Comments about ‘Yale professor Harold Bloom warns of Romney and Mormon theocracy’

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Published: Monday, Nov. 14 2011 4:18 p.m. MST

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Mr. Bean
Salt Lake, UTah

@Chachi: "Being a Yale academic luminary doesn't mean you can state your opinions as simple facts."

Those who criticize the LDS Church seem to always state opinions as facts regardless of educational background. And they seem to lose all sense of dignity and begin to wallow in degrees of vileness as they do go.

@One of Vai's Cousins: "He is right about the fact that today's LDS Church is VERY different from the early LDS Church of JS, BY and JT."

If you want differences from the original, try comparing the original Christian Church as defined in the Bible to what we see today in Christianity.

@ClarkHippo: "As for the church's 'closed financial records' what is the real motivation of those who want the church to open up everything to the public?"

Answer: To have more detail of church conduct for more criticism of same.

bluejean
Farmington, UT

I was saddened to read Prof. Bloom's NY Times opinion piece as I have long been an admirer of his. As in many exposes about Mormons, there is some truth but also many exaggerations and an abundance of un-sourced opinion. Of necessity, Mormons are seasoned veterans when it comes to enduring misconceptions portrayed by the media and do our best to set things right. But a voice such as Mr. Bloom's is hard to fight against. Should Romney be the nominee, we will no doubt see even more stinging, paranoid commentary than this from many highly respected men and women. We best grow a tough skin and live our religion.

Shelama
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Bloom is wonderfully accurate and astute in ascribing religious genius to Joseph Smith in the creation of his Mormonism. But Bloom misses the boat in the nonsense warning of a Mormon theocracy under a Romney presidency. I personally prefer the candidacy and the Mormonism of Huntsman, but a Mormon US theocracy is never going to happen regardless if Romney is elected. There's no way that the excessive Utah Mormon theocractic influence will not be an issue in a the national election. Even if elected, Romney, or any Mormon, would be powerless to affect anything like a Mormon theocracy.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

Historian Bushman makes a distinction between the radical Mormonism (collectivist) of the 19th century and the Repubican, at times, hyperconservatism of Mormonism's present. Bushman speculates that the radical version might return. I surely hope so. Could Romney or Huntsman help make this happen? What a welcome ride that would be. I could quit feeling like a freak at the ward.

dviall
GALES FERRY, CT

The grocery clerk at the twelve or less check out, noticed that the customer had loaded more than twelve items onto the check out table. The clerk asked," You must have graduated from Yale or MIT", to which the customer asked, "Why do you ask?, to which the clerk replied,"Either you can't read or you can't add".It is sad that so many have opinions about the LDS Church without any substance to their accusations. Sure, the church has its problems with some of its members, but the good that is has brought into the lives of many, far out weighs the negative. Many people cite negative things about the church that they have heard from others. It would be nice if they had the courage to investigate the church and find out for themselves, what is true and what is false. They make claims without fully understanding the gospel as a whole. We are now in the last dispensation as recorded by Paul in the epistle to the Ephesians, Chap 1, Verse 10, "That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven...

One of Vai's Cousins
DC, Washington

For me, this really is very simple. Religion can inspire us to focus on loving and serving others or it can inspire us to focus on what I personally believe to be the inconsequential - what we wear, believe, think, eat, drink, read, etc.

In other words it can inspire us to be very inward focused or very outward focused. This is true of all religions. But my experience is as a lifelong LDS and we all see it within Mormonism.

Some aspects of Mormonism inspire service to the poor, needy and general increased love and concern for our families and neighbors. It is that aspect of Mormonism that I love.

Another aspect encourages us to focus and worry about the trivial - whether we should drink coffee or tea, what undergarments we wear, literally thousands of hours spent sitting listening to recycled lessons, repetitive temple rituals, studying church material, etc etc.

