While the lower tiers of the Republican field jockey for second and third place in the polls, and as mediocre candidates stand poised to enter the race, Mitt Romney has quietly held onto his frontrunner status. In fact, Mitt’s ability to stay on top while not courting scandal and intrigue is a story in itself.
That truth makes the ex-Governor of Massachusetts appear to have the sort of stability that will be required to last the entire election process, which is still in its first rounds.
I’ve written before that Romney is the likely victor of the Republican nomination due to his financial lead, among other things. But his strength also comes from a potential lock on a growing, and solidly conservative slice of the American demographic: Mormons.
Mitt’s status as not a Christian of any mainstream sort, or as not a Christian at all if you ask certain people, make him somewhat unique. Mormonism, the religion of the Church of Latter Day Saints, enjoys relatively high name recognition in this country, due in part to effective outreach. However, how much people know about what exactly its beliefs are, is less well known.
We just had to take a peek.
Before we get into a list of, to be frank, surprisingly odd Mormon beliefs, we should take a moment and ask ourselves if it is fair, or proper, to explorer and examine the religious views of another person, especially an elected official or candidate. I would argue yes. As many religious people will happily tell anyone who will listen that their religious life is the crux of the rest of their existence, to ask what that person believes in a religious sense can provide a window into what they think, and why. And that is perfectly reasonable, especially in the case of someone running for President.
We looked into Mormonism, and have come up with a list of things that made our eyes widen. Every religion has its odd points, but Mormonism has them up front, and on display. Without further ado, Mormonism:
Jesus Came to America
Yes, after his resurrection, Jesus appeared in North America. I would be willing to bet that if there was a historical Jesus, the land that is now the United States was not on his bucket list of places to visit. The Mormons disagree.
Oh, and Jesus is going to return to America, to Missouri, to be specific. Yes, the Mormons claim to know exactly where. They are, however, still working on the ‘when’ question.
Joseph Smith prophesied that New York City, Boston, and the US Government were doomed
In a public statement, Joseph Smith claimed that if New York City and Boston rejected his teachings that they were, roughly, doomed. And soon. Given that Mormons are yet a tiny minority, it appears that the two cities have rejected Smith’s gospel. It is not known at this time whether the both locales are worried about their impending destruction.
Smith also foretold that the US government was in hot water with god so long as it failed to pass a certain measure. The government stands, seemingly in opposition to what god had told Smith.
There are multiple heavens
To be more exact, there are ‘three levels of exaltation:’ the Celestial, the Terrestrial, and the Telestial. You want to get into the Celestial, and we’ll tell you why, later.
Mitt finds this triple heaven design to not only be reasonable, but fact, as is it is a crucial tenet of faith for the Church of Latter Day Saints.
Tithe, or lose
If you want to get into the highest heaven, the Celestial, you must tithe. If you don’t, you won’t get the best of the ‘exaltations.’ That fact is in the Mormon scriptures. And that is how the Mormon Church became one of the richest in the United States.
Be a god
Remember when we told you that you really wanted to get into the Celestial kingdom? Want to know why? Because there you can ‘call’ your wife back to you (unless you didn’t really like her and don’t want her to show up), have spirit children, and become a god in your own right.
Not a bad deal for your tithes, right?
Baptism of the dead
The Mormons baptize the dead. In abstentia, of course. This is to help them in the afterlife. Creepy. The Church managed to kick up some ruckus when it was discovered that all the people who died during the Holocaust were being baptized. Following a PR backlash, the Church promised to stop.
Prophets are among us!
This is actually a bit scary. According to the Mormon Church, its President is a prophet. That fact is somewhat unsettling, as it means that Mitt believes that god is talking to man that he would have open access to as President of the United States. Who knows what god has to say!
Do you really want to know?
It is in fact true that Mormons who have gone through an ‘endowment ceremony’ have to wear special garments. Their role? According to the Church they provide “protection against temptation and evil.”