Mittmitthuckmitthuckmittnationalreview

December 12, 2007 | 128 comments
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I apologize to you unfortunates who don’t know the pure, sweet beauties of an obsession with politics. This post is not for you.

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80% of Americans would vote for a Mormon for President, according to Gallup. This is probably better than the number of Americans who would vote for a generic adulterer. By historical standards for how God’s saints have been treated, this is quite good. No one’s stoning us, no one’s slaying us between the temple and the altar, and no one’s driving us into the wilderness with killing and rape. No one here is listing us on an official registry of cults with attendant legal consequences, as some countries do. We spend too much time fretting about the mote in our American neighbor’s eye.

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Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, asks in an upcoming article, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” This is a notorious smear meant to inflame passions. And, unlike the other Republican candidates and, I assume, the Democratic candidates, Huckabee has refused to agree that Mormons are not cultists.

I hesitate to post this news. I think a mild tribalism is healthy. I have no real problem with Mormons supporting Romney because he’s Mormon or evangelicals gravitating to Huckabee because he’s evangelical. But Mormon tribalism can sometimes go beyond that to seeing evangelicals as an undifferentiated mass or lusting for evangelicals to suffer even when it doesn’t benefit the spread of the Kingdom in any way. And this kind of news will stoke that. But if Mormons shouldn’t practice that kind of nasty tribalism, Huckabee shouldn’t either, and that’s what he seems to be doing here. Either he’s using religious smears for political advancement or he dislikes us so much that he’s willing to hurt his campaign to avoid being kind. Neither is walking Christ’s walk.

UPDATE: Huckabee approached Romney after today’s debate (12/12) and apologized. http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/huckabee.mormons/index.html This is walking Christ’s walk. Unless and until we see any backsliding, we should accept the apology and worry about more important matters.

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In Romney’s faith speech, he said the following:

And in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the Evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims. As I travel across the country and see our towns and cities, I am always moved by the many houses of worship with their steeples, all pointing to heaven, reminding us of the source of life’s blessings.

The commentariat mostly thought this passage was cheesy and condescending. Kristol and a friend went farther:

Romney ‘wishes’ his own faith had these ‘features’? What does that mean? He presumably doesn’t ‘wish’ his own faith incorporated what these features signify (e.g., in the case of the Jews’ unchanged traditions, that there has been no new revelation, or revelations), since that would change the meaning of his faith

Apparently they haven’t heard of “holy envy.” (Times and Seasons’ holy envy post is here. See also here, here, here, and here.) Or else they believe that a Mormon can’t know that this is the one true church and still have holy envy. They are wrong.

Holy envy can come from opportunity cost. Our doctrines or practices or choices can be superior to their alternatives without necessarily offering the same goods that they do. A Mormon can know God’s wisdom in directing us to have a lay clergy, for instance, without pretending that our lay clergy are superior in every respect to professional clergy. “Master, he’s no Latiner.”

Second, they ignore that in Mormonism the Church’s perfection is only a transient perfection, the perfection of becoming. We are still waiting to believe the many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God that He will yet reveal. So a Mormon can see the benefits in an alternate way of doing things and even privately suspect that those alternates are superior. Even if he believe that as God’s church the Church must necessarily be superior over-all, he could see it as inferior in particular aspects.

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There’s a recent Huckabee contretemps about the role God plays in a political campaign. Because Huckabee isn’t one of us, we’re likely to get hot and angry about it. I did at first. But I ask you to look past that reaction. What Huckabee has claimed is compatible with what we believe if we think about it dispassionately.

Here’s the controversial exchange, and, yes, it will rub you the wrong way.

STUDENT: Recent polls show you surging… What do you attribute this surge to?

HUCKABEE: There’s only one explanation for it, and it’s not a human one. It’s the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of five thousand people.

Assume Huckabee is saying that God wanted him to win. So? We can’t say for certain that God doesn’t care about presidential campaigns or influence them in any way (in fact, I believe he probably does both), and even though Huckabee isn’t a Mormon and his politics don’t agree with mine doesn’t mean he couldn’t suit God’s purposes. If God can uses Assyrians He can certainly overlook the little matter of me not liking the Huckabee. What is more, I don’t see that much of a problem with Huckabee thinking that God wants him to win. I hope most presidential candidates think that God has agreed in prayer that they should run before they do it. Obviously most of them would be mistaken, or else would overlook that God’s purpose in their running was not necessarily their winning the campaign, but still, if candidates feel God has directed them to run, an assumption that He wants them to win is good enough for government work.

The real problem would not be Huckabee’s assumption that God cares about politics or interferes in politics or even Huckabee’s idea that God is interfering on his behalf. The real problem would be Huckabee saying so (on which more below).

As it happens, the Huckabee camp has clarified that Huckabee was not saying that God wanted him to win. They’ve offered two different explanations. The first is that

[l]ike most Christians, Governor Huckabee believes in giving God the credit for the blessings—particuarly the unexplainable good fortune—that come our way. That is all he was trying to say, as I’m sure, most people will recognize.

