Yale professor Harold Bloom warns of Romney and Mormon theocracy

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  • Kiyo Washougal, Washington
    Nov. 20, 2011 11:15 p.m.

    Wow.......lot's of passion here.......just what we need to get conservatives elected in 2012............keep up the good work.

  • gcrobmd GADSDEN, AL
    Nov. 19, 2011 6:30 p.m.

    To Renrut: I was very puzzled by the "secrets" Bloom mentioned. Did he mean the temple rites? Werent they broadcast on national TV in the series Big Love? Can't the temple rites be read on the internet?

    Was the the Big Love expose was so startling that the national psyche has suppressed the memory? Or maybe it was so anti-climactic (except for those who have spiritually prepared for it) that it was forgotten.

    Again, Bloom was deceptive to imply that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has concealed secrets. The Church does not share them outside the temple, but they are not concealed.

    I, for one, have not wanted to watch the Big Love episode, or look up on the internet to see if the rites are correctly portrayed. They are sacred, and only in the temple am I prepared to comprehend their significance, one tiny step at a time. I love the sacred things of the temple, and they make me want to be a better person for God, family, friends, and world.

  • affableman LAKE ELSINORE, CA
    Nov. 19, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    Bloom's an old style right-winger who in his heart would only let those with property vote. An elitist's elitest...

    Nov. 19, 2011 10:51 a.m.

    Your essay is a biased rejoinder.

    You have selectively omitted Professor Bloom's most telling observation: "There are other secrets also, not tellable by the Mormon Church..." "That aspects of the religion of a devout president should be concealed from all but 2 percent of us ... merits pondering." I have pondered Romney and concluded that he will be guided by those secret things as his most fundamental values yet he is keeping them from us. In Romney we won't know what we are getting. As long as he is not forthcoming he won't be trustworthy, at least to me.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Nov. 18, 2011 10:42 p.m.

    @ Jiggle

    $3-4 per member? That's a drop in the bucket for some members and about a week's earnings for others. Yes the Church is spending a big hunk of money on a mall. Look how many people it has employed building it, how many people will be employed running it and how many people of every religion- not just LDS, or with no religious affiliation, will enjoy beautiful downtown Salt Lake City because of it. It is basically a gift to the city and the state- free of charge to anyone who wants to enjoy it. In the mean time, despite the whinings of the naysayers the Church will continue on a happily steady pace of helping people in need all around the world. And don't forget to factor in the missionaries around the world who offer help and service that isn't on any accounting sheet.

    I don't believe any church member minds our beliefs being scrutinized and discussed if portrayed accurately. Mr. Bloom is twisting the truth and putting out a false picture. That's unfortunate and annoying. But no matter. It will ultimately kick the Church up the stairs rather than down.

  • abejones SCOTT DEPOT, WV
    Nov. 17, 2011 9:17 p.m.

    All these things came up when JFK ran and was dubbed the Pope's candidate. That he silenced that by buying protestant West Virginia has escaped Professor Bloom's memeory. JFK, who I liked as a president, had no interest in religion. In fact he was quite a pagan. If Sen Reid was a conservative Republican Las Vegas and Nevada would remian just as they are. Neither Reid nor any alternative is going to change Nevada. He wouldn't last very long. To think Gov Romney is going to Mormonize fun loving, half stewed, law hating Americans would make good material for Saturday Night Live.The president of the US does have great power, but not as much as the powers that elect him. Gov Romney was elected in a liberal, Catholic state.Home of the Kennedys. Mark that, Professor Bloom.

  • AnH Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 17, 2011 8:40 p.m.

    gcrobmd, yours is a classic case of one missing the forest for the trees.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Nov. 17, 2011 8:37 p.m.

    I think Skull and Bones is scarier...

  • gcrobmd GADSDEN, AL
    Nov. 17, 2011 7:58 p.m.

    Harold Blooms article is disappointing for trying to deceive. A favorite tactic of LDS critics is to unearth some obscure and ancient quote and claim it represents secret ambitions of the Church. His quote by Orson Pratt has never been taught in my lifetime. Why didnt Bloom provide a reference? What was the context of the quote? Why would the church search out such quotes and repudiate them?

    Very pertinent to Blooms topic is D&C 134. Why did he not quote it? Verse 7 is most appropriate and authoritative.

    "We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied."

    How one religion relates to another religion is a specific case of the general principle here stated. Sadly, the specific case on Josephs mind 176 years ago is still very pertinent today.

  • AZguy Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 17, 2011 4:15 p.m.

    I am too stupid to know if he was insulting me or complimenting me.

    I am not offended at all. Folks have said worse things about my religion from inside and out.

    So, is he blasting what he sees as a push toward money and power from a position of educational arrogancy? I am not saying he is wrong. I don't look at it that way, but he is entitled to his opinion and I am entitled to understand where his point of view originates from...an educational system that puts secular education above all other pursuits. Anyone who looks at faith from a scientific point of view will always find holes in the critical thinking of the faithful.

    I also find it amusing that someone working at Harvard with its $500 billion dollar endownment would accuse anyone of being focused on money and power without accepting the fact that his institution is based upon that same principle. I hope he also tells Harvard to gives its' money to the poor and to help the needy.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Nov. 17, 2011 3:27 p.m.

    Read an edited version on Associated Baptist Press, where they focused on the comparison between Baptists and Mormons (Bloom saying baptists are proudly stupid, and LDS are educated, both similar to gnostics, etc) Seems Bloom doesn't understand much about LDS of Baptists.... LDS are closer to original Christianity than any other faith I know of. The doctrines of Deification (gods), Temples etc were central to ancient mainstream Christianity, and have continued in Christ's restored Church...

  • AnH Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 17, 2011 3:20 p.m.

    I suppose a question we all could ask, is the Mormon Church materialistic? And if so, how does that translate into power? Open questions, for sure, and something to consider. It's clear that our legislature is dominated by Mormons, and as we have seen with redistricting and many other issues, Mormon politicians aren't any more enlightened than those of other faiths, and I doubt they're any more corrupt. So maybe Bloom is right in that sense, that Mormons, as a group, are simply mainstream. The one danger here is to stereotype individual Mormons. Romney and Huntsman are very different men regardless of their faith.

  • defibman Syracuse, UT
    Nov. 17, 2011 2:37 p.m.

    "The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it's difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine." - Abraham Lincoln

    Just thought that I would put that in there for Pagan.

  • Mr. Bean Salt Lake, UTah
    Nov. 17, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    @Vanka: "When Bloom was praising the LDS Church and founder, Deseret News published an article on it, and members were virtually gloating! Now the same Professor Bloom elaborates on what he meant, and it is a scathing critique or Mormonism, so members attack Dr. Bloom!"

    Huh? Would you have members praise condemnation and condemn praises?

    @Jared: "His praise of Joseph Smith is not a scathing critique of Mormonism; his praise of Joseph Smith is just that - praise of Joseph Smith."

    No. no. His praise of Joseph Smith is a disguised condemnation. He's calling Smith a religious genius meaning he fooled alotta people into believing he actually communicated with God.

  • kathyn Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 17, 2011 9:20 a.m.

    Professor Bloom gets some things right, but boy, when he's wrong, he's really wrong. It's a shame he is looking through a "glass darkly" or he would have found a truer picture of the LDS church. I would not vote for anyone just because they are LDS; I look at their character and their track record before deciding how I will vote. The only time we'll have a theocracy is when Jesus Christ himself returns and runs things. And I 'm totally down with that!

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 17, 2011 8:52 a.m.

    jsf | 6:02 p.m. Nov. 16, 2011
    Centerville, UT

    The UO and Socialism are not the same. You can't argue for it without denying the rights of the individual.


    Agreed - UO and Socialism are not the same.

    UO is more Marxist/Communist, less Socialist.
    UO you relinquish your ownership of everything - including your property, time, and talents (i.e., work) to the Church.
    Think: Consecration; i.e., "Everything with which the Lord has blessed you...and MAY bless you (i.e., future tense)"
    100% Collective

    In Socialism -- personal property and Companies are still privately owned - think Canada, England, Japan, Germany.

    Rationalizing what something IS or ISN'T just to satisfy Glenn Beck's warped take on it is simply lying to yourself.

    Be honest with all mankind, including yourself.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Nov. 17, 2011 7:10 a.m.

    Stop the persecution complex folks. Palin had her church and beliefs discussed. Obama his. Every candidate goes through this. Can an evangelical be president? Can someone have an out there preacher and be president? Every candidate has had to go through this.

    Reporters are paid to find stories, uncover controversy, create headlines, and shock people. If you read up on early American politics, it went on then. This is absolutely nothing new nor unique to Romney.

    Stop being so sensitive.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Nov. 16, 2011 11:40 p.m.

    I find it vastly amusing to watch the aqirming of those who resent how the LDS church spends its money.

    I wonder how much any of them gave to the church.

  • bigv56 Cottonwood, CA
    Nov. 16, 2011 9:55 p.m.

    Yalies, always babbling and never coming to a knowledge of the truth. Let's see, most of the bankers in power on wall street have helped our country implode and rigged the system. The last four presidents have been from Yale and under their leadership we are circling the drain. Frankly I will take someone from a non mainstream religion or someone from a community college. Any more of the vast intelligence of the ivy leaguers will finish us off.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 6:02 p.m.

    "In a socialist system the people own and control the means of production and distribution through democratically controlled public agencies, cooperatives, or other collective groups." American Socialist Party

    That sounds incredibly theoretical. Is that really feasible with the elitist mentality of a few and the blind allegence of many?

    "Socialism is... the taking of ownership and control by the state, by force,"

    "You've defined Communism, a variant of socialism." No communism just advocates violent revolution. Socialism just takes control by legislature, an over extended reach. The state still has to take control regardless of the minority's objections. Thus personal liberty is quashed for the sake of the "people".

