Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is likely to be the Republican candidate for the U.S. presidency in 2012. He has acknowledged that he is a practicing Mormon and is trying to allay concerns about his religious beliefs. Most people are concentrating on areas such as Romney’s view of gay marriage, abortion, and whether Romney is really a Christian. Undoubtedly Romney’s answers in those areas will satisfy most Christians. However, not knowing much about Mormon doctrine and practices, most Christians are unaware of some of the areas in which the idea of a Mormon as president would raise serious doubts in their minds. They simply don’t know what to ask Mr. Romney. Below are some suggested questions which should be asked of Mr. Romney, both by Christian leaders and by journalists.
- According to Mormon scripture, the founder of your church (Joseph Smith) was told by God in 1820 that all the churches of the day were “an abomination.” Do you agree with God’s view of other churches, as quoted by Joseph Smith? (Pearl of Great Price, JS-Hist 1:18-19)
- According to your church’s Articles of Faith, number eight, the Book of Mormon is the “word of God.” Do you believe that?
- According to the Book of Mormon there are only two churches: the “church of the Lamb of God [presumably the Mormon church]” and the “church of the devil,” “the whore of all the earth.” Do you agree with that Mormon scripture? (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10)
- According to the Book of Mormon a dark skin is a curse imposed by God on the unrighteous and their descendants as a punishment for sin. Do you agree with that doctrine? (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 12:22-23, Alma 3:6, 2 Nephi 5:21-22, Jacob 3:8, 3 Nephi 2:15-16, Mormon 5:15; references to the “Lamanites” are taken to be referring to Native American “Indians”.)
- According to Mormon doctrine, the president of the Mormon church is a prophet of God, receiving revelations and commandments (God’s laws) directly from God. Do you believe that? (Doctrine and Covenants , 21:5, 43:3, 58:18)
- One of the most sacred rituals for adult Mormons, performed only in a Mormon temple, is a ceremony called “the endowment.” Have you undergone this ritual? If so, in what year?
- To be admitted to the temple for the endowment ceremony a Mormon must be “in good standing” in the church and undergo a personal interview with church leaders, who examine the member as to whether the member obeys church commandments, supports church leaders, pays full ten percent tithe, wears the prescribed Mormon underwear, abstains from coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco and extramarital sex, and other matters. If the member answers correctly, a pass to the temples (called a “temple recommend”) is issued, good for two years. Do you have such a temple recommend now, indicating that you are in good standing in your church? If not, why not?
- In the secret Mormon temple ceremony Mormons take an oath of obedience to “the law of the Lord.” Did you take that oath?
- Before 1990, the endowment ceremony required members to take an oath of secrecy not to reveal anything that happened in the temple under penalty of death. Did you take that oath?
- In the temple ceremony Mormons also take a secret oath to “consecrate your time, talents and everything which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…” Did you take that oath?
- Would you consider the office of the presidency of the U.S. to be a “blessing” with which the Lord had blessed you?
- Mormons teach that by obedience to all the commandments of Mormonism, a Mormon may attain the highest degree of heaven and ultimately become a god, creating and ruling over his own universe. Do you believe that? Is this your ultimate personal goal?
- Although your church presently condemns the practice of polygamy, the scripture commanding it is still in the Mormon Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132. Many early Mormons were polygamous and married (“sealed”) to numerous wives “for eternity.” Do you believe then that there will be polygamous families in Mormon heaven?
- It is well documented that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, secretly had many wives. Some of those women were at the same time married to other men, some were as young as fifteen, He claimed that he was commanded by God to enter into these marriages. Do you feel that these early marital practices of your church’s founder were really commanded by God?
- Mormons believe that when Christ returns to earth, a millennium of peace will begin under Christ’s rule (Article of Faith number ten), presumably as a single theocracy. Most Mormons believe that during that time, Mormons will be Christ’s appointed officers and that the civil law will conform to Mormon teachings. Do you believe that?
- According to Mormon scripture (Doctrine and Covenants 135:3) Joseph Smith did more than any other man except Jesus Christ “for the salvation of men in this world.” Do you agree with that, keeping in mind the contributions of men like the Apostles, Saint Paul, Thomas Aquinas, Saint Augustine, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, and others?
Some may feel that questioning a candidate about his religious beliefs is irrelevant, even bigotry. But some religious beliefs may influence the actions of a public officer, and voters should have the basic information which will allow them to decide that question in the voting booth.