Romney There No Help for the Millionaire's Son?...

steve benson Sep 2012

There are certainly a wide variety of factors at play in who ends up winning the presidential sweepstakes in just over 50 days (Many of those reasons are overtly and non-religiously political, so we won't address them in this forum, per Admin rules).

However, the Big and Legitimate Question here at RFM is:

Will Mitt's Mormonism end up doing him in?

As we ponder that inquiry, let's scan the horizon to see where Mitt currently sits in the eyes of the American electorate. It doesn't look too good for him at the moment--a reality that constitutes a quick and surprising turn of events, given Romney's earlier fortunes.

As this weekend edition of “USA Today” reports:

“A presidential race that has been neck-and-neck for months suddenly isn't.

"In the week after the political conventions ended, President Obama has opened the most significant, sustained lead in the daily Gallup Poll since Mitt Romney emerged as the Republican nominee last spring. . . .

“[E]ven some Republican political analysts warn that the former Massachusetts governor faces a political landscape that has become steeper as the campaign heads into the home stretch.

“The Gallup Poll showed Obama leading Romney 50%-44% Thursday among registered voters. A Fox News poll Wednesday also had Obama ahead, 48%-43%, among likely voters. . .

“ . . . Lawrence Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota [observed]: ' . . . Romney's own behavior gives further evidence and raises the question, “Is he ready?”'”

(“Obama's Lead Poses Test for Romney,” by Susan Page, “USA Today,” 14 September 2012, at:

Better yet, are Americans ready for a Mormon president?

The following precient warning from "Bloomberg News"--one that was raised back in the spring of this year--indicates that the nation's citizens may not be willing to elect a Mormon as their country's chief executive:

"Mitt Romney has a persisting Mormon problem. Less certain is whether this [was] limited to the Republican primaries or if it’s a general election worry, too.

“'[The primary] nomination would [earlier have been] in the bag if it weren’t for the Mormon factor,' sa[id] John Geer, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee who works on the intersection of religion and politics.

“The exit polls from a plethora of primaries confirm[ed] that. Mr. Romney, a deeply devout leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, g[ot] clobbered among white evangelicals and those who believe the religious views of a would-be president matter a great deal. This . . . caused him to lose a few primaries and denied him decisive wins in others.

“Sometimes this hostility is openly articulated. Last year, Robert Jeffress, an evangelical leader who is the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, called Mormonism a 'cult' and suggested that Mr. Romney’s faith wouldn’t get him to heaven. It’s expressed by some rank-and-file conservatives, too. Scott Thomas, a Catholic and Rick Santorum supporter in Broomall, Pennsylvania, wondered whether Mr. Romney, rather than President Barack Obama, 'is the Antichrist.'

“Usually this anti-Mormon bigotry is expressed more subtly, camouflaged by voicing doubts on other matters. Some pollsters say surveys don’t really capture the reservations, though they surface more in focus groups.

“In political circles there is division over how religion might play in the autumn campaign.

“Many Republicans believe that anti-Mormon voting is concentrated among Christian evangelicals and that the distaste for Mr. Obama, among these voters, will trump those feelings. . . . Mr. Jeffress, the anti-Mormon preacher, says that given this choice he would 'hold my nose and vote for Mr. Romney.' Former Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, a Republican, said: 'There are 25,000 Southern Baptist preachers that’ll vote for a Mormon before they vote for Obama.'”

But will they? Romney is currently losing steam in the polls with just a few weeks left in the national race. Could that fact be related, at least to some degree, to the fact that Mitt's a Mormon?

“ . . . [I}t isn’t just evangelicals who harbor reservations [about Romney]. In a national poll by 'Bloomberg News' . . . , a plurality of voters had an unfavorable view of the Mormon Church; they held positive attitudes about the Catholic Church by an almost 2-to-1 ratio. The negativity about Mormons was expressed by a plurality of important swing voters, political independents and married women with children.

“There’s also a question, the anti-Obama effect notwithstanding, of whether born-again Christians would enthusiastically rally behind Mr. Romney if he’s the nominee. Their reservations are clear. In a number of primaries, in the Midwest as well as the South, Mr. Santorum beat Mr. Romney by double digits among evangelicals, according to exit polls.

