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I confess: I was once both a Republican and an active Mormon. In fact, I used to live in Belmont, Massachusetts, and went to church there... and even sat in Sunday School with Mitt Romney.

Although I will touch on how I became a Democrat and a completely disaffected almost ex-Mormon (I'm still listed as a member because it would kill my parents were I to resign), I will be writing about how Mitt's Mormonism affects his campaign and how it likely would affect a (God forbid!) Romney presidency.

Oh, all right, let me get this out of the way right now: Yes, I really was an "active" Mormon: I graduated from BYU, served a mission in France, got married in a Mormon temple. I really did vote for Reagan both times (sorry, sorry, I know). I switched to the Democratic party only because we ended up living in Pittsburgh after we got married, and given the Dem to Repub ratio there (8:1), we discovered that everything local was decided in the primaries. Ergo, wanting some kind of voice, we switched. (Thus began a psychological and intellectual evolution from which we could not escape....)

It's been about 11 years now since I last regularly attended and served in the Mormon church. (I have gone when visiting my devout sibs and parents, but only when I haven't been able to find a way to travel on Sunday.) Nevertheless, I have kept up with Mormon news (I read the Salt Lake Tribune every day, and occasionally the Provo Herald and St. George Spectrum). A very mainstream Mormon book I wrote is still in print, and some of my essays on Mormon feminism (no, really, it's not as oxymoronic as you think!) are still circulating on the internet. And even after 11 years, there are precious few Mormons who know Mormon scripture (including the Bible) better than I do. I still know most of the hymns by heart. Such are my bona fides.

For the record, I signed the petition asking BYU not to have Cheney speak at commencement, even though I knew perfectly well that it wouldn't have mattered even had the entire student body and faculty signed. Given that the chair of BYU's Board of Trustees is church president Gordon Hinckley, reneging on the invitation would have been tantamount to the Mormon church admitting it had made a mistake, and (here is Lesson One:) The Mormon Church Does Not Make Mistakes.

I hope to post about Mitt-related Mormonism a couple of times a week, depending on my work schedule. I invite your questions about Mormonism (doctrine, lifestyle, etc.) and will devote at least part of a diary every so often to answering questions I receive. In fact, the attached poll lists a few questions that non-Mormons usually have about Mormonism, and will answer the one(s) with the most votes first.

Coming next: The qualitative difference between Romney's Mormonism and Kennedy's Catholicism.

Originally posted to mofembot on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 12:32 AM PDT.


What question would you like mofembot to answer?

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| 66 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  If You Are Serious (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madhaus, slksfca, ddriscoll

    I do have a question or two.

    "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

    by webranding on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 12:26:31 AM PDT

    •  If you are serious (9+ / 0-)

      I am totally serious.--mo

      •  Well That Was My Vote (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        madhaus, BachFan, Owllwoman

        "Why can't I go inside a Mormon temple?" I live outside St. Louis now, but lived in DC for 15 years. As I circled 495 the Mormon church by Sliver Spring stood there, light shining off of it. I wanted to go inside so bad.

        Also, after reading "Under the Banner of Heaven" I think I have a better idea of the religion. But still not even sure I am close to getting it.

        "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

        by webranding on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 12:36:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great book! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joynow, webranding, BachFan

          mofembot, have you read it?  I'd love to hear what you think of what Krakauer had to say.  And my vote was for hearing about being Mormon and feminist, because to me that's a big ol' oxymaroon.

          I was brought up in Orthodox Judaism, and I have completely walked away from all of it.  I could not take the sexism.  Now I'm just a cultural Jew.  My kids aren't being brought up in the religion at all.

          Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

          The Music Room - Every weekend. Music & Musicians discussion.

          by madhaus on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 12:40:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well Since It Is Late (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            This dairy will pass .... and I won't get yelled at ....