    Do you really believe the allocation of goods and services will be equal when a group in California by democratic vote can demand any or all of Utah's resources? If you say that could never happen, then you are saying it really is not a true democracy, and someone at some level is imposing an oppressive force to prevent it. A dictator, a ruling class, not a utopian socialist community. The UO and Socialism are not the same. You can't argue for it without denying the rights of the individual.

  • John K Carmichael, CA
    Nov. 16, 2011 5:24 p.m.

    And we thought the election of JFK ended religious bigotry in presidential elections.

    Typical liberal - assault without giving sources.

    What about the Marxist theocracy sitting in the Oval Office now?

    I suppose Bloom, is one of the chief committee members.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 3:57 p.m.

    Professor Bloom might well ask his parent institution why all of wealth and power. Yale would answer that in order to fulfill their mission they require a certain amount of both. Skeptics and others disagree with the LDS church mission which is their right, but it is the LDS church's right to pursue their appointment. Living "successfully" in the world was not the reason that Jesus taught his doctrine.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 3:22 p.m.

    re: jsf | 1:02 p.m. Nov. 16, 2011
    Centerville, UT

    Arguing about semantics is semantics.

    "The UO as envisioned by the bretheren was a voluntary choice"

    As envisioned? That sounds incredibly theoretical. Is that really feasible with the herd mentality that is so prevelant here in Zion?

    "Socialism is... the taking of ownership and control by the state, by force,"

    You've defined Communism, a variant of socialism.

  • Petra Sanpete County, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 2:19 p.m.

    Wow. I just read Bloom's actual NYTimes article - whatever respect I may have had for him vanished with that reading. He has a great vocabulary and can build a wonderful sentence, but since the content of those sentences regarding "Mormonism" are so very flawed as to fact, what he has written is essentially worthless.

    I mean, if you're going to argue something, you should at least get the facts straight. For me, he can have absolutely no insight into Mormonism unless and until he does this.

    For sure, I now question everything else he has ever written about. Too bad for him.

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 2:10 p.m.


    Because faith and religion is so influencial in society I feel that it must be scrutinized. I cannot accept a religion as being good that cannot hold up to that scrutiny. A churches finances should be open and honest if they have nothing to hide. As mostly tax-exempt entities they should have to justify that tax-exempt status to the public at large. Open records would confirm they are deserving of their tax-exempt status in all areas of operation. Just assuming they are honest in their financial dealings doesn't mean there should be no accountibility to either the members or the public....so yes....in my opinion....the Church should be obligated by law to open up its records because of its tax-exempt status. Any organization under a tax-free umbrella should be scrutized and made accountible. Why should the tax payers be held accountible for paying taxes, but the tax-exempt entities not be?

    Most churches and denominations today are big businesses with vast financial holdings in television networks, real estate and stocks and are far from the traditional church in which tax-exempt status were in less need of being questioned or checked.

    Nov. 16, 2011 1:11 p.m.

    I have read all of these comments..
    some were in my opinion good, some demeaning, many off topic, some just anti, and some were just down right stupid.
    I am getting REALLY tired of "Prop 8" being brought into nearly EVERY article the DN publishes.
    We UNDERSTAND that you are upset.. that you do not like the way the LDS members represented their own personal beliefs and that the church donated some time and money for it's defeat.
    Well guess what???
    We have the RIGHT to our opinions the same as you do!
    We have the right as Americans to vote OUR conscience and not how YOU tell us to.
    The church has the right to keep its fiances the way it chooses to. If the LDS people as a whole get uptight about it then let them deal with it.. Quit telling us how we should handle our leadership.. .it is not your business!
    I have more faith in the American people as a whole to think that Romney could ever get away with running the country as the church. The government would not let him.
    And, what the church does with it money is it business.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 1:02 p.m.

    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.

  • runsrealfast POCATELLO, ID
    Nov. 16, 2011 12:34 p.m.

    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.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 12:23 p.m.


    "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 .

  • radically_independent Orem, Utah
    Nov. 16, 2011 12:22 p.m.

    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.

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 12:00 p.m.

    @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

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 11:14 a.m.

    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.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 11:00 a.m.

    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.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 10:54 a.m.

    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.

  • Tyler Ray Taylorsville, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 10:33 a.m.

    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?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 10:30 a.m.

    "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.

  • m.g. scott LAYTON, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 10:18 a.m.

    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.

  • JerryLungaard SLC, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 9:59 a.m.

    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.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 9:07 a.m.

    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.

  • donn layton, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 7:53 a.m.

    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

  • One of Vai's Cousins DC, Washington
    Nov. 16, 2011 2:06 a.m.

    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.

  • dviall GALES FERRY, CT
    Nov. 16, 2011 12:35 a.m.

    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...

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 12:25 a.m.

    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.

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 12:01 a.m.

    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.

  • bluejean Farmington, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 11:54 p.m.

    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.

  • Mr. Bean Salt Lake, UTah
    Nov. 15, 2011 9:44 p.m.

    @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.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 9:06 p.m.

    It always amuses me at how many people are intoxicated with wanting to know the finances of the LDS church. The non-members are just being busy-bodies with the ex-mo's just being bitter that "the church tricked them into paying tithes and offerings"!

    It wouldn't matter if the business arm of the church's finances were open to the world. The same complainers would still complain.

    The non-business arm of the church's finances are donations and once the money is given over then what's the worry? Do people really think that their funds are being misspent?

    Where the funds go is clearly stated and I don't know one LDS member who is concerned with it once the money is donated. I'm sure LDS Lib and the like would want to know but no one else.

    No one has detailed why the LDS church shouldn't have money on hand nor that what they are doing with it is wrong. Many have already stated how many jobs are created by the City Creek project. I thought that was a good thing.

    Why don't all the busy-bodies just take care of their own finances and move on?

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    Nov. 15, 2011 9:05 p.m.

    @ Bebyebe,
    So Utah is a theocracy? WOW when did that happen? Last time I lived in Farmington, There was a state consitution, elected governement. And Utah was part of the Union. you know the United states. And they followed the US costitution. Could you please site the date that a theocracy took over was there a coup? And if you don't like it there move itis just that simple unless the "theocracy" is holding you there against your will?

  • Joan Watson TWIN FALLS, ID
    Nov. 15, 2011 8:04 p.m.

    As one who has long admired Professor Bloom as a first rate scholar, I wish he had not been so miss the mark, silly, in his recent criticism of the Mormon church and its leaders. Certainly that church is rich in money derived from tithes and contributions from its members, however, because it spends all its money and rescources in helping and contributing where ever needed - it is a powerful influence for good. One may well argue that Mormon riches and power = resources honorably gained and spent!

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 15, 2011 7:20 p.m.

    The problem with some of the other Christian denominations is that they are only responsible for their OWN congregation. In other words, what is donated is only for that congregation not the whole church. You will never find all that the SOuthern Baptist bring in because they really don't know. The same with the Lutherans or any other congregation. Now for the LDS Church the whole amount goes to Salt Lake City to the Church headquarters. Semi-annually an internal audit is done in each Stake. The report is then reported to the headquarters in SLC. Each year as a member you meet with the Bishop to go over your donations. Every bit of your donations are spent as you intended it to be. Tithing pays for most Church activities. The other donations, Ward Missionary efforts, General Missionary efforts, humanitarian, fast offerings and etc., regulated. The leadership will come out and tell you if tithing funds are used for something or not. We have been told that NO TITHING funds were used in building the City Creek Mall. These audits are then reported on in the April conference each year.

  • BrianM BOISE, ID
    Nov. 15, 2011 7:07 p.m.

    I think we are going to see a lot of social evolution within the LDS movement in the coming year. A good number of both outsiders and life-time insiders are going to discover new perspectives about church history and the probability that the official beliefs and worldview are literal.

    I think this social evolution of the LDS movement will be good for everybody. Hopefully we will end up as a more rational and less judgemental, fearful nation of citizens.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 6:36 p.m.

    @ Mike Richards | 5:34 p.m. Nov. 14, 2011

    "particularly when a religion tells the world that God is dissatisfied with all other religions. That tends to cause people to take sides."

    What!? Organized religion being divisive?

    Seriously, here is what gets me. If, in 1820, all religions were flawed then why start another?

  • kenny Sterling Heights, MI
    Nov. 15, 2011 6:23 p.m.

    I wanted to address a few thoughts but decided to just comment by saying this article is way off regarding the LDS church that I happen to be a member of.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Nov. 15, 2011 5:35 p.m.

    I find it appalling how little people really know about what Mormons believe. How are we to trust the "experts" or media on Islam which is centered halfway around the world and mostly speaks another language?

    As for the "money" issue, the church teaches frugality, saving, staying out of debt and it self-funds. Of COURSE it has money!! And outside of moral issues ie. Prop 8, it is the least involved in politics of most large groups of its size, especially churches.

    There is just a ton of ignorance being tossed around here - by Bloom (who btw has NEVER read the B of M) and the other so-called experts who have weighed in on this blog who supposedly know everything about the church.

  • JerryLungaard SLC, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 4:50 p.m.

    "For members to want a qualifing range as to how it is spent is really not THEIR business."


    The same is true of other congregations all over the USA. The big difference is that the majority of Christian organizations out there provide a statement to their followers. It details every cent that was spent by their church. Why does the LDS church differ on this point to most Christian churches? Is there something to hide? Why not make the finances of the Mormon church public?

    I'm sure that the Mormon church has done so much good in the world. They've provided the figure on Katrina that you've mentioned here. Why is the remainder so secret? Why not let your light so shine before the world that they might see your good works and glorify God in heaven?

