Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

4/30/2012 (4 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 (4 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'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2016
Universal:
Small Farmers: That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious labor.
Evangelization: African Christians: That Christians in Africa may give witness to love and faith in Jesus Christ amid political-religious conflicts.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

'He deserves what he gets:' Latino youths violently protest Donald Trump in Orange County Watch

Image of Trump protestors broke out in a violent riot during his Orange County rally (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Thousands attended Donald Trump's Orange County rally - then broke out in violent protest. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Trump rally in Costa Mesa's Orange County Amphitheater was overflowing with supporters. There were several supporters who couldn't fit ... continue reading


New White House rules leave religious groups open to government abuse Watch

Image of Religious groups question the government's new regulations (Shutterstock).

By Kevin J. Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

The Obama administration's new rule for faith-based partnerships has drawn various reactions: one observer warned they could cause problems for partnering religious groups, while another said the action also strengthens these groups' protections against government ... continue reading


EXCLUSIVE - America, King of Propaganda: U.S. government spends billions to spew LIES to the American people. And guess what you foolish Americans, Congress made it all perfectly legal without your vote Watch

Image of

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Have we won the ground war in Afghanistan? According to the government reports and the media, we sure have. However, this is not what one whistleblower has said, warning as early as 2012 that the American people are being deceived by the government. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Bill De Blasio's ongoing investigation scandal fails to stop him from new fundraising efforts Watch

Image of Mayor Bill de Blasio won't talk - but his staff will (Wikipedia).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's closest aides have been issued subpoenas to aid the investigation into his shady fundraising strategies. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The scandal surrounding de Blasio's fundraising has made headlines since 2014, when a leaked ... continue reading


Trump delivers first foreign policy speech, and sounds like a president should! (FULL TEXT) Watch

Image of Donald Trump's first full foreign policy speech sounded relatively presidential, and while short of specifics, was still worth listening to.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Donald Trump delivered his first full speech on foreign policy and he sounded fairly presidential while doing so. Trump is not a politician by trade, but he may make an excellent president thanks to his extensive business acumen. Trump is on the path to the Republican ... continue reading


The olive branch and the barb: Clinton vs. Trump Watch

Image of Trump and Clinton came out on top (Shutterstock).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The race for the presidential nominee has been full of surprises as history-making events, claims of foul play, dirty dealings and controversial statements have cropped up in abundance. Candidates have, at times, been caught up in a tight race, but Tuesday's primary ... continue reading


Trump will be president! Real estate mogul outpacing Romney by whopping 25 percent Watch

Image of Mitt Romney was friendly with Trump when he needed a campaign donation.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Donald Trump is on track to win both the primary and the election, according to the numbers. He is on a better trajectory than Mitt Romney was in 2008. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, while winning her primary, is losing support. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading


Desperate Cruz and Kasich agree to stop competing, will focus on Trump Watch

Image of Cruz and Kasich are teaming up to block Trump, but their chances of success are slim.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Ted Cruz and John Kasich have teamed up to block Donald Trump from winning the Republican nomination. The rivals have agreed to divide upcoming primary states, so they can efficiently spend resources attacking Trump instead of each other. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading


Public Bathrooms: Private and safe facilities or free-for-alls? Watch

Image of Apparently, gender-confused children can use whichever restroom they want - without adult supervision to ensure the safety of either gender within the confines of a bathroom (David Bro/ZUMA).

By Thomas Heed (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Men with bad motives or who live dissolute lifestyles have always been potential sexual threats to women - and now women have been pushed further into their corners as "transgender rights" rise to prominence as the newest notion of the sexual revolution. These rights ... continue reading


'We are in a race against time:' 175 nations sign landmark climate accord Watch

Image of World powers finally agree to make a move to fight climate change (Shutterstock).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

World leaders have finally realized the destruction they have been allowing the planet to endure - and the ensuing consequences. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A shocking number of 175 global leaders gathered at the United Nations headquarters to sign the Paris ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 16:11-15
11 Sailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9
1 Alleluia! Sing a new song to Yahweh: his praise in the assembly of the ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:26--16:4
26 When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 2nd, 2016 Image

St. Athanasius
May 2: St. Athanasius, the great champion of the Faith ... Read More