Mormons Rock

December 6, 2007

Mitt Romney’s faith speech ROCKED

Filed under: faith,LDS,Mitt Romney,Mormons — by steffielynn @ 8:36 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Oh my gosh did you watch it?  It was inspiring !  It was everything I hoped it would be!  (and more) All I can say is that I had tears in my eyes, because I am Mormon and because I am an American!!!!!!!!

 Here is a link to read the speech and here is a link so you can watch it!

http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Dec06/0,4670,RomneyText,00.html

 http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/06/romney.speech/index.html?iref=mpstoryview#cnnSTCVideo

So read and watch and tell me what you think!

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149 Comments »

  1. Steffie, rather than try to restate everything here, I will copy what I posted on Times & Seasons:

    I absolutely loved the speech. I especially love how he said, in essence, “I’m Mormon. Take it or leave it.”

    Seriously, I challenge anyone to write a better speech. I have written speeches all my life (and some very good ones), but the thought of writing this one . . . I couldn’t have come close to this one.

    BTW, for anyone who wanted the speech to address specific Mormon beliefs, that would have killed not only the speech but his entire candidacy, as well. He had to address a believe in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior, unfortunately, but to go any further would have opened up the entire scope of doctrine to question and, effectively, sanctioned an imposition of a religious test. He simply couldn’t let that happen.

    My favorite lines (beside the “I’m Mormon and proud of it” paragraph) were:

    “There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church’s distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution.”

    “A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.”

    “Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.”

    In essence, very subtly, he said, especially to evangelicals, “If you demand that I describe and explain my beliefs – or that I believe exactly as you do – you are rejecting the Constitution” – and I loved it. Of course, he was appealing to evangelicals, but if you look closely at what he actually said in numerous places, he actually challenged them to be “more American / better Americans” by accepting common values over different religiosity. It was very, very well couched and not at all obvious, but he was appealing to them by asking them to not be narrow-minded and bigoted – and I liked that more than I can express.

    Comment by Ray — December 6, 2007 @ 10:00 pm |Reply

  2. That was fantastic !
    I could only read the speech because I am still at work – but even reading it was so moving – I hope this puts aside some of the prior remarks about him. I think it is about time we had a president that stood fast on the God issue. I am tired of everyone trying to take God off of everything from the pledges in school to the hollidays – it seems like you can’t even call a christmas tree a christmas tree anymore, now they want to call it a holliday tree or a season tree or something.
    Anyway that was a great speech – Go Mitt

    Comment by Ron — December 6, 2007 @ 10:16 pm |Reply

  3. If Chris Matthews and Pay Buchanan agree that it was the best speech in the entire campaign season, and if Matthews calls it a great day for American politics, I’m not going to quibble about a phrase here and there.

    Comment by Ray — December 6, 2007 @ 10:34 pm |Reply

  4. I also loved the speech. My husband, who is not a member, decided to continue watching some sports thing (or something) on our “house” t.v., (the one in the family room), so I decided to go to the bedroom and watch the speech. I guess curiosity got the better of him because in a few minutes, he was in there as well…ostensibly (hope I spelled that correctly). Within two minutes, he gave up on the book and was spellbound by Gov. Romney…as was I. Afterwards, we watched Kennedy’s 1960 speech in which he was forced to defend his religion, and I was amazed at the blatant opposition to Catholicism at that time.

    I must add one little comment. I think the only person Romney offended was a caller who said she felt disrespected because she was a nonbeliever. Huh???

    Comment by marlajayne — December 7, 2007 @ 12:09 pm |Reply

  5. Marla Jayne

    I don’t get the offended non believer thing either! It was a speech about faith and religion, why do those who don’t have either care?

    Comment by steffielynn — December 7, 2007 @ 1:12 pm |Reply

  6. Empty words – that’s all the speech was. More talking AROUND the real questions, than answering them. Would it be political suicide to answer them? Depends on who you ask. I would view it as refreshing. In fact, though I don’t support Romney, I would at least RESPECT him if he was man enough to answer the questions asked of him. As it is, he defers to the LDS church. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just Mitt that I feel that way about, it’s ALL candidates. Answer the questions asked of you, and don’t be ashamed of your answer, if you truly believe it.

    As to the “religious test” that everyone likes to reference, make sure you understand the difference between that, and between people wanting to know what he believes and why. The lack of a “religous test” being necessary, as described in the Constitution, ONLY says that a person doesn’t HAVE to be of a certain religion, or of ANY religion for that matter, in order to be elected. And I agree, and support that. It does NOT, however, say that questions that are of importance to individual voters cannot be asked, and cannot be answered. It ONLY means that, officially, the government cannot say that someone can’t be President b/c of their religion, or lack of it. It doesn’t mean that voters can’t use a person’s religion as criteria to vote (or not vote) for someone. Be sure you understand the difference.

    Comment by Brad — December 7, 2007 @ 2:04 pm |Reply

  7. Hmmm were you watching the same speech I was????

    What exactly were the “real” questions? Maybe he should have said something like, if you want to learn more about my beliefs call our missionaries. I mean I really don’t know what people want him to explain???? PLEASE tell me!

    Like many have said, he wants to be America’s president, not America’s pastor! And if we are going to question ROMNEY’s beliefs, do I get to question Rudy, or Hilary, or Obama, or, Huckabee?

    Comment by steffielynn — December 7, 2007 @ 2:14 pm |Reply

  8. The only problem I had with his speech is that I just don’t think and God and religion should be such a focal point period. Religious faith does not = Values and Morals, so just talk Values and Morals period. I also hate it when those of Religous faith use the framers of the constitution to support all this God talk. The, In God we trust and one Nation under God were added in the 1950’s I think. I think It would have been easier for an Humanitarian Agnostic/Atheist to have won the presidential election in 1808 while it would be virtually impossible for one to win in our current climate. I find this very troubling and sad.

    Lets respect ALL beliefs and just stick to the issues of the country and world, values and morals stand up with out it mattering where you think they came from.

    I watched the movie Bobbie and a speech was given at the end which was fantastic, talk about morals, values, family, country etc. didn’t use the word God once that I could remember but the message was still moving and powerful.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 3:06 pm |Reply

  9. I thought overall, Romney did a good job. In any case, no matter what you thought of the speech itself, it was a shrewd political move. The guy got 30 minutes of uninterrupted national air-time that he didn’t have to share with any of the other candidates. That’s money, and could prove a turning point for him.

    But yeah, I don’t think I quite agree with him that religion is required to have a democracy or that democracy is required to have religion (guess the hundreds of years during the Renaissance don’t count eh?).

    Comment by Seth R. — December 7, 2007 @ 3:20 pm |Reply

  10. I will see if I can find the speech I am talking about and post the link.

    Any Candidate that would say

    “Radical violent Islam seeks to destroy us”

    Scares the hell out of me.

    Lets spend a bit more time figuring out why they are so mad and if it is really about “Islam” Let’s just throw some High Octane Fuel on the fire.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 3:40 pm |Reply

  11. Out of context in regards to religion, still a great speech that I think all should check out. He was talking more about civil rights in the US, Still this is an example of the type of speeches that can talk about values without throwing God statements in.

    http://darrenhardy.typepad.com/blog/2006/11/bobby_the_movie.html

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 3:55 pm |Reply

  12. I like this observation

    “Kennedy simply had to convince Protestants that he was a good American.

    Romney has to convince Republican primary voters that he is a good Christian.”

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/casey/5359282.html

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 4:02 pm |Reply

  13. Hmmm were you watching the same speech I was????

    No, I missed it, but read it online.

    What exactly were the “real” questions? Maybe he should have said something like, if you want to learn more about my beliefs call our missionaries. I mean I really don’t know what people want him to explain???? PLEASE tell me!

    There’s been questions he’s been asked – Jesus Christ, Mormon rituals, doctrine, etc… – that he’s deferred. THOSE are the questions people want to know the answers to, not necessarily the answer itself, but what HE says is the answer. That’s what’s important to a lot of people, myself included. What HE believes, and is willing to say.

    Like many have said, he wants to be America’s president, not America’s pastor! And if we are going to question ROMNEY’s beliefs, do I get to question Rudy, or Hilary, or Obama, or, Huckabee?

    Absolutely, question them all you want. I hope they will respond, though I think they’d behave in fashion similar to Mitt, unfortunately.

    Comment by Brad — December 7, 2007 @ 5:38 pm |Reply

  14. As a non-Romney supporter, I thought his speech was very good.

    CoventryRM:

    The speech wasn’t meant to appeal to non-religious secular people. I’ve found that atheists/agnostics tend to favor left-leaning candidates. Short of completely altering his campaign platform, there wasn’t much he could say that would influence any secularist.

    ‘Lets spend a bit more time figuring out why they are so mad and if it is really about “Islam”’

    If you still don’t know why radical Islamists are so angry and whether it is really about Islam, I suggest you read Sam Harris’ “The End of Reason”. He makes a pretty strong argument that they are motivated by religious belief.

    Comment by dpc — December 7, 2007 @ 5:54 pm |Reply

  15. Anyone with any degree of objectivity at all will understand that Romney simply COULDN’T answer questions of belief – other than a very simple statement of his belief that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. He had to address that one, since it is asked everywhere he goes.

    Seriously, I have read comments to reviews where evangelicals and Southern Baptists have criticized him for claiming to be Christian “when Mormons clearly aren’t Christian.” Come on, people; he was completely sincere when he said that. He didn’t say, “I’m Christian just like you.” He actually said openly that Mormons don’t have the same specific beliefs about Jesus that other denominations do – and yet he got criticized as being dishonest for saying what those very people had been saying for months.

    I have written speeches for years, and this one was brilliant. I honestly am not sure I will vote for Romney in the primary, but the speech was brilliant.

    Comment by Ray — December 7, 2007 @ 6:17 pm |Reply

  16. Brad
    He said he believes in Christ and that He is his savior, what could possibly be more important then that? Why do you want to know about Mormon rituals and doctrine? And if he was to get into that do you realize how long it would take? He would be talking about it through tomorrow. If you (or any other american) are seriously interested in learning the basic doctrine would you have missionaries come and teach you? Or you could just ask a Mormon!

    Here is a way to contact them, just incase http://www.mormon.org/question/talk/0,8554,796-1,00.html

    Comment by steffielynn — December 7, 2007 @ 6:59 pm |Reply

  17. Ray,

    He COULD have said anything he wished, as far as having the ability to say it. He CHOSE not to say what some wanted him to expand him. Don’t confuse CAN’T and WON’T. I know your argument is that it would be political suicide to have said more – and you may very well be right. My point, however, is that it doesn’t matter. Many people, myself included, will not vote for him, b/c of what we know he believes, whether he cops to it on national TV or not.

    It boils down to him being more worried about how what he believes will affect the polls, than about whether people truly know what he believes.

    Comment by Brad — December 7, 2007 @ 7:36 pm |Reply

  18. Steffie, b/c he didn’t expound on what he believes about Christ, other than the general statement he made. Which doesn’t even begin to address the beliefs about Jesus in Mormonism, and many people (not just me) know it. There’s nothing that I personally need to find out about the Mormon rules and doctrine; I already know what you believe. But others in America don’t, and as someone running for President, many people vote on people according to their religious beliefs (which is their right), and he is being as vague as possible. I’d respect him more if he would expound further, as I’m sure people would like to see him do.

