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Oy. I'm so with you on this one Dave.

Perhaps the question the press should be asking Americans is "would you vote for an evangelical to be president?" This whole Romney vs. the evangelicals is enough to make moderate republicans like me take a long look at switching parties...

Good point, as usual.

Somewhat related question:

Which is worse -- NOT voting for Mitt Romney because he's a Mormon, or voting FOR Mitt Romney because he's a Mormon?

Living in Utah, I've seen a lot of the latter, and it disturbs me more than the former.

When talking at people claiming I'm a cult, I typically note that we don't do anything any more cultish than your standard high school football camp.

Then I mention the documentary "Bible Camp."

Well Mike Parker, odds are they won't even get a chance to vote for Romney or your boy Ron Paul at all if that makes you feel any better...

This is why, although I respect the man, I hope that Mitt Romney does NOT get the Republican nomination. There is no way I think Romney could win against any of the front-running democratic candidates. Not in this election. Enough people would be able to see past their biases and fall into line if he were the nominee, but I think enough people who might vote were Romney not the choice might just say "to hell with it" and stay home rather than voting. In the meantime, the democratic voters will be mobilizing like crazy in the wake of 8 years of Bush...

Still, reading stuff like this is upsetting...

Dave, Play nice. There will come a time when Evangelical Christians will be joining the church in droves. Their "bizarre" beliefs are no worse than buried books written on gold, angelic visitations, seer stones, religious underwear, blood oaths, etc.

A couple years ago, I visited a friend's Evangelical church and sat in their Sunday School with him. The SS teacher was talking about walking with the Spirit. His lesson was at least 95% compatible with LDS doctrine.

Mike Parker, I am glad you are also sharing that type of perspective. I have also seen many people here in UT that don't even understand Romney's platform and his intentions to basically perpetuate Bush's foreign policies. They just support him because he is a Mormon, as if that is some sort of guarantee that he will be a good president. It's what I call, blind Mormon vote. It is truly a disgrace.

With regards to Evangelicals and their addiction to point at us as a cult, I think it is the epitome of the absurd.

After having seen so many Evangelical obscure congregations in LA and Mexico, where they do just about everything; from falling to the floor and shaking, crying loudly and foaming from the mouth during their fanatic services, to the wrongful enrichment of the pastors from their fanaticized followers.

I just think someone needs to expose them. I have been tempted to just go around and filming some of the things they do and interviewing some of the people they have left in financial ruins and make a good quality video of what their little decentralized branches really degenerate into.

They love "exposing" everyone else (and they do so by lying), I think it is their turn, and I think there are many explanations to be given from so called "Christian" Evangelicals. Best of all, no lying needs to be done. They are as cultish as it can possibly get.

With regards to Evangelicals and their addiction to point at us as a cult, I think it is the epitome of the absurd.

After having seen so many Evangelical obscure congregations in LA and Mexico, where they do just about everything; from falling to the floor and shaking, crying loudly and foaming from the mouth during their fanatic services, to the wrongful enrichment of the pastors from their fanaticized followers.

I just think someone needs to expose them. I have been tempted to just go around and filming some of the things they do and interviewing some of the people they have left in financial ruins and make a good quality video of what their little decentralized branches really degenerate into.

They love "exposing" everyone else (and they do so by lying), I think it is their turn, and I think there are many explanations to be given from so called "Christian" Evangelicals. Best of all, no lying needs to be done. They are as cultish as it can possibly get.

One of the dictionary definitions of cult is "a group of people"-- or a church-- "devoted to beliefs and goals which may be contradictory to those held by the majority of society." Is this a fair description of the Church? Well, if you look at the account of the First Vision that is contained in the Pearl of Great Price, wherein the Lord said that all other churches were wrong, you see that this is fair. Furthermore, many of our beliefs certainly are contrary to those held by the majority of society. We tout that as a plus, but many outside the Church see it differently.

Another dictionary definition of cult: "A small, recently created religious organization that is often headed by a single charismatic leader and is viewed as a spiritually innovative group." "A single charismatic leader" is an apt description not only of Joseph Smith, but also all of the prophets who have succeeded him. And Joseph Smith was nothing if not spiritually innovative.

