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The article doesn't break much new ground though I think it's better at summing up the situation than other articles I've read. I do enjoy that last line though. I like that it can/will expose the real motivations of the Religious Right.


It's not just "Evangelical" bigotry. The Gallup poll was not restricted to Southern Baptists. It seems that some Americans of *all* stripes would be suspicious of a Mormon president. Why is this?

It's time, oh ye Mormon chattering classes, to recognise an important truth. We consider ourselves intelligent and rational people. It hurts, therefore, to see people think we are a weird cult. You see, we live and breathe Mormonism, but fail to realise that a Steve Young here, or a Newsweek article there do nothing (yet) to overcome one serious problem:


Sorry, guys. It hurts, I know, but that's the smell of the coffee.

So, when Gallup ask Americans if they would vote for a Mormon president, 17% of them (and not just Evangelical bigots) are thinking, "Mormons....Hmmmm. Those weirdos with many wives. No freakin' way."

It's not that they hate us, it's that they don't want some cultist as president. And the thing is, nor do I! Would I vote for a Moonie or Scientologist president? NO! Why not? Is it because I'm a bigot? Maybe.

But we're not a cult, we cry! Well, of course we aren't, but perception is perception. Alas.

I chuckle when Mormons mock Moonies, Scientologists and JW's, because for most of the world, we're ALL the weird Other. We might as well be Moonies. They're laughing at us, too.

So let's not get out knickers in a twist over Mitt. And let's not get mad at Americans who don't trust us. Chances are, you wouldn't either.

Thus endeth the reality check.

The other folks who run will also have an impact on voters. There are always a significant number who's vote FOR someone is really a vote AGAINST someone else.

The question is, will this break for or against Romney.

Spot on, Ronan.

I don't think that's it, Ronan. There are five US Senators who are LDS, so if there is a "Moonie" perception in a non-trivial slice of the electorate, it's sectional. It would be nice if the pollsters provided some demographics/geographics and asked some follow-up questions to nail down the reasons the 17% feel the way the do.

And the 5 senators are nearly all from the Mormon-friendly west, right? Look 17% means that 83% couldn't give a monkey's. Let's not forget that. I'm just saying that in that 17%, it's not all Ed Deckerites.

I am still surprised that out here on the East Coast Mormons are so poorly known. It's no better than in England.

Remember that McCain won all the early primaries in 2000 (as Taranto points out the the full article) but lost the nomination when the elections shifted to the South where McCain's lack of identification with evangelical Christianity hurt him at the polls. In that case it was merely an instance of one candidate who outwardly identified with evangelicals (GWB) facing off with another candidate who identified himself as Christian-- but not "too Christian" (McCain). Romney will be fighting an even greater uphill battle as there exists strong animosity/hostility toward Mormons among local "grass-roots" organizers in the South. Support of local leadership is absolutely essential to winning a primary election and Romney won't have it in the South. My parents currently live in Alabama and, according to my father, regular Sunday sermons at the major churches in town warning of the dangers of Mormonism are not uncommon. Southern Christians view Mormonism as a threat to the existing power structure because Mormonism itself is evangelical. Right now I would venture that there are 14 states where Romney would be lucky to garner as many votes as there are active members in those states (not counting Utah or Idaho among them) which spells certain defeat. Which, IMO, is sad-- for both the nation and for the Republican party.

I think the real issue with the Religious Right (RR) that I think Taranto doesn't understand is that it is both issues oriented AND sectarian. Just look at what happened when GWB nominated Hariet Miers to the SC. While her sectarian affiliation checked out fine (she's an evangelical Christian) she failed to prove her bona fides on issues-- which is what doomed her candidacy.

Ronan, we don't have crosstabulations on the 17% that would allow us to know where they are. But according to the survey data that I've seen, roughly 1/3 of Americans subscribe to the basic package of beliefs and doctrines comprising modern Evangelicalism. So it's possible that the 17% are entirely Evangelical.

RT, could be. I'm just reporting my highly anecdotal sense that at least out here on the East Coast even educated, non-Evangelical types have a neutral-to-negative attitude towards the Mormon Church. It's not hatred, just ignorance. I don't hate Moonies or the Unification Church, but it would just feel weird to have a president who occasionally went to Seoul for a mass-wedding. And as I said, for so many people, Moonie=JW=Scientologist=Mormon. All weirdos.

Ronan, yes, secular types often do have negative attitudes about Mormons. But secular types are generally much less likely to translate their broad attitudes into specific political prejudices; on the famous (and messy) Adorno F scale of authoritarianism, secular individuals typically rank quite low. One reasonable explanation is that political tolerance is one of the "sacred" values of secularism, although obviously not of conservative religion.