    Comment by Brad — December 7, 2007 @ 7:39 pm |Reply

  19. Well you made a GOOD point Brad! His speech on faith was right on, he did not satisfy those (such as yourself) who wish to tear down his beliefs! And you have obviously already made your mind up regarding both Mitt Romney and Mormons. So Mitt did what he needed to do.

    Comment by steffielynn — December 7, 2007 @ 7:44 pm |Reply

  20. steffielynn,

    Shiz wishes to know if you are going to drop this veil between his comments and your blog. Shiz wishes to deliver wisdom to the masses, but he cannot do it without your help.

    For thus saith Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 7, 2007 @ 8:01 pm |Reply

  21. Dpc

    I have several copies of that book and suggest it regularly to Christians, It is exactly what Sam Harris is pointing why we as citizens should not any way tolerate God language and statements like the one I quoted. I also have many many copies of a letter to a christian nation and will personally pay for and have either book sent to anyone on this blog.

    If you think he was pointing his finger at Muslims and Islam you kind of missed the point of the book. I don’t know what your take on it is as I don’t know were you stand on the LDS issues of the blog sometimes it seems you have made pro Lds comments but then suggesting the Sam Harris book I am not sure and I am to lazy to go back through all the comments to figure it out. 🙂

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 8:07 pm |Reply

  22. Brad, you made a good point, but I have a hard time believing that you would “respect him more if he would expound further.” If you are sincere, I am impressed; I simply have a hard time reconciling that comment with, “Many people, myself included, will not vote for him, b/c of what we know he believes, whether he cops to it on national TV or not.” He said, quite forcefully, that he is Mormon, that he believes its principles and that if that sinks his candidacy, “So be it.” You don’t respect that?

    It is fairly obvious that you believe he is headed to Hell; it is obvious you believe he is either deceived or conniving; it is obvious you wouldn’t vote for him if he had been the most spectacularly successful businessman in the field (as he is), the most successful governor of a state with a different political party in power (as he is), the candidate whose personal family life is the most like the ideal you preach (as he is), etc. I can accept that decision on your part, even if I believe Jesus’ injunction to judge someone by their fruits. I just have a hard time reconciling your rejection of him simply because of his religion with the word “respect” – unless you mean your respect for him would go from 0% to 5%.

    I don’t mean to be flippant here. I really, sincerely don’t understand what you mean by “respect” in a purely practical application. Will you explain a bit more?

    Comment by Ray — December 7, 2007 @ 8:18 pm |Reply

  23. CoventryRM:

    I didn’t agree with everything that Sam Harris wrote, but I thought he had some good insights into evaluating beliefs (although he lost me in the last part of the book where he starts talking about Eastern religions; it was the weakest part of his book and served to contradict everything he had just written). I also appreciated that, unlike some who talk about American Imperialism or poverty as the root causes of radical Islam, he astutely pointed out that fanaticism about the religion was the root cause.

    But I felt that his ultimate conclusion about religion was wrong because his argument was fallacious. Just because *some* religious thought leads to bad consequences, it does not follow that *all* religious thought leads to bad consequences. To argue otherwise is to employ guilt by association, pure and simple.

    Don’t get me started on Richard Dawkins though… That guy is just plain wrong! 🙂

    Comment by dpc — December 7, 2007 @ 9:42 pm |Reply

  24. Don’t confuse “respect” with “agreement”. I can respect someone and not agree with them; likewise, I can agree with someone and not respect them.

    Do I agree with Mitt on many (if not most) of his stances regarding social issues, taxes, foreign policy, etc…? Yes.

    Do I believe that, from what I can tell, he lives a fairly moral life and has good family values? Yes.

    Do I believe he’s been successful in business? Yes.

    Do I believe he’s done a decent job as governor? Yes.

    But here’s the kicker for me. Nobody’s asking him about his job as governor, or his business success, or his family life, b/c most everybody already knows about those! What is the biggest question in his campaign? His Mormon faith. And what is he MOST hesitant to talk about? His Mormon faith. Yes, he’ll skim the basics, he’ll mention the words “God” and “Jesus Christ”, but will he get into details? No. Why? B/c the details of the Mormon church would be hard to explain to the lay person who doesn’t already have an understanding of what they believe, b/c of all the stuff that missionaries DON’T tell people. That’s what I want to know about – what’s his personal belief on that stuff. Do I know what his belief is? Yes, b/c he himself says he is fully into Mormonism. But if that’s the case, then why skirt the issue? Why not spend all the time to discuss something, and at least try to get people comfortable with it, in some fashion, and appear as if you’re trying to answer the questions people want answered?

    B/c he knows that if he goes down that road of explaining Mormonism, it opens up cans of worms that he doesn’t want opened, b/c it will be shown to NOT be the same as evangelical Christianity, but there’ll be teeth behind those facts, instead of just a simple statement saying “we don’t believe exactly the same”.

    If he opened up and answered those questions, the ones he knows the answers to, and knows people want answered, but is unwilling to do so b/c he knows it would kill his campaign, then I would respect him for having the backbone to at least stand up for everything he believes in, and not be ashamed of ALL the details in the public opinion. THAT would be something that I could respect. Until then, nope.

    Comment by Brad — December 7, 2007 @ 9:49 pm |Reply

  25. I understand what you are saying, Brad, but do you understand how absolutely impossible that is for him to do? If he went down that road, it literally would take up every minute of his campaign. Also, the vast majority of those who oppose his candidacy because of his religion won’t change their minds if he talks about all of this. Those who don’t automatically oppose him because of his religion will get ticked by his “focus on his religion” and not vote for him because he “refuses to focus on his political stances”. It’s a vicious catch-22. He literally is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

    One more point: When he addresses what should be a very simple question, there are no clear-cut, good answers. For example, he is asked, “Are you a Christian?” If he answers according to his own conviction, according to his own personal understanding of that term and says, “Yes, I am,” he gets blasted by those who disagree and think Mormons aren’t Christians. If he answers according to the understanding of those who disagree with him by saying, “No, I am not,” he is being untrue to his own personal convictions and will anger every Mormon in the world – as well as all those who are not Mormon but who believe that Mormons are Christian. The only answer he possibly can give is the one he actually gave, “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. My religion’s specific beliefs are different than other religions’ specific beliefs, but that is true of many denominations within Christianity.” He said the only thing that he could have said that was both honest AND avoided pissing off half of the people who might vote for him – and he got criticized for doing it. Again, damned if he does; damned if he doesn’t.

    If it is impossible to answer such a direct and relatively simple question, then how in the world could he answer other, more complicated questions – like grace vs. works, creationism vs. evolution, the nature of scripture, the difference between prophetic authority and infallibility, polygamy, etc. All he can do, from a very practical standpoint, is to ask people to talk with regular members or missionaries or check out the Church’s website which is what he does.

    He also has not once said, “Make the other candidates answer these types of questions! If they do, I will.” I think that would be totally understandable (though I wouldn’t like it), but he hasn’t done that.

    Even if you don’t agree with his beliefs, how can you not respect what he is doing in the face of such tremendous opposition and outright hostility from so many sources? (e.g., “A vote for Romney is a vote for Satan.”)

    Comment by Ray — December 7, 2007 @ 10:12 pm |Reply

  26. Dpc

    Eastern philosophies or religions tend not to center their beliefs on a Deity but more around the inner self, the person. History has pretty much shown that it has mostly been the organized religions and philosophies that answer to an all mighty deity that have justified the use of violence in their cause. So I don’t think Harris undermined any of what he said when speaking of Eastern Mysticism and spirituality. Take Taoism for example the spiritual essence of the Tao is so personal that the first lesson is something like A Tao defined is no longer a Tao.

    I think Richard Dawkins makes some great points, what do you think of Carl Sagen?

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 7, 2007 @ 11:47 pm |Reply

  27. Shiz predicts that Romney will get the republican nomination.
    How does Shiz know this?

    Because he is Shiz.

    Comment by Shiz — December 8, 2007 @ 12:01 am |Reply

  28. CoventryRM:

    Although I’m familiar with his name, I haven’t had the chance to read any Carl Sagan yet. I’ll have to read a couple of his books.

    Comment by dpc — December 8, 2007 @ 12:03 am |Reply

  29. dpc

    I mentioned one to Ray on the other post called “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 8, 2007 @ 12:07 am |Reply

  30. Carl Sagan is fascinating.

    Comment by Ray — December 8, 2007 @ 12:25 am |Reply

  31. Carl Sagan is Shiz’s equal.

    Comment by Shiz — December 8, 2007 @ 1:20 am |Reply

  32. I just have to say that I too thought his speech was FANTSTIC! So touching and amazing, I was thinking how proud his family must be of him at the time. Whether or not he wins, that speech was something that every American needed to hear, and I felt like this was an unparalleled opportunity to share some very great ideas that a lot of Americans have drifted from.

    And I have to take a jab at Brad who seems so fired up, does Mitt Romney really even need your respect? He’s got enough from quite a lot of other people!

    Comment by Rachel — December 8, 2007 @ 2:46 am |Reply

  33. Interesting thread.

    Is this Brad the same Brad as before? Or is everyone named Brad a troll?

    BTW, Brad, I’m not really a Romney supporter, but Romney has said about 10,000 times that he is not a spokesman for his faith. Why is it you want him to be one?

    You say you already know what Mormons believe, so it’s not for you.

    You say it’s for all the other people out there who don’t know.

    But they can go to the official church website, or any of a hundred sites in the bloggernacle, and see basic Mormon beliefs and deep Mormon questions discussed and argued about all day every day.

    They can go to anti-Mormon sites and see the Church mocked and insulted for its beliefs every day.

    They can go to their friendly neighborhood evangelical Christian church and hear the LDS Church called a non-Christian cult, with in-depth explanations and annotated definitions.

    Or they can ask another Mormon.

    With all these sources of information available, why exactly should Romney spend his precious public airtime discussing Mormon beliefs? To win your respect? Why would you respect someone who would be that stupid?

    Tell the truth: you will never vote for Romney. None of the other people who think like you will ever vote for Romney. Want to know why Romney doesn’t answer your questions? Because talking to someone who is prejudiced against you because of your beliefs is a waste of time. He is wise to spend his time talking about actual issues with people who may actually vote for him.

    Now I’m done wasting my time on you too.

    Comment by MCQ — December 8, 2007 @ 7:30 am |Reply

  34. Steff,
    I am from the God and Culture blog, maybe you remember me asking if you were a Mormon. I just have one question… We both obviously believe in two different Jesus’s and one of us is right and the other wrong. Period. I would like to talk to you about that, if you could email me I’d love to get in a discussion about Christ and the Bible. I hope to hear from you.
    God Bless,
    Colin

    Comment by Colin Samul — December 8, 2007 @ 5:46 pm |Reply

  35. Colin – or both are right to some degree and wrong to some degree. “We see through a glass darkly” applies to everyone, doesn’t it – even prophets, since it was a prophet who said it (and he had said that he had been caught up to the third heaven, so if it applied to him I have to assume it applies to all of us).

    Mormons don’t believe we understand everything perfectly; we also don’t believe that others have no truth; I would think (hope) you agree with that for yourself, as well; so why does it have to be “one of us is right and the other wrong. Period.”?

    Comment by Ray — December 8, 2007 @ 7:08 pm |Reply

  36. Steffie, I would enjoy a thread about Christ and the Bible – as long as it remained civil (ej and MCQ). *grin* Some of my favorite moments at the Divinity School were unscripted seminar discussions about important topics like this. Rather than make it a private conversation, would you consider making it a thread here?

