The Republican Presidential Primaries are set on “broil,” and one has to wonder if any mortal will survive this dangerous and scorching process. The “new media” provides a novel kind of torture rack for anyone foolish enough to enter into the chamber of presidential politics. There is no pore, no wrinkle, no foible, no document, no misspoken word, no act, good, evil, or inconsequential that will not be vetted and then shouted from the rooftops. It is bloody, it is savage, and no one will exit as the same man he was when he entered this inscrutable race. I’m not on board as yet for any particular candidate. They’re all deficient, because candidates are human and humans are, by nature, deficient. But then my feet are not planted in the hopes of a man. My hopes and efforts are drawn around ambitious IDEAS; the First Principles of Liberty and Natural Law, the moral use of agency, and the role of the United States of America as a “Shining City on a hill,” all of which are central to God’s objective for Mankind. These are the things around which I wrap my endeavors.
Let me tell you something about Mitt Romney. Mitt has traveled a continuum from center Left to center Right from which he now campaigns. Many don’t trust him when he avers that his once pro-choice stance has been discarded for one which is firmly pro-life. But I trust Mitt on this one, and I’ll tell you why in two words: MORMON GUILT. Mormon guilt is not unlike the crucible of presidential politics; it is hot, highly uncomfortable, and sufficiently intense to burn off the dross of equivocation, immoral behavior, impure thoughts, and base character flaws. Mormon guilt is worse than Catholic guilt. It is worse than Jewish mother guilt. And no ardent Mormon can escape it. Why? For the same reasons I have not hopped on board the campaign wagon of either Gingrich, Santorum, or Romney; IDEAS. Mormon guilt emanates from the devotion to big ideas like The Love of God, The Atonement of Jesus Christ, The Plan of Salvation, Moral Agency, Forever Families, Happiness and despair, Good and Evil. Being inculcated from birth with big ideas like these, Mormons may be unique in the world because their devotion is not to charismatic leaders, particular congregations, styles of ministry, or any other human considerations. The leaders of the LDS Church, Prophets, Apostles and local clergy are men and women who are called but do not aspire to positions of service. The modern LDS Church has had many prophets, most of whom were chosen because of their lives of service, integrity, personal moral cleanliness, and humility. There is mourning when Prophets and other esteemed leaders of the LDS Church pass away, but there is never controversy or questioning surrounding their successors. Mormon sentiment is not captivated by the men and women who lead in the church, but rather by the big ideas and doctrines which they represent and execute in their activities as leaders.
The big ideas of the LDS Church serve to define the character and mind of God, His relationship to His children, His Plan of Happiness, and the gift of His Son as our Redeemer. These ideas are immutable, everlasting, and unaffected by social trends and political pressures. Personal errors and trespasses against these big, eternal ideas, bring the truly devout Mormon a level of sorrow, regret, and spiritual suffering that has the power to change the human heart, and the course of a life. The big ideas of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are understood and practiced uniformly by its members across the world. Though languages and locales differ, from Kiev to Tahiti, the big ideas never vary. Trespasses against the big ideas of the Mormon Church are trespasses against Heavenly Father Himself, and His Son, Jesus Christ. Error and sin against a loving and ever-present God are deeply serious and very personal. Hence, MORMON GUILT.
I give the same credence to Newt Gingrich’s abandonment of serial infidelity as I do to Mitt Romney’s change of heart regarding abortion. I just happen to have a personal acquaintance with the Mormon understanding of what it means to take responsibility for ones actions. The suffering that results from sin serves to inhibit future tendencies to err. Repentance and Redemption are available to all through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. However, repentance and the miraculous change of heart, is a process which purifies the sinner in a crucible of pain. I’ve been there, done that, and when Mitt Romney tells you that his heart and mind have been changed when it comes to Life issues, I can guarantee that, before God and all the Angels, he is telling the truth.
I’m not invested in a heart-felt support of any one of the Republican candidates. Any of these decent men, Santorum, Gingrich, or Romney* would be a sound leader. But the person of the President of the United States is a relatively minor consideration when you think about the scope of healing that is needed for our republic. It is essential that Barack Hussein Obama, a man who neither understands nor loves America, is deposed. But decades, the fullness of the length of my life, will be spent in an effort to reinstate the blessings of Liberty for my children and their children. Candidates are people, and people will fall away as whispers in the narrative of American History. The big IDEAS that define the United States of America will survive, and can continue to guide our future if patriots press forward with the understanding that the struggle is not between personalities, but rather principalities of light and darkness.
*I left Ron Paul out of the equation intentionally because he has publicly stated that he has no real ambition to win the Presidency, and that he remains in the race as a balance and reminder of Constitutional principles.
By Marjorie Haun 1/30/12