My friends of other religions console themselves that I am only a Jack Mormon, so it's okay to be my friend. I tried to tell one of them that I'm an active Mormon, but I'm pretty sure they don't believe me.

I can understand why you'd want to let the left off the hook, RT, but I'm betting that while the majority of that 17% is evangelicals (and mostly right-wing evangelicals), a goodly portion is left-wing secularists who see in Mormons the sum of all their fears.

I'd agree with Adam that the "I wouldn't vote for Mormon" crowd isn't made up exclusively of evangelicals. For better or worse, we're perceived as being anti-gay, anti-cohabitation and anti-abortion, even anti-fun, and those issues alone are enough to turn people off. To many outsiders, we're a bunch of moralistic prudes.

In reality, the LDS perspective on most moral issues isn't all that much different than the Catholic view (in fact, the LDS stance on abortion is less restrictive than the official Catholic view). The difference, I suppose, is that we're perceived as practicing what we preach on those issues.

a goodly portion is left-wing secularists who see in Mormons the sum of all their fears

Can you blame them after the LDS role in segregation, equal rights for women, and the recent campaigns against gays? One doesn't need to be a lefty to be concerned about the influence of the LDS Church. A commitment to human rights is sufficient.

Adam, I'm certainly not of the opinion that no secular leftists hate and/or fear Mormons -- I know from personal experience that some do. Furthermore, there are some left-wing evangelicals in the world, as well.

I've found some American survey data with crosstabulation on the ICPSR website, and the overwhelming majority of those who report that they wouldn't vote for a Mormon are Biblical inerrantists. However, there is no relationship between Biblical inerrantism and reporting that you wouldn't want a Mormon as a neighbor. Evidently, that kind of prejudice is a more equal-opportunity offender.

Well if people don't want to vote for a Latter-Day Saint, there's always this guy!

Gee I was seriously considering voting for Mitt. As a Mormon Convert I am really seeing more bigotry by this LDS site directed at evangelicals. I think maybe I will reconsider not supporting a member of the church. Especially since most of the churches history regarding polygamy and exclusion of priesthood to blacks is well documented and also hard for this convert to justify. Lets face reality the early doctrines of Joseph Smith we regard as scripture is fair game to others outside our faith. The fact is I sustain Joseph Smith as a true prophet and so does any active member that also means we must defend his church doctrines and myself find it an embarrassment. Not to mention defending these same policies as advocated by orson pratt and bruce Mcconkey. I would hope this website does not find its way to catholics and evangelicals- especially back east and in the south. They probably would find it very offensive refering to them as biggots or people who do not practice thier faith-(guess thier are jack catholics as thier are mormons). The last time I checked MA was a Catholic state- I was raised in CT and am very familar with that region. Just curious when did a baptist or catholic get elected to governor of utah? By the way I am in the Pacific North West and have been for last 15 years. As a convert for the past 9 years I attended many churches and none ever told me to slam the doors in the face of lds missionaries. I do believe the church presidency had to tell members un utah not to slam the doors in the face of baptist as they went on missinary work in utah? I certainly do not think this country is ready for a member to be president after seeing the bigotry espoused on this site towards people of other faiths.


Not to worry. Dave's site has an evangelical filter, which means it cannnot be read by any evangelicals. I think he's still working on the Catholic filter. BTW...it's McConkie.

Thank You brother Murray,

Lets just be careful how we treat all others. I see no need to lump evangelicals in the same category that so many are quick to lump us. I also think its best to make Daves point that we all can agree on the issues outside of theology. In fact thats what the christian coalition is all about. Pat robertson is oposed to much of our theology yet welcomes catholics and lds into his organization. Its a political organization not a theololgy organization. My advice would be for more members to actually send Pat money. Please do not confuse his 700 club with his Christian coalition (CC). The 700 club is a non profit religious organization where as the CC is a political action group lumping all people of faith who share same political ideals. Look into this and you will find many conservative catholics and also some of us LDS are contributors. Here in WA state we need all of us to defeat left wing liberals. You will also find that the CC was very supportive to Mitt Romney. It should always be remembered we are electing a political leader not a releigious leader.
WE all share many ideals and values amongst those of other faith. We LDS can not afford to be critical of other people do to thier beleifs. John McCain was never a person that was viewed as conservative and defined by his faith- unlike Mitt or back in 2000 G. Bush. I believe Mitt will be attacked by the liberal left and if anything will be defended by those evangelicals. This defense will not be based on LDS theology but rather his commitment to like minded values. Up here in WA we have lots of evangelical radio stations and it was them that came to the defense of the catholics when the liberal media made the other 99% priests fall into the 1% of molestors. Please look into CC and you will find several LDS members myself included are part of this organization. Also be cautious not to accept a person as president because he calls himself LDS. I will state that senate minority leader Hary Ried D-NV does not reflect my values nor Mitts political policies. Again Thank You Guy! PS thanks for the correct spelling of bruce mcconkie. He was before my time brother. Just that many people of other faith use him to criticize LDS doctrines. Keep in mind our discussions are based on theology not political candidates.