My point is that the church unfortunately requires members to spend literally thousands upon thousands of hours engaged in what I see as absolutely irrelevant at the end of the day. I wish the vast majority of LDS member time was instead spent on tangible acts of love/service.

donn
layton, UT

Bill in Nebraska, For members to want a qualifing range as to how it is spent is really not *THEIR business. Once it leaves their hand and is given to a member of the Bishopric, it is no longer their money. It becomes the LDS Church's money to be used as it sees fit.
The Polynesian Cultural Center was forced to pay the IRS in 1983 for their income on their profits. The IRS claimed the center had accumulated more than 10 million in profits, some which had been sent to the Corporation of the LDS Church. In 1997 according to a Time report the PCC had annual revenues of $ 40 Million.

*They should, they only let you know what they want you to know. My Church publishes their financial status

The Atheist
Provo, UT

Professor Bloom is articulating a valid concern regarding LDS Dominionism: the idea that the LDS Church is ordained and chosen by God to "fill the whole earth" and the current ecclesiastical authority will become the political, social, and economic authority to usher in and rule "the millennium".

A disproportionate number of Mormons arrive at the higher levels of the CIA, FBI, military intelligence, armed forces, and all levels of city, state, and federal governments, including the Senate, Congress, Cabinet, and White House Staff. They give the impression of being sincere and loyal citizens, but most of the general population is unaware of the secret (sacred?) and "prophetic" ambition of The Brethren. So we lull ourselves into a false sense of security: What could be better than having such patriots as these serving in strategic areas of government and national security?

Unfortunately, as we have noticed, the real truth lies hidden beneath the seemingly ideal image of patriotism presented by Mormons in public service. In fact their very presence in responsible government positions, particularly in agencies dealing with national security, raises some extremely grave questions that are only made more poignant by the prospect of a Mormon POTUS.

JerryLungaard
SLC, UT

I just want everyone to see the big differentiator here. We have a wealth of information regarding the original foundation of Christ's primitive church. Our prime example never set about to establish banks, insurance companies, and media outlets. He never organized the saints to build great and spacious buildings. He never attempted to beautify downtown Jerusalem with obscene amounts of money.

His life was spent serving the poor, healing the sick, administering to the spiritually ill. On the topic of generating wealth he said, "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."

To the wealthy man he said,"If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

What happened to Christ's original church? 2+ billion spent on a mall to beautify downtown SLC? It's time to cast out the money changers in the temple.

m.g. scott
LAYTON, UT

For all of you out there raging about the LDS Church finances, why not consider the U.S. Governments lack of fiscal responsibility. A good "money man Mormon" like Romney might just be what the whole country needs for fiscal responsiblilty at the highest level. Well, the 2nd highest level anyway.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@donn
"Once it leaves their hand and is given to a member of the Bishopric, it is no longer their money. It becomes the LDS Church's money to be used as it sees fit."

That is a curious comment. Why is it curious to me? Well let me sub-out a few words...
Once it leaves their hand and is given to the IRS, it is no longer their money. It becomes the government's money to be used as it sees fit.

I'm pretty sure we all agree that having given money to the gov't, we are rather entitled to know what it is they spend it on. Yet for some reason, it seems that the common view here is that for any member to question what the church spends its money on is practically heresy.

Tyler Ray
Taylorsville, UT

Funny that he compares us to other christian churches regarding money. When was the last tome you went to sacrament and had a plate passed around and were urged to put all you have in it soo you wouldn't be publicly humiliated by church leaders? When is the last time president Monson got on a stage and asked for money so he could "heal" someone? how much does it cost for missionaries to teach your neighbors?

Wally West
SLC, UT

re: jsf | 3:13 p.m. Nov. 15, 2011

"No, brethren, socialism is not the United Order..."

It doesn't matter how UO or socialism is administered or executed. Its a semantic difference

"...the Lord will somehow quicken our understanding of the differences between socialism and the United Order and give us a vivid awareness of the awful portent of those differences."

Or, you can do some research for yourself and let reason and logic take you where it may.