“More striking was the behavior of those who say a candidate’s religious beliefs matter a great deal. Mr. Romney, a man of demonstrable religious involvement, should appeal to these voters. Instead, he was trounced by Mr. Santorum among those who say religion matters a great deal: 52% to 21% in Ohio; 51% to 17% in Tennessee; and 47& to 16% in Alabama. In the primary . . . in Illinois, which Mr. Romney carried easily, he was pummeled again among these voters.

“The most plausible explanation is anti-Mormonism, which may transcend doctrinal and cultural attitudes. Southern Baptists and Mormons are competing for similar converts: 'There is a high cost associated with mainstreaming your competition,' says Brett Benson [a distnat relative of mine], a political science professor at Vanderbilt who works with Dr. Geer on these issues.

“There are three strains of political anti-Mormonism, says Dr. Benson, whose great-uncle, the late Ezra Taft Benson, was the head of the Mormon church: evangelicals [Note: That makes Dr. Benson a distant relative of mine]; political left-wingers who dislike the conservatism of members; and a middle group, not that well-informed, that considers the religion 'weird or strange.'

“On the campaign trail, Mr. Romney occasionally talks about faith and has mentioned his experiences in France in the late 1960s when he was a missionary; he never utters the word Mormon.

“Yet, his religion affects his campaign’s considerations and calculations. An example: Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a conservative Catholic, [was] on the short list to be Mr. Romney’s running mate. [The] . . . revelation that Mr. Rubio, as a child, attended a Mormon church with his parents unsettl [d] some Republican strategists, who worry that the tidbit would provide a feast for conspiracy buffs.

“There is debate within the party over whether Mr. Romney should directly address his religion. He gave a well-received speech four years ago that didn’t change anything.

“Dr. Benson cautions that Mr. Romney has a delicate balancing act. He could appeal to the middle group, uninformed about Mormonism, by stressing his Christian values. That would pose other difficulties.

“'If Romney says he’s a Christian, it drives evangelicals away,' Dr. Benson says.”

(“Romney and the Mormon Factor,” by Albert R. Hunt, “Bloomberg News,” 26 March 2012, at:

Edward Klein, former editor-in-chief for the "New York Times Magazine," reports that, according to his sources, Romney's Mormonism might be used against him by his political opponents in the fall campaign, given the nation's meeasurable discomfort with voting a Mormon into the Oval Office.

Klein reports that Obama political campagn strategists have "discussed what might be called the nuclear option: unleashing an attack on Romney’s Mormon faith via the mainstream media.

". . . [Obama chief campaign strategist David] Axelrod . . . [is] aware that Mormonism is a fraught subject among evangelical Christians, a substantial portion of whom believe that Mormonism is a cult that is separate and apart from Christianity. . . .

"Axelrod calculate[s] that if he could turn 5 to 10% of the evangelicals against Romney because of his Mormonism, he could deny Romney victory at the polls in 2012. . . .

"Axelrod recognize[s] that playing the Mormon card contain[s] several obvious dangers. For one thing, the Obama campaign was already embroiled in a bitter dispute with the Catholic Church over a health-insurance mandate for contraception. An attack on Mormonism would open the Obamaites to fresh charges of religious bigotry."

Klein further reports that Axelrod has been "convinced . . . that he ha[s] no choice but to go for the nuclear option and raise the issue of Romney’s Mormonism.

"In case you haven’t noticed," Klein notes, "the media has recently declared open season on Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith. Here are some of the most egregious examples:

"• 'GQ,' a men’s magazine of style and culture, printed a blistering piece about Romney’s Mormonism in its August issue. In one particularly repellent sentence, the writer noted that Mormon founder Joseph Smith, 'despite having some 40 wives, still endeavored to **** everything in sight.'

"• MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell went on one of his vein-popping tirades about Mormonism, charging that the religion was 'created by a guy in upstate New York in 1830 when he got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it.'

