|After “The Speech”: 10 Top Extreme Beliefs of Mitt the Mormon|
|Date:||Dec 06 23:47|
|The following is a 10-point examination of Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s religious beliefs–beliefs of the LDS Church to which, in his recent speech outlining his faith, Romney openly declared his personal commitment.
It is, of course, up to individual voters to decide whether Romney is the kind of candidate they would like to see occupying the White House. In the meantime, the U.S. Constituion, in Article 6, expressly prohibits any mandated religious test for the holding of public office.
That constitutional prohibition against government-established religious testing of candidates for public office does not mean, however, that American voters are not free to assess for themselves a given candidate’s religious beliefs and determine whether those beliefs would adversely affect the candidate who firmly adheres to them in the conduct of the affairs of state.
The analysis below of Romney’s religious views is provided under the website title, “What Mitt Romney Believes: Exploring the religious beliefs of Mitt Romney and the Mormon Church,” provided with the site’s stated intent of “[h]elping Americans understand his faith, and the implications of making him President”:
Extreme Belief #1: “A Living Prophet”
“Mitt Romney believes that this man is a living, breathing Prophet of God. His name is Gordon B. Hinckley. He was born in 1910 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mitt Romney believes he has the same authority as Moses or Abraham of the Old Testament. Mitt Romney believes this man speaks for God.
“Although usually referred to as “President” of the church, Gordon B. Hinckley is considered a “prophet, seer and revelator” by Mormons. Before becoming President, Hinckley was considered one of the twelve apostles.
“Why is this the #1 extreme belief? It might seem rather benign given some of the other things on our countdown, whether clearly out of the main stream, like becoming a God, or spiritual polygamy. Or just a little odd, like temple garments, seer stones, or the Garden of Eden being in Missouri. However, it has the greatest implications for our country if Mitt Romney becomes President.
“If you believed that this man had a direct connection to God, and that your personal salvation depended on following this prophet, would you ignore his wishes? Gordon B. Hinckley has dangerous views about women, race, sexual diversity, science and scholarship. He does not believe in the equality of all Americans. He does not believe in the separation of church and state. In future posts I’ll expose these beliefs.
“Mitt Romney’s absolute belief in this “prophet” makes him dangerous too.”
Extreme Belief #2: “We Can Become Gods!”
“Uh huh. Mormons believe they can become Gods.
“If one reaches the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom (essentially Mormon heaven), then one can gain power and knowledge, have spirit children, and well …. be Gods.
“This belief is so outrageous, so extreme, that people typically assume I’ve gone insane when I tell them this. You can find it on the official LDS web site under the Gospel Principles section, Chapter 47: Exaltation.
“Additionally, they believe that God was once a man. They don’t mean Jesus, who they regard as a completely different person. Rather, God once walked on a planet and became a God. We can follow in his footsteps. I was also taught as a child, that as a God, my “seed” would continue. I would create planets and send my spirit children to live on them.
“Mitt Romney believes he will become a God! Do you believe he should be President?”
Extreme Belief #3: “God Discriminated (until 1978)”
“Blacks were excluded from the Mormon Priesthood, and many of the temple ceremonies of the church until 1978. They could be members, but could not participate fully. To understand the enormity of this discrimination, you need to understand the importance of the Priesthood in the Mormon belief system.
“The Priesthood is the root of all authority in the Mormon faith. Most males are ordained into the Priesthood at an early age (around 12) and have an opportunity to progress through six levels of authority. Unlike many churches, where there are often a few professional clergy and perhaps a lay clergy serving a much larger congregation. In Mormon churches nearly all the adult white men participate in the Priesthood. By excluding people based on their skin color, the church prohibited blacks from any meaningful leadership position and also from an institution that encompassed nearly all the white members.
“In Mormonism the Priesthood is the backbone of both institutional and family organization. Black families could not be sealed for time and all eternity – another bed rock of the Mormon faith forbidden to them. The inability to hold the Priesthood created a lower class of membership in the church, which forbid blacks from participating in many of the sacred rites necessary for exaltation.