    Comment by Ray — December 8, 2007 @ 7:12 pm |Reply

  37. I agree Ray, i’ll do that tonight! I tried to do it awhile back with my “I believe in Christ” post, https://mormonsrock.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/i-believe-in-christ/ but I would LOVE to start a new one! I’m leaving and won’t be back til later, but I WILL post a new one tonight!!!

    Comment by steffielynn — December 8, 2007 @ 9:47 pm |Reply

  38. Well, clearly the speech went over well politically. That said, it confirmed to me some of the key reasons Romney is so horrendous a thought as President:

    -He began his speech aimed at asking for religious tolerance of him as a Mormon by spewing anti-Muslim bigotry even before he mentioned his own religion. “Bigotry is bad…for me, but not for them.” It’s like he was reaching out to every conservative Christian out there and saying “can’t we all just get along by agreeing Muslims are Satan’s spawn and not Mormons?” Add this to his recent comment about not appointing a Muslim to the cabinet (being spun many ways by all folks I know but perfectly consistent with his past anti-Muslim bigotry), and his comments in Massachusetts about spying on Mosques (which he refused to recant). The man is a bigot, bigot, BIGOT! I will not vote for a bigot for President, and on top of it he is a 110% hypocrite. He’s saying “religious tolerance for me, but not for the other guy that we all hate”. Disgusting.

    -And for a speech that was supposed to be all about assuaging fears of his religion, I point out (as was pointed out to me before I ever read the speech by my non-Mormon colleagues at work who know my religion and respect it) that he mentioned the word “Mormon” only once. In other words “let’s get this over with as little mention as possible of who I really am and then get on with it”.

    It may have been a speech well-calculated for the political gains he is seeking, but then that is one of my main beefs with Romney as with Hillary – he’ll say anything to get ahead politically, in reality he has no real moral principles (as a politician, I’m sure he’s fine enough an individual, but the two are not the same), you can’t count on him to stand firm on anything other than doing whatever it takes to get himself ahead in the political game.

    Comment by Non-Arab Arab — December 9, 2007 @ 3:26 am |Reply

  39. NAA –

    1) I see two comments about Islam, and both are qualified: “**Radical violent** Islam seeks to destroy us” and “Infinitely worse is the other extreme, the creed of conversion by conquest: violent jihad, murder as martyrdom, killing Christians, Jews, and Muslims with equal indifference. **These radical** Islamists do their preaching not by reason or example, but in the coercion of minds and the shedding of blood.” What term should he have used instead – or how should he have phrased that statement to make it “less bigoted”? (Serious question; I really want to hear your perspective.)

    Otoh, he also praised “the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims” in the same sentence where he praised aspects of specific Christian denominations. Let me repeat that: He praised Muslims in the same sentence and manner as he praised Catholics, evangelicals, Pentecostals, Lutherans, and Jews. Let me repeat that: He categorized non-violent, non-radical Muslims exactly like Catholics, Protestants and Jews. Wow, that’s bigotry of the worst type!

    2) His speech had 38 paragraphs, including some very small introductory and conclusive ones. He talked about his religion directly in 10 paragraphs. That’s over 25% of the paragraphs – and, frankly, more than 25% of the actual text. Yes, he used the word “Mormon” only once, but he said “my religion” three times – and “my faith” three times – “my church” three times. That’s 10 references to Mormonism by one name or another.

    He also said, “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. Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it.” That’s not exactly avoiding or running away from his religion.

    3) Finally, about your statement that “in reality he has no real moral principles” – that’s hilarious. He is the only Republican candidate of consequence who has been married only once – and with whom there is not the slightest hint of scandal of any serious kind. (The landscaping company is a non-starter, as there is no indication whatsoever that he was aware of the status of the illegal workers.) That alone is a solid example of moral principle. So is his refusal to distance himself from his religion. So are many of the actions reported by his employees when he ran Bain. He is a shred political opportunist, but “no moral principles” is just ridiculous.

    I TRULY respect much of what you have posted on other blogs. I mean that sincerely. This, however, is an extremely weak commentary on Romney’s speech.

    Comment by Ray — December 9, 2007 @ 4:17 am |Reply

  40. Argh…it’s from staying up too late and being too annoyed. There’s a real point behind what I said, but I’ll acknowledge the over-the-top nature of the comment and postpone clarification for a time when I’m more sane.

    Comment by Non-Arab Arab — December 9, 2007 @ 4:42 am |Reply

  41. That I understand completely! 🙂

    Comment by Ray — December 9, 2007 @ 5:14 am |Reply

  42. Ray here is the new post: https://mormonsrock.wordpress.com/2007/12/09/who-is-jesus-christ/

    Now I’m sure this will start some interesting comments, and what I wrote is really just what I know about Him, I’m sure there are some who know more details, (doctrine) but for me just knowing Him as my Savior is enough. I do get sad when people say things like we believe in a “different Jesus” but I will never get tired of telling them that I DO know Him. So to all who feel that way all I can say is “Bring it” 🙂 J/K

    Sorry i’m tired and my mind is not working right! I feel the same as non Arab Arab 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 9, 2007 @ 6:20 am |Reply

  43. NAA

    I agree with you that bringing that into this speech was not needed and thinking of him as president horrifies me as well.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 9, 2007 @ 7:52 am |Reply

  44. Steffie

    All Polititians are the same , they just tell us what we want to hear and not whats strictly true … Why would Mitt be different ? and hasn’t he sworn an oath in The temple to put The church first and above everything else ?

    Comment by elder joseph — December 9, 2007 @ 8:37 pm |Reply

  45. EJ

    I personally do not like many politicians, because I feel many are immoral and corrupt. I like Romney because I think he is different. I respect the fact that he adores his wife and he has been faithful to her for 38 years. That says a lot about a man! I also agree with most of his stances on important issues. I think he will make this country a better place to live. I am concerned about my kids, and their kids. I feel it is very important to change where we are headed and I think he can do it!!!!

    Comment by steffielynn — December 9, 2007 @ 11:17 pm |Reply

  46. Ray,

    I understand your take – I do. Politically, to answer such questions would be time-consuming, tough, and most likely detrimental to his campaign. My point isn’t that he CAN’T answer the tough questions, but that he WON’T answer them. He COULD answer whatever he wanted to, but CHOOSES what he wants to. I hold to 1 Peter 3:15, and the “always be ready” concept. It doesn’t place any restriction on whether answering hurts a political campaign. But I understand your point on that.

    Rachel,

    Mitt doesn’t know me, nor do you. He doesn’t “need” my respect, but he does need my vote. And for many people (not just me), no respect for someone = no vote for them. So in a way, he DOES need the respect of a LOT of people. Keep that in mind.

    Comment by Brad — December 10, 2007 @ 2:08 pm |Reply

  47. Brad, thanks for the additional comment in #45, especially the note to Rachel. I get that.

    One last point: What bugs me the most about the whole “Romney should explain his religion” argument is that the same standard is not applied to anyone else. Frankly, Huckabee is a great example of this. Just because he is a Baptist, we should assume his personal beliefs are fine and dandy? (That’s not pointed at you but rather the population in general.) I think the young earth theory is nuts, but he doesn’t need to respond to that? It appears his political zeal and religious mixing of repentance and civil punishment freed a serial rapist who then raped and murdered again – but he doesn’t need to address the role his religion played in his decision to pardon that man? There are more examples of instances where his religious beliefs might have (or did have) a serious impact on his ability to govern, but he’s not getting grilled like Romney.

    I don’t want religion to be a test at all, but if it is for one, it should be for all. If someone wants to do unto others, they should want to have done unto all. Otherwise, they are hypocrites of the highest order – and I see a LOT of that coming from the evangelical court, in particular, on this one.

    Comment by Ray — December 10, 2007 @ 2:30 pm |Reply

  48. Ray
    In an earlier post I quoted this observation

    “Kennedy simply had to convince Protestants that he was a good American.
    Romney has to convince Republican primary voters that he is a good Christian.”

    I agree that while Romney’s speech was very effective in its purpose, I find that to be disturbing and troublesome. Have you read the book by Noah Feldman , Divided by God? He points out some very interesting things as the premise of the book is to walk you through the History from the framers of the constitution until now and how Secularism and Religion have played out over the years.

    From the above observation just since Kennedy’s time things have changed in regards to “Religious tests”

    It seemed to me in Feldman’s book that we have done almost a 180 and it really doesn’t seem that either side really has gotten what they want. Originally secularists could have cared less if there was symbolic representation of Religious views in public places such as schools and government offices. What wasn’t tolerated was giving money to religious organizations (oversimplified) or legislation based on religious concepts. I doubt there would ever been so openly a debate that the focus of a presidiential election would be A: Are you Christian and B: Are you sure you really are a Christian.

    I just wish in our political system that it was only about the issues and your stand on those issues. I would like to believe that even if I was still a person of religious faith I would still have this same opinion. Argue the issues based on what we understand today, Morals and Values can be argued on their own merit period. Social conscience has already out distanced the Bible/Christian concept when it comes to Morals and Values in my opinion anyway.

    I watched the documentary on Fred Phelps “Fall from Grace” I recommend it to everyone. The guy is nuts, but then they also put in a few quotes from Falwell and Pat Robertson and you have to notice that it is just a matter of a few degrees between Phelps and mainstream fundamentalist Christianity.

    It really has NO place in the Political process.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 10, 2007 @ 3:50 pm |Reply

  49. Wow Coventry, you read A LOT! 🙂 I wish I had time to read. All I have time for right now are scriptures and my kids bedtime books. (and your comments:) )

    I’m reading ‘Tennis Shoes for the Nephites’ right now to my kids. I LOVE it, and so do they!

    I started to read ‘Misquoting Jesus’, It seems to go along just a little with what the LDS believe… anyways, as you know i’m no intellect…. maybe one day 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — December 10, 2007 @ 4:36 pm |Reply

  50. I figured most LDS would take that position on misquoting Jesus. Drives me crazy, read beyond the superficial point that the Bible is unreliable and pay attention to the things that he brings out that look more like the additions of men, and how the BofM and Mormonism have seemed to embrace the teachings that the evidence seems to show are less the teachings of Christ but are more consistent with the known additions of men with agendas.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 10, 2007 @ 5:24 pm |Reply

  51. Ray,

    In regards to #46, I do agree with you (maybe not necessarily about what was said, but about the principle, at least). In fact, in #13, I said that it is and can be applicable to all candidate, if a voter so chooses.

    I think the big deal has to do with Romney being Mormon. Right, wrong or indifferent, that’s what’s driving these questions. And I don’t think it’s just one small subset of people who have the questions, it’s a lot, or else Romney wouldn’t have made a “religion” speech. For Huckabee, for example, it may be a much smaller subset of people, which is why you aren’t hearing any hoopla about his religion. However, for anyone who has questions, I always encourage them to ask and to expect an honest answer (however ironic that request may be from a politician). I’m not advocating one stance for Romney, and another for all other candidates. I advocate the same for everyone, on this issue.

    Comment by Brad — December 10, 2007 @ 6:22 pm |Reply

  52. Coventry, I’m reading Ehrman too. The problem is, most of his argument is based on an undisciplined and faulty translation process during early Christianity.

    The same argument doesn’t work for Mormonism since we actually have the originals of Joseph’s work. You can actually track the transmission of Joseph’s writings to an extent not possible in the First and Second Centuries.