  • LDS Revelations Sandy, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 4:46 p.m.

    Mormonism and theology have gone hand in hand since the early days. True the LDS Church has learned by sad experience over it's history to be less overt in it's building of Zion and the Kingdom of God on earth (the Church). Turns out that in the past this got the Church in Dutch with it's neighbors.

    An under-current of theocracy however remains in the LDS Church despite the fact the Church has departed from it's roots in many ways. But then similar ideas are common to a lot of other Christian groups that maintain fundamentalist beliefs. Mormons don't have a monopoly on the ideas of America being a Christian nation or of letting ones beliefs drive their politics.

    I can however see reasons people might worry that Romney as a Mormon might have a theocracy in mind. 1) the history of Mormonism, 2) the religions Millennialist ideas/teachings that promote theocracy 3) the authoritarianism within Mormonism and 4) near absolute obedience to leaders and consecration to the Church by members. But then they should be worried about other candidates similarly fundamentalist and committed as well. Are Mormons the only ones that take these ideas seriously?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 15, 2011 4:28 p.m.

    Yes,Joggle your last comment is correct it can be ESTIMATED and yes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is weathly. However, everything that I said is absolutely true. What the LDS Church takes in as far as tithing is concerned can be estimated but that doesn't mean it is correct. The reason for that is because the LDS Church membership is higher outside of the United States. Many are in third world countries but it is to be noted that some these countries fast offerings are covering some of the Wards/Branchs in the United States as well as where they are. The membership of the LDS Church gives freely of its donations. 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. As I noted earlier the amount of money given for humanitarian needs around the world is awesome. Thirteen million was given for Katrina alone.

  • JerryLungaard SLC, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 4:25 p.m.

    David O McKay was employed by the LDS Church for his entire adult life. When he died, he owned a home free and clear that was valued at $500,000 in 1970. This was not his total net worth.

    Adjusted for today's values that would be the equivalent of $2,810,000.00 (using the Consumer Price index/ most conservative estimate). How could this be possible on a meager stipend?

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 3:36 p.m.

    To all who addressed me:

    True LDS believers will generally never consider that the church is not what it claims to be. They have already concluded that the church is true and any contradictory evidence must be wrong, and they try to "back into" an explanation (any explanation) so as not to upset their faith. Many LDS believers, upon hearing of some adverse claim against Mormonism, will say it is a lie or misinformation when in fact it may not really be. Or they will simply ignore it believing that there must be some other explanation - one that will support their faith. A non-LDS person is quite easily able to find LDS sources to support statements made on this board. My statements are supported by an LDS site. If you want to refute my statements based on my argument you are welcome to do that, but remember....my statements are supported by members of your church who are pro-LDS. The main difference between them and the LDS commentators here is that they at least try to address strong arguments supporting both sides.

    Fact is the LDS Churches assets can be estimated and it is obviously very wealthy.

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 3:35 p.m.

    Mr. Bloom's comments ring deep. Well stated Mr. Bloom!

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 3:13 p.m.

    Regarding socialism and united order Marion G. Romney said, No, brethren, socialism is not the United Order. He goes on to explain, under the united order men consecrate their goods to the church and in exchange are given stewardship to the property to manage as they see fit. Under socialism the property is forcibly taken and controlled by the state. He ends his talk with the following prayer, "And now in line with these remarks for three things I pray:
    (1) That 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.
    (2) That we will develop the understanding, the desire, and the courage born of the Spirit, to eschew socialism and to support and sustain, in the manner revealed and as interpreted by the Lord, those just and holy principles embodied in the Constitution of the United States for the protection of all flesh, in the exercise of their God-given agency.
    So please do not try to justify your socialist agenda, with church membership.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 3:12 p.m.

    "You don't hear LDS Church leaders go on TV and say misleading and inflammatory things about Rick Perry, Herman Cain or Michele Bachman. You don't have squads of LDS people following around journalists or cartoon producers who write or say negative things about the church. "

    I'm not so sure that that makes the LDS church an easy target though. I think putting yourself out there makes you an easier target, like the Westboro Baptist Church, or Jeffress. The LDS church seems to have had, in my opinion, its most grief thrown towards it when it is most actively out there (Prop 8 on the national level, and to some extent locally with the immigration bill).

    "It cuts both ways I suppose. "


    "Socialism - United Order (Sorry, but two are different. In the United Order, people still own their own property)"

    People own their own property in Germany, France, Sweden, Norway...

    "People who complain about the Mormon money behind the Proposition 8 campaign seem to have no problem with Unitarian and other religious liberal involvement in the No on 8 campaign."

    That's why I noted the disproportionate involvement, THAT is what separates the LDS from the others.

  • SUNNY ALL DAY Saint George, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 2:59 p.m.


    You denigrate everyone who doesn't believe just like you.

    Your posts are angry and vitriolic.

    Your anger, hate and envy of your fellowman is easily understood considering you could not possibly be convicted of what you claim to be.

  • RAB Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 2:43 p.m.

    No mystery why church critics always attack machine-gun style. They hide the baselessness of their criticism in numbers that cannot be possibly be debunked in few words.

    The superiorly intelligent professor has condescended to inform the world that the Mormon desire for truth is somehow a bad thing? If only I could scrape all this evil zealous knowledge out of my head.

    Latter day Saints learn from their leaders, but MOSTLY from scripture, from their neighbors at church, and from personal prayer. They obey nothing without gaining a personal testimony of it first.

    Romney has no more power in the church than the local church librarian.
    Church leaders gain nothing personally when the Church makes more money. Extra money for the church merely means more buildings in which to serve God and more welfare with which to serve Gods children. Sorry if that is a problem for some people.

  • JerryLungaard SLC, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 2:25 p.m.

    The great thing about sheep is that they never question the shepherd. Most members of Christian denominations receive a full accounting detailing where every last shekel is spent. There's no doubt that the LDS church could do the same. People on this board want to claim that General Authorities are given a meager stipend. I'd personally feel quite sheepish making the same claim when the actual numbers have never been provided.

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    Nov. 15, 2011 2:22 p.m.

    Hmm Big danger with Romney but no danger with right-wing wacko christian conservative or left-wing wacko Stalinist progressive.

  • friedeggonAZstreets Glendale, AZ
    Nov. 15, 2011 1:45 p.m.

    I have read lots of comments regarding the so-called attack on SSM here and on other sites claiming "the Mormons" are behind all the attacks. Whether this is true or not, is of no consequence to me, but what I want to point out is that the SSM are the pot calling the kettle black. They are the ones who started pushing their agenda to change what marriage has been since the start of this country (one man and one woman). No one was opposed to anyone's desire to be in a SS relationship. It was their business, but the SSM were the ones who openly came out in attack against traditional marriage and are the ones trying to push their beliefs on us. Do not be deceived on this matter, they will not stop until they change the constitution or get a new one to pursue this agenda.

  • friedeggonAZstreets Glendale, AZ
    Nov. 15, 2011 1:29 p.m.

    @Joggle, if the church financial records are hidden then how can you even assume to know they are even close to that figure you are stating? I find it humorous when people say the church doesn't let members know what the financial statements are, but yet they throw out a figure stating how much we give in tithes and offerings. I guess it's OK to throw out a dollar figure and say "we assume" it's such and such amount in the millions. Then we can assume it can also be such and such amount in the thousands, right?

  • 22ozn44ozglass Southern Utah, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 1:25 p.m.

    Leave it to Pagan to make every article possible about Prop 8 and a chance to smear the LDS and true conservatives.

    'Three GOP Presidential Candidates Sign Pledge To Investigate LGBT Community' - Stephen D. Foster Jr. - Addicting Info - 08/16/11
    One of the signatures to the 'pledge'...

    was by Mitt Romney.

    If the LBGT community have done nothing illegal, unethical, underhanded, decietfully, abused the public trust, manipulated the media, and lied to the American public, they should have no qualms about being subject to investigation.

    When the truth is told the gay community has not been honest and forthright about their actions, history, methods and objecitves, and most people have no idea of what takes place in the underground gay culture and their agenda.

    Read Madsen & Kirk for a good primer

  • m.g. scott LAYTON, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 1:23 p.m.


    Let me quote you "Billions invested in business when it could be helping others." Just who do you think those businesses are helping?

    To those who seem to think wealth and the church don't mix, let me remind you that the church position hasn't changed. The leaders frequently warn the Saints not to use credit or overextend themselves. That some do and get into financial trouble does not speak to the truth of the church, only to the human failings we all have.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 1:03 p.m.

    @Dear LDS Lib: Sir, I wish there was a way to contact you so we could have a conversation about all of these things you angrily post each day. Sadly, the Dnews doesn't allow that function.

    You denigrate Utah Mormons for having big homes and driving Escalades and tell them they have let go of the iron rod.

    I'm did not grow up in Utah but have lived here for a decade or so and have a different take than you. Mormons in every state have bought big homes and drive Escalades. It's nothing unique to Utah Mormons.

    However, what is unique to Utah Mormons are people like you. Utah Mormons like you have a reputation throughout the US with people like me. You sleep on your rameumpton and denigrate everyone who doesn't believe just like you. Your posts are angry, vitriolic and factually incorrect.

    Your posts regarding church doctrine are usually not true while telling others they live in the large and spacious building.

    Sir, your anger, hate and envy of your fellowman is astonishing considering you claim to be an active LDS.

    I'd love to be your home teacher to help you take your beam out.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Nov. 15, 2011 1:01 p.m.

    @atl34. People who complain about the Mormon money behind the Proposition 8 campaign seem to have no problem with Unitarian and other religious liberal involvement in the No on 8 campaign. As a Mormon and former Unitarian I find this rather amusing, not to mention blatantly hypocritical. If the Mormons had put their effort and money toward the No on 8 campaign, I venture to say that nobody would be complaining about tax exemptions or separation of church and state.

