The LDS Restorationist movement,
including Mormon denominations
Theological questions by an Atheist for
2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney
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
"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
by a Mormon filmmaker this year to demystify Romney's religion, has just
completed meetings with focus groups in Greenville and Columbia, SC, 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.
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
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
Below are some suggested questions which should be asked of Governor Romney,
both by Christian leaders and by journalists.
||According 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)
||According to your church's Articles of Faith, number eight, the Book of
Mormon is the "word of God." Do you believe that?
||According 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)
||According 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".)
||According 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)
||One 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?
||To 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?
||In the secret Mormon temple ceremony Mormons take an oath of obedience
to "the law of the Lord." Did you take that oath?
||Before 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?
||In 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
||Mormons 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?
||Although 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?
||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?)
||It 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.)
||Mormons 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?
||According 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?
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Richard Packham, "Meet RICHARD PACKHAM" at:
Scott Helman, "Romney consults evangelical leaders, The Boston Globe,
Richard Packham, "Questions for Mitt Romney" at:
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