Thursday, March 1, 2007

Some Clarification

Damon Linker wrote in his article The Big Test, “Does [Mitt Romney] believe…that we are living through the ‘latter days’ of human history, just prior to the second coming of Christ? And does he think that, when the Lord returns, he will rule over the world from the territory of the United States? Does Romney believe that the president of the Mormon Church is a genuine prophet of God?” I said in my Blog that I don't understand why this should bother anyone. Damon Linker clarifies his reasons in an interview (podcast here) he gave to Robin Young on Here and Now. An excerpt from this interview is given below.

Robin Young: Joseph Smith said that the US is part of sacred history, these are your words, sacred history, that the Garden of Eden was located in Missouri for instance. In fact, the US was created to allow the restoration to occur and the Mormon Church to spread a restored Gospel. Have I interpreted you words correctly.

Damon Linker: Yes.

Young: Well what would be the problem with the US being the focal point of some sort of future for Mormonism? How do you read that?

Linker: The Mormons believe that we are living, roughly speaking, toward the end of sacred history shortly before the second coming of Christ and they have a very literal view of Jesus Christ's return. They believe not only, like many Evangelicals and Catholics, that when Christ returns he'll do so in the Middle East, they believe that he might also come and rule the world from the territory of the United States. And maybe in the abstract that isn't a problem but when you think that there might be a Mormon President sometime in the near future who might believe these things, it, I think, should raise very interesting questions and perhaps troubling questions about what would happen if some faction of the Mormon Church became convinced that Christ had already returned and was living in Missouri for instance. Would Romney dismiss this or is this something that he'd have to take very seriously? And really if you think about it, if you’re a devout believer in this, and this prophet says to do X, no matter how outlandish it might sound, who are you say no? And again, then, I think it's legitimate to ask someone running for president from this church, Mitt Romney in this case, to say, OK, well, what would you do? And If you're gonna tell me that you wouldn't obey such a command, on what basis wouldn't you obey the command? Are you not a devout believer in what your church teaches? What sources does you church have? Is it conscience? Is it that you receive your different revelation?

Young: Because you write that Mormons don't have the traditions that other churches have, to have branches that might have dissent.

Linker: Yes, I mean, for instance, Catholics, have Natural Law. That the pious Catholic can use to reflect on something the Pope might say, and say this can be what God genuinely wants because it conflicts with natural law....

Lets put this into perspective. Suppose some guy goes to Mitt Romney and says, Hey Mitt, Jesus is living in Missouri. You have to do such-and-such.” Seriously, do you think Mitt Romney is that gullible.

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