    As for me, I am proud to say that some of the "Mormon money" in that effort came right out of my pocket.

  • friedeggonAZstreets Glendale, AZ
    Nov. 15, 2011 12:58 p.m.

    @skeptic-Are you serious? I hope you are teasing with your comment about Mormons learning from Mr. Bloom. We are not perfect by any means, but we are striving to live the teachings of Christ and His example. I don't know if Mr. Bloom even covered that or is even trying to do that himself because I have never heard of him until today. I think we will just continue to follow what Christ told us to do.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    'It is no surprise that the LDS Church, and Mitt Romney since he is a the frontrunner and LDS, are being attacked by the left like harold Bloom.' - Carrick | 6:30 a.m. Nov. 15, 2011


    *'Rick Perry backer decries Mitt Romney, Mormons' - By Jamshid Ghazi Askar, Deseret News - 10/08/11
    "(Robert) Jeffress described Romney's Mormon faith as a 'cult'

    'What I don't understand is why you just don't leave it be?' - Dadof5sons | 10:02 p.m. Nov. 14, 2011


    The LDS church donated $400,000 against civil unions in Hawaii in. The Baehr vs. Lewin case. It was through the Hawaiis Future Today (HFT) group.


    *'LDS Church's in-kind donations to Prop. 8 total $190K' - By Lynn Arave - By Dsnews - 02/03/09

    'Proposition 8 was a ballot measure in California last November that changed the state constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples and eliminated same-sex couples' right to marry.'


    *'Three GOP Presidential Candidates Sign Pledge To Investigate LGBT Community' - Stephen D. Foster Jr. - Addicting Info - 08/16/11

    One of the signatures to the 'pledge'...

    was by Mitt Romney.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 12:49 p.m.

    @Clark Hippo

    Well....since Jesus is the main focus of the Church perhaps this applies....Christ taught that one should sell all that one has and give it to the poor. While that's not totally practical, why couldn't the church sell its non-church assets and help the poor? Does the church really have need of anything other than meeting houses, temples, MTCs, family history centers, visitor centers and EMPLOYMENT center? The humanitarian funds, missionary funds, etc. could all be covered by tithing. The church should keep enough funds invested to keep it sound, but billions invested in businesses, when it could be helping others, is probably not really the way Jesus would have intended his church to be run.

    "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." Page_126 Mormon America_Richard_Ostling

    If a Church has nothing to hide, why not be open and honest about its financial dealings?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Nov. 15, 2011 12:39 p.m.


    I do not know many of the church members you describe. Some like that surely exist. But in over 35 years in the church I have met precious few for whom wealth was an overriding goal.

    I have known bishops and stake presidents, temple and mission presidents. Most are middle class. Some do better than that and a few do worse. All are generally focused much more on their families and church service than on wealth. Inasmuch as any of them do value material wealth, it is because of what it can do for their families and others. Several of the wealthiest in my wards have been very generous (I know that having served with them, not because they advertised it).

    And no, you can't take it with you. No doubt about that.

  • SSMD Silver Spring, MD
    Nov. 15, 2011 12:37 p.m.

    A considerable sum donated by members in the Fast Offering category goes to keeping members afloat in tough times for housing, food, medicine, car repairs, etc. Almost no overhead is involved.
    Building expenses include construction and operation (utilities, satellite connection, phones, copiers, computers, maintenance, and more. Temples cost even more so. The church has made an amazing effort to build more temples close to the members so that they may attend more frequently.
    When the church builds a building, it pays cash. No waste on paying interest for mortgages.
    The church also runs employment offices, food storage facilities, and social service agencies, prints books and magazines.
    The missionary effort, with missionary training centers, mission offices, printing costs for the Book of Mormon, translation services also is considerable.
    The church also sends aid for disaster relief to many nations.
    All of this and more goes to blessing us members and those who join, as well as many other people. The church is the best steward of money I've ever seen. Far better that the U.S. government, for sure, and any other government or labor union or charity.

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    Nov. 15, 2011 12:34 p.m.

    People laugh at the idea of Mormons "getting their own planet" as if it's some kind of starter kit. Many people, even today, think of heaven as a place where we will all just sit and play harps and sing songs for eternity, worlds without end. I have no singing talent to speak of (as my wife can testify), and no harp-playing or other musical ability whatsoever. So if I have any choice in the matter I'll take the planet, thank you very much!

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 15, 2011 12:33 p.m.

    To Joggle:

    It is obvious that you really don't know much of how the church works. First of the magazines the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints produces can be obtained for basically less than $1.00 an issue. Yet it is printed and produced by the Church. Manuals and other items are basically given to each Ward/Branch at basically no cost to them. Yet again these are all produced by the Church. If you cared to research you will find that the LDS Church has spent quite a bit of money on humanitarian aide that comes close to billions of dollars in response to hurricanes, storms, earthquakes, tsumanis and other natural disasters. What you fail to understand that each temple built costs approximately 2-5 million dollars. These are built with out any mortgages or loans being created. In fact, everything the LDS builds is bought and paid for long before it is finished. Again, until you honestly knows what is done you have no where to talk. Each ward and branch is given a budget each quarter. The so called wealth and such is way off base.

  • beckts Farmington, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 12:27 p.m.

    If Bloom is referring to the church in the 1840s then he is missing vital, scriptural commandments that Romney would violate to this day if he put faith above the law:

    Articles of Faith 1:12
    12 We believe in being subject to kings,
    residents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

    Doctrine and Covenants 134:3
    3 We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.

  • A Man's Perspective Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 11:58 a.m.

    Accusations that the LDS Church would rule the country through a Romney presidency is just downright paranoid nonsense. It is as bad as many of the tin foil hat conspiracies that get passed around in chain emails.

    Following such ridiculous accusations brings the critics out in droves along with high-fives and celebrations.

    And these critics wonder why we Latter-Day Saints don't bother with their logic and points of view.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 11:45 a.m.

    As the financial books of the church are not subject to inspection by the members or anyone, no one can detail what exactly the church spends its money on and how much of what they take in each year is spent running the church and how much is invested in non-church assets. Given the enormous revenues the church takes in each year, estimated at $6_billion, it's seems quite apparent that they cannot spend anywhere close to that on an annual basis in building expenses and the other items. The welfare-related expenses are likely very small in comparison to the income - based on the public expenditures listed in church magazines. Imagine if you had a corporation where the business model was to have your customers give you 10% of their income every year, and all you primarily had to provide in return were the buildings to meet in, a few social programs and some speeches made periodically by the owners. The church hardly spends any of its money on humanitarian aid or charity. It appears that less than 1% of its revenues goes to really help the needy. Where does it all go? I suspect power and greed applies!

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    RE: iron&clay ,The first vision of JS of the Father introducing his Son has a precedent in Acts chapter 7 where Stephen the martyr exclaims seeing a vision of the Son on the right hand of the Father.

    This is a Hebrew Idiom." That being a figure of speech much like, "he's my right hand man."
    Exodus 15:6 is an example of this idiom. We know God does not have a right hand! And we also know God did not literally "dash in pieces" the army of Pharaoh. This is a figurative example of God's power and strength giving the victory.
    We know God is Spirit, John 4:24, who is everywhere, Ps. 139:7-10, Jer. 23:24. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. (John 1:18 NIV)

    @ Mansions* for the faithful,it could literally be interpreted that worlds without number are being organized from matter that is eternal for the habitation . Wrong,

    Mansions(*Monē,3438)a staying,to make an (one's) abode.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    @Recovering Mormon 10:28

    I've read few comments on here which would disagree that Mormonism has changed and evolved from Joseph Smith's time to now. But why is that such a controversial point for some people? The world is certainly different now than it was from the 19th century. Is that a bad thing?

    The Lord knows the end from the beginning. He knows what the right time is to change and adapt to the changes in the world.

    @One of Vai's Cousins 9:58

    You said, "A 2 billion dollar mall and closed financial records do not help..."

    Whenever people attack the LDS Church for its downtown project, I can't help but ask, why is putting people to work, improving downtown Salt Lake considered unChristian? Are all the people who are working downtown better off trying to find other work, especially during a recession?

    What happened to the idea of, "Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime?"

    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?

  • Peter Marlow GRANADA HILLS, CA
    Nov. 15, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    Bloom points out that the LDS Church has never repudiated an arcane quote from Orson Pratt that appears to advocate an LDS theocracy. Why should it? Simply put, when read in context, it is clear that the quote speaks only about governing a church, the Kingdom of God, making the point that a church governed by men rather than God lacks His authority. The following statements, however, represent the established LDS view of religious liberty and civil government. They are 2 of our 13 Articles of Faith, considered scriptural canon, and are memorized by Mormon children everywhere: 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; and We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. These are far more relevant to the discussion. Bloom could have presented them in his piece.

  • Peter Marlow GRANADA HILLS, CA
    Nov. 15, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    Bloom writes that Mormons believe they can earn godhead through their own efforts, hoping to join the plurality of gods, or that Mormons each hope to get a planet all his own. Why does he think it necessary to regurgitate these old mischaracterizations commonly thrown in the faces of Mormons by those brainwashed to hate them? Blooms distortions of our beliefs sound as bigoted and offensive to me as the mocking a Jew might get from an atheist claiming they believe donkeys can talk. Is this how God wants us to love one another?

  • Peter Marlow GRANADA HILLS, CA
    Nov. 15, 2011 11:04 a.m.

    When I see the wild and unsubstantiated derisions and accusations made against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that invariably appear in the readers comments of news and opinion articles about it, I can understand. To put it politely, the misinformed lead the misinformed. The same old anti-Mormon talking points that had their origins in the more than 100 year-old recruitment tracts of the Klu Klux Klan are still with us today.

