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12 April 2012

The Story Behind Lawrence O’Donnell’s Apology to Mormons

April 12, 2012


MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell apologized Wednesday night for inaccurate comments he made a week earlier about the origins of the Mormon Church. “I am truly sorry if I said something inaccurate about Joseph Smith, and I am happy to provide time on this show to a Church of Latter Day Saints spokesman to correct any inaccuracy,” he said on The Last Word, before adding “I just wish I could take those words back.”

The words in question were spoken on April 3, in the middle of a monologue about Mitt Romney’s claim that President Barack Obama was trying to “establish a religion in America known as secularism.” O’Donnell brought up the Mormon religion’s origins to make the point that Romney, while attacking the beliefs of Obama, was vulnerable on the same score. “Religiously, Mitt Romney lives in the glass house of American politics,” he said.


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NBC News Apologizes for Attacking Romney’s Religion

April 12, 2012

Fox News

O`DONNELL: I then pointed out that Romney was obviously lying about the president trying to create a new religion. And as I developed my point, I referred to Joseph Smith and the creation of Mormonism in two sentences that I shall not repeat because they offended many but not all of the Mormons watching, who then reacted on Twitter and elsewhere. In fact, the Mormon reaction on Twitter was overwhelmingly negative. I only had a couple of Mormon defenders. And according to Twitter, those same words were irritating and distracting to other religious viewers, including some of this shows most supportive fans.

And I am truly sorry if I said something inaccurate about Joseph Smith. And I am happy to provide time on this show to a Church of Latter- Day Saints spokesman to correct any inaccuracy. In fact, I have more than once invited spokesman for the Mormon church on the show and they have always declined, despite the polite and enlightening conversations we have had off the record.


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Mitt Romney On The Cusp Of Making Major Mormon History

April 11, 2012

Huffington Post

With Rick Santorum’s exit from the White House race, Mitt Romney stands on the cusp of history as the first Mormon to appear at the top of a major party ticket in a general presidential election. Romney, a Brigham Young University-educated, Mormon-family scion and beloved Utah figure, is now the inevitable Republican nominee and will take on President Obama this fall.

The news is sure to bring a surge of excitement unseen in Utah since Romney led the triumphant 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and helped usher the state — and the Mormon Church — onto the world stage.


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TheDC Morning: Mitt’s got 99 problems but being a Mormon ain’t one

April 12, 2012

Daily Caller

1.) Mitt’s got 99 problems but being a Mormon ain’t one – A Baptist leader tells TheDC’s Caroline May that Mitt Romney’s Mormonism shan’t be a problem this November with evangelicals:

“Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will have little trouble courting the evangelical vote, Southern Baptist Convention leader Richard Land told The Daily Caller during a Wednesday interview. ‘I don’t think Romney will have any kind of a problem — unless he picks a non-social conservative running mate — he should be okay,’ Land, president of Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee, said about concerns that Romney’s Mormon faith could turn off evangelicals.”


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‘She’s never worked a day in her life’: Ann Romney under fire as Democrat strategist says she should NOT advise her husband – because she’s just a stay-at-home mom

April 12, 2012

The Guardian (United Kingdom)

After she converted to Mormonism, she attended Brigham Young University. While there, she sent Romney a letter that she was dating another man, but he pleaded with her to wait for him. They married in 1969 after he returned from missionary work in France.


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Mormons are proud of Mitt Romney’s success – but fear what comes next

April 12, 2012

The Guardian (United Kingdom)

In Mormon circles, news of Romney’s success is a decidedly mixed bag. Like every religious minority group, we are thrilled to be represented on such a large stage, and a largely Republican Mormon population is proud of the man and eager to help him on his quest for the White House. But all of us are fearful of the election cycle and what this attention will bring to our door.

We have good reason to be wary. Over our history, both press attention and government intervention has not been kind. From political cartoons that depicted Mormons as cultish rapists, to Arthur Conan Doyle’s description of a murderous prophet, the worst rumours have been exacerbated and publicised. Politicians have been so disgusted by polygamy that in the process of outlawing it, they have stripped Utah women of the right to vote and froze the church’s assets. In 1857, political manoeuvring led President James Buchanan to cancel mail service to Utah and advance troops, in an effort to replace the governor with one of his choosing. Twenty years before that, a Missouri governor issued an extermination order against Mormons that remained in effect until 1976. For our young church, these events still loom large.


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Mormons’ temple is a place for special events

April 12, 2012

This is Sussex (United Kingdom)

Elder at the church, Don Carpenter, said: “The temple is not a secret, but it is very sacred to us and can only be used for special occasions. It is absolutely beautiful inside.”

The Latter-Day Saints Church was organised in 1830 by Joseph Smith, in upstate New York.

Members are often called Mormons because in addition to their belief in the Bible, they accept the Book of Mormon as scripture.

The first LDS missionaries in England arrived in 1837 and, by 1850, there were 34,000 members of the church in England. This compared to just 12,000 in the USA at the same time.


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Lawrence O’Pology: Lawrence O’Donnell Apologizes For Remarks About Mormonism

April 12, 2012


The Last Word host Lawrence O’Donnell made some glib, provocative remarks about Mormonism as an “invented religion” last week, in response to Mitt Romney’s attack on President Obama. Last night, O’Donnell revealed that he had experienced quite a backlash over the comments, which he declined to repeat, and apologized for them. Ironically, O’Donnell’s central point last week was a denunciation of religious intolerance, demonstrating that when you fight fire with fire, sometimes you just get more fire.

In the April 3 “Rewrite” segment in question, O’Donnell boiled the origins of Mormonism down to “a guy in upstate New York” who “got caught having sex with the maid and explained to his wife that God told him to do it.”


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Is this the Mormons’ JFK moment? Maybe, maybe not.

April 11, 2012

The Christian Century

Mormons had it especially bad as they routinely faced mob violence and government-led crackdowns in the nineteenth century; Joseph Smith, who founded Mormonism in the 1830s, was killed in Illinois just months after he announced a third-party bid for president in 1844.

“I think Mitt Romney’s selection as the Republican nominee means as much for the United States as it does for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” said Richard L. Bushman, a leading scholar of Mormonism who teaches at Claremont Graduate University. “It demonstrates, once again, the capacity of the nation to expand its limits to include once despised minorities within the fold.”


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Rebecca Walsh: TV News, Mormons and Utah’s Changing Demographics

April 12, 2012

Salt Lake Magazine (Utah)

But now, like Capt. Stubing and Carson, Eyewitness News is passé. Nielsen TV ratings from February sweeps reinforced a cosmic shift in local couch potato habits: Channel 5, the station owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and do I really need to add, the preferred news source of the Mormon faithful?) has slipped into third place, behind KUTV-Channel 2 and KSTU-Channel 13.


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Faiths come together for an evening of music and worship, celebrating Good Friday with Bach’s ‘St. John Passion’

April 12, 2012

Herald Journal (Utah)

For Good Friday church-goers at St. John’s Episcopal in Logan last week, music was the means of worship. Under the baton of a former Mormon Tabernacle Choir director and led by ministers from three different faiths, the centuries-old music of Johann Sebastian Bach spoke a common language of love and mercy to a packed audience.

“To me, this is about three things, really — first of all, it’s about building community and goodwill,” said former Mormon Tabernacle Choir Director Craig Jessop, who, now dean of Utah State University’s Caine College of the Arts, led USU’s own American Festival Chorus and American Festival Orchestra in Friday’s performance of Bach’s “St. John Passion.”

“Second, the music of J.S. Bach — whom I feel is, without a doubt, the touchstone of the western music tradition, of western civilization,” Jessop continued. “This represents one of the supreme achievements of the human mind, and it’s motivated totally by both faith and devotion.”


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Cyndee Clay constantly walks the intersection of society and sex, survival and discrimination in an effort to uncover the humanity hidden by stigma

April 12, 2012

Metro Weekly

Clay, who lives in Petworth with her partner, Michael, Great Dane, Maeve, and adopted alley cat, Kitty, manages to roll with the punches, though. She continues the outreach, making inroads where she can, as well as wading through the wonky business of spreadsheets and conference calls. And she does it with charm, humor and a sense of social justice that may well trace its roots to her Mormon upbringing – even if her current spirituality is closer to the pagan.

You get traces of all three when you ask if she’s had the opportunity to see The Book of Mormon on Broadway.

”No! And I really want to,” she laments. ”You can’t get tickets. You have to get ’em like a year in advance. Ex-Mormons should get a special pass or something. I’m going to organize the Former Mormons Working in Social Justice movement to get us into The Book of Mormon.”


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Why Would Christians Vote for Romney and Listen to Beck, Both Cult Members?

April 12, 2012

Christian News Wire

Keller says, “Beck, Romney, and others in their cult use the words ‘god’ and ‘jesus,’ yet the ‘god’ and ‘jesus’ of the Mormon cult are NOT the God and Jesus of the Bible! They view the Bible as a flawed and incomplete book usurped by the writings of their cult’s founder, Joseph Smith, who history documents as being a racist, pedophile, polygamist, and murder!”

Keller goes on, “Mormon doctrine teaches their ‘god’ used to be a human who rose to god-like status, just like Romney, Beck, and all Mormons believe they will too after their death. The ‘jesus’ of the Mormon cult is the natural offspring of their ‘god’ Elohim who had sex with Mary, meaning their ‘jesus’ is a created being and NOT a deity as the Bible, not some creed, teaches, and who they believe is the brother of Lucifer.”


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Even The Duggar Family Is Settling For Mitt Romney

April 12, 2012

Business Insider

One of the little questions in the 2012 campaign went like this: Will conservative Evangelicals settle for Mitt Romney, a Mormon and a moderate?

Well we got a clue today when yesterday when Politico’s Caitlin McDevitt reported that JIm Bob Duggar, head of the Duggar family said that he and his wife were supporting Mitt Romney now.


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The Problem With Romney’s “Good Deeds”

April 11, 2012

The New Republic

This bring us to the third potential anecdote — how Romney “spent years counseling neighbors on their marriages and adoptions.” Um, I definitely know why Romney wants to steer clear of this one. For starters, it reminds voters about his Mormon faith, as do his tales of his mission years in France — something Romney is plainly ambivalent about doing. More importantly, though, it risks reminding people what his “counseling” sometimes consisted of. In their new biography of Romney, Michael Kranish and Scott Helman recount in detail some of the more eyebrow-raising counseling sessions Romney provided. There was Peggie Hayes, a Mormon who, at age 23, was raising her daughter on her own and became pregnant again. Romney, the bishop of her local ward, had been helpful, arranging her to do odd jobs for cash. But then he showed up at her apartment one day and out of nowhere started talking up the church’s adoption agency. “Hayes was deeply

insulted. She told him she would never surrender her child,” the authors write. They quote Hayes: “And then he says, ‘Well, this is what the church wants you to do, and if you don’t then you could be excommunicated for failing to follow the leadership of the church.'” After Hayes’ son was born, he needed risky surgery to separate bones that were fused together in his head. Hayes asked Romney to come to the hospital to confer a blessing, but he sent two other people in his place. “I needed him,” the authors quote Hayes as saying. “It was very significant that he didn’t come.”


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If it’s Obama vs. Romney, the battle for the Jews is on

April 11, 2012

Ha’aretz (Israel)

Romney’s chances of doing so will increase as he succeeds in distancing himself from the rancorous Republican race that compelled him to constantly outflank his rivals from the right. As one astute American commentator noted today, Romney’s perceived disingenuousness, labeled a liability in the Republican race, could now be turned to his advantage as centrist independents wait to be convinced that at heart he remains the moderate Massachusetts governor he always was. Jews, perhaps, might even be more sympathetic than others to a Mormon candidate’s need to put on a mask and to pretend to be something that he isn’t in order to find favor with fundamentalist, conservative Christians. Until recently, at least, this was considered acceptable, sometimes even necessary, Jewish behavior.


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ADL: Current Republican primary worst in 20 years

April 12, 2012

Jerusalem Post (Israel)

Romney, though, is “moderate” on the issue of religion, according to Foxman. “He hasn’t used it or abused it.”

That could be in part because of the challenge that Romney himself faces as a Mormon, a faith that some Americans disparage. If he wins the Republican race, he would be the first Mormon candidate for president from either of the two major parties.

Foxman said that Obama, too, would need to be careful of the line between church and state, saying that he was disappointed by the president’s endorsement of funding for faith-based groups early in his term.


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