'Would you trust the judgment of a man if he truly believes he's gonna be a god?'
By Joe Kovacs © 2011 WND
The daughter of a Mormon bishop who has abandoned her family's faith claims in a new book the election of Mitt Romney to the presidency would put the U.S. in danger due to what she calls the Republican's "outrageous," "horrific" and "mind-controlling" beliefs.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann
"While he attempts to portray Mormonism as just another Christian religion, Mitt Romney counts on his skills to shift our attention away from what he truly believes," says Tricia Erickson, author of "Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters? The Mormon Church Versus the Office of the Presidency of the United States of America."
"If the American people knew what he truly believed, they would surely not place him in the highest office in the land."
Yet others, such as professor Richard Bushman, a Mormon and previous missionary himself who has taught at Harvard, Columbia and Brown Universities, are defending the faith. He calls Erickson "disillusioned" and someone who "instead of walking away felt an obligation to discredit [her] former faith."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the official name for Mormonism, has rocketed into the national consciousness this month since Rev. Robert Jeffress, a Rick Perry supporter who pastors the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, said Romney was "not a Christian" and that Mormonism is a "cult."
"Part of a pastor's job is to warn his people and others about false religions," Jeffress said Sunday, standing by his controversial remarks. "Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Mormonism are all false religions."
In her book, Erickson paints an unflattering picture of the Mormon faith, which counts not only the former Massachusetts governor as a member, but also fellow GOP presidential contender Jon Huntsman, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., radio talk-show host Glenn Beck, singer Gladys Knight, actresses Amy Adams and Katherine Heigl, "Napoleon Dynamite" actor Jon Heder, entertainers Donny and Marie Osmond, and sports stars including the NFL's Steve Young, Danny White and Merlin Olsen.
Erickson says Romney believes:
- He will become a "god" in the afterlife and be given his own planet
- Satan is Jesus' literal brother
- Jesus was not born of a virgin birth
- He will be given his own afterlife kingdom where he will have sexual relations with his wife, Ann, to populate his kingdom with spirit children as God the Father Himself has a wife on His own planet.
Author and former Mormon Tricia Erickson
"Mormonism teaches we pre-existed on God the Father's planet as spirit children before we were planted in our mother's wombs," Erickson told WND. "And the reason why we're here according to Mormonism, is so that we can work out our own progression to godhood and our own planets themselves."
The author, who herself was married in a Mormon temple at age 19 but now considers herself a non-denominational Christian, says there's a secret agenda Mormon officials don't like to talk about publicly.
"A complete takeover of the government," she said. "They have more people in the CIA, the FBI. They have an employment office for Mormons in D.C. to be able to infiltrate them into the government."
"They've been trying since the beginning to get someone in the presidency, because they believe they have to establish their authority so when Jesus comes to Earth, the Mormon Church will take control of the government and the Mormons will be the government of God on Earth," she continued.
Erickson says her main concern is that the leader of the free world have the ability to discern fact from fiction.
"It may be crucial to our survival," she said. "If his beliefs are distorted, which they unequivocally are, why would it not be be critical to our existence to protect our country from being placed in the hands of such a person?"
When asked for specific rituals she considers bizarre, Erickson claims Romney and other Mormons take part in clandestine marriage ceremonies involving "outrageous" customs. Explaining her own Mormon wedding, she says she was forced to completely disrobe against her will.
"It was horrific," she told WND. "There I was standing naked. They brought this bowl of water, and started washing my body down and whispering prayers over my body. They stopped over the right and left breast, the navel and knees and prayed specific prayers."
To help ensure the general public did not learn details of the rituals, she says believers took a symbolic knife to feign their own murder if members spilled the beans of what really goes on behind closed doors.
"They actually had us slashing our guts open and our guts falling to the ground if we told people of the secret dogma of the ceremonies," Erickson said.
"Mitt is not a casual Mormon," she told online interviewer Thom Hartmann, noting Romney has reached the upper echelons of the faith. "There is no way that he will be able to not listen to the [Mormon] prophet. His eternal salvation depends on it. He has to put the church first over country."
When pressed about what some may consider the strange beliefs of other faiths, Erickson said of Romney, "I kind of believe, you know, that he should be completely sane and he should have discernment and good judgment. I mean if the man truly believes he's gonna become a god, would you trust the judgment of somebody like that?"
The Boston Globe reported in 2006 that Romney's political team quietly consulted with leaders of the Mormon Church to map out plans for a nationwide network of Mormon supporters to help Romney capture the presidency in 2008.
Officials with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told WND they're well aware of Erickson's book, but were reluctant to respond to Erickson's assertions. Spokeswoman Jessica Moody says she encourages everyone to read the church's core beliefs as well as articles of faith posted online.
Regarding the plan of salvation, the LDS church states, "The mortal existence is seen in the context of a great sweep of history, from a pre-Earth life where the spirits of all mankind lived with Heavenly Father to a future life in His presence where continued growth, learning and improving will take place."
At the Values Voters Summit in the nation's capital over the weekend, Romney defended his beliefs, saying, "Almost all Americans live for a purpose greater than ourselves. Our heritage of religious faith and tolerance has importantly shaped who we have become as a people. We must continue to welcome faith into the public square and allow it to flourish. Our government should respect religious values, not silence them. We will always pledge our allegiance to a nation that is under God."
Bushman, meanwhile, says people need to remember that many faiths have doctrines and customs that other people find hard to fathom.
"To my way of thinking the idiosyncrasies of Mormon belief and practice are not the issue; Catholic belief in transubstantiation and Protestant belief in the resurrection [of Jesus] can be made to look silly, too," he told CNN in reaction to Erickson.
"The question is Mitt Romney's independence. Will he pursue the public good as he rationally understands it, or will he bow to the judgment of Church leaders? Does his religion force him to be a puppet? Here we can turn to history for an answer. Temple-attending, believing Mormons have held national office for over a century now. Is there a single instance where they have succumbed to church direction against their own consciences. I do not know of one myself."
Earlier this week, WND posted a non-scientific, interactive poll in which readers were asked to sound off on Mormonism as a factor in the presidential race.
With more than 1,200 participants, the top response with 25 percent of the votes was, "Because it denies divinity of Jesus and salvation by faith alone, it is a cult, and a Mormon candidate should never be elected president."
In second place with 19 percent was, "If anyone doesn't appear to be a true Christian, it's the current occupant of the White House."