Another Mormon who knew Romney as a bishop and stake president in Boston has been heard from -- Dr. Brian Moench writes in Common Dreams that Romney's serial dishonesty should disqualify Romney from the temple recommends he once controlled for thousands of Boston-area Mormons.
Moench, now a former Mormon, notes that every Mormon undergoes a bishop's interview once a year, and one of the 14 required questions is "“Are you honest in your dealings with your fellow man?”.
Temple recommends are a big deal for Mormons, because they cannot get into a Mormon temple, where sacred endowment, marriage and baptism of the dead ceremonies are performed, without one.
Of course, serial liars will lie about the above question, and others, to secure a temple recommend.
Which Romney has surely done, as there is no evidence that he has ever been denied a temple recommend.
More from Moench, below.
Moench attended the same ward as Romney for several years, and got to know both him and his wife:
Ann and my wife shared positions of responsibility in our local "ward" and in that capacity Ann was in our home several times.Moench argues that Romney's record of church leadership is unique:
My wife and I both thought highly of Ann and liked her as a friend and a fellow church member. We liked Mitt as well, in that he was married to Ann. Mitt would offer a firm, robotic handshake on Sunday mornings, but he managed to make his "Good morning, it's great to see you," feel condescending and superficial.
Mitt was distinctly impersonal and it seemed his interest in me was only to the degree that I could further his career, which I couldn't -- I had no pedigree to enhance the value of my Harvard appointment. He was nakedly ambitious and it was widely assumed he would eventually run for President.
Mitt's interaction with his religion is indeed a legitimate issue for voters, but not for the reasons that have been raised by evangelicals. It is not because Mormonism is a non-Christian cult.Moench then deals with Romney's lying:
Mitt's significant leadership positions in the Mormon Church evokes a much deeper connection to his religion than any other presidential candidate in modern history has had to their religion. Reaching this rather exhalted state within the Church hierarchy is supposed to manifest not just one's extraordinary commitment to the Church, but also to behavior and a value system beyond reproach.
A Mormon Stake President is expected to live an exemplary, Christ-like life. Therefore it is not only fair, but important to ask: does Mitt's behavior and value system meet those lofty expectations?
Even mainstream journalists have written about Mitt taking political lying and disdain for the facts to a new art form on campaign issues ranging from his tenure at Bain to blatantly dishonest ads about his opponents, first in the Republican primaries, and now about President Obama.
Michael Cohen of the Guardian typified many of these observations with the statement, "Romney is doing something very different and far more pernicious. Quite simply, the United States has never been witness to a presidential candidate, in modern American history, who lies as frequently, as flagrantly and as brazenly as Mitt Romney." Jonathan Chait, columnist for New York magazine says Romney is, "Just making stuff up now."
Even worse, Romney repeats the same lies over and over, even after they've been debunked. He appears completely unconcerned about being caught. That's a new level of mendacity.
MSNBC's Steve Benen observed, "Romney gets away with it because he and his team realize contemporary political journalism isn't equipped to deal with a candidate who lies this much, about so many topics, so often."
Moench notes that Romney's claim to not remember his brutal hazing of a gay fellow prep school student is almost certainly another lie, as is his disavowal of this little-known incident at the Salt Lake City Olympics:
During a traffic jam going to one of the Olympic events, Mitt was outraged at what he viewed as an incompetent volunteer directing traffic.There's much more in the article and the 100-plus comments under it, so go read the whole thing for a perspective on Romney you won't find anywhere else.
As reported in the Salt Lake Tribune, during several articles that became a hot topic of conversation in Utah, the volunteer and several witnesses, including a captain in the Sheriff's department, said he let out a profanity-laced tirade directed at that volunteer that included dropping the "f-bomb."
Use of that kind of language may not seem like much of an offense now, but for a high-ranking Mormon official to use that kind of language anywhere, let alone in a public venue, would be as shocking and disillusioning to the Mormon faithful as if it had been uttered by the prophet Joseph Smith himself.
Never apologetic, Mitt vehemently denied that it ever happened.
But the bottom line is that a serial liar like Romney cannot be a good Mormon.
And would certainly be an awful President.