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03 November 2012


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FB Ali

"..... reference to a kind of Mormon "takiya" (the Islamic practice of dissimulation for the faith)."

I would take issue with labelling "takiya" as an "Islamic practice". I believe there is such a tenet in Shia doctrine, but not Sunni. It does not figure much even there as a "practice" since its use is only for special circumstances and is hedged in with many qualifiers.


All you really need to know is that Mitt's in-laws were not allowed to attend the wedding of their daughter because they were not Mormons.

I am somewhat surprised that this religion has not been a larger issue in this election. It was not too long ago when fundamentalist Christians considered Mormons to be members of a cult. Actually, I think they have a point.

Of course, in 4 years the GOP can try to run Tom Cruise, since they have already cleared that bar.


fb ali

I take your point that this has been mainly a Shia practise although it is true that the situation is not so clear with regard to the Sunnis as you say. See the wiki below.I can see why you might be sensitive about this given the outrageous use of the term by Pipes, etc. In any event, I think the Mormons are more like the Shia in their preservation of the ideas of living prophetic abilities and ijtihad and so will make that change. pl



I think the division now in America is between religious people and secular people. The rlogious people can't afford to nitpick about the differences between Protestant sects, Catholics, Orthodox, Mormon etc. anymore because the seculars have grown in strength.



This is only nitpicking if you think that people don't act on their beliefs. I don't want to live in a country run on the basis of someone else's religious beliefs. pl


With 41% of births in America now to single mothers, I have a lot bigger concerns about the future than Mormonism, but to each his own.


Romney is a Mormon Stake President, which I'm told is somewhat like being a Catholic Bishop. I could not support a priest of any religion running for president. When JFK ran, there was widespread that he would be taking orders from Rome. He had to state very clearly that he would make his own decisions and not listen to the clergy. Romney has not done this. In fact, he has been extremely tight lipped and secretive about this, as with so much else.

Don't the Druze also dissimulate to outsiders about their religious affiliation, for self protection and advancement? It may have something to do with surviving as a religious minority in intolerant circumstances, and less as an expression of perfidy. But it does leads to questions of trustworthiness in general.


Pat Lang is right: we have every right and obligation to understand clearly how the religious views of political candidates will affect their views on public policy and foreign affairs.

With regard to Mitt Romney, we should be especially interested in getting a handle on Mormon views on Mideast politics, Israel, Jerusalem, Jews and related topics. What are they? The mainstream media have studiously avoided looking into these issues.

To what degree is Mitt Romney on the same page, in terms of ideology and theology, with Christian Zionists?



In the interest of full disclosure, I am Catholic. What are you? BTW, the RC chuch has few secrets any longer except I suppose for the Vatican archives. Opus Dei is not the church itself. Why are the Mormons so secretive? Is this related to their apparent early relationship to freemasonry? pl


trooper said:

"I think the division now in America is between religious people and secular people."

Religious moderates (all across the Christian and Jewish spectrum, including Roman Catholics and Protestants) bear much more in common with moderate secular humanists than they do with religious fundamentalists and extremists (including religious Zionists, both Christian and Jewish).

The question is this: is Mitt Romney a religious fundamentalist or extremist? He sometimes sounds like one. What are the core beliefs of hardline Mormons? How might those beliefs affect his policies? We need to know.

Clifford Kiracofe

"A network of Jewish Republicans, including billionaire Sheldon Adelson and veterans of President George W. Bush’s administration, is spearheading an effort to peel Jewish voters away from President Barack Obama.

The Republican Jewish Coalition has reported political expenditures of $6.3 million, four times higher than the $1.4 million the group spent in 2008, according to disclosures filed with the U.S. Federal Election Commission.

Also, a separate group sharing the same address as a charitable foundation established by Ronald Lauder is registering U.S. voters living in Israel and has highlighted Obama’s disagreements with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Lauder is the son of the founder of the Estee Lauder cosmetics company.

Criticism of Obama’s support for Israel is designed to woo some of the 78 percent of Jewish voters who exit polls said cast ballots for him in the 2008 election. A shift of a few percentage points toward Romney in some of the battleground states both sides say will determine the race, including Florida and Ohio, could mean victory for the Republican.

As far as I understand it, both the Fundamentalists and the LDS are "restorationist" in their theology. This is to say that both call for the "restoration" of Jews to the Holy Land as part of an ingathering process.

The Fundamentalists of the Darby persuasion include in their eschatology the idea that once the ingathering process is complete, this marks another step on the road to Armageddon in the End Times.

I do not know what LDS eschatology is.

It is notable that both the Fundamentalists and the LDS have roots in the UK of the 1820s-40s era. Perhaps someone may be able to clarify for us such connections.


On Mormon Zionism

Mormons are philo-Semites and pro-Israel.

One of our basic Articles of Faith affirms: “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes.” In 1841, LDS Apostle Orson Hyde offered a prayer on the Mount of Olives dedicating the Land of Israel for the gathering of the Jews. Israel went on to receive at least 11 apostolic blessings before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. For more than five decades (1870s-1920s), the church seriously considered establishing a Mormon colony in Palestine. Today, Brigham Young University has a beautiful center on Mount Scopus with the best view of the Old City in Jerusalem.

Of course this just scratches the surface of the belief system in play.

Some Google searches that reach more deeply into the topic:

1. mormons israel
2. mormons jerusalem
3. mormons jews
4. mormons judaism


Anyone question Rev. Jeremiah Wright ("Goddamn America") and Obama's 20 years in his church?



