Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Romney's Mormon Moment: Did Mitt hit the mark?

I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind.

–Mitt Romney, during his "Faith" speech

Mitt Romney's much anticipated speech about his Mormon faith and its place in his run for the presidency took place last week, and while it has been called everything from masterful to a disaster, both sides have to agree it broke little new ground. Walking the tightrope between saying that his faith has shaped his values, but faith would never govern his political decisions, Mitt, like many before him, tried to have it both ways—which is perfectly acceptable until the moment one has to act.

In short, Mitt's stating that his Mormonism "will inform my presidency" but that "no authorities of my church will ever exert any influence on [my] presidential decisions" is merely a rehashing of the old Mario Cuomo democratic dodge of, "that while I am personally opposed to abortion, I could never impose my views on anyone else." And, although it sickens me to see four pro-choice Democrats (Joseph Biden, Christopher Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, and Bill Richardson) not to mention one most-of-the-time pro-choice Republican (Rudy Giuliani) running for president, I put Romney in a different category. Because, while the others have openly rejected their faith, I seriously doubt Mitt has ever understood Mormonism enough to consciously object to it.

Mitt's Christ quote is actually classic Mormonism, saying just enough to make an uninformed reader believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is Christian, not cult-ish, but not enough to show it should be called cult by any true Christian. Mormonism may say that Christ is a savior, a son of God, but because they believe Mormon "saints" became "gods" in their version of heaven, they cannot say Jesus Christ is God's only Son and exclusive Savior. Also, by not believing that the Holy Spirit is God (one of the most basic tenants of Christianity) it certainly appears impossible to accurately define Mormons as Christians. In reality, Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon (which openly contradicts LDS's "other" book, the Bible) places Mormons closer to Muslims (with its main prophetic book The Koran) in spirit than to Christians due to their similar pseudo-prophetic origins. And while Christians may criticize Romney for not attempting to explain his faith in public (as Huckabee can do easily), the fact is that NO prominent Mormon can really explain his faith in public, because to do so would make its contradictions clear, its lies come to light.

I don't doubt that in many ways Mitt is a good man, or that his pro-life change of convictions is sincere. It just seems to me better to choose a man of faith whose convictions will lead him to choose in favor of life the first time, and every time thereafter.


Alma said...

It's strange that you'd expect Mormonism to claim that Jesus is God's only Son, when the New Testament teaches that we are all the offspring of God--and sons, therefore heirs of God. I've been a Mormon my whole life and have never encountered any teaching that there exists any other Savior than Jesus Christ. Even though Joseph Smith taught that Jesus Christ created "worlds without number," he said all those worlds and their inhabitants were saved by the very same Savior as ours.

I don't know where you're getting your information, but what gives you the idea that Mormons don't believe the Holy Spirit is God? Perhaps you should find out the specifics from a reliable source before you make questionable claims?

Tom O'Toole said...

Christians do not believe they are Gods. They are called "sons of God" because they were adopted by God through Jesus when He came to earth as a man. Adopted human sons of God is WAY different than being the Divine sons of God, which we believe only Jesus was. Christians may become saints, but will NEVER be Gods.

The Holy Spirit is an interesting question. Surely you accept that Mormons do not believe in the Trinity, that is, three persons in one God. Some Mormons say the Holy Spirit is an essence; an impersonal force, although they then call the Holy Ghost "a being with the attributes and powers of Diety" (Articles of Faith by James Talmage). Still, doesn't that put the Holy Ghost on par with us people who LDS say turn into Gods? Without the Trinity, the Christian belief in three persons in one God, the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) seems to waver between an "essence" and a God but not person. Also, we believe that Christ was "conceived by the Holy Spirit," a truly supernatural event, for He existed from all time, was begotten, not made. Plus if Mormonism teaches Jesus was the literal spirit brother of Lucifer (Journal of Discourses, Volume 8, pg. 115), that not only makes Jesus a creation, an angel who became a god, not God who became a human to save mankind.

In summary, Mormons' denial of the doctrine of the Trinity as well as your belief that we too can become Gods really is a radical departure from the 2,000 year old traditional Christian teaching concerning God, creation and salvation, and for that reason I believe Joseph Smith was NOT a Christian prophet, but something entirely different.

Anonymous said...

You clearly do not understand "mormon" beliefs! Not clearly anyway--you are distorting the facts even if you don't realize it. I don't understand why people are attacking Mitt Romney for his religious beliefs either-- if you believe Clinton was a good President, do you also have to believe that inappropriate office adultery is ok as well?? Was JFK a good President only to Catholics? Even people within religions have differing opinions, and was America not founded by people with different religious beliefs/backgrounds wanting to find common ground and escape persecution?? This is ridiculous. You do have a lot of your mormon understandings wrong, which is ok, many people do. But to attack someone and say they are not Christian? If Mitt says he believes in Christ, he is a Christian. Just because a couple of people sat down in modern times to say that only people who believe God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit to be one (and their understanding of one, by the way) could call themselves Christian? A Christian is one who believes in Christ. Mormons (or the correct name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) clearly believe in Christ-- see above for words CHRIST and SAINT. And by the way, Mormons believe God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghose) to be one in purpose instead of one literal being. And they believe Christ to be the only literal son of God, having no father here on this earth. They call each other "brother" and "sister" not because they are literally all brothers and sisters but because we are all children of God. That would make Christ and Lucifer brothers--it would make Lucifer a brother to us all! I know other religions believe that we are all children of God. I just wish we could all stop persecuting and start looking at what we agree on--or even better, how a good person can be a great President of the United States. If we believed that we should all be the same religion or that we could only vote on someone with the exact same views then why did we ever seperate from England? Isn't this what we ran away from to begin with? All religions have good people and good beliefs. Most mormons (I say most because in any religion you can find those not living by the standards they claim to have) are normal people genuinely trying to be good people and live good lives. The ones living their religion don't drink, don't smoke, don't have pre-marital sex (or sex outside of their marriage). You don't have to believe or live by those standards, but in no way are mormons making society worse by living those standards! In fact, the opposite is probably true because so many problems in society are avoided all together (alcoholism, drug abuse, STD's, adultery, etc.). Find what religion makes you happy and a better person, don't persecute others because they found something or believe something different than you, and just vote for the person you think would be the best President!! Not all Catholics voted for JFK and not all mormons will vote for Romney-- find the candidate that most represents you, the one you think would be the best leader, the one you think would make the best President.....and vote!

Tom O'Toole said...

The Trinitarian belief in three persons in one God was established in the earliest councils of the Church. It is not Catholicism, but Mormonism, that is a late aberration of Christianity.

Alas, Anonymous, the devil says he believes in Christ -- but does that make him a Christian? To believe that the devil and Jesus are brothers to most Christians is not only heretical but dangerous -- for Satan was the first to suggest to mankind that we could all be Gods - which happens to be the belief of Mormonism as well.

Yes, beliefs do matter. True, it is rare you find someone both with true faith and a good life running for political office, but as that is the case with Huckabee, why would Christians who didn't split off from the core teachings (as did Joseph Smith) of the councils not want to vote for him.