Thursday, October 27, 2011

Does it matter if a presidential candidate is a Mormon?

Ok, I don't like to discuss political issues as a rule, but the media's rhetoric and Joel Osteen's obvious confusion on Mormonism are driving me insane.  So here's my unasked-for opinion on the subject.  It will be at least worth what you paid for it.

Let me start by stating the patently obvious:
  • I'd vote for a crumpled-up Coke can before I'd vote for Obama.  He has done more during his shot tenure to destroy this nation than all his predecessors put together.  He has a blatant and stated disregard for the Constitution, couldn't even take his presidential oath correctly on the first try, and has refused to enforce laws passed by Congress while enforcing illegal regulations created by his bureaucracy. 
  • I don't think the Republicans need another fiscal and social liberal and every indication in Romney's past shows he is exactly that.  In fact, he came up with Obamacare before Obama did.  Once upon a time I used to send a small donation to the Republican party each election.  I quit doing that when the best the Republican party could come up with was John McCain.  Had they come up with a more conservative candidate (like Bob McKewen -- even if he was on a ticket with Mike Huckabee), then they might still be getting a check from me.  So Republican National Committee -- if you're listening and are willing to admit you have more influence in who becomes our candidate than you are presently willing to admit -- then give us a true fiscal and social conservative.  (Most people say Ron Paul is whacked out on foreign policy.  I'm not smart enough to make that determination, but it is clear he understands fiscal policy and the monetary supply better than the other candidates.)
  • I haven't made up my mind who I will vote for in the primaries.  Herman Cain at least has a plan.  Ron Paul probably doesn't have a chance but he makes sense.  I've met Governor Perry and I believe him to be changing and growing as a sincere Christian.  But I do have trouble getting over the fact that before he was a Republican, he supported Al Gore.  And I also don't like the fact he looks so much better in a suit than I do....  {Attention:  Mike Hucakbee and Bob McKewen -- where are you?  Bob, you are the clearest communicator in the Republican party since Reagan.  Why can't we have someone like you?}
Having said that, let's turn our issue to the question of Romney's Mormonism.  Does it matter?

Are Mormons Christians?

First of all, there seems to be confusion as to whether Mormons are Christians.  So let's settle that.

The four anchors of the Christian faith are these:
  • Jesus is God-incarnate, born of a virgin.
  • Jesus lived a sinless life.
  • Jesus died a substitutionary death whereby His death pays the penalty for the sins of those who receive Him as Savior.  Salvation cannot be earned -- only accepted and received.
  • Jesus did not remain in the grave but rose again the third day.
Mormonism fails at least two of the anchor tests.  Mormons believe that Jesus is an incarnate angel, not incarnate God.  Mormons believe that you must work (keeping the "word of wisdom" -- not drinking alcohol, tea, or coffee is one part of this), serve the Mormon church, and undergo certain ceremonies (complete with secret handshakes) in order to eventually progress to become your own god.  Brigham Young articulated this with, "As man is, God once was.  As God is, man will become."  Christianity does not believe that men are or will become gods.  Christianity does not believe that men are or will become angels.  God alone is God.  God alone will be God.  Angels are beings created by God.  But they cannot experience salvation.  They are sent to minister to men.

Is Mormonism a cult?

People aren't sure what a cult is.  The occult is that which is associated with witchcraft, Satanism, necromancy, ghosts, ghouls, demons (kind of what people celebrate Halloween about).  A cult, however, is something that associates itself with Christianity in name but departs from the major Christian tenets.  There are four tests for a cult
  1. Mormons ADD to the Word of God.  Mormons add 5 books of their own to Scripture and say that these 5 books are all superior to the Bible.
  2. Mormons SUBTRACT from the deity of Christ.  In spite of Romney's assertion that he believes Jesus is the Son of God, Mormons do not believe this.  Mormon doctrine teaches that Jesus is an incarnate angel -- not God.
  3. Mormons MULTIPLY salvation requirements.  Salvation comes by confessing our sins, admitting our need of a Savior, asking Christ to forgive us of our sins and be our Lord and Savior.  That simple.  Mormons want to add rituals and rule-keeping so that one day they can become gods just like God and go out in the vast cosmos somewhere and run their own planet.  (They also believe that babies are born whenever God has sex with some member of his celestial harem.)
  4. Mormons DIVIDE the body of Christ.  Several years ago the Mormon church sent a large number of their "evangelists" to the Dallas / Fort Worth area.  These are the guys riding bikes with "Elder" so-and-so on their name tag wearing dark pants and a white shirt.  They are highly trained to control the conversation.  Their target?  Baptists.  They targeted Baptists to convert and bragged later that they converted enough Baptists in DFW each day to fill one average Baptist church.  They made a deliberate effort to divide the body of Christ rather than seeking out lost souls who have never heard of Jesus.
So Mormons deny the tenets of biblical Christianity but meet the tests for a cult.  (You can find more of what they believe by clicking here.)  Given those facts, Mormons may associate with Christians, but they are not Christians.  They have their own unique religion and need to be honest about this.

