Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Is Mormonism a problem?

In the Republican presidential primaries there are two candidates of Mormon faith. Towards the front of the pack is former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and languishing at the back, according to most polls, is former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. Religious brothers in arms! They also both contend that they have a better business record than the other. Oooohh! Claws…

A Mormon temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit to Tim Pearce, Los Gatos via Flickr on a CC license.

A recent Gallup poll showed that 20% of Republicans and 23% of Protestants would not support a Republican president. In spite of Mormonism being discussed more in mainstream culture with the hit Broadway play about the religion, by South Park’s Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the denomination is still considered by some Christian constituents as being a secretive and dangerous cult. The Yearning for Zion ranch scandal really didn’t help their cause.

It seems that Mormonism has an image problem with the religiously conservative portions of American society. Connotations include that of polygamy even though this practice was banned by Mormons – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - in 1890. You really should watch the South Park episode on Mormonism – hilarious!

In the 1960s a similar debate revolved around whether the country could elect a Catholic president. John F. Kennedy was successfully elected despite coming from the state established by strict Puritans. Hard-line or strict is probably a better descriptor considering their chronicled activities. I went on a themed walking tour of Boston last Summer, I would know!

Evangelical Christians reject the Book of Mormon and do not consider Mormons to be true Christians. In the 2007 GOP primaries self-identified evangelical candidate Mike Huckabee had to apologise to Romney for publically asking if Mormons believed Jesus Christ and Satan to be brothers. Like all Fox News pundits this man breathes well moderated thought.