Guy was just kidding -- there are no filters and anyone is welcome to comment as long as they follow the posted guidelines. That includes no pitching or fundraising, Mike, so you'll have to solicit donations for Pat Robertson elsewhere.

Furthermore, while many LDS vote conservative and Republican, some do not and there is no tight link between one's religious beliefs and one's political affiliations. I don't see eye to eye with all of Harry Reid's politics, but I think having a highly visible LDS Democratic politician on the national stage is a great development.

Thanks Dave. I actually figured guy was actually kidding and he obviously shares my sense humor- lol. I do appologize if it came accross as I was solicting? Think thats the policy you may be referring too. I actually failed to read your sites policy. So my appologies Dave. I was actually not attempting to solicit as much as I was trying to bring people of faith together on political issues. That was why I made a distinquish between that one persons website (organization). Many members like myself confused the different websites. I will not mention them here as not to violate any soliciting. I do agree that many people of all faith and certainly those of us LDS vote conservative and republican. I suppose your with in your right to be proud of Harry Ried D-NV holding a prominant position in politics just as some of my Catholic family might be proud of Nancy Pollosi or worse Ted Kennedy. Sadly I agree with none of thier policies nor Sen Rieds. Emphasis on none. I also think thier are only two sides on the political issue. I chose to CTR... Question Dave and I think a good one! If you like the idea of harry ried in politics because he "claims" to be a mormon should people of other faiths link Mitts policy with Harry Rieds? Most members I know would be shocked to know that harry ried is LDS. Think he must be a jack Mormon. Thanks Dave!

PS Sen Harry Reid serves to undermine every policy of this administration including to be in opposition to Mitt Romney!

Glad you're taking it all in stride, Mike. Of course Harry Reid opposes most of the Bush Administration's policies: he's a Democrat and the present administration is Republican. And your eagerness to label Reid as someone who only "claims" to be LDS suggests you can't quite accept the idea that someone who holds different political opinions than you do can, at the same time, share your religious opinions. I think LDS leaders work very hard to discourage that type of thinking -- they recognize that individual members can support different political positions, yet all be good Mormons who share the same religious opinions. Bringing your politics to church on Sunday will only create problems.

The belief that all Mormons are Conservative Republicans can be very misleading, because there are many Mormons that are Conservative Democrats. I think sometimes we forget that we are encouraged by the General Authorities to vote are own heart and mind. I like to think of myself as an Conservative with some Liberal Leanings.

As to Harry I don't agree with everything he is doing right now, but is he doing it as a Liberal Democrat or is he doing it because he is the Minority Leader for the Democrats?

Thank You both Dave and George,

I am in complete agreement with both of your positions and think we are actually similar in our views. It should be no secret that I am a conservative republican and yes George I realize thier are very good people of our faith who may as I do take some liberal leanings. I would never intentionaly impune the character of any person who shares some different views as myself. That of course excludes those in public service who have a record and open themselves up to this scrutiny. I very much enjoy your question George regarding if Sen Ried is acting as a liberal democrat because he is liberal or because he is a minority leader? Fair question for all of us to look at George. I'm probably younger then yourself sir (41 as of today). In my short life I have seen much erosion and cultural clashes in this country. Personaly I think Senator Reid is a good man who is much more of a Conservative Democrat while in Nevada. Like the person he replaced (tom Daschel) also very conservative in SD- when they get in positions of leadership in DC I see a change in views. I have not seen this change of views with Mitt Romney nor Sen Hatch. Which is why I am so very proud of Mitt Romney. I also supported Sen Hatch in 2000 primary and think his lost was not do to his faith. I at the time was new to the church as a convert so was less concerned about the mixing of politics and religion. Most of my whole family reside back east including MA and are catholics who supported Gov Romney. Dave is right about bring my politics to church on Sunday would create problems. Dave I do not and would not do such a thing. The Church brings politics to me and the members of my Ward. They do such by sharing the teachings of our prophets and the emphasizing of our values. It is true no leader ever tells me how or who to vote but voting my values almost obligates me to look at party platforms and also personal voting records.
By the way the churches policy is similar to Catholics and mainstream chistadom. They too like our Church are prohibited by law endorsing any party or candidate (do to tax status). None of the people of faith are excluded from sharing our beliefs and of course reminding the members to vote thier concious. I just figured out on this website I can actually send people private emails and you can send them to me as well. I would look forward to such. I have only been to Utah 3 times all for church conferences and also to visit friends at BYU. I have been told by my friends here in WA that Utah Mormons are a little different then us- maybe its do to the larger population of members and also including people who are only LDS by birth. Plus I believe the ACLU spends a great deal of time in Utah attacking those hostile to our faith. Now what political party supports that group my brothers. Perhaps a combination of my age 41, being a 9 year convert, living outside Utah and being in a state thats so left wing that we LDS here are very conservative. I really would like to know more about you Dave and George. Perhaps our different experiences can actually be used to stregthen another and take a united front for the right causes.
Thank you George and Dave for your insight and brotherhood.

