Jews exactly have the Mormons burned and tortured?

Jack Heart May 09, 2012 04:24 PM

Jack, Mormon Church ritual is entirely Free Masonry. When I did by training in Salt Lake City, I studied under an anthropologist who traced Smith's involvement in the Masons and his expropriation of their rituals. Smith and contemporary Mormons have also incorporated the Masonic view of women as subhuman. This I cannot support. Women are the primary advocates for children. Until women are granted full equality with men, kids' interests will continue to be subordinate to those of middle aged white males. And the deplorable conditions in which Americans raise their children will continue to get worse and worse.

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall May 09, 2012 08:40 PM

Dr. William Lee, you’re right about there being much more problems in the modern age than is being reported in the Mass Media; however I didn’t mean to imply that they weren’t abusive now by that statement. What I meant was that no matter how abusive they are now it was much worse in the nineteenth century and as Jack implied if you go back even farther to the inquisitions and the crusades it was even worse than that. Our culture and history was rooted in abusive cult indoctrination that literally beats the truth into people starting in early childhood and it has taken centuries to improve things. At times like now these improvements are threatened and we may go backwards if the conservatives are elected in greater numbers or we may increase the improvements if we turn this into a learning opportunity and initiate real reform at the grass roots level.

Jack, if they try to convert the Evangelicals and the Evangelicals try to convert them then things could get interesting; although I don’t want to be in the middle. In the unlikely event that they succeed in taking power then they will almost certainly turn on each other eventually as they have in the past.

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, I don’t remember exactly how the Free Masonry rituals wound up in Mormonism but I suspect that the rituals that they use, which are similar, were adopted from them and that they’re part of the indoctrination process which seems meaningless unless you look that the fact that this is used to escalate the obedience to authority.

You’re claims about protecting woman and children are of course right; this is how they begin their indoctrination at an early age teaching them to believe what their told and obey without question before they learn to think for themselves.

zacherydtaylor May 10, 2012 10:47 AM

[r] Zachd, thank you so much for this. Very enlightening. I began to think of how Jack Kennedy was considered such a dark horse being the first Catholic running, and would the Pope try to rule from Italy was a voiced concern way back when. That was a milestone.

The hopped up "Christianity" I am okay and saved and you are so not movement and the Congressional pandering to evangelicals and their linkage with the Israel agenda is also concerning.

Also, there was the creepy Family that was being given attention. Sexual shenanigans of the Republican male members. Also, wasn't Hillary Clinton even attending their "services" or "reunions" of The Fellowship or the Family along with other Congressional leaders. Political networking via religion? Ick.

When I think of how Tony Blair had a religious zealotry re Iraq that came out, and how GWB exploited (if not sincerely embracing) religiosity, along with the Rove monster, this pattern of maniplation and opportunism and pandering really deserves looking at in a sustained way.

Alice Miller in For Your Own Good, and Thou Shalt Not be Aware writes about authoritarianism in a culture, especially if there is a particularly puritanical, to be human is to be dangerously evil already obedience-obsessed religiosity in the culture, zombie authoritarian following lock stepping happens. A kind of mass spiritual incest! She writes about Naziism in particular. The prevalence of sexual predatory crimes in such an atmosphere has become so evident to all of us at this point.

Your question about why is Romney the Republican candidate when his chances seem so low and he seems such a loser and mocked so readily by the media and the MSNBC progressives and with such achilles heels coming out, though you know my horror with Obama, but it is like the oligarch overlords are giving Obama a lock. Have they determined the election already, even though as they say it is really "Obomney" ...running .... whoever wins from the legacy parties is a loss for the 99%. There is one two-headed corporate party.

Kudos for giving Stein kudos. Her name is like "Rumplestiltskin's" ... never to be uttered on corporate tv!!! She is chugging along out there. I am praying she gives everyone an October surprise of backing. But I suspect a more diabolical October surprise having to do with military manipulation to traumatize for political opportunism.

Great job once again! thanks for all the research! best, libby

libbyliberalnyc May 11, 2012 04:24 AM

Libby, Jack Kennedy was different due to the fact that he didn’t blindly follow the beliefs of his Catholic leaders and he made it clear that he was going to represent the public regardless of their differences in beliefs. Romney and many other members of the Republican party don’t seem to take this tactic; they have repeatedly indicated that they believe their faith should influence policy even when there are enormous flaws in it and it won’t stand up to scrutiny. There have been many other stories about religious fanaticism that I can’t keep up with but I’m sure there is a record of it somewhere by someone who organizes them better.

Alice Miller has done some very good work, as you know and many other academics have also contributed to it, including Philip Greven; and they have provided an enormous amount of evidence to indicate that early abuse tends to escalate and contribute to escalating violence and indoctrination unless something changes the course. In the case of Mitt Romney that clearly doesn’t seem to have happened as indicated in many stories including the latest story about Romney’s prep school classmates recall pranks, but also troubling incidents. This clearly indicates that when he was a teen he was down right cruel and bigoted. He wasn’t held accountable for it at all and in a later event that received less attention the victim of his pranks was forced to leave the school over a trivial event involving smoking a cigarette. His handlers have attempted to portray this as something that happened almost fifty years ago and has no relevance now; however there is no indication that he has changed as he claims. Instead he laughs about the incident as if it isn’t important and his policies tend to devastate those without power and reflect his old prejudices that clearly haven’t gone away. The most viable alternative is that he doesn’t feel so strongly about it but he’s catering to an electorate that does and won’t stand up to them; this isn’t much if any better.