@ JerryLungaard | 9:59 a.m. Nov. 16, 2011

Agreed. I guess Matt 22:21 & John 18:36 are relevant and valid.

The Atheist
Provo, UT

Romney's financial statements, to the degree they are available, demonstrate Professor Bloom's observations.

Each year, the Romneys give considerable donations to non-profit organizations, with the Mormon Church being the largest recipient. Over the past several years, the Romneys have given over $4.8 million to the Mormon Church, with an additional over a half million given to the Mormon-Church owned Brigham Young University.

In his last failed run for the GOP nomination, it was discovered that Romney's investment portfolio included significant ownership in companies that did business with Iran and other companies engaged in stem cell research, which Romney opposed. Since then, Romney sold off such investments just as he changed his lawn care service because "I'm running for office, for Pete's sake, I can't have illegals."

Romney is clearly a politician who operates on expediency not principle, and is aimed at obtaining and maintaining political power and "exposure" on behalf of his religion.

bandersen
Saint George, UT

I surprised by Bloom! I thought him a much deeper thinker. What he refers to as the 'emancipation of selfishness' is what Adam Smith would call 'Capitalism' and free markets. A free man or a slave can be greedy. I prefer to live under a system that allows all to have a chance to be greedy or giving, rather than a system where only the rich are given that chance.

Jiggle
Clearfield, UT

@Counter Intelligence

Deseret News didn't post one of my 4 posts lending support. You insisting I'm wrong doesn't support that I am wrong. Your evidence that I'm wrong is what? Accusations of playing the victim doesn't support any valid argument.

In Jan. 2006, from the Church PR department, (Deseret News Publishing Company): Edgley said, "that since 1984, the LDS Church has donated nearly $750 million in cash and goods to people in need in more than 150 countries." That averages to $37.5 mil per year or about $3-$4 per Mormon member went to the poor. The total of $750 million in 22 years spent in cash and goods to people in need is only a FOURTH of what the church is spending on a mall they're building in Salt Lake City.

"Thoughtful saints might wonder whether the church should spend more of its assets on programs that benefit the membership rather than further enriching an already huge financial base." P 119, Mormon America , Richard Ostling

"The wealth moves generally in the form of building projects and not, as one might expect, in welfare from congregations in the United States to congregations overseas." P. 126, Mormon America , Richard Ostling

radically_independent
Orem, Utah

The idea that the church would influence national policy through Romney is as laughable as the idea that the First Presidencies call for civility in politics has had any impact on people like Glenn Beck, who spew hate and fear over the airwaves. What makes people think the church would have any more control over Romney than they do have over Beck.

Romney will do what he needs to do, period.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

re:skeptic

"learn how to better live successfully in the world of different people"

What??? So are you suggesting the LDS church should try to be like most other churches and just accommodate everything and anything?The TRUE church isn't influenced by opinion and in fact opinion has no power in determining truth. As I read the New Testament I see The Savior making it very clear there is only ONE way to his fathers kingdom - not 100 different ways. The LDS church has standards that are not open for compromise. The reason? The Church makes the claim very clearly that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and not the church of man. You can believe that or not but don't expect the Church to abandon its foundational beliefs just to be more popular with secular - godless- society .

runsrealfast
POCATELLO, ID

anyone else getting tired of this? we are talking about who should be the next president of the united states, not who is the next pope or lds prophet.

jsf
Centerville, UT

No Wally It is not a semantic difference. They have as their basis a major fundamental difference. The UO as envisioned by the bretheren was a voluntary choice to concecrate ones property to the church, who in return gave the donor a stewardship to run the property as he saw fit. After meeting the needs of his family he could donate the excess to the church storehouse.
Socialism is the taking of ownership and control by the state, by force, of the means of production. Including the property and the individuals. The state by force takes the production and then allows the individual an allowance determined by the state. The fundamental difference is freedom of choice. We call it liberty, hardly the same thing semantically.

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