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Time To Cancel The Mormon Theocracy Watch

Remember that Mormon conspiracy to take over America that folks like Yale’s Harold Bloom and Salon’s Sally Denton keep warning us about? Well, according to a new survey of Utah lawmakers, it runs so deep that most Utah politicians have never even been lobbied by the LDS Church. BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins has the insidious details:

[W]hile the Mormon Church has voiced opinions on a few issues — immigration, gay rights, gambling, and liquor laws specifically — lawmakers said it does very little lobbying. In fact, most respondents said they had never heard from the church’s Salt Lake headquarters at all, an interesting factoid at a moment when — in an echo of worries about Papal control of John F. Kennedy — some of Mitt Romney’s critics worry about his ties to the church organization.

Democratic House Minority Whip Jennifer Seelig, a Methodist, told the Tribune she saw more religious meddling in her home state: “In comparison to Kentucky, the LDS Church is not that directly active in politics.” And Republican Rep. Stephen Handy, said, “I wouldn’t know the chief LDS Church lobbyist if he walked in the door and sat right next to me.”

The operation is so slick, in other words, that the politicians who are being controlled by the Mormon Church don’t even know that they’ve been lobbied. Ingenious. Of course, the real takeaway from this information is Coppins’s conclusion:

[T]he Tribune‘s survey seems to suggest that political lobbying isn’t in the church’s wheelhouse. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t change its tack with newfound access to power — and certainly Romney’s worldview, shaped by his faith, would inform the decisions he made in office — but for the church to start aggressively lobbying the White House would require a substantial shift in policy and practice.

Via Meadia hopes that editors will consider this fact before running yet another op-ed claiming that Mitt Romney is plotting to impose Mormonism on the United States. The former Massachusetts governor may or may not be the right man for the White House, but he isn’t a stalking horse for insidious Mormon plots. The press needs to drop this stupidity, fast.

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  • Jim.

    Call it what it is, WRM – this is anti-religious bigotry and paranoia cut from the same cloth as “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.

    And call these “journalists” what they are — bigots.

  • DirtyJobsGuy

    I’m much more interested in how Mitt’s Mormonism affects him (I’ve got mormon relatives and know a bit about this).

    Obedience to the Church leadership is a big thing and public discussion of these issues is verboten (as is much private discussion within the LDS church). This is seen clearly in Mitt’s lack of persuasive abilities as well as his tendency to get along with the Dems.

    Yes the LDS does not push public positions much since it got them into big trouble since day one. The structure of the church with a living prophet and a tight control of the believers makes it easy to slip into theocratic actions. When the US Army was required to keep Brigham Young from tending this way (by negotiating with the south on slavery) its a history to avoid.

    Like many churches, the Mormons dabble in socialist/communist economic structures. In Utah there were many church owned monopolies in dry goods and manufacturing. These failed of their own weight as all such endeavors do, but you can see RomneyCare rising out of this history.

    This upbringing in a non-argumentative environment (remember Mormons spend a lot of time at Church activities every week) helps a lot in explaining Mitt’s inability to state his political beliefs convincingly.

  • A

    Good article. The word “folks,” however, should be dropped from the vernacular.

  • Kris

    A@3: “The word ‘folks,’ however, should be dropped from the vernacular.”

    Indeed. It is way too folksy.

    Oops.

  • Gary L

    Has anyone noticed that the two-syllable word “Mormon” contains the same number of letters as the two-syllable word “Moslem”? And that they both begin with the letter sequence “Mo”? And that they are both accented on the first syllable? Such Kabbalistic patterns clearly suggest a Zionist conspiracy of an astounding magntitude……

  • Brett

    I’ve heard something different when I spoke with Doug Foxley and Frank Pignanelli (the latter was the Minority Leader in the Utah House of Representatives). They told me that while the LDS Church doesn’t lobby on most issues, there are a few where they do lobby: alcohol, strip clubs, and gambling. He said that when those issues come up, and the Church has something they want on the issue, they’ll do a full-court press of the Congressional leaders for both parties.

  • MJB

    I worked in Salt Lake City for about six months four years ago and was struck by the fact that although the LDS Church could control the city they chose not to.
    The City government, the leading news paper, and the University of Utah were all hard left. And the signs are everywhere: homeless and drunks galore; filthy public down town parks and so forth. There are many bars and sex clubs but they seem to be controlled.
    So as I see it, the LDS Church seems to be saying: as long as you don’t start to spoil our lives, you can go straight to [heck] if that’s what you wish but we what to help you avoid that if we can.
    Can they be any better definition of tolerance?

  • Dave

    I lived in Salt Lake City for a decade as a Gentile (the LDS term for all non-Mormons including, ironically, Jews).

    I was active in my own (Presbyterian) Church, and had many friends there, LDS and non-LDS alike.

    The LDS Church indisputably has power in Utah and could be as “theocratic” as they liked if they so desired. Except for a small sliver of issues (mostly “moral” issues), the LDS Church stayed away from politics.

