Mitt and Joseph II

Last week, I wrote about Mitt and Mormons, and the founding prophet of the Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith. I asked some questions I think are fair to ask of the first major party Mormon to be nominated for POTUS.

One reader reminded me that Mitt is not the first Mormon to be in the national political spotlight. Indeed, this is true. And in fact, the Senate majority leader, our own Harry Reid, isn’t just Mormon, but a fairly active member of the church. At times, I forget this fact, probably because Harry just doesn’t politically come off like your standard arch-conservative LDS. At times, he’s more conservative than his liberal reputation, it’s true, but generally, I’m OK with Harry. You gotta remember, Nevada’s a state that elected the curious Chic Hecht and the disgraced John Ensign to the Senate. So in this context, Reid looks positively Jeffersonian.

Another plus for Harry the Mormon is that, well, he drives real Mormons kinda wacky. Utah Mormon blogger Holly Richardson, writing about Reid back in ’09, wrote, “I just don’t get how his politics translate to somebody who has LDS beliefs. He’s an embarrassment to me as a Mormon.” This is as good an explanation as any as to how I can vote for Reid without giving his religion a second thought.

The questions I would have for both Mitt and Harry would be, “Do you think Joseph Smith, with the help of the angel Moroni, actually found divine Golden Plates? Do you think the Book of Mormon and the D & C (Doctrine and Covenants) were divinely inspired, as in dictated to Joe by God? If so, how do you feel about D & C 132, the shocking covenant where God established plural marriage, thereby giving Joe the divine green light to take at least 27 wives, and as many as 34?” Included in this roster of spouses were three 19 year-olds, three 17 year-olds, two 16 year-olds, and two 14 year-olds. Talk about a guy positively dripping with manly juju! The guy was a total Democrat!

In fact, we may soon hear Romney’s answers on this front. Modern media has established that inquiries into a candidate’s religion are totally fair game. As it should be. Romney’s had a fairly free ride so far. Now that he’s The Nominee, I suspect this soon could change.

Finally, I want to be fair to Smith. Last week I described him, unflatteringly but fairly, it seems to me, as a hybrid of Jim Jones and L. Ron Hubbard. To be more well-rounded and complete in my description, I must also mention the man’s raw and formidable charisma, which was obviously A Force. Comparable to JFK, perhaps? Greater than? Charisma is probably the major factor when dealing with religious figures in history, and undoubtedly explains much of Smith and his church, which now, at 14 million members, is the fourth largest Christian denomination in the U.S.