A friend of mine shared a picture on Facebook recently, and it reminded me of the main reason why Mitt Romney is not going to win this election: he’s a cult member. It’s not generally acknowledged because the majority of Americans are more or less secular, even if they don’t identify as atheist, agnostic, or non-religious. However, among the devout, the most fervently passionate Christians, there is no mistaking the Mormon church for a sect of Christianity, and no functional difference between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Branch Davidians, or the People’s Temple, with the possible exception that the Christians probably recognize that at least the Mormons aren’t holed up on a compound somewhere waiting to die. This is a surprisingly irrelevant distinction.
This is the picture I’m talking about:
This image brings up kind of an interesting point actually, because even if Obama were a Muslim, Islam is still an Abrahamic religion, along with Christianity and Judaism. They all share the same basic core tenets, and even share a few of the same holy texts.
While the leadership and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints claim it is a sect of Christianity, it demonstrably isn’t. For example, one key element of any religion is that it must answer three basic questions:
- Where did I come from?
- Why am I here?
- Where am I going?
The first question refers to the story of creation, which is shared by all three of the Abrahamic religions: God created the heavens and the Earth, and populated it with humans. The second question is also common to all three, which is that humans are here to obey God’s will and serve God. The third question refers to the afterlife, which consists of a heaven or a hell for Judaism, Christianity or Islam. The particulars differ slightly, but the core tenets remain the same; in short, despite the enmity between followers of all three of the Abrahamic religions, they have more in common with each other than they do with any of the other major religions of the world, including the Mormons.
The answer to all three of the primary questions is completely different for the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. The origin story is different, the purpose for being, and most significantly, the afterlife. Christians, Jews and Muslims do not believe that they are literally the progeny of God and his wife(s), sent here from his planet Kolob to populate the Earth, like Mormons do. They do not believe they will be gods in the afterlife. Mormons do. Mormonism is simply not a Christian sect by any objective definition; it has unique beliefs, unique holy texts, unique practices, unique rituals and wholly unique mythos. The only thing it has in common with Christianity is both have characters named Jesus and Satan, and there are a few references to common tribes. It’s kind of amazing to consider it has grown as powerful as it has, until you stop and realize that any church that demands and requires 10% of each member’s income, and promises its men numerous, submissive women as property stands a pretty good shot at taking off. By the time they were forced to limit their members to owning only one woman at a time, they were already rich. But it’s still not Christianity, and while this distinction is virtually irrelevant to me and many others, it’s a pretty important one for devout, passionate Christians.
I could write a book about a sparkly vampire named Harry Potter who chooses to spend his immortal eternity attending high school and dating mindless-drone emo chicks and claim it was a Harry Potter book, but it wouldn’t be. Real Harry Potter fans would never consider my sparkly-vampire Harry Potter to be the real thing, nor would they accept my fans as true Harry Potter fans. This is the elephant in the room the media ignored the whole time Santorum was in the race, cleaning up in the southern states with a heavy bible-thumper presence: Mitt Romney isn’t a Christian, he’s a cult member. And real Christians know it.
I called Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee months ago, because he was the choice of the Republican establishment. Every other candidate was a sideshow act, pandering to a specific subset of the Republican Base™, but Romney was the only real choice, and for obvious reasons: He was–and is–the only serious candidate with any shot at beating Obama in November. That said, he’s still not going to pull it off. I may have to amend that prediction in a future post, but for now I stand by it: Romney is stick-a-fork-in-him finished. He was the safe bet for the establishment, and I’ll even concede the best available choice–the problem is, the best the Republicans have to offer this year is functionally a crash test dummy: an inert, mindless robot loaded with sensors that can be flung into a wall at high velocity, in order to gauge metrics that will help a real candidate survive the next election. And one with whom emotional attachments are both irrelevant and unlikely.
What it will boil down to in November is, the Republican Base™ will have to decide between a cult member and a black man, and while any Republican who actually makes it to a polling station won’t have to think long or hard about which evil is lesser, it is by no means a formula for driving Republican voters to the polls in the first place, like so many Disney lemmings seeking a cliff to dive from. If it’s a stormy, blustery day in the swing states on election day, Romney will at least have the benefit of knowing he got his ass kicked early enough to get to bed at a reasonable hour.
Sadly enough, I think that’s about the best he can hope for.