Let The Women Keep Silence In The Campaign

Now and then you see something which makes you think that the writers for The Onion have outdone themselves.  But some things are beyond parody, so we are forced to conclude, yet again, that life is strange.  Brothers and sisters, read it and weep:

Rex Rammell upsets LDS community

The candidate is quoted elsewhere as saying that space concerns prevented him from inviting active LDS women to the meetings, but he said they’ll still receive his message because they have “the same political views as their husbands.”  Rammell said LDS women also realize that the White Horse prophecy says LDS men will be the ones to save the Constitution.   “I think the LDS women will understand,” he said.  [Note:  The church has issued a statement clarifying that the White Horse prophecy is of questionable provenance and is not considered authoritative doctrine at this time.]

Let’s leave aside the question as to exactly what it is about the intersection of Mormonism and conservative politics which so often compels people to put on a clown suit and make fools of themselves every chance they get.  Let’s focus on the fact that Br. Rammell — a lifelong latter-day saint — thinks it’s OK to have men-only public meetings, and that women shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads.

Are his views widespread?  I think he is an aberration, but I don’t think these retrograde views are uncommon in the church.  After all, he is able to fill chairs at his LDS men-only meetings, so there must be plenty of people in the gem state who like his approach, or who at least are not bothered by it.  In the aftermath of 9/11, Arab-Americans were told that they had the responsibility to differentiate themselves from the terrorists, and that until they themselves condemned what was being done in the name of Islam, the rest of us had no choice but to assume the worst about them.  I think this is a time for church members and sane conservative people to make it clear that Br. Rammell’s approach has nothing to do with Mormonism.  We should also acknowledge that some of our rhetoric about traditional gender roles has contributed to the gross offense he has perpetrated.   It is one thing if he wants to turn himself into a laughingstock; it is another thing entirely if he wants to drag the church along with him.

I propose excommunication, on the grounds that he is spreading false doctrine and also because he is damaging the reputation of the church.  After all, we have ex’ed others, including women, for the same offenses on a much smaller scale.  He and five of his supporters could be called the January Six.  Then we could have the February Six, the March Six, and so on, until the issue is settled.

Of course, this won’t happen.  We will store up our righteous indignation for something really outrageous, like when a woman in our ward abandons her children, husband, softness and femininity and takes a job outside the home.  Then we will give her both barrels.

Comments

  1. Natalie B. says:

    Mark, when reading this, I assumed it was a historic document until I saw the speaker. That’s shocking.

  2. Mark Brown says:

    Natalie, nope, it’s 2010. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.

    Google retrieves all kinds of unbelievable stuff about this man, including his willingness to purchase a hunting license to hunt Pres. Obama.

  3. Rammell said LDS women also realize that the White Horse prophecy says LDS men will be the ones to save the Constitution. “I think the LDS women will understand,” he said.

    Oh brother. Does this mean that I should go turn in my Witkin award in constitutional law? /snark

    I don’t live in Idaho, and I don’t know anything about anyone running in that race, but I hope this clown loses on principle.

  4. Guys like this make real conservatives look bad. I wish he knew he is doing more damage than good to the conservative cause.

  5. Cynthia L. says:

    No need to get upset, Mark! These meetings are “sacred, not secret”! (He seriously said that. I’m not kidding.)

  6. Cynthia L. says:

    Though I must say, embarrassing behavior notwithstanding, I’m against public calls for excommunication of fellow saints.

  7. Mark Brown says:

    Cynthia, here in the gem state we have this thing called pride.

  8. Cynthia L. says:

    Mark, I might be inclined to be harder on him if I were a conservative. Perhaps I take subconscious glee in his discrediting of the right-wing. ;-)

  9. oh my…just wow. all sorts of yuck

  10. Forget about making conservatives look like fools (that part delights me, actually). Between this guy and Glenn Beck, we might as well be back in the 60s in terms of Church P.R. It’s like they’re trying to undo all the progress Pres. Hinckley made in making us seem sensible.

  11. shanaeborn says:

    I think if we all put aside any horror, humiliation, outrage, or embarrassment we might feel about the actions of Bro. Rammel, we can all join together in laughing at him. Bwa ha ha ha!

  12. wow- add me to those who initially thought this was historical.

    Did women in ID vote for him?

    If he is dropping this flyer off w/LDS Priesthood holders, how is he doing this? The ward/stake lists are clearly NOT for political use, so how is he sharing this invite w/people.

    I hope some women dress up as men to attend the meeting!

  13. Julie M. Smith says:

    “After all, he is able to fill chairs at his LDS men-only meetings, so there must be plenty of people in the gem state who like his approach, or who at least are not bothered by it. ”

    AFAIK, the first meeting is 1/19, so we have no idea what kind of crowd he will get.

    Does he have any chance of winning?

  14. Natalie B. says:

    Someone should really forward this post to the Idaho press.

  15. Natalie B. says:

    On second thought, that might generate bad PR for the church, but, geesh, I hope he isn’t elected.

  16. Stephanie says:

    One of the best things about Idaho is the over-abundance of embarrassing politicians. Who can forget Larry Craig and his “wide stance?” I was unaware of the secret meeting held by Rex Rammell but it doesn’t surprise me. This is the same man who ran for Idaho senate in 2008. The debates between him and the incumbent largely centered around his objections for the state killing his elk on his elk ranch.

  17. My mom could hardly be said to have the same political views as her husband. My parents argue about politics all the time.

  18. I have no idea who this guy is, but I think you are reading too much into it. Just going off of what is on the flyer that you posted, I thought it meant only Elders should attend because it is their responsibility and they need to step up, not that women shouldn’t be involved. In fact, I don’t see how your thread title matches the flyer. Plus I am curious as to where the church has made a statement regarding the authenticity of the “hanging by a thread” comment since Brigham Young sure seemed to believe it.

