Mormons live exemplary lives but their religion has nothing to do with Christianity
Mormon Mitt Romney, almost certain to be the GOP candidate in November Photo: Alex Brandon/AP/Press Association Images
Now that his main rival Rick Santorum has pulled out, it now seems safe to say that Mitt Romney has the Republican nomination in the bag. This means that come November we shall have an election where a Mormon is pitched against an incumbent President, who many Americans believe to be, contrary to all evidence, a Muslim. Great choice, eh?
Barak Obama is not and has never been a Muslim, yet this crazy belief persists; however, the American public seems able to let Mitt’s Mormonism pass. There is a reason for this. While Islam is seen as the religion of the other, Mormonism is in fact a home-grown religion, rooted in the American continent, and rooted in American experience. Say what you like about Joseph Smith Junior, the prophet of Mormonism, but his was a typical American story.
But what this obscures is the fact that, despite their protestations to the contrary, Mormonism is not a Christian religion. It is not even a Christian heresy. It is a religion that has no real connection with Jesus Christ, except at a semantic level. It has been allowed to pass itself off as another manifestation of American Protestantism – some Catholics have been remarkably lax on this front – but it is nothing of the sort, denying as it does the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith – the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and the exclusivity of revelation in Christ. Oddly enough, Mormonism is further from Christianity than Islam itself. There are indeed interesting parallels between the two.
Mormonism is based on an audacious forgery, the Book of Mormon. Quite a few American Baptists have undertaken missions to the Mormons to convert them to Christianity and to bring them to see that the Bible itself needs no further books added to it. I myself have read the Book of Mormon and found it tedious in the extreme. However, I fully recognise that Mormons themselves live exemplary lives. I have no quarrel with the practice of the Mormonism; I have a huge problem with its underlying claims, which are demonstrably false.
There is no room to demonstrate their falsity here; suffice it to say that the claim that Jesus came to America after his resurrection has no historical or archaeological basis; neither does any of the pseudo-history of the Book of Mormon; and no archaeological evidence for it has been found, despite decades of looking for it.
So we are faced with the prospect of an American president who believes in things that no rational person should possibly believe in: a faith that denies reason. Odd how Rick Santorum, the neoAristotelian, was never treated with the same deference.
Alexander Lucie-Smith is a Catholic priest and a doctor of moral theology. The author of several books, he was born in West Sussex, educated at Oxford and in Rome, and has lived in Malta, Italy, and Kenya