Covering Romney in the international media

Romney’s Mormonism is an easy hook upon which to write a story. This is as true for the Times of London as it is for the New York Times. In Britain, the Guardian and the Times have recently written the Romney-Mormon story, for example. With this is mind, I solicit your advice, BCC readers. If you were to summarise Romney, Mormonism, and Romney’s Mormonism to the international media, what would you want them to understand before they spill their journalistic ink, both about the church and about Romney’s faith?

When writing about Mormonism (exotic and a little strange to many observers) it’s easy to make mistakes. If you were writing a story on Romney’s Mormonism from overseas, it would be tempting to simply amend some stories from the news wires and regurgitate the usual: Romney is using the Mormon network to get elected, Americans hate Mormons, etc. etc.

I’m not interested in how Romney’s team or LDS PR would tell these stories, but I am interested in cutting through the red herrings and giving advice that would produce accurate reporting. So, what’s the light rather than the heat in “Romney the Mormon President, 2008″? I think there are four main issues that good journalists could cover.

1. Is Romney the Evangelical hopeful or the Mormon candidate? Does he intend to run more to the tune of the SBC rather than SLC?

2. Is the Mormon church really politically neutral?

3. Are Mormons just too bizarre for Americans? Who hates Mormons more, the left (for Mormonism’s social conservatism), or the Christian right (for being a non-Christian cult)?

4. What are the biases in the American media’s coverage of Romney that one should be aware of?

The straight dope, please, if you have it. Neutral sound bites requested.

One last thing: most journalists would eventually land on lds.org’s Newsroom pages. Which of the following parts of the style guide should journalists adhere to:

  • In the first reference, the full name of the Church is preferred: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Please avoid the use of “Mormon Church,” “LDS Church” or “the Church of the Latter-day Saints.”
  • When a shortened reference is needed, the terms “the Church” or “the Church of Jesus Christ” are encouraged.
  • When referring to Church members, the term “Latter-day Saints” is preferred, though “Mormons” is acceptable.
  • “Mormon” is correctly used in proper names such as the Book of Mormon, Mormon Tabernacle Choir or Mormon Trail, or when used as an adjective in such expressions as “Mormon pioneers.”
  • The term “Mormonism” is acceptable in describing the combination of doctrine, culture and lifestyle unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • When referring to people or organizations that practice polygamy, the terms “Mormons,” “Mormon fundamentalist,” “Mormon dissidents,” etc. are incorrect. The Associated Press Stylebook notes: “The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other … churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith’s death.”

Comments

  1. Eric Russell says:

    As for #2, the church’s position on political neutrality, as it is stated, is pretty clear. I don’t understand how that could be a news item except as an op-ed piece suggesting that the church does not comply with it’s own stated standards. And such a claim, I think, would be a difficult one to make. At least I have never seen any such instances.

  2. When a shortened reference is needed, the terms “the Church” or “the Church of Jesus Christ” are encouraged.

    Not this one. The LDS Church is not “the” Church. It’s pretentious, arrogant, and provincial.

    The next time, I meet a Mormon who talks about “the” Church, I am going to congratulate that person on being Catholic.

  3. That’s flabbergasting, Eric. It is obvious that there is collusion in the realm of the anti-gay referenda to turn out Republican voters. Karl Rove has been very open about the role of the referenda campaigns.

    The neutrality statement might make us feel better about ourselves and keep the IRS off the organization’s back. Outsiders will perceive it as window dressing and PR spin.

    Actions speak louder than words. In light of our actions, it will be difficult to find politically aware gentiles who accept the neutrality statement at face value.

  4. hellmut, get over it, man. It’s an abbreviated reference, not an attempt at being definitive.

  5. Come on Hellmut. “The Church” is perfectly acceptable and non-pretentious in the context of an article where the Church is the subject. The style guide even asks them to use the full name of the church first, thus preventing any confusion.