"• The 'New York Times Sunday Review' section ran an article titled 'Why Race Is Still a Problem for Mormons.' The caption accompanying the article said: 'Brigham Young, who established the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City and whose statue stands beside it, relegated blacks to second-class status in the Church.'

"• ABC'“World News Tonight' ran a two-part series on Romney’s Mormonism. . . . [W]ith two months remaining in the 2012 campaign, an ABC News reporter hammered home the theme that in the Church’s 'imposing temples, secret rituals are performed by all-male leaders.'

"• NBC . . . devoted a full one-hour episode of “'Rock Center with Brian Williams' to examining Romney’s Mormonism."

Klein then waxes conspiratorial in way that would make persecution-complex-encumbered Mormons proud:

"Is this sudden, strange and unaccountable focus on Mitt Romney’s Mormonism by the mainstream media just an odd coincidence? Or is the 'fine Italian hand' of David Axelrod behind the media onslaught?"

("Media Declares Open Season on Mitt Romney's Mormon Faith," by Edward Klein, 30 August 30, 2012, at:

In the end, it might not matter how much tithing Brother Romney has religiously paid to the Mormon God Elohim (payments which, he says, are justification on church-state-separation grounds for keeping his tax returns secret).

The horse might already be out of the barn (and it's not the White-Horse-Prophesy horse we're talking about); for those who wonder what that "prophesy" was all about, here's a description of it, courtesy of LDS Fruitcakes R Us):

"The 'White Horse Prophecy' refers to a prediction made by Joseph Smith Jr. . . . who was the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints . . . , and was reported to have said that a time would come when the U.S. Constitution would be hanging by a thread and a Church elder from Zion . . . will ride in on a metaphorical white horse and save it.

"The 'Encyclopedia of Mormonism' further states about the White Horse Prophecy:

“'LDS attachment to the Constitution has been further encouraged by an important oral tradition deriving from a statement attributed to Joseph Smith, according to which the Constitution would “hang by a thread” and be rescued, if at all, only with the help of the Saints.'

"Church President John Taylor seemed to go further when he prophesied, 'When the people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States the Elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of the earth and proclaiming liberty and equal rights to all men.'"

("2012 ‘White Horse Prophecy’ Warn[ing] Is Coming True In America," under "Articles--World Religions & 2012," at:

As highly-regarded author and historian Sally Denton, writing for "Salon" magazine, reports on Millennial Mitt and the High and Holy Horse he rode in on:

"Romney avoids mentioning it, but [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. Challenging Democrat James Polk and Whig Henry Clay, Smith prophesied that if the U.S. Congress did not accede to his demands that 'they shall be broken up as a government and God shall damn them.' Smith viewed capturing the presidency as part of the mission of the Church. He had predicted the emergence of 'the one Mighty and Strong'--a leader who would 'set in order the house of God'--and became the first of many prominent Mormon men to claim the mantle.

"Smith’s insertion of religion into politics and his call for a 'theo-democracy 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. But his candidacy was cut short when he was shot to death by an anti-Mormon vigilante mob.

"Out of Smith’s national political ambitions 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 that the day would come when the U.S. Constitution would 'hang like a thread as fine as a silk fiber' and the Mormon priesthood would save it. . . .

"Michael Moody says political success was an institutional value of the LDS church.

“'The instructions in my [patriarchal] blessing, which I believed came directly from Jesus, motivated me to seek a career in government and politics,' he wrote in [a] 2008 book. Moody recently said that he ran for governor of Nevada in 1982 because he felt he had been divinely directed to 'expand our kingdom' and help Romney 'lead the world into the Millennium.' Once a firm believer but now a Church critic, Moody was indoctrinated with the White Horse Prophecy. Like Romney, Moody is a seventh-generation Mormon, steeped in the same intellectual and theological milieu.

"In this scenario, Romney’s candidacy is part of the eternal plan and the candidate himself is fulfilling the destiny begun in what the church calls the “pre-existence.”

"Several prominent Mormons, including conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck, have alluded to this apocalyptic prophecy. The controversial myth is not an official Church doctrine, but it has also arisen in the national dialogue with the presidential candidacies of Mormons George Romney, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and now Mitt Romney.

