This is not going to be a long post, I hope. I am still recovering from the shock that Tim Tebow did not win his playoff game against the Patriots. Bad things do happen to good people, even if the person in question is Tebow. Recently, I read an article on Mitt Romney at the online news and entertainment site Salon.com. There articles are often very interesting and this one blew me away. As Romney increasingly becomes the likely Republican candidate for a November showdown with incumbent Barack Obama, the LDS church and its Mormon followers will receive more and more attention. This article addresses an obscure “Mormon” prophecy involving horses and church takeover of the US government at a time when the Constitution hangs by a thread (All I could hear when reading this was Carrie Fisher pleading with Romney that he was “our only hope”). The article also describes how Mitt Romney has been groomed and destined to fulfill this prophecy ever since he was young. The tone of the article was not necessarily inflammatory. I got the sense that the author was trying to provide an interesting insight into how deeply religious Mormons think, act, or believe.
Personally though, my first thought after finishing this article was, “I have never ever heard about this prophecy.” I was raised in a second generation Mormon household so maybe my roots just don’t go back quite deep enough, but I also lived in Provo, Utah while going to BYU for four years and still had never heard about this or this mysterious Cougar Club (note: All I could picture here was the Hellfire Club from Marvel comic fame, is Mitt Sebastian Shaw?). To the best of my knowledge, the LDS church has no plans to forcefully take over the government of this or any country using some sort of religious Manchurian candidate. I think Romney’s record as governor in Massachusetts has shown that he can support issues that are incongruent to the position of the majority of other Mormons.
When I’ve thought about and discussed my religion with others, I’ve often wondered where I would place it in the continuum of other faiths. I usually end up thinking that it is a very practical and grounded religion. I’d cite examples such as the welfare program, emergency preparedness and disaster response, and other such programs and beliefs. It’s a fairly conservative religion, certainly not the most and certainly not the most lenient. But almost in complete disagreement to those last two statements and especially from the perspective of many outsiders, it is a religion steeped in mysticism. I often forget this in my day to day life until an article such as the one I just read hits the point jarringly home. Most religions have a deeply mystic subculture about them and we as Mormons have ours as well. This is the stuff that is not supported by official church dogma or canon. This is the stuff that no leader ever really talks about. But, this is the stuff that some people deeply believe. This is the stuff that makes for very interesting reading (see: the DaVinci Code).
I think if Romney gets the Republican nomination these kind of stories will get more media attention. It will be an issue that his opposition will bring up. He might even address it at some point. Though if he is Sebastian Shaw in disguise, hopefully Professor X is out there somewhere watching our backs.