  6. Hellmut, dude, Romney was a prominent politician when he leaned left to no consequence to his standing. Harry Reid is a faithful member.

    If you look at the AP Style Guide, you typically use a full name first and then an abbreviated name. In such a situation, using the term, “the Church.” is quite appropriate. Next time I see you comment I am going to congratulate you on being a troll.

  7. Hellmut,

    Mormons referring to their own church as “the church” should hardly get anyone’s knickers in a twist, man!

    Referring to “the Church” with a capital “C” as a second reference is probably a little bit suspect from a journalist’s POV; “Church of Jesus Christ” is definitely a no-no, despite the church’s (!) wishes. I prefer “Mormon” church over “LDS” church any day of the week because “LDS” means nothing outside of the Great Basin.

    So, to sum, re: nomenclature I would advise:

    First ref: Mormon church = TCoJCoLDS (dunno about upper or lower case “t”)
    Second ref: “the church” (lower case “c”)*
    “Mormons” for the members, “Mormonism” for the religion.

    I haven’t decided about “Mormon polygamists” yet. I understand why the church wants to make the difference clear, but I don’t think TCoJCoLDS owns “Mormon” as a trademark (despite the AP guide).

    *Of course, this is all Anglophonic. Kirche ist Kirche ist Kirche.

  8. OK, enough flamebaiting and ignorance — on to the bold, interesting questions of the day:

    1. Is Romney the Evangelical hopeful or the Mormon candidate? er…. he wants to be both. Since the religious right is leaderless he thinks he can slip into the gap.

    Does he intend to run more to the tune of the SBC rather than SLC? Good question. I’m sure he’d answer that he intends to be beholden to neither group. Politically the SBC is more important; personally the LDS Church will have more sway. I think he’s going to be torn.

    2. Is the Mormon church really politically neutral?
    Between candidates, yes. On issues, far from it. And since candidates have a strong tendency to align themselves irrevocably with pet issues….

    3. Are Mormons just too bizarre for Americans?
    Yes.

    Who hates Mormons more, the left (for Mormonism’s social conservatism), or the Christian right (for being a non-Christian cult)? Good question. The left would hate us more if lefties weren’t so lazy.

    4. What are the biases in the American media’s coverage of Romney that one should be aware of? Another good question. I’m not sure that I’ve seen much bias one way or another on him, at least not that hasn’t been balanced out. The Boston papers skewer him regularly, but then other publications adore him. It may be too soon to tell.

  9. A quick Google news search shows that most outlets prefer “Mormon church” (sometimes explained as being “tCoJCoLDS” with a preference for “the” rather than “The”), followed by “the church” (small c).

    No grumbles there. Leaving nomenclature aside…

  10. Steve,

    Good answers, mate.

    other publications adore him

    Who do you have in mind?

  11. Well, like the NY Times’ coverage on him has been pretty kindly, and I think Newsweek has been pretty generous. Expect a soft touch when he goes on Larry King Live tonight, too.

  12. Newsweek’s had a few articles that were quite favorable. USA Today as well.

  13. Who hates Mormons more, the left (for Mormonism’s social conservatism), or the Christian right (for being a non-Christian cult)?

    Survey data suggest that political sentiment against Mormon candidates is roughly equally divided across the political spectrum. For example, in the NY Times poll of Republicans published last week, Republicans felt that they would never vote for a Mormon for president at almost exactly the same rate as the population as a whole. Other ways of slicing these things by partisanship or ideology seem to give similar results.

  14. “Romney bid raises question: Will Evangelicals vote their religion or their politics?”

  15. Expect a soft touch when he goes on Larry King Live tonight, too.

    Steve ole buddy. He was on last night w/ Larry King.

    It was a soft interview true; but, Romney did well for the most part. He even got good reviews from Carville!

  16. Guy, you mean today’s the 16th of March??? I came back at the wrong time! And I blew out my flux capacitor! DAMN YOU DOC BROWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. a random John says:

    Seth R.,

    At least is doesn’t beg the question. Or does it?