George, What about the possibility that Sen Reid is doing what he is doing because he is LDS, and is motivated by his understanding of LDS teachings and doctrines? Why does one think that politicians check their religious beliefs at the capitol hill door? I dare say most would think Sen. Hatch is motivated to act politically based on his religious beliefs. Personally, I am embarrassed for the Church every time Sen. Hatch opens his mouth to speak. But, that's just me.

Mike Carey,

I'm willing to concede that Evangelicals are people too. And that they have diverse religious and political beliefs. Just this morning I was listening to a radio report of the environmental movement in Evangelical circles.

But official Evangelicalism has been giving a pretty consistent message of anti-Mormonism that hasn't really changed in recent years. Mr. Dobson still gives us the cold shoulder. The anti-cultist loonies still spew their hate. And, here's the important part, the majority of Evangelicals say absolutely nothing to counter the extremists.

What am I supposed to think when a radical fringe group of a religion engages in hate speech and the mainstream says nothing against it and does nothing to distance itself from it.

At worst, it shows that they tacitly endorse the message. At best, it shows that they don't care.

Also, a bit of internet searching will quickly show that we Mormons don't dish out half as much as we put up with. The hate equation here is decidedly one-sided.


My question was to make people think about what other motivations might be involved with Sen Reid's positions. Yes just being LDS could be one of them. Do I believe this? No for I think his positon as minority leader drives some of his rhetoric.

Michael found you.

What I meant by being a "Conservative with Liberal Leanings" is... That I am very much Fiscal Conservative who believes in a smaller less intrusive goverment, and of course less taxes, there are also many Social Conservative values that I agree with. However my Liberal Leanings want to help take care of those who are in trouble, but even this is modified by a belief of self, then family, then church, then local community (other churches and non goverment help), and finally goverment

Thanks George,

I agree that we are all motivated by things outside of our faith. I also think we are all conservative and liberal. Think Jesus was both conservative and also Liberal. Think on Doctrinal issues Jesus was always conservative. When dealing with people and our falacies he was Liberal. Sent you an email George glad we are neighbors. Hope you call me some time.

George what did you think about Guys post regarding Senator Hatch? I personally like Senator Hatch and would take his deep convictions anyday over the Kenedy,clinton, reid crowd.

[edited, 2/8]

Mitt Romney is just too cute for me, too affected. I don't trust him.

glad my statement was edited the truth really hurts.

Mike, your comment was edited because you were hashing on other commenters. Thanks for visiting -- maybe you should move on at this point. You'll find plenty of options at the spiffy new aggregator that T&S is promoting.

Harry Reid is politically deaf and personally embarrasses me as a LDS when his McConkieite bigotry spills out. I heard Reid go on and on once about Clarence Thomas' incoherent opinions and his general unfitness as a Supreme Court justice, seeming clueless that if the guy was indeed a dolt, those opinions would then be the unedited writings of his clerks, top-of-their-class law review graduates from the finest law schools.

Harry – it you want to knock a conservative justice, could you at least have the political instincts to pick a white guy rather than remind people our church was once ruled by bigots and many LDS, such as yourself, remain so?

I believe that Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch both represent the church in all its diversity. Just as many of the commentators throughout this Blog and other LDS Blogs do. We all have opinions. Senator Smith from Oregon has his too, one of my Senators, but I don't agree with everything he says or do. The Church Leaders encourage us to vote our heart and mind, and I am pretty sure this includes any LDS politicians too.

Even in the days of Brigham Young there where those who espoused different points of view. Of course at that time we were driven by we against them mentality so the tendacy was to suppress the major differences among the members of the church. However if you where to read about some of the earlier church leaders you will find that had vastly different points of view, but when it came to dealing with the Gentile forces they would unite together on a common front.

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