Mitt Romney defended his Mormon faith rather well at last night’s gathering of the ten declared Republican candidates for president last night. He was forthright, did not evade the question, and should be respected for the apparent strength of his belief.
But here’s where this Christian has to stop and specify: I respect Gov. Romney’s strength of belief; I do not agree with or respect his actual belief. I find the Mormon faith to be interesting, and Mormons to be good people. But Mormonism is not Christian. It isn’t even clear that it is a monotheistic faith, and there appear to be strong elements of idolatry.
A fairness doctrine kicks in here: so, too, have many Protestants described Roman Catholics (“cult”, idolators), and Jews, Muslims, and nonbelievers of all stripes find our theology of the incarnation of Jesus to be strange if not outright idolatrous. But we have the advantage of having truth on our side…(can’t find the HTML code for “grin”, so, just imagine it to be here…)
We should all tend to that proverbial beam in our eye before we seek to remove the mote from the eyes of Latter Day Saints. In different words, what I would ask is good old American tolerance: to not insist those who believe differently from us to change or renounce their heartfelt belief to gain public office.
In other words, I would vote for Mitt Romney if he is the Republican nominee. Although my preference is Rudy Giuliani, Romney is still head and shoulders above any Democrat now in the race.
What would it take for me to make a candidate’s religion a true stumbling block? If a candidate was a believer in a faith whose theology requires the rest of us to convert, or otherwise submit and accept second- or worse class citizenship.
Right now, only Islam among the major faiths comes to mind. Mormons are persistent evangelists, but aren’t known for attempting to convert us all at the point of a sword.
[addendum Beliefnet has a comparison between the major elements of Christianity and Mormonism. This is sufficient for me; Mormonism is not a Christian faith to my mind.
Along these lines (departure from Christian belief), Mormons also believe that it wasn’t our free will that got us kicked out of the Garden of Eden, rather, it was God’s plan from the beginning. And, as a consequence, mankind is not totally depraved, but, rather, according to this summary at Beliefnet,
The Fall was a planned blessing from God, enabling people to experience human bodies, procreate, experience the joy of redemption, and to do good…
This is interesting; “a planned blessing.” As for that doing good, well, based on the results to date, I’d vote for “totally depraved” as a more accurate description of our species.]