Romney is America's first
non-Christian presidential nominee. He's a Mormon (aka Latter Day Saints
Church member - LDS). Does it matter? More on that below.
Before he entered politics, he spent years as a Massachusetts Mormon
leader. He began in the mid-1970s. From 1986 - 1994, he was president
of the Boston Stake. It's similar to a Catholic diocese. Before that
he was a Belmont and Cambridge bishop. His duties involved organizational
work and counseling.
Later he taught Sunday school and oversaw church programs for teenagers.
He overstepped by lecturing women on their sex lives and roles as homemakers.
A 1994 Boston Phoenix cited an anonymous woman. As bishop, Romney discouraged
her from having an abortion vital for health reasons.
The same article mentioned an area professor. She urged him to address
domestic abuse. He refused and wouldn't do it. He's an elitist. He surrounds
himself in church, business, and political life with powerful white
He's insensitive about ordinary popular needs. He doesn't convince people
he cares. He calls homosexuality "perverse and reprehensible." His dark
side is largely hidden.
He believes in traditional gender roles. Male dominance is fundamental.
Women should be child bearers and homemakers.
As Massachusetts governor, his style was imperial. He's aloof and patrician.
He frowns on single parenthood. He follows hidebound Mormon rules. Obey
or face excommunication. He ordered one single mother to give up her
son or religion.
At times, he feigns understanding. He doesn't fake it well. Most often
he's distant and indifferent. He's hardline about parishioners doing
what they're told. His arrogance toward one church member made her feel
like he "kicked (her) in the stomach."
Another parishioner called him racist and anti-Semitic. He's part entrepreneur,
predator, church leader, politician, and now presidential aspirant.
He combines the worst of each one.
Last May, Jodi Kantor headlined a largely flattering New York Times
article "Romney's Faith, Silent but Deep," saying:
With presidential aspirations, he "speaks so sparingly about his faith….that
its influence on him can be difficult to detect."
Friends "describe a man whose faith is his design for living." It's
not his only influence, but "its impact cannot be fully untangled from
that of his family, which is also steeped in Mormonism."
As a young entrepreneur, he was very "deseret." It's a Book of Mormon
term. It means "industrious as a honeybee." He went all out recruiting
colleagues and clients with Mormon like missionary zeal.
He's hardline on rules. They mirror his Mormon ones. As Massachusetts
bishop and president he excommunicated adulterers. He discouraged mothers
from working instead of being good wives and homemakers.
In private, he's "demonstrative about his faith." In church, he "belt(s)
out hymns." He fasts on designated days. Wherever he is, most often
he finds a congregation "to slip into on Sundays."
According to Mormon founder Joseph Smith and his successor Brigham Young,
practitioners of other religions are wrongheaded, abominable, blind,
damned, ignorant pagan heathens hatched in hell.
Romney buys this stuff. He follows church dogma and rules. Responding
to critics about his religion, he once said:
"They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion,
say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow
one or another of its precepts."
"That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to
live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them
and to my beliefs."
Mormon temples are only for strict adherents and its leaders. Secrecy
surrounding them is extraordinary. Before church members can enter a
temple, they're interviewed to determine worthiness.
They're asked if they support, affiliate with, or agree with any group
or individual whose teachings or practices differ from church dogma?
Romney gained entry. Blockage denies it to heaven. Repentance can change
Church ordinances include the Law of Consecration. It requires members
to pledge all their time, money, and abilities to establish the Mormon
kingdom of heaven on earth. Absolute obedience to the church president
is also demanded.
If Romney buys this stuff and abides by it, as president he'll be beholden
to a higher power than his own office and must obey what he's told to
Political con men like having things both ways. Promise voters what
they want to hear. Govern according to political priorities. Practice
your religion as you choose out of public view.
Perhaps if elected, they'll be three Romney presidents. He's a chameleon,
an opportunistic con man. He'll combine campaigner, office holder, religious
extremist. He'll one up the worst of Obama enough to give his supporters
pause or should if they take the time to find out.