            I actually like Mitch. Don't agree with him on many things. But feel he is honest. I like he made money. Like he loves his wife and never got divorced. The interview I saw with the two of them she seemed at least his equal. Don't think it was staged.

            In my world (not always the Kos world) I find two people, both intelligent, can just agree to disagree.

            Had to through that in since I saw your sign-off. They say they die in threes. For me, Kurt Vonnegut, David Halberstam, and now Rostropovich. Not a good month!

            "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

            by webranding on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 12:48:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm curious... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              madhaus, joynow, rapala, Owllwoman

              ... When you call Romney honest, what do you make of his recent pandering to the right (flip-flops on all sorts of issues, recent NRA membership, etc.)?--mo

              •  He Is A Politican (0+ / 0-)

                I mean he was the governor in a pretty liberal state. Did what he needed to win. So he lied, or just reevaluted his position. Not saying I like that and "honest" was the wrong word to use. But you know, on the right, of all the people running I'd trust him more then all the others.

                He couldn't get me to vote for him in ten thousands years, but I do kind of like the guy, if you can really like a guy that you only know from TV interviews.

                "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

                by webranding on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 01:24:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  What is a "Cultural Jew?" n/t (0+ / 0-)

            "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

            by webranding on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 12:57:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I do some cultural stuff, but no religious (0+ / 0-)

              observation whatsoever.  Look, the very first rule religious Jews are supposed to follow is monotheism, so I'm out right there.  I think it's the worst of both worlds, it defies rationality and also loses the beauty and depth of a pantheon.

              Chaos, fear, dread. My work here is done.

              The Music Room - Every weekend. Music & Musicians discussion.

              by madhaus on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 01:06:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Just Curious (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I work in a company of 30 people where at least 17 are Jewish and it is somewhat strange, as a person raised as a methodist. They range from people like you too Orthodox.

                "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

                by webranding on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 01:11:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  I am looking forward to these diaries! (0+ / 0-)

        I am a devout Episcopalian who dated (and came close to marrying) a Mormon.  I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

        1-20-09 The Darkness Ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora.

        by noweasels on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 01:16:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  mofembot: Still Want to Know Why I Can't (0+ / 0-)

    go into a Mormon temple?

    "It is not enough to win, all others must lose," Sun Tzu.

    by webranding on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 01:39:26 AM PDT

    •  why you can't go (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Please have patience: I don't have time to do much chatting. I will respond (reasonably completely, I hope) within the next week, sooner if possible. Short answer: you're not a member in good standing. (Members who are not in good standing can't go into a temple once it's been dedicated; and yes, there's a yearly interview process to determine temple-worthiness.)

      •  What I want to know is why you told my life story (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nio, Rogneid, BachFan

        It sounds kind of like you did, except for the BYU part.

        I grew up in SLC and so much of what you said echos my life.  I stopped being active when I moved to Texas 14 years ago.  Voted for Reagan and Bush I, before seeing the light during grad school and haven't voted for a GOPer since.  

        The only difference is that I did undgergrad at USU and got my PhD from the U of U.  So, my favorite schools are anyone who is beating BYU :)

        I read the Deseret News every day to see what my mom and family back there are reading and being propagandized with and write LTE often.  I wrote one that they published about why Romney will not get the nomination because the Southern Baptists here in the south consider Mormons to be part of a Cult.  I personally think that the blind LDS support of the Repubs who are dominated by the christian theocrats, is like supporting the governor of Missouri back in the 1840's.

        Of course I was attacked by people who responded that once people get to know Mitt they will vote for him.  They ignore the polls that show 37% of people would not vote for a Mormon, period end of story.  

        I look forward to hearing more about your thoughts on Mitt and eduction on the Kos community.

  •  I am a Mormon and.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nio, Native Light

    and I don't like the 'images' of a 'quack' religion that you seem to be intimating that you will 'reveal'.