    But when intelligent people like Harold Bloom opine with comments on a similar level, those who know the facts are perplexed. If Bloom is going to pass judgment on the state of the LDS Church today, he should study it, not what others say about it.

    His superficial view of the current leadership of the LDS Church is useless just biased speculation. Did Bloom bother to get to know any of them? Why the accusations of greed? Where is the substance to his arguments? Why doesnt he accompany President Thomas S. Monson at work for a week and then write about that? President Monson is well into his 80s. That should be easy, right?

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 15, 2011 10:47 a.m.

    @Charles, It seems that recognizing many Mormons true god is the gold in their pocket has really hit a sore spot. But,it seems that the truth would be if Mormons really believed the teachings of JS and the BOM and really knew the things they say that they know to be true, then their lives would be much more about spiritual values and less about material well being. It is said that you can't take it with you; or is there some Mormon twist to that where indeed you can.

  • CT98 Saint George, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 10:44 a.m.

    I had the distinct priviledge of sitting in Dr. Bloom's New Haven home one day and sharing my testimony of Joseph Smith with the Yale Professor. My companion and I tracted into him one day in 1997 while serving as missionaries in New Haven, CT. I was completely shocked during our door-step introduction when Dr. Bloom told me he had met personally met with Thomas Monson in Salt Lake City in 1991. Dr. Bloom invited us into his living room and we had a very interesting 30-minute conversation. He told me he was convinced Joseph Smith could not have written the Book of Mormon; the book was too complex to have been written by a farm boy. I jumped at the opportunity to share my testimony of the boy Prophet and told him I knew the book to be divine. Dr. Bloom was very respectful of my beliefs. He thanked us for our visit and we went along our way. Maybe one day.....

  • radically_independent Orem, Utah
    Nov. 15, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    I think we really get confused between Mormon Culture and Mormon Doctrine. They should be clearly seperate, but unfortunately manytimes they merge in unintended ways.

    For example, how many times have we seen someone beleive that their calling is some kind of religious validation of how spiritual they are compared with their peers. Heck, how often do we see members beleive in self superiourity over their non-member counter parts simply by virtue in their membership in the church. That they are somehow the "elect".

    Any yet some of the most spiritual people I know serve in the most humble of callings. And I haveequally seen those who actively try to promote themselves into desired or prestigous callings.

    Personal pride and the need to self validate exist in every organization. It does not mean that is the organizations role or goal. People have a way of messing up even the most well intended of organizations.

  • SSMD Silver Spring, MD
    Nov. 15, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    LDS Liberal:
    Are judging the righteousness of the folks in Alpine, etc.? Worry about the beam in your own eye.
    I live in a stake with many wealthy LDS (BTW, I'm not wealthy)in big houses (many with large families) and am in a position to see how often and generously they bless the lives of others, especially the less fortunate, with their wealth. It is very faith-promoting.
    And, BTW, the United Order was not socialism. It was freely entered into and freely left, without the compulsion necessary to impose socialism.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 15, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    ThinksIThink: Do you realize that the LDS church has critict the BOM and made changes to it, are you saying the church no longer believes.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 10:00 a.m.

    @Ranch 7:22

    Speaking for myself, as a Latter-day Saint, I may not always agree with your opinion or the opinion of people like Pagan, but I do respect what you have to say.

    Because the LDS Church has taken a position on certain issues, and because the vast majority of Utah lawmakers are LDS, I totally understand my faith is going to face some criticism and even some hostility.

    I feel so grateful to live in a country where we can have discussions like this without killing each other in the street.

    @LDS Liberal 9:30

    You said - I know a few people who would take issue with some of your definitions.

    Tolerance (Sorry, but the Democratic Party hardly has a monopoly on this one)

    Inclusion (recent misleading attacks on the LDS Church by Lawrence O'Donnell and Bill Maher leave this one up in the air)

    Socialism - United Order (Sorry, but two are different. In the United Order, people still own their own property)

    Free Speech (Then why are some liberals wanting to regulate Fox News, conservative talk and what is said on college campuses?)

    Free religion (As long as they shut up and stay invisible)

  • One of Vai's Cousins DC, Washington
    Nov. 15, 2011 9:58 a.m.

    Professor Bloom loved the courage and originality of early LDS leaders and theology. I think he saw it as progressively losing it's courage and uniqueness following the manifesto.

    He is right about the fact that today's LDS Church is VERY different from the early LDS Church of JS, BY and JT. For modern Mormons, that difference is a very good thing as we would not have a fraction of the membership we do today or very likely would long since have become extinct as a church had we not changed as drastically as we did.

    But the fact remains that LDS doctrine, beliefs, practices, policies, and culture has changed a great deal. Most Mormons attribute that to the wisdom and inspiration of modern day Prophets. I personally have struggled with a "restoration" of truth that is actually dramatically different today than when it was originally restored under JS.

    But I do agree with many comments that the Church is not money or power hungry. A 2 billion dollar mall and closed financial records do not help that argument but I see the Church as much more pragmatic, business savvy and modern than money and power hungry.

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    Nov. 15, 2011 9:44 a.m.

    I've never heard an active member of the LDS Church accept criticism from someone regarding the truth of the Book of Mormon. The only time a person is willing to accept such criticism is when they no longer believe.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 9:30 a.m.

    In other words, Bloom thinks the church has betrayed the original vision of Joseph Smith....



    Mormons in 1844:

    Socialism - United Order
    Womens Right (prior to Womens Suffrage)
    Universal Welfare Programs
    Free Speech
    Free Religion (who, where, what they may)
    Sustaining Vote

    Liberal concepts then -- Liberal concepts now.

    Then drive through Herriman, Saratoga Springs or Alpine, and look at all the McMansions and Cadillac Escalades...

    Utah Mormons have let go of the rod, and are turning more and more toward the
    "Large and Spacious Building" and "fine appearal".

  • KM Cedar Hills, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    So let me get this straight, The Mormons are to be feared, yet the members of Reverend Wrights church are to be elected? Sure!

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 15, 2011 9:12 a.m.

    %Flashback, You state of others that they are: "Ever learning but never able to come to the truth." Is it possible that perhaps you maybe never learning and never recognizing the truth. Something to think about. Especially in esoteric matters of religion where no one knows. So is it better to just think you know and close your mind, or maybe keep an open mind concerning others and questions to which there are no true answers yet known to man.

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    Nov. 15, 2011 9:06 a.m.

    @ Ranch,

    Really? so how has the church persononly targeted you! Did they come along and burn your home to the ground? Harrass you at work till you lost your job? Does the church tear down your personal Ideas publicly by naming you? What I see is a bitter person who might have once been a member of the church but could not abide the rules. That is fine if you don't like it please leave and leave the church alone. How ever from History those who leave the church are the most bitter and can never let go and are left to themselves to fight against the pricks. I really feel sorry for you. I hope and pray you can find peace in your heart. I real do.

  • abejones SCOTT DEPOT, WV
    Nov. 15, 2011 8:52 a.m.

    I have read many of Professor Bloom's books. He has a way with words,is adept at "tagging" and collects information via the post card route. He has, for instance, his various contacts, expert who supply him with the general ideas and activities of any group. Many books about Mormonism have been written that way by scholars venturing outside their field. G.B.Shaw might also be regarded as a friend of the Church, but he too saw it, ultimately, as endandering itself with an ambition to replace secular authority.As we see, this attitude still remains. As one who views himself as a moderate liberal( i.e. I do not oppose new highways because of a frog pond or bird nest)I will vote for Gov Romney if he is nominated( The many conservatives in my Church are going to face the fact that this nomination will be opposed by Republican conservatives)

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 8:51 a.m.

    It is ironic that Bloom and many other university and media elites who see things in literature, science, culture and life that others of us don't see, are blind to the most important things that the poor and humble see so clearly. (Only poor, middle class and humble are being baptized into this church---rare for a rich person to convert) In his piece, he is critical of a quote by Orson Pratt, which quote might very well have been given by the Apostle Paul who was against living by 614 commandments and emphasized keeping the gospel simple and focused on faith; of course Paul and Peter obeyed Roman law as Pratt followed the constitution. It is true, however, that when it comes to redefining the institution of marriage and justifying it with language in the constitution, we will follow the Bible over the constitution.

  • m.g. scott LAYTON, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 8:44 a.m.

    After reading all the posts, I think the third one from Counter-Intelligence said it best. "substitute the word Jews......"

    I wonder if Mr. Bloom would be as worried if it were Harry Reid we were talking about?

  • Whos Life RU Living? Ogden, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 8:29 a.m.

    Power and money is ok as long as it is protected by the christian shield.

    Hmm.. maybe I should play along and be a christian.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 7:53 a.m.

    A classic example of, "Ever learning but never able to come to the truth."

    Nov. 15, 2011 7:22 a.m.

    Dadof5sons | 10:02 p.m. Nov. 14, 2011
    Montesano, WA
    @ Pegan,
    It amazes me that you want nothing to do with The LDS faith in any way shape or form. I can respect that. What I don't understand is why you just don't leave it be? You want nothing to do with it but you are always harping on a church that you don't want to belong to. That is a oxymoron. I have no desider to belong to any other church and I never harp on them. Nor does any one else that I know of. seems to me your frustrated with something you just can't let go of.


    Because your church has gone on the attack of people like Pagan and myself.

    Why don't we leave your church alone? Because it won't leave US alone.

    When the LDS Church and its members learn to mind their own business and let others live their lives without LDS interference, then we'll stop commenting on your organization.

    Live and let live. Until then, don't expect to be allowed to attack others with impugnity.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 7:04 a.m.

