Update, October 2016:
I had begun to think, given the “choices” of the 2016 political race, that perhaps I’d been too hard on Romney. Then a leaked video from a session of LDS apostles (see below, under “Resources for Further Study) reminded me of how Mormonism hasn’t changed since Romney was running for president. There are still LDS political leaders who are more loyal to the LDS church and its leaders than they are to the people who elected them. Though I don’t agree with the dangers of LDS leadership are on a par with the dangers of ISIS, this is nonetheless a valuable video.
Many Americans aren’t afraid of a Mormon President because of what they know about Mitt Romney. They are afraid because of what they don’t know about a group whose hallmark is secrecy.
I was at BYU as a faithful Mormon while Mitt was there. I know what he was taught. I know what he knows and can’t talk about.
There are three areas in which Mormons are secretive. First, very faithful Mormons make vows and promises in their temples, exclusive sites where they participate in rituals and swear to do certain things, and swear not to talk about those vows.
Secondly, one of the best-kept secrets in the world is just how staggeringly wealthy the Mormon Church actually is. The best estimates say it’s about a $30 billion enterprise with enormous corporate holdings and properties.
Thirdly, there is a greater area about which the LDS church is secretive – even to its own members –regarding the historic and continued political aspirations of LDS leadership and indeed the Church itself. Most Mormons and certainly almost all non-Mormons are completely ignorant of the detailed ways that the Church has sought to bring about control of the United States government in the past. There is good reason to suppose that these goals (and if not goals, at least “prophetic” expectations) are still in place to achieve a Mormon theocratic government of the United States of America.
How does clean-cut Mitt Romney fit into all of these things? To my knowledge, he was and is a man of good character, sincere and honest. Therefore I do not try to critically assess him as a human being, but as a presidential candidate who is a Mormon. To do that, I will address each of these areas of secrecy.
First of all, I believe that Mitt Romney is aware of what all BYU students knew in the 1960s and 1970s about the “slender thread” or “white horse” prophecy. Brigham Young stated that the US Constitution would be at the point of collapse and “the elders of Israel” or LDS officials would save the government. To that end, a law school specializing in US Constitutional law was begun while I was at BYU. What Mr. Romney may or may not know, however, are the well-documented and secretive ways that entities directly and indirectly associated with LDS church leadership have planned to bring that about.
Secondly, Mitt Romney is a wealthy man with a wealthy church. But while Romney has disclosed his income tax forms, no one requires that of the LDS Church (which as a financial entity would be right in the middle of the Fortune 500). Mormons and Money explains how that kind of wealth, with the kinds of political aims the LDS church has always had, can make people uncomfortable.
It is at the personal level, however, that people usually articulate suspicion. Faithful Mormons vow in their temples to put the church above all other earthly concerns, and to devote all their efforts to promoting it. Here’s the exact text of that vow:
You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the Law ofConsecration as contained in the 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.
Many people think there’s a parallel to the fears people had of a Catholic president. Apples and oranges: John F. Kennedy never made repeated vows before witnesses to put his church above everything else.
Don’t take my word for any of these things. Below are transcripts of the temple vows young Mitt made when I was his classmate (and later.) No more secrets! See for yourself if those vows present a problem in your mind concerning his loyalties.
While you’re here, take a look at documentation from my book, The Mormon Mirage 3rd Edition: A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today, concerning the financials of the LDS Church. Analyze for yourself quotes from past and recent LDS leaders about how the LDS church believes it will control the United States of America.
See if you think Mitt’s Mormonism is a problem for you in your secret and sacred place: the voting booth.
Resources for Further Study:
Mormons and Money (from The Mormon Mirage: A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today)
(Note that for a limited time the e-book version of The Mormon Mirage with bonus chapters is only $3.99 on Amazon.)
My novel,Latter-day Cipher, shows how difficult it is to live the historic principles of the LDS church against one’s conscience. (Available at a special reduced price on Amazon for a limited time.)
STARTLING AND NEW: Secret videotape of a full Mormon Endowment Ceremony.
Links to well-documented articles by ex-Mormon Janis Hutchinson:
Mormons in Politics:
Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s analysis of the changes made in 1990 to take out the “bloody oaths” in which Mitt Romney participated before that time:
Additional information about the blood oaths online (Tanners):
Questions for Mitt Romney from Richard Packham, an articulate former Mormon and attorney
Richard Packham’s Information page about Temple Ceremonies (with photos of temple regalia)
Jane Barnes, co-author of the PBS series “The Mormons,” asks in the New York Times some chilling questions about coming dilemmas for a faithful Mormon president.
An irreverent–but compelling–look at Mitt’s Mormonism from an outsider’s point of view (Alex Pareene, author of The Book of Mitt) includes this paragraph about Mitt Romney’s autobiography:
Romney doesn’t add — and why should he? — that Pratt [Romney’s great grandfather] was murdered in 1857, by the husband of a woman he took as one of his “plural wives.” (His ninth.) Pratt was in San Francisco proselytizing and promoting polygamy. The woman converted and eloped with Pratt, then pretended to renounce Mormonism in order to get her children from her parents, where her estranged husband had sent them. The husband tracked Pratt from California to Arkansas, and shot him dead when it became clear that he could not have Pratt jailed. This incident contributed to the general sense of apocalyptic paranoia among the Mormon community that led to the Mountain Meadows Massacre, in which Mormon settlers — acting, according to some, on orders from Brigham Young — killed an entire wagon train of families on their way to California. There were rumors, before the Mormon militia attacked the wagon train, that Pratt’s killer was among the mostly wealthy Arkansans in the train. The Mormons attempted to blame the murder of children and women on Indians, though Mark Twain and others believed that the “Indians” were likely Mormons in war paint. (Archaeological evidence — dug up, embarrassingly, during preparations for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics — supports that theory.) Read more here from the author of “The Book of Mitt.”