    Now, what you might consider with respect to the Book of Mormon, is that even if we grant that Joseph really did have gold plates (which you do not) and that God really did miraculously cause Joseph to dictate a perfect translation (again, not your argument), this still does not account for Mormon’s role in compiling the condensed document from the vast quantities of historical documents he had access to.

    What sort of fun stuff went on in transmitting the data there? In this respect, Ehrman seems relevant to a discussion of the Book of Mormon. But he really doesn’t seem to have much to say about the Gold Plates to Joseph Smith to Book of Mormon chain of information.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 10, 2007 @ 6:36 pm |Reply

  53. Coventry, geez, I just started the book, i’m just giving you my opinion! Am I not allowed to form my own?

    You get irritated way too easily!

    Comment by steffielynn — December 10, 2007 @ 6:58 pm |Reply

  54. Shiz states that no man can dictate another man’s fairness. Shiz believes that if a man is comfortable as an evangelical, there is no need to question another of like mind. Man only questions what he is uncomfortable with. Fairness is not essential to this man.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 10, 2007 @ 7:21 pm |Reply

  55. Steffie

    I am just saying don’t jump to conclusions so fast and really read what he is saying. At first glance it would seem to be supportive of the Mormon perspective.

    Seth
    My point being that the premise seems to support the LDS perspective, I don’t think it does, I think the things that he points out that were most likely added and why are also the same things that LDS have assumed were the pure parts so to speak.

    I guess as I was reading it I couldn’t help but think that some LDS are certainly going to use it in support of why we needed the B of M. I just felt that if the reader went in with that perspective they would ultimatley miss many of the great points he makes.

    of course you can’t even compare what he is doing with the B of M. I wasn’t making that comparison at all.

    An example of what I am saying is – suppose that there was something specific that was discovered in the Bible to be absolutely false and added later by a catholic scribe, on first thought the LDS could say, see the Bible has problems that is why we needed the B of M. but if that Item that was found to be false was something central to the tenant of Mormonism, then the opposite would be true. It would put more suspicion on the BofM and more support the theory that Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith or Oliver was the force in writing the BofM intentionally trying to clarify points in the Bible that they felt needed to be clarified.

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 10, 2007 @ 8:46 pm |Reply

  56. Well, good point. I’m not entirely comfortable with Ehrman myself. After all, I certainly don’t share the agnostic conclusion he has reached in general about Christianity. I also think all people of faith live in glass houses. So throwing stones is of questionable wisdom.

    In the end, I like Ehrman’s book because it makes a lot of sense to me and doesn’t conflict with my overall conclusions about faith. But I doubt I can follow him everywhere he seems to be going.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 10, 2007 @ 9:16 pm |Reply

  57. We didn’t “need” the BoM because of any supposed defect or insufficiency of the Bible. The BoM would be important no matter what state the Bible was in. Even if the Bible was perfect we would still benefit from, and most likely would still have, the BoM. It’s a separate testament from a separate people, testifying of Christ and revelation from a different and important perspective. It’s not intended as a correction of or supplement to a supposedly imperfect Bible.

    Comment by MCQ — December 10, 2007 @ 11:26 pm |Reply

  58. MCQ

    But LDS use the fact that the Bible has it’s issues and the purity of the B of M as one of the many reasons for the B of M and as a testimony builder thats the only point I was making and figured LDS would use the book we are talking about as a support of this.

    You don’t have to disagree with all my points just because it is me saying it 🙂

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 10, 2007 @ 11:43 pm |Reply

  59. Coventry, there’s a difference between how Mormons and early Mormons market the Book of Mormon, and what the book actually internally claims to be.

    Comment by Seth R. — December 11, 2007 @ 12:21 am |Reply

  60. Ha, don’t get defensive Coventry, I was just making a minor point. I agree with you more often than you think.

    Comment by MCQ — December 11, 2007 @ 12:50 am |Reply

  61. And I agree with your minor point!

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 11, 2007 @ 12:54 am |Reply

  62. Kumba ya, my Lord. Kumba ya. 🙂

    Comment by Ray — December 11, 2007 @ 2:00 am |Reply

  63. “I also think all people of faith live in glass houses. So throwing stones is of questionable wisdom.”

    That sums up my problem with anyone who claims that there is nothing in someone else’s religion that can inform and instruct and edify them. All of us “see though a glass darkly” – including the prophets we accept. Whenever I hear someone (Mormons AND others) say that they understand absolute truth and the other simply is false (that they can’t learn from each other), I am saddened more than just a little bit.

    Comment by Ray — December 11, 2007 @ 2:04 am |Reply

  64. Steffie, Again I marvel at your tolerance to allow these “warring factions” to use your blog in such a disrespectful fashion. I thought this particular post was about Romney’s speech, not the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Maybe some of you guys could use your own blogs as forums for disagreements and debates.

    Comment by marlajayne — December 11, 2007 @ 2:06 am |Reply

  65. If Steffie asks me to take it somewhere else, I will. I’m sure most of the others would as well. I’m normally a real stickler for staying on-topic. But when I came here about a month ago, it seemed that staying on topic was not really being followed very strictly. The conversation seemed pretty one-sided, so I waded in. Steffie seemed to appreciate it. After a while, staying on-topic kind of stopped being an assumption here I guess.

    And actually, we do use our blogs as forums for debate (at least, the one I’m on is).

    Comment by Seth R. — December 11, 2007 @ 2:15 am |Reply

  66. Seth, MCQ, Ray and Steffie

    Ididn’t think we were warring

    AND steffie started it by bringing up that book!

    🙂

    Comment by CoventryRM — December 11, 2007 @ 2:19 am |Reply

  67. Shiz observes that it is nigh impossible to talk about Mitt Romney without interjecting religion. If this is the case then no one here is off topic.

    I am Shiz

    Comment by Shiz — December 11, 2007 @ 2:20 am |Reply

  68. Shiz, as much as you drive me nuts some times, you also nail it right on the button just as much – in about 10% of the space it takes me.

    Comment by Ray — December 11, 2007 @ 2:23 am |Reply

  69. I am curious to know what everyone makes of the latest Mitt news –

    Comment by coventryrm — February 2, 2008 @ 6:15 pm |Reply

  70. Why doesn’t a comment here show as a recent comment?

    Comment by coventryrm — February 2, 2008 @ 7:40 pm |Reply

  71. I think it was a brilliantly worded and perfectly accurate dodge. He said two things in the actual interview; only the first part was quoted in the video you linked. He said:

    1) **I** (meaning Romney) don’t **know** (NOT believe) that God has spoken **with** (NOT to) anyone since Moses. (Obviously, he is NOT referring to Jesus, but rather God, the Father. In the First Vision, there is no indication whatsoever that God, the Father, spoke WITH Joseph Smith – and I can’t think of any instance in the record where JS claimed to have spoken WITH the Father. Even if there is, Romney might not know of it either.)

    This answer makes it a matter of **personal knowledge** – not belief or faith or conviction. It also doesn’t address prophecy and prophetic revelation, since it only addresses God speaking WITH prophets and leaves open any other manner of receiving revelation. (like visions, impressions, feelings of the Spirit, hearing a voice but not having God appear and converse about it, etc.)

    2) He then added a disclaimer that isn’t getting quoted much. He said that he believes God spoke **to** Moses – “and a few others since then”. The interviewer did not follow up on that comment, and it’s not getting play – since excerpting only the first part and not analyzing it carefully makes for more controversy than looking at the entire interview.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 2, 2008 @ 9:14 pm |Reply

  72. God didn’t speak then who said – The First Vision
    This Is My Beloved Son. Hear Him?????

    http://josephsmith.net/josephsmith/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=497679179acbff00VgnVCM1000001f5e340aRCRD&vgnextfmt=tab5

    Comment by coventryrm — February 2, 2008 @ 11:24 pm |Reply

  73. coventry, As I said, Romney’s response was a brilliant dodge. He said speak “WITH” – not speak “TO”. God, the Father, uttered one line “TO” Joseph; He never spoke “WITH” Joseph.

    Again, Romney said at the beginning he did not know if God had spoken WITH anyone since Moses, but he then later said that God had spoken TO Moses – and a few others since then. The way he said each statement makes it clear he meant them to be different. Again, a brilliant dodge, but certainly not false doctrine or a denial of the First Vision.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 3, 2008 @ 1:55 am |Reply

  74. This is not new. It happened some time ago, and FWIW, I don’t think Romney was being that cagey when he made this comment, Ray. He wasn’t making some Clintonian distinction between “to” and “with.” That would be silly.

    From his demeanor, it seems obvious that he’s just trying to project a “normal” image to the interviewer, and by extension, the voting public. Romney carefully avoids talking about the specifics of his faith in public, especially during the campaign, because, to the uninitiated, someone who says he believes God talked to a 14 yr old boy in a grove of trees sounds crazy. It sounds less crazy to say God talked to Moses, because everyone has seen that movie.

    The way this interview is being portrayed in the media is just plain dishonest. Trying to make Romney out to be some kind of a closet heretic or jack-mormon is a flat lie. He’s being pilloried in many areas of the country for his beliefs, and he has refused to renounce them many times, and now they’re saying he doesn’t believe in the first vision? What a bunch of sleazy scum-sucking hypocrites.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 3, 2008 @ 7:28 am |Reply

  75. Do you guys really listen to yourselves? Ray thinks it is a brilliant dodge, mcq says he is trying to seem “normal” why not just answer the question. The American public deserves to really know, the Church claims direct revelation from God, unless you know, that really isn’t the case you can’t be sure that God would not instruct something of the Prophet to be carried out by the president, so the question has merit. Why be so proud of this evasive question answering that seems so common place among the LDS leaders of late. I wouldn’t be so quick to accuse others of being

    “sleazy scum-sucking hypocrites”

    Comment by coventryrm — February 3, 2008 @ 8:12 am |Reply

  76. coventry, I have bit my tongue hard throughout this particular discussion, but I will say quite bluntly that OFTEN evading a question is the absolute best way to handle it. Also, what’s the big deal if mcquinn and I disagree on this one? I think Romney is incredible smart, and I see a very careful answer; mcquinn doesn’t. SO WHAT? Does the fact that we see this differently have ANY significance whatsoever? Not in the slightest. It simply means we see this differently. No big deal, at all.

    Again, going back to my main objection with the way that nearly all of these charges are framed: This is a ludicrous double standard. Mormon prophets and members are supposed to answer completely every single theological question they are asked, no matter the source or motivation of the asker, and no matter the biases involved, when Jesus himself is lauded for His ability to avoid direct, accusatory questions and REGULARLY use parables and redirected questions and artful dodges to avoid doing so?

    I am not about to fall for such a clumsy and ham-handed argument. We live in a real world; there is NO lie in what Romney actually said (whether you believe he was intentional about his word choice or not); dodging a question or answering it in a calculated way to avoid prolonged discussion is SOP for just about every leader of every organization throughout history (and something normal people do ALL THE TIME) – again, one that Jesus Himself used regularly. I’m simply sick and tired of the hypocrisy from people who won’t hold anyone else to the standards they impose on Mormons – particularly, again, when there is no dishonesty in the words themselves.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 3, 2008 @ 8:09 pm |Reply

  77. Also, it is extremely hypocritical, as mcquinn points out, to criticize Romney for being a Mormon leader who won’t renounce his religion then turn around and manufacture distortions that criticize him for NOT believing what Mormonism teaches. I personally would not have used the term “scum-sucking”, but I certainly would agree with “sleazy” and “hypocrites”.