  18. a random John says:

    I have begged the power(s) that be to fix my typo above. I’ve been turned down so that you may see my lack of typing skills in all their glory.

  19. RE #13: a USA/Gallup poll produced somewhat different results. The margin isn’t huge, but discernible: 66% of republicans said they could vote for a Mormon, 72% of democrats said they could, and 77% of independents. The difference in “would nots” was also 6%: 30% of republicans wouldn’t vote for a Mormon no matter what, and %24 percent of democrats wouldn’t.

  20. I wish the media would do a comparative report on big-name Mormons in politics. I would nominate Mitt Romney, Harry Reid, and Jeff Flake. It would be interesting to hear these individuals articulate how and whether Mormonism makes a difference in their politics. My guess is that, depending on the interviewer and the audience, each of them would say that Mormonism has some impact on their political views and decisions. If the analysis was done right, it might provide Americans voters with persuasive evidence that Mormonism serves liberal and conservative politicians equally well.

  21. One thing is for sure. It’s a lot more comfortable being a Mormon in Germany or Italy than being a gentile in Utah.

    I don’t know of any other religion that refers to itself as “the” Church and asks outsiders to refer to it as “the” Church. It’s a problematic attitude in a pluralist world.

    I bet that the AP style guard contains the wording that the public relations department has provided to the AP verbatim . . . just like the claim that we are the fastest growing church “according to the National Council of Churches” turns out to be based exclusively on LDS stats.

    My Catholic friends, for example, would say: “I am going to Church” or more often they would say “I have to go to Church.” They would never say that “the” Church required them to do this or that. Instead they would say: “Catholics don’t do that,” “The pope said that,” or “According to Kardinal Frings . . ..”

    It actually makes a difference if we talk about ourselves in a way that does not invalidate the faith of others. My Catholic friends understood that they had to get along with their Lutheran neighbors. People who find it appropriate to refer to their own group as “the” Church fall a little short in that regard.

  22. Steve Evans says:

    Hellmut, go be a Catholic then. Everyone on this thread has already told you that you are missing the mark.

  23. Steve Evans says:

    Hellmut, I apologize for being brash. I am just getting a little tired of your seemingly constant complaining against a church which you claim to be part of and still care very much about.

  24. Actually Hellmut, the National Council of Churches says that for the US and Canada, we come in at #4.

    I also would like to congratulate you on being a troll.

  25. It’s a lot more comfortable being a Mormon in Germany or Italy than being a gentile in Utah.

    Really, Hellmut? Really?

  26. It’s a lot more comfortable being a Mormon in Germany or Italy than being a gentile in Utah.

    My in-laws are gentiles in Utah, and have been for decades. They seem to like it.

  27. ‘Cause whilst I’m sure both have their challenges, at least in Utah other religions don’t find themselves on a state cult watch list as Mormons do in some European countries.

  28. 1. Is Romney the Evangelical hopeful or the Mormon candidate? I think he wants to be the religious right’s candidate till a general election. There is a lot of overlap between the evangelicals and the LDS mainstream on political issues esp the social issues
    Does he intend to run more to the tune of the SBC rather than SLC? SBC is more important then SLC. I doubt that the SBC can stomach a former SP RM.
    2. Is the Mormon church really politically neutral? Yes we are neutral between the parties and between candidates.
    3. Are Mormons just too bizarre for Americans? Of Course. Evangelics will never change to accept us. Our family oriented social policies will get more and more strange to the secular left as the decades slide by

    Who hates Mormons more, the left (for Mormonism’s social conservatism), or the Christian right (for being a non-Christian cult)? The C Right. They have the most passion against us. The exception could be in CA for the left. CA progressives have bumped up against the church recently over SSM. Plusin CA the church is large enough to matter unlike the South, midwest, and East. This could change tilting towards the left as the church gets larger and more strange on social issues in the future.

