1) A confusing
and difficult problem or question.
A significant number of conservative Christians, who are vital to the Republican Party in the Bible Belt and the rural Midwest, say they would refuse to vote for a Mormon. Such an attitude, if widespread and followed through on, could prove fatal to the Republican nominees chances.
Historically, evangelicals and Mormons have demonized each other. Evangelicals consider the Church of Latter-day Saints to be a cult, and typically think Mormons are not real Christians.
The concern among evangelicals is that the Mormon Church will use [a Mormon president's] position around the world as a calling card for legitimizing their church and proselytizing people.
The theological differences between Mormonism and traditional Christianity are so fundamental, experts in both say, that they encompass the very understanding of God and Jesus, what counts as Scripture and what happens when people die.
On the most fundamental issue, traditional Christians believe in the Trinity: that God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all rolled into one.
Mormons reject this as a non-biblical creed that emerged in the fourth and fifth centuries. They believe that God the Father and Jesus are separate physical beings, and that God has a wife whom they call Heavenly Mother.
They also do not subscribe to the idea of a virgin birth, insisting that Mary became pregnant via conventional methods.
Another big sticking point concerns the afterlife. Early Mormon apostles gave talks asserting that human beings would become like gods and inherit their own planets language now regularly held up to ridicule by critics of Mormonism.
According to Mormon belief, the earth was created near a planet named Kolob . (Mormons believe that Kolub is the location of the physical throne of God) The "creation" of the planet Earth is said to have taken place over a period of 6000 years (six "days" in Kolob time), and then the planet was somehow moved to its present position in our solar system.
In addition to the literal interpretation of Kolob as an actual heavenly body, (astronomers currently have no knowledge of such a planetary body) the LDS Church has proposed that Kolob is also "a symbol of Jesus Christ", in that like Kolob, Jesus "governs" all the stars and planets similar to the earth.
"'Is Mormonism Christian?' is a very important question," writes Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. "The answer is equally important and simple. No. Mormonism is not Christian."
According to a new national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 51 percent of Americans think Mormons are Christians, 32 percent think they are not (this number jumps to 47 percent among white evangelical Protestants) and 17 percent don't know, or refuse to comment.
When compared with their own religion, 65 percent of Americans think "Mormonism is very different."
The reason can be found in the story of it's founder;
Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, whose predominant branch is Mormonism. In the winter of 1816-17, the young Smith moved with his family from Vermont to western New York, an area repeatedly swept by religious revivals during the Second Great Awakening. As was typical of their era, the Smiths believed in visions, prophecies, and folk magic, and Smith was hired as a scryer. (Scrying (also called crystal gazing, crystal seeing, seeing, or peeping) is a magic practice that involves seeing things psychically in a medium, usually for purposes of obtaining spiritual visions and less often for purposes of divination or fortune-telling.)
As the story goes, Smith was 14 when he was visited by an angel named Moroni who revealed the location of a buried book of golden plates as well as other artifacts, including a breastplate and a set of silver spectacles with lenses composed of seer stones, which had been hidden in a hill near his home. Smith said he attempted to remove the plates the next morning but was unsuccessful because the angel prevented him. During the next four years, Smith made annual visits to the hill, but each time returned without the plates. He claimed that in 1827 he retrieved the plates and placed them in a locked chest. He said the angel commanded him not to show the plates to anyone else but to publish their translation, reputed to be the religious record of indigenous Americans.
Smith showed various people a pillowcase in which he claimed to have concealed the plates, allowing some to touch or hold the bag, but he refused to allow anyone to view the contents.
According to Joseph
Smith, "These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold,
each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long, and not quite so thick
as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters, and
bound together in a volume as the leaves of a book, with three rings running
through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a
part of which was sealed".
William Smith, a brother of the Smith who had handled and hefted the plates in a pillow-case, claimed on several occasions that whatever was inside the bag, weighed about sixty pounds, as did Willard Chase, while Martin Harris said that they weighed forty to fifty pounds.
Smith later claimed he had hidden the pillowcase to better protect the plates. Smith's former associates in a treasure hunting venture had heard the tale of a rich treasure and were understandably annoyed by the perceived lack of sharing. They ransacked places where a competing treasure-seer said the plates were hidden. Smith said he eventually returned the plates to the angel Moroni, whereupon they were never seen again.
At the age of 24, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates as the Book of Mormon, and organized the Church of Christ as a restoration of the early Christian church. Church members were later called Latter Day Saints, Saints, or Mormons.
It was a matter of no little embarrassment to the church when it discovered that after a hundred and forty years of whispered accusations, saying that Joseph Smith was a con-man, proof eventually turned up.
Smith had been accused and found guilty of parting a local farmer from his money in a less than honest scheme, commonly known as 'money-digging' or 'glass-looking', and he had been removed from membership in a local Methodist church because of the activity and trial results.
The original documents attesting to same were found in the basement of the Chenango County, New York, jailhouse at Norwich, N.Y. in 1971. The records, affidavits, and other data proved conclusively that Joseph Smith had been arrested, had gone to trial, and had been found guilty as an imposter in the Stowell matter of "glass-looking."
Carved stone boxes and engraved tablets of gold or other precious metals are not unheard of in the field of archaeology. In 1851, for example, Mariano Eduardo de Rivero, director of Lima’s National Museum, and his associate, Juan Diego de Tschudi, wrote about two kinds of ancient Peruvian writing: “The one and surely the most ancient consisted of certain hieroglyphic characters (pictorial/symbol writing); the other of knots made with strings of various colors. The hieroglyphs, very different from the Mexican ones, were sculpted in stone or engraved in metal.”
There are no reports of angels named Moroni or planets named Kolob having been found, however.
The White Horse Prophecy :
Joseph Smith ran for president in 1844 as an independent commander in chief of an “army of God” advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government in favor of a Mormon-ruled theocracy.
Smith’s insertion of religion into politics and his call for a “theodemocracy where God and people hold the power to conduct the affairs of men in righteous matters” created a sensation and drew hostility from the outside world.
His candidacy, along with his plans to overthrow the U.S. government, were cut short when, at age 38, he was shot to death by an anti-Mormon vigilante mob, among whom were a number of agrieved husbands. (Eleven of Smith's 34 wives were married to other men at the time Smith claimed them for himself.)
Out of Smith’s national political ambitions, however, grew what would become known in Mormon circles as the “White Horse Prophecy” — a belief ingrained in Mormon culture and passed down through generations by church leaders.
Romney is the product of this culture.
“We were taught that America is the Promised Land,” former Nevada Gubernatorial candidate Michael Moody, and like Romney, a seventh generation Mormon, said in an interview.
”The Mormons are the Chosen People. And the time is now for a Mormon leader to usher in the second coming of Christ and install the political Kingdom of God in Washington, D.C.”
The fascinating story of
Joseph Smith can be viewed here:
The equally fascinating
story of the "golden plates" may be found here:
Examples of archeological
discoveries may be found here: