The Truth About Mormons and Mitt Romney

via MittRomney.com

Mitt Romney is the front runner for the Republican nomination for president in the 2012 elections, by many accounts. That is, if some Christian pastors don’t convince their congregations that it’s unacceptable to vote for a Mormon and persist in perpetuating fictions about the Mormon faith.

I, personally, know quite a bit about the Mormon faith. Though I am not a practicing Mormon, having left the church as a teenager, my entire family is Mormon and I grew up in the faith. Allow me to clear up some common misconceptions about being Mormon, as we focus on Romney’s campaign:

  • Mormons do not practice polygamy. They did practice polygamy prior to Utah becoming a state in 1896.  The federal government required Utah to include a ban on polygamy in its state constitution in order to become part of the union, which had the effect of breaking up families, with husbands abandoning wives and children en masse.  Many Mormons felt this was unfair, wrong and immoral. These people broke off from the Mormon church and created their own factions that are not associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today.  They are the ones who practice polygamy today. Watch Sister Wives on TLC for a modern-day picture of polygamy. Other people who practiced polygamy?  Abraham and pretty much everyone else in the Bible.
  • Mormons ARE Christians. The church is titled The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - note the Jesus Christ part of the title. The first Article of Faith, one of the primary beliefs of the Mormon religion, is “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” Which, as you can see is nearly identical to many Christian faiths belief in the Godhead.
  • Mormons believe in an Eternal Family. Mormons are exceptional parents and the foundation of their lifestyle is the family. Like Catholics, Mormons tend to have a lot of children. Not so much because they have to, but because they like to. The family is the center of their lives. They focus on their families in an obsessive sort of way that is really very beautiful. Displayed in the living rooms of my grandmothers, my mother and many Mormons I know is the saying, “No success in life can compensate for failure in the home.”  
  • Mormons believe in, and use, various forms of birth control. They are instructed to have only as many children as they can emotionally and financially care for.
  • Mormons believe in modern-day prophets, rather like the Pope. It is usually a kind elderly man who has been in the LDS administration for many years. They believe he is ordained and called of God. They believe that there are Holy Men that live today and speak to their members about what God wants of them. Their members follow righteously. When one of them dies, another is called of God.
  • Mormons believe, like many religions, that God speaks to people through the Holy Spirit. They believe the Holy Spirit guides their actions, keeping them safe, directing them in the ways they should go.
  • Mormonism is a completely volunteer religion. Bishops (equivalent to Pastors), Youth Leaders, Finance Advisors, nursery workers, everyone is a volunteer. No one gets paid for their service. They also do not get to choose their jobs. They are “called” by God to serve where they are needed and they comply. These jobs are temporary, usually for a year or several.
  • Mormons contribute billions of dollars to international and national Aid. They donate money, food, clothing and medicine around the world. They do it because service is a foundation of their religion. Women make quilts for infants, maxi pads for girls and women, hats and many other things. Once a month on Sundays Mormons fast and the money they would have spent on food, they donate to the poor.
  • Mormons do have a gender-divide like many Christian religions. However, they also have a history of gender-equality. Prior to obtaining statehood, women had the right to vote in Utah. This too, was outlawed by the federal government when they became a state.
  • Mothers generally are encouraged to stay at home with their children. This is considered right and good, not because they are not considered smart enough to compete in the marketplace, but because of the vital importance they place on children and the family. Women pursue the raising of their children with an equivalent ambition to any woman’s profession.
  • Mormons, including Mormon women, are highly educated. They achieve university degrees in order to better educate their children and to provide for their families should their husbands become unemployed or in case they are widowed or if they choose to work outside the home or become work-at-home-mothers and many do.
  • Mormons have a long history of serving in the military. My grandfather, father, sister-in-law, cousins and brother have had careers in military service.
  • Mormons have a strict code of accountability. Mormons believe in tithing, church attendance, moral conduct, healthy behavior, kindness to others, and fiscal responsibility. They are accountable both to the church and to each other.
  • Mormons never, ever give up on each other. You can leave the church and 50 years later they will still ask you to come back.
  • Mormons take care of their own. If a Mormon is out of work or going through a poverty spell they are supplied with food, money, clothing, employment, counseling services and anything else they might need.
  • Mormons are not a cult. Any religion made up of millions of people can’t be considered a cult. They are extraordinarily organized. Not given to whimsy.
  • Mormons believe in self-sufficiency. If you were in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina you’d have wanted to find some Mormons. As a tenet of the religion they are advised to keep a storage of food, water and money. They keep survival tools, as well as items to cook, keep warm, travel, and hunt with. They keep 72 hour survival kits. They are extremely active in Boy Scouts. It is common sense. They also believe in the Last Days and intend to survive them, which motivates this tenet.
  • Mormons believe in niceness and politeness. Really, you’re not going to find nicer neighbors, nicer people to work with, kinder friends. If you have a baby, Mormons will bring you meals for two weeks. If someone dies, same thing. If you have sickness in your family, you will have help.
  • Mormons are evangelical, meaning they are encouraged to serve Missions and convert others. They believe they have the Truth and they want everyone to have it too. Boys of 19 and girls of 21 (because older girls rarely date younger boys) are encouraged to go around the world, learning another language, spreading the word of God. Only young adults who have lived under the strictest of moral conduct are eligible to go and those who do go are encouraged to pay for it themselves. It is a great sacrifice. They put off college for two years to do it. It is a great coming of age experience, a great time of growth and very difficult for some. Retired adults are also encouraged to participate in this experience.
  • Mormons hate for people to go to hell. They have three Kingdoms of Heaven to prevent this from happening. The Celestial Kingdom is for those who have lived Holy, Eternal Marriages and kept their Covenants to God; the Terrestial is for those who have been Holy but, have not accepted the Mormon faith – even after death; and the Telestial for those who have been murderers and terrible sinners; Outer Darkness, Mormon’s version of Hell, is reserved only for those who, after death, having been given the chance to accept the truth of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior still choose to reject it. It is one of the most compassionate versions of salvation I’ve ever heard of. Everyone gets a chance after death. They baptize people by proxy after death to account for all of those who were born before Jesus came to earth and those who never had the chance to accept or hear of Jesus during this life.
  • Mormons believe in the Bible as the Word of God. They also believe in the Constitution as inspired by God. They also believe in the Book of Mormon as the Word of God. I, personally, believe all inspiration comes from God — thus, the Holy Spirit.

