Thursday, May 1, 2008

Educating the Professor

Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell writes in her blog:

"Instead of us Obama supporters sweating, Romney and his supporters would be fielding calls all day to explain Mormonism, polygamy and the relationship of Romney’s faith to the cult compound in Texas. Does Mr. Romney believe that 14 year-old girls should marry? Does Mr. Romney plan to take additional wives in order to fulfill the moral requirements of his religion? If not why has Mr. Romney stayed affiliated and raised his children in a church with whom he so vehemently disagrees?

"Yeah, Yeah, we know he gave some big speech about this issue earlier in the campaign, but how does he respond to what those women with the long skirts and weird hairdos said on the Today Show this morning?

"Would Romney have thrown the Thomas Monson under the bus and even more provocative, would Monson have tossed Mr. Romney there?"

I'm still holding out hope that she was joking or doing some experiment to see how we would react to such mis-information. But unfortunately I think the more reasonable explanation is that she is completely misinformed.

For those who don't know, let me be clear: the FLDS sect has no association with the LDS church which is the mainstream "Mormon" church. While I have posted my opinion that the FLDS raise was an over-reaction, and also used the FLDS situation to ponder broader questions about parental rights, I have tried to make clear that I don't support many of the things the FLDS do such as polygamy and what seems to be frequent underage marriage and other abuse.

Thanks for Millenial Star for pointing me to her blog.


Anonymous said...

I clicked to you from Mormanity. :)

Coming from other churches for 20 years prior to being converted to LDS I know just how twisted and ignorant of true LDS beliefs other people can be.

Expecting other Churches to accurately explain our beliefs is like expecting atheists to explain belief in any God at all.

I do hope someone corrected her. Quotes from the 'For the Strength of Youth' would be helpful. Not only don't we believe in marriage at young ages, but we don't even teach exclusive dating for younger people!

Missions are encouraged, THEN marriage to someone of the same age range.

By the way, THANK you for all the cool Mormon links!! :)

Mike said...


Welcome and thanks for your comment.

Th. said...


I'm amazed at the reaction to her post here in the Bloggernacle. I mean -- was it not obvious to everyone else that she was a) joking and b) making a totally valid point that if Romney were still in the race he would be constantly asked about the FLDS, no matter how often he explained his lack of connection to them? I think we all know that's true -- I'm half relieved he's out of the race now; that would only make the FLDS deal an even bigger media frenzy.

Anyway, I didn't stop by to pick a fight -- I just saw you at the new aggregator and stopped by to read a couple posts. I just ended up posting on one I disagreed with.

Your what's-a-sin one was excellent though.

Mike said...

th, no problem. You're free to disagree, of course.

But I would say (a) I agree that she might be joking (in fact I hope she is--otherwise she is very ignorant), but I think it's irresponsible to misrepresent a religion when poeple might actually take you seriously and believe you and (b) while I'm sure Mitt Romney would be questioned about it, I differ with you that it would be the same as the Obama/Wright controversy. Mitt would be able to answer those questions very clearly: "That is not my religion. I disagree with them 100%". Obama has not been able to do that. Although some people might continue to make the association, the vast majority would be statified with that. And certainly the media would have to back down and accept the fact that there is no association, so it wouldn't be on the news every night like the Obama controversy is.

But that's just my opinion. Of course I can't prove it since Mitt is out of the race.