  19. We are aware of this in Idaho, it was in our newspapers before it hit the national ones.
    I thought he was rather wacky before he started with this, and I will not vote for him. I haven’t talked with anyone outside of my family about him, but I doubt he has a chance of winning.
    It is just too bad that he is putting the LDS Church and Idaho in such a bad light. (Of course, he has been doing this for a while now with his Obama tag comment!)

  20. What makes me most uncomfortable about this guy is that a lot of what he says seems to flow pretty naturally from, and fit quite comfortably with lots of things that happen in church meetings and so on.
    This is just a priesthood leadership meeting, except it’s about politics.

  21. I would like to see the he is quoted elsewhere quote. It would help to have the source for that….though I’m really WISHING it didn’t exist and this is a pigment of someone’s imagination…a red maybe

  22. I have spent the last three school years teaching in Rexburg. Rex Rammell is not so much a conservative, but instead, is an John Bircher crazy. However, even the Birchers I know (I actually know quite a few) do not like him much. He ran for the US Senate in 2008 as an independent candidate and got no support even in the Rexburg/Idaho Falls area.

    Rammell is a loon. Other Rammell’s in the area (there are quite a few) are quite to point out that they are not related to him (and if they are, they distance themselves from him).

    Maybe by denying women entrance to these meetings he is being merciful.

    When Rammell ran for the Senate, he got angry when the BYU-Idaho College Republicans invited the GOP candidate to speak at their meeting but did not invite him (he was not running as a Republican. This tantrum led to the spineless administration banning both the College Republicans and College Democrats at BYU-Idaho. The Harvard-folks running the place have yet to learn how to properly deal with the insane.

  23. I should note that local priesthood leaders are very suspicious of Rammell and his like. They do a good job of keeping him at a distance. This usually upsets him, since he thinks that at Latter-day Saints should recognize him as their political savior.

  24. Chris H, good information.

  25. I’m flabberghasted this is contemporary. I was expecting an historical post, maybe something Ardis dug from the archives. This is surreal and disturbing on so many levels.

  26. Geoff B,

    In response to your earlier comment above: Rex is not worried about the conservative cause. He is all about promoting himself.

  27. This guy’s in my in-laws stake. Even my ultra-conservative, Rush Limbaugh-listening MIL thinks he’s wacko. I’m guessing most of Idaho Falls, not exactly the center for rational balanced political thought, thinks he’s wacko.
    He has no chance of winning any election–he just gives all other members a bad name.
    It’s obviously not my call, but I agree, with the garbage he spouts and the authority he’s taken upon himself, that he should be ex-d.

  28. Come now, he does not need to be excommunicated for being a nut. He has been a nut for a long time. The difference is that he is now getting more than local attention. I bet he is loving it.

  29. Why is everyone always surprised when they encounter a bonafide lunatic? It’s not like crazy-folk are new to the world after all.

    The good news is that it sounds to me like guy has a lunatic’s chance of actually winning (read: no chance).

  30. I’m kind of surprised that he is ok with his daughter wearing a bikini in a beauty pageant.

  31. Jill,

    Attention seekers are often drawn to the beauty pageant scene.

  32. Oh, man. I just got off the phone with my mom – whose maiden name is Rammell. I’m from Rexburg, and it looks like I’m lucky enough to call him a 3rd (or maybe 4th?) cousin. Apparently he was disowned from the family name years ago, yet insists on making everyone look bad.

    Yikes.

    And Chris H is right. The priesthood leaders (okay, and the family) just try to shush him and keep him from making a scene.

  33. In the original posting, Mark Brown wrote, “I think this is a time for church members and sane conservative people to make it clear that Br. Rammell’s approach has nothing to do with Mormonism. We should also acknowledge that some of our rhetoric about traditional gender roles has contributed to the gross offense he has perpetrated.”

    Yes and no.

    Brother Rammell’s approach is as a private citizen — and surely we all support his privilege to inviting people to a meeting (freedom of assembly, freedom of association). Nothing in the flyer suggests any involvement of the general or local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and if such a perception exists, the general or local public affairs specialists spread the correct information. Whether it is a good move politically is not a concern to me — here, I only want to support his privilege as a citizen of the United States to invite whomever he wants to his own meeting.

    For my next statement, let me accept for the purpose of discussion that a “gross offense” has been “perpetrated” — but who is the “our” in “our rhetoric”? Perhaps the “our” is the citizens of Idaho (he wrote “here in the gem state” in a follow-up comment). Certainly, it is not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The gospel of Jesus Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teach love, consideration, and kindness for everyone, male and female. Just as Mark Brown doesn’t want Brother Rammell to bring discredit on the church as a whole, I don’t want Mark Brown to do so, either.

    By the way, there are members of the Church in the United States who host meetings only for LDS women (to wit., the Timeout for Women conferences) and only for teens (to wit., EFY).

  34. I take offense at most of this, but most particularly the comment that women always have the same political views as their husband. I’m sorry, but at what point did we agree to stop thinking for ourselves when we got married? Does this mean my marriage (liberal married to a libertarian) is a sham?! Or is it just a sham in Rexburg? I’m so confused.
    /snark

  35. Incidentally, if you’re in Idaho casting about for an LDS gubernatorial candidate to like, try allredforidaho.com.

  36. Women having the same opinions as their husbands was a commonly offered rationale for denying women’s suffrage.

  37. #33 “By the way, there are members of the Church in the United States who host meetings only for LDS women (to wit., the Timeout for Women conferences) and only for teens (to wit., EFY).”

    True but those places have websites,etc and people can signup to attend.

    Perhaps I’m wrong but the “invitation to Elders of the Church” aspect implies that he has a list of those who are Elders in the Church. How would he get such a list? The ward lists aren’t to be used for nonchurch purposes, thus if he sent “personalized” invites, I have a concern. If the invite was generic that is a little different.

  38. no. 38 — I agree that an offense against the Church was committed if someone used ward or stake lists for political purposes.

  39. Rex Rammell is an utter embarrassment.

    But, the core of his belief flows from the claim that Joseph Smith prophesied that the Constitution would one day hang by a threat and the Elders of Zion would save it.