His December 2007 GHW Bush presidential library speech was planned to
allay fears about his Mormonism. He failed. He only mentioned it once.
He said nothing about its beliefs or practices.
In September 1960, Kennedy removed the Catholic Question by boldly defending
secularism. Romney preached the importance of "faith perspectives" in
He claimed he and fellow Mormons are of like mind with evangelical Protestants
and fundamentalist Catholics. He feels the same way now.
Perhaps he was wise not to defend what’s indefensible. It's less extreme
now than originally but bad enough. The same goes for all religious
extremism. It's one thing to be an adherent. It's quite another to govern
by its dictates.
When asked "(w)ill all be damned but Mormons," founder Joseph Smith
"Yes, and a great portion of them unless they repent and work righteousness."
The Book of Mormon describes two churches: the church of the Lamb of
God and the church of the devil. The latter is the great church. The
other is "the mother of abomination….the whore of all the earth."
In the Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young said:
"Should you ask why we differ from other Christians, as they are called,
it is simply because they are not Christians as the New Testament defines
"The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of
the salvation of God."
"With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived
than the present so-called Christian world."
"….the professing Christian world are like a ship upon a boisterous
ocean without rudder, compass, or pilot, and are tossed hither and thither
by every wind of doctrine."
"….the time came when Paganism was engrafted into Christianity, and
at last Christianity was converted into Paganism rather than converting
John Taylor succeeded Young. In the Journal of Discourses, he said:
"We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense ...the
devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity
of the nineteenth century."
"What! Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God
as the brute beast."
"What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing ...Why so far
as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest of fools; they
know neither God nor the things of God."
Other Mormon leaders expressed similar comments about Christianity and
Mormon exceptionalism. Be wary when religious leaders demean other faiths
for not being true believers.
Mormonism's dark side masquerades as wholesome, special, and benevolent.
It's pernicious and malevolent and about non-believers. Adherents feel
a Mormon is destined to become president and lead America. They stop
short of explaining harmful policies he'll endorse.
The 19th century book titled "The Mysteries of Mormonism" is harsh.
It condemns a religion it calls "the twin relic of barbarism." It was
written by an unnamed "Apostle's wife."
New York-based Police Gazette Publisher Richard K. Fox published it.
Books then cost around 25 cents. Times changed. So has Mormonism, but
very much not in all ways mattering most. It's still hidebound, reactionary,
intolerant and dangerous.
"The Mormon missionary goes abroad in the highways and byways of the
earth, preaching his creed of the bagnio to the ignorant and depraved
and gathering them into the fold."
"Mormonism was a swindle from the very start….Joseph Smith (was) the
worst of a bad breed."
He established a church based on alleged divine revelations given him
by God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and other angelic/divine visionaries.
Flaws and contradictions define it. Adherents claim challenging them
"The 'Book of Mormon' consists of sixteen books, professing to be written
by as many different prophets. In it over three hundred passages of
the Christian Bible are found, stolen without credit."
"Polygamy has no foundation either in the principle of faith promulgated
by Joseph Smith and the founders of the Mormon gospel."
Brigham Young initiated the practice. He produced a document. He claimed
it was a revelation given Smith. It allegedly commanded him to enter
into polygamy. No such revelation existed.
After Young died, church governance changed. America grew up and expanded.
Mormons no longer lived "entrenched beyond the reach of the government
whose laws they violate…."
US President James Garfield campaigned against "Mormon infamy." So did
his successor Chester Arthur. He called Mormonism "an evil calling out
loudly for reform."
"(T)he black outrage of Mormonism cannot continue unmolested many years
longer. The people are awakening and crying out for justice against
"When it is hurled to ruin there will fall the most monstrous structure
of fraud and infamy cemented by the blood of sacrifice ever reared in
the history of the world and a creed of lust that transforms a vast
stretch of our continent into a community of prostitution, and physical
and mental debasement will become the by-word for iniquity it is still
a triumphant monument to."