“'I don’t think the White Horse Prophecy is fair to bring up at all,' Mitt Romney told the 'Salt Lake Tribune' when he was asked about it during his 2008 presidential bid. 'It’s been rejected by every church leader that has talked about it. It has nothing to do with anything.'

"Pundits and scholars, rabbis and bloggers, have repeatedly posed the question during Romney’s run: Is a candidate’s religion relevant? With a startling 50% increase of recently polled American voters claiming to know little or nothing about Mormonism, another 32% rejecting Mormonism as a Christian faith, a whopping 42% saying they would feel “somewhat or very uncomfortable” with a Mormon president, and a widespread sense that the religion is a cult, the issue is clearly more complicated than religious bigotry alone. Judging from poll results, Americans seem less prejudiced against a candidate’s faith than concerned about the unknown, apprehensive about any kind of fanaticism, and generally uneasy about a religion that is neither mainstream Judaic nor Christian.

"Just as the Christian fundamentalism of [some] former GOP candidates . . . informed their political ideology--and was therefore considered fair game in the national dialogue--so too does Mormonism define not only Mitt Romney’s character, but what kind of president he would be and what impulses would drive him in both domestic and foreign policy.

"Romney’s religion is not a sideline, but a crucial element in understanding the man, the mission and the candidacy. He is the quintessential Mormon who embodies all of the basic elements of the homegrown American religion that is among the fastest growing religions in the world. Like his father before him, Romney has charted a course from missionary to businessman, from Church bishop to politician--and to presidential candidate. The influence that Mormonism has had on him has dominated every step of the way.

"The seeds of Romney’s unique brand of conservatism, often regarded with intense suspicion by most non-Mormon conservatives, were sown in the secretive, acquisitive, patriarchal, authoritarian religious empire run by 'quorums' of men under an umbrella consortium called the General Authorities. A creed unlike any other in the United States, from its inception Mormonism encouraged material prosperity and abundance as a measure of holy worth, and its strict system of tithing 10% of individual wealth has made the Church one of the world’s richest institutions.

"A multibillion-dollar business empire that includes agribusiness, mining, insurance, electronic and print media, manufacturing, movie production, commercial real estate, defense contracting, retail stores and banking, the Mormon church has unprecedented economic and political power. Despite a solemn stricture against any act or tolerance of gambling, Mormons have been heavily invested and exceptionally influential in the Nevada gaming industry since the great expansion of modern Las Vegas in the 1950s.

"Valued for their unquestioning loyalty to authority as well as general sobriety--they are prohibited from imbibing in alcohol, tobacco or coffee--Mormons have long been recruited into top positions in government agencies and multi-national corporations. They are prominent in such institutions as the CIA, FBI and the national nuclear weapons laboratories, giving the Church a sphere of influence unlike any other American religion in the top echelons of government.

"Romney, like his father before him who voluntarily tithed an unparalleled 19% of his personal fortune, is among the Church’s wealthiest members. And like his father, grandfather and great-grandfathers before him, Mitt Romney was groomed for a prominent position in the Church, which he manifested first as a missionary, then as a bishop, and then as a stake president, becoming the highest-ranking Mormon leader in Boston — the equivalent of a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

"Called a 'militant millennial movement' by renowned Mormon historian David L. Bigler, Mormonism’s founding theology was based upon a literal takeover of the U.S. government. In light of the theology and divine prophecies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, unamended by the LDS hierarchy, it would seem that the office of the American presidency is the ultimate ecclesiastical position to which a Mormon leader might aspire. So it is not the LDS cosmology that is relevant to Romney’s candidacy, but whether devout 21stcentury Mormons like Romney believe that the American presidency is also a theological position.

"Since his first campaign in 2008, Romney has attempted to keep debate about his religion out of the political discourse. The issue is not whether there is a religious test for political office; the Constitution prohibits it. Instead, the question is whether, past all of the flip-flops on virtually every policy, he has an underlying religious conception of the presidency and the American government. At [a] GOP presidential debate in Florida, Romney professed that the Declaration of Independence is a theological document, not specific to the rebellious 13 colonies, but establishing a covenant 'between God and man.' Which would suggest that Mitt Romney views the American presidency as a theological office."