    Think about it dispassionately, coventry. How would you react if I blasted you for being Mormon AND for not being Mormon? What if I accused you really being an active Mormon who only comments on line under a fake personality in order to stir up debate, then turned around and accused you of being a Satanic anti-Mormon tool of damnation? That’s what’s happening to Romney: He’s getting criticized as being BOTH a sincere AND insincere Mormon – no matter what he says. The only option he has to have any chance whatsoever is to avoid religious conversations at all costs. To his credit, at least he hasn’t lied in his answers. I have seen multiple cases where his answers were great examples of Clintonian hedging, but he avoided lying in each and every case.

    Remember, this is coming from someone who supported another candidate until he left the race and only supports Romney now because the only other options are McCain, Huckabee, Clinton and Obama. Each of them scares me more than Romney does.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 3, 2008 @ 8:25 pm |Reply

  78. Coventry:

    “The American public deserves to really know, the Church claims direct revelation from God, unless you know, that really isn’t the case you can’t be sure that God would not instruct something of the Prophet to be carried out by the president, so the question has merit.”

    I agree with you here, Coventry. And I wasn’t praising Romney for trying to “sound normal,” I was just telling you what I thought his strategy was.

    I don’t personally blame him for that strategy, because I think if he started answering theological questions about Mormonism, he will never be able to get to any other questions, and it’s a sure way to lose the nomination. Remember that his goal is not to explain his religion to America, it’s to win. He’s pursuing the strategy that he and his advisers think will best lead to victory. You may have your own reasons for disliking his answers, but they are reasonably calculated to serve his stated goal.

    As for that particular question, I agree that it’s one that deserves a direct answer, but I think Romney answered it in his faith speech. He said that as president, he would be sworn to uphold the constitution, and that would be his highest duty, even above loyalty to his church. I think that answers the question well. A repetition of that answer would have been an excellent response here, but I’m certain it would also have been criticized for showing disloyalty to his faith.

    “Why be so proud of this evasive question answering that seems so common place among the LDS leaders of late. I wouldn’t be so quick to accuse others of being “sleazy scum-sucking hypocrites””

    Coventry, it’s not hypocritical to be evasive in answering the loaded questons posed to you by your enemies, as Ray has pointed out. What is hypocritical is for former members of the church to insist that church members or leaders be 100% forthcoming in every situation, even those that are set up to make them look bad. You know very well that you would not behave in the way you are asking Romney to behave.

    I don’t know what other evasive answers you are referring to, but Romney is not an LDS leader, nor is he campaigning to be one. He is running for a secular office and has said many times that he is not a spokesperson for his faith. That ought to be good enough, but apparently there are many, including you, who refuse to hear him.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 4, 2008 @ 6:37 am |Reply

  79. “I don’t know what other evasive answers you are referring to”

    One example would be the interviews with Hinckley on the nature of God that Ray and EJ are debating on the other thread; I know we just have to respectively agree to disagree on that topic.

    Where I disagree on the Romney thing, it seems more with Ray than with you. Is that you can’t apply the same test to other Christians since they are not claiming the leaders of their Church are Prophets that receive revelation from God. They haven’t gone through a temple ceremony and made covenants and promises to be obedient to that leader.

    I do have to put a good portion of the blame on the interviewers as well since there are ways this question could be better asked.

    “You know very well that you would not behave in the way you are asking Romney to behave. “

    I would disagree very strongly with this statement. If my beliefs described in detail do not hold up to public scrutiny then so be it the public can make an informed decision as to how I think and believe they deserve that right in deciding if I am who they want leading the country or even as someone they want to associate with . I have learned in my life that one of the most dishonest dysfunctional things a person can do is not be completely forthcoming to others about themselves for fear of losing favor or being rejected especially if others are relying on that information to make important life decisions.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 4, 2008 @ 4:10 pm |Reply

  80. “I have learned in my life that one of the most dishonest dysfunctional things a person can do is not be completely forthcoming to others about themselves for fear of losing favor or being rejected especially if others are relying on that information to make important life decisions.”

    But in the case of Romney, people are NOT relying on that information to make important life decisions. WAY too many of them are looking for theological reasons to justify their desire to reject a presidential candidate simply on the basis of his religion. They are trying to find an excuse to exercise their bigotry.

    (For example, who gives a flying fart where Jesus will return at the time of the Second Coming? What does that have to do with being President? If believing in the Second Coming disqualifies someone from that office, then we might as well exclude nearly all Christians in this country. The “where” is just frosting on an already poisoned cake. The question was ludicrous on its face; Romney dodged it perfectly without lying.)

    Again, look to the example of Jesus. Why did he avoid the questions of the Pharisees? Because of their motives and what they would have done with a “straight, full answer”. They were asking explicitly with the intent of finding a reason to reject him (and ultimately get him killed), and MANY people are doing the same with Romney. Why must he acquiesce to that motive? If they are going to vote against him because of his religious beliefs when those beliefs have NO impact whatsoever on his ability to lead, fine; he is NOT required to help them – any more than Jesus was required to help the Pharisees find a reason to kill him.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 4, 2008 @ 4:24 pm |Reply

  81. Selecting the leader of our country is not an important life decision?

    My point has nothing to do with the second coming. The question that he evades is in regards as to who his master is.

    Furthermore I do think what a person is willing to believe is important. Would you vote for a president that claims he gets his inspiration and values from a stuffed toy elephant that Grandma gave him that he claims speaks to him on occasion? Wouldn’t you want to know that about him as a voter? I would want to know if he believes in Evolution or if the earth was less 10k, YES it matters.

    You should not be so quick to name call and judge people as to their intent and play the poor persecuted Mormon victim card. The questions are fair and have merit; it is not the fault of the people questioning that the beliefs are such an anomaly and are strange to mainstream society. It only makes sense to Mormons.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 4, 2008 @ 4:55 pm |Reply

  82. coventry, one last time, then I’m done.

    These questions are “fair” ONLY if they are asked of ALL candidates. If ALL candidates are asked to explain and defend the teachings of their church / denomination, I will back off my claim of hypocrisy. (I won’t back off my belief that they shouldn’t be asked, but I will say that it would be “fair”.) EVERY religion has its aspects and teachings that are illogical to others. Believing something that is “illogical” has NEVER stopped presidents from being elected. I simply can’t stand the rank and blatant bigotry of the double standard being applied to Romney.

    Finally, Romney answered the “who will your master be” question in his Faith in America speech. He should not have to answer it ad nauseum. Based on his past record, there is absolutely NO reason to disbelieve what he said in that speech; to assert otherwise is shameful and bigoted on its face.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 4, 2008 @ 5:18 pm |Reply

  83. and don’t throw that tired “Mormons have to be held to a higher standard than others” crap. That’s just a way to justify treating them differently than you treat everyone else, of denying a Mormon the presidency regardless of his character or experience or qualifications. That is the very definition of bigotry.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 4, 2008 @ 5:22 pm |Reply

  84. I agree that we have both expressed our thoughts and opinions and this topic has run its course for me as well.

    BTW I will be posting my opinion on Maturity and Mormons on my blog, it was your last paragraph of your times and season article that made this click for me. It is my honest observation, opinion and belief. It is not meant to offend but to provoke thought.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 4, 2008 @ 5:50 pm |Reply

  85. Ray

    I did have one last question. Religion aside, If a candidate that was running for office belonged to some sort of organization that the public knew had secret and closed ceremonies to non members and the members were sworn to secrecy. So no one outside of the organization could be certain what the ceremonies contained but knew that at least certain Oaths or Promises were made, wouldn’t you want to know as much about the organization and its agenda as possible?

    Comment by coventryrm — February 4, 2008 @ 6:48 pm |Reply

  86. Yes, probably, but the temple ceremony is practically public record. Every word is available on line; booklets have been published by both Mormon leaders AND anti-Mormon activists; the complaints aren’t about the unknown; they are, instead, about the very well known. It is the fact that the covenants ARE known that give rise to the legitimate questions – which have been asked already and answered already.

    My point remains, however. Romney HAS answered the only legitimate questions in his Faith in America speech. Continuing to ask him only emphasizes the fact that the questioner doesn’t believe Romney’s answer – despite the evidence of his service as Governor. It’s like saying, “I know you said your highest obligation would be to uphold the Constitution, but what about this scenario? Surely, you didn’t really mean it. Surely, you are lying about it at least just a little.”

    If that were being said to you about something you had said very clearly and directly, wouldn’t you be more than just a little ticked?

    Comment by raydegraw — February 4, 2008 @ 10:32 pm |Reply

  87. Well his answer does basically go against what he promised in the Temple, so they will keep asking, until he admits that he swore on his life and took an oath in the temple promising to put the God and the Church above all.

    I think the interviewers should be asking more direct questions and stick with it until he actually answers what was asked.

    When your kids lie to you don’t you keep asking them more questions until they either admit the truth or back themselves into a corner? They also get annoyed and angry at this tactic.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 4, 2008 @ 11:48 pm |Reply

  88. and around and around we go.

    I told you it boils down to, “He has to be lying. He just has to!”

    I’m done with this one.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 5, 2008 @ 6:24 am |Reply

  89. Coventry, I don’t know what temple ceremony you are familiar with, but the one I’m aware of does not preclude a member of the Church from taking an oath to uphold the constitution while in office as president.

    That oath is temporary, as it applies only while in office, and it requires loyalty to the constitution above all, even above the oaths we take at other times, as members of the Church.

    There is nothing inconsistent about that, and Romney’s answer is correct and should be respected. While he is in office, his role is to uphold the constitution in discharging his duties as president. In his job as president, that is his highest duty. That is what he said and it is true and accurate and consistent with his religious beliefs. Your insistence that he is lying betrays an irrational bias against Romney and Mormons in general, which I have detected in you before.

    This is a problem which is common, and has been addressed in conference. Those who leave the Church can’t leave it alone. Instead, they are filled with irrational anger against the Church and try to tear it down at every opportunity. If someone had honestly found a new spiritual path, which was fulfilling for them, they would want to walk that path and tell others about it. They would not spend their time using every opportunity to tear down the Church they left.

    The fact that you, and others, choose to do that, Coventry, means you have not really left the church behind. You still have spiritual or emtional ties to it that are hurting you, and so you are lashing out. It’s my hope that you can find peace.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 5, 2008 @ 1:18 pm |Reply

  90. MCQ

    First I would say I think you don’t understand or are spinning my question and point, plus no where in the Temple ceremony to I remember it saying I won’t have to follow this Oath and Promise if I become President of the US.

    My point isn’t will he uphold the constitution, my point being if the Prophet of the LDS Church was telling him that God wanted him to veto, let’s say a bill on Abortion rights, same sex marriage, stem cell research, teaching evolution in schools, who to appoint to the supreme court etc….. What would he do? Don’t tell me that it wouldn’t happen, I agree I doubt it would because the Church is run by men and they know better, however given the premise that as believed it is GOD running the Church not men I guess the only person that can tell us that or not is God. THAT IS MY POINT. SO THE QUESTION THAT NEEDS TO BE ASKED OF ROMNEY IS IF THE PROPHET OF THE LDS CHURCH TOLD YOU HE RECEIVED A REVELATION FROM GOD PERTAINING TO POLICY WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

    Your right I have not really left the Church behind me, I wish I could, but unfortunately I still have immediate Family members that believe, I have siblings and extended family in fact the majority of my “Family” is LDS. Otherwise, I would not give it a second thought (except that I would still feel it is important for me to influence society to stop making bad decisions based on 2000 year old myths that are dumbing down our society, help our world by stopping the promotion of ignorance like in FL where the Biology teachers are afraid to teach evolution) So yes I have a certain amount of grief I go through as result of losing a certain intimacy with people that I have a natural desire to be close with but unfortunately their belief in the Church has not made that possible.