    Of note, it relies on a pretty thin history. None of the contemporary records say that Joseph Smith ever made the statement. It only surfaced years later and others claimed to have heard bits and pieces of it.

    It started to circulate aggressively in the early 20th century. In October 1918 General Conference, President Joseph F. Smith, as LDS prophet, talked about this so-called prophecy and said: “This ridiculous story . . . has been circulated about and printed and sent around as a great revelation by the Prophet Joseph Smith . . . It is simply false, that is all there is to it.”

    It was also specifically refuted by Elder (later Prophet) Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Bruce R. McConkie.

    Yet, it has acquired folklore status with it being repeated by various general authorities (Then-Elder Benson most prominently) and even shows up in lessons from time to time. Many just assume it is accurate and use it as an accepted truth. Yet, the historical record is reed-thin.

    Here is the official statement released by the Church in response to Rammell: “”The so-called ‘White Horse Prophecy’ is based on accounts that have not been substantiated by historical research and is not embraced as Church doctrine.”

    A FAIR spokesman stated: “For many people, it is a faith-promoting rumor that’s been around for a long time. It’s a rumor that never dies.”

    Rex Lee spoke about it once, noted it had been repeated by many church authorities, and argued that it is often misused: http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=7066

    So, we have a piece of folklore that has been repeatedly asserted that has been picked up by someone who sees it to his personal benefit.

    Rammell is an embarrassment but I believe this situation was created by folks repeating the “constitution will hang by a thread” statement over and over and over again.

  40. It’s last century’s “generals in the War in Heaven”!

  41. What a weirdo. Somebody show that man a calendar.

  42. Bobby,
    For you is this

  43. I see that Kristine beat me to it.

  44. It’s okay, John C. Even though you and Kristine aren’t married, since you’re both righteous LDS, you have the same thoughts and opinions.

  45. The Hampton Inn?

    I mean, come on!

  46. Somewhere along the line I developed an extreme distrust for politicians and commercial enterprises that appeal to me to spend my vote or dollar with them based my religious beliefs.

  47. Mark Brown: We will store up our righteous indignation for something really outrageous, like when a woman in our ward abandons her children, husband, softness and femininity and takes a job outside the home. Then we will give her both barrels.

    Just for the record, I’ve never seen this happen in any ward I’ve been in or in my big Mormon family. Notwithstanding the the old SWK mothers in Zion stuff, I don’t think that’s a fair characterization of the prevailing attitude among Mormons of working women.

    Also for the record, I appreciate and join in the indignation expressed here against Rammel’s meeting and statements. It does make us look bad. Unfortunately, we will always have some extreme elements among us. I wouldn’t go so far as to advocate excommunication, but a gentle rebuke would be nice.

  48. If you’re in Idaho casting about for a former LDS gubernatorial candidate to like, try prolifeidaho.com.

  49. The Church has distanced itself officially from this man.

    I could have done without the last paragraph. Hyperbole in a post about a hyperbolic nutcase doesn’t help the cause, either.

  50. I live in Idaho and I hate hearing about this guy. He just never seems to go away. I agree this is bad PR, but that seems to be our territory. Part of me feels sorry for the guy, for all we know, he has heard the WHP repeated in church a hundred times and never knew it wasn’t scripture. But at the same time, if I remember, this isn’t the first time he has been criticized for using religion for political ends. I can’t wait to hear it from my coworkers. Again.

  51. I have nothing new to add except to agree, as a resident of Idaho Falls, that Rex isn’t being taken seriously here. The vast majority of the members I’ve heard from are irritated at him for pulling a stunt like this.

    P.S. Chris Henrichsen, I know you probably won’t remember me, but I was in your ethics class when you took over for Br. George (what an unfortunate way to get in somewhere, eh?). But BYUI is lucky to have you. I enjoyed your class :)

  52. It is heartening to see near universal condemnation of this man, but how many are willing to stop believing the premise of the “White Horse” prophecy, which fuels this kind of man, and this kind of extremism? I can’t tell you how often I see this kind of talk, the vague notion of Constitutional danger that somehow will be saved if we but follow the ideology of the one sounding the alarm.

  53. As my brother-in-law quipped when hearing about this, the only thing that’s going to hold the Constitution over the abyss by a thread is extremism.

  54. Oh, wow. See, now this is why I became an American. Canadian politicians are rarely if ever this nutty, with the possible exception of William Lyon MacKenzie King.

  55. Come on Steve, the NDP?

  56. Aaron Brown says:

    Like the Apostle Paul, I say we should demand that our women keep silent in the churches. But I also think men should keep silent in the churches. Frankly, when either sex flaps its lips, this interferes with my enjoyment of all the cool apps on my iPhone, or with my study of the latest D. Michael Quinn treatise. So everybody should just shut their collective traps already.

    As for “Rex Rammell,” anybody with a name that sounds like a porn star is gonna be hard for me to take seriously. And that’s before I even read the dumb flyer.

    AB

  57. I just want to go on the record that despite the Church’s official statements to the contrary, I fully believe in the White Horse prophecy.

    I just think that the Mormon elder that fulfilled it was Harry Reid when the GOP lost the senate for Bush’s last two years in office. :)

  58. Thank you for noting this fundamentalist splinter/apostate group in Idaho.
    .
    Any chance that winter storms will knock down the telegraph lines before the word gets out? We really don’t need this here in SoCal; Utah’s Buttars already exhausted our forbearance ration with the locals.
    .
    OK, now that I’ve suppurated my snark abcess, how can we help these people recover/gain their senses?

  59. I’m intrigued by his views, and would like to subscribe to his newsletter.

  60. Anne (U.K.) says:

    If he did use (and I say ‘if’ as I don’t suppose anyone knows) ward membership lists as the basis for invites- even his own home teaching list- then his stake leaders should be issuing some sort of Church discipline, no matter how keen they are to distance themselves from his activities.

    I’m frankly gobsmacked such Neanderthals still exist.

  61. Wow. I don’t really have anything to add, except that his facebook group has 36 fans.

  62. “…folks repeating the “constitution will hang by a thread” statement over and over and over again.”

    I remember being told when I was growing up that the above quote was in the D&C! And, *IF* the Constitution quote is true, how are the Elders of the LDS Church going to step up & save the Constitution when they have trouble doing things like their Home Teaching & Family History?

    I also remember the non-LDS, but Ultra Right-Wing John G. Schmitz, who was the US Independent Party Presidential Candidate in 1972. Later on, he got so weird that the Birchers kicked him out for his racist views, they felt he was a liability. Some of the same overtones seem to be here as well.

    I’m with Jeremy about Harry Reid. So, snark on, people.

  63. Apparently my new year’s resolution is to waste more time online, because I just wasted ten minutes glancing through this guy’s book that you can download on his website. Fascinating, if disturbing, stuff. Here, for example, is his opening paragraph to the section: “The Battle for the Constitution”

    “In the beginning there were socialists and capitalists. The socialists said “let us force our neighbors to be charitable that all mankind may be equal.” The capitalists said “let us give our neighbors freedom that they may choose to be charitable for charity freely given is true charity.” But the socialists disagreed that man could ever rise to be charitable; he must be forced. The capitalists disagreed. And henceforth the war for freedom began.”

    Is he talking about the founding of the constitution, or the War in Heaven?

  64. Mark Brown says:

    Ben, obviously you haven’t been paying attention lately. Don’t you know that the debate over health care reform really is just an extension of the war in heaven? If you don’t believe me, just ask Br. Beck.

    (But thanks for that quote, it’s priceless. And it is horrifying to realize that it sums up in a nutshell (emphasis on nut) the political views of many of our people.)

    Tom/Ray – yes, I used hyperbole in the last paragraph, but I guess I still didn’t make my point very well, so I’ll try again now.

    Rammell’s views are blatantly and repulsively sexist in my book, but they are the logical extension of the type of views many in the church still hold. As I said, he is an aberration, but still not uncommon. Many of us simply don’t mind this kind of old-fashioned chauvinism. (See comment 33 for an example of someone who thinks his male-only meetings are no different from Time Out for Women or EFY and who sees no problem at all.) How many people in every ward in America hold these views? Dozens, probably. At any rate, we are lazily, complacently comfortable with this sort of benign and often not so benign sexism. But if a woman speculates publicly about female ordination or Heavenly Mother, we are offended and her membership in the church is in jeopardy. Why are we not similarly offended by the tens of thousands of Rammells among us? Why are we so willing to put up with them, but so eager to throw Margaret Toscano or Lavina F. Anderson overboard? These are uncomfortable questions, but I think they are worth asking.

    As to the question of whether working mothers often still feel uncomfortable in our meetings, I’ll gently suggest that they do, at least sometimes. I will also gently suggest that they can speak for themselves, and they don’t need us big brave priesthood holders to defend their honor.

  65. Mark Brown says:

    And zero points to everybody for missing my allusion to Napoleon Dynamite in comment # 7. I’m ashamed of you all!

  66. living in zion says:

    I feel sorry for his wife and kids. Imagine having to be his offspring!

  67. Peter LLC says:

    Let’s give the man a fair hearing–which of you Idaho residents is going to cover the meeting in the fine tradition of BCC general conference coverage?

  68. I want to see a huge crowd of women and nonmember men show up at that meeting. Just to see if anyone is turned away at the door.

  69. And zero points to everybody for missing my allusion to Napoleon Dynamite in comment # 7. I’m ashamed of you all!

    Holding an elders-only political campaign meeting in a Hampton Inn to discuss Joseph’s prophecy and how we can help save the Constitution is a disgrace to you, me and the entire Gem State….

    I don’t understand. He says you’re not allowed to hold an elders-only political campaign meeting in a Hampton Inn to discuss Joseph’s prophecy and how we can help save the Constitution.

    But we do it in Utah all the time.

  70. Point 1 – Eastern Idaho might look a lot like Utah, but that ends about where you get anywhere west of Burley. Specifically Murtaugh. Even if he managed to get all the LDS people to vote for him, he wouldn’t carry anything west of Twin Falls County. And I doubt he’d get anything north of Rexburg. Trumpeting his religion is most likely to ensure he’s unelectable, all nut-case behavior aside.

    Point 2 – Even if he were elected governor of Idaho (and that’s about as likely as a Bo Gritz run for the Presidency), how would that save the Constitution?

  71. Michael,

    Point 2 – Even if he were elected governor of Idaho (and that’s about as likely as a Bo Gritz run for the Presidency), how would that save the Constitution?

    Don’t you know the rest of the White Horse prophecy? By becoming governor of a mountain state, he can then send the elders on horse from the mountains to rescue the Constitution from dastardly evil commies!

  72. During the early 1990’s there were similar types of far right wing people running around the corridor causing trouble. Bo Gritz and others come to mind. There were many ex’d or left the mainstream faith due to extreme right wing politics at that time.

    We may be headed into another period like this now. I believe its largely driven by the flavor of the party in charge in DC. These movement along the fringe of the LDS saints seem to be driven by the Dems being in charge in DC.

    It would not surprise me to hear about local SP calling Rammel in for councel on this matter.

    The White Horse prophecy is a widespread folk belief and not enough people know that its has been repudiated

  73. esodhiambo says:

    Yes, please–live blog from the meeting. I don’t believe for a second that it will end at 8 pm.

  74. Mark Brown,
    “As I said, he is an aberration, but still not uncommon.”

    I realize that I’ve not been in the Mormon heartland other than my four-ish years at BYU, but in my experience, his views aren’t the logical continuation of Mormon beliefs and, moreover, are that uncommon. In the five wards I’ve been in over the last five or so years, I can think of maybe one person who possibly held similar views (he gave a talk on how evil Islam was, and tried to hijack a Priesthood lesson with the same theme), and he was, though treated charitably, considered utterly insane by everybody in the ward.