    If someone came on here and bashed Muslims as saying that their religion is one of hate and that all non-believers should be killed, we would tell them off.  In that same spirit, give it a break on the 'holy underwear', temples, polygamy and other pet subjects of disaffected Mormons.  I would be interested in your Romney experiences and thoughts on him as a President, but your own personal bias towards Mormonism evident from your poll questions would make me and others get turned off or have it turned into a Pat Robertson type pony show.

    I am sure that you are tempted to go off on a diatribe at me but I don't care because I won't pay attention to it.  I served my mission in South Carolina 11 years ago and I actively sought anti Mormon material, read the lot and had my pointless arguments with others, and I am still here.

    I believe in the Democrat agenda because I don't believe in screwing over the poor, tearing down freedoms and pre-emptive war.  I am also a believer in the power of government, which is antithical to modern Republicanism.

    •  Dear Mormon, (7+ / 0-)

      Lots of non-Mormons hear lots of bizarre things about Mormonism, and given that Romney's religion is going to get a fair bit of airtime/bandwidth, it seems totally reasonable to answer honest queries. (Major news outlets have already addressed the subject of Mitt's underwear; HBO's Big Love has brought polygamy forward into the cultural dialogue... my poll questions pretty accurately reflect what non-Mormons have asked me both when I was active and since. I didn't have to make them up!)

      As for objectivity, why don't you wait and read what I have to say before assuming I'm going to go on a bashing spree--and do feel free to chime in if you feel that I have written something inaccurate. I am not trying to convert anyone to anything. I have no patience for dishonest screeds à la Godmakers, but I don't think it's useful to pretend that Mormonism is just a garden-variety brand of Christianity. You and I both know that it isn't (and that the church proselytes precisely because it isn't). --mo

      •  Many of us don't know much of what (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rogneid, BachFan, KnowVox

        the Mormons are all about. This would be a great learning experience. With Mitt in the running educate us, Please.

        "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

        by Owllwoman on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 04:00:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I respect your answer (0+ / 0-)

        and look forward to your posts then.  I also am interested in honest representation rather than dishonest screeds.

        While I understand that a lot of people are interested in the differences that Mormonism has and focus on that, there are other things that people may find similar.

        By the way, temple recommends go for two years now.

    •  Education on Polygamy... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rogneid, BachFan

      I think that when this community is informed about many of these "issues" you refer to, they will not have as many concerns.  This community is not close minded like the koolaid drinkers in the GOP.

      Many people will be surprised to know that the LDS church actually opposed polygamy and that polygamy is grounds for ex-communication and has been for over a century.  That polygamists like Warren Jeffs are actually apostates in the eyes of the church.

      I think if mofembot uses her series to educate people about the myths and stereotypes, it will do a world of good to help tear down the polygamist and other stereotypes out in the community.

      Clearly the Dems accept Mormons, otherwise one would not sit in the top 3 positions of power in the party (Harry Reid).  Informing others of his, yours, and other mormons beliefs will not hurt, if the recipients of the information have an open mind.  I think the dKos community does have just that, an open mind.

      •  Some have open minds, others (0+ / 0-)

        ... not so much.

        People still salivate at exposes full of mis information and enjoy the ol' religion bashing.  How many times have we enjoyed watching Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell get nailed?  Of course, they have more to do with hate than love, more to do with money than truth.

        If you want basic answers to questions about the church, feel free to look at the church's own "About the church" area at their website.  If that isn't satisfactory, there is also wikipedia and here.

  •  I'd mostly want to hear (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, BachFan, Owllwoman

    Mitt's Mormonism would affect his campaign and office if he is a real believer and if he let it affect his sampaign.

    It seems hard to say...for instance bush is said to be "Christian" so if one read the teachings of Christ to see how he might lead we'd have expected...well pretty much the opposite of everything we've seen from him.
    But if we studied right wing christian teachings we might have expected just what we got.

    Setting aside the mystery of how what Jesus is quoted as saying became what robertson, falwell and the like say...just the example of that shows it's hard to know what teachings of the religion say about the person.