    4. What are the biases in the American media’s coverage of Romney that one should be aware of? They like to point out and play up divisions in the right since most of the media leans left. So pointing out the C Right’s distaste for us is a good place to sow division

  29. 21: Hellmut, the Catholic church actually uses “the church” the same way we do. I’m not offended. I’ve heard protestants do the same thing. I’ve never been offended. One of the nuances of english is the different uses of the article “the.”

    Yahoo Search Results for "The Church" Catholic

  30. If Romney does well in the Republican primaries, we should expect Republicans to become more friendly to the idea of voting for a Mormon, just as Democrats become less friendly. This could be motivated by a reduction in cognitive dissonance — I know the Republican party is good/bad, so if it nominates a Mormon, voting for Mormons must be good/bad because I just feel confused to think of a good/bad party doing a bad/good thing — or by signaling — I don’t know that much about Mormons, but I do know a lot about the Republican party, and if the party says Mormons are good, then I know that means they’re really good/bad.

  31. Who hates Mormons more, the left (for Mormonism’s social conservatism), or the Christian right (for being a non-Christian cult)?

    If Romney wins the election then I fully expect this answer to swing largely to the left. He is being identified greatly by his religion. Once he starts making political decisions he is going to make some people angry (generally those on the left) and some people happy (generally those on the right). Those good and bad feelings are bound to partially transfer to the Mormon religion to some degree. This will be especially true if it’s an issue with a moral dimension such as anything to do with homosexuality as you can expect many articles to go into detail about the LDS Church’s stance on the matter, etc. I don’t expect that Rosie O’Donnell will be saying nice things about us on The View for example…

    Actually, if he gets nominated you’ll probably start seeing this. Those on the right will try to keep their base inline since they’d want their side to win but you can expect some of the more disreputable portions of the left to start slinging anti-mormon material to see if anything will stick.

  32. During my years at a Catholic university, where I spent a lot of time hearing about “the Church”, sometimes when hearing the term in an LDS context my initial reaction would be to think they were in fact talking about the Catholic church. Which led to my hearing some comments in an amusing way.

    Religious scholars frequently use “the Church” to refer to Mormons, Catholics, or whatever religious body about which they’re writing, once they’ve clearly established which church it is. I don’t see that as a problem. I would, however, question the injunction to avoid the term “LDS Church.” I personally find it quite useful; I think the term “Church of Jesus Christ” is actually a bit confusing (even as a second reference after first writing out the full name), given that there are so many churches out there with similar names.

  33. Lynette,
    In an international context, both “LDS Church” and “Church of Jesus Christ” are simply useless in tying the church to Mormonism.

  34. How about “the Mormon Church of Joseph Smith, Gold Plates, and Israelite Native Americans”? Subsequently abbreviated MCJSGPINA?

  35. That makes sense, Ronan. Though I do think “LDS Church” still has the advantage that (as far as I know) no one else is using it. If you say “Church of Jesus Christ”, on the other hand, you could be referring to a wide variety of churches.

    Really, I don’t undestand the reluctance to use the term “Mormon” to describe our church. It is, after all, the magic word that allows other people to figure out what you’re talking about when you say that you’re a member of “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

    (Though maybe I’ll just opt for JNS’s suggestion in my own writing.)

  36. While I don’t know how comprehensible it is to outsiders, the church does make extensive use of a translated version of “LDS” in Latin America. It translates as SUD — Santos de los Ultimos Dias — so you see that acronym on buildings, t-shirts, etc. Oddly, “sud” is also a prefix meaning “south.”

  37. Lynette,
    Yeah, I go with Mormon.

  38. Hellmut, the Catholic church actually uses “the church” the same way we do. I’m not offended. I’ve heard protestants do the same thing. I’ve never been offended. One of the nuances of english is the different uses of the article “the.”

    Thanks for pointing that out, Kyle. I concede under the weight of the evidence.

