Pondering the Mormon Question of Election 2016

 

As polling suggests Utah may not vote for the Republican for the first time in 52 years, many wonder why the reddest of states and its prominent socially conservative religious group are drifting away from the party. It’s tempting to chalk it up to a simple answer: last go around, they had one of their own at the top of the ticket and he was expected to assure the public and his party that he is against having multiple wives, but this time, the GOP nominee and party leaders take the position that multiple wives are dandy so long as they’re consecutive, not simultaneous. Glibness is fine for the screamers of cable news, but let’s strive for better. The Mormon question is a complex one. There are theological and cultural influences at play that deserve exploration.

Even among other devout Christians, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints–which from now on I will refer to as Mormons for the sake of clarity and brevity–is considered unusual. As religious belief wanes and socially liberal attitudes enjoy ever wider acceptance [1] Mormons and the religious right have found each other fighting the same enemies, but their alliance is not based on perfect harmony. Media coverage has unsurprisingly focused on the peculiar aspects of the religion, like sacred undergarments and the sinfulness of drinking coffee, while giving attention, that is at most cursory, to the doctrines that are significantly different from other Christian sects.

Mormons believe it is works, not faith that is ultimately the key to salvation which is ground shared with Catholics, but puts them at odds with most Evangelicals. Hell is not an eternal punishment, but a temporary state following death, after which the occupants are allowed into Heaven. The Mormon conception of Heaven is also idiosyncratic–it’s divided into three tiers to house souls according to righteousness. Those denied entrance into Heaven are a select few cast into Outer Darkness. Hell’s diminished role in Mormon theology is in stark contrast to other Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, but it is in line with a large amount of the American public. It is also characteristic of the Mormon disposition that eschews fury and condemnation. While the church belongs to the millennial tradition, the rhetoric of its officials can hardly be described as apocalyptic. Twice a year they broadcast speeches to their membership, which you can view online. You will notice the calmness of the delivery, the softness of the message, and nary a whiff of fire nor brimstone. Anodyne yes, but jeremiad no.

According to Mormon dogma God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost are three distinct beings. This non-believer can’t fathom why this is a sticking point, but it should be noted as many Christians view this as heretical. Even with regard to social issues, Mormonism isn’t completely aligned with the religious right. Though they were scapegoated for the passing of California’s Proposition 8, the church holds a moderate stance on gays, including support of allowing gays to adopt and anti-discrimination legislation. Aside from controversial statements from President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, Boyd K. Packer, the rhetoric used regarding the issue is less than inflammatory and falls short of hateful. Officially the church is against abortion, but unlike the staunchest pro-lifers, allows exceptions for cases of rape and incest. For more information on the cultural differences between Mormons and Evangelicals, Razib Khan does a good job detailing Mormonism’s Puritan lineage.

Before jumping into the issue that I believe has been wholly ignored, let’s reflect on the circumstantial. This election follows the first in which a major party nominated a Mormon. People not on society’s margins may find it difficult to empathize with Mormon’s enthusiasm for Romney, like many couldn’t grok the significance JFK had to Catholics or even that of Obama to blacks, but identity politics is not sufficient an explanation. Harry Reid is unlikely to have received the same approval had he been the Democratic nominee. Though he hails from a liberal New England state, Romney has connections to Utah other than belonging to its predominant religion. His time as CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games of 2002 was a major success, overcoming budget issues and a bribery scandal that many Utahns feared would cause great damage to the reputation of their state.

During the 2007 primaries and again in 2012, questions were raised about Romney’s religious beliefs and their amenability to the Republican base. So long as politicians profess their faith on the campaign trail, this is not unfair and it certainly doesn’t violate the prohibition of religious tests for public office contained in Article XI of the Constitution. Ultimately, concerns about Evangelical antipathy turned out to be overblown. There was no great exodus of Christians from the GOP. Conservative pundits and politicians rarely brought it up once Romney clinched the nomination and usually they did so to come to his defense, even if halfheartedly. However, from the Mormon perspective, it was a reminder of their outsider status. It is no surprise that there is resentment when four years ago Evangelicals questioned if Mormons are Christian, but now prominent Evangelicals are excusing and rationalizing the sexual misconduct of a man whose religious convictions reek of perfunctory affirmations that are required of anyone seeking office.

And that brings us to the main factor, Donald Trump himself. Mormons are not alone in finding Trump’s personal behavior distasteful, but they are especially repulsed. Family is central—raising children and maintaining a loving marriage are so important that according to church teachings family relationships continue eternally after death. A popular quote in the church is “No success can compensate for failure in the home.” People who take that to heart are not only unlikely to be persuaded that Trump’s affairs can be set aside because of his business experience, they find the argument immoral. But it’s deeper than that. Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich both have well publicized affairs, but it’s doubtful I’d be writing this were either of them the nominee. Trump has been in the public eye a long time, and his own statements clearly display an attitude toward his sexual conquests that is not just blasé but proud.

While it’s not mind-blowing that people notorious for their buttoned-down squareness and clean living are turned off by a vulgar media personality who boasts about his marital infidelities and was a frequent guest on Howard Stern, that’s not the entire story. The thing that doesn’t get commented on, is the Mormon view of women. It sounds strange to people who confuse mainstream Mormonism with the lecherous criminals of the FLDS and leftists who can’t comprehend traditional gender roles coexisting with respect for women, but women are highly regarded within the church.

A unique aspect of Mormon theology is belief in a Heavenly Mother. It is commonly believed among the membership, and indeed as a child I was taught, that Heavenly Mother is mentioned so infrequently to spare her from the blasphemies that are directed at Heavenly Father. This is not an official part of doctrine. The church provides little information about Heavenly Mother and no explanation why so little has been revealed about Her. [2] What is not shrouded in mystery is the church’s progressive history on the rights of women. Utah was the second territory to grant women the right to vote. Prior to Utah attaining statehood, its women were disenfranchised by the Edmunds-Tucker Act which was passed to stamp out polygamy. The bill succeeded in that respect, but the Utah constitution was amended to grant women the right to vote as well as hold office. Martha Hughes Cannon was the first woman state senator in the nation. Doubtless, these developments were not exclusively the result of a commitment to gender equality. Still, they are characteristic of a culture that values women. Outside the political sphere, Mormons hold the role of women in even higher esteem with a reverential opinion of motherhood. Many on the left scoff at the veneration of motherhood, assuming it to be disingenuous pretext for keeping women at home, but other social conservatives understand its sincerity. Cheating on the mother of your children who then suffers the additional humiliation of having it published in tabloids doesn’t win votes anywhere, but is particularly offensive to residents of the Beehive State.

Lastly, mention should be made of demographics. Utah has the youngest population of any state, largely because of Mormon fecundity. Even if adopting the conservative views of their parents, the promise to make America great again, doesn’t resonate with young voters. Neither are they likely to find appealing a baby boomer in his seventies. (The youthfulness of the state is also a plausible explanation why Bernie Sanders won the primary against his more conservative opponent.)

We’ll see soon enough how Utahns vote. While the polls indicate Republican support slipping, it behooves us not to overstate our case. If Trump loses Utah it will be just barely. Clinton isn’t a decent alternative for Mormons who see in her and Bill the same personal failings that Trump has, as well as an unacceptable political agenda. Evan McMullin is the only other option with a shot, but is hampered by low name recognition, little political experience and the common perception that third parties aren’t serious enough to warrant a vote. If Utah’s six electoral votes do not go to the Republican it should be viewed as a rejection of Trump, not conservatism. Bizarre as it has been, this election is not going to radically alter conservative Mormons into big government Clinton Democrats. As friendly as their reputation is, the average Mormon is still eats up the red meat served on talk radio and Fox News. After all this is the religion that produced anti-communist crusader and nutcase Cleon Skousen, who was a primary inspiration of fellow Mormon Glenn Beck when he was the most rabid voice in right-wing media.

There’s reason to fear that this group may not always feel welcome in the American right. With Lou Dobbs tweeting about the “Mormon mafia” and Trump supporters speaking about reprisals against those who don’t fall in line, already sour relations threaten to become worse. Lots has been said about reaching the conservatives who stayed home last election, appealing to the white working class and not neglecting regular citizens who are fed up with the elites of the Washington establishment and think-tank eggheads. The same people pushing that narrative may actually end up driving people out of the movement. That would be as some say, “Sad!”


[1] Even the much vaunted gains of the pro-life movement haven’t shifted public opinion dramatically with a slight majority thinking it should be legal, though not in all cases.