    I have been plenty critical of the church, especially involving the church representing as truth many issues that are patently incorrect. However, this "conspiracy" nonsense is simply too much, the idea that an LDS candidate can't think for himself.

    Silly comments like "Mormonism's allegiance to elite power and money" and the desire to perpetuate a Mormon theocracy is tantamount to seeing black helicopters over SLC controlled by the brethren with robotic foot soldiers created in the catacombs below the temple ready to be unleashed against the world as soon as Romney becomes president.


  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 6:34 a.m.

    To Dadof5sons:

    You don't live here under a theocracy. You would understand Pagan more if you did.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Nov. 15, 2011 6:32 a.m.

    Maybe most of you should step outside the box, take a long hard look at yourselves and ask the question "who am I, who are we"? Take a hard enough look and you'll be surprised at the answer.

  • Carrick Layton, 84041
    Nov. 15, 2011 6:30 a.m.

    It is no surprise that the LDS Church, and Mitt Romney since he is a the frontrunner and LDS, are being attacked by the left like harold Bloom. Great emphasis has been placed on the attacks from the religious right but the left will probably be even worse.

    This is discussed in Brignhurst and Foster, The Mormon Quest for the Presidency: From Joseph Smith to Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman (2011). It is well worth reading.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 1:44 a.m.

    The first vision of Joseph Smith of the Father introducing his Son has a precedent in Acts chapter 7 where Stephen the martyr exclaims seeing a vision of the Son on the right hand of the Father.
    When Jesus tells his disciples that he is going to prepare mansions for the faithful, it could literally be interpreted that worlds without number are being organized from matter that is eternal for the habitation of the meek who will inherit the earth and earths.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Nov. 15, 2011 12:46 a.m.

    @Terry 10:53

    You said - "Why is the LDS church the only religion where it is OK to be a bigot and put religion into politics where it does not belong?"

    Because we're an easy target. You don't see Latter-day Saints holding offensive picket signs in front of other churches. You don't hear LDS Church leaders go on TV and say misleading and inflammatory things about Rick Perry, Herman Cain or Michele Bachman. You don't have squads of LDS people following around journalists or cartoon producers who write or say negative things about the church.

    People come after us because they know we're not going to come back at them in the same way.

    @atl134 11:07

    You said, "Do you expect people to tolerate what they consider to be intolerance?"

    Of course not and this is why so many LDS people vote Republican. They see the immorality which is continually advocated by the left and they won't tolerate it. It cuts both ways I suppose.

  • Sandy Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 11:21 p.m.

    Twenty years ago Professor Bloom wrote about Mormons in his book, The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation. In his chapters about Mormonism, his admiration of Joseph Smith is extraordinary, and he thinks very well of Brigham Young and even calls John Taylor "heroic." It was fun, for those of us faithful LDS who read the book, to hear him say such things when so many other intellectuals sneered and trashed, but reading on we then found that somehow Wilford Woodruff fails Bloom--he doesn't quite make it clear how, but it maybe has something to do with the Manifesto--and he has no respect for any subsequent prophet up to the present time.

    Bloom is not ignorant--it's an ignorant thing to say of such a vastly educated man. But he is a kind of Jeremiah in an ivory tower, and has little love for the modern world and seemingly for anyone who manages to navigate it peaceably. Having been once lured into cultural/intellectual arrogance, I feel a little sorry for him, despite his great riches of knowledge.

    Wake up, Ebenezer Bloom! Don't be so miserly! It's Christmas Morning!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 11:07 p.m.

    @Monsieur le prof

    "Unfortunately, it was the latter who received the brunt of the liberal left's tirade and anger. "

    That is due to the fact that half of the contributions to the pro-prop 8 side came from LDS members and around 3/4 of the volunteer hours on the pro-prop 8 side came from LDS members despite being 2% of californians. If any other church had that disproportionate iinvolvement they would be the ones criticized. Simple as that. The end result is that a lot of people went from having a neutral or leans-positive view of the church to having a negative one. Some members got tired of dealing with the attacks on their faith from fellow members, just because they disagreed on the matter. Some eventually left the church over it. One can notice that the church was not nearly as involved in Maine's referendum on gay marriage one year later.

    "So much for their "tolerance" of others. "

    Do you expect people to tolerate what they consider to be intolerance?

  • Terry Sandy, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 10:53 p.m.

    So why does some anti-mormon professor get any stage at all for his bigoted views? How many athiests, anti-catholics or anti-protestants from right off the street get front page opinion articles bashing on the religion of past candidates when it has nothing to do with how good of a political leader those men were?

    Why is the LDS church the only religion where it is OK to be a bigot and put religion into politics where it does not belong? Lets keep the election focused on candidates track record, education and skills at leading the country and turning the economy around! I have not seen a more articulate, well spoken and proven candidate than Romney for this task in over 20+ years!

  • tabuno Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 10:52 p.m.

    A rather bold and courageous article to be published in the Deseret News which on the whole does attempt to provide some balanced reporting, but seems to tilt against the Church itself. Not an article one would typical expect in the Deseret News. It's nice to know that the Deseret News isn't adverse to providing a diversity of news, pertinent to the election of next year's President.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 10:27 p.m.

    The professor is right. The chuch has pumped much energy and many dollars into an absolute mainstream image in the quest for religious, and ultimately political, influence and power.

  • Monsieur le prof Sandy, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 10:26 p.m.

    We need to remember that this is just the opinion of one man who is as unfamiliar with the original teachings of Jesus Christ as he is of those restored teachings in our time, not unlike a majority of Christians today. Very few people actually know what their churches believe, nor do they care. Most believe that "all roads lead to Rome," and so it doesn't really matter which church one attends.

    As for Prop. 8 in California, it was actually the Catholic church leaders who invited the LDS to aid them in their fight against it. Unfortunately, it was the latter who received the brunt of the liberal left's tirade and anger. So much for their "tolerance" of others.

    Skeptic's bias merely refects the opinion and ignorance of Mr. Bloom. The kindness and service of the LDS church leaders, coupled with the generosity and charity of the church itself, are the fruits of true Christian theology. And I think that a desire for education is probably a good thing, isn't it?

  • Seattleview Federal Way, WA
    Nov. 14, 2011 10:04 p.m.

    I dont see how Mormon leadership is striving for money and power. Where does their money go? It doesnt appear to go toward multi million dollar salaries as many other "christian" churches do. They pay their bills and dont go into debt so is that what the authoer is referring to? They build a lot of buildings and temples so is that a bad thing?

    Would Mormons really be better christians if they didnt strive so hard for education and well paying jobs? IF they didnt teach their children to be self reliant?

    People experiencing materialism and craving (some times coveting) money and materials like others might have, is not unique to Mormons. Everyone deals with this in their lives to one degree or another.

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    Nov. 14, 2011 10:02 p.m.

    @ Pegan,
    It amazes me that you want nothing to do with The LDS faith in any way shape or form. I can respect that. What I don't understand is why you just don't leave it be? You want nothing to do with it but you are always harping on a church that you don't want to belong to. That is a oxymoron. I have no desider to belong to any other church and I never harp on them. Nor does any one else that I know of. seems to me your frustrated with something you just can't let go of.

  • ribel Layton, Ut
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:56 p.m.

    Ignorance dressed in fancy words is still ignorance.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:51 p.m.

    Bloom's attacks on Southern Baptists also reflect a reinforcement of misinterpretation of their actions and beliefs. This is the type of writting that divides and disunites people.

    Bloom has done a disservice to both electoral goodwill and to the understanding of what various religions believe. Academics may claim they have a cosmopolitianism that encompasses everyone, but in fact they have a narrow disdain for anyone who actually believes religion has real meaning and power.

    Bloom should spend some time learning about the Church's welfare program, digging wells in Africa and the Ezra Taft Benson's institute attempts to improve living conditions in many nations before he spouts off on things he knows absolutely nothing about.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:46 p.m.

    The Church has made it imminently clear it is not sponsoring any political candidate.

    Blooms' implications otherwise is just wrong.

    Bloom just does not understand Thomas S. Monson. President Monson is a man who cares about people and relationships, not money and power. For Bloom to claim otherwise is ludicrous. He knows nothing of Thomas S. Monson and betrays an ignorance of the subject. In fact, it seems that he knows so little of President Monson his attack is motivated by the Church not agreeing with his own political goals. This is as likely to be because the Church actually avoids making statements on most political issues, as opposed to it taking any position that Bloom openly disagrees with.

    Bloom in his focus on this world forgets that the function of religion is to point us to a better life hereafter. This means that religions have to seek ways to share their message boradly, and this generally requires avoiding too many political entanglements.

    Bloom may speak in high language, but he does not know politics if he thinks Romney is sponsored by the Church.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:39 p.m.

    Utter Nonsense,
    Since the PBS special about Mormons was in no way made or produced by THe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints your claim that Bloom was touted by the Church as non-biased just does not make any sense.

    Bloom is a literary theorist, so I do not expect him to be able to understand easily what motivates people to do what they do. That is at the heart of his baseless calling of other people Plutocrats.

    The Church organizes resources in many ways to the benefit of mankind. The Perpetual Education Fund among many other things just does not fit Bloom's baseless attacks.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:29 p.m.

    Bloom clearly has no understnading of the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thomas S. Monson, Boyd K. Packer and Dallin H. Oaks are no plutocrats.

    The leaders of the Church are not men who spent their adult lives in poverty, although Presidents Monson and Packer were clearly not raised in wealth, and President Uchtdorf was raised in poverty, but from both an ideological and realistic perspective these men are not plutocrats.

    Bloom is mouthing off about things he knows nothing about.

    Zealot is an attack term almost as bad as cult. I am not sure what constitutes zealotry, but it is clearly a gratuitous attack that more reflects negative energy than any level of thinking.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:29 p.m.