    So I’m with Geoff J (29)–dude’s insane. But, since he’s insane in an apparently unelectable way (per the Idahoans who’ve chimed in), he’s insane in a funny, I’ll-hear-about-him-on-Wait-Wait kind of way.

  75. A call for excommunication? At BCC? Really? Isn’t this the home of the “I’m okay; you’re okay” version of Mormonism? Or does the version of big-tent Mormonism I see espoused here so often only cover those on the left?

    Look, Rex Rammell is a nut, and I (now) live in the state where he’s campaigning, so I have to hear about him more than most. But this is the first I can remember anyone here calling for another person’s membership. And it seems to me that I’ve seen far worse here than someone uber-committed to the White Horse Prophecy.

  76. I perfer the White Rabbit prophecy, by Jefferson Airplane.

  77. I don’t believe in the White Horse prophecy, but I do believe in the “Hang by a Thread” prophecy; just like Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and Ezra Taft Benson among other prophets. That isn’t to say how it will work out or under what circumstances because it is rather vague.

    It is disingenuous to say the White Horse Prophecy is false or questionable, when the hang by a thread is the main issue. As the flier notes, its not as if we don’t have other sources that verifies the statement’s authenticity. The Joseph F. Smith quote doesn’t help either, because it is very specific about rejecting the White Horse Prophecy; a very long and detailed document.

    By the way, I wouldn’t support Rommel because he goes way too far mixing religion with politics. He doesn’t stand a chance to get elected. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be so easily dismissive of the hang by a thread prophecy because I feel it has plenty of prophetic authority behind it.

  78. I just looked at the opening picture of his website. The look of disgust on the little girl’s faces says it all. Go St. Maries!

  79. Jettboy,

    What exactly does “hanging by a thread” mean? Do any of the people you note get specific? No they don’t. They prefer to keep it vague, because that way, they are the gatekeepers of the phrase. Well I challenge those who believe the Constitution is hanging by a thread to get specific. What did Joseph Smith mean in the 1840s by this? What did Brigham Young mean? Who is the ultimate arbiter of what is Constitutional or not? What we will eventually find is that it is impossible to get a clear answer out of this. And this is exactly the way those who press this kind of talk want it to be. They do not want specifics, because if you get too specific, you can lawyer yourself out of the problem. So stay vague. As long as the threat remains vague, the threat remains real in the minds of those who wish to control and subject Americans to their will.

  80. StillConfused says:

    Oh wait. I thought this was done by the Onion and so it was a joke. Until I read the comments. Hmmm.

  81. I already said it was vague and don’t have much idea what it means. My point was it can’t be dismissed out of hand as a non-prophecy when it has been repeated several times in General Conference and other sources. I said I believed it, I didn’t say I understood it.

  82. Com’on Jettboy, don’t you even wanna give it a try. What exactly does “hanging by a thread” mean? You’re pushing us to believe in this phrase, yet you don’t even know what it means? Why are you then pushing for us to believe in it?

  83. Here is lengthy discussion on my concern. Notice the endnote:

    Update, Dec. 31, 2009: One commenter said that Rammel has not been using the questionable White Horse Prophecy, but simply the more attested statement from Joseph Smith about the Constitution one day hanging from a thread or being in peril. If that is correct, then Rammel may have been a victim of media misinformation. To quote Church leaders on future dangers to the Constitution is NOT the same as relying on a lengthy bogus prophecy. Are any of you close enough to Rammel to know the real story here?

  84. Aaron W (north Idaho) says:

    Regarding the quote, Brigham Young clarified this in a July 4th 1854 speech which was published in the Millennial Star February 1854.

    “Will the Constitution be destroyed? No; it will be held inviolate by this people; and, as Joseph Smith said, “the time will come when the destiny of the nation will hang upon a single thread! At that critical juncture, this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction.” It will be done”

    I agree with the consensus on Rammell, but it raises a more important question for me: how do we, as modern LDS members deal with statements, doctrines and practices of past leaders that we disagree with, but that continue to influence modern day thinking and actions?

    I suppose this has been discussed here before, but I am new to the LDS blogging community so I apologize if I am beating a dead horse.

  85. Aaron W (north Idaho) says:

    Correction: February 1855

  86. I am not pushing anyone to believe anything. I am simply saying it shouldn’t be so easily dismissed as if “the thinking has been done.” :) on the topic. What you believe is up to you.

  87. well that’s a pretty strong thread, if you ask me. It’s apparently been holding up the Constitution since the 1840s.

  88. Stephanie says:

    Rammell said that though LDS women were not invited because of lack of space, he hopes that the men will take the message home to their wives.

    “I think the LDS women will understand,” he said.

    This irks me the most. One of those “vital lies” (as referenced on FMH)

  89. The greatest threat to the Constitution in Joseph Smith’s time or in 1855, when the quote from Brigham Young that Aaron W shared was made, was the divisions and issues that would ultimately lead to the Civil War. The Civil War was by far the Constitutional crisis we have ever faced.

  90. However, I am not sure what role Latter-day Saint played in addressing the crisis surrounding the Civil War.

  91. Lessie (#52):

    Hey, I do remember you. I am no longer teaching at BYU-I. I am now teaching in Provo.

  92. I don’t think the heart of the Rammell matter is whether women are allowed to speak or not. And I disagree with the notion of calling on the Church to discipline Rammell. But (and this is a big but), in this case, Rammell’s invitation was followed by the Church’s statement regarding the questionable provenance of the WHP, as well as for a reminder of the Church’s political neutrality. And the Idaho Falls meeting is evidently only the first meeting planned. The Rexburg paper says “meetings will be held in Rexburg, Blackfoot, Pocatello, Twin Falls and Boise, and only men active in the LDS Church have been invited to attend.”

    So, to me, given the extraordinary fact that the Church issued a statement in response to Rammell’s antics, Rammell should be eating massive crow right now. If he continues to kick against the Church’s directive by going forward with his meetings, I agree that it behooves us members to speak out amongst ourselves — and with our non-LDS associates — regarding Rammell’s extremely questionable tactics.

