Views and opinions expressed in this article do not represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormons) as a whole. They are the views and opinion of one life long member.
Having read a lot about Romney's religion over the past months in regards to his bid for the presidency, there seemed to be as much to read about his religion as his policies. Some of it was ridiculous, like the lists of questions asked by theocrats that have no relevance to the presidency or government in general. For example, one asked if he would be sworn in on a Book of Mormon rather than a Bible, forgetting both that there is no religious test for government roles and that as Christians, the first book in the LDS cannon is the King James Bible.
Another odd idea thrown out by some is the idea that one Mormon president will have the power to overthrow the entire government of the United States. These people have clearly not read the Constitution. There would need to be a strong majority of Latter-Day Saints in all branches of the government to have any real power, and even then there would be no "Mormon takeover." Seeing that Harry Reid and Mitt Romney are in opposing parties with opposing ideologies, I don't see them as being able to work together in any sort of "secret plot."
The facts don't stop them though. Some claim their "proof" in the fact that Joseph Smith also ran for the office of president. It is true that he ran for president before he was murdered. There was even a Council of Fifty created to help sell his presidency. Although this was a council that included members of other faiths, most realistic people understand Smith didn't have a real chance of winning. His run was more likely simply to alert the nation to the plight of his people and potentially gain more converts. There was an extermination order in Missouri, that wasn't revoked until the 1970's. They were constantly being attacked, driven from place to place with few, if any, elected officials willing to help.
The reality is that if people looked more at Romney's religion, they might just see him as more Republican than Latter-day Saint. It very likely he is not alone in that regard of many of the religious right today. For example, it is easy to say that he is against gay marriage because he a Christian or because he is "Mormon". This just isn't true. He and other members of the faith are against it because they are Republicans. Look at Prop 8 in California. Members of the LDS community that supported same sex marriage were not cut off, excluded or kicked out.
This is because stopping homosexuals from marrying is an in-house rule. According to our Articles of Faith we have no right to stop other religions from allowing same sex marriages.
"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." - Articles of Faith 1: 11- Advertisement -
The problem with same sex marriage as a government sponsored right comes from a combination of paranoia and the 12th article of faith:
"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."
If the laws states that all religions must allow same sex marriages to "fight discrimination," as some might call it, Lattery-day Saints would likely have to shut down our temples. It is a Bible believing religion. Some may think it corny or old fashion, but unless God reveals to something new to Church leaders, Church doctrine will not change. Even then, the members of the Church must sustain it before it is binding.
In other words, even if the Lord gives new revelation, the members of the Church can reject it. It also means that leaders and members can do things contrary to the will of the Lord, and their actions, statements and decisions are not binding as doctrine on the Church as a whole.
As an example, the Church saw this in the past when Brigham Young changed the ordinances to exclude African Americans without revelation due to his own human bias. This was an argument among Church leaders for around a century, until everyone at the top could come into an agreement. After the agreement was reached by revelation to the First Presidency and the Counsel of the 12 Apostles, the decision was presented to the Church, who voted in favor unanimously making it doctrine - binding on the Church. This happened even though there were still bigots in the Church that didn't like going back to the way the Lord has set things up through Joseph Smith.
Keep in mind -- only Christ is perfect. God lets us make errors and we, and in this case the reputation of the Church, have to live with the mistakes.
While the idea of the government forcing same sex marriage on a religion may seem like an irrational fear to some, keep in mind -- this is a religion that was literally driven out of the United States. (The land that is now Utah was a part of Mexico when Brigham Young first led them there). Even then, the government sent an army to wipe the Mormons out. To take control, after the military refused to murder people in cold blood, the government defined marriage for their territory, ripping apart families. They took fathers away from children and husbands away from their wives. In the state of Utah, only the federal government can redefine marriage. This had to be written into their constitution to become a state. While the paranoia may be unwarranted, it always seems legitimate to the paranoid.
It would be wise for modern Latter-day Saints against same sex marriage to wake up to the fact that while they see themselves as defenders of the faith, they may in fact be just as guilty as those Republicans out to stop polygamy in the 1800s.
The reality is that a real Latter-day Saint as president wouldn't be a good or bad thing. But a Republican Mormon may just be a far cry from that. LDS doctrine is clear that good Christians support the government, which is why members are generally uberpatriotic.