While both of these positive definitions accurately describe Mormonism, the word cult also has negative connotations that come along for the ride. One, humorous though quite accurate, is: "If you believe in it, it is a religion, or perhaps the religion; if you do not care one way or another about it, it is a sect; but if you fear and hate it, it is a cult."

Unfortunately, when we think "cult," we think Jim Jones, because that's what they mean. Little do they (or we) realize that they're technically correct.

Mitt Romney made his own bed by sucking up to these whack jobs. It's a shame, too. He might have been a good president.

Is this what the Republican party is devolving to? Kissing up to the religious right? I tell ya, as a Democrat, I should be thrilled by this, but I think it's a Very Bad Thing. All it does it empower these morons.

Bookslinger, I disagree. Their beliefs may not be any weirder than those of the LDS, but there are far too many of them singing the same note for any critical mass to want to change keys.

The point of my comment was that republican mormons are crazy to support Mitt Romney if they really, really want a republican in the White House. I see almost no way that Romney can beat Clinton or even Obama. That's my speculation, of course. So my question is- which is more important to mormons- a republican in the White House or a mormon? If it's a republican, then Romney, although he is a good man and a good mormon, is not the man.

To, that is unfortunate but true because of people who can't see past their own religions. And that goes both ways- for the evangelicals who would not support Romney even if he were the best candidate just because he is a mormon, and for the mormons who would vote for Romney (and perhaps jeapordize the Republican foothold in the White House) simply because Romney is a mormon.

That first sentence should read: "To me, . . ."

Jordan, I think Romney could beat the Clinton/Obama ticket but I see your point that after 8 years of Bush/Cheney, it is not promising that Romney's platform is basically to continue much of Bush/Cheney in terms of foreign policy. I think Romney's domestic platform, however, is much more visionary and pragmatic than Bush/Cheney.

I think that Romney has made a huge mistake in pandering to fanatical Evangelical creedalists. I absolutely agree with Dave's post about the myriad small Evangelical creedalist congregations exhibiting characteristics of "cults" in a much more straightforward form than the Church of Jesus Christ. I think Manual provided some good insight into this with the following:

After having seen so many Evangelical obscure congregations in LA and Mexico, where they do just about everything; from falling to the floor and shaking, crying loudly and foaming from the mouth during their fanatic services, to the wrongful enrichment of the pastors from their fanaticized followers.

Oh well. By criticizing that stuff, I suppose Evangelical creedalists would just say we are ridiculing the gifts of the spirit. It's a fair point, I suppose, particularly since we Latter-day Saints believe in a long list of "gifts of the spirit" that follow those who have taken the name of Jesus Christ upon them (Moroni 10:8-18). Still the gifts of the Spirit listed there just seem so much more useful than writhing on the floor foaming at the mouth, babbling and screaming, dancing with snakes, and other such practices that claim to be an expression of Mark 16:17-18.

Bookslinger,

That 95% is a better percentage than most sacrament meeting talks in my ward.

Romney has made "the speech." Whatever minds were turned on the issue have been turned as a result of the speech - and the positive reviews from the likes of James Dobson, Cal Thomas, et al., have to be encouraging to the Romney camp. Those other minds wouldn't be turned in any case. So, the "Team Mitt" needs to move on emphasizing their domestic and foreign policy - with particular attention being paid to his business experience and how that is needed to discipline the creature of government.

Spend no more time courting the evangelicals. Don't intentionally anger them - just move on to what other, larger number of voters care about. That's what's needed to get this Mormon's vote for Mitt. He just hasn't convinced me yet.

Nice commentary. BTW, when is Huckabee going to give "the talk"?

As a Mormon I fear a Southern Baptist in the White House. What guarentee's do we have that a president who thinks my church is a "cult" won't try to shut it down much in the same way the German government is doing now to the Scientologist.

I love how when talking about the LDS Church the MSM will grab various priests and ministers of other faiths, most of which are professed anti-LDS (the ministers, not the faiths). But for the balance side they rarely if ever get an actual spokespeople from the LDS Church.

