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The LDS Restorationist movement,
including Mormon denominations

Theological questions by an Atheist for
2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney

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About Richard Packham and Governor Mitt Romney:

Richard Packham is a retired college teacher and lawyer, an ex-Mormon, and is currently an Atheist. 1 He notes that Mitt Romney, the Republican Governor of Massachusetts and a member of the LDS Church, has been considering running for the presidency in 2008.

According to the Boston Globe, Romney met about a dozen Baptist pastors in Columbia SC on 2006-OCT-13. He also met about a dozen Evangelical Christian leaders, including "... Gary Bauer, president of the group American Values, and Richard Land, a prominent leader in the Southern Baptist Convention" on 2006-OCT-26. He was scheduled to meet with more Christian leaders on NOV-02. The Globe also notes that:

"A pro-Romney political organization with no connection to his campaign operation has been educating people in South Carolina, a state with a key early presidential primary, about the Mormon faith to break down negative stereotypes. A well-known West Coast radio host has a new book coming out next year about Romney and his religion. And the Mormon Church leadership is reaching out to news organizations to explain Mormon beliefs and practices."

"Meanwhile, a political organization with a web site called RunMittRun.org, created by a Mormon filmmaker this year to demystify Romney's religion, has just completed meetings with focus groups in Greenville and Columbia, S.C., to gauge the governor's political viability. The results were sobering: Misunderstanding and suspicion about the religion abound, Mitch Davis, the founder of RunMittRun.org, reported in an Oct. 21 e-mail update to supporters."

" 'Left unaddressed, the distortions of Mormonism would cause an insurmountable number of voters to vote against Mitt for president in South Carolina,' Davis wrote."

"But the focus groups also indicated that South Carolinians could be swayed. Fifty percent of the participants said before the focus groups began that they could not vote for a Mormon, but 80 percent of those participants said afterward that they had changed their mind , according to Davis." 2

Packham has presented some questions on his web site that Christian leaders might ask Romney about his religious faith. 3 We have duplicated Packham's letter below. His references to the "Mormon Church" apparently refer to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is the largest by far of all of the Mormon denominations and is centered in Salt Lake City, UT.

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Questions for Mitt Romney:

News reports say that Governor Romney. looking ahead to the possibility of presenting himself as a candidate for the U.S. presidency in 2008, is meeting privately with Christian leaders to allay their concerns about the fact that he is a Mormon. 2 These leaders apparently are concentrating on areas such as Romney's view of gay marriage, abortion, and whether Romney is really a Christian. Undoubtedly Romney's answers in those areas will satisfy most of these Christian leaders.

However, not knowing much about Mormon doctrine and practices, most Christians are unaware of some of the areas in which the idea of a Mormon as president would raise serious doubts in their minds. They simply don't know what to ask the governor.

Below are some suggested questions which should be asked of Governor Romney, both by Christian leaders and by journalists.

bulletAccording to Mormon scripture, the founder of your church (Joseph Smith) was told by God in 1820 that all the churches of the day were "an abomination." Do you agree with God's view of other churches, as quoted by Joseph Smith? (Pearl of Great Price, JS-Hist 1:18-19)

bulletAccording to your church's Articles of Faith, number eight, the Book of Mormon is the "word of God." Do you believe that?

bulletAccording to the Book of Mormon there are only two churches: the "church of the Lamb of God [presumably the Mormon church]" and the "church of the devil," "the whore of all the earth." Do you agree with that Mormon scripture? (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10)

bulletAccording to the Book of Mormon a dark skin is a curse imposed by God on the unrighteous and their descendants as a punishment for sin. Do you agree with that doctrine? (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 12:22-23, Alma 3:6, 2 Nephi 5:21-22, Jacob 3:8, 3 Nephi 2:15-16, Mormon 5:15; references to the "Lamanites" are taken to be referring to Native American "Indians".)

