Monday, October 22, 2012

Romney's Arrogance, Mormonism, and Bizarre Rituals

Throughout this campaign season I have tried to avoid raising questions about Mitt Romney's religious beliefs.  However, when listening to the man's lies, his refusal to accept objective reality and even simple math, and his overweening arrogance one has to wonder if some of these personality traits - flaws in my opinion - don't directly tie back to his religious upbringing and the strange mindset of the leaders of his religion.  Before readers jump on me, please remember that I was raised Roman Catholic before I left that Church out of disgust over the sex abuse scandal.  As a result, I've seen some pretty crazy stuff being embraced by extreme elements within the Catholic Church not to mention the bitter old men in the Church hierarchy.  That said, as a new video of Mormon ceremonies reveals, some of the strange stuff one finds in the Mormon belief system makes the craziest things in the Catholic Church pale in comparison.  Does Mitt Romney believe these things?  And if he does, do we want a president who apparently rejects logic and reason and objective reality?  We've already had one president - George W. Bush - who thought he was on a crusade and we all know where that lead us in the Middle East.  Do we need another? 

A piece in The Daily Beast contains an interview with the great, great grand daughter of Brigham Young, a founder of the Mormon religion wherein she expresses her views on why Mitt Romney's Mormonism should frighten rational voters.  She also believes that Romney's sense of entitlement and arrogance derive from his Mormon upbringing.  Here are highlights:
Sue Emmett is Mormon royalty. Her great-great-grandfather was Brigham Young, the founder of Salt Lake City, first governor of Utah, and president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) from 1847 until his death in 1877. 
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Emmett, who rarely speaks to the media, talks about what life is like in the church, why she left, and what she thinks motivates Mitt Romney to want to be president.

"The church has astutely created a very benign image to the world. They spend millions of dollars a year doing this," says Emmett . . . .

Emmett has watched Mitt Romney very closely throughout his public life and has strong opinions about what shaped his personality and his character. “Mitt is a product not only of his wealth, but of an organization that gives men power when they are 12 years old,” she says. “That is when boys are ordained with the priesthood. It is a big moment in a Mormon male’s childhood.”

As for what pundits say is Romney's difficulty connecting with people, Emmett blames it largely on what she calls “the entitled Mormon male syndrome, where the leadership professes compassion and concern but leaves the manifestations of that to the drones.

Emmett says Romney was a bishop, “a position where everyone defers to you. What a bishop says goes. People come to them to receive blessings.” He then became a stake president, she says, which means he presided over several congregations, and at that point bishops deferred to him.

“Mitt has had people defer to him and not challenge him his entire life,” says Emmett. “In the Mormon church if you challenge your priesthood leaders it’s a very bad thing to do, especially for women. As the world can now see, Mitt has a very hard time with being questioned and criticized; he’s had so little of this in his life."

Emmett says she doesn’t think Romney has the ability to separate what leaders of the church want from what the country needs.

Regarding Romney and the presidency, Emmett cites a bit of Mormon lore called the White Horse Prophecy that has floated around since the time of Mormon founder Joseph Smith. It suggests that Mormons believe a time will come when the U.S. Constitution is eroding and Mormon leaders will save it and usher in a new theocracy with Mormons in charge.
“I can guarantee you that there are millions of Mormons who believe this prophecy and see Romney as potential fulfillment of it,” she says. “As a Mormon, you grow up hearing about this prophecy. I think Mitt believes he has a mandate from God to become president so he can help move this along. I don’t know if it’s a conscious thought, but it's in his subconscious.”

Emmett says she thinks Romney’s biggest fault is that he has a “serious problem telling the truth. There is flip-flopping, which he has done more than any politician in modern history, and then there is out and out lying,” she says. “This kind of thing has sadly been a part of the church from the very beginning. Some modern apostles actually taught that it is not always the best thing to tell the truth if it interferes with preaching gospel.”

Every Mormon grows up with the idea that it’s OK to lie if it’s for a higher cause,” says Clark, who now works for a company that markets employment and labor market data. “But what happens is when this becomes a part of your ethical tool kit, you develop a condescending attitude toward people. Like Ann Romney saying 'you people.’ This idea of lying for the Lord gives you license to place people on an inferior level. It’s OK for Mitt Romney to ignore the principle of full disclosure because it’s in his DNA. Look what he’s doing with his taxes, and how he talks only in generic and sanitized terms about his religion.”
Frighteningly, this sounds far too much like George W. Bush's bizarre belief that he was on a Christian crusade in the Middle East.   We do NOT need a Mormon equivalent to the Chimperator Bush's insanity that squandered thousands of American lives (and killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis) and exploded the budget deficit.

Meanwhile, Towleroad provides a video that ought to be required viewing, especially for the Christianists and Fox News viewers.  Here are highlights from Towleroad and the video clip:
A hidden camera video purportedly shot inside a secret Mormon Temple ceremony and meant to expose some of the nutty traditions of Mitt Romney's religion appears to be going viral via Reddit.

For the first time in the 170+ year history of secret Mormon temple activity, those activities have been captured on film with a hidden camera.

Watch with your own eyes the sworn oath, known as the "Law of Consecration," that US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has raised his arm to the square and vowed to obey, an oath that requires faithful Mormons to consecrate 100% of their current AND FUTURE time, talents and everything they will ever be blessed with, to the Mormon church and its goal to achieve a worldwide theocracy headed by Mormons.

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