Marvel with the Mormons

Apparently Mitt Romney referred to Paul Ryan’s budget as “marvelous,” which President Obama found to be a rather odd choice of adjective. As seen in this post, however, the word “marvelous” appears constantly in the Book of Mormon. Basically, Joseph Smith was a terrible writer who wanted his book to sound like the King James Bible, so he used words that he thought came across as Jacoban over and over again. I’ve had a request to write about Mormonism, but I already covered that topic a few years back with my Thursdays with Moroni series:

Part 1: Yo Joe!
Part 2: Nephi’s Nuts
Part 3: We Like Short Books
Part 4: Those Dang-Blasted Injuns!
Part 5: Alma, Tell Us
Part 6: Jesus H. City-Crushing Christ!
Part 7: It Is Finished
Part 8: I Found the Star

Part of me thinks that religion is religion, and if you believe some carpenter who lived 2000 years ago was the incarnation of God Almighty who sacrificed himself to himself so believers could get into Heaven, adding that he went to America at some point doesn’t make it that much more far-fetched than it was already was. Even the stuff about God having a body and living on the planet Kolob, while quite far from mainstream Christian belief, doesn’t hurt anyone to believe.

No, the bigger problem is something that comes up over and over in the Book of Mormon and Smith’s other works, and that’s institutionalized racism. It’s not just passages that some people interpret as racist, but a very blatant theme that darker skin indicates a lower level of faith. How much of this Romney believes, I couldn’t say, especially because Romney seems to change his beliefs every other day. There are plenty of reasons not to vote for the guy that don’t involve religion, so as ridiculous as the convictions of the Latter-Day Saints might be, I don’t know that it even needs to enter into politics. That doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting to examine, however.

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7 Responses to Marvel with the Mormons

  1. Will says:

    Absolutely right religion is religion. When people comment of Scientology they always focus and goof on Xenu and the whole bad science fiction back story which in my opinion is not any whackier than talking snakes and a resurrected carpenter. They should concentrate on the actions of the church hierarchy, the coercive behavior and the expense

    • Nathan says:

      Exactly, but I get the impression age is a significant factor here. Because Mormonism and Scientology are relatively new, we have insight into the characters of Smith and Hubbard that we don’t for the founders of older religions. Moses might have been a scam artist as well, but how would we know?

      • This is the point from an opposite look as well– it’s easy for an outsider to look at other religions and poke at all the problems in it, but within those religions are usually (maybe discounting extremists and cultists) lots of people who get a lot of good things out of that religion, and all the stupid things about it that you can point out don’t really matter to them after all. As a Catholic, I hear things all the time about how much the Catholic Church sucks, and there are in fact lots of Catholic doctrines and traditions that I disagree with (I sometimes refer to myself as a “bad Catholic,” actually). But I also appreciate the beauty of the service, have been moved to tears, am always learning something from the scriptures and homilies and songs that helps me in my everyday life or at least keeps me going. So I’m not going to ditch the Church any time soon, no matter what problems it has.

        Likewise on the subject of Mormonism specifically– I don’t know why, but somehow I’ve managed to get to know quite a few practicing Mormons over the Internet recently (possibly because there’s a lot of Mormon up-and-coming writers– there was a joke in the kidlitosphere circles awhile back that there was a Mormon conspiracy that you could only get published if you were a Mormon). Maybe it’s because they’re so rare in our part of the country (though my one NON-kidlit Mormon Internet Friend lives in Pittsburgh), but perhaps that makes it easier to color Mormons as a THEM, as somehow inherently different– but really, not so much. The ones I know in the book world are politically liberal. They all like the same sort of worldly entertainments as the rest of the world. They’re just people who have a particular religion.

  2. momo5n4 says:

    Will: Coercive behavior and expense? There is no more coercion amongst the LDS than in any other organized religion with actual written doctrine. It is a standard of living that is taught as desirable, but also makes a generous allowance for the fallibility of human nature. And if you are speaking of tithing as an expense, tithing is a biblical law, hardly exclusive to the LDS church. Stop distorting things to support your apparently baseless bias!
    Nathan: You are right, how would we know? I guess it involves a bit of faith.
    Rockinlibrarian: Not sure where you live, but politically liberal Mormons are pretty rare, in my experience. But, I live in Memphis, and here liberal vs conservative seems to split down racial lines as opposed to religious lines.

    • Nathan says:

      The LDS might well be no more coercive than any other Christian denomination, but that’s faint praise to my mind.

    • Oh, the ones I’m talking about don’t live near me, but they’re all writers, and female writers at that, so that may make a difference to the demographic. You know, artsy types. ;)

  3. Will says:

    I was referring to Scientology, should have made it clearer sorry

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