The New York Times’ Obsession With Mormonism

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


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As the election campaign moves closer to November, President Obama and his media allies will be seeking subjects other than Mitt Romney’s business credentials to use against him. It is virtually certain one of those subjects will be Romney’s Mormon religion. To that end, the New York Times has devoted several articles to the subject, even as — once again — the president’s 20 year association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright remains largely below the radar.

“Just as Ronald Reagan deployed acting skills on the trail and Barack Obama relied on the language of community organizing, Mitt Romney bears the marks of the theology and culture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” writes Times columnist Jodi Kantor before noting that Mr. Romney declined to be interviewed for the piece. Kantor then proceeds to establish the idea that Romney is extremely dogmatic, attempting to emphasize criticisms that undoubtedly resonate with the Times’ liberal readers. “Mr. Romney’s penchant for rules mirrors that of his church, where he once excommunicated adulterers and sometimes discouraged mothers from working outside the home,” writes Kantor. “He may have many reasons for abhorring debt, wanting to limit federal power, promoting self-reliance and stressing the unique destiny of the United States, but those are all traditionally Mormon traits as well.”

Those so-called Mormon traits sound remarkably like traditional American values, but Kantor manages to frame them in an entirely different light. “Every presidential candidate highlights patriotism, but Mr. Romney’s is backed by the Mormon belief that the United States was chosen by God to play a special role in history, its Constitution divinely inspired,” she writes. She then quotes Philip Barlow, a professor of Mormon history at Utah State to deride Romney’s “squeaky-clean persona” as “too plastic, the Ken side of a Ken and Barbie doll,” according to the professor.

Kantor also lays the groundwork for future attacks on Romney if he decides to go on the offensive against Barack Obama in the religious arena. After noting that Romney “frequently spoke about obeying authority, the danger of rationalizing misbehavior and God’s fixed standards,” she cautioned that “many also see a gap between his religious ideals…and his political tactics.” Tony Kimball who served as Romney’s executive Church secretary serves up the “obvious” explanation. “I have absolutely no idea how he rationalizes it,” said Kimball. “It almost seems to be the ends justifying the means.”

Another Timepiece by David Leonhardt takes a not-so-subtle swipe at Mormonism as well. First, he notes that a study by the Brookings Institute indicates that Romney’s religion isn’t likely to hurt him at the polls in November. Yet Leonhardt also notes that a Gallup poll cited by the Brookings authors reveals that “[O]nly a hypothetical gay candidate (32 percent) and a hypothetical atheist candidate (49 percent) fared worse than the Mormon candidate.”

The Times’ Jim Rutenberg illuminates Mormonism’s “first families,” whose historical descendants “have formed a financial bulwark and support network for Mr. Romney at every important point in his political career,” and who “are tied to businesses with robust agendas in Washington…and have something to gain by having a friend in the White House.” The implication is clear: Romney is little more than a crony capitalist hiding behind a patina of religious legitimacy.

The Times brings a racial element to the mix as well. First the obligatory swipe. Black Mormons have joined the Church, despite its “turbulent history of excluding people of black African descent,” writes Susan Saulny, who then proceeds to reveal that, despite being Mormons, black Church members prefer Barack Obama for president. Yet the breadth of Saulny’s survey regarding that preference is laughable. Included in the piece is a boilerplate Democratic talking point as well. “My problem with Romney, politically, is that he cannot relate to the common man,” said professor Jerri Harwell. “I’m afraid of what would happen to the economy given his frame of reference.” She also contends that Romney “hasn’t even worked in years.”

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  • http://soundclick.com/333maxwell chas holman

    I’ll tell you a difference between Jeremiah Wright and Mitt Romney’s church.

    In Wrights Church you will find crosses and they don’t teach that Jesus is the brother of Satan who is the son of God.

    Mormons are worse than vampires when it comes to crosses.. to them they are a method of execution.. no Latter Day Saint wears a cross.. EVER.

    But hey, who cares right?

    • doug

      Actually it does. Read Job 2:1

      "Again there was a day when the asons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord."