So does it matter that Romney is a Mormon?

Frankly, I wish every man or woman that will ever occupy the oval office would love God and choose to obey Him and to seek His wisdom.  That has not always been the case nor will it be.  Obama claims to be a Christian but has also admitted to being a Muslim on one occasion.  He courts Christians but seems to follow many of the tenets of Islam.  Only history can decide what Obama really was. 

And people can always change while in office.  They can have a conversion experience while President. 

We have been taught that we live in a secular society and that politics and faith should not mix.  However our founding fathers started 54 Bible societies.  And Thomas Jefferson -- pointed to as a deist who helped to establish the separation of church and state (a misinterpretation of his answer to a specific question) -- used to teach Sunday school in the U.S. Capitol building.  One of the first appropriations of Congress was to print Bibles.  The Capitol Rotunda has paintings -- one of which includes a Christian baptism.  Faith and politics were intended from the start to work together.  However, the State (Federal government) was not to establish a particular denomination as the official church.

Romney certainly has the right to run for President.  We should defend his right to do so.

However, I have the right to not vote for him.  And my choice could be based on religious reasons.  Here's a few things about Mormonism that concern me:
  • Mormons teach that if they live a good enough life, they can one day become gods and rule planets of their own.  I've had a number of Mormon friends through the years, but they all suffered from arrogance.  I guess believing you'll rule your own planet some day makes you a bit hard to live with here on Earth.  A good President needs humility -- not arrogance. (We are seeing the latter now.)
  • Mormons don't subject their faith to any kind of logical scrutiny.  They just take it all on faith.  Some examples:
    • The Book of Mormon contains the book of Ether. This book describes the exodus of a group from the valley of Nimrod. These people left because they did not agree with the construction of the Tower of Babel. They made ships out of large trees and put holes in the top and bottom of the vessel (the hole in the bottom of the vessel was to let air into the boat in the event it turned upside-down -- a design which any shipmaker can tell you is doomed to instant failure).   This book also says God told them not to put glass in the side of the boats or it would break.  But glass wasn't invented until the 14th century B.C. by the Phoenicians.
    • Until 1958, the Mormon church taught there were a race of 9-foot-tall people who lived on the moon and dressed like Quakers.
    • The Mormon church denies polygamy but it is still taught in their Doctrine and Covenants. 
    • Mormons believe Joseph Smith translated Reformed Egyptian tablets (a language for which there is no evidence) by using the Urim and Thummim from the priestly ephod of Aaron which he had found.  But his wife later testified that Joseph Smith spoke the words of the Book of Mormon while looking through a single "peep stone" he often carried.
Since I did much of my graduate work looking at Mormons and their doctrine, I could give you many more examples.  But let me just sum it up this way.  If a man is a member of a cult that believed until 1958 that 9-foot-tall beings lived on the moon and dressed like Quakers, do you think that he possibly lacks judgment or discernment?  If Romney hasn't used good discernment in this area of his life, what will HE do when he hears rumors of weapons of mass destruction?  What will he do when the U.S. is threatened militarily. 

Just about anyone is going to be a better President than Obama (whose constitutional qualifications are still in doubt).  But I want a President who shows evidence of wisdom and discernment.  I would also like it if this man were a man of faith who knows what it means to be redeemed by Jesus Christ.  I want a man who will be both a fiscal and social conservative.  In my opinion, Romney fails one or more of these tests.  I support his right to run for President.  But I'm not enthused about him being my alternative choice to Obama.

As I said, I do not yet know for whom I will vote in the primaries.  But I am praying that God will raise up at least one person of real integrity for the election for whom I can vote.  I hope you are doing the same.

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