[2] Brigham Young University published an article on the subject which sheds some light on the subject, but which I think underlines the fact that the official teachings are much less than extensive. It is logical that members have come up with their own interpretations.

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  1. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Knotwise the Poet: we can break out scriptures and argue over what words are meant to be taken literally and which are meant to be taken metaphorically and what does the original Greek or Hebrew say

    …or the original reformed Egyptian, as the case may be.

    I think that the fact that Mormons claim an entirely separate set of scriptures and source of divine revelation creates a much wider gulf between Mormonism and mainstream Christianity than exists between Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants.  That said, I do think this is a fair point:

    Knotwise the Poet: The reason why my hackles raise a little at being told I’m not Christian is that it feels incredibly presumptuous to me and like the person is telling me that I do not have a sincere connection or relationship to my Lord and Savior.

     

    • #31
  2. Solar Eclipse Inactive
    Solar Eclipse
    @SolarEclipse

    I’ve been hearing a lot of things about Mormons lately I didn’t know…which is funny, since I grew up Mormon.  But I skipped a good portion of church, didn’t go to seminary, and stopped being involved when I went off to college, so I may have missed a lot of theology.  I think even in their teaching, Mormons try to deemphasize some of their more unusual beliefs, since they can be off-putting even to born-and-bred Mormons who also want to function in mainstream society.  In any case, when people ask me if Mormons are Christians, my brief answer is, “Yes, but they’re weird ones.”

    In 2012, I couldn’t get behind the idea of a Mormon president.  I thought, Mormons are too different from the rest of the population to be effective national leaders.  But now I’m so disillusioned with the direction of things since then, I didn’t even hesitate to vote McMullin.

    • #32
  3. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    Joseph Stanko:

    Knotwise the Poet: we can break out scriptures and argue over what words are meant to be taken literally and which are meant to be taken metaphorically and what does the original Greek or Hebrew say

    …or the original reformed Egyptian, as the case may be.

    I think that the fact that Mormons claim an entirely separate set of scriptures and source of divine revelation creates a much wider gulf between Mormonism and mainstream Christianity than exists between Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants.

    That’s a very good point.  One of our apostles, Jeffrey R. Holland, some years ago gave a couple of talks where he focused on the major doctrinal differences between our church and others- one on the nature of the Godhead, and other on the fact that we believe in an open, rather than closed, scriptural canon.

    As I stated, I don’t want to downplay differences between Mormons and mainstream Christians.  If there were only superficial differences between Mormons and other Christians, then there wouldn’t even be a reason for the Mormon church to exist, as we believe we’re the true church restored to earth following a general apostacy.

    Being categorized as a “heterodox” or “weird” Christian doesn’t bother me, as I recognize how different and radical some of our beliefs are when compared to the overwhelming majority of Christians out there.

    • #33
  4. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Regarding abortion, is it fair to say that McMullin/Mormon=Kaine/Catholic?

    • #34
  5. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Knotwise the Poet: Being categorized as a “heterodox” or “weird” Christian doesn’t other me, as I recognize how different and radical some of our beliefs are when compared to the overwhelming majority of Christians out there.

    Right.  I think it’s largely a case of talking past each other.  I think most people who say “Mormons are not Christians” are trying to emphasize the point we agree on (that there are major doctrinal differences between us), they don’t mean to say what you are hearing (“that I do not have a sincere connection or relationship to my Lord and Savior”).

    The problem with terms like “heterodox” and “weird” is that most people do think such terms sound insulting, even if they don’t bother you.  Whereas when I say “Jews are not Christians” I don’t intend to “other” Jews, and certainly not to insult them, I’m simply acknowledging the differences between our creeds.

    We need to find a better way to say it, but I’m not sure what that way might be.

     

    • #35
  6. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Hoyacon:Regarding abortion, is it fair to say that McMullin/Mormon=Kaine/Catholic?

    What is McMullin’s position on abortion, and how does it differ from the LDS Church’s stance?

    • #36
  7. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    Joseph Stanko: Election

    Not that this really changes what either of us are saying much, but I made a typo in my post when I said being called “weird” or “heterodox” doesn’t “other” me.  I meant “bother”- it doesn’t bother me.  I’ve edited and fixed my comment now.

    • #37
  8. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Joseph Stanko:

    Hoyacon:Regarding abortion, is it fair to say that McMullin/Mormon=Kaine/Catholic?

