Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Iowa Straw Poll and...Are You Ready for a President Who Thinks that Satan Rules the Oceans?

So I see that Romney won the Iowa straw poll.

Now, let me begin by noting that one of my best high school friends was Mormon... And partially because of that, I have to admit that I do have my doubts about a Mormon president. Now, my friend was the Alpha Mormon of his church for his his age group. What that meant was that, in essence, the hottest girl of his age group was, basically, chosen to be his proto-wife. Not exactly a girlfriend, as, if I'm not mistaken, they didn't even kiss. But they were clearly pair-bonded in some weird way, and eventually moved out to Utah and were married in the temple.

Now...I'm kinda wondering whether people realize that Mormons (according to my friend, and other sources) are basically polytheists who believe that if you're a really good Mormon, you can become a god yourself and create your own universe? And (according to my friend) the God of our universe is just a really good Mormon from another universe? Also Adam may or may not have been God, God lives on a planet (Kolob?) somewhere else in our universe, dark skin is the mark of Caine, Satan rules the oceans, and God had actual sex with Mary (bow-chicka-bow-bow)?

And for those who are all hung up on, like, science and empirical (dis)confirmation, note also that the Book of Mormon says that there was a massive, extremely sophisticated pre-Colombian civilization in the Americas, having e.g. steel, stone buildings and elephants, and engaging in battles with millions of men on each side. But there was no such thing, as archeology has proven. Civilizations like that leave evidence--lots and lots of it. And there isn't any.

But the craziest part of it all is that they think that the Garden of Eden is in...wait for it...MISSOURI.

Now, having spent the first 23 years of my live in Missouri, I can tell you that, unless the Garden of Eden is a million degrees with a gazillion percent humidity in the summer, and butt-ass cold in the Winter, and full of mosquitoes and ain't in Missouri. (Actually, I like Missouri...though I'm not sure why...)

On the other hand, Mormonism isn't really much more implausible than other varieties of Christianity. I mean, once you've accepted the idea of a perfectly good, self-existent being that created everything, the idea of the trinity and all that, immortality and the afterlife, the (utterly impossible) idea that you can inherit moral guilt, and that another person can then absolve you of that moral guilt (by dying for your sins)... Well, nothing in Mormonism adds appreciably to any of that, as far as degrees of implausibility go. So, since we're going to have a Christian president anyway, I don't see a big problem with having a Mormon one.

On the other other hand, however, a very large number of Christians don't actually believe in the literal truth of much of that's just a metaphor through which they channel their undigested moral and metaphysical beliefs and inclinations. Hmmm...but lots of them do believe it...

So, anyway, Mormonism isn't really much weirder than more standard varieties of Christianity, but I'd be pretty surprised if the majority of non-Mormon Christians believe that. So I'd be surprised if they weren't pretty unhappy with a Mormon candidate.

On the other other other hand, Democrats won't make an issue of this. Republicans would if the tables were turned, but Dems probably won't. So he might just be able to squeak by.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

FWIW, I think most modern Mormon theologans have taken the position that a lot of the descriptions of the Meso-American stuff in the Book of Mormon is figurative, not literal - the events were all confined to a relatively small area instead of being continent-wide, "horses" were really a different kind of creature that Joseph Smith just described with a familiar word, etc.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a difference here Winston: Jesus never really said he "died for our sins." That's more in the lines of Saul/Paul and the early Catholic Church. Jesus did die for his beliefs, which is certainly a honorable act of self-sacrifice. \

Another man died uttering the words "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken," which might have been good advice to the Roman Consul 1400 years earlier...

In contrast, Joseph Smith wrote a lot of really weird stuff, sort of a 19th centurly L Ron Hubbard. To a non-Mormon, he sounds more like a standard con-man. Jesus sounds more like a genuine prophet, in the original sense.

- p mac

5:04 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

Why harp on Mormonism for Mitt Romney when there's a fuckton of other stuff that makes him a terrible candidate?

I mean sure, Mormons believe some weird shit, but there are way better things you'll be able to tear Romney apart for. Example: Dude probably has ties to Amway one way or another -- I think his wife ran for US Senate in Michigan against Debbie Stabenow, and the Michigan Republican Party has power thanks to Amway.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

For the record, pmac:

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” ---Christ, J., Matthew 20:28

The idea of blood sacrifice in atonement for sin is an old if not universal one, of course, and the Hebrew tradition was no exception. When John the Baptist calls Jesus the "Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world," the image of the lamb is not because Jesus was mellow and had wooly white locks.

Quite so that Paul was the apostle of mystical Christianity and not mere Jesusism, but he didn't invent the concept.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for anyone interested, heres a solid frontline documentary regarding the Mormons. I learned a lot.

1:50 AM  

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