If you’re not going to vote for Mitt Romney, that’s fine. I’m a Democrat, so I most likely will not. But don’t not vote for him because you’re ignorant about Mormons.

 

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63 Responses to The Truth About Mormons and Mitt Romney

  1. Elise November 12, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    GREAT ARTICLE! Thank you. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I agree with everything you have said about our faith. Thank you.

  2. Tess November 12, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Great article,i hope people will read his,thank you

  3. Aaron November 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    It should also be expressed that people (Mormons) should not vote for him BECAUSE he too is a Mormon.

    Of all my friends on Facebook that have “liked” Mitt Romney, they are all Mormons. I am a Mormon, and I will NOT be voting for Mitt Romney.

    My vote is for Ron Paul.

    • Gwen Mangelson November 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

      one of the great things about being LDS we ALL have our free agency!

    • Tracee Sioux
      Tracee Sioux November 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

      People should vote their Conscience. Period.

  4. mike November 12, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    That was very appropriately written. Thank you.

  5. cody November 13, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    Great article only problem is that when you talked about the three levels of heaven, when I was a missionary we taught that the highest level the Celestial kingdom could only be achieve through a celestial marriage, the telestial kingdom is achieved by getting your temple covenants, and the terestial kingdom is achieved by baptism. that is why there are so much work for the dead in the temples. people are baptised for the dead, and do covenants for the dead, then they are given the choice in the after life to accept them or not. Mormons version of hell aka Outer Darkness. can only be achieved by a person who has witnessed christ and denied him. the teachings say there will only be a handful of people that will go there. Mormons believe when christ comes and people are resurrected, there will be a time of great baptisms, so much everyone will make it to the lowest part of heaven the telestial kingdom.

    • sphere November 13, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

      The order goes (from lowest to highest) Telestial, Terrestrial, Celestial. Not that it matters for this article. He did a great job with pretty accurate information in every other area. Thanks to the author of the article for fair treatment.

    • Tracee Sioux
      Tracee Sioux November 14, 2011 at 11:40 am #

      That’s a bit technical for the layman. But, thanks for the info.

    • Tracee Sioux
      Tracee Sioux November 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

      Thank you for pointing this out. The nuances of the Mormon faith are extensive and this article is meant to be a broad overview. I do enjoy the idea that God is so merciful that only a handful of people will ever see Outer Darkness – or hell – and that everyone will be given an opportunity to accept whatever the Truth is after death.

  6. Ryan November 13, 2011 at 1:30 am #

    This article is pretty accurate. Describes the church very well. I was once a Mormon, and know this is what they teach. Everything in this article shows that this church is not of God himself. This church goes against everything the Holy Bible teaches. The Bible is the word of God, and if you read it and hear it, God will show you what it says. I do not think this article said once that they believe Jesus Christ to be God, our Savior, our Creator, or our Master. The Bible does not teach about a second chance to heaven, or three different levels of heaven. The Mormon church is not the voice of God, but of man. If you truly want to know about who Jesus Christ is, the most loving and kind God you could ever imagine, then just open up the Bible. In doing so, He will speak to you. You just have listen for it. And I promise you, it is the most beautiful gift you will ever receive.

    • Ricardo Garcia November 13, 2011 at 8:54 am #

      Ryan, this article was not written by some one authorized to speak on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints ( Mormons) or intended ( I believe) to be a theological declaration of Mormon beliefs. You say that you were once a “Mormon” and yet say that Mormons do not believe that Jesus is the Christ? How obserd is that? I do not believe you have read the Holy Bible nor that you ever were a member of the church (Mormon). There is much to be said on this subject but I will speak plainly and truthfully. There are 13 articles of faith that ” Mormons” are taught from age three to adulthood, as the most basic beliefs of the church (every one knows them!) 1st article reads:”We believe in God,the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost”. The 3rd article reads:”We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel”. The 8th reads:”We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God”. Jesus “is” our most loving God, is our Savoir, our master, our redeemer, and the Bible “does teach” of the different levels of glory in Heaven (read 1Corinthians 15:41-44 in which the apostle Paul speaks of the resurrection of the dead) To read all the articles of faith go to any Library or to Mormon.org

    • Melanie Alfred November 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

      I can assure Ryan that although the article didn’t state it, as Mormons we most assuredly believe that Jesus is our Saviour and Redeemer and that it is only through His name we can be saved. We believe He is our Creator and our Judge as well. Read 1 Corintheans 15:29 re baptism for the dead. Anyway not to start a theological discussion as I won’t return to this site but just wanted to set the record straight. Ryan I wish you well and I agree totally that Jesus is the most loving and kind God and even beyond what we can imagine and the Bible is indeed a wonderful gift.

    • Colleen November 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

      Huh? How could you read that article, accurate as it was to most tenents, and come up with your response, inaccurate as it is. The one thing you say that is the most ignorant is that what we believe goes against everything the Holy Bible teaches. I repeat, huh?

    • Ally November 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

      I am going to kindly disagree with you. I am a Mormon and I can tell you right off that we do believe in the Bible and it and The Book of Mormon are the basis of our religion. I am 14 and every morning before I go to a class called seminary where we learn about the scriptures. This year we are studying the Old Testament. This proves that our religion definitely does NOT go against everything the Bible teaches. I have first hand experience every morning. So please, unless you know for a fact that what we teach goes against the Bible, do not tell others that, because it is wrong. VERY wrong. Thank you. I am sorry if I offended you in any way, but I know that what you said is wrong. Like I said, I have first hand experience every morning before school.

      • dk November 15, 2011 at 9:08 am #

        I grew up in a strong mormon family and left the church by the time I was 14. I know you read the bible but you don’t understand it. If you did, you would know that Jesus is God, (read John ch.1:1-14) as is the Father God, and the Holy Spirit God. They are not seperate beings as you believe. Mormons are not accepted as Christians because of this fact alone. That is the main reason they are put in the cult category. Cult sounds really offensive, but the defanition is not as bad as it sounds. The Diety of Christ is the main issue. No matter how closely the mormons look like christian’s, this one issue will alway’s keep them from being accepted as christians. The bible does not speak of spiritual families and pre-existance the way you believe. The goal of heaven is not to be together as a family, but to worship the Lord. You do not understand what the bible is speaking of in the brief mention of celestial, terestial and telestial. there are not 3 kingdoms in heaven. There is heaven, and there IS hell. Why do mormons want to be accepted as christians? Did Joseph Smith not say that when he asked “the 2 seperate images”, which church should he join, when he prayed in the griove at age 14, they told him not to join any of them. That they were all false. So if joseph was told the christian churches he was investigating are false, why do you want to be included as christians?
        “We believe the bible to be true, so far as it is translated correctly”. One of the mormon articles of faith. The bible has not been corrupted by man as you believe. It is the Word of God, not man. Mormons are afraid of any other version than the King James Version. Why do you want to stay stuck in the 16th century. If you believe the bible to be true, you would know that it is the Word of God and that the book of mormon, pearl of great price, and doctrine of covenants, contradict the bible in so many ways. These books are not in harmony with the bible. I could go on and on. I have grieved over this for over 30 years, as all my family and relatives are mormons and I love them all very much.

        • CJ November 17, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

          **dk**
          The LDS church (Mormons) believe in the Bible as you quoted the Article of Faith, “as far as it is translated correctly.” The Bible has not necesarily been corrupted, as that portrays a negative tone and a tone of intent, but in many versions or translations different verses have received different meaning or interpretations. As far as only using the King James version, yes that is true in the English language. However, in different countries/languages other versions are obviously used. A lot of research is done in finding which Bible translation is closest to ancient versions of Hebrew and Greek (I believe). The Martin Luther Bible is used in the German language for instance. It is viewed as being closest to correct translation, which is done by man. And yes, all mankind apart from one has flaws and makes mistakes.
          As far as the other books of scripture you noted being true or not, that is something that only you can find out for yourself through prayer and study. That is a foundational concept of faith.

    • Tracee Sioux
      Tracee Sioux November 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

      You are entitled to your religious beliefs and they are entitled to theirs. That’s the beautiful thing about the United States of America. Freedom of Religion.

      Do note that just because this particular article did not expressly state that Mormons do not believe Jesus Christ is God, Savior, Creator, or Master in exactly those words does not mean that Mormons do not believe this. This article is a broad generalization of Mormon beliefs and not meant to convey every nuance of the Mormon faith.

      It sounds to me like you may have some left-over pain in regards to the Mormon church and you may want to examine where you might need to work on some forgiveness issues, as per instructions strictly in line with the Bible, of course. You know what they say about carrying around unforgiveness? It’s like poisoning yourself and expecting the other person to die.

