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Mitt Romney, the Mormon Question, and Presidential Elections

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Mitt Romney’s faith made headlines again at the Values Voters Summit in D.C., where Robert Jeffress, who is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, proclaimed last week, “Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person, or one who is a born-again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ?”

Jeffress, who introduced Governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry before his remarks to the group, was not just proclaiming his support for Perry but signaling evangelicals to not vote for a Mormon. If there was any doubt about this, Jeffress told reporters back stage that Mormonism is a cult and that followers of Christ should be supported over non-Christians. Understandably, Governor Perry quickly distanced himself from the comments. As a caveat, Jeffress declared he could support Romney over the current president, who is a professed Christian as well, for the simple fact that Romney’s values fall closer in line with Jeffress’s worldview.

I wrote on the topic of Romney’s Mormon faith almost four years ago during the last presidential campaign cycle. Rev. Robert Sirico weighed in on Romney’s speech as well. Jordan Ballor offered a lengthy analysis of the issue back in 2006 in “Hugh Hewitt and the Mormon Question.”

My post came the day before Romney gave a national address at the George Bush Library in College Station, Texas, on faith in America. The speech was a move on Romney’s part to assure evangelical voters that he was worthy of their support and confidence. The speech of course was widely compared to John F. Kennedy’s 1960 address in Houston, Texas, where he set out to placate any concern or fears about a Roman Catholic in the White House. Kennedy is the first and only Catholic to serve as the nation’s president.

In a preview post for the Spring 2011 issue of Religion & Liberty, we interviewed Wayne Grudem and asked him this: “You supported Governor Romney in the last presidential election. Do you think there is a credible argument for not supporting Romney, solely because of his Mormon faith?”

Yes, an argument can be made that it is a significant political liability. I don’t think I recognized how strong the suspicion of Mormonism was, and the anti-Mormon sentiment among some evangelical Christians. Mormon theology is, frankly, very different from evangelical Christian theology on what we believe about the Bible, about the nature of God, about who Jesus is, about the nature of the Trinity, about the nature of Salvation and the nature of the Church. Those are incredibly huge differences in doctrine. And while I can support a Mormon candidate for political office, and I am very happy to work with Mormon friends on political issues, I cannot cooperate with them on spiritual issues because our theology is so different.

I still think that Governor Romney is a highly qualified candidate, and an honorable and trustworthy and wise man, and if he wins the nomination, of course I will support him and vote for him.

And finally, if you are local to Grand Rapids, I will be discussing religion and presidential campaigns at Derby Station in East Grand Rapids on November 10. I thought it would be a good opportunity to address the modern history of religion and presidential campaigns as well as the issues at the forefront now. What would be better to jump start the discussion with a look back on Kennedy and the Catholic question in his successful bid for the White House. Find all the details of that event here and there is a Facebook event page as well.

Ray Nothstine is opinion editor of the the North State Journal in Raleigh, North Carolina. Previously, he was managing editor of Acton Institute's Religion & Liberty quarterly. In 2005 Ray graduated with a Master of Divinity (M.Div) degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science from The University of Mississippi in Oxford.


  • Thanks Ray! I appreciate the insight. 

  • Anonymous

    .~Mormonism Not Christian
    Mormonism [Church of Latter Day Saints] is not
    Christian is because it denies the doctrines
     of Christianity. Mormonism denies that there is only one God, Jesus is God in flesh,
    forgiveness of sins
    is by grace, Jesus rose from the dead physically.God, One of Many Gods, is An Exalted Man, Who is Married with Many WivesMormonism teaches that God is a an exalted man, that he used to be a
    man on another
     planet and he is only one of countless gods and that God is married and he brought one
     of his
    wives to this world and produces spirit children who then
    inhabit human bodies at birth.God Had Sex with Mary Mormons say God had sex with Mary and
    produced Jesus! According to Mormonism there
    was no virgin birth. “The Father came down from heaven…and begat the Savior of the World;
     for He is the Only Begotten of the Father which could not have been if the Father did not
     actually beget him in person…The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of
    our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood.” (Brigham
    Young, Journal Of Discourses, Vol. 1 page 238 and8:115) Man Can Become GodMormons believe that man can become God! “The
    Lord created you and me for the purpose
     of becoming Gods like Himself.” Brigham Young
    (Journal Of Discourses 3:93).Jesus Was A PolygamistThe reason people “persecuted Jesus Christ, was because he had so many wives; there were Elizabeth and Mary, and a host of others.” [Journal of Discourses, Vol 1. ppl 345-346] “The

     Scripture says the Lord, came walking in the Temple, with HIS TRAIN; I do not know who they
    were, unless his wives and children.” Brigham Young [Journal of Discourses,Vol.13.pg309]Jesus and Satan Are Spirit BrothersMormons believe
    that Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers. [Journal of Discourses, 93:21]
    Salvation through Joseph Smith
    “No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial
    kingdom of God
     without the consent of Joseph Smith…every man and
    woman must have the
    certificate of Joseph Smith.” [Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p.289-91]The Bible Is Not Infallible and Is Not Reliable Mormons teach that the Bible
    has many errors and is unreliable and was corrupted in
     translation and it is not infallible.They believe their Book of Mormon is God’s Word. It is
     “the most correct of any book on earth and the keystone of our religion.” Joseph SmithPolygamy Marriages in HeavenMormon’s believe that you can be married to many wives in Heaven.

    Baptism for the DeadMormon’s baptize people in water on behalf of dead people for the forgiveness of their sins.Mormon’s Holy UnderwearMormons
    have a Temple Ceremony where the person is given “Mormon
    Underwear” that is to protect
    them against the Evil One.Joseph Smith, Mormon Founder, Met Jesus In 1820 Mormon founder Joseph Smith
    was 14 years old and he said God the Father and
     Jesus met him outside of
    New York. Three years later he said an Angel named Moroni
     inspired him
    to write the Book of Mormon, which is “another Bible” and “new revelation” of

    Jesus Christ and it is about an ancient people who came from the middle
    east to the
     Americas. The Mormons follow 2 other books, Doctrine & Covenants & Pearl of Great Price.Joseph Smith Met John the BaptistIn 1829 Joseph Smith said John the Baptist appeared to him and ordained him.

    Christians Are All Wrong…Their Creeds Are An Abomination Joseph Smith said, Christians were “all wrong… all their
    creeds were an
    admonition.” Joseph Smith Greater Than Jesus Smith said, “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only
    man that has

     ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days
    of Adam…Neither Paul,

    Peter, nor Jesus ever did. I boast that no man ever did such a
    work as I”Joseph Smith:”I Am Impregnable…God is My Right Hand Man”Smith said, “The whole Earth shall bear me witness that I, like the towering rock in the

     midst of the ocean, am impregnable…I combat the errors
    of ages… I solve mathematical

    problems of universities, with truth, diamond truth; and God
    is my right hand man…

     you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves,”
     Brigham Young, Mormon’s 2nd Prophet, Creates New Scriptures Young said, “I
    have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out that they may not call

    Scripture. Let me have the privilege of
    correcting a sermon, and it is as good a scripture”Mormon PolygamyAfter 1852, when the Mormon Church was openly practicing
    polygamy, the leaders of the
    church were declaring that it was
    absolutely essential for exaltation. A
    revelation given by
    Joseph Smith, “Ten virgins given unto him [Solomon] by this law,
    he cannot commit
     adultery…therefore is he justified.” Joseph Smith A Polygamist…An Adulterer…and A Pedophile Joseph Smith had 33 wives! He married several who
    were married to other men.” Nancy
    Marinda Johnson married Joseph
    Smith while her husband, Orson Hyde, was on a
    mission to Jerusalem.” Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, the wife of Adam Lightner,
     said that Joseph claimed an “angel” came with a “drawn sword” and told him that if
     he did not enter into polygamy “he would
    slay him.” Joseph Smith’s youngest wife, Helen
    Mar Kimball, was 14 years old!!!!Joseph Smith Wife Damned If She Doesn’t Accept Polygamy  Joseph
    Smith prophesied his first and only legal wife Emma would be damned
    destroyed if she did not accept polygamy (Doctrine & Covenants 132).
    Brigham Young 55 Wives and 57 ChildrenBrigham Young, the 2nd Prophet of Mormonism had 55 wives and 57 children!!Must Commit Polygamy to Become Gods Brigham Young said, “The only men who become
    Gods, even the Sons of God, are
     those who enter into polygamy.” (Journal
    of Discourses, vol. 11,269)  “If you want to
     become a god one
    day you must violate the already given law of God now.
    “[Doctrine and Covenants132 Verses 62-63] Must Commit Polygamy or You Will Be Damned and Not Enter God’s Glory 

    “He that abideth not this law (polygamy)
    can in no
    wise enter into my glory, but
    shall be damned, saith the
    Lord.” (D&C,132:27). “Now if any of you deny the
     plurality of wives, I promise
    that you will be damned.” Brigham YoungMormonism is Not Christian”Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”[Jesus Christ,Mt.24:11]

  • Dodger2x

    Can A Catholic maintain his or her Catholic Faith and vote for a Mormon for president sucg as Romney whose faith believes the Catholic Church was founded by the devil? At the very least, Mit Romney needs to publicly denounce the Mormon founder’s belief.

    • Arnold

      I’m very interested to know if where did you get that idea, that  the mormons believe that the Catholic church was founded by the devil. You were not a mormon i supposed, and if you happen to be one you will know it is not true. The problem most of the time is that we easily believe in hearsay and gossip instead of finding out what is the truth.

  • Anonymous

    Jeffress is not not exactly “shrewd as a serpent and innocent as a dove”, is he ?

    From a media standpoint, he’s an idiot. Did he speak the truth ? in fact, he did not, given what 99% of people think of as a “cult” ? Would it be smart to used the word “niggardly” multiple times at a Tea Party group with a heavy attendance of black people ? Not at all, in fact, it would be stupid.

    Everything that daner said below is accurate, but did Jeffress use any of that info ? Even if he did, he shot himself in the foot with his approach, or his naivete in an “informal” session.

    And as Dr. Richard Land (I believe) said today you won’t hear ANYTHING about the truth of Mormonism. Well, at least not until Romney gets the nomination. All of a sudden, you’ll see documentaries telling the truth about Mormonism, from the ever-vigilant MSM !

  • Anonymous

    oh, oops, now Pastor Jeffress went on Bill Mahrer’s show, and high-five’d him !

    Jeffress’ NEW tagline is: “since I made those comments, it’s been the left [that] has been pretty kind to me. It’s been the conservatives who have been after me with a meat cleaver.”

    FAIL ! Hmmm, I wonder why the left has been kind to him. Sorry, he’s an idiot (I bring my blogging attitude here).

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Rev. Jeffress’ behavior demonstrates that all-too-many clergymen who get involved politically are on nothing but big ego trips and are looking for their 15 seconds of fame. Besides, why does Jeffress think “the left has been pretty kind” to him? Because the Left is run by bigots who refuse to “tolerate” conservative believers of any faith (unless, of course, they’re Muslim). If Jeffress doesn’t believe that, then he really *is* an idiot.