Worried about the possibility of a Romney presidency, evangelical writer Warren Smith recently labeled Mormonism “a false and dangerous religion.” He is worried, among other things, that Mormons do not affirm the Trinity as described in the Nicene Creed. I can’t help but wonder how many past presidents would have been disqualified on this ground. Deists such as Thomas Jefferson flatly and openly rejected the Creed, and I would bet that many subsequent presidents knew little of the Creed, let alone affirm it with conviction. Apparently, also, the many Christians who lived before the first creed was formulated in 325 AD were dangerous as well?
But Warren Smith is not the only one to make such observations. When Damon Linker, a respected thinker on religious matters, did a two year stint as a visiting professor at Brigham Young University, he wondered if his students would kill wantonly if their prophet asked them to do so. One must admire his courage for lingering on campus another minute, lest the command should come while he was in the belly of the beast. Undaunted by the threat, however, Linker courageously warned the world in The New Republic that a Romney presidency would be controlled by Salt Lake City.
And in his book Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer labeled Mormonism a “violent faith.” And why shouldn’t he draw such a conclusion? You must understand, Krakauer breathlessly explains in over 400 pages, a Mormon committed a heinous murder once! Don’t let the extremely low rate of violent crime in Mormon communities deceive you. That, too, is part of the deception.
But never mind the details. We’ve been labeled dangerous, and while fellow Mormons might be offended, I want to enjoy the label. For in reality, the life of a Mormon family man contains few moments of danger, let alone the opportunity to actually be dangerous. So being considered a threat great enough to challenge American democracy is a fun break from the humdrum of work and family. I like to imagine the scenarios.
The first is that I get tired of pretending to being a well rounded, contributing member of American society. Beware, America. Lock your doors, cling to your guns and Bibles, for this Mormon is on the loose. Just as soon as I say family prayers, help put the kids to bed, and take out the trash, I’m going to going to commence my ambitions of undermining American civilization by installing a theocratic state wherein everyone will be forced to drive minivans, fill them with babies, and spend three hours in church weekly.
Or perhaps I could be a “sleeper cell” Mormon terrorist, living the life of a well adjusted, assimilated American (The rosy cheeked children! The American flag in the yard!). All the while I wait for the time to come when we will implement our plans for world domination. When the secret word is announced (learned in the temple, no doubt) I will turn into a mindless automaton, ready to blindly and obediently carry out the sinister plans of the Prophet. At which time I will cast off my sheep’s clothing and become the prowling wolf I have been trained to be, ready to take revenge on all those who nearly exposed who I really was all this time I was growing pumpkins in my back yard and changing diapers.
But alas, it is all a dream. If only Mormonism were as dangerous as Christianity has historically been, my life would be more exciting. Instead, I must deal with the day-in-day-out routine of attempting (often unsuccessfully) to live Christ’s teachings and preparing Sunday school lessons that will keep my fellow religious fanatics from falling asleep in their chairs.
P.S. I don’t mean to drop into FPR from nowhere, but I did a guest stint here a while back, and my buddy Chris H invited me to post this here in addition to my own obscure and neglected blog.
15 Replies to “Reflections on Being a Dangerous Mormon”
We would have achieved our goal of world domination already if we didn’t have so much competition from the Jews, the gays, Opus Dei, Dr. Evil, etc. But now that we have Romney positioned to become POTUS, our goal is in reach! Bwahahaha!
Speaking of Presidents who would have rejected the creed, William Howard Taft was a Unitarian. He rejected the Trinity and the divinity of Christ.
But, Chris H., Taft made up for his religious failings by being extremely fat.
Mark: That must explain why I, just like Taft, weigh 350 pounds.
I love this, and I want to know if you have the updates to your Protocols of the Elders of Deseret yet?
You remind me of something I read in a Brigham Young document (something that I kick myself for not having immediately transcribed. I’ve looked for it again for a couple of years and haven’t been able to find it.) Reacting to yet another of those stupid rumors that the Mormons were going to abandon Utah, Brigham Young announced that yes, that was true. But this time we weren’t going to leave our improvements behind to be enjoyed by the people who drove us out. Standing there at the podium, he assigned one quorum to roll up the roads and carry them with us; another was in charge of packing the wheat fields; a third was told to box the irrigation ditches for transport.
Taking these stupid, stupid accusations of our critics and treating them as authentic is the best way to highlight how absurd they are.
Ardis, thank you. It actually occurred to me that excerpts of this could be taken and quoted among evangelical conspiracy types, which would be delightful, of course.
Fun tidbit on Brigham Young.
Sheldon, the only thing that would help the conspiracists more is if you announced you had uploaded this while you were sitting in the lobby of the Church Office Building. Then the conspiracy types could say they had this information by intercepting a broadcast from Mormon Headquarters.
FWIW, and expect not much, I would vote for a Mormon before I would vote for an Evangelical, especially the nutcases running the Republican Party, if only you could produce one that isn’t a shape shifting, phony elitist. I’m still looking at Huntsman, but he does approve of some shade of equality for homosexuals. Dangerous indeed.
and I expect not much typo
Exmoho, Romney’s computer chip has been acting up lately. We’ve just about worked out most of the bugs, but his personality programming still needs work. He’s still coming across as phony and socially awkward. Our programmers are working night and day to get Romney 2.0 ready for the primaries. Huntsman is another story. He has been hacked, probably by the Chinese, and will likely need a complete rebuild. The new version will acceptably homophobic.
Romney’s chip aside, please leave his hair alone. I can say with an unblemished record of homosexuality that it is fabulous. Although seriously, I feel kind of bad for Romney. The guy looks miserable, like he’s doing this because he has to. I don’t blame him for feeling morose….he will be undone not by the wicked Democrats and homosexuals, but by the Party he wants to represent. Romney would be much better off with Democrats. We don’t mind Harry Reid at all, even if he is boring and ineffectual.
Great stuff Sheldon. I agree with you and the same thoughts occurred to me when Martha Beck was making a fuss claiming that she was in fear of Danites causing her harm six or seven years ago. I wondered how one got in on the gig to be a Danite. Despite growing up in the Church and spending years in centers of Church activity (BYU, SLC, etc.), I had never seen or heard of people being called to be Danites.
ExMo: Romney will come across stiff and socially awkward until the primaries are done. If by a miracle he survives the primaries, you will see an engaging, interested and interesting leader emerge who is no longer trying to please a demographic that literally wishes he didn’t exist (fundamentalist Evangelical Christians who control the Republican primaries in key constituencies). He will be able to unveil the basically moderate technocrat who wants to apply his expertise to fixing financial and management problems first and foremost, and in a collegiate environment. At least that is what I’ve heard of his style as a CEO-type in the corporate world.
John, I didn’t know that about Beck, but that speaks volumes about the merit of her other claims. It’s another fun image, though: “Bro. Lawrence has been called to be a Danite. All those who can sustain him in his duties to take vengeance upon the enemies of the Church, please indicate by the uplifted hand. Thank you. He will be set apart and armed after sacrament meeting.”
Regarding Romney, I hope you are right, for his sake. The “cool” factor has, in my opinion, determined many elections in the past few decades (the guy you can imagine having a barbeque with.) Obama is still cooler than Romney, so unless Mitt can loosen up, I don’t think it will go well for him.
I love the idea of rolling up the orads to pack them…thanks Ardis.
I also really appreciate this: Just as soon as I say family prayers, help put the kids to bed, and take out the trash, I’m going to going to commence my ambitions of undermining American civilization
funny stuff.It’s amazing how fairly sensible people who actually know and like mormons are sometimes persuaded that in some sort of mob rule, the Mormons they know and like would change into crazies if an invisible whistle signal was sent from the temple.
Actually Britt, I thought the job of undermining American civilization was my job, since I say family prayers, help put the kids to bed and take out the trash, only with another man instead of a woman. As far as Mormons turning into crazies, the only one that bothers me is Glenn Beck–I am far more afraid of the Evangelicals who aren’t waiting for a whistle to make them crazy. I wouldn’t not vote for a Mormon simply because they are Mormon, I wouldn’t vote for Romney because I think he is an phony, dishonest elitist.