    For the first five years or more I did exactly what you said, did my thing and even encouraged and took my kids to Church, kept what I believed to myself or to those that wanted to know and would ask. I was taught like you and believed that the LDS were great people and would accept and love me regardless, especially my family. After 10 years my experience as proved that isn’t the case. I regret now that I kept my mouth shout around my kids and allowed them to attend a Church where no one saw a problem with alienating a Son from his Dad, the men were lined up to step up and fill the, imagined, void of this poor boy whose Dad was an apostate, without ever consulting me or even knowing how hard I was working to be involved in my Son’s life. It was more important that he remain a Mormon. Do I think anyone does this out of malice absolutely not, just out if ignorance, educating people is how you combat ignorance, of course there are going to be those that reject that education and take it as an attack or put down.

    “This is a problem which is common, and has been addressed in conference. Those who leave the Church can’t leave it alone. Instead, they are filled with irrational anger against the Church”

    Sounds a lot like the words abusive people use when their victims come forward and expose them

    As far as peace despite, the fact that I have the situation with family because of Mormonism, I would never in a million years change the constant peace and sense of self I have now, I guess I just want you to have that as well, I certainly hope and believe someday that you will, the world needs more intellegent people like yourself to accept and achieve this higher level of free and rational thinking.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 5, 2008 @ 9:59 pm |Reply

  91. “Coventry, I don’t know what temple ceremony you are familiar with, but the one I’m aware of does not preclude a member of the Church from taking an oath to uphold the constitution while in office as president.

    That oath is temporary, as it applies only while in office, and it requires loyalty to the constitution above all, even above the oaths we take at other times, as members of the Church.”

    Since you forced the issue – I don’t see much room for exceptions here.

    “You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the Law of Consecration as contained in this, (The Officiator holds up a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants again.), the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.”

    Comment by coventryrm — February 5, 2008 @ 11:29 pm |Reply

  92. and where’s the contradiction? Why can’t someone who serves as President of the United States give his all to that temple oath but NOT violate his Constitutional oath?

    There are multiple Mormons in high level government offices throughout this country and others, and there has not been even the slightest hint of pressure from the Church to dictate how those members vote. There hasn’t been a single national Moron legislator who has been accused of or disciplined for violating protocol due to his religion. NOT ONE. This is a straw man, boogie-man position that relies on the belief that Mormon leaders are shady liars who say they do not dictate politics to their members but who really do. If they aren’t liars, it’s not an issue.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 6, 2008 @ 2:20 am |Reply

  93. and, just to make it clear, I used the word “Moron” intentionally in that last comment.

    One more specific example:

    Anyone who opposes Romney on religious grounds and does NOT oppose Reid and Hatch on those same religious grounds is a hypocrite, pure and simple.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 6, 2008 @ 2:22 am |Reply

  94. I am curious how you know that God won’t give Monson a revelation to pass onto Romney?

    Comment by coventryrm — February 6, 2008 @ 2:35 am |Reply

  95. “and where’s the contradiction? Why can’t someone who serves as President of the United States give his all to that temple oath but NOT violate his Constitutional oath? ”

    Read #90 second paragraph again.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 6, 2008 @ 2:37 am |Reply

  96. Mitt Romney is doing what every Mormon does including missionaries ….

    They won’t say what they really believe but want to sound like just like all the other ‘regular’ mainstream churches which they happen to think have teachings which are an abomination and according to previous LDS Prophets and Apostles are religions of the Devil .

    Even the Temple ceremony had a a church minister potrayed as selling religion for Satan .

    The idea being its more reliable to believe those self taught self proclaimed Mormon prophets and Apostles who have a history of despicable teachings , outright contradictions and obvious blunders … They were imposters and Immoral Megalomaniacs.

    Comment by elderjoseph — February 6, 2008 @ 3:05 am |Reply

  97. As I said, it boils down to, “They’ve never done it in the past, but they are conniving liars, so we can’t trust them to not do it in the future.”

    According to this outlook, there is no Mormon who should be elected to high political office, since we just can’t trust those Mormons. Reid should be kicked out; Hatch should be kicked out; all current Mormons in high leadership positions should be kicked out; none of them can be trusted; they all are liars at heart.

    I get it; we all are liars who can’t be trusted. What a disgusting mindset.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 6, 2008 @ 3:11 am |Reply

  98. ej, you have finally shown your true, deep colors in #96. I and mcquinn are liars who will never tell the truth about what we believe. Steffie is a liar who has ulterior motives. I have never once accused you of what you accuse me of being. I disagree with you on many points, but I have never called you a liar.

    BTW, the minister you mention is not in the temple ceremony. Just thought you should know.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 6, 2008 @ 3:14 am |Reply

  99. “SO THE QUESTION THAT NEEDS TO BE ASKED OF ROMNEY IS IF THE PROPHET OF THE LDS CHURCH TOLD YOU HE RECEIVED A REVELATION FROM GOD PERTAINING TO POLICY WHAT WOULD YOU DO? ”

    We know that’s the question, Coventry. He answered that questiona and so did we. When he is in office, his highest oath is his oath of office, which requires allegiance to the constitution above all. Are you not aware, or do you choose to ignore that the constitution requires the president alone to make final policy decisions. Others can suggest. lobby, demand etc. but the final decision is his alone.

    This question is silly in another way, though, Coventry. As you know (I hope) we have a series of checks and balances in our government. No president can enact his policy decisions without review from the congress and the supreme court. So this is doubly a non-issue. It was raised when Kennedy ran and dispensed with then, and it has been raised and dispensed with now, except of course by people like you who refuse to accept Romneys clear statement that the constitution, not the prophet, will have his highest loyalty while he is in office.

    After he has said that, what is it exactly that you want him to say to put your mind at ease? Is there anything he could say, or are you just going to go on calling him a liar no matter what he says?

    btw, please don’t quote the temple ceremony again. That is out of bounds.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 6, 2008 @ 3:16 am |Reply

  100. As mcquinn said, “the question” was asked; Romney answered it. It doesn’t matter, however, since he is a lousy Mormon liar. I get it.

    Nothing has changed about your charge. It boils down to not being able to trust Mormons. I said it in #88; I really am done with this issue.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 6, 2008 @ 3:25 am |Reply

  101. I don’t think we have anything to worry about. Romney is a smart person. He knows that the LDS leaders in SLC don’t really talk to God…

    Comment by skiutah — February 6, 2008 @ 5:04 am |Reply

  102. Ski, as you say, Romney is a smart person. I know a lot of smart people, like Romney, who are faithful Mormons. But how is it smart to continue to belong to, pay money to, and spend time in a church if you know it to be false. Your comment is nonsensical.

    Yes, Romney is smart and so am I and neither one of us would continue to belong to the Church if we believed it to be false. The reason we continue to belong and to do our best to support and sustain the Church is that we believe with all of our hearts that it is true, and that it is led by Christ himself. You may not want to believe that, but that is, in fact, my reason for staying and I can tell you that it is Romney’s as well.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 6, 2008 @ 5:54 am |Reply

  103. I am not nor said anyone was a liar, but you are making promises you cannot if in fact Christ is truly running the church through revelation, THAT IS WHAT IT BOILS DOWN TO. So I do think Romney answered in his interview, and basically said, the Church wouldn’t meddle, but the only way you could know for sure that the Church wouldn’t meddle, would be to know that as he said in his interview GOD isn’t talking to anyone anymore! BUT you guys don’t like that answer either. So once again it seems you want to have it both ways. Sorry guys either Christ is or isn’t running your Church. Not just sorta, sometimes, or just when it fits for argument sake.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 6, 2008 @ 6:45 am |Reply

  104. OK, one last comment as my departure, due solely to how ludicrous your argument is – and the first point below:

    1) ej came out and called every Mormon a liar. It couldn’t have been clearer. He said it flat out – ALL Mormons lie. Romney is a liar just like all Mormons. There’s no way to say it more clearly.

    2) Your entire argument is one based on fear of a possible scenario that has NO grounding in reality. The logical fallacies are so obvious as to be ludicrous.

    a) IF Christ / God really does speak to and through Mormon prophets, and IF He directed such an action, you wouldn’t have a leg to stand on – since you would be complaining about God’s word to His prophets.

    b) IF you don’t accept the possibility of (a), which you don’t, the only option is that the Mormon leaders are both deluded and stupid – that they could hallucinate such a supposed revelation AND that they would be politically dumb enough to try to dictate to the President of the United States. Say all you want about earlier prophets, but to say so now is laughable.

    Take your pick: I’m a liar (ej) or a brainwashed robot (coventry). Either way, no Mormon qualifies for the Presidency – even though you could make the exact same claim for EVERY SINGLE devout member of ANY Christian denomination AND Islam AND Judaism (at least). There are aspects of belief in each of these religions that “could” cause the same fear if someone crossed over to fanaticism – but not one of the other candidates has faced such opposition. Obama is my choice if McCain is nominated, and though his church has expounded incredibly racist teachings Obama hasn’t been criticized for it nearly as much as Romney has – for stuff that Mormonism hasn’t taught for decades. I won’t even start on Huckabee. He’s too easy a target.

    That’s bigotry, no matter how you dress it up and defend it.

    Finally, you are too smart to believe what you said: “as he said in his interview GOD isn’t talking to anyone anymore!” He didn’t say that, as I pointed out to ej. If you have to distort something so simple to make your claim, this discussion really is in the toilet.

    As the great Forest Gump said, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

    Comment by raydegraw — February 6, 2008 @ 7:39 am |Reply

  105. Putting all our Religious debate aside and whether or not Romney failed getting the Southern (Conservative vote – Evangelicals) was because of Religious Bigotry or not.

    I think Romney would have stood a better chance had he been the moderate candidate and not the conservative, my Mormon experience told me, there was no way, regardless what they might say in public, that a southern evangelical would ever vote for a Mormon.

    I have to wonder and I am not sure if he could have actually pulled it off, but stick to with what he had success at and taken a more moderate approach and down played the religious/faith aspect and gone after the moderates?

    Comment by coventryrm — February 6, 2008 @ 8:55 pm |Reply

  106. Amen, coventry. Amen.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 7, 2008 @ 3:45 am |Reply

  107. He might have done even worse taking that track, but I would have preferred it.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 7, 2008 @ 3:45 am |Reply

  108. Raydegraw
    you said

    “1) ej came out and called every Mormon a liar. It couldn’t have been clearer. He said it flat out – ALL Mormons lie. Romney is a liar just like all Mormons. There’s no way to say it more clearly. ”

    I actually said

    Mitt Romney is doing what every Mormon does including missionaries ….

    They won’t say what they really believe but want to sound like just like all the other ‘regular’ mainstream churches which they happen to think have teachings which are an abomination and according to previous LDS Prophets and Apostles are religions of the Devil .

    You talk about Bigotry ?

    What about all the stuff of Brigham Young and the church leaders for over150 years about Black skin negroes or the Polygamy which women were ‘called’ into and threatened with ‘hell’ ?

    Is all that ok because you actually believe God said so ?

    Yes I think Mormons are deluded bigtime just like JW’s , Christadelphians , Scientologists , Moonies etc ….

