Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mitt and Mormonism: FINALLY, an intelligent piece on Mitt Romney and the Mormon Question, by Allan Wall at Up until now, I've read almost nothing but hysterics and paranoia, even by otherwise thoughtful men like Thomas Fleming. The stupidity on the subject knows no bounds. Prior to this article, the only insightful writing I ran across was Razib's.

Wall expresses my concern that Mormons for doctrinal reasons tend to be soft on illegal and legal immigration, and while Mitt is clearly running to the right of McCain on the issue, his real views are probably influenced by his religious beliefs. Specifically, he is likely to have more-than-usual affection for Hispanics because of the Mormon belief that the indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere are sort of a chosen people. They have joined the Church in very large numbers (more than half of the membership worldwide is Spanish-speaking) and so white Mormons feel a kinship with them.


Audacious Epigone said...

Wall's piece is welcome. But what is not sufficiently dealt with is how much Mormonism actually influences Romney's beliefs. Apparently he doesn't deal with his religion much in his 2004 book, nor does he otherwise wear it on his sleeve.

Wall looks at the performance of Mormons in Congress. But I think it more relevant to look at the immigration 'gradecards' of the Congress critters who've thus far made endorsements of either McCain or Romney at this point.

McCain has 36 backers, with a GPA of 2.4 according to Numbers' AfBI. Romney's 42 are considerably more restrictionist, at 3.4.

Jeff Burton said...

You are mincing words and misconstruing their beliefs. Mormons do NOT believe that the indigenous peoples of the Americas are a "chosen people".

They believe (and against all scientific evidence), that they are Jewish, that they are descendants of refugees from the 6 century BC destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.

Ron Guhname said...

Jeff: Mormons believe that Jesus, after being resurrected, visited the people of Americas and taught them. They embraced the faith but later abandoned it, but God promised that they would return again to the true faith. It is in that sense that Mormons consider them chosen--they have been promised something by God. In seeing them as special, Mormons don't focus on their supposed Jewishness. They focus on the fact that Jesus visited them; that they were at one time a believing people; and that they are becoming one again in large numbers through the Church's missionary efforts. So much for mincing and misconstruing.

And most Mormons believe that what science tells us about the origins of indigenous people is true, but that it is only part of the story.

Jeff Burton said...

Ron, Mormons can't have it both ways. If they believe that Native Americans are "chosen" on the basis of their descent from Lamanites, then they MUST also believe that the indigenous peoples of the Americas are at least partly Jewish. It's clear from the first few chapters of the Book of Mormon that all the characters therein (including those Christ supposedly preached to in the 2nd or 3rd century AD) descended from Jewish refugees.

There is much more to say here, but I'm sure you don't want your comment section clogged up by a virulent anti-Mormon such as myself.

Ron Guhname said...

Mormons believe both that Native Americans are chosen because they are descended from Lamanites AND that they are descended in part from Jews. Where did I write that this wasn't the case? I only said that, when thinking of their chosenness, Mormons think of the Lamanite's religious experiences on this continent, not that they are descendants from Jews. Like others, they believe also that Jews have a chosen relationship with God, but this is a thought of as a separate relationship.

And please, clog away: it is my pleasure to defend perfectly respectable people with a perfectly respectable religion against virulent anti-Mormons.