    Oh my gosh, I just used the word “behoove” in a blog comment. Oh my.

  93. Chris, I remember Juvenile Instructor blog discussing that question. The answer seemed to be they played no role. At best the Latter-day Saints expressed support for the Union, but considered the whole of the civil war divine retribution.

  94. Oh my gosh, I just used the word “behoove” in a blog comment. Oh my.

    Yes, Hunter. If Steve didn’t love your body, you’d be banned by now.

  95. Rammell is considered to be something of a kook here in Idaho, but not so much for his championship of this “prophecy”. He makes people uncomfortable with the way he mixes politics and religion. I mean even the most conservative are not likely to approve of his calling what amounts to a church meeting outside of authorized priesthood channels. And when the Church issued the statement in response, he pretty much said that he was right and the church was wrong. So he may get a few crazies to go along with him, but the vast majority of members would never associate themselves with him.

    That said, the most kooky ultra-conservative Mormon I know lives in Missouri. Idaho doesn’t have a lock on them. Most people here are very live-and-let-live, which is perhaps why some of the crazies can flourish here– we like to let people alone as long as they don’t directly infringe on our own peace.

    It is true though, that people here are mostly conservative. But they are so sincere about it. They have heard about that constitution hanging by a thread thing their whole lives. They just want to do the right thing as they understand it. I just moved into a very conservative rural ward. Lots of people are into Glen Beck here, and comments are often made in Sunday school and RS/PH that just assume everyone in the room is on the same page. But this is also one of the highest functioning wards I’ve ever been in. Everybody does their VT/HT, they have all those committees working that usually never happen, and people routinely mention how they were prompted to stop by sister so-and-so’s house the other day, etc. So they are nice people doing the best they can. But I’m not sure how the religion/conservative politics conflation can ever be untangled.

  96. Aaron W (north Idaho) says:

    Good point on mixing politics and religion, that should be a concern to everyone.

  97. If he is dropping this flyer off w/LDS Priesthood holders, how is he doing this? The ward/stake lists are clearly NOT for political use, so how is he sharing this invite w/people.

    Oh please. Church members routinely violate these rules all the time. (Which is one reason why our ward refuses to print directories. In fact, SLC discourages the public distribution of directories and prefers you use the web. You want an email, you sign up on the local unit website and look for them there. And we’ll yell at you if you start spamming the ward with political crap.)

    Our bishop has asked ward leaders to create separate email accounts that are for Church-use only (that we can delete once we’re released). That does seem to cut down on the Church spam from people who don’t have my personal email.

    I just got an email from our FH consultant asking me to support some guy in another ward (an ex-bishop) for some middling county seat.

  98. Stephanie says:

    what amounts to a church meeting outside of authorized priesthood channels

    This is a very pertinent point.

  99. Just a couple things I’ve noticed:

    The church spokeswoman responding to Brother Rammell says: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is politically neutral and does not endorse or promote any candidate, party or platform.”

    Prop 8.

    And this quote: “The Saints Will Yet Save the Constitution-When the day comes in which the Kingdom of God will bear rule, the flag of the United States will proudly flutter unsullied on the flagstaff of liberty and equal rights, without a spot to sully its fair surface; the glorious flag our fathers have bequeathed to us will then be unfurled to the breeze by those who have power to hoist it aloft and defend its sanctity. (JOD 2:317).” (found on Mormonwiki – how cool is that? I didn’t even know there was a Mormonwiki!)

    The only possible conclusion I can reach is that the constitution is hanging by a thread now, and will only be hoisted by those that are able to defend equal rights and stop supporting political platforms based on “traditional” marriage. Elders? Do I have any takers?

  100. oh, sorry, only equal rights was supposed to be bold there…

  101. Matthew Chapman says:

    Starfoxy and Stephanie, good points.

    I would also point out that according to LDS doctrine, (not merely policies and procedures) the individuals who hold the keys and authority necessary to call a meeting of all the “Elders of Israel” in Idaho Falls are the local Stake Presidents, the Area Authority, or members of the Quorum of the Twelve or First Presidency.

    I don’t see their signatures on the “invitation”.

    Brother Rammel certainly has the right of freedom of association, and can meet privately with whoever agrees to meet with him– but not to ostensibly give instructions to the Elders as to how they are to administer their Priesthood duties.

    The other question is, “Do you sustain Thomas S. Monson as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and the ONLY individual authorized to receive revelation for the Church as a whole?”

  102. Ugly Mahana says:

    Rammell speaks for himself alone. He is not reliable as a source for LDS thought or belief. Regardless of the validity of the prophecy that the constitution will hang by a thread, his interpretation implementing that prophecy is demonstrably heterodox. In the first place, he improperly conflates priesthood office with the gender of those who hold priesthood office. In the second, he has no ecclesiastical authority justifying his call on the men of the Church. Finally, his suggestion that LDS women have a secondary place in politics is as laughable and offensive as the idea that women are, in any sense, secondary in God’s sight. Both ideas have been soundly rejected by Church authorities, even if the rejections are not deemed sufficient by critics.

    I understand the concerns of those who read Rammell’s comments and fear that the Church seeks to dominate and then control national politics. After all, a belief by a minority religion that it will be responsible for saving the majority from itself sounds an awful lot like a group that seeks dictatorial control. However, such conclusions are overblown. As demonstrated in the above comments, the prophecy at issue is not accepted by all members of the Church. Moreover, LDS scriptures reject the use of force except as a means of self-defense. This means that when the Church acts in political matters, it may only have its way if it can convince a majority to go along with it. There is no secret cabal of Mormons intent upon controlling America for their own benefit.

    Some are probably concerned that Rammell will tap into the famous Mormon ability to organize. If this is Rammell’s hope, I expect he will be disappointed. The Church has already publicly disavowed him. Now it is up to the membership to discredit him.

    And I hope we will. Rammell has a right to make a fool of himself, but he has no right to make a fool of us. Recognizing the principles he has twisted gives us a unique opportunity to expose his folly.