  39. Person 1: I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    Person 2: How is it organized?
    Person 1: The Church is lead by a prophet.
    Person 2: The Catholic Church is lead by a prophet?!?!?!?!?

    Yes, people make this mistake all the time.

  40. Gilgamesh says:

    Who hates Mormons more?

    The Christian Right – They hate Mormons because they’re Mormons. No other reason given. The left hates the Church’s -ooops —- the Mormon Church —-ooops —- the LDS —- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ positions, but they do not hate the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (This is why Mormon works so much better.)

    So the right hates us because we are us – the left just hates what the majority of us believe. This is why the liberal churches are able to work together on many social issues – interfaith councils throughout California have very active LDS members – because they disagree with doctrine, not with the people.

  41. Gilgamesh,

    I think its this simple.

    C Right dislikes the church AND its members because of the actual doctrine. We are considered Heretics

    S Left dislikes the church AND its members because of its practices and policies regarding LOC, gender, race etc. We are Racist Homophobic male Chauvinist pigs. Same opinion that they have of the R Right and they lump us in with the religious right.

  42. MikeInWeHo says:

    Not quite, Gilgamesh. The left hates Mormons because they’re overwhelmingly associated with the Republican party and intolerant social views. Constitutional ammendment, anyone?

    It has nothing to do with what Mormons believe. Most lefties don’t have a clue about that. In fact, it’s the Right (in particular, the Christian right) which hates Mormons for their beliefs. Most on the Right would be quick to say that they respect Mormon family values, but fear for their lost souls.

    RIGHT: Reject Mormon beliefs and fear Mormon proselytizing.
    LEFT: Loath Mormon politics.

    I’ve heard plenty of Catholics refer to their church as The Church.

    We’re discussing who should properly be called “Mormon” over at LDS Liberation Front right now:

    http://ldsliberationfront.net/?p=184#more-184

  43. I hate all of you, FWIW.

    And Mike, that’s a great thread. Thanks for linking. (And I’m delighted the N-S’s found you a home.)

  44. “who hates the church more…”

    Hellmut.

    /I’m just kidding…go with the flow kids….

  45. Thomas Parkin says:

    I myself often refer to the Catholic Church as ‘the church’, depending on who I’m talking to and about what.

    A couple anecdotes about hating (more like distrusting) Mormons.

    For a lot of years we lived in downtown Seattle (Capitol Hill, which is pretty much the gay part of town – if y’know what I mean). Anyway, most of my friends we’re not only to the left of the aisle, they pretty much think Che’ Guevera a little moderate for thier taste and scoff at the idea that men and women have different internal sexual organs – because God knows such ideas have lead to people thinking about others in heirarchal ways. When I returned to the church, I flat out alienated a good part of the social groups I was part of (to be fair, much of this had to do with the way I was working out my internal conflicts, and little enough to do with their biases, and started long before I actually came back to “the Church”). Everyone had long known that I had some conservative instincts, and that was easily enough dealth with. All the same, the very fact that I would reclaim my church life was more than many of them could take. I had long time friends leave and or quit posting to an e-mail list I run, and others who get thier hackles up no matter what I say on any issue.

    Now, we live on the fringes of the metro area. There is some kind of Evangelical church every few blocks. I have a few young Christian types working for me. When it was discovered that I was a Mormon, I suddenly got visitors with our-God-is-an-awesome-god wear, giving me suspicious looks. One employee was pressured to quit. (He did give his two-week notice, but later decided to stay.) He was several times visted by a woman who wanted him to attend an out-of-state bible college – who was so ice cold to me, I’ve really never experienced anything like it. Anyway.

    It’s easy enough for anyone to be tolerant of thier own. Do not even the publicans so?

    re: romney. I’m disappointed that his demeanor, which we were told was straitforward and open, is actually so wooden. Everything he says sounds canned. A good man – but also just another politician. I like him, I hope he represents Mormonism and his own true views well. I hope the Democrats nominate someone I can stomach voting for. I’m leaning towards Hillary.

