Mitt to LDS explainer: Er, thanks, but STOP
In The New York Times, philosopher Simon Critchley scolds his “horribly overeducated and hugely liberal” New York friends for their casual but incessant bashing of the LDS religion. So far, so good in his essay, “Why I Love Mormonism.”
But Mitt Romney probably wishes Critchley stopped there.
… when anti-Mormon prejudice is persistently pressed and expressed, and I perhaps feel momentarily and un-Mormonly emboldened by wine, I begin to try and share my slim understanding of Joseph Smith and my fascination with the Latter-day Saints. After about 45 seconds, sometimes less, it becomes apparent that the prejudice is based on sheer ignorance of the peculiar splendors of Mormon theology.
He goes on (and on) to explain some of the more arcane of splendors of Mormon belief (BTW: The NYTimes is not The Salt Lake Tribune religion page, so expect a fascinating but challenging intellectual discussion, requiring thinking and stuff).
In the process, Critchley probably doesn’t build any bridges between Mitt and the GOP’s Evangelical Christians. Lord knows they already view his all-American religion with suspicion.
Critchley gave a series of lectures at Brigham Young University in the mid-1990s and he shares a few things he learned during his stay in Provo:
– For a start, God did not create space and time, but is subject to them and therefore is not an infinite being.
– Any male Mormon can inherit the same “power and glory as God and become exalted like him.” Or as another Mormon leader pithily explained it: “As man now is, God once was. As God now is, man may be.”
– Smith’s explanation of the thorny Holy Trinity relationship likely would have gotten him burned at the stake in the 16th Century.
In short, Critchley’s valentine to the Mormon religion is complex and thought provoking and isn’t any stranger than transubstantiation or virgin birth. But the essay also clearly explains why Mitt Romney, who presumably believes he has a shot at godhood, hasn’t committed a lot of time explaining his religion to the Evangelicals he needs to win the somewhat less exhalted post of president of the United States.