Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

4/30/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

For Mitt, as for most politicians, religion is window dressing. It's the suit and tie they put on to be acceptable to the voters.

Most Americans are unaware of just how peculiar the beliefs of Mormons are. Do they know about Mormonism's exclusivity? It's secretive rituals? It's strange doctrines? Probably not. Even if they do know all the shady and weird stuff about Mormonism, do most Americans care? Should they care? With the possibility that their next president is a Mormon, does it matter?

Highlights

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/30/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Mitt Romney, Mormon, Mormonism, LDS, Latter Day Saints, Election 2012, Fr Dwight Longenecker


GREENVILLE, SC (Catholic Online) - It's easy to judge the Mormon religion by the earnest, white shirt and tie, bicycling missionaries who knock on your door. For most Americans the Mormon religion is made up of clean cut, somewhat naive folks from the heartland. They're not quite so wide eyed and wild as the fundamentalist Baptists, nor are they quite so dowdy and serious as the Jehovah's Witnesses. Most people figure the Mormon religion is just another version of the predominant American Protestant faith. Sure, they have their extremists, but pretty harmless for the most part. Most Americans are unaware of just how peculiar the beliefs of Mormons are. They are familiar with the charges of polygamy and racism, but "they don't do that anymore do they?" Are Americans aware of just how strange the story of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are? Do they realize that this religion doesn't even come close to being orthodox Christianity? Are they aware of the scandals, hoaxes and fraud of the Mormon founding fathers? Do they know about Mormonism's exclusivity? It's secretive rituals? It's strange doctrines? Probably not. Even if they do know all the shady and weird stuff about Mormonism, do most Americans care? Should they care? With the possibility that their next president is a Mormon does it matter? To answer the question we have to sort out the different kinds of Mormons. It doesn't take long to realize that there are three modes of Mormonism just like there are three divisions of all religious groups. The three modes could be called "Maniac", "Moderate", and "Modernist". Maniac Mormons are the weird extremists: Warren Jeffs, the man convicted of child abuse, with his polygamous compound in Texas is a good example. The "maniac" Mormons are the wide-eyed and wild fundamentalists of the Mormon religion. Like all fundamentalists they allow no criticism. Their holy books and their beliefs will be defended against all attacks--even those driven by common sense. The Mormons have their fair share of 'maniac' members, but then so do the Muslims, the Catholics and the Protestants. It's part of any religion to have "fruit" but you can't have fruit without nuts. Most Mormons, like most Christians are probably "Moderates". The moderate Mormon believes what his religious leaders tell him. He is a follower not a leader. He accepts the laundered version of the Mormon history and goes along with the practices. He tithes, does his best and Mormonism probably serves him well as a belief system that helps him cope with this life and plan for the next. In every religion the moderates are practical and sensible. They don't question their beliefs because they don't have the time or they don't want to upset the apple cart. Modernist Mormons are revisionist and progressive. They have considered Mormonism's historical and literary claims and realize they don't stand up. That hasn't led them to leave Mormonism. Instead they say that the history doesn't really matter. What matters is the theology--the teachings of the Mormon religion. What matters is that Mormonism is a religion that helps people be good, honest and upright citizens.

Modernist Mormonism is much like modernist Christianity. It's all about making the world a better place, being nice people, having good manners, helping the poor and doing good. Any idea that the whole of Mormonism is supernatural and involved with divine revelation and an interaction between this world and the next is quietly dismissed as out of date and irrelevant. This is the Mormonism of smiling families in slick advertising campaigns, clean cut All American values and an apple pie utopian dream of America as the prosperous and peaceful promised land. Mitt's Mormonism, I suspect, is of the third mode. He's a modernist Mormon. So does his Mormonism matter? I don't think it matters any more than George Bush's Episcopalianism or Barack Obama's Church of Christ membership or JFK's Catholicism. For Mitt, as for most politicians, religion is window dressing. It's the suit and tie they put on to be acceptable to the voters. Modernist Mormonism, like modernist religion in all its forms, is utilitarian. It serves a purpose--the politician's purpose. So does Mitt's Modernist Mormon religion matter? In one sense it doesn't matter at all because it's not really a religion. It's a set of table manners. It's a part of a respectable facade. When American politicians declare that their religion will not affect their policies they're usually being very honest because their religion also doesn't affect their life much at all. In one sense Mitt's Mormonism doesn't matter, but what does matter is that, because of their modernism, our politicians are increasingly cut off from the wisdom, the truth and the spiritual insights that true religion has to offer. A modernist religion that is not much more than a lightweight self-help creed will not provide our politicians with the vision, faith and courage to make the tough moral decisions, and if they can't do that - they will not be able to lead their people into the real promised land. -----
Fr Dwight Longenecker is the Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Greenville, South Carolina. Visit his website and blog at www.dwightlongenecker.com