      • dk November 15, 2011 at 9:38 am #

        I’m sorry Tracie, but mormons do not believe Jesus IS God. Yes, they believe He is the Son of God, but not that He is God, as is the Father God, and the Holy Spirit (Ghost) God. There is a difference. The Diety of Christ is one of the main reasons that mormons are not accepted as christians. I know you believe that He is Christ and Savior. But that He IS God is the crucial element. It makes all the difference in the world.

        • Tracee Sioux
          Tracee Sioux November 15, 2011 at 9:51 am #

          I did not declare one way or the other whether Jesus is God or the Son of God or that we are all One or that we are all the Sons and Daughters of God or that God is in ALL of us or that we are ALL Holy Spiritual Beings on this Planet Manifesting God in human form.

          In my view a person is a Christian if THEY declare themselves one.
          Whether or not DK believes me to be one is of little consequence to me.

          Mormons believe in Jesus Christ. Whether or not they follow every single technicality that you or your particular denomination have set forth as a qualification for Christianity is irrelevant. Mormons have a strong belief in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Thus, they are Christians whether they have your approval or not.

          • Tracee Sioux
            Tracee Sioux November 15, 2011 at 9:58 am #

            “Know ye not that you are Gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” Psalm 82:6

  7. Ricardo Garcia November 13, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    I am a convert member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was baptized at age 17 and for 32 years I have remained actively involved in the faith. I’m very greatful to Trancee Sioux for this fair article. I agree with 99% of the facts presented in this article coming from some one not longer associated with the church. I believe the so called “Mormonism” is in reality the closest one can get to the original teachings of Jesus Christ and the true Christian belief. However, not all members of the church ( “Mormons”) live 100% of what we believe and teach to be true.There are many levels of commitment withing our membership and we believe that Jesus Christ is the ultimate judge of all mankind regarless race,denomination or gender. I was born in Argentina but have lived in Australia for more than three decades so I don’t really know if Mitt Romney is the best person to become president of the United States of America but what I do know is that if Mitt Romney is “true” to the beliefs of the “Mormon” church he will always strive to be honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuest, and in doing good to all men. That’s a lot to be expected from a politician!

  8. Dr. Bill Morgan November 13, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    When I am referred to as a Mormon, I think of the chapter in Alma where Baptism by Immersion occurs in the waters of Mormon. Later, the father of the last prophet in the Book of Mormon is named Mormon. His name reminds me that we have at least one doctrine in common with the Christians known as Baptists – we are baptized by immersion to symbolize dying and being re-born in Christ. There are also chapters in the Book of Mormon that speak of the importance of being Born Again. We have too much in common with mainstream Christians to not be accepted as God-fearing and God-loving Christians.
    While I may or may not vote for Romney, I appreciate that he is, and Jon Huntsman is, willing to share his own personal religious beliefs as he runs for President of the United States.

  9. Lawyer Mama November 13, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    If gender equality is important to Mormons and family and home life are considered so important, why aren’t men also encouraged to stay home and care for the family? *That* is true gender equality. Encouraging only women to stay home is something else entirely and smacks of sexism and stereotypes.

    • Ricardo Garcia November 13, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      As a Mormon man I would like to respond to your post, but first a little about my self. Ricardo Garcia is my real name. I am as much main stream Mormon as one can get. My wife and I have been married for 21 years, we were married in the Australia Sydney Mormon Temple and we were both virgins until our honeymoon. We waited for 2years before having our first child. I am a priesthood holder (High Priest) and have served for the last 32 years in most available church positions (Bishoprics, Stake High Councils, Sunday School presidencies, Young Men presidencies, Ward Clark, exsecutive secretary to 2 Bishops, primary teacher, Seminary and Sunday School teacher, served a full time proselyting mission)…ok, it sounds a lot but the reason why I state this is because I would like to state that in all my years of voluntary service in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, women had been held at the “highest” of levels. Women and men are not made equally, we all have gifts and talents. I believe that women happened to be “more” naturally gifted and talented than the average man. The fact that the church encourages women as the main carerer in the home is (I believe) because women are (as a gender) more loving, more organized, more pacient, more nurturing, better at multiple-tasking than most men! Ask any active Mormon male in the church: who can run a programme or activity better, the brethem or the sisters of Relief Society? And the answer will be 95% of the time, the women of the church!

      • Lawyer Mama November 14, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

        Hmmm…… Claiming that women are more gifted in the home is just an excuse for institutionalized sexism. I think my husband, who is truly an equal caretaker, would be insulted by your remarks. I certainly am.

        • Tracee Sioux
          Tracee Sioux November 15, 2011 at 9:24 am #

          My guess is that you would not be a convert to many forms of Christianity for this very reason, nor a likely voter for a Republican candidate either. So the point is likely rather moot. This is their religious belief. No rational argument, no matter how skillfully argued, will trump their belief in God.

          • dk November 15, 2011 at 9:43 am #

            who are you speaking to Tracie?