  103. I would say that Rex Rammell has not deserved excommunication any more than the “Calendar Guy” who was ex’ed last spring or thereabouts; based on the calendars and Rammell’s public advertising.

    But if Rammell does use ward directories for his campaign — and I would not put that past a politician with the kind of history he has — it is definitely a serious offense against the basic rules of the Church administration. Not that I’m saying I know it to be happening, but since that idea is already in the air.

    (IMO, his public advertising and commentary do not suggest that he has a way to verify the status of the “non-elder” LDS men (or non-LDS ones) that appear. Thing is, with this campaign he might just get a whole load of non-LDS.)

    I am totally against making religion and politics too close buddies. And we’re uncomfortably close to them being too close when we’re told that we’re not eligible for a TR if we voted Obama, as has been suggested by some bloggers. This position is based on Obama’s abortion stance. From such a reasoning, pres. Bush can be said to condone murder by not being more vocal and aggressive to get the Blackwater guards prosecuted for murder in Iraq.

    I am glad I have more to choose from than two parties…

  104. Isn’t the elephant in the chatroom really about the author of this blogs implying that the church shouldn’t be aganist women who want to build a career outside of the home? Because, last time I check, the churches stance on women working outside the home remains, for better or worse, in the 1950s, when salaries enable men to be the only bacon-bringer-home.

    Many men in my ward are going to school, or going back to school, to get a degree in a job that will enable them to achieve this goal. Nursing is a big degree. But there is one couple who relie on food-stamps to feed them and their five children–and the father works.

    Recently the number of women working are surpassed the men. This policy of the church may go the way of dodo. My wife and I couldn’t afford a house if she weren’t working. And it’s really hard on my wife, whose parents mention it in nearly every conversation.

  105. However, I am not sure what role Latter-day Saint played in addressing the crisis surrounding the Civil War.

    Mormons were a large factor in the Republican platform. With Buchanan taking the Mormon rebellion seriously I think it made the civil war much easier and more likely. Plus the expense of the Utah War contributed as I recall to the events of the civil war.

  106. I thought the constitution hanging by a thread was fulfilled in national treasure? I heard Nicholas cage was a member.

    start your internet rumor now.

  107. daveonline says:

    My version of internet rumor of the day is that this “true” prophecy was already fulfilled when Jack Anderson and his staff of priesthood researchers contributed to exposing the executive abuse of presidential powers during the Watergate era :)
    It’s always fun to discredit an unreliable assertion with an equally unreliable counter asssertion.

  108. I live a very long way from Idaho — but is there really anything wrong with a politician seeking meetings with different constituencies to discuss their differing needs? Maybe one day he’ll meet with Catholic nuns to talk about real estate taxation rules affecting convents, or Buddhist monks to talk about an endangered species matter, or hunters to talk about game laws, or environmentalists to talk about conservation, all in the same week. Everyone would agree that he and everyone else would be best served by meeting with these groups separately. As Latter-day Saints, we need to get more comfortable with other Latter-day Saints reaching prominent positions in society while holding political or other views that differ from ours — perhaps not every Latter-day Saint will agree with Rex Rammell, but also not every Latter-day Saint will agree with Glenn Beck or Harry Reid, either. Knowing that someone else with views differing from me is a fellow Latter-day Saint need not be an embarrassment to me in the name of the Church. I suppose some Roman Catholics thought Ted Kennedy wasn’t an exceptionally good Catholic, but they seemed to allow him to live in peace.

    Does Rex Rammell have a right to invite LDS elders to a meeting he is hosting and he is paying for? Yes. Do LDS elders have to go? No, but they can if they want to. It might be an interesting topic, and the refreshments alone might make it worthwhile.

  109. For Enna (no. 100) — beware — there is a mormonwiki.com and a mormonwiki.org — as I understand, one of these is run by members trying to be helpful and the other is run by non-members. The standard caveat applies — not everything one reads is true — is this is especially true of the internet.

  110. Mark Brown says:

    ji,

    The problem is that he is quoted in the post as saying LDS women have the same opinions as their husbands and that their husbands will tell them anything they need to know. Surely you are a smart enough person to see something wrong with that.

  111. Mark (no, 110) — you shouldn’t imply that anyone who is smart must necessarily agree with you.

    The original posting does have some words in quotation marks, but no citation is given to help a reader can understand the meaning and context of Mr. Rammell’s remarks. Quotations taken out of context can and often do seem bizarre.

    But regardless of how I might feel about Mr. Rammell’s planned meeting, I am more concerned by the reaction stirred up here. If Mr. Rammell is the embarrassment so many people think he is, they would do better to ignore him. Jesus said love every one, and treat them kindly too.

    If I lived in Idaho, I could choose not to go the meeting and still be kind and civil. And if my neighbor asked me a question about my fellow church member, I could kindly explain that I don’t understand or support Mr. Rammell’s politics.

  112. From what I have seen over the last few weeks, ji thinks that the bloggernacle is full of a bunch of meanies. We should love every publication and never say unfriendly things about anything associated with Mormonism. In other words, the bloggernacle should instead be a big EFY. Gag.

  113. Chris (no. 112) — Wouldn’t you think the “meanies” are those persons calling for someone else’s excommunication, calling someone else a liar, or crazy, or nut, or extremist, or stupid? There is a place for civility in a Mormon blog.

  114. Sure there is a place for civility, but even a liberal like me can recognize the limits of toleration.

    Let me add to your perception of the bloggernacle:

    Your whining is annoying.

  115. Mark Brown says:

    ji,

    You can find youtube videos all over the internet where Rammell is speaking and giving his views about politics, LDS women, and the false doctrines he continues to promote.

    p.s. please spare me the lectures. You implied that I have taken his words out of context, thereby committing an act of dishonesty. If you put half as much effort into informing yourself about what you are talking about as you do in calling me to repentance, you wouldn’t run the risk of looking crazy, nutty, and stupid.