    What is McMullin’s position on abortion, and how does it differ from the LDS Church’s stance?

    One of the reasons that I asked is that I’m not informed enough to know with accuracy what the Mormon position is, although my guess is that they are pro-life with exceptions.

    This is McMullin’s position per his website:

    Our respect for life is the most important measure of our humanity. From conception to death – and any time in between – life is precious and we have a responsibility to protect it. A culture that subsidizes abortion on demand runs counter to the fundamental American belief in the potential of every person – it undermines the dignity of mother and child alike. Americans can and should work together to increase support and resources to reduce unintended pregnancies and encourage adoption, even if they may have different opinions on abortion rights.

    In short, bob and weave and weave some more.  But don’t tell that to his supporters here.

    • #38
  9. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Joseph Stanko: The problem with terms like “heterodox” and “weird” is that most people do think such terms sound insulting, even if they don’t bother you. Whereas when I say “Jews are not Christians” I don’t intend to “other” Jews, and certainly not to insult them, I’m simply acknowledging the differences between our creeds.

    The difference between saying “Jews are not Christians” and “Mormons are not Christians” is that the Jews will heartily agree, and the Mormons vehemently disagree.  We pride ourselves on being a peculiar people (Deut. 14:2, 1Pet 2:9), so be assured that to Mormon ears the words “heterodox” or “weird” are not insulting.  We’re weird that way.

    -E

     

    • #39
  10. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Hoyacon:

    Joseph Stanko:

    Hoyacon:Regarding abortion, is it fair to say that McMullin/Mormon=Kaine/Catholic?

     

    [snip]This is McMullin’s position per his website:

    Our respect for life is the most important measure of our humanity. From conception to death – and any time in between – life is precious and we have a responsibility to protect it. A culture that subsidizes abortion on demand runs counter to the fundamental American belief in the potential of every person – it undermines the dignity of mother and child alike. Americans can and should work together to increase support and resources to reduce unintended pregnancies and encourage adoption, even if they may have different opinions on abortion rights.

    In short, bob and weave and weave some more. But don’t tell that to his supporters here.

    Perhaps this will help:

    “I am pro-life, and I would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned. I would appoint Supreme Court Justices who are originalists, like Justice Scalia. But I don’t think we can just oppose Roe v. Wade and declare ourselves pro-life. I think we need look at ways to reduce unwanted pregnancies because that will decrease the number of people even seeking abortions. I also think that our poverty assistance programs are failing, which causes many women to seed abortions out of economic need. We need anti-poverty measures that help lift people out of poverty and help them take care of their children.”

    -E

    • #40
  11. Richard Young Inactive
    Richard Young
    @RichardYoung

    Being Mormon since I was eight, now ordained a High Priest (which isn’t as exclusive as it may sound), called as my congregation’s gospel doctrine teacher, having served as a missionary for two years, having left the church (entirely) and having subsequently returned, I think I have a unique and qualified perspective to offer.  There’s very little I have to disagree with in this post except the following: Mormons don’t believe that it is works and not faith that save us.  I think the better encapsulation of our belief is that it is Christ that saves us after all that we can do.  One of the New Testament chapters that I find most illuminating on this subject is Matthew chapter 25, the parables of which explain we must actually try to follow the example of our Savior, always realizing we will fall short of the goal, and continually repenting when we do.

    Secondly, Cleon Skousen was not a “nutcase.”  He certainly had some unusual and perhaps completely off-base political ideas but he was a good and committed Christian.  I met the man as a young boy when my father was trying to sell some of his books.  Many of his books which I read as an adult, particularly those on gospel subjects, I found to be extremely insightful, even while they were suggesting ideas that were not “official” doctrine of the church.

    Anyway, thanks for the post.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    • #41
  12. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Hoyacon: One of the reasons that I asked is that I’m not informed enough to know with accuracy what the Mormon position is, although my guess is that they are pro-life with exceptions.

    Pretty much.  There are more details here.  Please note that this is an ecclesiastical position and not a political one.  The church very rarely advocates for specific political agendas (I can only think of 2 in the last 50 years – Prop 8 and ERA).  In the case of abortion, the church is interested in whether its members participate in one rather than whether or not it’s legal.