          • Tracee Sioux
            Tracee Sioux November 15, 2011 at 10:05 am #

            Above post @LawyerMama

        • Ricardo Garcia November 17, 2011 at 8:14 am #

          I am so sorry that you felt insulted by my remarks, that was not my intention. Your comments makes me wonder what meaning do you give to the word “sexist”. My understanding of sexism comes from a “Spanish/Latino/Argentinian” background, I migrated to Australia at age 17yrs with no knowledge of the English language. I have lived in Australia for 32 years and yet I still believe that the term “sexist” has a negative undertone often used in cases of discrimination against some one, based on gender rather than ability. I no way I see my comments as negative towards women (but I can understand your husband getting upset, I have found many male’s egos threatened by the thought that women can be better suited/more skilled/ more able at some things that they are). Ooops! And just in case you feel insulted by this response, may I just add that my wife and I follow the doctrines of the “Mormon” church 100%. In our 21 years of marriage I have been the main financial provider to my family. My wife worked full time until our first child was born and has continued her university studies (she has two university degrees and is currently working though her “honors” post grade). We are working class people (I feel more like “the working poor class”) and having only one income was a decision we made, and it meant that we would have to rent for most of our lives as well as go without many things. Do we regret it? No, we don’t. I admire my wife for making the tough decision of staying at home while our children are young, rather than working full-time. Do I come home after day at work and say:”where is my dinner?”, well, no! Today I came home from a long day at work and while my wife and our oldest daughter worked on her prom dress, I cooked dinner and helped with our youngest daughter ‘s homework, (tonight is our son’s turn to wash the dishes before he goes to bed) but while all this was happening we stopped for our family scripture study. We are reading from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians in the New Testament. Yes, some “Mormons” could be labeled “sexist” and many other things, but as yet I have not seen any doctrine in the church that warrants that label.

          • Teri Pettit December 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

            Ricardo, in the sense and context that Lawyer Mama is using it, “sexism” means teachings, policies or social pressures that promote some social or occupational roles as more suitable for one sex than for the other.

            The non-sexist attitude is that each person should be evaluated as an individual, and that social roles should not be preferentially described in gender terms.

            Note that recognizing that the genders statistically differ along various psychological traits, such as women, on the average, being better at language, more cooperative, and having greater empathy for those different than themselves, and men, on the average, being more competitive, more hierarchical, and more aggressive, does not constitute sexism. What constitutes sexism is turning those averages into prescriptions about which social roles should be promoted for each gender.

            As an analogy, there is no denying that men, statistically speaking, tend to be taller than women. It would, however, be sexist to teach that occupations for which height is a valid criteria for success, such as street patrol cop – short people have more difficulty seeing over crowds – should be described as more suitable careers for men than for women. There are, after all, many women who are taller than the average man. On the average, more street cops might end up being male (although empathy and non-aggression can also be valuable traits for a street cop that might countervail the impact of height), but, if it happened, that would be an end result of the statistical variation, not an entry pressure.

            All of the psychological traits exhibit only statistical shifts in the curve placement. There are huge overlaps in the curves. In many families, the father will be the one who is most naturally suited to interacting with children, even though the fraction will be less than half.

            Thus, in the situation of families and work roles, the non-sexist attitude is that, if one of the parents exhibits more patience for and engagement with children than the other, then that parent should take on more of the hands-on child care, especially if the other parent has more aptitude for the workplace. Not that the mother should be more involved than the father or more encouraged to stay home while the children are young. Again, any gender imbalance would be a consequence of statistical variation in individuals, not a goal or a difference in steering.

          • Teri Pettit December 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

            Let me also add that I agree with Tracee’s reply below that most religions that have a strong traditionalist culture (as opposed to a forward looking culture promoting social change) are likewise guilty of sexism in the sense of promoting gender roles. You’ll find it in Orthodox Judaism, Greek Orthodoxy, Evangelical Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Primitive Baptists, etc.

            About the only religions that don’t have a patriarchal slant are the ones that were always change oriented, such as Unitarian Universalists, Reform Judaism, United Church of Christ (Congregationalists), etc.

            So someone who singles out Mormons in this regard is culling one tree out of the forest.

    • Tracee Sioux
      Tracee Sioux November 14, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      Someone has to earn a living Lawyer Mama. Many Mormon women do earn a living outside the home and many Mormon women do earn a living from within the home. The mainstream church does put pressure on women to stay home with their children and for men to be the traditional providers. This is one reason, I, personally, left the church. Funny thing though – I found it nearly impossible to reconcile within myself working away from my children 40 hrs a week and ended up working from home anyway. However, there is movement within the church. One of my guilty pleasures is to visit Mormon Feminist Housewives for a fuller picture of what actual Mormon women and men are really doing and feeling within their real lives – it’s a fascinating read. http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/

      Also, I hate to be the one to point this out, but you’re not going to find a religious organization that doesn’t smack of sexism in some way or other. Religious history is just FULL of it and progress, though it is there, is S-L-O-W. Two steps forward, three steps back. If you read religious history sometimes you’re just glad they are not trading us for goats or handing widows off to the brother who impregnates us first.

      My point here is that Mormons are not alone in sexism or stereotyping and in my opinion they are not the worst culprits either. Since leaving as a teenager I’ve participated in a variety of Christian denominations and it’s been quite an awakening for a sheltered Mormon girl – I’ve come away from some evangelical denominations convinced Mormons are freaking Feminists! Does a gender divide, or as you prefer to call it sexism and gender stereotypes, exist? Absolutely. Is it malicious in the Mormon religion? In my opinion? No. Was it one of the reasons I left the church? It was. Will it ever change? S . . . l . . . . o. . . . w. . . . l . . . . .y . As evidenced in people’s lives it’s already changing, but as evidenced by the Church’s official stance it hasn’t changed much in 100 yrs. It guess it’s sort of like Catholic’s stance on birth control – the church is absolutely against it – but their members are on the pill.

      • Tracee Sioux December 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

        Exactly, as Teri Pettit says, I never claimed that Mormons weren’t “sexist” by her very apt definition. They, in fact, have no interest in “feminism” or any other version of ideology where both genders fill the same roles interchangeably. This is true for many, many – even most – traditional and historical religions and Mormons are by far, not the worst culprits.

        However, in my experience their motive is not to “keep women down” or limit their potential. In fact, women and mothers in particular are held in a place of honor and esteem. They don’t “have” to work, if you will. They have the “most vital job of rearing the children, which is the most vital and cherished blessing.”

        Still, like many Mormon women (see Feminist Mormon Housewives, http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/ ) I had a problem with this. I still have a problem with this. I felt a need to interact professionally in the world. I still do. I felt I could and can do both. This is why I’m not a practicing Mormon. Only men are the leaders in the Church. This is true of many, many Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc faiths. I have a problem with this as well. God is not a man, God is too big to be strutting around the Universe hampered by a phallis. It’s also why I can’t sit through most Evangelical services without wanting to throttle the preacher and knock some damn sense into him.

        Save this quality, I love me some Mormons and we could do worse than having a Mormon President.

  10. Lily November 14, 2011 at 3:07 am #

    Hi Lawyer Mama.

    It is true that women are encouraged to stay at home, but that doesn’t mean men are forbidden to. If you want to persue your career and your partner supports you, do what works for you. But as the dude who responded after you pointed out, women are generally better at the job, ask anyone, mormon or not. The truth isn’t sexist, it’s just the truth. Being equal doesn’t necessarily mean the being same.

    • Lawyer Mama November 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

      Well, sorry, but I just don’t buy it. When men have the opportunity, they are just as able in the home. Anything else is just sexism, no matter what you call it.

      • Carina November 16, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

        All right, I’ll bite. I’m LDS.

        I had a career before I became a mother, and after those seminal events as well. I always expected to have a career and was never discouraged or told by my religion that I shouldn’t be educated and ambitious. Quite the opposite.

        My husband and I naively thought that since I out-earned him and was on a great career track, him staying home would work for our kids. Turns out, kids like their moms. I’m not generalizing that it has to be that way for everyone, but in our case, we came to realize that these small humans had a preference in their early years for me over him. I made the decision to take a step away from full time work and spend more time at home (clearly, the only way I was able to do this and still retain a decent wage is because I’m educated and highly specialized in my field.)

        Just because we want something to be so, doesn’t mean make it so. It also doesn’t mean we’re giving into an inevitable sexist stereotype: we had to face the reality that our expansive ideas of gender roles were unacceptable to our children. In our case, he was not as able. For one, his boobs didn’t work as well as mine did.

        Does this mean that ALL men are terrible at-home parents? No. Does that mean that ALL women are wonderful at-home parents? No. But it does mean that although we might have no problem with non-traditional roles, we may be disabused of that idea rather quickly by a 4 month old? Yup.

        The difference is that Mormons VALUE the work of women in a way that is not universally accepted. As you well know, the extraordinary work that women do is invisible and considered by general society as of low monetary worth. At least I know that the Sisyphean realities of motherhood are honored and revered by my faith. I have the purpose, perspective, and on-going support of my religious community in pursuing motherhood, career, education, and continual self-improvement.

  11. Marmas November 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Someone also has to take care of the children…As stated in the article, we believe that “no success can compensate for failure in the home.” My husband and I believe that no one cares or can love our children the way we do. No one can teach them the morals and values we believe in better than us. Consequently, we take care of our children, not trained professionals. I do mean we. I stay home with them during the day, while my husband works. In the evening, my husband joins the family and takes equal part in raising them. We are a team. Everything each of us does individually is for the team.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the best place to be a woman!

    • Lawyer Mama November 14, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

      Yeah, again, still not buying it. No matter how many times y’all repeat it, it still sounds like an excuse for sexism to me. And it’s insulting to men, as well as to women.

      As for the “we take care of our children, not trained professionals” remark, do you realize how insulting that is? So are you claiming that your children don’t go to school? You have them at home 24/7? Of course, even if you do, that doesn’t mean that people who don’t choose to homeschool aren’t raising their children.

      Why drag the whole stay at home versus work at home debate into this. I simply pointed out that if the Mormon church really emphasized gender equality, then MEN would be encouraged to stay at home. All I’m hearing in response are excuses for sexism.

      No, no church is free from problems, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t all strive to be better. True gender equality would be a great start.

      • Tracee Sioux
        Tracee Sioux November 15, 2011 at 10:01 am #

        I didn’t point out that the Mormon church emphasized gender equality. If you’ll read the post I pointed out that the church has a clear “gender divide” encouraging women to stay at home and men serving traditional provider roles. But that that women also had the right to vote many decades before the United States gave that right to women.

      • CJ November 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

        Let me preface this comment by saying a couple of things. I am in fact related to the author of this article. Secondly, I almost never agree with the author of this article. However, the article was based on a religion’s belief and in general I believe Tracee did a wonderful job informing the readers of some LDS basic beliefs.

        Men and Women are different and should be considered on “average” equal. On average women do make better caregivers for children as well as others. This does not in any way mean that there aren’t men who are amazing and possibly the best caregiver/nurturers. Men are on average better fighters/soldiers. That also does not mean that there aren’t some GI Janes out there that could be the absolute best as well. Gender “equality” does not mean that men and women should be seen as being equal on everything. God created his children to be different and yet complimentary of each other.

        I am not insulted when I am told that a woman can in fact do something better than I can. That a woman might be better suited to complete a task of perform in some job functions. Why should I be? Why would I look for an insult? Perhaps, just perhaps, there are people or genders out there that are better than I am at many things. And perhaps, I should better myself in that area, so that the next time, I won’t be the second choice.

        • Tracee Sioux
          Tracee Sioux November 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

          It is true. I, as a woman, am in fact better at most things than my brother there and he is never insulted when I point this out, why would he be as it is only a true fact? It is, as he noted, one of the rare things that he agrees with me on.

  12. Marmas November 14, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    What an excellent and fair article. Very well written, and very accurate. Thank-you!

  13. Pat O'Dea November 15, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    There are a lot of mistaken views about Mormons and this article addressing them well. However, the article is wrong about one thing, while Mormons believe in Jesus, WHAT they believe ABOUT Jesus is very different than what Christians believe, unless Mormons believe in a Jesus who is one God with Father and Holy Spirit from eternity and while He was one earth and forever, whose suffering and death paid for our sins and did all that is necessary to give us life with God.

    • dk November 15, 2011 at 9:44 am #

      Amen Pat.

    • Tracee Sioux
      Tracee Sioux November 15, 2011 at 9:59 am #

      Fortunately, Jesus didn’t name you the decider of who was a Christian or not.

    • Gazelem November 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

      Pat, I agree (and I am very partial to your name), and also agree with other critics of Mormonism that we do, in fact, worship “a different Jesus”. The difference is that the critics are mistaken when they assume that the Jesus of “Traditional Christianity” is the REAL Jesus (you know, the kid born just outside of Bethlehem in Judah amongst the rest of the Temple sacrifices – NOT some metaphysical conglomeration as defined by men “grounded in reason” in a series of councils), which in fact couldn’t be further from the truth. With what we NOW know about the Christianity of the first and second centuries, their views about the Father and the Son are much more consistent with the Latter-day Saint view.

  14. S. Williamson November 15, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    This article is rife with inaccuracies and stereotypes. Tracey is describing HER life growing up Mormon (white, privileged, upper class, American) but it does not represent the face of Mormonism as a whole or how the culture has significantly changed since she was young.

    Yes, some Mormon women don’t work outside the home—but so do a large percentage of non-Mormon women (about 40%). Like MOST women who work, some Mormon women work because they want to, but many because they have to. There are no commandments that prevent them from doing so, nor are they ostracized or penalized in any way by church leaders. Instead, this is literally the norm for many sisters who are told to pray and counsel with their husband’s to decide what is best for their individual circumstances.

    Utah actually ranks dead last among all states in the proportion of young men and women signing up for military service. Recruiters attribute this primarily to the choice of Utahns to serve as missionaries for the Church instead.

    Despite self-sufficiency aims, Utah has been the state with the #1 highest bankruptcy rate in the nation since 2002 (although to be fair, this includes Mormons and non-Mormons).

    While education is encouraged, the proportion of Mormons who graduate from college (18 percent) or receive postgraduate education (10 percent) mirrors the population as a whole (16 percent and 11 percent, respectively).

    The description of Mormon doctrine on “hell” is totally inaccurate as others have noted.

    I’m disappointed in this article. Was there really not one active Mormon who could write an article about the religion? Stereotypes about Mormonism, even positive ones, need to be checked against the facts by journalists and those who publish them. I hope you will invite others to offer more accurate portrayals.

    • Rusty Jay November 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

      This article is commentary. It is not expected to be anything other than Tracee’s personal views and experiences. Growing up as a mormon has given her first hand experience on what mormons in general are like. Of course her personal experience does not represent the face of the whole church, but does that really matter. The point is that not voting for Mitt Romney because of his religion is ridiculous.

  15. Tracee Sioux
    Tracee Sioux November 15, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    @lawyermama the thing is Mormon Women are not forced to do anything. Mormons are huge on Free Will. I have Mormon Women relatives who have had careers in teaching, court secretaries, administrative assistants, legal secretaries, youth counselors, retail managers, the military etc. Many Mormon women work by choice and many Mormon women work out of necessity. Many non-Mormon women choose to be Stay-at-home-moms for the exact same reasons that Mormon women choose to stay home with their children and I bet you don’t think that’s sexist and stereotypical. I bet you just think it’s a valid “choice.” Don’t we all just want all women, regardless of religious affiliation, to have a choice?

  16. Jesperstar November 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Wonderful article! I am a convert to the LDS church. My mother was a devout Catholic and I was brought up Catholic. I’ve always felt that it’s not about religion, it’s about our personal relationship with God, about helping those that are in need and keeping devout amidst worldly distractions. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”(James 1:27) I love hearing about other people’s faith respectfully and wish that the LDS church would get the same respect. We are people who love the Lord. I am not a person easily swayed, but after months of prayer and study I got a CLEAR answer to my prayers. I was baptized not too long after. I am now a stay-at-home mom, who has started homeschooling her children – not something the church encouraged me to do. I just couldn’t give the attention needed to my family and work full time as well. I know many women with careers, that can juggle it all and some men who stay at home with their children. I don’t feel slighted in any way, in fact I feel quite empowered. I don’t judge others because I know that we have all been given free agency to make our own choices. I am constantly praying and reading the scriptures to better myself and work at becoming as tolerant and loving as Jesus. I choose to be happy and I’ve never been happier since joining and practicing this religion. Life is what you make it, it’s not about which church you go to or whether you believe in one Godhead or three beings. Although I’m confused….Why did Jesus cry out on the cross “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) if he was one being? It’s how one’s self interprets as they read. Truth be told, we really won’t know until we die, so why don’t we stop debating and respect eachother’s right to choose how to live. It’s unnecessary to try to change someone’s opinion, they need only pray to our Heavenly Father if they would like a true answer. I think this was a great article to help right some wrongs that have been put in the media. No – I do not share my husband, no – I do not sacrifice chickens :) and no – I’m not a Republican (I don’t like to label myself to any political party)

  17. Joanne Bamberger
    Joanne Bamberger November 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    I really have to thank everyone for such a lively and respectful conversation on this topic. As a new site, I would not have expected this much attention yet — but I’m so glad to see such a great conversation!

  18. Pascale November 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Great article. I would like to point out one thing:
    A candidate’s religion should have NOTHING to do with suitability for office.
    Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
    Frankly, having a Mormon prez seems preferable to those evangelicals who have been personally invited by god and feel compelled to comment (either directly or via their cronies) on Romney’s religion. As my friends from Utah have pointed out, the Mormons can be quite tolerant. Need miners and the Germans want to brew beer in their off time? Those sinful brew pubs can be tolerated. Need a new hotel for an Olympic bid, but have to change liquor laws to seal the deal? God talks to the head of the church that very night and says it’s OK. I like that flexibility and convenience.
    Would I convert? No, but having a Mormon nominee is far less scary than a lot of the other stuff the Republican party is trying to sell the nation.

    • Tracee Sioux
      Tracee Sioux November 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

      Having lived in both the Bible Belt and Utah for extended periods of time @Pascale I must agree with you.

      • Tracee Sioux
        Tracee Sioux November 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

        Also, the head of the church doesn’t control liquor laws. LOL.

  19. A Right Path July 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    I was interested in your birth control comment. But, Romney is vocal about being anti-abortion?

  20. A Right Path July 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    I was interested in your birth control comment. But, Romney is vocal about being anti-abortion?

    How do do reconcile that with his stand, now. Is birth control okay, but nor abortion?

    • Tracee Sioux
      Tracee Sioux July 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      Yes A Right Path. There is a difference between birth control and abortion. Mormons do use birth control – various kinds from the birth control pill to condoms to patches, whatever each family feels is appropriate.

      And like many people they do not believe terminating a pregnancy, unless there are medical reasons that will harm the mother, is a good choice. Rather they have a very active adoption program that encourages women to carry the baby to term and find suitable parents to raise the baby. There are, of course, individual opinions within the issue of birth control.

  21. Kenny October 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    Fact: Mormons believe that God turned certain American Indians (the Lamanites) skin to a darker color in order to punish them. Fact.

  22. Tracee Sioux
    Tracee Sioux October 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    I think you’re referring to a parallel story to the one found in the Bible in Genesis where Cain builds a tower reaching up to get to God and God curses Cain’s people to have a darker skin color. Which is to say that all Christians, not only Mormons, have a “curse” and “darker skin” story in their history. And since Genesis is also a book that Jewish people refer to in their belief system you could say that they too share this story.

  23. Will rose October 29, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    That was nice and Sweet But ! What about Jesus was the Devil brother, baptizing the Dead wow where are bible say let the Dead burie the Dead, or having many wife’s can’t take away what Mormon book say, that my dark skin is due to demons lol, now that you let Black in the church and in leadership How you began really tell how the foundation is truly is.

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