Question by high school student, Julia Carroll, on Mormon practice

Today’s Idaho Falls newspaper post in the Opinions page by Julia Carroll, a junior at Skyline High School – here are her musings:

America is a secular nation that resides in a secular world.  Though the country was founded on several different types of Christianity, for the most part, religion is not an all encompassing part of the life of a modern Christian.

However, this is often not the case for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

There has been heated political debate about Mormonism, specifically Republican Mitt Romney’s run for president.  Some Christians cry cult; Mormons cite the First Amendment.

Idaho, Utah and surrounding states are steeped in religious activity, mostly thanks to the LDS church.  For one who grew up here, it’s hard to imagine that on Sunday other places are just as busy as any other day of the week.  Because of our large Mormon population, we essentially live in a world apart from the rest of America.

The problem non-Mormons are wrestling with likely has little to do with the LDS religion itself, but rather the way it is practiced.  Mormons themselves insist their religion is an integral part of their everyday lives, and they seem to live up to those claims.  This sets Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman apart from many politicians, and probably is what leads to accusations of cultist behavior.  As a whole, Mormons are tight-knit and steadfast in their morals, for better or worse.

I don’t believe Mormons are “like everyone else,” the message the church is spreading across America.  If that were so, we would live in a very different kind of southeastern Idaho.  Yes, Mormons have regular jobs and lead their lives in the modern world, but in no other type of Christianity is religion so commonly and heavily enforced by a church and utilized by its members.

In no other religion is it commonplace for students to sacrifice an indispensable school credit to take a class that is essentially an hour of church every day.

In no other religion is it commonplace for adults to invite missionaries, whom they’ve never met before, to dinner.

These differences aren’t necessarily bad, but Mormons need to recognize that the non-Mormons of America may not be ready to accept that level of religious dedication.

No one should be banned from office because of religious beliefs, or lack thereof.  Votes will not only reflect, but also take care of any kind of serious opposition on such a scale.  No laws need be made, nor any mud slung.  Politics follow the times, and the times are more secular than religious.  What agrees with LDS doctrine may not always be the best thing for America.  The question gripping secular America by the throat is this:  Which would an LDS president choose? (emphasis mine)

3 comments

  1. The fear is, rightly or wrongly, that a Mormon President (especially a Republican Mormon President) would attempt to re-create the U.S. in the image and likeness of Zion.

    I am not a fan of Mitt, and I will not vote for him (nor any of the Republicans), but I think this concern is misplaced. Mitt is not Glen Beck.

  2. For those familiar with the LDS religion there are several points of concern – primarily and most reasonably – who will lead the US if Romney is president? If Romney is devout and believes that the President of the LDS church is the Prophet of God on Earth today, then will the Prophet determine anything about Romney’s presidential decisions? If so, is the LDS prophet really hearing from God? If not, then who is leading the US? This isn’t the same as a Christian praying for guidance and thinking he gets an answer and then deciding on whether to go with that answer. There’s something different about a physical leader on the other end of the phone who is connected more or less with everyone and everything you hold dearest. Even atheists would have issues with this as they would probably want a person taking a voice of their own mind as God then the voice of another man as God.

  3. Sure, Spart, but there are three Mormons prominent in U.S. politics today: Romney, Reid, and Huntsman. Each holds a distinct political position. Presumably, each sustains the LDS President as “Prophet, Seer, and Revelator”. As far as I know, none has been called on the carpet by the LDS hierarchy for their political stances.

    As I’ve said before, I would vote for Reid, but not for Romney. If the Democrat were really, really bad, I might consider voting for Huntsman. He is certainly the most qualified (and sane) of all the Republican candidates.

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