    -E

    • #42
  13. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    CandE: Pretty much. There are more details here. Please note that this is an ecclesiastical position and not a political one. The church very rarely advocates for specific political agendas (I can only think of 2 in the last 50 years – Prop 8 and ERA). In the case of abortion, the church is interested in whether its members participate in one rather than whether or not it’s legal.

    So then, could a Mormon politician take the “personally opposed, but…” approach so popular among liberal Catholic politicians?  That is: “personally I agree with my church that abortion is wrong and I would never participate in one, but as a politician I think it should be a personal decision left up to each woman and the law should not intervene.”

     

    • #43
  14. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    For Catholics, there is no wiggle room. The Church has determined that Mormons are not Christian. When Protestants convert to Catholicism, they are not re-baptized. Baptism can be received only once and is valid among Protestants because they share our basic beliefs (from Christianity’s historical origin) about the Holy Trinity. Baptism is entrance into the supernatural family of Christ. An unbaptized person is by definition not Christian. Mormon converts to Catholicism must be baptized because their rituals, due to their beliefs, are invalid.

    However, Mormons have been stalwart political and cultural allies of orthodox Catholics in recent years. There is much to admire about Mormon culture.

    I can understand that my words anger many people. But friendship includes honesty. Many Baptists have similarly unpleasant beliefs about Catholicism. I believe they are mistaken and accept them as good neighbors. You may believe I am mistaken. But no Catholic should think the Church is silent on the matter.

    Can a Christian vote for a non-Christian? Of course. But a voter unaccustomed to the challenge might understandably want to wrestle with it a while.

    Believers in divinity of all forms struggle against the common temptation to live wordly lives and prioritize wordly values. I suspect the voting habits of all sects are less religious than cultural. With their stronghold in Utah, perhaps Mormons have maintained more cultural uniformity than most.

    • #44
  15. (((Cat III))) Member
    (((Cat III)))
    @CatIII

    Titus Techera:Ok, Cat III. There’s no Article XI to the Constitution–there are only seven articles, to be quite frank! You mean Art.VI, Clause 3 for the prohibition of a religious test?

    I was referring to Article 11 of the Living Constitution. Clauses were replaced with text-spaces because Claws are too threatening.

    • #45
  16. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    By the way, I know some Protestants and Catholics who think Trump is not merely an acceptable choice but a blessing from God. I don’t know why they believe this. But I suspect it’s because they dismiss Trump’s flaws as inventions of Democrats and untrustworthy media. Everyone has their own trusted sources these days.

    • #46
  17. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Richard Young: One of the New Testament chapters that I find most illuminating on this subject is Matthew chapter 25

    Funny you should mention that.  Our FHE lesson tonight was on refugee assistance, and we focused on that chapter, especially the last half.  As we read, I noticed that it’s also very relevant to this post.  Christ explicitly states that at judgement the basis for distinguishing the sheep from the goats will be how we treat others.

    Richard Young: Secondly, Cleon Skousen was not a “nutcase.”

    Apropos of nothing (I know little of him and am not interested in doing more than skimming Wikipedia), he is uncle to a number of other prominent Skousens in the church, including Mark, Joel, and Royal.  I’m a bit of a fan of Royal, who is one of the more prominent living linguists, and the world’s foremost authority on the text of the Book of Mormon.  He spent the last 30 years compiling the critical text, of which the earliest text is my favorite.

    -E

    • #47
  18. Jason Rudert Inactive
    Jason Rudert
    @JasonRudert

    Joseph Stanko:

    CandE: Pretty much. There are more details here. Please note that this is an ecclesiastical py  […]

    So then, could a Mormon politician take the “personally opposed, but…” approach so popular among liberal Catholic politicians? That is: “personally I agree with my church that abortion is wrong and I would never participate in one, but as a politician I think it should be a personal decision left up to each woman and the law should not intervene.”

    Mmmmm. Mormons also place a lot of value on Free Agency. So restricting things beforehand and taking away moral choice is frowned upon. Whether a Mormon pol could take that position and keep his temple recommend would be up to him and his bishop. As a matter of retail politics, the analogy with Kaine is strained. McMullin and Romney are/were camaigning to the wider American public, which is more pro-abortion and freaks out about any discussion of restriction. So McMullin is trying not to rile them up too much.

    The vast majority of Mormon politicians, though, are campaigning to a Mormon electorate in Utah, Idaho, maybe Nevada. Here, the Membership is way to the right of the Church, so it pays to take a hard line. Many Mormon Democrats would take that position, but they are usually sacrificial lambs put up against the likes of Hatch or, in the old days, James V. Hansen.