    Respect Dr. Bloom a lot, but he is not correct that "Salt Lake City sponsors Mr. Romney's candidacy". And, I'm sorry, but anybody who receives a paycheck is after money and power---what is wrong with that? Money and power mean you are not pushed around as much. Anything wrong with that?? I think it was Pres. Hinckley who, in a general conference talk said, that we, as a church, are not money producers, but money consumers-----the church spends the money it receives. Apparently, Dr. Bloom prefers a church that is kicked around, pushed around and in deep poverty. He prefers poverty-stricken churches that can't help others out in disaster. Dr. Bloom should worry more about Bernie Madoff than Salt Lake City.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:23 p.m.

    Non-Mormons living in Utah will agree whole-heartedly with the article. This is how you are judged whether you agree with it or not.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:21 p.m.

    '...they (Mormons) may learn how to better live successfully in the world of different people.' - skeptic | 6:15 p.m. Nov. 14, 2011

    Well said!

    However, as evidenced by commentors on this board:


    BLAH, BLAH, Blah, blah....zzzzzzz - Eichendorff | 5:03 p.m. Nov. 14, 2011

    And the moderators who allow such rhetoric as part of 'civil discourse'...

    Some people, do not WANT to learn how to live with different people.

    My comments are far, far, from insulting to specific persons or things.

    But people in this state never seem to run out of their 'loving and acceptance' by telling me to leave this state. Or that I 'live in my own country.'

    I give not one, not two but THREE examples of theocracy, and I'M the person who is not tolerant?

    I try NOT to focus on Mitt Romney's faith. Rather his actions.

    UNLIKE some, whom Mormons trip over themselves to support.


    *'Fox News host: Romney not Christian' - By Hal Boyd, Deseret News - 07/17/11

    *'Rick Perry backer decries Mitt Romney, Mormons' - By Jamshid Ghazi Askar, Deseret News - 10/08/11

    " (Robert) Jeffress described Romney's Mormon faith as a 'cult,'....

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:14 p.m.

    Ugh...Prof. Bloom, please stop airing your ignorance. Being a Yale academic luminary doesn't mean you can state your opinions as simple facts. And these opinions are embarrassingly uninformed.

    Referring to non-Mormons as "Gentiles"? That usage largely fell out of the Mormon vernacular 50 years ago.

    Mormons believe they can have "their own planet"? A popular thing for second-rate anti-Mormons to repeat, but not based in any actual Mormon beliefs, scriptures, or teachings.

    And although there is much more that is wrong with Bloom's article, the primary problem is his attitude that his particular cynical viewpoint is demonstrably, indisputably true--at least, among smart people like himself.

  • Mark321 Las Vegas, NV
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:11 p.m.

    All about money and power? Does Bloom realize that the General Authorities of the Church live by very simple means? They don't have huge houses or have fast cars or private jets. So how can it be all about money and power? This is the problem with research. Research is so one-sided. I hardly find people nowadays do adequate research. If you want to learn to play golf do you ask a basketball player only? Now the basketball player may play golf, he even might be pretty good at it, but you won't get much out of it. The problem is many think they are an expert in golf after that. You really want to know golf you ask a professional golf player. My point is Bloom needs to research church from the inside out and not the outside in, but this is the problem in regards to research of the LDS Church. Everybody asks everybody else but the church or members of the church. President Monson would have no problem showing Bloom how the church operates its money and maybe he'll see how unlavishly the General Authorities live there lives.

  • Larry Lawton Wan Chai, Hong Kong
    Nov. 14, 2011 9:00 p.m.

    I read the article by Bloom. Reminds me of that old tale of two guys at an opera. After an hour of so, Ollie gets up to leave. His companion pulls him back into his seat, saying, "Sit down. It ain't over til the fat lady sings." Bloom says he spent a few years looking at religion in the west, but he sure didn't see my church. Like Ollie, he was in the theater, but neither saw nor heard the opera. Had he paid attention, he would not now look as ill-informed as he is condescending. A list of his howlers might start with his allegation that Romney's campaign is sponsored by the church leadership, then go on to examine the idea that Romney is or ever was high in the leadership of the church. Unfortunately, his intended audience has three strikes against them:
    1) They mistake good writing for accuracy.
    2) They think a secular education qualifies one to understand -- and even judge-- religion.
    3) They assume one of their own actually knows about "fly-over country."
    Sadly, no comments section allowed to the underlying article by NYT, so his silliness goes unchallenged there.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    Nov. 14, 2011 8:49 p.m.

    I'm more worried about Romney and his Globalist theocracy which will prove to be very destructive to this nation. Just look at what Obama is doing to it now. The constituion is just a dirty word now. People draw near it with their words but their hearts are far from it.

    It's a joke when Republicans claim they want smaller government because only Pauls track record proves he is the only candidate capable of following through on that.

  • azgal Buckeye, AZ
    Nov. 14, 2011 8:46 p.m.

    Funny that he singles out Romney as dangerous for a potential theocracy.... I think Perry and Cain have been just as, if not more so, "religious" in their campaign as Romney has. (Bachman by far the worst as far as lack of separation of church & state!)

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 8:44 p.m.

    What I find amusing about Bloom's column, along with similar columns in regards to the LDS Church is they appear to contradict the many messages I read on Facebook, YouTube and other Internet sites about the upcoming demise of the LDS Church.

    Among the quotes I have read include the following:

    "The Mormon Church is bleeding members."

    "The Internet has stopped the Mormon Church dead in its tracks."

    "The Mormon PR machine no longer works."

    "Mormon's are fighting hard to get into poor, third world countries because they can no longer baptize educated people with access to the Internet."

    So which is it? Is the Mormon Church on the verge of becoming a major influence in American political and social culture, or is it on the verge of total collapse?

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Nov. 14, 2011 8:22 p.m.

    Article quote from Mr. Bloom: "....is indistinguishable from the secular plutocratic oligarchs who exercise power in our supposed democracy,"


    Any guy who writes like that is the poster-child of those who are "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

  • Forrest Natchitoches, LA
    Nov. 14, 2011 8:14 p.m.

    Romney is not helping the Church gain money or power, folks. Bloom's goof is that he believes a few wealthy Church leaders "sponsor" Romney, to use his word. All political parties are represented in Church leadership. Easily accessible are the names of contributors to political campaigns. Let Mr. Bloom show us the sponsorship! Take a look at what money Church leaders give to candidates. Either the prophets and apostles are not rich men, or they are not using their means to sponsor Romney. So much for Bloom's fears of an oligarchy, or plutocracy, venting its will through a presidential candidate.

  • Gr8bald1 San Diego, CA
    Nov. 14, 2011 8:08 p.m.

    Sorry folks --- I'm not as smart as you guys. I had to look some words up.

    Oligarchy: Government by a few.
    Guess this is true. Christ is the head of the church.

    Plutocratic: Government run by the rich.
    Seems this one is false.
    Last time I checked, the LDS church had a lay ministry. There are some employees (maintenance folks, temple/church civil engineers/designers, etc.). The Apostles and Seventy receive only a modest living allowance --- period.

  • Salsero Provo, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 7:48 p.m.

    In a presidential campaign where increasing religious influence in the political world is seen as a positive force by conservative, evangelical Christians, it would only follow that Romney would incorporate his LDS religious beliefs in policy just as Perry wants to utilize his Southern Baptist beliefs in an administration he would lead. It's all about breaking down the separation between church and state with regard to setting policy.

    So who cares if it is an LDS influence, an evangelical Christian influence, or a fundamentalist Christian influence as long as it's a "Christian" influence? The Republican base should be theoretically happy with any of these. Except the evangelicals and fundamentalists recognize Mormons as belonging to a rogue sect of questionable Christian origin.

    When religion moves out of the church, synagogue, temple, or mosque, care must be exercised because not everyone agrees with the various teachings being moved onto the social stage. Growing up in Utah in the late 40s and early 50s, few questioned the influence of LDS culture since everyone seemed to be Mormon. However, as Utah becomes more diverse, cultural influences must make way for others who do not share the same belief system.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 7:47 p.m.

    I'm sure the LDS apologists and the Romney supporters will take umbrage, but Bloom is right on several points. I especially agree with his assessment that Joseph Smith was brilliant but that the Church has deviated from a lot of the teachings. I often wonder if Joseph Smith would recognize or approve of some of the drifting that has taken place. From this perspective, Bloom makes a very valid point.

  • Madden Herriman, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 7:41 p.m.

    @Vanka - do you even read the comments? Most just pile even more on the Mormons, a few critique Bloom's thinking and give honest opinions of why he got it wrong, some are introspective, and a few attack Bloom at a personal level...and that last group so far seems to be the smallest represented on the board. So as far as I can tell, of all the reactionary people commenting here, you seem to top the list. Your comments in "support" of people like Dr. Bloom just hurts their cause and does nothing to promote sincere discussion.

  • FDRfan safety dictates, ID
    Nov. 14, 2011 7:37 p.m.

    If we let politics trump our religion can we blame others for misconceptions?

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Nov. 14, 2011 7:31 p.m.

    I lived in Pennsylvania in 1990 and was in a business meeting with a gentleman when the subject of religion came up. I was the only Mormon he had ever met. He was an inactive Catholic.

    This man asked me if the Mormon Church was just another business, just like the Catholic Church? I felt that he was being unfair to his own church. It just so happened that the LDS church had just changed their budgeting practices. I explained to this man that we used to pay Tithing, Ward Budget, Building Fund, Fast offerings, etc. but that the church leadership felt that the financial burden was too much so they eliminated everything except tithing and fast offerings. It was a leap of faith but it worked out.

