The Mormon Factor

romney15.jpgWas Mitt Romney’s Mormonism a factor in the failure of his candidacy? Definitely. Was it the factor? That’s less clear.
For all his fundraising success, organizational superiority, and obvious qualifications, Romney was beset with a number of big hurdles throughout his campaign, including his 11th-hour conversion on abortion and gay rights, an overly slick manner, and the rise of a Baptist minister who greatly complicated his effort to win major support from the evangelical movement.
On the question of how much Romney succeeded in overcoming resistance in the electorate to voting for a Mormon, “the polls are mostly inconclusive, but there is some evidence that the skepticism toward Mormons went down,” said John Green, a scholar with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. “It was never a majority of people who expressed skepticism of a Mormon candidate, more like 35-percent. It was a problem but not necessarily disabling.”
Among evangelicals, a constituency that Romney began courting even before declaring his candidacy, Green notes that Romney actually won in Michigan and that he split the evangelical vote with Huckabee and McCain in last week’s Florida primary. But in a handful of evangelical-heavy Southern states—home the nation’s highest concentration of Southern Baptists, and where evangelicals are less accustomed to supporting candidates of other faiths than their counterparts in Florida or Michigan—Romney was roundly defeated by the vastly underfunded Mike Huckabee in the Super Tuesday primaries.
An advisor to the Romney campaign says that Mormonism was a big issue, but that Huckabee was a bigger one. “I heard from people that he did not have conservative record and the Mormonism, I never stopped hearing about that,” the advisor said. “But if Huckabee would have dropped out earlier, we’d have a horserace going on. He divided the vote.”
At the same time, Romney’s Mormonism and Huckabee’s rise probably have a lot to do with each other. Would Huckabee have risen as strongly as he did, almost entirely on the strength of evangelical support, if evangelicals were less disinclined to support a Mormon?
And if Romney runs again in 2012, as campaigns aides are promising, will opposition from the GOP’s evangelical base be substantially reduced? “If a Democrat wins in ’08 and Romney runs in 2012, he’ll have been introduced and he will have inoculated himself to some degree,” the Romney advisor said. “The Mormon issue would still be there, latent, but it might be less…. I was trying to make it go away, but it’s pretty deep-seated.”


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posted February 7, 2008 at 8:01 pm

The first question is an intersting one.. Was Mitt Romney’s Mormonism a factor in the failure of his candidacy?
Sure it was. It shouldn’t have been. But forums like this one, that enable people to spread falsehoods and misrepresent a peaceful religion have certainly contributed. Rod Dreher did a dandy piece yesterday and I watched many jump on his bandwagon of anti-mormonism. He’s quite unapologetic about it and so are many others here. It is sad to see our country has advanced so little.
What has facinated me the most is watching an enormous group of evangelicals who have unapologetically said they’d never vote for a Mormon. I watch the uprisings in 3rd world countries where people fight and die for religious freedom. People are killed for their beliefs. But a great group of evangelicals have found it to be their duty to destroy a man for his faith. Sure, some will respond to this saying, He’s a flip flopper, he’s not conservative enough… But that’s just the excuses many use to justify their destrimination.
I’ve done alot of pondering. Wondering how one goes to church and takes direction from a preacher to discriminate against a group of people. I’ve read and listened as many say they don’t want Mormonism to become main-stream. Guess what? It is. You have neighbors and co-workers and teachers that are Mormon. You just don’t know it.
I’ve listened as many evangelicals have said “Oh, those Mormon’s just want one of their own in the white house.” Yet many, not all, but many, evangelicals are the ones who are truly trying to do exactly that. There are more born again organizations than I can wrap my head around that have their hands in the political cookie jar to influence this country.
Certainly this article and many others will bring out the people I’m speaking of. But before you point the finger, ask yourself how you can call yourself a Christian and be so quick to judge others? It’s seems like the ultimate hypocracy.. Love your neighbors, just not the Mormon ones.

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posted February 7, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Is Mormonism Christian?
“Is Mormonism Christian?” is a very important question. The answer is equally important and simple. No. Mormonism is not Christian.
If you are a Mormon, please realize that CARM is not trying to attack you, your character, or the sincerity of your belief. If you are a non-Mormon looking into Mormonism, or if you are a Christian who is simply researching Mormonism, then this paper should be of help to you.
The reason Mormonism is not Christian is because it denies one or more of the essential doctrines of Christianity. Of the essential doctrines (that there is only one God, Jesus is God in flesh, forgiveness of sins is by grace alone, and Jesus rose from the dead physically, the gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus), Mormonism denies three of them: how many gods there are, the person of Jesus, and His work of salvation.
Mormonism teaches that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones (D. & C. 130:22) and that Jesus is a creation. It teaches that he was begotten in heaven as one of God’s spirit children (See the Book, Jesus the Christ, by James Talmage, p. 8). This is in strict contrast to the biblical teaching that he is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14), eternal (John 1:1, 2, 15), uncreated, yet born on earth (Col. 1:15), and the creator all (John 1:3; Col. 1;16-17). Jesus cannot be both created and not created at the same time. Though Mormonism teaches that Jesus is god in flesh, it teaches that he is “a” god in flesh, one of three gods that comprise the office of the Trinity (Articles of Faith, by Talmage, pp. 35-40). These three gods are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This is in direct contradiction of the biblical doctrine that there is only one God (Isaiah 44:6,8; 45:5). See Trinity for a correct discussion of what the Trinity is.
Because Mormonism denies the biblical truth of who God is, who Jesus is, how forgiveness of sins is attained, and what the gospel is, the Mormon is not Christian — in spite of all his claims that he is.