This is scriptural . The second explanation is that God answers prayers and lots of people are praying for Huckabee. Since I believe that God hears the prayers of his unbaptized evangelical children, and since I believe God will sometimes grant prayers just because He’s asked and not because He is necessarily endorsing the request (see, e.g., the episode of the lost 100 pages), I can buy that one too. (Note: not that I’m going to hit the floor and start praying for Romney. I like the guy’s candidacy but not that much).

But as I mentioned, none of these explanations justify saying what Huckabee said publicly. Saying it publicly is discourteous in the American context. It goes against custom and Americans don’t have ready at hand the kind of thinking about God and prayer and politics that would let them see his statement as something other than a claim of divine election. Saying it publicly also falsely claims a kind of spiritual authority over the listeners. I haven’t the time to work through why and how that is, but it seems to me that in Church practice we’ve learned over time that these kinds of statements do make a claim on the hearer even when they’re not meant to. Of course most evangelicals’ understanding and experience of authority is pretty palsied, so Huckabee is probably more to be pitied than censured.

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(This last section is personal, not Mormon)

Gosh! Golly! National Review has endorsed Mitt Romney.

I grew up on the National Review. I don’t remember where I first heard about her, but I started reading the magazine at the library and then bought a subscription with my paper route money. I mostly imbibed my politics with my mother’s milk, not from the magazine. But much of my basic cultural knowledge I first found through the National Review. And though most of you come from the wrong background to appreciate this, the National Review also broadened my mind and moderated my views.

She’s come down in the world lately, just a little bit, as Buckley has grown older and those closer to my generation have taken a larger role. But I still love the magazine. I love the carefully-crafted barbs, the contrarian articles making the conservative case for, e.g., global warming, the editors in love with books and culture and God and wordsmithing.

So I was stunned when I saw that she had endorsed Mitt Romney. I’m Mormon enough to see him as my champion even though I know better than that, so I can’t deny I’m excited. And I’m NRO-nik enough that I think more highly of Romney now.

But at the same time, picking candidates is a dirty business. We’re dear old friends, ma’am. Don’t value yourself less than I do.

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128 Responses to Mittmitthuckmitthuckmittnationalreview

  1. just me on December 12, 2007 at 12:37 am

    Although I’m liberal (or maybe because of it) I loved your blog column here, Adam, especially its compassion towards likely viewpoints of evangelicals supporting Gov. Huckabee. And I’m tribal enough also to be proud that your venerable NR (“nag rightward”?) mag has endorsed Romney for that “other party’s” nomination!

  2. queuno on December 12, 2007 at 12:47 am

    I asked the question over on MM, but I’ll repost it here (slightly modified).

    If Romney doesn’t want people considering his religion when they vote for him, can Mormons thus evaluate Huckabee as a viable candidate if we believe him to be an avowed anti-Mormon? Can we ignore that and vote for him if we think he’s the best candidate?

    Personally, I think it’s a lot harder to do than we think. In years past, Mormons probably wouldn’t have held a candidate’s church against him, if said church was anti-Mormon and the candidate didn’t pile on. But I see a sea change. If Huckabee “miraculously” becomes the GOP candidate, would Mormons as a general rule vote for him? I doubt it. he Romney candidacy has forever altered the profile of our faith in electoral politics and I think any candidate we feel is targeting us will incur our wrath.

    Is it a tad hypocritical? After all, Huckabee’s not overtly saying anti-Mormon things. But he’s challenging Romney on doctrinal topics, even after Romney said he considered it out-of-line, and the average Mormon will interpret that as anti-Mormon.

  3. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 12:54 am

    I probably would vote for him in the generals, Queuno, but I’m a nutty pro-lifer. And I admit that even I probably wouldn’t vote for the pro-life Messiah if he mailed out the Godmakers as campaign literature.

  4. moses on December 12, 2007 at 12:59 am

    Yes, I was trying to give Huckabee the benefit of doubt, but this latest, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” seems a bit below the belt to me. I always see this listed as a surefire indication that the Church is false. I’ll have to read the whole article, but it doesn’t look like an innocent question on Huckabee’s part.

  5. Timer on December 12, 2007 at 1:15 am

    It is often argued that Reagan’s (and others’) coded appeals to racist white voters helped deliver the south to the Republicans and drive blacks to the Democrats.

    Whether you believe this or not…. could Huckabee’s not-so-coded appeals to anti-Mormon bigotry preserve the south for Republicans and drive Utah to the Democrats?

    I’ll be very curious to see what Mormons do if Huckabee wins the nomination.

    On the minus side, it would be really sad to see the already bitter Mormon/evangelical divide get even deeper. On the plus side, it would be nice if Utah could finally be a swing state. :)

  6. Eric Boysen on December 12, 2007 at 1:16 am

    H has got to know that brothers don’t always get along!

  7. queuno on December 12, 2007 at 1:29 am

    Wait, Adam – so you wouldn’t vote for an anti-Mormon pro-life Messiah, but yet you’d vote for Huckabee? Not sure I read that right.

