As one who finds any organized religion unpalatable, it’s always been fascinating to me why people believe the tall tales they hold sacred. Primarily, the presumptive GOP nominee, Willard Mitt Romney proves very enigmatic as far as his beliefs are concerned. He is a member of the Mormon Church (Latter Day Saints or LDS). In fact, his family is considered LDS Royalty. I’ve already listed his numerous flip flops in my previous post, but has his religion also behaved like a serial flip-flopper as well? YES! It definitely has shape shifted to keep it from extinction. I suppose other religions are guilty of this too, but hey, let’s stick to this religion for now.
Aside from Joseph Smith’s use of sixteenth century English to write the Book of Mormon in the nineteenth century, a few other idiosyncrasies can be noted in the religion. The issue of polygamy comes to mind first and foremost. Although polygamy was outlawed in 1862 in the United States, it wasn’t until 1890 the Mormon Church declared it illegal. Brigham Young, the second president of the church, once stated: “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269). Of course Willard’s family fled the US when the practice was outlawed in the 19th century. See the Romney’s flee to Mexico
Another practice the church supported was institutionalized racism. Romney, a bishop in the church, was 31 years old when the ban against African Americans was lifted. I certainly consider this a problem. Video: Mitt Romney’s Mormon Problem If church doctrine can be changed and has been changed, why did it take so long? Was the Mark of Cain too hard to shed for Black church members? Even Christianity in Confederate states changed their racial discriminatory practices before the LDS church.
Steve Benson, the grandson of former “prophet” (a.k.a. Head of the Mormon Church) Ezra Taft Benson has been openly critical of the faith. He is a regular contributor of ExMormon.com He has obviously parted ways with the Mormon Church, and has been outspoken on why he chose to leave. He is a cartoonist and editorialist for the Arizona Republic. A great post which explains his rationale is Ground Zero:The Point Where I Quit Weating Garments and Stopped Paying Tithing
Mormons also believe Native Americans are direct descendants of the Lamanites. This has proven to be false and refuted by DNA evidence. These changes are seen by some critics to be another step in the evolution of the text of the Book of Mormon to delete racist language from it. (See changes to text in aforementioned Lamanites link).
I’ve also come to learn some of the sealing ceremony has been changed over the years, in the interest of becoming less, shall we say, weird. That’s another post altogether.
If the Republican Party won’t question their nominee on his very devout, religious convictions and how they will influence policy, I feel the rest of us sane folks have to do it. I urge my fellow bloggers and journalists out there to please, please open up the can of worms the GOP is trying to keep the lid on.