There is the very real possibility that a Mormon could be elected President of the United States. The rise of Mitt Romney in the political system is an interesting study. Romney, when asked about his faith, is circumspect. He hides his convictions very well and when pressed acts embarrassed or offended, I am not sure which. This prompted me to look further into the Mormon faith.
I actually have a copy of The Book of Mormon given to me by a polite yet insistent Elder. The book reads like a poorly written novel. The language appears to be constructed by a partially literate person imitating 17th century English. This comes as no surprise considering the text came from Joseph Smith who purportedly translated a collection of golden tablets found in the woods of upstate New York. The tablets had some sort of secret Hieroglyphic language that Smith was given a special power to read. This special power included among other things a Seer stone he kept in his hat. He would bury his face in his hat and be granted a sentence of translation that a handy scribe would copy down. I really could not see the point of investigating this further, so for more information, please visit this website: http://www.lds.org/ensign/1993/07/a-treasured-testament
To put it mildly, Joseph Smith was a con man. However, out of this ruse came an increasingly influential religion that claims many extraordinary things that Mr. Romney and Mormons in general need to answer if they want their religion taken seriously. The following are a few core beliefs:
- The Book of Mormon claims that Jesus visited the Americas after his crucifixion, and that the American Indians are a kind of a lost band of Jews.
- God is either a real human or space alien waiting at the planet Kolob until it is time to return to the Promised Land, Missouri. (I would research this further, but again I think this is enough)
- Blacks were given dark skin to signify them as the cursed descendants of Cain. Blacks are referred to repeatedly in the Book of Mormon as undesirables.
“…wherefore, as they where white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.” 2 Nephi 5:21
The Mormon hierarchy practiced blatant racism against people of African descent until 1979. It appears that a combination of divine intervention and the possible loss of tax-exempt status changed their mind. This is particularly where Romney needs to provide an answer. Did or does he still agree with the Mormon racist policies given the fact The Book of Mormon remains unchanged? I saw a 60 Minutes interview a few years ago with president and prophet of the Mormon Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, who refused to provide a straight answer.
At this point, you may be asking yourself why this article is titled “In Defense of Mormons”. The facts I mentioned previously are outrageous, but when I learned about them, I asked myself if this is any more outrageous than other religions. I mentioned this above, and I hope, whether for or against, you gave this some thought. My point here is not to give a believer an epiphany, rather I want to sow the seeds of questions. I only want others to read scriptures for what the words actually say rather than be told what others want them to say. Ask yourself and others good questions to see if what has been taught and canonized actually makes sense.
When I was about ten years old, I read a Highlights book on Noah’s Ark. I forget what I said to my Dad, other than I did not believe the story because there was no way all those animals could fit on one boat. My Dad, a good Presbyterian, kind of shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Today, I have great respect for him not trying to feed me one of a multitude of concocted answers. To refresh my memory, I recently re-read the story from a Bible given to me at my baptism.
The story of Noah’s Ark, Genesis chapters 6 – 9, is one of the foundational stories in the Old Testament and all of Christendom. A brief review: God concludes he does not like the wickedness of the humans he created and decides to kill them all in a giant flood. He asks a 600-year-old man, Noah, to build an ark and load it with every species on Earth. Noah builds a large boat (for reference roughly the size of a basketball arena) and loads it as God instructed. The Ark floats for many months, the floods subside and the animals are released. Noah plants a vineyard, becomes drunk, lies down naked in his quarters and is covered with a blanket by two of his sons. The third son, Ham, saw Noah naked and as punishment Noah sentences Ham’s son, Canaan, to a lifetime of slavery. Noah lives to 950 years old.
Where to start? God, despite all his love, infinite wisdom and power, thinks the only way to solve the problem of wickedness in man is to kill them all; this is psychopathic behavior. God proves he is not perfect and all powerful since He produced such a disagreeable lot of humans to begin with and then was unable to change them in a less violent manner. A boat with tens of thousands of animals defies any attempt at explanation. The ventilation system alone would be a marvel of engineering even today. Go to the zoo and see what it takes to care for a few hundred animals. And, before you say, “Well God put some in hibernation” or some such argument, go to the bible and see if that is what it says. No mention of HVAC systems, hibernation, etc. is in my 1952 edition Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible. The amount of food required alone would be staggering. Finally, I had forgotten the last part of the story with Canaan. This portion is a total non-sequitur. It is so unrelated that any first year writing student would get a big “X” through this had they written it. Regardless, what did Canaan do? Nothing, but he is the one punished by Noah. Remember though “Noah walked with God.” I realize the Bible is considered a book of guidance and lessons, but what is the lesson here? Is this how a person who “walks with God” should treat children? Lastly, a 950-year-old man? Therefore, if you are a religiously inspired person who looks down upon Mormons I ask this of you. When you hear a college basketball game or drive by large sports arena, think of a passive-aggressive drunk 600 year old man, passed out, lying naked in his tent and ask yourself, “Am I really better than a Mormon?”