Mormonism today officially rejects polygamy. Thousands, however, still
Former Mormon practitioner Chris Tolworthy left the LDS church. He expressed
anger and frustration. He moved on and explained. In 2006, he published
"Ten Reasons to Protect Your Children From Mormonism."
He began saying it's "better than many alternatives." It's better than
raising children "in an even worse cult….But Mormonism is not the best."
He belonged to the LDS church for 34 years. For the sake of his children
he left. Why he waited so long he didn't say. His reasons include:
(1) Mormonism "destroys your integrity." It's based on "lies" and "sin."
(2) "It makes you covenant to do evil. Some Mormon teachings and practices
are evil." They destroy integrity, put church before family, divide
communities, preach racism and homophobia, lie, and endorse other harmful
The church keeps its dark side well hidden. Methods it calls righteous
are unethical. It also teaches honesty and other good things. Its virtuous
side doesn't compensate for its harm.
(3) "It might kill your children. Utah is the Prozac capital of the
world." It also the leading state for suicides among adolescents and
young men aged 15 - 24. Many high school girls feel sad and lonely.
Teenagers are taught to feel different from other people. They're made
to feel guilty about normal sexual feelings.
(4) "It limits their emotional development." The church teaches that
"obedience is the first law of heaven." Children get very early indoctrination.
Faith is force-fed.
(5) It's "divisive" because "it has so many core beliefs that can be
"The church puts itself before the family." Individuality and free choice
get shut out.
(6) "The church teaches prejudice." It's racist, homophobic, and hardline.
Church scripture says "black skin is a curse for wickedness."
It's on the wrong side of other social issues. Polygamy was finally
abandoned but not entirely.
Millions of dollars are spent attacking gays.
(7) "It takes good ideas and makes them worse." Its Proclamation on
the Family excludes singles and gay couples. Same sex marriage is called
(8) "It is unethical." The Book of Mormon says Nephi kills Laban, steals
his property, and is praised." Using gospel is a bad way to teach ethics.
The "God said so" approach creates more problems than equitable resolutions.
Parents are perfectly capable of raising children sans gospel.
The church wants your time and money "under false pretenses." Donating
either or both should be personal choices, not mandates. It says "either
you do it our way or the wrong way."
It wants control over "every aspect of your life." It's "totalitarian."
The church steals childhoods. Kids are forced to sit hours in church
learning and worrying about sin. They don't have fun like others their
age in non-Mormon households.
(9) "Poor decision making." Feelings and dogma guide them more than
(10) "Empty promises." The church takes your time and money. In return,
it doesn't make people better. So-called Mormonism benefits "are empty."
The church claims its way is righteous and good. Compared to dysfunctional
lifestyles, it's true. Compared with better ones, it falls short. "If
you want better for your children, you can protect (them) from the dangers
of Mormonism." Exercise free choice and do it.
Modern Mormonism differs greatly from its original form. Critics, however,
call it a longstanding elaborate fraud. Its scripture contains numerous
contradictions and errors. Founder Joseph Smith was a convicted con
He was more huckster than prophet. A purposeful deceiver in his day
was called a "juggler." In 1849, New York Herald founder/publisher/editor
perhaps first used the term confidence man. Smith lived from 1805 -
Herman Melville titled his 1857 novel "The Confidence Man: His Masquerade."
Some believe Smith was his archetype. "The Con Man is Devil and God,"
He preaches aphorisms like "Charity thinketh no evil." "Charity
believeth all things," and "Charity never faith." Melville believed
scamming represented everything wrong with America in the pre-Civil
Many of his confidence man's entreaties make perfectly good sermons.
Smith filled the bill. His mixed messages reflected good and evil. Critics
called him an impostor, a fake, a con man.
Conning the faithful to believe continues. Modern day leaders do it
their way. They also created a vast business empire. In July 2012, Business
Week headlined "How the Mormons Make Money," saying:
Last March, a $2 billion Salt Lake City megamall was completed. It's
adjacent to the church's neo-Gothic temple and president Thomas Monson's
offices. Adherents call him a living prophet.
The project features a retractable glass roof, 5,000 underground parking
spots, and nearly 100 stores and restaurants. Luxury ones like Tiffany's
At its grand opening, Utah dignitaries accompanied Monson. He cheered
"one, two, three," cut the ceremonial ribbon, and said "let's go shopping!"
"Watching a religious leader celebrate a mall may seem surreal, but
(this one) reflects the spirit of enterprise that animates modern-day
"The mall is part of a sprawling church-owned corporate empire that"
church leaders say spreads its message, increases economic self-reliance,
and builds "the Kingdom of God on earth."
Keith McMullin heads the church holding company. Deseret Management
Corporation (DMC) is an umbrella organization for many non-profit church
"We look to not only the spiritual," he says, "but also the temporal,
and we believe that a person who is impoverished temporally cannot blossom
Mormonism combines religious fervor with money-making. Non-profit status
enhances bottom line priorities. Church holdings are vast. Little is
known about them. Financial transparency is absent. Even members required
to contribute generously aren't privy to what goes on.
According to historian D. Michael Quinn:
"The Mormon Church is very different than any other church….Traditional
Christianity and Judaism make a clear distinction between what is spiritual
and what is temporal, while Mormon theology specifically denies that
there is such a distinction."
Megamalls and multi-billion dollar enterprise profiteering is doing
God's work. Quinn adds:
"In the Mormon's (leadership) worldview, it's as spiritual to give alms
to the poor….as it is to make" millions of dollars.
Around six million Americans practice Mormonism. Globally it's around
14 million. Their influence outnumbers their numbers.
The church's business empire and wealth are vast. DMC alone has six
subsidiaries. Its estimated annual revenue is around $1.2 billion. It
runs a newspaper, 11 radio stations, a TV station, a publishing and
distribution company, a digital media operation, a hospitality business,
and insurance with assets worth $4.4 billion.
AgReserves is another for-profit Mormon umbrella enterprise. Together
with other church-run agricultural affiliates, it owns about one million
US acres. They're used for farming, hunting, preserves, orchards and
They include the $1 billion, 290,000 acre Florida based Deseret Ranches.
It has 44,000 cows, 1,300 bulls, citrus, sod, and timber. Foreign based
affiliates operate in Britain, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Argentina
The church also runs several for-profit real estate enterprises. They
develop, own, and manage malls, parking lots, office parks, residential
buildings, and other businesses.
Hawaii Reserves owns or manages over 7,000 Oahu acres with commercial
and residential buildings, parks, water and sewage infrastructure, as
well as two cemeteries.
Oahu's Polynesian Cultural Center is a 43 acre tropical theme park.
It hosts luaus, canoe rides, and tours through simulated Polynesian
Utah Property Management Associates is another operation. Its new megamall
is part of a $5 billion downtown Salt Lake City makeover.
According to Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development official
Church officials run "their businesses like businesses, no bones about
Given their vast enterprises and business expertise, Sociology Professor
Ryan Cragun said it makes more sense to call them "The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints Holdings, Inc."
Like other churches, many of its operations and donations are tax exempt.
They're also secretive. Religious operations aren't obligated to explain
much publicly. In the early 1960s, the LDS church stopped reporting
In 1997, a Time magazine investigation estimated its total worth at
$30 billion. It said about $5 billion flows into church coffers annually
through tithes. It also owned around $6 billion in stocks and bonds.
A more recent Reuters/Professor Cragun investigation estimated a $40
billion net worth, including up to $8 billion annually in tithing.
Church finances are so compartmentalized that no single person, not
even the president, has access to them all. They're vast, growing, profitable,
and perhaps greater than estimated totals.
Modern Mormonism isn't just a religion. It's a money making machine.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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