bulletAccording to Mormon doctrine, the president of the Mormon church is a prophet of God, receiving revelations and commandments (God's laws) directly from God. Do you believe that? (Doctrine and Covenants , 21:5, 43:3, 58:18)

bulletOne of the most sacred rituals for adult Mormons, performed only in a Mormon temple, is a ceremony called "the endowment." Have you undergone this ritual? If so, in what year?

bulletTo be admitted to the temple for the endowment ceremony a Mormon must be "in good standing" in the church and undergo a personal interview with church leaders, who examine the member as to whether the member obeys church commandments, supports church leaders, pays full ten percent tithe, wears the prescribed Mormon underwear, abstains from coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco and extramarital sex, and other matters. If the member answers correctly, a pass to the temples (called a "temple recommend") is issued, good for two years. Do you have such a temple recommend now, indicating that you are in good standing in your church?

bulletIn the secret Mormon temple ceremony Mormons take an oath of obedience to "the law of the Lord." Did you take that oath?

bulletBefore 1990, the endowment ceremony required members to take an oath of secrecy not to reveal anything that happened in the temple under penalty of death. Did you take that oath?

bulletIn the temple ceremony Mormons also take a secret oath to "consecrate your time, talents and everything which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints..." Did you take that oath? Would you consider the office of the presidency of the U.S. to be a "blessing" with which the Lord had blessed you?

bulletMormons teach that by obedience to all the commandments of Mormonism, a Mormon may attain the highest degree of heaven and ultimately become a god, creating and ruling over his own universe. Do you believe that? Is this your ultimate personal goal?

bulletAlthough your church presently condemns the practice of polygamy, the scripture commanding it is still in the Mormon Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132. Many early Mormons were polygamous and married ("sealed") to numerous wives "for eternity." Do you believe then that there will be polygamous families in Mormon heaven?

bullet The extensive interest of Mormons in genealogical research is to enable them to perform "baptisms for the dead," thus posthumously inducting previous generations into the Mormon church. Many non-Mormons become angry when they learn that the names of their ancestors -- having often been faithful members of some other religion during life -- have been used in this way. often without permission of the living descendants. The posthumous baptism of many Holocaust victims caused considerable anger among Jewish groups, and your church agreed to stop the practice as to them (but admitted that it was unable to do so). Do you feel that such anger is justified? (Would you feel anger if some voodoo cult was using your deceased grandparents' names in some voodoo ritual, and then announcing to all the world that they were now voodoo worshippers?)

bulletIt is well documented that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, secretly had many wives. Some of those women were at the same time married to other men, some were as young as fifteen, He claimed that he was commanded by God to enter into these marriages. Do feel that these early marital practices of the church founder were really commanded by God? (See the book "In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith" by Mormon historian Todd Compton for detailed biographies of these wives.)

bulletMormons believe that when Christ returns to earth, a millennium of peace will begin under Christ's rule (Article of Faith number ten), presumably as a single theocracy. Most Mormons believe that during that time, Mormons will be Christ's appointed officers and that the law will conform to Mormon teachings. Do you believe that?

bulletAccording to Mormon scripture (Doctrine and Covenants 135:3) Joseph Smith did more than any other man except Jesus Christ "for the salvation of men in this world." Do you agree with that, keeping in mind the contributions of men like the Apostles, Saint Paul, Thomas Aquinas, Saint Augustine, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, and others?

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Richard Packham, "Meet RICHARD PACKHAM" at: http://home.teleport.com/~packham/
  2. Scott Helman, "Romney consults evangelical leaders, The Boston Globe, 2006-NOV-02, at: http://www.boston.com/
  3. Richard Packham, "Questions for Mitt Romney" at: http://home.teleport.com/

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Site navigation:

 Home page > Christianity > Christian faith groups > LDS Restorationist > here

or Home page > Christianity > Denominational families > LDS Restorationist > here

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Richard Packham states on his web site: This material is not copyrighted in the hope that it will receive wide distribution in any form. 2
Posted to this web site on 2006-NOV-07
Latest update: 2007-JUN-03
Author: Richard Packham

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