Several theories have been floated as to why Romney’s campaign failed. Some say that he’s too perfect—good looks, rich, smart, successful at everything—and this turned people off because they resent him. Some say that he has a robotic “Stepford Wives” vibe about him, and this turned people off. I think that both factors have some merit, but clearly the main reason he failed to win the party nomination is his Mormonism.
You have to be pretty stupid to believe that an angel really talked to Joseph Smith and told him about some gold plates written in “reformed Egyptian.” The gold plates were conveniently returned to the angel, leaving behind no physical evidence. Neither was the actual “reformed Egyptian” text copied, all that Joseph Smith gave us was the translation, so there’s no way for anyone to even verify that it was a real language. (With the exception of one page of gibberish that real Egyptian scholars don’t recognize as anything they’ve ever seen before.)
In addition to making up his own religion, Joseph Smith abused his power by taking over thirty wives, many of them teenagers. So while the Mormons see this guy as a “prophet,” the rest of the world sees him as a creep, no more worthy of worship than various other religious weirdoes such as David Koresh (who also claimed to be a prophet and who also had sex with underaged girls).
Can someone who believes in this nonsense be fit to be President?
Well, when one looks at it neutrally, the nonsense that Mormons believe in isn’t any weirder than the nonsense that regular Christians believe in. One has to be equally stupid to believe that a virgin living in the Middle East gave birth to God, based on the say-so of twelve long-dead “apostles.” Yet belief in the Jesus story is a requirement in order to be President. Half of the voters won’t vote for a candidate with a rational view of the world.
As a rational voter who has to hold my nose and vote for a candidate who publicly proclaims his belief in nonsense, I figured that there’s not much difference between believing in gold plates and believing in virginal births, so I supported Mitt Romney for the reasons mentioned in my endorsement post.
But the average voter isn’t rational like me, and this especially applies to the average evangelical Republican voter in the south. Such a voter truly believes that the Jesus story is the truth, so all he sees in Romney is a guy who believes in an obviously bogus religion, while every other candidate worth voting for believes in the truth.
Evidence of the above view of events can be seen in the election results. In southern states, where there are lots of evangelical Christian voters, Huckabee, one of their own, was chosen as the alternative to McCain and not Romney. Romney only did well in caucuses, where perhaps Mormons packed the vote (that’s Steve Sailer’s theory). Winning 90% of the vote in Utah demonstrates the strength of his Mormon support; Obama doesn't even win such a large share of the black vote. Romney did pretty well in other Western states where there are lots of Mormons. If you work with Mormons, and see that they are nice and normal-seeming people, you are more likely to not have a problem voting for Romney. And it’s true about Mormons being nice, I knew a lot of them when I lived in Arizona, and they are very nice people.
However, I have to admit a certain relief that Romney lost, because Mormonism really is creepier than mainstream Christianity. The LDS church makes no secret of its goal of converting the whole world to Mormonism. No church is more active in proselytizing. There are over 50,000 full-time Mormon missionaries at work trying to convert people. Young male Mormons are expected to devote two whole years of their lives to a Mormon mission. Each of Romney’s five sons served on a Mormon mission, demonstrating that Romney is not just some secular guy who had the misfortune of being born Mormon, but rather he is an active participant in the Mormon goal of converting the world. As a non-religious voter, I’d rather vote for a guy whose sons served two years in the military serving our country, rather than two years serving their religion.
The LDS church is an un-American totalitarian church. Mainstream Christianity, even if it’s based on nonsense, is a very democratic religion. As far as I know, anyone can show up at a Christian church, say they believe in Christ, and are welcomed as full members. That’s not true of the LDS church which is a secretive cult-like organization. One only gets into the inner-circle of Mormonism by demonstrating their commitment to the cause, such as by devoting two years one’s life to a mission. The paradox of the Mormon missionary is that he’s a young kid who doesn’t even know what his religion is about, because he’s not allowed to know about the true secrets of his religion until after he completes his mission, at which time he’s first allowed into the inner Temple and allowed to wear the underwear.
I found the following passage, written by an ex-Mormon, to offer some insight into the religion:
After many years of studying the Mormon church, attending some of its services, knowing its people and rejecting the entire concept I think I know the problem with it: it’s too much of a paradox. If you take the Methodists or Baptists or Catholics you have a mishmash of ideas and behaviors and they're not that exciting. In those churches, can you imagine being called into an office for a discussion of your CONDUCT?? To be told what might happen to you if it continues?? Of course not. But with the Mormons you have incredible discrepancies that keep them talked about.
What do I mean? Well, you take any small town with a high Mormon population (like Mesa, AZ and Loveland, CO) and what do you see? Spotless cars, immaculate yards, well mannered children, clean cut teenagers, non drinkers.
But, what puzzles people and gets their attention is the Huge Business Conglomerate of the leadership. The Arrogance of the “Twelve Apostles” on television. The popularity of Prozac amongst the women. The exhaustion of the home teachers. The guilt of the teens. The end of year check you write them based on your income for the past year!!! The constant pressure to have huge families.
The behaviors of the founders that are debated ad nauseum like Joseph Smith's fondness for alcohol, the church's denial that Brigham Young had That Many wives, the ever changing explanation for how the so called Golden Plates came into existence and translation, the "courts" you must attend if you're found to have done something against the church (like talk too much about it in a negative manner), the Mountain Meadows Massacre—I could go on and on.
I had treated the missionaries like Gods in my home for weeks. But the last time they came over they brought their Bishop with them and threatened me with, “I’m warning you: you're playing WITH FIRE.” And here I had given them my birthday money from my mother, knowing their awful living conditions. I thought we were friends. And yes, if you have casual friends who are members and think you MIGHT become a member they’re very friendly. But when they find out you are Not being baptized you get this big chill. Do Methodists and Catholics act like that? Do they come to your home with lessons? Send you letters?
Mormons admit freely, “we don’t tell you everything at once; it's milk before meat only.” Boy, is That the truth. I bet you thousands of prospects don't know some of the stuff that goes on with their weird weddings that disallow the bride's parents to attend (they have to have a second wedding for that), the weird derived from Masonry services in the temple that "changes" over the years where the performers wear dunce caps and naked girls are touched on different body areas with water by attendants, the pages in library books that are ripped out by Mormons so you can’t read them—this church takes over your life. And if you try to leave? And move away? THEY FIND YOU. IT’S LIKE STALKING.
So, just enjoy the clean cars and lovely lawns and smiling faces and stay away. Or you won’t have a life; at least, not one that I’d want. That's my two cents.
As we recall from the first paragraph of this post, one of the reasons why Romney may have lost votes is because of his robotic “Stepford Wives” vibe. That is also a Mormon thing. The religious Mormons in Arizona all had that exact same vibe about them. My friend, Johnny Wraith, used to be able to point out Mormon people based on their Mormon demeanor as well as the tell-tale hints of their Mormon underwear. Johnny Wraith was the first Mormon I ever knew, but he didn’t really believe in the religion, and what he told me about it is pretty similar to the contents of the passage quoted above.
Despite all the bad stuff I wrote above about Mormonism, Romney might have still won the election if he did things differently. “Bigotry” of any kind is considered distasteful, and it would be politically incorrect for the mainstream media to say bad things about Mormonism. Romney compiled a socially liberal record as governor of Massachusetts. He even said he supports a woman’s right to choose! If he had just stayed with that economically conservative but socially mainstream persona, if he had given a speech about his belief in separation of church and state instead of his belief that religious belief is necessary for democracy, if he had gone after the moderate wing of the party instead of the evangelicals, the result might have been different. Romney, despite being smart enough to graduate in the top 5% of his class at Harvard Business School, was pretty stupid to think that, as a Mormon who flip-flopped on abortion, he could somehow base his campaign on winning the Christian-right vote.