    Ironically, I sensed more intolerance from the rank and file than I perceived from church leaders. For example, John Huntsman, whom I knew casually, was an LDS Stake President (a stake is smaller than diocese but made up of multiple congregations) and the son-in-law of an LDS Apostle — yet he was nothing but warm and gracious in every dealing I had with him.

    (John Huntsman is the father of former Governor Jon Huntsman)

  • DL

    After 56 years of Church membership, I don’t think I have ever heard anything more partisan than you can belong to any political party you want and you should vote. Other than that the Church is not in favor of pornography, gambling and booze. I don’t think they would like legalized marijuana but that is just speculation. They saw gay marriage as an attack on the family which it may or may not have been. (I have an open mind on that subject.) You will never hear a political speech from the pulpit of a Mormon church.

  • S P Dudley

    I’m with DirtyJobsGuy, it’s not the theology that I’m concerned with but rather the mentality. It goes without saying that Mittens is risk-adverse and that probably works well in the VC world but not as a president, as there are going to be situations in those 3AM calls that will not take time for conferring with the elders.

  • Yeechang Lee

    “It goes without saying that Mittens is risk-adverse and that probably works well in the VC world”

    That S P Dudley could write the above with a straight face says much, much more about him than about Mormons or Romney.

  • JFL

    Like many relatives of LDS members, DirtyJobsGuy has some things sort of right and some things wrong.
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not keep tight control of its members and there are huge differences among LDS in the way they think on many issues.
    As someone who has been a member for 48 years, I can say that I would not have joined or stayed without free dialogue.
    Mitt Romney represents Mitt Romney. Right now he seems risk averse. I don’t know if he is. I will not vote for him, though I might have voted for his father. I do think he is a good man and that he would handle the 3 AM call judiciously and that is not what people should be worried about.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    The notion that the Mormon church is a “nonargumentative environment” is truly hilarious. First, it is NOT an environment that promotes discussion about topics that are irrelevant to religious belief and action, so you are NOT going to hear advocacy for a political party or candidate. It is NOT a forum where everyone is expected to agree on anything that is not connected to the Gospel of Christ. A bishop is someone who has been called to serve as spiritual leader, but he has no charter or expertise or religious claim to tell members how to think about political issues. He may be a businessman, a truck driver, a lawyer, a dairy operator, a potato farmer, an environmental engineer, an airline pilot, or an infantry officer.

    There is plenty if amicable discussion and reasoning about religious issues, but Mormons learn to do this with casting aspersions on another person’s character or parentage.

    The place where Mormons get their main experience of argumentative conflict is when they spend two years as missionaries, trying to convince people who know nothing about their beliefs to listen to their message, and that they would be happier joining a group that is vilified by both atheists and religious folk. You will note that Mormons are happy to engage you on this and any other forum. They are very aware of the different beliefs of other churches and are ready, willing and able to degend their beliefs, without being disagreeable.

    Those of us Mormons who attended law school have been trained to be professional disputants, including Mitt Romney, who graduated from Harvard Law alongside several of my Mormon friends whom I worked with as missionaries in Japan and who overlapped him. I am pretty sure that getting an MBA from Harvard Business School also involves being abke to convincingly advocate for your viewpoint. And of course convincing people to vote for you, including in nationally televised debates, is also an opportunity to practice persuasion. I am pretty sure that the pension funds that trusted Romney’s company with their money were impressed by his ability to think for himself.

    How much leadership experience does the avetage Catholic or Protestant get in his or her church? Yet every Mormon youth is given opportunites to speak in church, to lead, to teach. Mormon teens,.much more than teens in other churches, know what they believe and why they believe it. They get an hour of teligious education every morning before high school classes begin. They are often a small minority within their school, but are ready to stick up for their principles in a sometimes hostile environment.

    And the real kicker is, Mormons.are NOT angry at other denominations or their people.they have positive feelings towards people of other religions, rivaling those churches’ own members’ feelings. That is despite the fact that most people regard Mormons as only slightly above Muslims in their disregard. Mormons believe that people who live with the intent to do good can go to heaven even if they never join the Mormon Church. That is Mormon theology. Interestingly majorities of people in other churches also believe that, but they do so contrary to the teachings of most of their pastors, who want them to believe that Mormons and Catholics are going to hell.

  • Kris

    I had the same reaction as Yeechang@11 and regret I didn’t think of Raymond@13’s point on missionary work. Look, you may disagree with Romney’s positions, and you may dislike his persona, but to argue that a presidential candidate is some kind of wilting wallflower? Really?

  • Innovate

    As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, members are not invited to obey church leaders blindly. We are invited to ask God if what they are inviting us to do is right. In the Book of Mormon, Moroni tells us that which inites a person to believe in Christ and deny him not is sent forth by the Spirit of Christ, therefore we may know with a perfect knowledge it is of Christ. But, that which invites us to deny Christ and serve not him is not of God.” This is how members of the LDS faith determine whether or not to follow leaders or anyone else.

  • http://www.truebelievingmormons.com Mormon Beliefs

    The church does not control the city of Salt Lake, but they don’t mind spending $5 billion on commercial development instead of, say, the poor, the downtrodden, the sick and afflicted…

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