  116. Mark (no. 115), I haven’t called you to repentance — if you feel so called, please do so, but I haven’t written any such call.

    Yes, it does seem out-of-date for a politician today to suggest that a woman gets her political opinions from her husband. But the shrillness of the response to Mr. Rammell from the LDS community represented in BCC is disturbing. We should be kinder. One can disassociate him- or herself from another church member who has differing political views in a more Christian manner.

    I made a comment that differed in perspective from yours and others, and you and Chris attacked me personally. There’s no need for such. We can exchange ideas more pleasantly. But I can discern that exchanging ideas is not the purpose of this BCC posting and that I’m not welcome here, so I’ll exit.

  117. ji, relax already.

  118. http://scriptures.lds.org/en/1_cor/14/34-35

    When did this cease to be a normative part of the LDS canon? Just wondering…

  119. Dan, that’s the New Testament, which expressly does not apply to Mormons.

  120. PS — Happy New Year! Good to see you back around.

  121. Natalie B. says:

    What bothers me most about this invitation is actually not the comments about women–those seem laughable to me, so not necessarily threatening–nor even the idea of politics being framed in Mormon terms, but what I see as the tendency of these extreme statements about the Constitution hanging by a thread to undermine the legitimacy of the political process. It seems that we (US in general) are developing a culture in which if people in office disagree with us, then we seek to undermine the validity of the process through which they got that office and authority.

  122. Some people, even conservative evangelicals (Gordon D. Fee is one), are arguing that 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is an interpolation on the text.

    So it might not even apply to Protestants anymore, depending on who you talk to.

  123. So, what happens when a lady shows up? Will they be shown the door? C’mon ladies, who wants to volunteer?

  124. I would so go with you, Nicole. Two 6′ tall hot feminist women showing up at a chauvinist meeting would be hard to ignore (and could kick a lot of ass).

  125. Or they could also show up wearing burkas so as to not distract anyone…I’m sure no one would notice them ;)

  126. I actually may be passing the area on my way to Boise… It’s too bad you aren’t nearby, Jack. We could wear heels.

  127. Just for clarity, The White Horse Prophecy was supposedly related to two men (Edwin Rushdon and Theodore Turley) outside of Joseph Smith’s home on Sunday May 7, 1843. These two men later wrote their acccounts of the encounter. It does mention the constitution hanging by a thread. There is another incident which might be called the Mosiah Hancock Prophecy on June 19, 1844 (eight days before the Martyrdom) where the Prophet says that liberty will hang by a hair and the “boys from the mountains” will save it. Of course the accuracy of these statements cannot be established since they were recalled from memory years after the events. Yet the vague outlines of these stories might fit with some of the things that are happening today. These two “prophecies” seem to form the foundation of Duane Crowther’s book Prophecy, Key to the Future which I understand is still a best seller.

    On the issue of women attending. Maybe he wanted to leave them out because only elders can save the constritution. However Comment # 85 in quoting Brigham Young on the subject says that “this people” will save it could be a benign clarification of the issue.

  128. If I lived anywhere near Idaho, I would show up to the meeting just to see whether Rammell would really kick women out. This guy is wrong-headed on so many levels (which have been adequately detailed by other commenters) and it makes me glad to hear he doesn’t have much of a chance of winning. He gives Mormon politicians a bad name.

  129. L – what a great point. I may not be in the Idaho Falls area, but I will be in Boise. This may be a train wreck – scary, but too interesting to look away.

  130. If Rammell wants to paint the sky orange, then he will. The church has boogles about it.

  131. Jayma Mays is Hot.

  132. The LDS view of women as property is closely akin to the Muslim view. LDS Temple promises of a wife to ‘obey her husband’ were part and parcel of the ceremony in years past… now changed. How can anyone change a ceremony Joseph Smith said came directly from God and cannot be changed?

    LDS views are that women are an accessory, not equals.

  133. “How can anyone change a ceremony Joseph Smith said came directly from God and cannot be changed?”

    Um, it changes quite often.

    “LDS views are that women are an accessory, not equals.”

    Nice strawman.

  134. Mahonri,
    You, respectfully, are a moron who doesn’t have a clue regarding the things of which he speaks.

  135. Terrakota says:

    I like how you can say “moron”, but respectfully.
    Not that I disagree.

  136. He’s now apologized, kinda. Seem’s he’s been edumcated that non-LDS people also love the Constitution. He says he now welcomes non-LDS, but haven’t heard him say that women can come.

    Still gonna send the guy he’s running against $5.

  137. PS…. My husband and I ROUTINELY go and cancel each other out at the ballot box. I fail at letting ANYONE tell me how to vote.

  138. alextvalencic says:

    I hope that everyone noticed the recent post from the LDS Newsroom that, in the wonderfully couched language of politese, told Bro. Rammell to shut his trap and stop embarrassing the Church with his stupid campaign methods.

  139. Yeah, I heard less polite words from an area authority this past week. The church is not happy with this wacko.

  140. Stephanie says:

    I wonder if/what church leaders are saying to him personally.

  141. “Bro. Rammell, you have been called to the Ward Activities Committee” would probably send the message quite nicely.

  142. Mahonri (132),
    “LDS views are that women are an accessory”

    Absolutely true. And, although premarriage, my fashion sense was maybe not perfect, I have to say, my wife and daughters go with my pink shirt stupendously.

    Moron (sans respect).

    Jack,
    Please no–ward activities tend to be weak enough without using the calling to send a message. My wife (remember, the one who complements my pink shirt) and I, when we headed the committee years ago, were lucky enough to have a spectacular committee most of the time, and it made all the difference. I say call him to coordinate building cleaning (which is, itself, important, but a crazy person in that calling wouldn’t materially affect met) (although I guess the fact that he’s in Idaho and I’m not near Idaho means his calling won’t materially affect me in any event, so I guess activities committee is fine).

  143. how calling him specifically to snow removal-that’s manly and away from people. us pink accessories couldn’t possibly manage it

  144. how about…:hits head:

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