Well between Mitt Romney's speech on his Mormon faith in College Park, Texas, yesterday, and TV shows like Big Love it seems like the Mormons are coming out of nowhere. Fact is that the Mormons have been around for a while; and they haven't just been hiding their heads under the covers, at least not outside of the US. In fact Mormonism is now the fastest growing religion in the world. In the tiny South Pacific island nation of Tonga, 32% of the residents are Mormons.
Mitt's speech is largely viewed as an attempt to woo Evangelical Christians. Fact is, a lot of people were getting the heebee jeebees about this Mormonism stuff. OK let's cut through the bull and get to the chase. I mean, how weird is it to think that Jesus came to America or that God left his scripture on some tablets in upstate New York (Mormonism). OK, how weird is it to think that someone could walk on water or that someone would follow a burning bush through the desert while loaves of bread fell out of the sky for his culinary convenience (Evangelical Christianity). OK you say the Mormons say that many of their beliefs are based on the "core Judeo-Christian faith" which may include some of this but, hey?
Bottom line is I can't see that the Mormons are any crazier than the evangelical Christians. Or any more sane for that matter. I mean I am a scientist but I have weird thoughts like you can talk to dead people through your dreams. Fact is it has to do with your beliefs. And you can be for or against belief in general. But you can't say this belief is right and this is wrong, unless you want to go against Thomas Jefferson and other wise "fathers of our country".
OK, let's let Mitt jabber on now. "Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle, indeed, if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree." Can't see that any Huffposters out there would disagree with that. What else does he have to say. "I did not [as Massachusetts Governor] confuse the particular teachings of my church with the obligations of the office, and of course the Constitution." Hmmm. More on this Constitution stuff later. "The notion of the separation of church and state has been taken well beyond its original meaning... religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life."
Well hold on a minute there, Mitt, when the founding fathers said separation of church and state they meant exactly that. Tom Jeff and most of the others were Deists, which meant that they believed in God, but in a God that had no influence on human activity, sort of transcendental couch potato. Hardly the kind of God that Mitt sees as guiding our great country. BTW Mitt the "Under God" clause of the pledge of allegiance wasn't introduced until the 1950s. So I guess I don't agree with that last statement. BTW Joseph Smith, the original prophet and founder of Mormonism, believed that the US Constitution was a divinely inspired document, so that means that there is more than meets the eye behind his comments about abiding by the constitution. Betcha didn't know that, Mr NY Times reporter.
Which gets me to where I am going next. Mormonism is really the most American of all religions. It is an offshoot of 19th Century upstate New York American evangelicals. I mean, if you can have prophets in biblical times, why not now? A lot of people find much to love about the Mormon faith. Kind of like biblical studies on steroids. The Mormons don't lay a lot of head trips on their members like all that stuff about Adam and Eve and original sin. They believe that you can continuously transform yourself beyond this life to approach a god-like state. Not bad. God and Jesus are just like us (yes, they are physical beings), they are just farther along on the spiritual journey. And we are all traveling with our extended families, which is why they are so into geneology, 'cause they have to make sure none of their dead ancestors are gonna miss out on the celestial trip. Having personally experienced the mesmerizing pull of searching for my own ancestors on internet sites like Ancestry.com, I think that is a big part of their draw.
Maybe rather than trying to convince the evangelicals that they are just like them, the Mormons should just try and convert them to their faith. I mean if they can do it in Tonga, why not the Bible Belt? Maybe they could send Mitt on a mission. In the meantime I'm not so sure I want him as my president. I mean, I think all this One Nation Under God stuff is just getting out of control.
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