Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. vs. Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr.

I try to keep my blog posts as short as possible and will attempt to do the same thing on this one. However, this subject can be a little more complicated.

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I think we all remember President Obama’s minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, during the last democratic primaries. Wright became a household name after most American media outlets released a very controversial sermon given by Wright inside his Chicago church. Wright’s church was founded on the vision of Black liberation theology. A combination of the controversial sermon and association with Black liberation theology by Wright caused an outcry for Obama to distance himself or disavow his church and pastor of twenty years. The outcry came from both, Obama’s constituents and conservative media outlets. After a controversial National Press Club speech by Wright, Obama had no choice but to leave his church and cut ties with Rev. Wright in a passionate speech called “A More Perfect Union” in Philadelphia.

Now, this brings me to Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. Smith is the founder of the Latter Day Saints movement, which gave rise to the modern day Mormon theology. To conserve space on this post, I’m not going to go into all the questionable beliefs of Mormons and practices and beliefs Mormons have had about people of African descent. However, I will point out that until 1978, the Mormon church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints- LDS), had a policy in place that prohibited people of African descent from becoming priests and participating in temple ceremonies. Why? Mormons believe[d] black skin was a curse by God.
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The leadership structure of the church consists of a First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, Area Presidencies, Stake Presidency, Bishop / Branch President, and Family (members). This doesn’t appear to be too strange. However, the First Presidency is comprised of two counselors and the President of the Church who also serves as a modern-day living prophet (Thomas S. Monson) in the likes of Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Now, that’s where it gets strange. 

Herein lies my issue. My understanding is that Mormons have to follow the word of the prophet because the prophet is in direct communication with God and is only delivering the word of God. Now, that could be positive in the way that in 1978 the prophet received from God that it was okay for people of African descent to be priests and participate in temple ceremonies. The scary part of this is what if the prophet receives word that is not so positive or not in line with American moral beliefs. Either way, conventional wisdom suggests that Mormons have to follow the word from the prophet. In other words, because Mormons have a living prophet, it is impossible for a Mormon to truly separate church and state. No matter what the situation, the word from the modern-day prophet will always trump the Constitution of the United States and the American judicial system. Hence, a Mormon politician is bound to his prophet, not to the Constitution or his constituents.

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The current Republican Party frontrunner, and Republican establishment favorite, for President of the United States, Mitt Romney, is a proud and devout Mormon and believed to be or have been in the upper hierarchy of the LDS church. Now, Obama’s minister, Rev. Wright, may have said some things that some believed to be inflammatory; but by no means was he a prophet and he never claimed to be one. Black liberation theology is not a religion- it’s a set of principles. Obama worshiped in and Rev. Wright preached to a Christian congregation. With all that being said, there are a few questions on the table: where is the outcry from Romney’s constituents and the liberal media for Romney to publically disavow his modern-day prophet Thomas S. Monson (so he can govern freely) and the outcry for him to distance himself from a church or theology that believe[d] people of African descent were/are cursed by God? Obama had to do it while he was still a candidate. Why not Romney? 

It is obvious that the LDS church and Mormonism are a lot more controversial than a Christian church on the south side of Chicago founded on the vision of Black liberation theology. For purposes of length, I didn’t discuss the history of polygamy associated with Mormonism or the association with cosmology and other questionable beliefs or practices. Is there something more cynical here as to why there’s an absence of media and constituent outcry for Romney to distance himself? Wth?...

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