My first experience with the Mormons was on the Queen Elizabeth on which I as a teen exchange student and a group of young Mormon missionaries were traveling from NYC to Britain. They were nice people and we socialized occasionally on our nearly week long trip across the Atlantic. My impression was positive.
A decade or so later a family close to us was converted suddenly by the Mormons. I became, thus, aware of the details of Mormonism that were not always entirely obvious to the outsider. To list some of them:
1) The Mormons at that time excluded African Americans from their church or at least its inner circles. The Mormon obsession with genealogy was apparently focused on excluding any suspect individuals who might have had African American ancestors. Later at some date the Mormons dropped this racist exclusion.
2) The Mormons believe that only Mormons in good standing can achieve salvation in the after life. Thus, Mormons have an obligation to rescue their relatives — even baptizing them into their church after death. We spent about the next ten years with Mormon visitors trying to convert us. As the last batch departed, I heard one of them say over our intercom, “we had better tell X that there is no hope with this one.”
3) The Mormon church, as the Catholic one, is dominated by its head — ordinarily someone quite advanced in age — who determines what is right and wrong for Mormons to believe and do.
4) Women are denigrated by the Mormons and expected to have as many children as possible. I have been saddened to see young Mormons with great intellectual abilities condemned to husband service.
5) The Mormons are not just another Protestant Church. The Book of Mormon, which may have been constructed out of a penny dreadful early 19th century novel, insists on a Mormon way that distinguishes Mormons from all other Christians who are damned and who will go to Hell unless they are converted to the true Mormon faith.
6) The Mormons are obliged to tithe (give 10% of their earnings to their church for Mormon charitable and other uses). Thus, Mormons tend to reject state aid programs that benefit others.
Bottom Line: I would feel distinctly uncomfortable having a Mormon President of the U.S. The Church of Latter Day Saints is a bit too close to a cult for my sense of well-being. Only the Mormon G-d could know what a Mormon Commander-in-Chief would determine to be the right things for our massive American military forces to do. The flip flops of the current Mormon candidate for the Republican presidential designation are disconcerting to follow. I would expect at the very least to see threats of regressive and repressive practices — particularly directed towards women and those suffering from poverty and disabilities.
“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)
Ed Kent 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]