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.