“The most frightening aspect of this is that the Mormon Church continues to believe that this discrimination was mandated by God. Other religious bodies have a history of racism. However, nearly all recognize that this dishonorable part of their histories was the result of a flawed understanding of God’s will. In other words, although religious people wrongly discriminated in the past, God never did!
“In the LDS Church, the exclusion of blacks was a doctrine supported by both scripture and divine revelation directly from God. Mormons continue to believe that God forbid the ordination of blacks into the Mormon Priesthood. God didn’t want blacks in leadership positions. God didn’t want blacks giving blessings or getting married for all eternity.
“‘Negroes in this life are denied the Priesthood; under no circumstances can they hold this delegation of authority from the Almighty. (Abra. 1:20-27.) The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them… negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow therefrom, but this inequality is not of man’s origin. It is the Lord’s doing, is based an his eternal laws of justice, and grows out of the lack of Spiritual valiance of those concerned in their first estate.’ (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, pp. 527-528)
“I’m happy that the church changed this policy in 1978, when Spencer W. Kimball, church prophet at the time, received a revelation reversing the policy. However, you won’t find the church taking responsibility for its racist past. There has been no apology. No sincere attempt at reconciliation. How can there be? They believe that God was the bigot until 1978, not them.
“Do you really want Mitt Romney, someone who believes this, as President of the United States?”
Extreme Belief #4: “The Book of Mormon is Perfect”
“There is a common misperception that Mormons do not believe in the Bible. In fact they do read and use the Bible extensively. They view both the Old and New Testaments as important documents. However, they also believe that, “As the Bible was compiled, organized, translated, and transcribed, many errors entered the text” (see the official LDS church web site). In this regard they have beliefs that are similar to most mainstream churches. Of course, this is not consistent with most evangelical and fundamentalist views of the Bible.
“Much more interesting, and much more extreme, is their belief in the perfection of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith, who claimed to have translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates he found in New York state, said that the Book of Mormon was the most perfect book ever written. And in the context of Mormon beliefs this makes very good sense. After all, he used divine seer stones, and had a direct connection to God while translating. It should be perfect.
“Unfortunately, the Book of Mormon is a mess. It claims to be a history of the Americas. One in which Israelites immigrated to South America, setting up a civilization based on ancient Biblical principles and beliefs. After being visited by Jesus after his resurrection, this society eventually decays and spreads north. Finally ending in…. well….. New York.
“There is not a single piece of archaeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon. Unlike the Bible, which is often referenced by archaeologists in the Middle East, reputable scientists do not use the Book of Mormon. The genetic evidence does not support the claim (now being de-emphasized by the church) that American Indians are descendants of Middle Eastern peoples. Large portions of it are lifted from the King James Version of the Bible (which didn’t exist when the Book of Mormon was supposedly written). It makes references to animals that did not co-exist with humans in the western hemisphere until after the arrival of Europeans in the 1400s. For instance, horses!
“Finally, the Book of Mormon has been changed thousands of times since it’s original publication. The Mormon Church strains credibility when it claims that these are mostly typographical or transcription errors. You would think those would be fixed in the second or third printings. Yet, changes to the Book of Mormon continue to be made.
“I know this sound a little glib, but….. so much for the most perfect book ever written. . . .”
Extreme Belief #5: “Temple Garments”
“Mitt Romney wears neither boxers nor briefs!
“Mormons wear a special kind of underwear called “Temple Garments.” They believe this underwear protects them from evil. It has special symbols woven into it at the breast and knee. These symbols are believed to be derived and adapted from Free Mason rituals.
“Mormons begin wearing it during their first visit to the temple, wherein they receive instructions on how the garment should be worn and promise to wear it for the rest of their lives. They are removed only for bathing, some forms exercise, and sexual relations. . . .”
Extreme Belief #6: “Mormons still practice polygamy – sort of”
“In the Mormon Church, marriage does not end at death. Men and women are married (sealed together) for time and all eternity. However, if a woman dies, a man may marry again for time and all eternity. He will then have two (perhaps more) wives in the afterlife. Women can’t get married again unless they get a “temple divorce.” Under no circumstance can a woman be sealed to more than one man.
