Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

4/30/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

For Mitt, as for most politicians, religion is window dressing. It's the suit and tie they put on to be acceptable to the voters.

Most Americans are unaware of just how peculiar the beliefs of Mormons are. Do they know about Mormonism's exclusivity? It's secretive rituals? It's strange doctrines? Probably not. Even if they do know all the shady and weird stuff about Mormonism, do most Americans care? Should they care? With the possibility that their next president is a Mormon, does it matter?

Highlights

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/30/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Mitt Romney, Mormon, Mormonism, LDS, Latter Day Saints, Election 2012, Fr Dwight Longenecker


GREENVILLE, SC (Catholic Online) - It's easy to judge the Mormon religion by the earnest, white shirt and tie, bicycling missionaries who knock on your door. For most Americans the Mormon religion is made up of clean cut, somewhat naive folks from the heartland. They're not quite so wide eyed and wild as the fundamentalist Baptists, nor are they quite so dowdy and serious as the Jehovah's Witnesses. Most people figure the Mormon religion is just another version of the predominant American Protestant faith. Sure, they have their extremists, but pretty harmless for the most part. Most Americans are unaware of just how peculiar the beliefs of Mormons are. They are familiar with the charges of polygamy and racism, but "they don't do that anymore do they?" Are Americans aware of just how strange the story of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are? Do they realize that this religion doesn't even come close to being orthodox Christianity? Are they aware of the scandals, hoaxes and fraud of the Mormon founding fathers? Do they know about Mormonism's exclusivity? It's secretive rituals? It's strange doctrines? Probably not. Even if they do know all the shady and weird stuff about Mormonism, do most Americans care? Should they care? With the possibility that their next president is a Mormon does it matter? To answer the question we have to sort out the different kinds of Mormons. It doesn't take long to realize that there are three modes of Mormonism just like there are three divisions of all religious groups. The three modes could be called "Maniac", "Moderate", and "Modernist". Maniac Mormons are the weird extremists: Warren Jeffs, the man convicted of child abuse, with his polygamous compound in Texas is a good example. The "maniac" Mormons are the wide-eyed and wild fundamentalists of the Mormon religion. Like all fundamentalists they allow no criticism. Their holy books and their beliefs will be defended against all attacks--even those driven by common sense. The Mormons have their fair share of 'maniac' members, but then so do the Muslims, the Catholics and the Protestants. It's part of any religion to have "fruit" but you can't have fruit without nuts. Most Mormons, like most Christians are probably "Moderates". The moderate Mormon believes what his religious leaders tell him. He is a follower not a leader. He accepts the laundered version of the Mormon history and goes along with the practices. He tithes, does his best and Mormonism probably serves him well as a belief system that helps him cope with this life and plan for the next. In every religion the moderates are practical and sensible. They don't question their beliefs because they don't have the time or they don't want to upset the apple cart. Modernist Mormons are revisionist and progressive. They have considered Mormonism's historical and literary claims and realize they don't stand up. That hasn't led them to leave Mormonism. Instead they say that the history doesn't really matter. What matters is the theology--the teachings of the Mormon religion. What matters is that Mormonism is a religion that helps people be good, honest and upright citizens.

Modernist Mormonism is much like modernist Christianity. It's all about making the world a better place, being nice people, having good manners, helping the poor and doing good. Any idea that the whole of Mormonism is supernatural and involved with divine revelation and an interaction between this world and the next is quietly dismissed as out of date and irrelevant. This is the Mormonism of smiling families in slick advertising campaigns, clean cut All American values and an apple pie utopian dream of America as the prosperous and peaceful promised land. Mitt's Mormonism, I suspect, is of the third mode. He's a modernist Mormon. So does his Mormonism matter? I don't think it matters any more than George Bush's Episcopalianism or Barack Obama's Church of Christ membership or JFK's Catholicism. For Mitt, as for most politicians, religion is window dressing. It's the suit and tie they put on to be acceptable to the voters. Modernist Mormonism, like modernist religion in all its forms, is utilitarian. It serves a purpose--the politician's purpose. So does Mitt's Modernist Mormon religion matter? In one sense it doesn't matter at all because it's not really a religion. It's a set of table manners. It's a part of a respectable facade. When American politicians declare that their religion will not affect their policies they're usually being very honest because their religion also doesn't affect their life much at all. In one sense Mitt's Mormonism doesn't matter, but what does matter is that, because of their modernism, our politicians are increasingly cut off from the wisdom, the truth and the spiritual insights that true religion has to offer. A modernist religion that is not much more than a lightweight self-help creed will not provide our politicians with the vision, faith and courage to make the tough moral decisions, and if they can't do that - they will not be able to lead their people into the real promised land. -----
Fr Dwight Longenecker is the Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Greenville, South Carolina. Visit his website and blog at www.dwightlongenecker.com

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Donald Trump will not run as third-party candidate, signs RNC loyalty pledge Watch

Image of Donald Trump holds the signed loyalty pledge.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Donald Trump has signed a loyalty pledge that says he will support the Republican nominee -whoever that may be- and he will not be running as a third-party candidate. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - Following the announcement of signing the loyalty pledge, ... continue reading


Kentucky Clerk jailed for refusal to marry same-sex couples Watch

Image of Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis refused to marry same-sex couples based on her religious beliefs.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis has been sent to jail following her refusal to marry same-sex couples. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - As reported by NBC, Davis was found in contempt of court Thursday morning because she claimed marriage licenses for gay and ... continue reading


Hispanics hope Pope Francis addresses immigration with Obama Watch

Image of Hispanics hope Pope Francis will address immigration policies in his upcoming visit to America.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nearly 30 million Hispanic Catholics in the country are hoping that Pope Francis' visit this month will change the tone of the United States' debatable immigration policies and discourse. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The Pope will have high-profile ... continue reading


Hillary Clinton is a FELON - New email dump contains 150 CLASSIFIED emails Watch

Image of Hillary's emails reveal she is surrounded by sycophants and that the State Department techs had no idea she was using a private server, which is against the law.

By David Drudge, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The State Department released a large batch of Clinton emails on Monday, with another 7,000 pages released to the media. Classified information has been redacted. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The State Department released 7,000 new Hillary Clinton emails to the ... continue reading


Are the Clintons mass murders? Death of British spy who hacked them raises old questions about the Clinton thuggery machine Watch

Image of They may be the most evil family in modern American politics.

By David Drudge, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Clinton death toll is simply astounding. Approximately 100 people, directly associated with the Clinton family, have died under unnatural and mysterious circumstances since the early 1990s. It is considered possible that the Clinton family chooses to deal with ... continue reading


Obama's Clean Water Act blocked hours before taking effect Watch

Image of Obama's water pollution rule was blocked by a federal judge a few hours before its execution.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A North Dakota federal judge blocked the Obama Administration's controversial water pollution rule just hours before taking effect. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Judge Ralph Erickson of the District Court for the District of North Dakota discovered ... continue reading


Clinton compares Republicans to terrorists: Receives unsurprising backlash Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hillary Clinton compares conservative views on abortion and reproductive rights to terrorist groups. Republicans demand an apology while Republican and Democrat candidates agree Clinton's campaign is failing. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - Hillary Clinton gave a ... continue reading


'The whole Bible is incredible': Donald trump ridiculed for not naming favorite Bible verse Watch

Image of Donald Trump claims the Bible is his favorite book.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During an interview with Bloomberg's Mark Halerin and John Heilemann, presidential candidate, Donald Trump was asked to name his favorite Bible verse but refused to name one. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Seven minutes into the interview, Halerin told Trump, "You ... continue reading


EVERY 93 SECONDS: Foreign children born on U.S. soil Watch

Image of Children of immigrants born on United States soil appear to be wearing out their welcome, according to recent polls.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Children of immigrants born on United States soil appear to be wearing out their welcome, according to recent polls. It is estimated that a child of illegal immigrants is born every 93 seconds in the U.S. According to a 2011 Rasmussen Poll, only 28 percent of likely ... continue reading


Univision anchor Jorge Ramos EJECTED from Donald Trump press conference Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Go back to Univision," GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump told Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos at an Iowa press conference. Well regarded by his peers, there was no gravitas afforded Ramos at the event, as a security guard escorted him away. The occasion ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Colossians 1:21-23
21 You were once estranged and of hostile intent ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 54:3-4, 6, 8
3 Arrogant men are attacking me, bullies hounding me ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 6:1-5
1 It happened that one Sabbath he was walking through ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 5th, 2015 Image

Bl.Teresa of Calcutta
September 5: The remarkable woman who would be known as Mother Theresa began ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter