Smoky Mountains Sunrise

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Who Is Mitt Romney?

By Stephen Stone, President of RenewAmerica

As the Republican establishment redoubles its efforts to anoint Mitt Romney the GOP presidential nominee (an outcome likely to ensure a second term for Barack Obama), the need to understand Mitt Romney increases.

What makes Mitt the kind of person he is — ruthlessly opportunistic, dishonest, insincere, willing to say anything for advantage, lacking in conscience, preoccupied with appearance, etc., on the one hand, yet squeaky clean, family-oriented, disciplined, boring, and predictable, on the other?

My new e-book, A Mormon Story, sheds light on the culture that produced Mitt Romney.

The book reveals a value system that ultimately has no absolutes, other than the need to conform to deep-seated, highly-controlling authoritarianism that pervades LDS culture.

That culture emphasizes a Mormon tradition known as "eternal progression" — undoctrinal spiritual evolution in which even God is changing. It also emphasizes the notion that the latest words of governing church leaders trump the Word of God found in the scriptures (including LDS scripture). As a result, Mormons have little incentive to inform themselves about what the scriptures call the "doctrine of Christ" (since they consider that doctrine subject to change); or to rely directly on God to know His will in applying that doctrine to their lives; or to sacrifice their security, comfort, or needs to do what is right, above all else.

In such a system, truth is relative, LDS leaders become the only reliable authority, and individual members are subservient.

Outwardly, as is well known, Mormons appear upright — but that is due largely to intense pressure to conform to the norms of Mormon society, and to uphold the Mormon church's nurtured image of conventionality. Inwardly, Mormons are less independently moral, principled, and informed than they may seem (something LDS scripture quotes God Himself as saying about them). They are trained to be dependent on church authorities to tell them what to think and do, in ways non-Mormons would have difficulty relating to. They behave much like a "cult" — one centered in obedience to powerful, dictatorial leaders.*

As a culture, Mormons therefore tend to lack moral courage — of the sort that would enable them to rise above such social pressure and truly lead out in solving the problems and paradoxes of real life. They are inclined to exemplify not firm leadership, but timidity masquerading as normalcy.

Watch Mitt in the debates. There's fear behind his practiced fa├žade.

Sound intriguing? You bet (as Mormons would say). To read A Mormon Story, click here.

It's time for the culture of Mormonism — its relativistic, authoritarian values and traditions — to receive the kind of scrutiny often reserved for controversial elements of LDS doctrine. Americans deserve to know.

*To be fair, I should stress that my characterization of "Mormons" is just broad enough to create a clear picture of the traditions, values, and tendencies that do — in fact — permeate Mormon culture. I don't mean to imply there aren't exceptions among sincere LDS people. Indeed, I counted myself as an exception — before I was excommunicated for "disobeying" church leaders who illegally demanded I abandon my political livelihood. I know several LDS members who have fundamental integrity, and who therefore struggle with the undoctinal demands and contradictions placed on them by LDS culture.


Gregory Benton said...

I'm sorry, but this is the kind of fear-mongering that went on with JFK and I remember it as I was at that time an Episcopalian and I heard it discussed that 'the Pope will run America'. There is an enormous difference between one's political convictions and/or whims and the religious faith into which one was born and lives. If Americans were to choose their President on the basis of religious purity, there would never be an elected President. Most of them were not particularly religious at all even if they acknowledged a divine being of some kind. What Romney is, with all his political faults, is not a wolf-in-sheeps-clothing as is the current incumbent.
The gospel story of the 'Samaritan' instructs against Pharisaical righteousness. Romney is, in Catholic/Christian terms, a 'Samaritan'...yet it is possible that he could deliver to American precisely what she needs at this time.
Pursuing the man on the basis of the beliefs and practices, alleged or real, in the LDS is less than honourable at best and self-destructive for conservatives in the worst case scenario.
Mr. Stone's accusations and conclusions are alarming more for that from which they came than in the target he so deridedly pursues.

Daniel J. Cassidy said...

Thanks very much for your comment, Greg. I understand your point regarding Romney, but even if his religion were not an issue for many in the Republican Party, many of us would NOT vote for him. He is a thoroughly dishonest chameleon who has been on every side of every issue -- social and economic. He has no core and I would much rather have the Democrat brand associated with bad policy than to have the Republican brand compromised any more than it has been already by the Bush family.

Many conservatives won't vote for Mitt Romney, not because he is Mormon, but because he isn't Mormon enough. Most of the Baptists I know in South Carolina are no fans of Roman Catholicism, but they were all supporting Rick Santorum because he has consistently supported traditional marriage and has been a pro-life conservative. Romney, on the other hand, single handedly forced same-sex marriage on Massachusetts and has been an outspoken abortion supporter and contributor to Planned Parenthood - that is, until the moment it became expedient to be pro-life.

I worked closely with Mormons in the U.S. Department of Education after Secretary Terrell Bell's appointment served as a beachhead for a huge influx of Mormon personnel. They treated non-Mormons like unclean infidels, looked out only for their own, and hiring skirted the civil service system and was coordinated out of Salt Lake City. Stephen Stone, whose article you read, is a former Mormon and his analysis of Romney and his church rings very true to me. I think it is a corrupt institution and I do not want it to have any more influence over the US government than it has already.

Despite record unfavorability rankings for Obama, Romney is going to be a very weak and flawed candidate who will make the previous establishment picks - John McCain and Bob Dole - look strong by comparison.

I also think that it will be obvious by October that Romney will not be elected. However, because of widespread contempt for Obama, conservatives will do in 2012 what they started in 2010 - elect a lot of good conservatives to the House and Senate to prevent Obama from doing any further damage. That check, coupled with the political weakness that accompanies a second term, lame-duck administration, is the best we can hope for until conservatives seize control, as they are beginning to do, of the GOP state party machinery.

It would be great if national recovery could begin next year under a new, Reagan-like, conservative President. But it is clear now that there is no possibility of that happening, whatever the outcome of the Presidential race.

I intend to vote for the Constitution Party candidate this year. Compromising on the "lesser of two evils" has been disastrous and I believe I am one of many who won't do it again.

All the best,


Gregory Benton said...

When the ship is sinking, as it surely is under Obama, Inc.,one needs to make the choice of staying afloat to fight another day for the new Reagan. As our friend Mark Steyn has demonstrated, Obama and his co-horts will, if he remains in power, take America to the point of no return.
Just knowing the enormous peril that Barry Obama has already unleashed on the USA, it is difficult to imagine the horror of what he could do in four years in the manner that he has been doing, i.e., bypassing Congress and governing by fiat, aka 'Executive Order' between holidays.
Rick Santorum is a wonderful man with much appeal to many of us who still hold to Divine authority. I do not believe that he could win a national election against the Chicago Machine.
The job of the next Republican President of the United States is to bring America back from the precipice of disaster. Something tells me that the American population is in a kind of daze and not realising the utter destruction of the greatest country in the world that would continue under your current Narcissist-in-Chief.
If I could vote which, like Mark, I cannot because as HM loyal subject, I am an alien, I would want to keep the ship of state afloat and then hold the Captain's feet to the fire with respect to those vital issues you reference.
As it is, even if the dream of a Republican Congress comes true, such is the animal that currently occupies the Oval Office (between holidays) that he will press on with a view to tiring out the Supreme Court.
As Dandy Don Meredith used to sing at the end of Monday Night Football, if Obama is re-elected, 'Turn out the lights, the party's over'.