("Romney and the White Horse Prophecy: A Close Look at the Roots of Romney's--and the Mormon Church's--Political Ambitions," by Sally Denton, "Salon" magazine, 29 January 2012, at:


No wonder many Americans are shuddering at the prospect of a Latter-day Saint president running their country.

If recent polls are any indication, MoMitt may not end up riding to the rescue of Mormonism in these the latter days, after all.

Let the howls of persecution begin.

I don't think so.
Evangelicals already hate Mormonism. If anything, I think that hatred would diminish as the election approaches and evangelicals think of reasons to vote for him. I think the recent drop in the polls has to do with Romney's gaffes, misrepresentations and poor judgment, which I don't want to get into in the interest of not talking too much about politics. :)

Re: Are Mormon Mitt's LDS Chickens Finally Coming Home to Roost? Recent Polls Show He Has Abruptly &; Dramatically Slipped Into 2nd Place. Is There No Help for the Millionaire's Son?...
Arriving on a dancing white horse to save the constitution doesn't inspire the troops.

Old Timer
But it scares me, the lengths the church will go to, to get him elected...
Look what they did in California to force their beliefs on the country. Money is no object, and we all know there are no real ethics in the mormon church.

I wish the voters could find out that the church's primary goal is for the whole world to be baptized mormon. That should be a big turn off right there.

Debbie S
Re: Are Mormon Mitt's LDS Chickens Finally Coming Home to Roost? Recent Polls Show He Has Abruptly & Dramatically Slipped Into 2nd Place. Is There No Help for the Millionaire's Son?...
Well, Steve inside information is it is going to get much worst for Mitt. Some of Mitt's money backers don't want to get caught in an investigation, nor into a scandal.

I have very good and enlightening conversions with some people.

Michigan Victims spills beans on abuse and harassment -

Re: Are Mormon Mitt's LDS Chickens Finally Coming Home to Roost? Recent Polls Show He Has Abruptly & Dramatically Slipped Into 2nd Place. Is There No Help for the Millionaire's Son?...
The election will be a mandate for Mormonism. If he doesn't make it, the other sharks in the pool will smell blood.
Re: Are Mormon Mitt's LDS Chickens Finally Coming Home to Roost? Recent Polls Show He Has Abruptly & Dramatically Slipped Into 2nd Place. Is There No Help for the Millionaire's Son?...
Now you're talkin'. The Mormon moment will peak during the few months after the election.
Re: Are Mormon Mitt's LDS Chickens Finally Coming Home to Roost? Recent Polls Show He Has Abruptly & Dramatically Slipped Into 2nd Place. Is There No Help for the Millionaire's Son?...
I'm skeptical that Mormonism will be a huge factor in the general election.

I think the right care more about religion than the left. I am still astounded that Romney won the primaries because of this.

Certainly some percentage of voters will not vote for Romney because of Mormonism. My guess is it will be a much smaller percentage than in the primaries. If everything else is close enough Mormonism could be the decided factor (the straw that broke the camels back so to say), but I don't buy that it is a major factor on the general election.

steve benson
There's an alive-and-well subtext at play: MItt's Mormonism . . .
The polls show it and the decidedly less-than-enthusiastic support from Romney's supposedly loyal base show it.

Americans are uneasy with Mormonism, plain and simple.

It doesn't help Romney's case that not only is he a Mormon, but that he's an aloof, mechanical, out-of-touch, notoriously inconsistent and regularly untrustworthy robot who's a Mormon.

The worst of all worlds--unless you're from Kolob.

Re: Are Mormon Mitt's LDS Chickens Finally Coming Home to Roost? Recent Polls Show He Has Abruptly & Dramatically Slipped Into 2nd Place. Is There No Help for the Millionaire's Son?...
No, his Mo-sim won't get him. Acting like a MORON will, I hope.

"Recovery from Mormonism -"