Maybe they invite spokespersons from the LDS Church and they always say "no". I'm not sure there though. My bet is that they don't even ask for an official spokesperson. My favorite when is for "balance" they invite former and excommunicated LDS members, yea you think that's gonna be fair or balanced?

Mike Parker - "Which is worse -- NOT voting for Mitt Romney because he's a Mormon, or voting FOR Mitt Romney because he's a Mormon?"

Glenn Beck said it best on that question. Both are pinheads.

Spot on.
"Entirely lacking in dignity or nobility (or average integrity) is the well-heeled son of a gold-plated church who wants to assume the pained look of martyrdom only when he is asked if he actually believes what he says. A long time ago, Romney took the decision to be a fool for Joseph Smith, a convicted fraud and serial practitioner of statutory rape who at times made war on the United States and whose cult has been made to amend itself several times in order to be considered American at all. We do not require pious lectures on the American founding from such a man, and we are still waiting for some straight answers from him." Christopher Hitchens

I am no fan of Christopher, Economicus.

I fully belong to the cult worship of Yahweh.

And as far as American politics and media . . . hmmmm.

Yeah, when it comes to playing the fool, I think Hitchens could give anyone a run for their money. For him to assail Romney as being "entirely lacking in dignity or nobility" is really a hoot. From his writing, I don't get the impression he has any sense of what might constitute dignity or nobility.

If I might add though, Dave, I am learning more and more through each of these posts all these things you detest about evangelicalism. At least, you are really being honest and transparent.

Now what are we do with LDS eschatology? And don't LDS have their own brand of fiction novels about the end times in all the Deseret bookstores? So should I mock this?

Todd, it probably wouldn't surprise you to learn that, at times, I exaggerate for effect. Sadly, the Evangelicals whose quotes appear so frequently in media stories aren't exaggerating. It's like they buy into their own propaganda. And why shouldn't they, if people who know better and who have some credibility in their eyes (like you) don't take the time to correct them?

Remember, I don't detest Evangelicals as individuals, it's the institutions of Evangelicalism that are the target of my criticism. I'm sure you're familiar with the distinction.

Mitt Romney being a member of the Church should not be the deciding factor in anyone’s vote. Mormons hold high standards, as well as others. Was John F. Kennedy’s Catholicism detrimental to his years in the White House? Was it a controlling factor for his decisions? Nixon was affiliated with the Quakers, was that a factor?

Moreover, look at Harry Reid, a Mormon, he is a leading Democrat. Are his decisions controlled by the Church? I think not. Otherwise... Orrin Hatch is first class all the way, and is not embarrassed by the Church.

The answer is the same for Kennedy, Reid, Hatch, John Edwards, Hillary and Mitt Romney. Why all the spewing hatred for Mormonism and for Romney? We are no different than the "different" Protestants or Catholics. Paul said, "Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" He's right too!

During the Reed Smoot hearings they brought many, for and against the Church, to Washington to testify. They even interrogated President Joseph F. Smith. The Senate asked about the Temple, covenants, and revelation. The U.S. Senate was worried that Smoot would yield to the President of the Church and not his constituents or the government. It is a very interesting read, I'd recommend it. BUT, the bottom line is they seated Smoot and he served in the Senate for many years. So the question of Mormonism being a negative for political leaders is SETTLED!

I like this quick overview of Mormonism, its history and fun facts and stories. www.historymormon.com

Nice summary, Rod. Yes, I think that settles the question if one is thinking rationally. But many voters are reacting off of hunches and gut feeling, based on very little familiarity or information about Mormons. And it's not clear the press is doing much to fill the information gap.

Isn't it about time for PBS to do some reruns of "The Mormons"? Or are they waiting for Romney to get the nomination? It wasn't perfect, but at least the PBS documentary provided some balance (offering both positive and negative reactions of various people) and allowed Mormons to speak for themselves.

As a Christian (not of the American Evangelical ilk) I would agree with Martin Luther who said he'd "rather have a good turk leading the country than a bad Christian." So, I'd rather have a good Mormon than a bad Christian to run the secular govt. I'll decide on Romney based on the merits of his record and how he lays out a vision for the country.

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