    • doug

      I should remove the typo from that last post
      .
      "Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord."

      In addition to this doctrine, that God has many sons, Mormons and non-Mormon Christians teach that despite the fact that Jesus is coeternal with God the father, Jesus was also "begotten, not made" of the Father before all worlds.

      • https://www.facebook.com/tlunrine Timothy Unrine

        Christians believe Christ was born of the Virgin Mary through the miracle of the Holy Spirit.

        Mormons DO NOT believe that the Holy Spirit conceived Jesus; rather God came and had sex with Mary.

        Coo-Coo Mormonism – two different Jesus's – the Christian Jesus and the Mormon Jesus.

        Mormons are not Christian.

        • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=623710165 Daniel Cruz

          Can you please share the LDS scripture referring God having sex with Mary? Thanks.

          • gray man

            no he can't because he's a mindless drone parroting nonsense.

        • Michael T

          They certainly are not the kind of Christian you are who apparently misquotes and butcher's their beliefs. From the 10000 LDS I know none believe what you just quoted. All believe Jesus was born of Mary as described in the bible. All claim Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and by him and of him and through him all will be saved. There is no other name whereby we may gain salvation. That all must follow him by being baptized in his name and knowing and following his example to love one another. That all kinda sounds pretty christ like to me.

    • kendrick1

      What does one find in Wright's heart? Those with an evil heart can display a cross. Your daft enough to believe if one displays a cross they are a Christian. Are you a Christian? Or are you just a shill for Islamist Obama?

    • Howard-Beale

      re: "I'll tell you a difference between Jeremiah Wright and Mitt Romney's church."

      The similarity between Jeremiah Wright and Mitt Romney's church is this;

      BOTH are DEAD to Biblical Salvation!

      • Ron

        Odd. I believe evangelicals say that confessing Jesus Christ is what is required for salvation, and that is exactly what Mormons do, although they also follow Jesus' injunction to be baptized by water and the Holy Ghost in order to enter into God's kingdom. See John 3:3-5.

    • gray man

      are you really this stupid or are you pretending to get a reaction?

    • JVoyFL

      So many comments and replies do not reflect at all what members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actually believe. It's members believe in the Jesus of the New Testament and find great joy in trying to follow his precepts and teachings. Please visit http://www.mormon.org for accurate information about what Mormon's believe.

    • Ron

      Sounds like you're more comfortable with "God damn America!" than "God Bless America!" Mormons aren't turned off by crosses, they just don't emphasize them in their architecture — the empty Garden Tomb and the Ascension are preferred as showing the victory of Christ over death and Satan. Some Latter-day Saints do wear crosses, and it is not forbidden by the church. You really need to talk to a Mormon to find out what they believe instead of passing along misinformation spread by their theological opponents. You'd grant the same privilege to any Jew, Catholic or Protestant, I assume.

  • Gamaliel

    I am Jewish and didn't know anything about Mormons until the day I was driving a car through Idaho with my family which was hit from behind by a sleeping truck driver. Our car was demolished and burned with most of our belongings and we were lucky to survive. We were taken to a clinic where one of the Mormons, seeing that we had no funds and no place to stay invited us to stay at his house. My mother's glasses had been destroyed in the crash so Mormon women for miles around came by with their glasses for my mother to try. I don't think any community would have done more for strangers, than the Mormon community. I doubt the people in Jeremiah Wright's church would have been so kind to a white Jewish family. Today I am friendly with a highly intelligent person who is a Mormon and is a professor at my University, the University of Pennsylvania. He likes to quote the statement from the New Testament "By their fruits you shall know them". He's right and the fruits of Mormonism are kindness.

  • Ain't No Dhimmi

    It is perfectly fine to critique Mormonism.

    But it is NEVER fine to critique

    Islam.

    Because Islam is a religion of "peace." Right????????

  • Bamaguje

    Mormonism is not a threat to America, but Islam clearly is.
    And there's a Taqiyya Muslim in the White House who should be booted out in November.

    • Howard-Beale

      "Mormonism is not a threat to America, but Islam clearly is."

      Jesus said,
      “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John:14:6)

      Mormons & Muslims each worship false, man made gods. They are DEAD in Christ.
      (according to God's Word)

      • gray man

        bone-head, mormons worship God not allah, and recognize Jesus as the son of God.

  • Don Kosloff

    Who voted for US Senator Reid of Nevada?

    • https://www.facebook.com/tlunrine Timothy Unrine

      What does that have to do with the price of rice in China.

      Reid – a college convert to Mormonism, no stated record of going on mission, no ancestors that are connected to Salt Lake, didn't grow up with Prophet and Apostles visiting his home; and he is a DEMOCRAT – an ALMOST excommunicatible offense to the Mormons.

      Romney – a Mormon "Mayflower" family with ties to the original settlers of Salt Lake, an ancestor who was a Mormon Apostle, his Daddy was a Stake President and entertained Apostles and Prophets in his home in Michigan, seminary graduate, honorably returned Missionary, counselor to Stake President at a young age, Bishop, Stake President and a REPUBLICAN – seems to be qualified for the next Mormon Apostle seat that opens up.

  • Jose_Can_U_Si?

    How is Joseph Smith, the 1830 founder of the pseudo-Christian religion, Mormonism…

    ANY different from…

    Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (March 13, 1911 – January 24, 1986), better known as L. Ron Hubbard,

    The fiction author and the founder of the Church of Scientology?

    Both are pseudo-"christian" religions.

    Scientology & Mormonism originated by FALSE "prophets" in the last 200 years.
    Mormonism in a Nutshell: http://carm.org/mormonism-in-a-nutshell

    In depth Mormonism links (using their own sources) http://carm.org/mormonism

    • gray man

      scientology – pseudo christian? apparently you know nothing about scientology either.

      • Jose_Can_U_Si?

        to pseudo-registered gray man –

        Au contraire! –

        I actually intended this,
        Scientology is a pseudo-science cult – & – Mormonism is pseudo-christian cult.

        But readers in good faith clearly understood I was comparing CULTS in jest.

        It was a rhetorical remark, fancy pants.

    • Michael T

      You are a bigot aren't you. Judging every religion which isn't your own as pseudo. Bigotry certainly isn't Christian Mormon or Jewish. For in all three we are taught to love our neighbor and judge not.

      • JVoyFL

        So many comments and replies do not reflect at all what members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actually believe. It's members believe in the Jesus of the New Testament and find great joy in trying to follow his precepts and teachings. Please visit http://www.mormon.org for accurate information about what Mormon's believe.

    • Not short sighted

      I bet if Jesus had come in the last 200 years you wouldn't believe him either.

  • Jaladhi

    Why don't these morons at NYTimes investigate Islam and tell the truth about this murderous cult to American people. Nah, that would be too much to ask this from them. Moreover they would be afraid of Muslims ready to invade their office building in NYC and show to the editors the real Islam that has been practiced by them for last 1400 years.

    • https://www.facebook.com/tlunrine Timothy Unrine

      I think Americans have been killing more people in the name of Democracy than the Muslims have. 9/11 didn't even the score close to being a tie.

      We have interfered with politics in South America, trained secret interrogation teams (TORTURE), have destablized countries putting tyrants in a tyrants place.

      Yes, it seems like America is the biggest terrorist threat out there. We have a bully license over the world of those who can't defend themselves.

      • Ghostwriter

        I don't see where this has ANYTHING to do with the subject at hand. Not only that,you saying that "America is the biggest terrorist threat out there,"is as stupid and dumb as anything I've ever heard or read.

      • gray man

        moron, muslims have been killing people for 1400 years, by the way leftists (nazis, communists, muslims) have killed hundreds of millions of people in just this century. get you head out.

  • mrbean

    All mystics have desired great hordes of slaves. They refer to them as their followers. All organized religions are at best what results from a deliberate evasion of reality based on a hope of an afterlife, and a blatantly dishonest attempt to explain our position as a momentary species in an infinitely old Cosmos. Western civilization was the child and product of reason — via ancient Greece. In all other civilizations, reason has always been the menial servant — the handmaiden — of mysticism. You may observe the results. It is only Western culture that has ever been dominated — imperfectly, incompletely, precariously and at rare intervals — but still, dominated by reason. It is only the excess intellectual baggage of mysticism that drags western civilization down.

    • Jeamar

      Excuse me! I don't know how ancient is the Greece you are speaking of, and certainly their philosophers eventually became more convinced that reason is reasonable. However, their religion–organized or not organized– included such fascinating deities as: Zeus, Aphrodite, Persephone, Poseidon, Apollo, etc. As for the West being dominated by reason– in your dreams. Today's religions include sex, rock 'n' roll, drugs, environmentalism, etc. Reason is still much sought after and seldom attained. Just read any daily newspaper or watch many TV broadcasts such as Toddlers and Tiaras and other of that ilk.

  • Howard-Beale

    responding to "Those so-called Mormon traits sound remarkably like traditional American values."

    …. Mormonism is also distinctly, and remarkably anti-Christian theology!

    WHY? Because Mormonism teaches that his LDS "god" became a god by following the laws and ordinances of his god's home world. Romney's "god" brought his wife to this world, a woman his "god" had married on the other world. .

    In his present god-state, Romney's god rules our world.

    Unlike the Bible GOD, Romney's god has a body of flesh and bones. Romney's god and his wife are both exalted persons, they each possess physical bodies.

    The Romney / LDS / Mormons produce "spirit children" that grow and mature in the spiritual realm.
    So, Mormonism teaches that they pre-existed in the spirit realm and produced from the union of god and his goddess wife.

    Therefore, we all existed in spirit form before coming down and entering the bodies of human babies.

    • OneSoldiersView

      As a long time member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I encourage people to ask a Mormon about their beliefs. Otherwise, you will get statements like that above which have no anchor in reality. I have no clue what Howard-Beale is saying or where he got this gibberish from. I am certain he never got it from the teachings of our church.

    • Ron

      I will comment on one interesting aspect you brought up, relating to the resurrection. I assume you do believe that, as the Bible states, Jesus was resurrected with a body of flesh and bones, using His own words. When Jesus ascended into Heaven, he did so with a resurrected body of flesh and bones. Do you contend that He no longer has that body? Would that not constitute death? If He still has the body of flesh and bones, and if He is in all respects like His Father, does it not seem reasonable that both have bodies of flesh and bone? And yes, this does introduce the Mormon concept of there being a Father and a Son and a Holy Spirit. Nowhere in the Bible to you find justification for a three-in-one nature of the Godhead, except that they act in concert with one another as a single entity.

  • Gamaliel

    Obama is abandoning the Christians of the Middle East and Africa to slaughter by Muslims. If I were a Christian I'd be much more concerned about the welfare of my fellow Christians than about whether Mormonism believes in wierd theology. There are plenty of wierd Christian beliefs does that mean Christians should not be elected? Roman Catholics, believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation, which holds that the bread and wine consumed at valid celebrations of the Eucharist become the literal flesh and blood of Christ. They believe they're eating Christ. The worship services of some American churches regularly include a ritual called snake handling, in which members of the congregation pick up poisonous snakes. Snake handlers say that they are following instructions from the bible, particularly a verse at Mark 16:18 which says that believers "shall take up serpents. Christian belief in witches led to the Salem Witch Trials as well as the murder of many innocent women in Europe. Does this mean we shouldn't vote for a Christian? If not than lets not be so judgemental of Mormons.

  • Jeamar

    Anti-Mormons get so tiresome with the same-old, same-old arguments. The first Article of Faith of the "Mormon" church declares the belief in Jesus Christ–for which the church is named. One can find a verse somewhere in the Bible to justify almost anything one wants to endorse. Romney is running for president of the US. He is not running to convert others to his religion. If you want four more years of what we have vote for the current occupant of the White House. As for me, Anyone but Obama.

    • Jose_Can_U_Si?

      Wrong.

      Mormonism teaches that God used to be a man on another world. (He is also one of many other gods)

      The Mormon god brought his wife to this world, a woman he had married on the other world. She is, essentially a goddess.

      The first spirit born was "Jesus". Afterwards Lucifer was born along with the rest of us. So, Mormonism teaches that we all pre-existed in the spirit realm having been produced from the union of god and his goddess wife. Therefore, we all existed in spirit form before coming down and entering the bodies of human babies that are being born on earth.The Mormon "jesus" is a spirit brother of Satan according to the LDS faith.

      Mormonism in a Nutshell .. http://carm.org/mormonism-in-a-nutshell

      • gray man

        it's clear you no very little about mormonism in a nutshell.
        I'd be interested in knowing who you think satan is.

        • Whos_John_Galt

          having read your comments, i'd guess he is one of your sponsors.

          • Jose_Can_U_Si?

            LOL! I was thinking, "His Daddy!"

            gray man, The word 'satan' is the Hebrew transliteration of the word 'adversary.' The link is the Biblical answer. It reflects my view as well. IF you were registered poster with a record, and not a recalcitrant one-trick maroni antagonist who posts in bad faith, I would gladly take the time to engage you with an original reply. You are intellectually dishonest.

            Who is Satan? http://carm.org/satan

            Contrasted with Mormon's doctrine (from LDS sources):
            ~ The Devil was born as a spirit after Jesus "in the morning of pre-existence," (Mormon Doctrine, p. 192.)

            ~ .Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and we were all born as siblings in heaven to them both, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163.)

            Mormon "jesus" and Mormon "Satan" are a manifestation of a false prophet: Joseph Smith, they are unBiblical, period.

            Mormon Beliefs, are they Christian? http://carm.org/mormon-beliefs

    • Jose_Can_U_Si?

      UN-registered gutless mormon drive-by, Jeamar said this,
      "Anti-Mormons get so tiresome with the same-old, same-old arguments. The first Article of Faith of the "Mormon" church declares the belief in Jesus Christ–for which the church is named"

      Jeamar, every week Mitt Romney makes public speeches declaring that he will "pray" for this something, or, pray for that something; and this week it was for the victims of the Hezbollah guerrilla group in Bulgaria.

      QUESTION: To whom does Romney "pray"? – Not the Biblical LORD!

      Not the Biblical LORD of Presidents Reagan, Ford, GHW Bush, W Bush, or D. Eisenhower prayed to!

      It is incumbent upon Bible believers of the Jewish and Christian faith to lift up G-D and underscore that Romney is praying to something manufactured by Joseph Smith in 1830. That Romney's god is only one of infinite "gods" and that "god" is impotent, and what the Bible calls "another god".

      God does not change. In fact, Jesus warned us about such groups when he said in Matthew 24:24 that in the last days many false Christs and false prophets will arise and deceive many. Mormonism is exactly that, a manifestation of a false prophet: Joseph Smith, who taught all these things.

      If Romney is going to announce his "prayers" (before men) – I reserve the option to point out, without malice and with FACTS to support my comments that Mitt's prayers are impotent.

  • Jeamar

    So what's your point? Polygamy was not illegal in the US at the time the Mormons were practicing it. It doesn't seem much different than today's serial marriages or "friends with benefits" or "if it feels good, do it." Human beings really haven't changed much since the beginning. (I think you are referring to the wives of Brigham Young not Joseph Smith although I didn't take the time to look it up to make sure.)

  • gray man

    actually, I challenge your asinine comments – especially after having read them. Joseph smith's one wife (emma smith) is on record having said joseph smith only had one wife (herself). a simple google search would show you that if you were at all interested in the truth.
    there have not been 4000 changes – that is a lie therefore you are liar.

    • Jose_Can_U_Si?

      To Un-Registered "gray man"
      Which "record"? – Mormon "records" as well as their Book of Mormon keeps changing to suit the audience. The first publication of a list of Smith's plural wives was in 1887, by assistant LDS church historian Andrew Jenson. It included 27 women besides Emma Smith. The list I used (from LDS sources) claimed more than 27.

      Re: GOOGLE -The LDS church is making a concerted effort to dominate the Internet search engines – LDS: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Internet – - – http://carm.org/lds-church-jesus-christ-latter-da….

    • Jose_Can_U_Si?

      to unregistered name gray man:

      The Mormon church spends a great deal of time and money on public relations with the aim of portraying a loving, family-oriented, non-condemning Christian denomination.

      But Christians react to this and CITE the great differences in doctrine between Mormons and Christians and continue to pronounce the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a non-Christian cult.

      Does Mormonism Attack Other Religions? You bet'cha! Here are some examples. http://carm.org/does-mormonism-attack-other-relig

      To those Mormons who complain and themselves use ad hominem attacks, and ad hominem fallicies, should familiarize themselves with their own teachers' words.

  • Lawyer Riders

    Excellent article. The media's efforts notwithstanding, Obama is done. The London Olympics is an opportunity for Romney to tout his greatest achievement and then his visit to Israel will not go unnoticed by elderly voters in Florida. Then another terrible jobs report, followed by the VP announcement, followed by the convention. Then another bad jobs report, carpet bombing Obama 2:1 in the swing states through September, schooling Obama in the debates, which coincide with another bad jobs report. A continuing 2:1 spending advantage in the swing states through 11/6. If Obama cannot break 47% after his $100M barrage in the swing states, he will be lucky to be at 45% on election day.

    Once Romney is sworn in, the novelty of a Mormon president will wear off and people will start focusing on his performance. The hard core haters in the evangelical community have nowhere to go (I don't see them pulling the lever for Hillary, Biden or Kerry in 2016) and the hard core haters on the left would not have voted for Romney if he were a Methodist.

  • W Faile

    Why don't the Democrat Mormon haters gang up to kick Harry Reid, the Democrat Majority leader in the Senate, out of officee. He's a Mormon.

  • E B

    Absolutely. It's been obvious to me from the get-go, because this is precisely how liberal media works in conjunction with Democratic candidates. Always. The only difference here is it's about Mormonism instead of tax returns or past actions or whatever. I am a Mormon myself. The media is usually accurate, but they focus on things that are peripheral in the LDS Church almost exclusively. Were they to investigate the core of Mormonism, they would find that Mormons' chief objective is to follow Jesus Christ. Hardly alarming to the public. Therefore they won't cover it. Always balance information you get from the news with other, less biased or oppositely biased sources. Otherwise you can't make a truly informed opinion.
    Thanks for listening. http://www.conservativemormonmom.blogspot.com

  • gofish

    Romney should not be flat-footed on this issue, and certainly must not repeat the apology for his religion that he made in the last campaign. The article is correct about the eerie untouchability of Obama's religion. Whenever he is asked about it he says it is "deeply personal" which means "no follow-ups, please". Sadly, the media chumps comply.

    The Romney campaign should be ready to reply with numerous indisputable facts and pertinent questions about Obama's purported religious beliefs. Remember the "above my pay-grade" non-answer he gave to Rick Warren on the morality of abortion (and everyone knows he is a big supporter of it)? Does he share Reverend Wright's deeply personal hatred of America? If he's a Christian, why does he not attend services? What is his connection to the Nation of Islam's Louis Farakhan? When did he know he was a Christian and not a Muslim, by his early education?

  • EdgyMormon

    I suppos all the Mormon bashing is to be expected when you are as desperate as the current administration appears to be.

    I am in a unique position to see the tremendous good the Mormon Church does.

    Yes, I pay a full tithe but we live comfortably. I have a closeness with my children. I have my sweet little grand children around me that is priceless.

    Like people of many faiths we keep the ten commandments and much more.

    - I live under the best form of government (as long as it follows the constitution)
    - I have come to the conclusion that no other religion is as harmonius with my principles as the Mormon faith.
    - I hope there is a Jesus Christ and that he is the literal Son of God. I hope there is a resurrection.

    If in the end it is all for naught, life has been good to me. I would like to think it is because a benevolent and loving Deity.

    If you can't get on board with that, I am not certain what more can be said.