“Although they gave up polygamy many years ago on earth, Mormons still practice polygamy in heaven.
“This is what I was taught as a child. It is very hard to get the church to admit this little secret. But it is discussed openly in LDS circles. . . .”
Extreme Belief #7: “The Garden Eden was in Missouri”
“This one is a little tricky. I was taught growing up that indeed the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri. Joseph Smith (the founding Prophet of the LDS church) claimed to have seen an alter somewhere in the woods of Missouri that was used by Adam. He called this Adam-ondi-Ahman, which means place where Adam dwelt.
“I’ve noticed that many Mormons now deny the Garden was in Missouri, asserting that Joseph Smith only said Adam worshiped at an alter in Missouri after being thrown out of the Garden of Eden. I find this remarkable. Is it any less extreme to believe that Adam lived in Missouri after leaving the Garden of Eden? This isn’t simply more Mormon folklore, this is a century and a half of belief, discussed widely in authoritative LDS published works, i.e. Mormon Doctrine.
“Furthermore, Wilford Woodruff, a Mormon apostle at the time and later the Church Prophet, clearly states in his diaries that Joseph Smith told him that Eden was in Jackson County Missouri and roughly 40 miles from the alter (Waiting for World’s End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, edited by Susan Staker, Signature Books, 1993, p. 305). If you can’t trust the leader of the Church, who can you trust? . . .”
Extreme Belief #8: “Urim and Thummim – The Seer Stones”
“Joseph Smith, the first Mormon prophet, used “seer” stones to help him “translate” the Book of Mormon. As described in Joseph Smith – History (1:35) on the official church site, two stones were fastened to a breast plate and constituted the Urim and the Thummim. He used these to receive revelation and translate languages. When translating, Joseph Smith would place the stones in a hat, place the hat over his face, and begin translating. A piece of parchment would appear to him with an unknown character and the English translation of that character. . . .”
Extreme Belief #9: “We baptize dead people”
“If he has followed the tenants of his faith, chances are that Mitt Romney has either baptized the dead, or been baptized in proxy for the dead. Mormons baptize dead people.
“Although they claim that their doctrine of baptizing the dead is mentioned in the New Testament (1st Corinthians 15:3), and an ancient Christian practice, the truth is this is pretty much a uniquely Mormon sacrament. Scholars from all major denominations dismiss any biblical foundation for baptizing dead people.
“On a personal note, this is one of the temple rites that I personally participated in as a teenager. In the Mesa AZ temple, the baptismal font for the dead is located on the lower levels of the building. After silently dressing in all white, we were lead into a room with an elevated round font sitting on top of several oxen. The oxen were sculpted of ceramic or marble (I can’t quite remember). One at time, we stepped into the font and were dunked into the water roughly 10 times. Between each immersion we heard the name of the dead person for which we were being baptized. Boys were baptized for dead males. Girls for dead females. . . .
“Interestingly, this practice has recently become controversial because Mormon baptize not only their own ancestors (hence their interest in geneology), but your ancestors too. This has lead to some consternation among non-Mormons, especially people of Jewish faith.”
Extreme Belief #10: “God resides near a planet called Kolob”
“As a Mormon, Mitt Romney believes that God comes from either a planet named Kolob, or a planet that orbits a star named Kolob, or a place near one of these. This belief comes from The Pearl of Great Price, which is accepted as scripture by the Mormon Church. You can read the relevant passages on line. You should also see facsimile number two which appears on the same site.
“Few topics make Mormon as uncomfortable as the subject of Kolob. I’ve even heard a few deny that this concept is part of their religious beliefs. However, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, a well respected teacher and scholar in the church, made it perfectly clear in Mormon Doctrine (p.428), a definitive and often sited work. You can read the passage online, but you’ll need to find the book if you want to confirm it independently. . . .
“We’ve finished our list of Mitt Romney’s top 10 most extreme beliefs. Read them and judge for yourself whether you want someone who believes these things to become President of the United States.”
For the entire examination (along with additional references and citations), see: