June 10, 2007

Continuing The Bigotry

Sally Denton uses today's Los Angeles Times op-ed page as a launching pad for the movie based on her book, "American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857," and as a means to propagate more anti-Mormon bigotry at the expense of Mitt Romney. Denton insists that Romney has to respond about the nature of his faith if he expects to win the nomination for the Presidency -- and uses a lot of 19th-century examples to "prove" her case:

MITT ROMNEY'S Mormonism threatens his presidential candidacy in the same way that John F. Kennedy's Catholicism did when he ran for president in 1960. Overt and covert references to Romney's religion — subtle whispering as well as unabashed inquiries about the controversial sect he belongs to — plague his campaign. None of his responses so far have silenced the skeptics.

Recent polls indicate that from 25% to 35% of registered voters have said they would not consider voting for a Mormon for president, and conventional wisdom from the pundits suggests that Romney's biggest hurdle is his faith. Everyone seems eager to make his Mormonism an issue, from blue state secularists to red state evangelicals who view the religion as a non-Christian cult.

All of which raises the question: Are we religious bigots if we refuse to vote for a believing Mormon? Or is it perfectly sensible and responsible to be suspicious of a candidate whose creed seems outside the mainstream or tinged with fanaticism?

Ironically, Romney is the only candidate in the race (from either party) who has expressed discomfort with the idea of religion infecting the national dialogue. While his GOP rivals have been pandering to the evangelical arm of the party, Romney actually committed himself (during the first Republican debate) to the inviolable separation of church and state.

First, Denton is hardly an unbiased pundit in this regard. She's flogging a book and a movie about an atrocity committed by Mormons 150 years ago. For Denton, 1857 is relevant to 2007, but for most Americans. The suggestion that Romney needs to answer for Brigham Young would be as silly as saying that Democrats have to answer for Stephen Douglas or that Lutherans today have to answer for the anti-Semitic rants of Martin Luther.

Denton first off would have people believe that all Mormons are "tinged with fanaticism," but does nothing to advance that case. She discusses the beginnings of their church in great detail, but her history lessons appear to end at 1857. In the only mentions of any connection to the present, she uses the HBO series Big Love and Warren Jeffs, neither of which has any connection to the modern Mormon church or to Romney's faith. Both the fictional account in Big Love and the unfortunately non-fiction and despicable Jeffs involve polygamist cults -- and in the TV series, are showed as in mortal opposition to the Mormons.

Denton includes this helpful instruction at the half-way point:

It's not a church's eccentric past that makes a candidate's religion relevant today, but its contemporary doctrines. (And it's worth noting that polygamy and blood atonement, among other practices, are no longer condoned by the official Mormon church hierarchy.)

So what contemporary doctrines does Romney need to explain? Denton never says. Instead, she spends her time writing about how Joseph Smith once declared his intention to run for President -- in 1844. She discusses how John C. Fremont's candidacy died on the rumor that he was Catholic -- in 1856. She mentions 1960, in which John Kennedy dealt with anti-Catholic bigotry, but only barely notes that he prevailed over it -- and that was almost 50 years ago.

Denton then frames the question that she feels Romney has to answer:

Do you, like the prophet you follow, believe in a theocratic nation state? All the rest is pyrotechnics.

Unfortunately for Denton, Romney has answered this question every time it gets asked. And somewhat incoherently, Denton appears to forget that she herself acknowledges this near the beginning of the column:

While his GOP rivals have been pandering to the evangelical arm of the party, Romney actually committed himself (during the first Republican debate) to the inviolable separation of church and state.

Romney has no need to enter into the field of religious apologetics in his campaign for the presidency, no more than does Harry Reid in order to run the Senate. He certainly has no guilt to expiate on behalf of a massacre committed almost a century before his birth, and for people like Warren Jeffs who do not have any connection to the Mormon church. In other words, Denton has taken up space at the LA Times to exercise her bigotry and to not-so-coincidentally sell a few books and movie tickets. She and the LA Times should be ashamed.

UPDATE: One commenter suggests that people opposed Keith Ellison on the basis of his religion. Er, not quite. We opposed him on the basis of his association with the notoriously anti-Semitic group Nation of Islam and its leader, Louis Farrakhan, and his association with CAIR, which has supported terrorist groups like Hamas. If Romney had spoken at Warren Jeffs' compound for political donations, then the analogy would be apt. Ellison's problem isn't his religion but the company he keeps, politically, a fact that he and his apologists like to wrap in a false cloak of religious antagonism.

SALLY DENTON RESPONDS: In the comments section:

The movie, September Dawn, is not based on my book, American Massacre--at least not according to its producers who never consulted with me nor compensated me.

If they did not base the movie on her book, I apologize for the error. If they did, the producers owe Denton some compensation. That sounds like an interesting debate. And thanks to Ms. Denton for responding to the post.


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Comments (37)

Posted by syn | June 10, 2007 9:27 AM

I wonder if Denton will ask Pelosi if she believes in a theocratic nation state like her Goddess does?

Pelosi quoted in the NY Times:

"Science is a gift of God to all of us and science has taken us to a place that is bibical in its power to cure. And that is the embryonic stem cell research."

Sure Nancy lets kill the embryo for its power to cure. Perhaps one day Nancy's Goddess will find the cure to the dreadful mental disease which sucks out baby's brains.

Posted by RBMN | June 10, 2007 9:31 AM

Leftwing Democrats, who can't...conceive...of Right to Life being a real issue, have always accused Republicans of using abortion only as a wedge to peel off committed Catholics (from the Democrat coalition.) Now Democrats maybe think they have their "wedge issue" to use with the Christian Conservatives--Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

Posted by PHunter | June 10, 2007 9:32 AM

Let's see, Harry Reid, obstructionist to the extreme, never had to explain his Mormonism, and he's very DEVOUT.

Does Mitt Romney scare the Democrats?

Is it better to have someone who practices his religion, or someone who wears their religion on their sleeves, but don't practice it?


Posted by Dave | June 10, 2007 9:40 AM

150 years Ago? OK, let's add about 15 more years to that just for giggles and grins:

Hillary's Arkansas was a slave state.

Edwards family owned slaves.

Obama's heritage includes a muslim Africa where they were the primary culprits in capturing and selling other Africans into slavery.

Biden has told us that his Delaware heritage included slavery.

Shall we go on.....

Posted by Jeanette | June 10, 2007 9:57 AM

If we are concerned about how the Mormon religion may affect the decisions of Romney if he were to be elected, maybe we need to do some research on the Mormon Church as it is today.

For instance, does every member in good standing in the Church have to accept what the current prophet says or risk being excommunicated and not going to the celestial kingdom?

If that's the case, and I don't know, then we need to be careful in our consideration of Romney. He says he believes in separation of church and state, but if he believes it affects his eternity what would he do?

I don't know the answers but to be an informed voter it seems we owe it to Romney and to ourselves to learn as much as possible about the Mormon faith from neutral sources if his religion is a consideration to us.

Posted by Angel | June 10, 2007 10:05 AM

Funny, I don't recall any slurs agains Keith Ellison..o wait..that was Musssssssslim..not Mormon..now I get it. Never mind.

Posted by TomTom | June 10, 2007 10:09 AM

They have no shame, Cap. The propagandists are utterly without vulnerability to shame. It is a waste of good breath to tell them they should be ashamed of themselves. The MSM lies to its audience as a routine; habitual liars have no shame.
So give it up on the "shame" theme.

Posted by redherkey | June 10, 2007 10:10 AM

Denton first off would have people believe that all Mormons are "tinged with fanaticism," but does nothing to advance that case

I'm continually surprised at either the lack of context, or the intentional misrepresentation of context the left has become entrenched in. As a "thinking" protestant (Episcopal raised, now Congregationalist in the rather progressive UCC), I've had numerous professional encounters with Mormons and have yet to have one where I wasn't impressed with their character as influenced by their faith.

For those of you familiar with the "Seven Habits" books and materials, Steven Covey is a good example of the open-paradigm, cooperative example that I've encountered. A business associate of mine who grew up with Steven explained that the open-paradigm philosophy is fundamental to the evolution of their church, with each new family migrating to the valley being seen as new opportunity for all, rather than another mouth to feed.

As a risk manager, Covey's open-paradigm model has sound quantitative grounds. Consider Harry Markowitz's modern portfolio theory which prescribes the use of diversification in asset holdings as the primary method of reducing risk and increasing certainty in returns. In operational risk, we use similar diversification concepts to increase the reliability of our systems. Inclusive, open systems truly value diversity and focus on the actual contribution merit of the individual for ranking of value, rather than any superficial attribute (e.g. race, underachievement status, number of children, etc.). Heterogeneous systems where individual independence of action is abhorred by the left; high risk homogeneous models with false, token diversity are required where individual behavior is perceived to be capable of central control. The left's hatred of financially successful Conservative blacks is a good example of this dynamic.

Contrast that with the Progressivist Church and its ministry (Gore, Clinton, Obama, Edwards, etc.). Each mouth is a liability, and those with a little extra on their plate must have it stolen to feed others. Rationing, distrust, closed-systems, suffering are all hallmarks of their doctrine. Centrally-managed leptokurtic-skewing controls are imposed, using false measurements for the administration of society (which is necessary given their model is in opposition to nature). No action is capable of transforming the group for the better, as the system is closed and not capable of expansion. Use a SUV and cause greenhouse gases to increase? Then use a single sheet of toilet paper and buy some carbon credits to offset.

The real issue in the left's attack on Romney is that he symbolizes a fundamentally opposite model to that of the left. While I don't support Romney due to his own progressive policy failures (including his central mandate in Mass. dictating that all parties must obtain externally-provided health care coverage), it is rewarding that the left has such a visible reminder of the fallacy of their beliefs.

Posted by Fausta | June 10, 2007 11:07 AM

Isn't Harry Reid a Mormon?

Posted by redherkey | June 10, 2007 12:48 PM

Isn't Harry Reid a Mormon?

He's a converted Mormon, per Wikipedia, in the same manner Mitt "I got me this her varmit gun" is an avid hunter and Sister Hillary "I don't feel no ways tired" is a black Baptist minister.

In a sense, I have to wonder if the reason Fred Thompson is increasingly popular is due to the public's aversion to these shape shifters. At least his stage persona is consistent, like Reagan's. Apparently Fred is confident enough in himself to not have to mimic the demographic of every audience he speaks to.

In this respect, the left is truly challenged. Edwards, Hillary, Gore and Obama all practice the mimic method and are little more than parasitic poseurs. But the right's got its own issues too, with Mitt leading the pack of those uncomfortable representing themselves as the affluent, society elites they are. Someone needs to show Mitt a few hours of John Kerry videos (e.g. how not to eat a philly cheesesteak) and get him confident in being who he is, in spite of his distance from middle class mannerisms. I have to admit I was surprised to learn of Mitt's academic achievement having assumed from his presentation that he was yet another candidate of privileged upbringing lacking intellectual capacity.

Posted by roc ingersol | June 10, 2007 1:29 PM

And yet Obama's relationship with a church that has espoused racist themes appears to raise no alarms.

Posted by TRMcCann | June 10, 2007 1:55 PM

The Mormons were first persecuted upon the founding of their church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the nineteenth century. Instances of Mormon persecution have occurred in the twentieth century and are still occurring today.

But I guess that's not important.

Posted by D F Eyres | June 10, 2007 5:42 PM

Col John Chivington lead 800 volunteer soldiers in attacking an Indian camp at Sand Creek in 1864- just seven years after the Mountain Meadows. The camp had a white flag and US flag flying over it, but that did not prevent Chivington and his men from killing 150-180 men, women, and children.

The brave colonel was also a Methodist minister.

May we expect a follow-up article from Ms. Denton demanding that United Methodist candidate John Edwards discuss and lay to rest issues about his church and Sand Creek?

Posted by Hava | June 10, 2007 6:18 PM

Yes, Harry Reid is LDS. He is a very devout Mormon to boot (meaning, he is active in the Church, not just a twice-a-year Mormon or whatever.) Yet his views are decidedly Democratic (pro-abortion, we-lost-the-war, etc.) The LDS Church has not tried to sanction his membership in the Church because of his political views, and they don't tell him what to do. The Church does not get involved in political matters, period.

"He's a converted Mormon, per Wikipedia, in the same manner Mitt "I got me this here varmint gun" is an avid hunter and Sister Hillary "I don't feel no ways tired" is a black Baptist minister."

Red Herring, I'm not sure what your comment about Harry being a convert has to do with anything. My father is a convert, my adopted sister is a convert, my best friend is a convert...I could go on and on here, but my point is, there are a whole LOT of LDS converts out there, and it really doesn't mean a whole lot whether someone was born into the LDS Church or was converted to the LDS Church later in life. Missionaries spend two years of their lives trying to convert people, and so if the LDS Church treated converts differently than they did people who were born into the Church, they would be shooting themselves in the foot.

I talked to a gal who was a member of Harry Reid's home ward, and who was taught Sunday School by him. He's as active in the Church as I am. So the "converted" comment was confusing, at least to me. An explanation would be great.

Thank you,


Posted by Dr Ballard | June 10, 2007 7:57 PM

Romney should explain the Massacre, if the current Govenor of Missouri explains the "extermination Order" allowing Mormons to be killed with the thanks of the state, if the current Senate explains the disenfranchisement of all Mormons by Edmunds-Tucker act, if the state of Illinois explains the murder of Joeseph Smith and others while under protective custody of the state. Fair enough?

Posted by richard mcenroe | June 10, 2007 8:14 PM

Hava -- The point is, no one worries about Harry Reid because of 150-year-old atrocities and wagon train raids. We worry about him because he's a lying , corrupt thief of a surrendercrat.

Posted by Ken | June 10, 2007 8:50 PM

What about current Mormon thological positions such as eternal progression (you can become a god like God), or Jesus and Satan are brothers (as we all are), dark-skinned people were "less valiant" in the heavenly struggle, God was once a man, etc. My wife was a non-Mormon living in Utah-- don't give me a lot of B.S. about how Mormons are a poor, persecuted sect

Posted by unclesmrgol | June 10, 2007 9:53 PM

The Democrats still have to answer for Stephen Douglas, and the Lutherans for Luther's anti-semitism.

Luther's anti-semitism played a big role in Lutheran silence and inaction over the Holocaust, as well as in the policies promulgated by the Nazis; what Hitler did was in full obedience to the writings of Luther. To understand the problems the Lutherans have to address in this regard, a full reading of the life and times of St. Edith Stein is useful.

With regard to the Democrats, the policy of passing laws forcing one group to work without compensation for another not deserving of that work still prevails. Stephen Douglas' beliefs are alive and well in the Democratic Party today.

As a non-Mormon who lived in Granger, Utah as a kid, I can only tell you that I was happy to finally leave. Being stoned (literally) on a weekly basis by my Mormon peers was not a fun thing (for me, anyway). That's the kind of story, repeated over and over, that any Mormon candidate will need to address. But, I can handle Romney if he is a better Mormon from an ethics standpoint than Kennedy is a Catholic.

Posted by Rhymes With Right | June 10, 2007 10:36 PM

But Ken, therein lies the crux of the matter -- what difference do those religious beliefs make in regard to running the nation? It is rather like including a question on transubstantiation or predestination in the debates!

Posted by Ken | June 10, 2007 10:48 PM

Rhymes With Right-- True insofar as running a nation-- especially since Romney appears to be a "Jack Mormon" and therefore not terribly concerned what the Seer, Prophet and Revelator has to say. My argument is with those who automatically declare any criticism of the LDS to be bigoted. Mormons still hold that all other churches are wrong, their "professors corrupt" and their "creeds an abonination" and that to truely please God, one must be a Mormon. Yet the LDS will scream bloody murder if anyone dares to say that Mormonism is a sect. Bottom line-- they can't have it both ways

Posted by Ken | June 10, 2007 10:55 PM

Unclesmrgol-- The view that Luther was a proto-Nazi is very common, and not terribly accurate. Yes, what he said about the Jews was wrong, but he also said some very vitriolic statements about the German people, too. Luther was a polemicist writing in a polemical age; far worse was said about him and his followers. I would suggest three books: "In Defense of Martin Luther" by John Warwick Mongomery, "The Fabricated Luther" by Uwe Siemon-Netto and "Tyranny and Resistance" by David Mark Whitford.

Posted by Bambi | June 10, 2007 11:23 PM

I'm sorry Romney is not a "jack Mormon"! What in the world gave anyone that impression? I wish reid was. So I guess President Hinckley wispers in his ear. By the way, as much as I dislike reid, he is not pro choice.

Posted by Yitzchak Goodman | June 10, 2007 11:46 PM

We Jews don't bear a grudge against Martin Luther--in fact (as Mark Twain once said about someone) if we could figure out how to get a drink of water to him, we would.

Posted by El-ahrairah | June 11, 2007 5:39 AM

Ken, I was wondering when someone would throw out the term "jack mormon" to show his or her knowledge about the Mormon church and it's history. Unfortunately, labeling Mitt Romney as a "jack mormon" shows how little the person knows about the Mormon Church. He or she should probably heed the advice that it is better to keep silent and have people think you are an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Posted by Sally Denton | June 11, 2007 9:06 AM

The movie, September Dawn, is not based on my book, American Massacre--at least not according to its producers who never consulted with me nor compensated me.

