Monday, October 10, 2011

Mitt Romney for President: Will the LDS Church Factor into Mitt's Decisions as President?

There's been a lot of talk about Mitt Romney's run for the presidency. The Romney camp is framing the opposition as religious bigots for their fear that the Mormon church will influence Romney's decisions. Is there any history of the Mormon Church exercising influence over political leaders?

Mormon Church vs The ERA

In 1972 an Amendment to the Constitution was passed by the Senate that required women to be treated as individuals under the law just as men were. The amendment required ratification by 38 states. National polls showed consistent support of the amendment.

The Mormon church on the other hand saw the ERA as "a moral issue with many disturbing ramifications for women and for the family as individual members as a whole." They warned that the ERA might "stifle many God-given feminine instincts".

After the Mormon church's condemnation of the amendment, Idaho reversed their approval of the amendment in a referendum. Bishops solicited donations to defeat the ERA.  Letter-writing campaigns were organized to spam politicians in every state. In the end the ERA was defeated.

Mormon Church vs Civil Rights Bill

In 1964, Governor George W. Romney was contacted by Apostle Delbert Leon Stapely via a letter printed on Church letter head. The apostle voices his concern about the governors stance on the civil rights issue. Governor Romney was an advocate of the Civil Rights movement.

In the letter, Stapley voices the his concern and the concern that had been expressed to him by "several others". Stapely also sent Romney a booklet entitled Mormonism and the Negro.  The booklet was full of quotes from former prophets and apostles on the subject. It was a good representation of the racist doctrines preached by Mormon prophets and apostles that used God's will as justification.

On December 14, 1963, then apostle Ezra Taft Benson claimed that the  Civil Rights Movement in the South had been "formatted almost entirely by the Communists.". Elder Benson later declared in a 1967 general conference:
The Communist program for revolution in America has been in progress for many years and is far advanced. While it can be thwarted in a fairly short period of time merely by sufficient exposure, the evil effects of what has already been accomplished cannot be removed overnight. The animosities, the hatred, the extension of government control into our daily lives--all this will take time to repair. The already-inflicted wounds will be slow to heal.
First of all, we must not place blame on the Negroes. They are merely the unfortunate group that has been selected by professional Communist agitators to be used as the primary source of cannon fodder. Not one in a thousand Americans--black or white--really understands the full implications of today's civil-rights agitation. The planning, direction, and leadership come from the Communists, and most of those are white men who fully intend to destroy America by spilling Negro blood, rather than their own.
Next, we must not participate in any so-called 'blacklash' activity which might tend to further intensify inter-racial friction. Anti-Negro vigilante action, or mob action, of any kind fits perfectly into the Communist plan. This is one of the best ways to force the decent Negro into cooperating with militant Negro groups. The Communists are just as anxious to spearhead such anti-Negro actions as they are to organize demonstrations that are calculated to irritate white people.
We must insist that duly authorized legislative investigating committess launch an even more exhaustive study and expose the degree to which secret Communists have penetrated into the civil rights movement. The same needs to be done with militant anti-Negro groups. This is an effective way for the American people of both races to find out who are the false leaders among them.

Idaho Lottery Initiative

In 1986, the people of Idaho voted yes on a lottery initiative by a 60 to 40 percent margin. The initiative was declared unconstitutional by the Idaho Supreme Court. An amendment was proposed in 1988. A letter was sent out stating the LDS stance on gambling. An organized effort similar to the recent California Proposition 22 was made in vain. In November of 1988 the Idaho lottery was instituted with a 51% vote.

Proposition 8

In 2010 the LDS Church was fined for failing to follow campaign disclosure policies during the last two weeks leading up to the election. The Church was found to have donated $37,000 in non-monetary contributions.  I won't go into the LDS involvement . Full chronological documentation can be found here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

There are many other examples of the Mormon Church exercising political influence. There's an old saying that a zebra can't change his stripes. The Mormon church has always pressured politicians and the same will be true of Mitt Romney. We've already seen Mitt change his stance on abortion to fit the current Mormon stance word for word. Those that worry about the Mormon influence on Mitt's decisions as president seem to have historical evidence to back up their fears.