    • #48
  19. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    Aaron Miller:Baptism is entrance into the supernatural family of Christ. An unbaptized person is by definition not Christian. Mormon converts to Catholicism must be baptized because their rituals, due to their beliefs, are invalid.

    If you define Christian as “someone who has a baptism considered valid by what I believe to be the true church,” then I won’t mind you saying I’m  not Christian.  Anybody who converts to Mormonism must be baptized into our church, whether or not they were baptized in another Christian denomination, as we don’t consider any other church’s baptisms valid (believing that only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has priesthood authority to perform these ordinances).  If I were to use your definition of Christian, then to me you are not a Christian.

    That stated, I prefer to use the term Christian to refer to any who hold to the belief that Christ is the Son of God and Savior, as I imagine most non-Christians would use the term.  Whenever my students ask me what the difference between Catholics and Christians are, I make sure to stress to them that Catholics are Christians.

    • #49
  20. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    Joseph Stanko:

    CandE: Pretty much. There are more details here. Please note that this is an ecclesiastical position and not a political one. The church very rarely advocates for specific political agendas (I can only think of 2 in the last 50 years – Prop 8 and ERA). In the case of abortion, the church is interested in whether its members participate in one rather than whether or not it’s legal.

    So then, could a Mormon politician take the “personally opposed, but…” approach so popular among liberal Catholic politicians? That is: “personally I agree with my church that abortion is wrong and I would never participate in one, but as a politician I think it should be a personal decision left up to each woman and the law should not intervene.”

    Do you mean: could a Mormon politician take that position without endangering his membership?  Yes.  That was essentially Mitt Romney’s position in the 90’s.  I don’t know how sincere an advocate he was of legalized abortion (it may have been a political necessity during his ’94 run against Kennedy), but I have little doubt that he was very opposed to it personally.  There are plenty of “horror stories” of him, as an ecclesiastical leader, trying to prevent women in his congregations from aborting.

    -E

    • #50
  21. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Jason Rudert:My take on Mormonism vs other religions is this:

    I used to have two cats, and for the first few days they hated each other. Then I vacuumed the carpet. They both hid under my bed and looked at each other and said, “You’re afraid of the vacuum, too?” And after that they got along okay. Just okay though. They still had their spats.

    Thus it is with other churches, and the LDS, and the vacuum of atheism/secularism.

    That’s beautiful, Rude Dirt.

    • #51
  22. (((Cat III))) Member
    (((Cat III)))
    @CatIII

    Joseph Stanko:

    So then, could a Mormon politician take the “personally opposed, but…” approach so popular among liberal Catholic politicians? That is: “personally I agree with my church that abortion is wrong and I would never participate in one, but as a politician I think it should be a personal decision left up to each woman and the law should not intervene.”

    That was Romney’s position as governor of Massachusetts, though I’m unsure whether that was out of political convenience or if his pro-life position when running for president was the one born of electoral necessity (the third option that he had a genuine change of heart is a possibility but I think much less likely). Few Mormons would be comfortable with that position, though.

    Also, note that the link CandE posted (which was also in the OP) states the church’s official position is:

    Church leaders have said that some exceptional circumstances may justify an abortion, such as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.

    But that is immediately followed by:

    But even these circumstances do not automatically justify an abortion.

    • #52
  23. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    Aaron Miller:By the way, I know some Protestants and Catholics who think Trump is not merely an acceptable choice but a blessing from God. I don’t know why they believe this. But I suspect it’s because they dismiss Trump’s flaws as inventions of Democrats and untrustworthy media. Everyone has their own trusted sources these days.

    These are the folks that truly perplex me.  Supporting a very flawed man as the lesser of two evils- that I get (it’s my own position).  But it’s hard for me to wrap my head around those who are true-believing Trump fans.

    Another reminder that though we all live on the same planet, many of us live in different worlds.

    • #53
  24. CandE Inactive
    CandE
    @CandE

    (((Cat III))):But that is immediately followed by:

    But even these circumstances do not automatically justify an abortion.

    And this:

    “Those who face such circumstances should consider abortion only after consulting with their local Church leaders and receiving a confirmation through earnest prayer.”