Posted by Ron K | June 11, 2007 9:41 AM

Mitt Romney has a long row to hoe, he will meet the same type of intolerance that Al Smith, and John Kennedy had to face. Look back at what they did to Barry Goldwater when he was running for president, and what they did to his father, George Romney when he tried to make a run for the president.

Posted by Keven Jackson | June 11, 2007 10:40 AM

I think Romney has already addressed Sally's concerns. Here is a quote from the following link:


"You know, I'm never going to get into a discussion about my personal beliefs and about particular doctrines of my church, and so forth. I'm very proud of my church. It was the church of my father, and his father, and his father before him. But what I can say is this. And I go back to a speech that Abraham Lincoln made when he was 28 years old, the Lyceum Address, when he said that America has a political religion and that people who are elected to office subscribe to this political religion, which is to place the oath of office, an oath to abide by a nation of laws and the Constitution, above all others. And there's no question that as I take the oath of office as governor, and have, that I make that my primary responsibility. And you know, I don't think getting into any particular religion makes any sense for somebody who's serving the public".

Posted by Frank | June 11, 2007 4:13 PM

I'm a Romney fan and a Thompson holdout. I would love to see Romney on the bottom of that ticket. However, having lived in a predominantly Mormon area, I have seen the influence the church holds over its communities.

Small example, a local business man owned a gas station. He bought some land outside of town and opened a paint ball course. The local church leaders decided that wasn't the kind of entertainment they wanted in their town and issued a boycott of the gas station until he closed the paint ball course. His business dried up over night and he nearly lost everything. This is but one of dozens of examples I have personally witnessed.

Sally Denton's book may be ancient history, but the church has helped to cover up murders much more recently.


The true story of murder and cover up in Salt Lake city in the mid 80s.

Posted by Ken | June 11, 2007 7:06 PM

Okey-dokey, El-ahrairah. Here's hoping you get your modern day Captain Moroni. Please think kindly of me when you get to be god of your own planet.

Posted by Mark V | June 11, 2007 7:27 PM

Captain Ed, I think you have pretty much missed the boat on the criticism of the Mormons. I would probably vote for Mitt. The questions I hope are because the Mormons consider themselves a Christian faith, and in THAT way they are very open to criticism. If they portrayed themselves as something other than a Christian faith, I do not think you would see all the objections as they are. As it is, they continue to insist they are Christians(and actually the only Christians). When at the same time they have redefined who God, Jesus, Satan, and Mary are, to a point no Christian religion that I have heard of recognizes them as such. I have to think you are either too pc or not in knowledge of what they really think. I do not think it is bigotry to criticise something like this any more than it would have been to warn someone about Jim Jones. And people should be aware of the beliefs of the Mormons, they are very active in conversions into what they believe is a Christian faith.

Posted by Tom the Barbarian | June 11, 2007 8:02 PM

"The suggestion that Romney needs to answer for Brigham Young would be as silly as saying that Democrats have to answer for Stephen Douglas...."

I don't see why the Democrats would have to answer for Stephen Douglas when they never had to answer for George Wallace or Lester Maddox or, for that matter, Senator Byrd.

Posted by El-ahrairah | June 11, 2007 10:09 PM

Ken, when you say that you hope I get my own "modern day Captain Moroni" and asking me to think kindly of you when I get my own planet shows your lack of knowledge of the teachings of my religion. However, your comments do show that no matter how hard you try, there will always be those who believe that bigotry is the best policy.

Posted by Ken | June 12, 2007 5:11 PM

El-ahrairah: I didn't know you denied eternal progression. Perhaps you should have a chat with your bishop (unless you're the bishop-- then the stake pesident ought to step in). The Captain Moroni comment is derived from your own blog: "America could use a patriot like Captain Moroni today." Incidentally, I've been told by both an LDS bishop and a stake president that I do indeed understand Mormon doctrine very well. Unfortunately, I've noticed Mormons fudging a lot more in the last 15 years about their teachings. My Mormon friends in high school and college were very earnest about their beliefs and the errors of all other churches, and, while disagreeing with them, I had a great deal of respect for their sincerity, frankness and openness. Now, it seems the Mormons still want to proselytize from all others, yet prefer now to claim the mantle of victimhood whenever their beliefs are challenged. If this makes me "bigoted" in your mind, so be it. You still cannot answer basic questions about the faith, you just obfuscate. Bottom line-- I could vote for Romney, regardless of religion-- but don't make a non-vote or questions about LDS teaching evidence of bigotry. Regarding the start of all this fun, McConkie writes in "Mormon Doctrine" that a Jack Mormon is one who does not hold strongly to the teachings of the church. It would seem that Romney's views on abortion (pending clarification) and "softening tones" against gay marriage put him at odds with church teachings. If this does not make him a jack mormon, my apologies and the characterization is cheerfully withdrawn. Finally, don't bother replying as I'm done here