    I guess if someone is republican and saying choice is bad and gay is bad and war is good and low taxes for the rich matter more than help to the needy or reducing debt for our children...would make me not care what religion he was.

    I have talked to some Mormons about my questions and concerns about the religion but never about underwear. Never knew there was anything to ask. Does it give them super powers?

    •  Wellllll (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      we had an intern placed with Mitt in Massachusetts -- an avid Political Science major. The intern came back really really disillusioned and wants no more of politics although he/she didn't say a word about the experience.

      Just sayin'

  •  Mormon History. (0+ / 0-)

    Let's examine the South Park depiction of Mormons and Mormon History and see how it compared to the real thing, as recorded by official Mormon Church records and eye-witnesses testimony.

     title= Part 1: First Vision
    Does South Park's rendition of the First Vision come close to the truth? Yes.

     title=Part 2: Angel Moroni
    South Park pokes fun and pokes holes in Joseph Smith's story of Moroni's appearance.  A angel appers to this american guy and instructs him.

     title= Part 3: Finding the Plates of Gold
    What Joseph Smith said he found isn't exactly what South Park shows, but it's close. He supposedly finds some hidden record. In America.

     title= Part 4: Translating the Book of Mormon
    South Park depicts the actual Book of Mormon "translation" process more accurately than the modern church does (for obvious reasons).

    He reads the acient record out of a hat to a rich guy he scammed to publish his book.

    The rich guys wife instructs him that if he can't read it to him a second time the same way he is being scammed. So they toss the first copy.

    Joseph Smith scams the rich guy yet again. Telling him something to the effect he couldn't use the same book this time. So sayeth the angels...

     title= Part 5: The Lost 116 Pages
    It's a funny story and it's pretty close to the way things really happened.

    The First Casualty In War Is The Truth.

    by Olivebranch on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 05:31:52 AM PDT

  •  Your story (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    sounds remarkably like a 21st century version of the Apostle Paul's conversion experience. A Mormon to the Mormons and a missionary to boot. You weren't by any chance struck blind by the spirit of Andrew Jackson and sent to Teddy Kennedy for the cure were you?

    As another resident of Massachusetts and a witness to the devastation wrought by Mitt the Twitt, I have often wondered if his religious convictions had anything to do with his utter hatred of and antipathy for the urban poor. He made life so much harder than it needed to be for so many people. I suspect he is really just a political opportunist and a dilettante but one never really knows for certain.

    •  Mitt's insensitivity (0+ / 0-) more a product of him growing up well-to-do and never really knowing what it's like to struggle. Clueless. Mormonism teaches charity and taking care of the poor and downtrodden. Admittedly, this has turned into the mantra of "Mormons take care of their own," rather than addressing the needs the world at large: the percentage of church funds spent on (for example) disaster relief is depressingly small, and I don't think I can name too many Mormons who are involved in fighting injustice and oppression. (But more on this to come.)--mo

  •  I understand... (0+ / 0-)

    not wanting to become a heretic and upset your family, but it looks like the church still has a significant hold on you. If you attend even occasional services with your family, aren't you required to be a member in good standing to enter the temple? And to pass the yearly interview test that renders you "temple worthy?"

    Regardless, looking forward to your insights.

    Politicians and diapers need to be changed frequently -- often for the same reason.

    by KnowVox on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 06:54:50 AM PDT

    •  I haven't been to the temple in years. (0+ / 0-)

      My family knows I'm a heretic, but the fact that I'm technically still a member gives them hope that I will repent and return to the fold. (Harder to do if one is x'ed or asks to have one's name removed from the rolls.)

      I was actually too busy at my previous job for several years to think much about Mormonism at all, let alone write about it.  Back in the day, I spent a great deal of time writing and discussing and researching. It took me quite a long time to get over "leaving" the church (rather, it was more like mourning the realization that the church didn't want people like me in it).--mo

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