    I have little interest in American Politics as they are all liars anyway like here in the UK .If you tell the truth in politics no one will vote for you.

    Comment by elderjoseph — February 8, 2008 @ 5:47 am |Reply

  109. “I have little interest in American Politics as they are all liars anyway like here in the UK .If you tell the truth in politics no one will vote for you.”

    How did you get to be like this, EJ? Did someone shoot your puppy when you were little? You are probably the most cynical, relentlessly negative, embittered person I have met. And that’s saying something. Maybe you should get some professional help.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 8, 2008 @ 8:09 am |Reply

  110. MCQ

    Why do have to take it to a personal level, and make such remarks, niether EJ nor I or most the anti’s that come on here, even Brad for that matter attack you or your character, they take issue with your opinions or who and what you believe in, rarely if ever attack the persons character or mental health. Plus you have never really met EJ have you.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 8, 2008 @ 8:24 am |Reply

  111. As usual, you’re misinterpreting me Coventry. I’m not attacking EJ. I’m genuinely curious as to how he arrived at this level of cynicism. My observation about that extreme level is not debatable. It is a fact. Go back and read his comments. Take your time, I’ll wait.

    I don’t interpret the suggestion that someone might need professional help with their mental state as an attack. Perhaps you do. If so, that would not be a healthy attitude. Many people need professional help in their lives, both for physical problems and mental or emotional ones. That does not mean they are any less valuable or important.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 8, 2008 @ 10:00 am |Reply

  112. Your assertion that none of the antis attack me or my character is laughable, by the way, but thanks for the great joke.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 8, 2008 @ 10:05 am |Reply

  113. You see it that way only because you are unable to separate self from the organization that emotionally abused and indoctrinated you from childhood the same that is still being done today. They call that co-dependency.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 8, 2008 @ 10:44 pm |Reply

  114. For the record, it’s not good to post comments while drinking.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 9, 2008 @ 8:25 am |Reply

  115. MCQ was drinking?

    Comment by coventryrm — February 9, 2008 @ 8:58 am |Reply

  116. #115 – Nice!

    Comment by raydegraw — February 9, 2008 @ 9:02 am |Reply

  117. Sorry but being proud of 5 year olds quoting, “I know the Church is true I know that Josesph Smith was a prophet of God”, is really shameful.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 9, 2008 @ 9:05 am |Reply

  118. I can’t argue with that, but it’s no different than just about any parents teaching their kids to see the world the same way they do. I don’t encourage that with my kids, and I haven’t heard it in my own ward for the ten years I’ve lived here, but it is an inherently human tendency.

    I have heard the same general thing said (with different words and messages, obviously) by children of my friends and acquaintances from all religions and denominations – and from kids of atheists, as well. The single biggest indicator of someone’s religious / irreligious beliefs is . . . the religion (or lack thereof) of that person’s parents.

    Again, coventry, I wish more Mormons would realize that normal 5-year-olds don’t “know” much of anything – but focusing on Mormons again in regard to this topic is not presenting the entire picture. This is part of the “natural man” that we are told to change, and MANY Mormons have done a very good job in this regard. It’s one of the main reasons, in fact, that the direction from SLC over the past 10-15 years has been to discourage children from “bearing their testimonies” in Sacrament Meeting. It didn’t happen in the earliest years of the Church; it crept into widespread habit last century; it is being addressed now.

    Iow, your concern is valid as it relates to many individual members, but it is not applicable to the actual direction from the Church leadership.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 9, 2008 @ 9:59 am |Reply

  119. Who said anything about being proud of that, Coventry? It’s discouraged cosistently now. Did you just time trip here from 1985?

    Comment by mcquinn — February 9, 2008 @ 1:45 pm |Reply

  120. “You see it that way only because you are unable to separate self from the organization that emotionally abused and indoctrinated you from childhood the same that is still being done today. They call that co-dependency”

    If that were true, that might be co-dependency, although you may want to check your psycho-babble, Coventry, as you’re mixing your jargon. as it is, however, I have no trouble distinguishing myself from the Church. Nice red-herring, though.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 9, 2008 @ 1:48 pm |Reply

  121. By the way, Coventry, you know absolutely zero about my childhood. Nothing. Zip. And you know even less about my conversion. You think I’m emotionally abused? How would you know? Tell us, please. I’m waiting…

    Comment by mcquinn — February 9, 2008 @ 1:56 pm |Reply

  122. MCQ

    You are right I know absolutely nothing about you, and neither do you know anything about me either, however you opened this dialog when you A: Assumed that I have “irrational anger” and B: EJ should seek “professional help”. So step off your high horse and realize that I responded in kind, you took us there, it is not much different than you challenging which part of the temple ceremony I was referring to and then chastising me for posting it.

    Ray

    I think that is great the Church is moving in that direction, I don’t think I tripped to 1985 though, I left the Church in the mid to late 90’s I was still taking my kids to Church in 98 it was still common place then, perhaps they are not doing it in fast and testimony meeting but what about in the class setting in primary and such?

    Ray you can teach your kids values and morals and instill in them a sense of self without indoctrinating them with beliefs one way or the other. Yes they will obviously be affected by their parent’s actions or lifestyles but that is a far cry from teaching them certain myths that you have chosen to accept are actually absolutes. Have the courage to leave the door open for them to seek their path in life as they mature and can understand the different concepts and beliefs. Ruiz in the book for the four agreements and the four agreements companion book covers this well when he talks about how we “domesticate” our children and the baggage that comes with it.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 9, 2008 @ 9:23 pm |Reply

  123. Sorry “Have the courage” should be “Parents should have the courage” not meant as a admonishment to you.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 9, 2008 @ 9:26 pm |Reply

  124. “Parents should have the courage to leave the door open for them to seek their path in life as they mature and can understand the different concepts and beliefs.”

    I agree with that completely. I just disagree with the danger of teaching my kids what I believe to be true. It’s one thing to give kids a foundation and allow them to figure out the specifics of their own view, which I an committed to doing; it’s quite another to tell them it’s all relative and avoid teaching them what you believe deeply, which I feel is deeply irresponsible. It’s a fine line between the two, and the natural tendency is to gravitate to one extreme or the other. Either extreme, unfortunately, leads to major issues – and those who advocate one extreme while railing against the other fail to realize that the result is the same.

    coventry, I say this with complete sincerity, knowing full well it is a generalization: Before you start to rail against the way that Mormon parents raise their kids, don’t forget to look at the results of that parenting. Of course, there are too many exceptions, but, in general, Mormon kids are more productive, well-adjusted, less inclined to crime and other trouble, more successful in school, more respectful, etc. than any other definable group. Study after study after study have reached that conclusion, and, ironically, I have read it in anti-Mormon books sold in evangelical bookstores in the South. (“Mormons appear to happy, well-adjusted, good people, but below the surface . . .”)

    You tend to take exceptions you have observed and extrapolate them to the natural result of membership, while the vast majority of members don’t fit that extrapolation. You tend to complain that the Church doesn’t produce perfect people, when no sane Mormon says it does.

    A personal observation:

    I know a man who was gloriously happy after he joined the Church. He truly was. He had been a judgmental person before his baptism; he recognized that tendency and was trying to change – and the Church was helping him. Then he had a run-in with the Ward Mission Leader over the interaction of his daughter with the missionaries. Frankly, both of them were correct to some degree, but neither of them would see the other’s point.

    This man allowed his conflict with the MWL to send him back to his former judgmental self. He accused the WML of being a hypocrite (which, to a degree, was valid), but he failed to see the hypocrisy in his own stance and actions. Today, this man hasn’t been to church in over five years – and he is miserable, having returned to his “natural” self. In the meantime, his actions have had a terrible impact on his daughter, who also was incredibly happy at the time of the spat.

    My point: It is one thing to do what you feel is right for yourself and your own children; it is another entirely to actively seek to shatter the happiness of others – to challenge their beliefs in a way that is as “blind” as you accuse them of being. My friend was happy (truly happy) while he was in the Church; he now is miserable – and it’s not the Church’s fault at all. It is his responsibility, and his alone.

    We are the ones who are responsible for our own destiny / fate / outcome / lives / whatever. I have no problem whatsoever with you or ej or Brad or Keller or anyone else living and believing in any way you choose; my problem is when that crosses over into statements like, “Parents are being bad parents if they teach their kids to believe what they themselves believe – except those who teach them what I believe.” That’s hypocritical and arrogant and no different than what is being condemned.

    Anyone who focuses on trying to help others understand what they believe without attacking the beliefs of those others has not crossed that line; ANYONE (Mormon or not) who focuses on attacking someone else rather than explaining their own beliefs has crossed it. In that light, ej lives across the line; you cross it occasionally; mcquinn crosses it occasionally; I try very, very hard to stay behind it but still cross it sometimes. Crossing it is human nature, and it is part of what we are told to try to overcome. It’s a constant battle, but it helps to recognize the nature of the battle.

    Implying that religious parents are out of line but agnostic / atheist parents are not, when they generally are doing the exact same thing in theory and practice, is a good example of not recognizing the nature of the battle.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 9, 2008 @ 10:03 pm |Reply

  125. I guess we will just have to disagree; there is a difference between teaching a child what you believe, and expecting and pretty much demanding the child to believe how you do and to be heartbroken if they don’t. Results don’t always justify the means either. I am not sure what studies you are referring to but I don’t see LDS people being all that well adjusted outside of their own environment. Most LDS have very few if any close intimate friends that are not LDS. Also the suicide rate and prescriptions for anti depressants in Utah would certainly put a question mark on that conclusion as well.

    As far as Teaching ones beliefs and not tearing the others down, your belief starts out with God telling JS that all other Churches are not of God, regardless of how you present this message by default it tears down every other religion as being false or incomplete.

    So my belief is that you will achieve a much higher enlightenment if you put aside old myths, the Church has taught you some valuable principles that you can build from, so I am saying the same as you “bring us what have and we will add to it” but you have to leave something behind, just like you are asking a Baptist or Methodist or whatever to do. So then one way or another we are both tearing down others belief to express our own.

    The one thing that makes me guilty of something you are not is that I come to this site and enter into discussions, so yes in that regard it would appear I am tearing down or attacking, but then again maybe I am just doing some internet tracting 🙂 but I feel I have a duty to take an affirmative action in saving future generations from the emotional damage certain beliefs and tactics in teaching those beliefs can cause.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 10, 2008 @ 1:53 am |Reply

  126. “your belief starts out with God telling JS that all other Churches are not of God” – No, it doesn’t. Parse the actual words, and that’s not what it says at all.

    “Also the suicide rate and prescriptions for anti depressants in Utah would certainly put a question mark on that conclusion as well.” – There have been many good refutations of that concept, so I won’t even try to address it fully here. Honestly, coventry, the prescription issue is particularly lame, since it is a GOOD thing to take them when needed – and Mormons are not discouraged from doing so, like many in other religions are. Also, Mormons tend not to self-medicate. If you added alcohol and tobacco and illegal substance use to the figures (a VERY reasonable move), the figures would be strikingly different.

    “I feel I have a duty to take an affirmative action in saving future generations from the emotional damage certain beliefs and tactics in teaching those beliefs can cause.” – I can respect that as long as the tone is civil and the commentary is not derogatory and attacking in nature. I even agree 100% with the “tactics” part of the statement. It’s a big part of my own focus with my own stewardship.