Posted by Mark V | June 13, 2007 10:49 PM

I will continue on for Ken. Not all of us are ignorant of what the Mormons teach. Many of us have read quite a bit, having had family members drawn in. In fact, I have read that converts and believers aren't taught everything at once so that they have have time to accept the teachings as they progress. Anyway, you cannot go against all the major doctrines of the Christian faith and still call the religion Christian. Why wasn't the Elizabeth Smart case brought out more? Quite a grip on pc you have there. Stifle even possible criticism, do not ever answer it. Claim persecution. Live on others faults.
Deny yours. Any scientific evidence of any civilization in NA such as you claim? Yeah, I know you are trained well enough to answer that, and to cut down everyone else.

Posted by Brenden | June 14, 2007 2:03 AM

It's interesting watching how most debates about Romney's religion begins with the talking points of anti-mormon literature. The problem is, the people that promulgate these ideas never understood Mormon doctrine to begin with and never will, even if it's explained well. No one likes to mention a quote by Brigham Young, that told the members of the church to NEVER blindly follow the prophet, that they need to pray about any doctrine before deciding to follow it. One thing people don't understand, is that prophets aren't perfect. They're still humans, they still have opinions that may not follow what God has revealed. The apostles in Christ's time didn't believe the Gentiles were going to receive the gospel. It wasn't until Paul received revelation saying that they indeed were to receive the gospel that they began to teach all peoples, and not just the jews.

Mormon Doctrine is not published by the Church. Would you like to know why? It's filled with the opinions of Bruce McConkie and not the accepted teachings of the church.

The doctrines that are mentioned by people that are hard to swallow (like becoming gods, etc. etc.) will not be found in the scriptures of the LDS faith. They come from quotes and interpretations of leaders of the church that are stating their opinions, and not necessarily church doctrine. The fact that someone brings up an issue with the belief that Jesus and Satan are brothers is interesting. Christians believe that God created all things. Did he create Satan too? If not, where did Satan come from? We know Christ is the Son of God. God created me too. That makes me and Christ brothers. If God created Satan, doesn't the same connection then exist?

There. Now Romney doesn't have to do it himself.

Posted by Jessica | June 22, 2007 3:25 AM

I'll try to be brief here, but in all honesty, it's unlikely:

1. The reason that Mormons get annoyed with people saying it is not a Christian religion lies with the actual definition of Christian. From dictionary.com, defintion 7 (the others were good, but this is most relevant): [i]a person who believes in Jesus Christ; adherent of Christianity[/i]

Ok, now... wait for it... the 1st "Article of Faith" from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (one of 13 religious tennets "in a nutshell"): "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost".

Now did I miss something or does that not subscribe to the definition of Christianity??

2. Mormons get defensive when people attack the religion out of HABIT. As others have mentioned, there has been a long history of Mormon persecution (including murders, massacres, tar-and-feathering of Mormons), which while not as prominent today ... certainly persists in less physical forms outside the realm of Utah. A lot of current criticism is based on polygamy (which incidentally--though conveniently forgotten by history) was ALSO practiced by non-mormons sprinkled throughout the U.S. and which was abandoned wholly as the national law changed.

3. I agree that Utah is at least mildly hypocritical in culture: those who do not subscribe perfectly to the ideal are shunned to an extent. However, does it not make sense for a group of people to be so fiercely protective of the only place that was able to provide refuge for them for over a century? I am not condoning it. I live in Utah, am mormon, and personally will be EXTREMELY glad when I am in a position to move out. I can't stand the culture, which brings me to my final point.

4. Not all Mormons are created equal, just as not all Catholics, Baptists, Methodist, Lutherans, Jews, nor Muslims are created equal. When I heard that a mormon (Mitt Romney was running), I personally thought I would never vote for a Mormon president, assuming him to be one of the "type" that I don't necessarily see eye-to-eye with. However, as I've learned more about him, I've come to realize that he is a person who has subscribed to the faith, not the culture which is, I believe, a very important distinction.