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posted February 7, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Here we go again…. People keep making my point for me. Instead of finding ways to accept others, others keep finding ways to distance Mormons from everyone else.
There isn’t an article on this site about Mormons or Romney that doesn’t end without someone saying how christian or lack of christian they are. I must have missed the Christian class where you learn who gets put in that category and who doesn’t. Apparently the Webster’s version doesn’t apply.
Chris·tian /ˈkrɪstʃən/ Pronunciation Key – Pronunciation[kris-chuhn]
a person who believes in Jesus Christ
Maybe there’s some Christian Dictionary I’m not aware of??
Does it say, Christian: A person who believes in Jesus Christ, except if your a Mormon?
I find it amazingly arrogant when someone tries to define someone else’s beliefs.

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posted February 8, 2008 at 2:19 pm

There’s more to being a “Christian” than just “believing” in Jesus.
19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—-and shudder. (James 2:19, NIV)
as shown by the gospel accounts of Jesus casting out demons, such as in Luke:
34″Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Luke 4:34, NIV)
A Christian is one who not only believes in Jesus, but trusts in his atoning death and not their own goodness or good works to gain salvation.
Only God knows what’s in someone’s heart, but if the Mormon faith as a whole teaches certain doctrines that are contrary to essential Christian doctrines (as cited above), one has to believe that those following that faith believe in those doctrines.
It is unfortunate that the term Christian has come to mean basically anyone that acknowledges Jesus somehow, or that isn’t Jewish or some eastern religion. This strongly dilutes the historical/Biblical meaning.

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posted February 8, 2008 at 5:46 pm

I think it’s mostly Huckabee’s fault for the whole fundamental thing going on this year…

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posted February 8, 2008 at 9:47 pm

In response to the comments above, the Mormon belief in Jesus being the Firstborn spirit child of God the Father does not conflict with Him being the Creator of Genesis. We believe He existed before this spirit birth and we do not know details of how that birth occurred. I view this birth as a covenant with God the Father analogous to being born again. Our main theological difference is that we do not believe in creation out of nothing or would at least say the idea is beyond our need to know.
People should learn how to better translate religious questions into political language and get over their biases.
For example, Rudy Giuliani should not be asked whether transubstantiation means that Catholics are cannibals. Not only would this question distort a religious mystery, it does not have political substance. Rudy could be asked “How should the FDA be used to regulate what we consume?”.
We certainly should not ask Joe Lieberman if Jews are the ones who gave a green light to the Romans 2000 years ago. This question would dredge up centuries of Anti-Semitic rubbish with a perverted guilt by association. We could ask his views on capital punishment and whether we are yet able to provide fair judgments in this regard.
Mike Huckabee does not need to be asked if he believes in evolution. We should ask if he accepts that students should be taught evolution in science classes. What does it mean to believe in evolution? Teachers should not overstep science by preaching that evolution means life is totally random and without purpose. Students should learn this foundational theory regardless of their religious beliefs. Science should help us intelligently design a better world in the face of all the imperfections and randomness we find.
Mitt Romney should not be asked if Mormons teach that Jesus and Satan are brothers. As a Mormon, I know that Mormons are surprised by this question and the implication that we believe in a tainted Jesus. Mormons may answer yes when thinking of a cosmic story long before the world was created. The more correct answer is no, Satan, as a fallen angel, left God’s family long ago. Mitt could be asked if we should support those who need to divorce or separate from an abusive family member whether alleged or proven.
Mike Huckabee should not be asked why God created everything, including Lucifer, out of nothing and allowed evil to exist. He should be asked whether he balanced the needs for justice and mercy with the many pardons he issued in Arkansas. He should be asked about the practicality and justice of potentially imprisoning those involved in abortion if our laws change. Would measures other than prison be more effective at protecting life?
The interesting idea from the Mormon view of Lucifer is that his initial plan was for us to come to earth and be forced to be good, a phony virtue. Then when God recognized our right and need to choose, Lucifer rebelled and became Satan, dedicated to tempt us to choose evil. This story helps to explain why a faithful Mormon can be pro-choice or pro-life while opposed to abortion with rare exception. We struggle to decide what laws and consequences are appropriate to protect life and to encourage responsible choices.
Mitt Romney has a firm foundation of family, faith, service, and practical experience. Hopefully conservatives who did not support him now will have a chance to do so in 2012.

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posted February 12, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Weather one believes in Christianity as defined by the Nicaean Creed, the Southern Baptists, Mormon’s or don’t believe in Christianity at all, that should not disqualify one from being a good candidate. I personally don’t agree with a lot of Romney’s stances on many issues but non of them are remotely related to what he does or does not believe about Christ, or the Bible. While we seem to be making great strides in acceptance of people based on gender or race, how sad that we as a society have not evolved beyond accepting people based on religion. Who cares if someone believes in the Trinity or in the God Head as Mormons do. I don’t care if they just see Jesus as a teacher or rabbi, or simply a prophet of God. I could care less if they see Jesus as merely a historical figure, or even a complete farce. If they are competent, are respectful of others beliefs, and willing to do the job then those should be the requirement for a president. We are not a country where candidates must take religious test yet it seems that many believe that it is.

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