    I’ve said so before, but one of the reasons I like you so much is that we can have reasonably intelligent conversations without all the silly pissing contests that happen on other sites and without having to dodge very much crap in the process. 🙂

    Comment by raydegraw — February 10, 2008 @ 11:15 am |Reply

  127. BTW, I liked the “internet tracting” line. Forgot to say so above.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 10, 2008 @ 11:16 am |Reply

  128. mcquinn

    I can assure you that their is nothing wrong with my mental health .

    Had their been then I may have joined the Mormon Church after believing what the missionaries told me without checking the facts myself , and before you take exception to this , bear in my mind that I have seen a few mentally unstable/ill people join the church in my nearly 3 years of association. These are usually suicidal people.

    In fact I was told by a recent convert ( 3 years ago) that I would have been the first ‘normal’ person in his experience to join the church , he admitting he was vulnerable,lonely and depressed at the time he was taken in by it all .He’s made great progress since ,not only is he in control of his emotions and mind , he has become very well versed with Mormon History and Doctrine and is not afraid to challenge the ‘intellectuals’ in our ward. 🙂

    I was told by my Ward Missionary that there are lots in this state who join the church as I agreed that the church was a good thing for them as it replaced suicide and dispair with ‘hope and purpose’ . The JW’s also have a good track record in this respect .

    raydegraw

    The whole reason and purpose for the existence of your church is that all the others are collectively wrong ( apsotate condition), their creeds are abominations and their professors corrupt .The early LDS leaders taught that all religions except yours were hatched in Hell by Satan .In fact your Temple ceremony depicted Satan doing a deal with a church Minister to teach falsehoods on behalf of Satan in return for money .

    The reality of course is that the early LDS leaders were the biggest immoral whoremasters of all of them and used ‘God’ to justify their megalomaniac self righteous mindset behaviour as follows

    1The taking of young girls into arranged marriages to Mormon Leaders .Their are numerous examples of this where Mormon Leaders in their 40’s,50’s and 60’s were marrying teen girls of 15 and 16 years old and probably younger.

    2 There are examples in Journal Of Discourses where they were being threatened with Hell if they should consider disobeying .

    3 Joseph Smith was known to ask for other mens wives and not only that , he maried 10 or 11 of them while they had living husbands and one was Orson Hydes wife .

    4 Their is also evidence of Brigham Young threatening Mormon men with losing their wives if they disobeyed any orders from him .

    They did all this because they thought of themselves as some kind of Royal Rulers of the World and yet in reality they had no authority but only over those who were too weak or threatened by violence.

    The whole thing has no resemblance whatsoever to New Testament Christianity .The early Mormon Leaders rather than Apostles were in reality Mean Thugs who bullied the weak , the vulnerable , the females and enriched themselves in Power and Authority and glorified themselves .Brigham Young after all made a career out of it just like Joseph Smith did .

    On a side note I am now helping a second Ward member who got baptised over two years ago with things that are troubling him about the church . He contacted me having missed me in church as I stopped investigating and attending over two months ago.It seems that EQ meeting has becoming boring without my participation ( and I was very tactful ) I could have really brought the church leaders into disrepute . But I didn’t . I’m a good person .:)

    However outside of church , I was able to tell the full facts and truth .

    They sense something really wrong and are possibly too scared to send someone to talk with me .Even my missionaries are too scared to bring up anything with Mission President .

    Thats the subtle fear the church puts in people and dissuades them from asking the right questions .

    Comment by elderjoseph — February 10, 2008 @ 5:21 pm |Reply

  129. Yawn.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 11, 2008 @ 3:17 am |Reply

  130. Ray

    You should check out the book “Head and Heart” by Gary Wills.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 14, 2008 @ 10:26 pm |Reply

  131. I’m aware of it. It is extremely well written, and I agree with the vast majority of what Wills says in it – especially as it relates to abortion and the Religious Right. The need to seek the approval of that group is what troubles me the most about the Republican Party right now, and it is what troubled me the most about Romney’s bid.

    I honestly am torn. If he had run as a moderate against McCain, I’m certain that Huckabee would have had a good chance of winning the nomination – and that is the scariest result imaginable to me in this election. He almost surely would have wielded the power to dictate a VP nod – and that’s the second scariest scenario to me. Running as a conservative guaranteed McCain the nomination, and I just don’t like the man very much.

    Clinton . . . I just can’t bring myself to vote for that . . . person. Obama concerns me in some ways (and greatly in a few), but compared to the other options . . .

    I hate my choices this time.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 15, 2008 @ 2:31 am |Reply

  132. I think Obama is what the Country needs to bring things back into balance, I don’t agree with all his ideas, but I can’t say for sure my ideas are any better, and I think his mistakes will be ones we can live with, but all in all it will put us on a good track for the future regardless.

    I really liked a speech Wills used of Obama’s in his book, I am thinking of posting it on my blog. I agree Romney would have been better than Huckabee, that guy is a total nut in my book, if my religious background had been as a Southern Baptist (I think that is what Huckabee is) I am sure I would have had more to say about it instead of Romney’s bid. Of course I just don’t want religious fanatics playing a role in our world politics period.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 15, 2008 @ 3:41 am |Reply

  133. Ray, don’t kid yourself. Huck never was and never will be a viable candidate outside his particular demographic. The evidence of this is widespread and growing. His support is almost nil outside of evangelicals. Even non-evangelical Christians have supported McCain 2-1 over Huck. The solid show of support he got among evangelicals carried him to victory in some states where evangelicals constitute a large majority of politically active republicans, but he can’t win anywhere else.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 15, 2008 @ 5:15 am |Reply

  134. I like Obama better than McCain or any other candidate in the election. I can definitely see him winning in November.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 15, 2008 @ 5:16 am |Reply

  135. MCQ

    I agree, Huckabee doesn’t have a chance, it is just the last ditch effort of the Evangelicals but I think the Country is pretty much done with them anyway. Huckabee just knocked off Romney for the reasons I posted before. If it wasn’t for the Bible Belt Romney would have out shined Huckabee by a long shot.

    Comment by coventryrm — February 15, 2008 @ 5:58 am |Reply

  136. coventry, the irony is that Romney DID outshine Huckabee “by a long shot”. After all, Romney still has significantly more delegates than Huckabee. I was disgusted by the press hype that constantly asked Romney if he was going to drop out each time McCain won a primary – even though Romney was solidly in first or second place the entire time. Huckabee never got the kind of pressure that Romney did until it became a three-man race – and really not even then. I still have not read very many insightful exposes on his actual record – which is frightening.

    mcquinn, I agree that Huckabee had no chance in the race that actually occurred. I’m just not convinced that he might not have had a good chance (not great, but good) if Romney and McCain had been splitting the moderate vote and Huckabee had become the choice of all social conservatives / evangelicals. He probably wouldn’t have gotten the nomination, but I’m sure he would have won more states early – including South Carolina, a key early state.

    Either way, the man’s a lunatic. If he is on the Republican ticket, there is no doubt I will vote Democrat – hopefully for Obama, but even for Clinton. I would be tempted to write-in Richardson if Huckabee isn’t on the ticket, but I will cast a vote against him if he is.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 15, 2008 @ 8:24 am |Reply

  137. Also, if nothing else positive comes about due to this election, at least it might shatter the power of the evangelical Religious Right. I am not going to cry if that happens.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 15, 2008 @ 8:26 am |Reply

  138. Amen to #137

    Comment by coventryrm — February 15, 2008 @ 11:23 am |Reply

  139. Huckabee win NOT be on the ticket.

    And I agree that Romney absolutely outshone Huckabee in total results. If Huckabee were not in the race, Romney would probably have beaten McCain.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 17, 2008 @ 12:55 am |Reply

  140. Sorry, I meant WILL NOT be on the ticket.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 17, 2008 @ 12:55 am |Reply

  141. I think Romney put himself in an excellent position to be the GOP candidate in 2012 or 2016. The GOP tends to vote for a nominee that has come in 2nd in prior presidential primaries (like McCain, Dole, Reagan, HW Bush) .

    If the LDS church can do more to change their image as a fringe cult, Romney might have a good chance to become president in the future…

    Comment by skiutah — February 19, 2008 @ 6:06 am |Reply

  142. I hate to border on over-reaction, but it’s the Church’s fault Romney wasn’t elected?

    That’s a rhetorical question. If your answer is, “Yes,” I really don’t want to hear the justification. I mean that; I can guarantee I’ve heard whatever you might say, and I won’t agree any more now than I have every other time I’ve heard it.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 19, 2008 @ 9:15 am |Reply

  143. That’s not exactly a new sentiment, Ray. Most post mortems on his campaign have vacillated between his religion and his shifting positions as the greatest cause of his failure to catch on as the front-runner. That doesn’t mean it’s the Church’s fault. It’s the perception of the Church in mainstream America, especially in the South, that was the biggest impediment to Romney’s candidacy.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 19, 2008 @ 11:36 am |Reply

  144. Yeah, I know; I just wish most of the people who say it would look in a mirror instead of blaming the Church. It’s the choice of the word “fringe” that bothers me. I just can’t see how the 4th largest denomination in the country can be considered “fringe” – and I can’t lay ANY blame on the organization for that particular designation.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 19, 2008 @ 12:30 pm |Reply

  145. Ray

    It isn’t a matter of blame just perception, Hinckley had a big impact on improving the public image of the LDS Church, I think SkiUtah’s point was that if the Church continues to make the same progress in that regard Romney would have a greater chance for success in the future, it was because of the religious stigma still attached to Mormonism in the South that he failed, like we talked about before either he would need to go after the moderate vote and leave relgion completely out of it or SkiUtahs point hits it right on the head if he needs the evangelical vote to win. How do you think Monson will be in regards to Church PR?

    Comment by coventryrm — February 20, 2008 @ 12:46 am |Reply

  146. #145 – I agree completely with that analysis.

    I think Pres. Monson will continue what Pres. Hinckley got rolling. He has the same general conviviality, and he served with Pres. Hinckley for over 40 years. Also, Pres. Eyring and Pres. Uchdorf are VERY comfortable in front of the media – and they both are relatively young by recent standards. (both in their 40’s when Pres. Hinckley first became the face of the FP) That alone is instructive, imo.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 20, 2008 @ 2:49 am |Reply

  147. Except that President Monson (as far as I can tell so far) hasn’t got one tenth the talent that Hinckley had in communication skills. I love President Monson, he lives in my stake, and I think he’s a wonderful human being, and God bless him, but the idea that he will be able to do what President Hinckley did on shows like 60 minutes or Larry King is just wishful thinking, in my opinion.

    It looks to me like they’re grooming Elder Ballard as a kind of all-puposes spokesperson, but I really don’t think he has a lot of skill in that area either. We are probably going to have to admit how truly unique President Hinckley was in that regard.

    Comment by mcquinn — February 20, 2008 @ 8:34 am |Reply

  148. I agree with that, mcquinn, but I think the public face will be Pres. Eyring and then probably Elder Bednar or Elder Holland or Elder Oaks. I might be wrong, but I don’t see Elder Ballard as that person.

    Comment by raydegraw — February 20, 2008 @ 9:04 am |Reply

  149. CoventryRM, #145, exactly.

    I think Romney has a real shot at the GOP nominee in 2016. Maybe 2012, depending on if a Democrat wins or if McCain has a heart attack (whichever comes first).

    A lot of Mormons were surprised/disturbed/shocked by the number of folks who came out and said “I’ll never vote for a Mormon”. That’s still a sizable chunk of the voting population…

    Comment by skiutah — February 20, 2008 @ 8:32 pm |Reply


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