It seems to me that many have. pl



I happen to know Ronald Lauder having been in Rome with him to brief Andreotti on Libyan chemical plants and then in Paris for the same purpose. At one point I was in front seat of the ambassador's limo in Rome while he and Lauder sat in the back seat talking about how stupid government people were. The ambassador leaned over the seat and said "I don't mean military people of course." I assured him that I had understood exactly what he meant. After a while Lauder stopped talking down to me. pl


If I were Mormon (I am in fact a lapsed Catholic) I would be horrified at the mere suggestion that Romney's campaign style has anything to do with his religious beliefs. In all my life I've never witnessed a more blatantly dishonest, falsehood-filled presidential campaign than the one this "businessman" has tried to sell us. For once, the Washington Post gets it right in their editorial pages when they condemn the campaign has an open insult to the intelligence of the American voter. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mitt-romneys-election-campaign-insults-voters/2012/11/02/69fcc1fc-2428-11e2-9313-3c7f59038d93_story.html

To me the Romney campaign reflects poorly on Mormonism because many people are aware that Mormons have a well-deserved reputation for success in business. When the first Mormon to become a presidential candidate is then exposed as a shameless, principle-free "say anything, do anything" vulture capitalist and grifter who seeks to bring this "business model" to government, they may wonder to what extent Romney's public pathology reflects Mormon business ethics as a whole. (I confess I do).

To me it is interesting that senior auto executives in Detroit have called out Romney directly on his lying about the auto bailout and overseas manufacturing, but we have seen nothing from the other LDS business leaders about Romney's grotesque dishonesty and unprecedented lying during the campaign itself.

Maybe it is in nature of religious hierarchies and business elites to keep mum on such questions, but I would have to think that any number of Mormon religious and secular leaders are appalled by Mittens and his conduct. If, as I devoutly wish, he goes down in flames next Tuesday, I can't wait to see what other Mormon leaders say about the campaign he conducted.

Regarding Kennedy as the first Catholic candidate, we now know that the image he cultivated of a "devout Catholic" running for president was also a tissue of lies. The guy had the morals of an alleycat.


I'm Catholic too.
I suspect the Mormon secrecy dates to a sense of persecution. Krakauer's "Under the banner of heaven" is a good read, and not at all pro-Mormon. Still didn't leave me with concerns about Romney, though.

Will Reks

Well, seeing as he's been President for 4 years now I think most people can determine whether Jeremiah Wright has much influence over how Obama acts as President. That depends on how objective they can be, of course.

Clifford Kiracofe

Most interesting vignette... an ueber Zionist and a patron of the Neocons.


Margaret Steinfels

A historical improbability but it would be interesting to know how JFK and the current crop of Catholic bishops would have gotten on. 1960: A different political era and a different crop of bishops.

I have often thought that John F. Kerry (2004) lost in part because officials of his own church seriously criticized him (of course, there were other reasons for his loss as well). Your average citizen might well ask if a candidate's religious leaders don't support him, what's wrong with this guy. Hence, the silence of Mormon religious leaders.


Naturally I believe the character of one running for president is vitally important. It must be examined closely. His religion? Not so much.

However, along with examining a candidate’s character it is also essential to examine how outside influences have made the candidate the person he is. Thus it is not his religion per se that needs to be analyzed, but rather how his religion has influenced him and made him who he really is.

And Romney - like his religion - remains a secretive, enigmatic mystery for me.

Mark Logan

Mr Kiracofe,

Just coloring in a bit. I've heard Mitt refer to the national anthem as one of our national "hymns" a few times now. We've all seen that awful painting of Jesus bearing the Constitution. That religion was born and raised here. Some of that seemed to be in quite a few of them.

I will not slander all Mormons with that, or with Mitt though. Not by a long shot. Knew a lot of them in Idaho. I kind of liked them. The "Jack" variety for the most part, I guess. The memory of them instantly sprang to mind when I read Solzhenitsyn's description of the Baptists in the prison camp: "If a man asks for something, give it to him!"



"it is not his religion per se that needs to be analyzed, but rather how his religion has influenced him and made him who he really is." This is a distinction wothout a difference. pl


Clifford Kiracofe wrote:

"I do not know what LDS eschatology is."

We really need to know the entire eschatological script/narrative that is embraced by Mormons -- what developments coincide with and follow the ingathering of Jews to biblical Israel according to their esoteric timeline?

We should recall that neoconservatives manipulated the religious fundamentalist beliefs of some Christian Zionists in the Bush 43 administration -- consider that George W. Bush divulged to Jacques Chirac that he was committed to invading Iraq as part of the biblical battle of Gog and Magog.

Mitt Romney is surrounded by neocons who no doubt understand what theological and psychological buttons to push to motivate him to embark upon more wars on behalf of Greater Israel. And of course all of those lavish campaign contributions from multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson and his cohorts will be an effective incentive in pulling his strings.

Al Spafford

If you are aware of Obama's relationship with Rev Wright's church you would know that it was mainly asocial convenience, with minor religious acceptance. Obama had very little religious orientation in his youth. Upon taking up community service work in Chicago he initially gained little accpetance in the black community-a "white" raised bi-racial, Harvard grad, with little urban experience. The Black Church was largely his entry. I am unaware of Obama at any time re-mouthing Wright's anger.

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