A debate has arisen over Mitt Romney’s religion – he is a Mormon. For some the word “Mormon” strikes fear in their hearts, and, as a result of those fears, a discussion is now taking place as to whether or not Romney is a Christian. Mormons are Christian, thus Mitt Romney is a Christian.
Those who are concerned about Romney’s religion probably have not taken the time to research or understand Mormonism. If they had, they would find that the Mormon religion is based on beliefs that the other older Christian denominations hold. The very name of the church – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – includes reference to Jesus. Mormons often are also referred to as Latter Day Saints (LDS).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830. Smith believed that his church was a restoration of the 1st century Christian church. However, since it was a fairly new religion, some indivuduals attached the word ” cult” to it. That fear has remained even to today with some of that fear stemming, perhaps, from one of the Church’s earliest practices – that of polygany (polygamy is more than one spouse; polygany is more than one wife; polandry is more than one husband) .
I am also absolutely amazed at how many people think that Mormons still practice polygany, which is the practice of having more than one wife. Polygany was practiced in the early days of the Church’s history; however, the Church issued the Manifesto of 1890, which officially renounced the practice of plural marriage in the Church. While there are a small number of Mormons who do practice polygany, they are immediately excommunicated from the Church.
All religions begin small with those who oppose them denegrating them and slinging the word cult at them. Christianity itself was considered a cult when it first began its rise to become the world’s largest religion, and early Christians were subject to various persecutions because of their new religion.
I have a son who married a Mormon and converted, so I do have personal knowledge of the Mormon religion. I sometimes attend services with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren on special occasions. Their philosophy is conservative with opposition to abortion and gay rights, but to deny that Mormons are Christians is a disservice to that religious denomination and its members.
Yes, Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and he is Christian. What he is not though, is consistent. He has waffled on social issues such as abortion and gay rights. Although I am a staunch Democrat and will not and could not support a Republican candidate, Mitt Romney deserves to be judged on his positions not his religion.
No candidate is ever free of religious philosophies, thus to the extent his religion may cloud his ability to govern is an issue to be debated – not whether or not he is a Christian.
Please see an interesting article by Amy Sullivan of the Washington Monthly.