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Obama's war on America continues with secret Thanksgiving regulations dump Watch

Image of President Obama is going to release a new set of regulations over the Thanksgiving holiday, when many Americans are unlike to notice.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Not content to listen to the voice of the American people after the 2014 midterm election, President Obama is set on continuing his power grab, and forcing his will whether Americans like it or not. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The White House is getting ... continue reading


Sen. Graham: Benghazi report misses information and is 'garbage' Watch

Image of Sen. Graham said he will take a 'hard look' at the new report.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has blasted the Benghazi report recently released by the house Intelligence Committee. Graham says the report, released on Friday, is inaccurate, and called it "full of crap." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Saying he thought "the ... continue reading


Seventh terrorist suspect released from Guantanamo in two weeks; Republicans protest Watch

Image of Muhammad al-Zahrani, became the 13th prisoner released this year and the seventh in just two weeks.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Saudi Arabian man has been released from the terrorist holding facility Guantanamo Bay. He was the seventh such suspect in two weeks to have been transferred from the United States to another nation. The practice has created a great hue and cry among Republicans, who ... continue reading


The Immigration Conflagration and the Dangers of a Benevolent Dictator

Image of

By Keith A. Fournier

There is no question that comprehensive immigration reform is needed. Most people acknowledge this as a fact. However, the truth is President Obama could have participated in such reform, and he knows it, by working with the 114th Congress which will soon be sworn ... continue reading


Running out the door, Republicans too busy with Thanksgiving to address laws Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With Thanksgiving turkeys dancing in their heads, many Republican lawmakers are running out the door in lieu of considering a plethora of new legislation. Republican members have discussed resolutions of disapproval and censure. One unnamed lawmaker was ... continue reading


The TOP 10 list of countries where slavery is most prevalent. DO YOU BENEFIT FROM SLAVERY? You might be shocked! Watch

Image of Poor Haitians are commonly enslaved by wealthier family members.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Last week it was announced that some 36 million people around the world live in slavery, a number that is higher than at any time in history. While most Americans feel that slavery is a distant problem, which has little or no effect on their lives, the sad fact is that ... continue reading


Raking in the dough: Obamacare 'architect' worth millions Watch

Image of Jonathan Gruber has a lucrative connection with the Department of Health and Human Services.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Jonathan Gruber's good fortune would make lots of college students change their majors to economics. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with his firm Gruber Microsimulation Model has raked in millions. Gruber's chief function is estimating the ... continue reading


Why have Republicans betrayed us to the most anti-life president in history? Mark Levin has an idea Watch

Image of Mark Levin is a Constitutional scholar and commentator.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two weeks ago, the American people spoke and sent a message to Obama that we did not approve of his style of leadership. Americans gave control of both the House and Senate to Republicans with a clear mandate to put a stop to the rule of the most anti-life, ... continue reading


Reaping what is sown: No immigration reform hurt Democrats in midterms, former president Clinton says Watch

Image of Speaking in an interview with POLITICO's Mike Allen, Clinton was celebrating the 10-year anniversary weekend of the opening of his presidential library in Little Rock.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A lack of action may have cost President Obama and the Democratic Party big time, former President Bill Clinton says. The Republican victory at midterms earlier this month may have been the result of a lack of action on immigration reform. Clinton says that ... continue reading


'Mook Mafia' said to be heading Hillary Clinton's run for president Watch

Image of Mook is a word used to describe an underling or person with limited intelligence who does as he was told by higher-ups.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As coined in the 1974 Martin Scorsese film, "Mean Streets," "mook" is the term used by Italian Americans used to denote a "loser." In later years, mook became known as a word used to describe an underling or person with limited intelligence who did as he was ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 14:14-19
14 Now in my vision I saw a white cloud and, sitting ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:10, 11-12, 13
10 Say among the nations, 'Yahweh is king.' The world ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:5-11
5 When some were talking about the Temple, remarking ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 25th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine of Alexandria
November 25: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr whose feast day ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter