About This ?Mormonism? Thing

Dec. 18, 2007 (crisispapers.org) – When Willard “Mitt” Romney announced his intention to run for the Presidency of the United States, one might suppose that there was joy in Salt Lake City among the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I suspect that by now those leaders may be having some second thoughts.

For while it was a good thing for the American public to learn about the Mormon faith, Church leaders are now discovering that it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

The thirteen Articles of Faith of the Mormon religion enumerate a set of beliefs, some of which are quite consistent with traditional Christianity, and others which, while unique to Mormonism (e.g., the Book of Mormon), are not outlandish or immediately offensive to most ordinary Christians. (The Articles of Faith were written by the Mormon founder, Joseph Smith, to a Chicago publisher, John Wentworth, in 1842). The Articles say nothing about God once being a mortal human and being one among many Gods, about the brotherhood of Jesus and Satan, about God inhabiting a planet called “Kolob,” or about the “magic underwear” that devout Mormons are required to wear, etc. Nor are you likely to hear about such things from the Mormon missionaries that might appear at your front door.

However, it now seems naive to have supposed that these and other bizarre Mormon doctrines would not be brought to light by Mitt Romney’s political rivals.

Many faithful Mormons are surprised at the astonishment and derision that some LDS beliefs provoke among the general public. This surprise is likely due to the simple and universal fact that beliefs that are taught in childhood and shared in a community of believers are regarded by the faithful as “obvious” and “ordinary,” while at the same time those same beliefs are considered, “from the outside,” to be weird and outlandish.

I can testify to this fact, for I have experienced Mormon doctrine from both the inside and the outside. From childhood, through high school, I shared Mitt Romney’s faith in the Mormon religion. Then that faith totally vanished during my freshman year in college – at Brigham Young University, of all places!

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