Monday, November 30, 2009

A mormon president?

There are two online editorials today about Mitt Romney and his “mormon problem”. A number of polls show some distressing signs for Mitt Romney as we slowly start down the road to 2012. A sizeable segment of the population polled (about 1/3) declared that they be less likely for a mormon as President. That is a problem.

The first article was by David Frum, posted on Writing from a conservative standpoint, Frum argues that we shouldn’t let Romney’s mormonism preclude him from office.

Simultaneously, USA Today ran an editorial today chastising the perceived religious intolerance of those who would not vote for a mormon for President. I say perceived because one’s faith is not a value neutral issue. When you believe that God is a created being and that Jesus and Satan are brothers, the offspring of “heavenly parents” and that faithful mormons become gods and rule over their own worlds, your judgment is suspect. His faith is one of the factors about him that people use to judge whether or not to vote for a candidate. There are plenty of people that are legally eligible for office that I wouldn’t support for a variety of reasons.

Regardless, I certainly agree that Mitt Romney’s mormonism is not a disqualifier for elected office. In fact I would prefer Romney as a candidate to any number of other moderate “Republicans” and certainly I would prefer him to Barack Obama. Romney was gracious in defeat and a good soldier after he withdrew. He did everything right in defeat and supported the GOP nominee. I think that by and large Romney would be an o.k. President, reliably conservative and predictable. We could certainly use someone who is stable and not afraid to extol America’s virtues, someone who doesn’t see America as the biggest problem in the world. On top of that, Romney, compared to the Boy Wonder in office now, has actually had some experience in the real world. So if it comes down to Romney versus Obama, I will heartily cast my vote for him and I would also support Romney over people like Rudy Giuliani or other socially liberal Republicans.

Having said that, I do recognize the danger here and it is a danger that goes way beyond fiscal policy or foreign relations. A Mitt Romney Presidency would expose and mainstream mormonism like never before. That could be quite interesting. Would a President Romney, with the press always on his heels, go to the temple in Washington, D.C. and risk having the major media outlets start publishing details of what goes on in the temple? Would the scrutiny of a mormon President bring to light the quirky and heretical views of mormonism? Or would a mormon President make it that much easier for mormon proselytizing? Mormon missionaries already find themselves in a world that is by and large ignorant of God. The more Biblically literate people are, the less effective mormon evangelism becomes. Unfortunately with each passing year, Americans become less Biblically literate and more relativistic. When you combine a mormon President to make the religion seem less scary and an ignorant populace, you have fertile soil for the lies of mormonism to take root.

It should be an interesting story to watch as the race for 2012 unfolds. I think that if Romney were a Methodist, he would be a popular choice as a safe selection, an adult alternative to the childish Obama administration. But as a mormon, coupled with his “Johnny come lately” conservative principles, Romney may find it hard to pull out a primary win in the GOP.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Report from the latest missionary visit

We spent a lot of time on the idea of praying about the Book of Mormon. I tried to really impress upon them the reality that people can talk themselves into all sorts of stuff. The people in Jonestown who drank the Kool-Aid, the followers of David Koresh, the 9/11 hijackers all sincerely believed and had convinced themselves that what they were doing was the right thing. It is little different from mormonism. Mormonism at its heart is based on a “testimony” of the book of mormon that stems from praying to be given a revelation that it is true. It then becomes a linear A-B-C, if the BoM is true, then Joseph Smith was a prophet and the church he founded is what he said it was, the “priesthood” is restored and therefore Thomas Monson is a prophet. All of this stands over and above what the Bible teaches. All of it transcends evidence to the contrary that shows the Book of Mormon to be a fabrication, the product of Joseph Smith’s imagination. There is faith and there is blind faith and mormonism falls into that. The young men who were in our home last night are captive to the same manipulation that has been used for over 150 years by mormonism to draw people into a false belief system. By clever marketing, selective misrepresentation of the Scriptures, religious language and genuinely polite, likeable and nice young men as their representatives, mormonism creates a product people want to buy and like a good salesman mormonism manipulates people into modifying their desire to belong to what seems at first blush like a great thing into feelings of “faith” bolstered by their testimony and that of others. Little wonder that so many talks in mormonism focus on the mormon church being the “true church” and the monthly testimony meetings where you are to inundated with others telling you and encouraging you to publically intone the words “I want to bear my testimony that I know this church is true, that Joseph Smith is a prophet and Thomas Monson is a prophet”. When you have a preconceived outcome and a sincere desire for whatever reason to reach that outcome bolstered by the support of people you like, it is pretty easy to manipulate yourself into an experience. A couple of other things I brought up were people who fall in love and feel all warm and fuzzy, only to break up a few months later and also that they were raised as mormons with the tacit understanding that the BoM was true and that they would be missionaries. That sort of familial pressure can create all sorts of feelings (which is true of many “Christian” kids as well). I have often wondered if they reason the mormon church sends these men out so young is that they are still heavily influenced by their family upbringing and easier to control and manipulate than a more mature adult might be.

We also spent some time on the nature of God. As I mentioned, one of the members who came with the missionaries gave us a copy of Gospel Principles, so we were able to ask about our “heavenly parents” and that this implies a “Heavenly Mother”. We were able to talk a bit about who Christ is, His nature and who He is, and why the Bible teaches that what mormonism believes about Christ is heretical (without using those words). I tried to emphasize that Jesus cannot be who He said He was in the Bible and also be a created being who is the brother of Lucifer and our elder brother, different in age but not in nature.

One new tactic they tried was to get us to preemptively commit to being baptized as mormons and working our way toward that goal even though we clearly had no interest in doing so. Kind of determines the outcome and t hen working toward it. It is kind of clever, it puts pressure on you to get a “burning in the bosom” as you get closer to your date. I think it would be a great sales pitch for a lot of products, decide at the beginning on the closing date of the sale and then work on your pitch. What we did instead was tell them that we would do so if they would similarly agree to be baptized on the same date as Christians. We would search the Scriptures for a month together, pray together and at the end of that time either we would be baptized as mormons or they would be baptized as Christians. That really threw them off. They were kind of stunned for a second. That is when we got into the conversation that either we are wrong or they are wrong but that we cannot both be right. I get the sense that the “commit to be baptized” thing was their big gun and when that didn’t work I was afraid they weren’t coming back. They did commit with no qualms to come again next week, we might have a new missionary after the change date on Monday. Please pray for these lost young men and all of the missionaries around the world who have been manipulated and deceived into earnestly and sincerely preaching a false gospel to the lost of the world.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Building a mall for the glory of God!

Watch this video on the new $1.5 billion temple of affluence that the mormon church is building in Salt Lake City! Gotta love a church that has "investments" sufficient to bankroll a $1.5 billion development.

Visitors tonight!

The missionaries are coming over tonight. Hope to have a very deep conversation who Jesus Christ is. I want to use the Gospel Principles book they left me as a springboard, and ask about our "heavenly parents". So many of the errors of mormonism come back to an aberrant view of who Jesus Christ is, who His Father is and who we are as humans. They are coming at seven o'clock, prayers would be welcome!