Ostensibly in relation to the Mitt Romney campaign, The New York Times recently reported on a Kansas City Baptist leader who is spreading a message of “countering Mormon beliefs” (read full article here), and I am sympathetic. Far from a mere partisan, political opinion, we are talking about profound “unease” here.
It’s almost as though the author couldn’t sort things out, though. Please read this:
“I don’t have any concerns about Mitt Romney using his position as either a candidate or as president of the United States to push Mormonism,” said Mr. Roberts, an author of “Mormonism Unmasked” and president of the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, who said he had no plans to travel to South Carolina before the voting. “The concern among evangelicals is that the Mormon Church will use his position around the world as a calling card for legitimizing their church and proselytizing people.”
This quotation baffles me. How can you not have any concerns about a prominent Mormon’s using his position to “push Mormonism” at the same time as you do have a concern that he will use his position to legitimize said Mormonism and proselyte people? Sometimes I get things in my head that keep me from hearing, so maybe someone could help in interpreting what I take as a lack of proofreading of this passage in the Times.
Regardless, I am among those who are concerned–not necessarily that any appreciable number of people would be influenced to accept Mormonism if Romney were elected president, but that anyone affiliated Mormonism is one of two things: idiotic or disingenuous¹. (And, to this short list of labels, when considering founder/”prophet” Joseph Smith, I must add two more possibilities: fraudulent and delusional.)
Here, I mean no personal slam–not even against the long-deceased Smith, and certainly not against current-day Mormons who are to some extent the victims of circumstance. I’m not calling them worthless souls. I’m saying they’re either not mentally strong enough to recognize a hoax, or they’re not being honest. The problem here is that Mormonism is founded on a ludicrous set of bunkish beliefs that no sane person should accept.
Therefore, in the Romney case, it seems to me that we have two possibilities:
- that Romney is idiotic — a bear of very little brain, not being able to sort out fact from fiction
- that Romney is disingenuous — undeniably affiliated with Mormonism and not really accepting the bunk
Which is it? As Fox News, which I find almost as annoying as any other news show, is fond of saying, you decide.
In related news, “the world’s leading Internet Evangelist” (which I had heretofore never heard of!) has launched a similar campaign, with the goal of educating a largely biblically illiterate public about what Mormons really believe (read full article here). I appreciated this no-nonsense passage:
Keller concluded, “Mitt Romney is a ‘temple Mormon,’ meaning he has gone through the secretive temple rituals, including taking a blood oath to his ‘church’ above everything else, and wears the temple garments (magical underwear) with satanic markings that he believes protects him. Listen, if people want to vote for a man who believes he will die and become the god of his own planet, have an endless supply of women to have sex with and create spirit babies, that is fine. All I have ever asked Romney or anyone in his cult like Glenn Beck to do is be honest about what they really believe and to quit lying to people!”
At this writing, it seems that Romney is seen as the most likely to win the Republican nomination. Whether a man with such bunkish beliefs is mentally fit to lead a country is my concern. (Whether he could beat President Obama is another story, and whether any of this process really matters in the country’s trajectory is yet another one. I believe all of this political stuff is eclipsed by the light of the Kingdom of God.) We are not talking about different brands of mainstream Christianity. We are not talking about amorphous, minor, theological differences. We are not even talking about the string of Roman heresies or the unfounded silliness found in most denominations.
We are talking about the historically attested, essence of Christianity vs. the fraudulent fiction that is Mormonism.