    With the perpetual education fund, the church leveling the cost of missions for all young missionaries, assisting with housing costs in some cases for senior missionaries, the churches humanitarian efforts, church welfare, etc. I don't see how any knowledgeable person could believe that the church was motivated by money and power.

  • ego Laie, HI
    Nov. 14, 2011 7:31 p.m.

    @ Ms Molli
    So many to choose from: "No Mormon need fall into the fundamentalist denial of evolution, because the Mormon God is not a creator." pg 3 of the article. Although I agree with some parts of the article. This article is, in all, a bias ed and ill informed opinion of a religion that the author has the hubris to believe he understands while presenting it to others as less than acceptable.

    I expect more from our residents of higher education. Especially Yale, a school that was founded by those who sought a more open understanding of the spiritual.

  • Jared Average, SE
    Nov. 14, 2011 7:25 p.m.

    Vanka, Mormons seek out the good in anything. Just because Dr. Bloom has been fair to portions of Mormonism in the past (particularly about Joseph Smith, who he truly admires) does not mean that everything he says is correct. His praise of Joseph Smith is not a scathing critique of Mormonism; his praise of Joseph Smith is just that - praise of Joseph Smith. His critiques in his NYT op ed piece are unfortunately so full of errors that it destroys the credibility of his article (but not of all his work). I think some of what he wrote was spot-on but much of it was simply a rehash of tired (and wrong) attacks on Mormonism. Dr. Bloom has offered many great critiques over the years, this simply was not one of them.

  • Justmythoughts Provo, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 7:17 p.m.

    I am growing weary of every person with a column writing their opinion of the Mormon church and Mitt Romney. I hope the country is growing weary of it as well....for crying out loud.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 7:12 p.m.

    Oh my Bob!

    I'm just waiting for the heads to explode!

  • Veracity Morgan, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 7:10 p.m.

    And in the last days, individuals will become hauty and proudful in their self proclaimed knowledge, stating earthly understanding to try and define Gods nature, purpose and meaning...I guess I have just read some of it now.

  • peacemaker Provo, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 6:59 p.m.

    It has always amazed me when I hear the all knowing and wise College Professors who have only "Book" and theoretical experience based on years of time in a classroom. Many of those I have dealt with in the working world have little common sense in dealing with the realities of Society or the use of practical thinking in solving problems. The extensive education and study has filled their minds with knowledge without the advantage of practical application or common sense. With all due respect to his extensive study and teaching, his opinions exhibit a total lack of an understanding of a few basic principals.
    1.Faith and living God's commandments while doing the Lords work equals prosperity.
    2.That prosperity is now serving millions of underprivileged Children of God throughout the world through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Charities charities.
    God promised Adam and Eve he would never leave them alone. Modern day inspiration and revelation continue to update the needs of his children today. Professor Bloom is quick to judge followers and slow to understand who Jesus Christ is and what he taught.
    The greatest education is experience...Albert Einstein

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 6:40 p.m.

    When Bloom was praising the LDS Church and founder, Deseret News published an article on it, and members were virtually gloating!

    Now the same Professor Bloom elaborates on what he meant, and it is a scathing critique or Mormonism, so members attack Dr. Bloom!

    Your opportunistic reactions to Bloom confirm exactly what he is saying about Mormonism and Mitt Romney. So long as it helps the Church gain money and power, you will smile upon it.

    Professor Bloom hit the nail on the head.

  • Kiyo Washougal, Washington
    Nov. 14, 2011 6:24 p.m.

    Just another strategy to get BHO re-elected.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 14, 2011 6:15 p.m.

    If the Mormons will give serious thought to what Mr Bloom is making evident, rather than just sweep it under their dogma rug, they may learn how to better live successfully in the world of different people.

  • Jonathan Eddy Payson, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 6:11 p.m.


  • Madden Herriman, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 6:08 p.m.

    The funny thing is, I agree that too many of us LDS the (active, practicing, believing ones) are focused on secular life and gaining wealth. Probably have to include myself in that condemnation. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were both worried about prosperity being the thing that brought the saints down, not persecution.

    But to lay that blame at the feet of LDS leaders just feels bizarre...I don't see or hear anything to make me think that money is their focus, they focus on the spiritual. Do we blame Moses for the failings of the people he helped free from bondage in Egypt? Not so much. A teacher/leader/preacher can only do so much to sway the hearts of men.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 6:01 p.m.

    dumprake: Yale is a well-endowed, private university. Taxpayers do not pay Bloom's salary. That said, power and money are certainly prevalent in the Ivy League schools. But Bloom's criticism of the LDS Church as being power- and money-hungry is as off base as the recent article in Harper's, which makes the same false argument.

  • falasha Mount Laurel, NJ
    Nov. 14, 2011 5:52 p.m.

    I don't see how Monson's relentless service to widows while in his powerful 20's constitutes an early pursuit towards leading a church towards a plutocracy. The book of mormon itself teaches a distinct liberation theology which compels the believer to produce a society "knit together in love". A few examples: "Are we not all beggars?" Mosiah4, ridicule of wealthy prideful oligarchy: Helaman 6:39-40, Annihilation of wealth classes: "And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift." 4Nephi1 Insightful commentary identifying true prosperity i.e. attainment of "precious things, silk and good homely cloth." with "not send[ing] away any who were naked, or hungry, or athirst", "and they did not set their hearts upon riches", and "they were liberal to all, both old/young, bond/free, male/female, out of the church or in" Alma 1:30. The church continues to fund the PEF to avoid another great evil illustrated in 3Nephi 6:12, "people distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and chances for learning;"

  • Uncle Rico Sandy, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 5:45 p.m.

    Wow, we get our own planet? cool, i need to pay more attention in Sunday School. Glad the author knows everything!

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Nov. 14, 2011 5:34 p.m.

    "Ye shall know them by their fruits". Christ taught us the method that would unfailingly show us how to pick between people. There are "fruits" enough for anyone who is willing to look, to tell whether members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are following Christ or whether they're following Christ's adversary.

    It's easy to get caught up in emotions, particularly when a religion tells the world that God is dissatisfied with all other religions. That tends to cause people to take sides. It causes those who are prone to excusing their own failings even as they point out the faults of others, to overlook the good as they grovel for any fault or mistake.

    Look at the lives of the 14,000,000 who are members. Compare them with any other group of 14,000,000 and see if there is not much to be admired in the way they conduct themselves and raise their families.

    Perfection is the commandment, but only one was perfect. The rest of us are somewhere along that path, hopefully pursuing goodness as we try to emulate Christ, our example and our leader.

  • Laura Ann Layton, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 5:20 p.m.

    @Pagan You must be living in a different country than I am as it is a violation of the Constitution to have an 'Official Religion.'

    As of 'Proposition 8 was a ballot measure in California last November that changed the state constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples and eliminated same-sex couples' right to marry.'

    Please give it a rest. There are a lot of religions, such as the Catholics, who were also against same-sex couples' right to marry.

  • Eichendorff Olathe, Kansas
    Nov. 14, 2011 5:03 p.m.


    BLAH, BLAH, Blah, blah....zzzzzzz

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 5:02 p.m.

    This should be conclusive evidence that the really smart and really education people at places like Harvard, are some the dumbest people around. This guy needs to get out of his office and his books a bit more. And taxpayers pay his exorbitant salary--so who is obsessed with power and money?

  • Ms Molli Bountiful, Utah
    Nov. 14, 2011 5:00 p.m.

    What part of what he said isn't correct?

  • Rickety Kaysville, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 4:55 p.m.

    I suppose Bloom obtains money and power by writing about organisations that have money and power. Yawn.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 4:53 p.m.

    The world doesn't revolve around Prop 8, regardless of Pagan's views on the subject.

    Those who criticise the LDS leaders are ones who know them the least. That was true in Joseph Smith's day and it remains true today.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 4:47 p.m.

    The ONLY time I would consider the faith of a canidate, is if the canidate, would put those belief's ABOVE the wellfare of our country.

    *'Romney: God wants US to lead, not follow' - By Steve Peoples - AP - Published by DSNews - 10/07/11
    He says God did not create America to be a nation of followers.


    *'GOP contenders argue on Iran' - By Kasie Hunt - AP - Published by DSNews - 11/12/11
    "If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if you elect Mitt Romney, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon," vowed the former Massachusetts governor.'

    I am in NO mood for yet another war...

    based on the ever popular 'Nuclear weapons' claim or 'WMD's'...

    that cost us $3 trillion of your tax dollars, and over 4,000 American lives.

    *'U.S. Military deaths in Iraq war at 4,473 - AP - Published by the DSNews - 08/02/2011

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 4:35 p.m.

    *'LDS Church's in-kind donations to Prop. 8 total $190K' - By Lynn Arave - By Dsnews - 02/03/09

    'Proposition 8 was a ballot measure in California last November that changed the state constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples and eliminated same-sex couples' right to marry.'

    *Mormon Church agrees to pay small fine for mistake that led to late report of contributions in Prop. 8 campaign' - By Scott Taylor - By DSnews - 06/09/10

    Federal judge dismisses Summum suit against Pleasant Grove By Dennis Romboy DSNews 06/04/10

    A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the city that claim it violated the establishment clause of the US consitution by allowing a Ten Commandments monument by rejecting one showing the the Salt Lake-based religious sects beliefs. The clause in the First Amendment prohibits government from adopting a national religion.

  • Carson Provo, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 4:28 p.m.

    He's not the only one who believes it's all about money and power!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2011 4:26 p.m.

    I think it's a real question to consider how a candidate could be influenced by another (and not just religious leaders, that's why Bill Ayers kept getting brought up in the last campaign), but in this case it doesn't take long to look at the records of Romney and Huntsman and see that they're not going to be some sort of pawn of Salt Lake City.