Hey, I rhymed.
Anyway, no doubt you have heard about the Southern Baptist Minister (and Rick Perry supporter) who opined last week that the election of Mitt Romney would be a big boost for the cult which is Mormonism. Some of you may be wondering what the Utah priest (me) thinks about the whole thing. (Outside of Utah, I have been asked a lot about what I think about Mitt. It ranks up there with do you ski and are there Catholics in Utah. The answer to the former is, no I try to avoid Californians. The answer to the later is, we are number 2!) I'll answer it in four parts.
Is Mormonism a cult? It depends on what you mean by cult. Do they dance around in airport and drink poisoned KoolAid, no. Are the orthodox Christians? Not by a long shot. The complete list would take too long, but suffice it to say that their Polytheism, belief in a god with many wives, doctrine of Eternal Progression, and the fable which is the Book of Mormon is enough to exclude them from the club. (Go here for documentation in case you think I am exaggerating things.) It is, in fact, enough to classify them as non-Christian in a doctrinal sense. This does not mean that they do not have a Christian morality in many ways. (Remember the yeoman's job they did in California fighting same-sex marriage.) However, they do engage in certain cult-like behavior with regards to proselytism. In the near future, I will do a post on the cult techniques they use in making converts especially among teens. And there is the fact that they are not at all upfront about their own doctrines.
Could I vote for a Mormon for president? Yes. I see nothing in the beliefs of the Mormon Church as they are implemented today that would preclude a devoted Mormon from well and faithfully carrying out the office of President of the United States. After all, we have had Unitarian presidents and their beliefs, or lack there of, trouble me more. I could not say the same thing of Muslims, Wiccans, or Satanists.
Would I vote for Mitt? Yes, but only holding my nose. Almost anyone but Obama and all that. My problem with Mitt is not his faith but the plasticity of positions. The change markedly depending on where he is running and what he is running for. Romneycare and his position on Global Warming are far more troubling to me than Perry's Gardasil error. I just don't trust his conversion to Conservative values and the love affair that the state media has for him is equally troubling. In many ways, he has all of George W's faults and none of his virtues.
Do I think that the Mormon Church would exploit his election? You betcha. And in many ways it would aid in their project of be seen as mainstream. But, it might end up hurting them. After all, what good did the election of JFK do for the Catholic Church in America?