The most questionable part of Romney is not his ethics, or whether he created or destroyed jobs. It's his religion. A President's religion, if's he's a true believer, influences the way he sees the world and makes decisions. Did Dubya think God told him to invade Iraq? To what extent does Romney believe all that nutty Mormon stuff?
I was recently fortunate enough to receive a copy of the Book of Mormon, courtesy of the Marriott Residence Inns. Perhaps someone way up on the company is a Mormon.
I “read at it,” as one of my grad school professors used to say — because that was all I could stand without being bored to stupefaction.
Didn’t happen (of course)
First of all, and most obviously, the book is a total fabrication. There’s no historical evidence that any of these people and tribes existed. How the writers came up with it is anybody’s guess. Probably some very Bible-conscious folks got together, maybe smoked some dope or opium, and just started riffing on this alternate-Bible thing.
There were many adds and edits along the way, as attested by the copious footnotes…but who cares? It’s religion! You don’t need proof or evidence. Just make it up as you go along — that’s the fun of it! Anything goes!! When did Jews start flinging chickens over their heads to gain forgiveness at the High Holidays?
Second, it turns out that none of the bizarre tales about Jesus appearing in North America to the lost tribes, who also show up in the New World, IS EVER MENTIONED in the book. All the stuff about how it all came to be written on special metal plates – and there are four kinds of them — along with the identification of the Lamanites as Native Americans and a lot of other background events, occurs in an Introduction, which consists in part of the testimony of Smith.
There is a reference to a voyage across a body of water, but the idea that it was the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the tale about Jesus’ interactions with actual native Americans, is an after-the-fact fabrication, which, by tradition, takes its place in the Mormon belief system, which, just like every other religious belief system, grows by tradition and authority, with no reference to external, independent evidence.
Here and there we find material obviously lifted from or influenced by the Bible, e.g., Ch. 2, I Nephi, introduction/summary: “Lehi takes his family into the wilderness by the Red Sea—They leave their property—Lehi offers a sacrifice to the Lord and teaches his sons to keep the commandments.”
Or: “O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people…” (Mormon 8:33). In Exodus, God repeatedly calls the Israelites “stiffnecked.” Couldn’t the Mormonm writer(s) at least bother to consult a thesaurus? They even lift the -ite suffix which identifies tribes in the Bible (Hamite, Amalekite), even though there are plenty of alternatives in English, e.g., -ian (Canadian), -i (Israeli, Iraqi), -ese (Chinese), and many others.
It’s all a lot of religious argle-bargle, repeatedly exhorting people to love God and Jesus, with plenty of threats and promises, just as in the Bible — and narrating a parallel Mormon universe, an alternate history about as sophisticated as the Bible but far less interesting. Nothing as imaginative as the talking snake, the pillar of salt trick, or the rape of Dinah (Genesis, Ch. 34), with its ghastly revenge.
Barren of wisdom
Different names, places, and events - otherwise it’s a bunch of Bronze Age idiots migrating here and there and fighting each other for stupid religious reasons, just like in the Bible. I couldn’t find one sentence worth quoting, so barren of wisdom is this bucket of drivel. The following is typical:
[Summary of ] Chapter 47, Book of Alma: “Amalickiah uses treachery, murder, and intrigue to become king of the Lamanites—The Nephite dissenters are more wicked and ferocious than the Lamanites.”
Hollywood Shakespearian English
And get this: although the book was obviously written in the 19th century by contemporary Americans, the language resembles that of the King James Bible (which was archaic for its time). WTF is up with all the Yea’s and It came to pass…. and I say unto you??? Couldn’t Moroni (or, as I call him, Bony Moroni) have had the plates written in modern English? Or is it not official unless it sounds ancient, unless it’s written in an earlier version of English?
Religious people can be such fucking idiots. If they’ll believe in Joseph Smith’s steaming pile of BS, they’ll certainly believe that Moroni spoke a Hollywood version of 16th century English.
That’s about all you need to know about the Book of Mormon. I wish I could have found more to say about it. It’s the Bible as a B-movie. People actually swallow this stuff?
And one of them is now is a candidate for President? If he actually believes it, he can believe anything, even what he's saying at the moment, even if it conflicts with what he said last year. If he pretends to believe it (as Obama apparently does with Christianity), then he's a typical pandering politician who, again, cannot be relied on to tell the truth or give us an accurate version of reality.
I am left with a sense of wonder at the pliability of the human mind…and at the many bizarre reasons for religious belief.
And I do not want a President who believes in a psychotic religious fantasy.