    Those not familiar with Mormon teaching might not understand the implications of that statement.  It doesn’t mean to do it if you feel right.  It means that we seek to know God’s will through the Holy Ghost, just as every member should do before choosing baptism.  It’s not something we take lightly.

    -E

    • #54
  25. (((Cat III))) Member
    (((Cat III)))
    @CatIII

    Spin:[Snip]

    I really think there were a lot of reasons that Romney didn’t win that election. His religious beliefs were certainly among those reasons.

    I’d be interested to know what polling showed. I don’t recall the Republicans losing a huge amount of Evangelical support, though surely there was some effect. The Romney campaign had missteps, but defeating an incumbent is very tough. It would be nice to pick one definitive reason why the election went the way it did, but things are rarely that neat and tidy.

    • #55
  26. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    (((Cat III))):

    Spin:[Snip]

    I really think there were a lot of reasons that Romney didn’t win that election. His religious beliefs were certainly among those reasons.

    I’d be interested to know what polling showed. I don’t recall the Republicans losing a huge amount of Evangelical support, though surely there was some effect. The Romney campaign had missteps, but defeating an incumbent is very tough. It would be nice to pick one definitive reason why the election went the way it did, but things are rarely that neat and tidy.

    I remember following the election that I did not feel like it’d been Romney’s Mormonism that lost the election.  While I was sad to see him lose, I was still happy and excited that a devout Mormon had actually had a legitimate shot at winning the Presidency.

    I imagine there were some who didn’t vote for him out of religious reasons, but I doubt it was a major factor in him losing.  Honestly, the biggest reason was probably that, as much as we loathe Obama around these parts, he’s still a pretty popular dude among much of the country.

    • #56
  27. Jason Rudert Inactive
    Jason Rudert
    @JasonRudert

    Knotwise the Poet:

    (((Cat III))):

    Spin:[Snip]

    I really think there were a lot of reasons that Romney didn’t win that election. His religious beliefs were certainly among those reasons.

    I’d be interested to know what polling showed. I don’t recall the Republicans losing a huge amount of Evangelical support, though surely there was some effect. The Romney campaign had missteps, but defeating an incumbent is very tough. It would be nice to pick one definitive reason why the election went the way it did, but things are rarely that neat and tidy.

    I remember following the election that I did not feel like it’d been Romney’s Mormonism that lost the election. While I was sad to see him lose, I was still happy and excited that a devout Mormon had actually had a legitimate shot at winning the Presidency.

    I imagine there were some who didn’t vote for him out of religious reasons, but I doubt it was a major factor in him losing. Honestly, the biggest reason was probably that, as much as we loathe Obama around these parts, he’s still a pretty popular dude among much of the country.

    I look at 2012 like 2004 or 1996. Some elections are essentially unwinnable.

    • #57
  28. (((Cat III))) Member
    (((Cat III)))
    @CatIII

    Aaron Miller:By the way, I know some Protestants and Catholics who think Trump is not merely an acceptable choice but a blessing from God. I don’t know why they believe this. But I suspect it’s because they dismiss Trump’s flaws as inventions of Democrats and untrustworthy media. Everyone has their own trusted sources these days.

    The media was really forward-thinking to get Trump to say all those things publicly for decades. I understand skepticism, especially of the media, but there’s nothing virtuous about stubborn incredulity.

    • #58
  29. JLocked Inactive
    JLocked
    @CrazyHorse

    Knotwise the Poet:

    Spin:I don’t know what heterodox means. If it means “not Christian” then I agree. Here is just one example of why Mormon theology puts itself squarely outside of Christianity.

    The reason why my hackles raise a little at being told I’m not Christian

    It has been my experience that we American Christians judge most when we feel inadequate. The Mormon Missionaries experience is robust and exemplary of immense kindness.

    • #59
  30. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Hoyacon:Regarding abortion, is it fair to say that McMullin/Mormon=Kaine/Catholic?

    Based on the conversation so far I would say no, definitely not fair.

    The Catholic Church teaches that the inalienable right to life begins at conception and should be protected by law (see Catechism #2273).  Kaine’s views clearly conflict with his church’s teaching on that point.

    In comment #40 McMullin sounds pretty strongly pro-life, however even if based solely on his web site you concluded he believed that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare,” it’s still not clear as per #50 and #52 that he would be in violation of LDS teaching.

    • #60
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