    ~

  46. There’s a lot of mix-up when it comes to predicting liberal or conservative voting tendencies based on Romney’s religion.

    I predict that Evangelicals will largely support Romney without comment, if he emerges as the obviously strongest candidate.

    Reporters don’t understand this. This is because the reporters don’t have a firm grasp of the religious motivations between Evangelicals and Mormons.

    Guys, I hate to break it to ya, but Evangelicals don’t primarily hate Mormons because of their doctrine.

    Evangelicals hate Mormons because we are invading their turf and making off with their members. The doctrine is just useful for reinforcing the dislike.

    After all, if you want to point out doctrinal differences as being the main motivator of dislike, why don’t Evangelicals hate Jews even more than Mormons? After all, aren’t the differences there even more oppositional and profound?

    For that matter, why are Evangelicals mostly all hunky-dory with Catholics nowadays? Don’t centuries of warfare, violence and hate speech count for anything?

    No. The hatred of Mormons continues because Evangelical clergy keep it alive as a way to inoculate their flock against those wolves in white shirts and name-tags.

    Mormons don’t tend to get this difference either. Because we’re so reflexively sneaky about our own proselyting efforts that we often don’t even acknowledge that a major pillar of our religion is telling other people why their own religion really isn’t such a hot idea.

    Then we have hurt feelings when people don’t like us. “Why on earth are they being so mean?!”

    It’s because you’re trying to undermine their faith and traditions you dingbats!

  47. Thomas Parkin says:

    Great points, Seth.

    ~

  48. Sorry, got carried away there.

    Anyway, to follow up…

    The Christian Right’s dislike of Mormonism on religious grounds simply does not readily translate into political dislike.

    Look again at Evangelical motivations for smearing Mormonism:

    To inoculate the flock against walking out the door and joining the competition.

    Those motivations vanish when you start talking politics. Supporting a Mormon politician has a questionable effect on the faithfulness of the members at best. And it advances cherished political goals.

    No bbell, I think you’re wrong. In the political arena, the Evangelicals have little reason to oppose a strong Mormon Presidential candidate.

    Liberals, by contrast, have every reason to dislike and oppose the current trend of Mormon politics.

    The main attacks on Romney will come from the Left, not the Right.

  49. greenfrog says:

    1. Is Romney the Evangelical hopeful or the Mormon candidate? Does he intend to run more to the tune of the SBC rather than SLC?

    He’s the candidate the Evangelicals are scrutinizing because if they don’t go with him, they won’t have a date to the ball. They haven’t decided which alternative is better, so they’re stalling, hoping that something better comes along before it’s too late. I predict that if no one else does come, they’ll swallow their religious objections, and take his arm to the dance, as doing otherwise will sideline them at a time when their political influence is otherwise waning.

    Romney will dance to the tunes of the SBC because he’ll get 80% of the (relatively few) Mormons to vote for him and donate to his campaigns on his religious credentials alone, no matter what he says on the issues.

    2. Is the Mormon church really politically neutral?

    No. The Mormon church draws a distinction between its official organization and its leadership and members, for a variety of reasons. It is not a useful distinction in political arenas. Romney will have the support of 80%+ of US LDS members, leaders and followers alike, and he’ll align himself with the political issue positions that the Mormon Church endorses except when he can go farther right to win more votes (such as pertaining to stem cell issues), as most of the US LDS membership is oblivious to such nuances.

    3. Are Mormons just too bizarre for Americans?

    To vote for? No. To join? Yes.

    Who hates Mormons more, the left (for Mormonism’s social conservatism), or the Christian right (for being a non-Christian cult)?

    I think MikeInWeHo, above, has captured my thoughts on this question.

