In an earlier diary I posted the text below. It was suggested by others, admittedly the original diarist who I don't think understood my intended meaning. Let me say first that I grew up here in Utah. I know and love a great many Mormons. I lost several in Iraq and Afghanistan when I served. I'm used to seeing the religious right in demonizing the religion. They protest every General Conference. As someone who lived a block from the Temple and Conference Center in Downtown Salt Lake City the only thing more annoying then the Mormons taking up on street parking is that walking to your car is a major pain in the ass when your being harassed by religious zealots of every other stripe. But lately I've seen a frightening uptick Anti-Mormonism in my fellow progressives and Democrats. So let me say this. Some of the most pious Mormons I know are the most progressive Democrats I know. The culture of the faith and the faith itself are two separate issues.The culture of the faith is very conservative. The faith itself, although it has it's conservative bent is not necessarily conservative, though it's leaders often are. I've made the argument that unless the church begins to moderate and create a space for liberal persons then it will see itself shrink. That being said my statements below are from what I know as fact and if they are incorrect please let me know.
They believe that they are essentially followers of the lost tribe of Israel. That Christ taught the new testament in America to the Native American's who were the descendants of that lost tribe but who then forgot and forsake the teachings of Jesus Christ. Until a blonde haired, blue eyed fraud was approached by an angel in New York and given a new testament of Christ.
This is why they speak in terms we assign primarily to the Judeo-Christian faith. They refer to Utah as Zion and the land of milk and honey. In fact, growing up in Utah and non-Mormon I was quite shocked to find that my wife (who was raised in the faith but no longer adheres to it) didn't even know the original source of those terms and in later conversations I have found it even more shocking that it is not an uncommon thing.
That being said Brigham Young created a completely separate alphabet and Joseph Smith was killed over his attempt to create a Mormon theocratic state. Something not acknowledged by the members very often is that they effectively acted as a socialist state (I would argue the most effective example of collectivism in modern history) prior to and even after being ratified as a state. They also frequently, in the early years of the faith, would dispatch assassins to confront those they opposed regardless of their status, targeting up to and including Governor's and newspaper publishers (the latter would ultimately provide the catalyst for Smith's own assassination). The names of these men are now known largely by the many places that carry their name in their honor through out the state.
Now following the death of Joseph Smith the church began to splinter off into separate faiths. Leading to the polygamist sects that we occasionally hear about on the news. Romney's family were sent to one such sect in Mexico after the church officially disavowed the practice (though the church elders notably continued practicing polygamy). The unofficial history is that they were told to keep the principal alive until such a time that it would become advantageous and acceptable for the church to reinstate it openly and publicly. As years passed into decades however it became clear that it would never be reinstated and the subsequent leaders are now more opposed to the idea than, most likely, any of their critics.
The white washing (an ironic term considering the impetus for the white washing was allowing other races to hold leadership positions in the church, specifically black men) of the church began in the seventies. When the church stopped openly referring to Joseph Smith as a divine entity rather then a prophet and instead shifted it's focus to Jesus Christ. More of the stranger elements have been ignored entirely and are rarely spoken of openly by church leaders and even then more rarely do they become the focus of the discussion. Though still a part of the faith, to the average believer, it is no more well known or regarded then Leviticus's admonishing to not eat shell fish. Which brings me to my point, the history of the LDS faith is strange and contradictory and often influenced by the passions and focus of it's leaders. The followers of the faith stick largely to the basics and ignore the many, many rules and prohibitions unless it suits there immediate purposes. But neither of those things are different from the history and practical practice of faith for the rest of us.
You have nothing to fear from the LDS faithful, in politics or life. Their political ideologies run the gamete and though it's true they are largely conservative as a product of the culture of their faith they are too still thinking and feeling people who are as invested in this life as the rest of us.
Romney is not dangerous because of his faith. Romney is dangerous because of the weakness of his character. He is dangerous because his policies seek to dismantle the America that was built by progressives. The America that, when it works correctly, provides for the least of us, protects opportunity for everyone and demands justice for everyone.
To put your mind at ease however let me say this. If you fear some Mormon take-over of the nation. Think carefully. In my lifetime I've seen mormon churches bombed and not a single general conference passes without protest by some far right wing religious element. If you think the foaming at the mouth bigots, who use their faith as a cudgel against the many targeted groups to which their God is supposed to hate and in turn they as well should hate, will take that lying down then you need to think that through. If you think the secularist, who often times successfully use the institution of government to keep it sacredly neutral would stand for some sort of faith take over then you need to think that through. If you think that Romney will align with the hardliners in Israel against the Muslim world because of his faith then you don't know his faith well enough. Romney's ideology is not of his faith. Romney's ideology is of his class.