The whole Republican party seems to have gone insane with their recent behavior and it is hard to imagine what they could be thinking; one possibility worth considering is that they’ve been taken over by the extremes and they won’t listen to others; however I wouldn’t be surprised if the explanation turned o0ut to be something else. Regardless of why they’re behaving this way Obama is the presumed benefactor if people accept the corporate lie about limiting the choices to those that have been approved by the elites without mentioning sincere candidates like Jill Stein.

However if enough people smarten up and stop falling for that then they could be in for a surprise and we could have a chance for real reform.

BTW thanks for the EP, OS editor if you're reading this!

zacherydtaylor May 11, 2012 10:24 AM

Growing up, I learned a very sanitized, very whitewashed version of these events; if any member had even hinted at some of the non-faith promoting historical truths, they would have gotten into a lot of trouble. We were taught that any non-Church sanctioned literature on the Mormon Church was merely Satan's attempt at leading us astray. Extremely sad, to be honest with you. And also an extremely hard mindset to get out of.

Rachel Velamur June 02, 2012 07:30 PM

Post Mormon girl, that sounds like many of the other stories I have read about leaving Mormonism. I’m guessing you’ve heard of ExMormon.org where many other people from the church have written about it. I haven’t read much of it myself but I have found that most of the researchers on the subject are either Mormons or ex-Mormons; in fact even some of the devout Mormons like Richard Bushman seem to provide some critical and important information on Mormonism. The most important information seems to come from them and some of the more moderate Mormons are the ones that seem to be doing the most to change this although many of the more devout ones and the fundamentalists are much more authoritarian.

I’m somewhat surprised that I haven’t read any criticism from the church about Bushman; they once criticized Leonard Arrington who also provided some critical material about Mormonism but probably didn’t go as far as Bushman. It is hard to cover all this history which was recorded at the request of the original leaders without finding problems.

zacherydtaylor June 04, 2012 10:15 AM

I'm an opponent of all organized religion. It seems to me that all religion is used to keep the masses ignorant and in line. They tell you what to believe, what to talk about, what to eat, drink, what movies you can see. I grew up in a relatively easy-going Methodist church with a very low key, really nice Minister. We were never subjected to fire and brimestone. Reverend Lundy usually just told stories from the Bible which bear no resemblance to the crap I hear today's Christians spewing. If I had never had any religion in my background, I would think that Christians were the same as the Fundamentalist Islamists they scream about. Religious people are trying to force their beliefs on everyone wether or not we want it. They want us to be a Christian nation when there isn't one word about God in our founding documents. They just make this crap up and demand everyone go along with them. The Morman religion is very strange but not much stranger than any other religion. They all believe in the supernatural and magic. They all have male leaders who demand blind obedience from their congragations. You must believe in what you can't see. Religion is totally illogical. Give me science, hard facts and the truth. I'd rather believe in what I can see, hear, taste and feel. Not what some arrogant, self-righteous, male leader tells me to believe in. How can anyone believe in an all seeing, all knowing being who lives in the sky? Mormanism takes part of Christianity and gives it new twists but in one respect it is the same as all Religions. The males dominate. The females have nothing that isn't granted to them by some male. Religion is nothing but a very old way of keeping us women in line. Barefoot and pregnant. Sorry but that doesn't sound to me like something I can believe in. I'm sure if Reverend Lundy were still alive, he would be disgusted with where religion is today. If anything it's more oppressive than ever. I wouldn't be surprised if his Mormanism that nobody will talk about will rule Romney's Presidency since taking over government is a main goal of the LDS. I can't wait to see the Republican "Christians" in Congress and around the country if a Romney Presidency comes about. They will absolutely freak when Mitt and his religion come to the White House. I wonder if any of the good Congressmen and Senators will attend the baptisms of the dead non-Mormans. It's a very strange religion. I think the founder was high when he created his religion. I personally don't know how anyone could be at ease with some of the most infamous rituals like the mulitple marriages, the unquestioning devotion to their leaders. The subjigation of women to the point that they aren't even allowed to think for themselves. They have to have some empty suit like Romney tell them what to think and how to live and what to believe.

psychosquirrel June 08, 2012 06:50 PM

Squirrel, you might be right about the claim that they want to take over the government; or at least that was their stated objective in the nineteenth century. If you look through the documents from that time, which you may have already done I suspect, you’ll find numerous statements along those lines. If asked about it now they would surely deny it. However even if they don’t intend to do so any more they will certainly be heavily affected by their beliefs and they may seem to be doing that any way if they gain more power, which I doubt. There will be much more reported about Mormonism in the next few months and the documents to back a lot of it up have been available on-line for a while; the only thing that needs to be done is draw peoples attention to it and other problems with Romney and he won’t have much if any chance of winning.

I don’t know whether or not Joseph smith was high or not when he began this religion but it is hard to understand how he would have known how to attract so many people to such an irrational religion whether he was or not. Thanks for replying.

zacherydtaylor June 09, 2012 09:33 AM

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