    4. What are the biases in the American media’s coverage of Romney that one should be aware of?

    The media don’t have any idea of what the Mormon Church is, and so most of the reporting I’ve seen works from either (1) unfounded prejudice and bias, or (2) a gathering the facts approach that never gets beyond the rudimentary details of the way that religion and politics and individual choice interweave for Mormons as much as for other religions.

  50. MikeInWeHo says:

    I think Seth is pretty much on-target, but I’m not sure the Evangelicals feel as threatened by the Mormons as they used to. My guess is that in the U.S. more people go from LDS to Evangelical than the reverse these days, but who knows.

    I’d predict that attacks on Romney will come mainly from the Christian Right during the primaries, but if he gets nominated they will fall in line and support him. Then the attacks will come from the left after that.

    All the great proselytizing faiths are feared and loathed by other religions. How could it not be so?

  51. I don’t know, Seth. I am sure that you are right about a lot of Evangelicals but in 2000, there were three to four million Evangelicals that did not vote for George W. Bush because of DUIs when he was in college.

    Some of them will rather stay home from the general election before voting for Mitt Romney.

    There’s not only the Mormon thing but also the waffling on the social issues. It’s already all over youtube. Conditions are perfect to submerge anti-Mormon feelings in the subtext.

    Marginal depression of the base is enough. If five or six million Evangelicals stay home or switch sides, it’s over for the Republicans.

    I can imagine circumstances where Pat Robertson will close shoulders with Romney (to stop McCain or most of the Dems) and James Dobson is indicating already that he is not necessarily opposed to Romney’s candidacy.

    Yet I cannot get myself to drop the double negative because support by Evangelical leaders is such an unlikely scenario.

    Besides, Dobson’s followers criticized him even for cooperating with Mormons on the gay marriage referenda. Not every Evangelical will follow if their leaders were to support Romney.

    Anyone who wants to criticize Romney for being Mormon without appearing bigotted can just show folks another youtube video. McCain and Giuliani will make sure that everyone knows about Romney’s record. It’s easy to drop a slur here and there to activate deeply held prejudice.

    Romney is in a difficult position. He made it worse when he started to run against himself.

  52. I don’t think Evangelicals have negative feelings towards Mormons because we are stealing their members. They just think we’re weird and cultish. It will be interesting to see how/if that perception changes when the facts about our religion become more apparent.

  53. Gander, you’re confusing the parties here.

    Yes, the average evangelical in the pews is not looking at Mormons and seeing an invasive threat to his or her faith. They just think it’s wierd.

    But “wierd” isn’t enough to make people refuse to hire you because you are Mormon, or keep their kids away from yours.

    The real ugliness is coming from the PASTORS. It is the pastors who are keeping the real hatred alive primarily (although once you get the hate machine rolling, others will often keep it rolling for you). It is the ministers who instruct their flock to avoid Mormons at all costs, who warn them about how deceptive we are, who insist that the wholesome image is all some sinister plot to suck in the unsuspecting.

    Yes, we are wierd to them. But the hatred doesn’t come from being regarded as wierd. The hatred comes when a religious leader places God’s endorsement on ostracizing Mormons.

    And the pastors are motivated by fear of Mormon poaching among their flock. The pastors also tend to be educated enough to clue-in their largely ignorant parishoners about all the disturbing theological heresies found in Mormonism. Heresies most evangelicals wouldn’t even know about if the reverend hadn’t told them about it.

    Without the pastors, evangelicals would probably view us no differently than people who believe in herbal medicine. Wierd, but… whatever floats your boat man.

  54. Yeechang Lee says:

    As one who grew up and went to college in New York City and now live in temporary exile in San Francisco, it’s been my experience that those who are convinced others will see their being Latter-day Saints as “weird” will find their presuppositions confirmed. Those who assume most others are open-minded people of goodwill will also find this to be so.

  55. Liberal politicians don’t hate Mormons because they don’t raise very much money for the Republicans compared to other religious groups.

    The Religious Right doesn’t have a candidate yet, so they’re laying low. If Gingrich jumps in, watch the attack begin.

  56. 54. I like what YL says, reminds me of that old Carl Sandburg in which travelers ask what a certain town is like — the local guy lways asked what their old place was like and always answered that it also was like that in the new place. I’ve found that usually I set the tone of people’s reaction to the restored gospel: when I acted like it was a weird thing I believe, they did as well; now I don’t and they don’t — at least while I’m there!

    I strongly prefer “The Church of Christ” or “LDS” to Mormon. It may seem pretentious to non-members, but so be it. This is the reason the Church exists. As the last phrase of the last sentence of the BoM’s Introduction says, [...]The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah. It seems dishonest to me to know that and then try to hide it — always keeping in mind GBH’s admonition that when we disagree, not to be disagreeable.

    I’ve been surprised at the growth of recognition and acceptance of “LDS” vs. “Mormon.” Here in SoCal, I usually hear it from non-members when they are serious in their comments with me, but they still frequently use “Mormon” in flippant or casual conversation. Because of this difference in usage, I find that I’m sometimes able to set a respectful tone simply by using “LDS” early in a conversation. I say we continue to lead the world to our preferred monicker — they seem to see it as our group’s right to choose our name much as Negroes–>Blacks–>African-Americans have done.

    I usually go a step further when I comment in non-member blogs. Taking my lead from the reformatted logo fo the Church, I use CJC or CJClds in place of LDS, figuring if we want to emphasize Christ in our name, I’ll do so.

  57. Could Mitt Romney be more “Christian” than Evangelicals? Protestants and Catholics subscribe to the Nicene creed, which was initiated by the Emperor Constantine in the Fourth Century to rid Scriptures of the Apocrypha, which made reference to the oral traditions of Jewish and early Christian temple worship.

    First Century Christian churches, in fact, continued the Jewish temple worship traditions:
    1) Baptism of youth (not infants) by immersion by the father of the family
    2) Lay clergy
    3) Anointing with holy oil after baptism
    4) Then clothing in white clothing

    Just check with the Israeli Museum to verify. And read Exodus Ch 29 for Aaron and his sons’ ordinances. Jewish Temple practices were continued by Christians prior to Constantine’s corruption (see St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) Lecture XXI). Early Christians were persecuted for keeping their practices sacred, and not allowing non-Christians to witness them

    A literal reading of the New Testament points to God and Jesus Christ being separate beings, united in purpose. To whom was Jesus praying in the Gethsemane, and to whom was he speaking on the Mount of Transfiguration?

    The Nicene Creed’s definition of the Trinity was influenced by scribes translating the Greek manuscripts into Latin. The scribes embellished on a passage explaining the Trinity, which is the Catholic and Protestant belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The oldest versions of the epistle of 1 John, read: “There are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood and these three are one.”
    Scribes later added “the Father, the Word and the Spirit,” and it remained in the epistle when it was translated into English for the King James Version, according to Dr. Bart Ehrman, Chairman of the Religion Department at UNC- Chapel Hill.

    Members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) have concern for their ancestors’ spiritual welfare, so they practice proxy baptism. (1 Corinthians 15:29 & Malachi 4:5-6).

    Only members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) continue these practices of First Century Christians. But Mormons don’t term Catholics and Protestants “non-Christian”. The dictionary definition of a Christian is “of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to a religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ”:. All of the above denominations are followers of Christ, and consider him the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament.

    It’s important to understand the difference between Reformation and Restoration when we consider who might be the more authentic Christian. If Mitt Romney is a member of a denomination which embraces early Christian theology, he is likely more “Christian” than his detractors.

  58. I like where your head’s at Bot, but you’re preaching to the choir. Go try that line of reasoning on a evangelical blog.

  59. Cpt Dinosaur says:

    Ask anyone who has missioned near Madison, WI.
    The far lefties are generally nice and open and love to talk to Mormons.

    Why?

    Because they’re stoned.

    Or whatever phrase the kids are using these days

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