  8. California Condor on December 12, 2007 at 1:35 am

    Huckabee seems like a nice guy, and he has good values. But he just doesn’t have the talent that Mitt Romney does. I think Hillary and Obama would much rather go up against Huckabee in the General. They must be giddy that Huckabee is surging.

    I would consider voting for either Hillary or Obama over Huckabee. They’re both more talented than Huckabee.

  9. Paul Reeve on December 12, 2007 at 1:35 am

    #6, Timer, we think a like. I’m hoping that Huckabee or Rudi get the nomination for the Republicans for the sole reason of shaking things up in Utah. Maybe then my Democrat lawn signs won’t keep disappearing from my lawn. You’d think the neighborhood could stomach one Democrat lawn sign every ten miles or so.

  10. Mark B. on December 12, 2007 at 1:48 am

    If Huckabee becomes the Republican nominee, I think there’d be a huge drop-off in the votes for President in states like Utah–if 750,000 votes are cast in the state in other races, look for a large drop in the numbers who cast a vote for President.

    Even if the pro-Mitt folks can’t stand to pull the lever for Huck, they’re even less likely to pull it for Hillary or Barack. (Actually, I think Barack would get more Utah votes than Hillary.)

  11. Jon W on December 12, 2007 at 2:06 am

    Ugh could that guy go any lower. “Jesus’ brother”

    That is so stupid. And if I was American I would specifically vote against him as an Anti. (as long as it was not Hillary on the other side then I would not vote)

    The truth here is Huckaboom is only happening in Iowa. If Mitt can pip him there I think his real focus must be on Guilani who is in a much better mileage situation. Huckabee’s schtick will grow thin after the heartland.

    Personally I like Barack as an option if not his platform which is wrongheaded in my middle of the road conservative opinion.

  12. Matt Evans on December 12, 2007 at 2:21 am

    California Condor, according to this story on Drudge, the Democratic insiders have decided not to hinder Huckabee’s primary run because they think he’d be “their McGovern.” The analysis sounds compelling to me, and the number of press releases is a convincing metric.

    Paul, where in the world do you live within commuting distance of the University of Utah where you feel like the only Democrat? Are you the only U prof in Davis County?

    Adam, I must have read 50 commentaries about Mitt’s speech, and I remember several citing Mitt’s “there are features I wish were in my own” approvingly. (Kristol’s framing tradition and continuing revelation as contradictions is a false dilemma, too. Wishing for unchanged traditions does not require wishing everything were unchanged tradition.)

  13. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 2:34 am

    Wait, Adam – so you wouldn’t vote for an anti-Mormon pro-life Messiah, but yet you’d vote for Huckabee? Not sure I read that right.

    Huckabee isn’t the pro-life Messiah, quite, but he’s not mailing out the Godmakers as campaign literature yet either. I’m just pointing out that even a candidate whose policies I liked could ramp up the anti-Mormonism to the point I couldn’t stay on board.

  14. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 2:35 am

    I’d like to take full credit for the ugliest looking Recent Comments sidebar in memory.

  15. Timer on December 12, 2007 at 3:20 am

    According to this blog, lots of Mormons are having a hard time forgiving Huckabee for attending the and speaking at the SBC conference in Salt Lake City (called the “Save the Mormons” conference by detractors and diehard supporters) in 1998 while he was governor of Arkansas. Does anyone remember this? Apparently the conference was swarming with anti-Mormons passing out offensive literature, and the location bothered a lot of people. But I may be mixed up, getting all my information from blogs.

    http://www.townhall.com/blog/g/bd79f9f6-bce1-4e18-a0d9-d534d26e1c6b&comments=true

    I tend to think we shouldn’t get too worked up about this. Every Mormon who has been on a mission has probably said/done a few things that would not sound so good in a presidential election.

    Still, Huckabee will have his work cut out for him if he wants to show he is a friend of the Mormon people. Isn’t it about time he got started on that? Mitt has worked so hard to pander to the evangelicals. Why isn’t Huckabee doing anything to pander to us? (Never mind. I know the reason. :) )

  16. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 3:23 am

    That’s my take too, sir. That complaint about the SBC is pathetic and should be dropped.

  17. Clair on December 12, 2007 at 5:01 am

    One problem here for Mormons and for Mitt is that we do believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers, just as Jesus is our eldest brother – relating to the body of spirit. I’ve been taught that for 50 years. The tricky part is explaining that in its context so as to preserve their opposition in terms of righteousness, and to reconcile it with verses proclaiming Jesus as eternally God. Actually, it hasn’t been reconciled very well. There is still some mystery there, as there is for non-LDS Christians in their trinity views.

    Here is how an LDS spokesman responded to Huckabee’s question:

    “We believe, as other Christians believe and as Paul wrote, that God is the father of all,” said the spokeswoman, Kim Farah. “That means that all beings were created by God and are his spirit children. Christ, on the other hand, was the only begotten in the flesh and we worship him as the son of God and the savior of mankind. Satan is the exact opposite of who Christ is and what he stands for.”

    That bit of wordsmithing may smooth over the issue for some, but evangelical theologians will shred it. A Jesus created by God, as they understand creation (out of nothing), is an Arian Jesus. LDS doctrine is not Arian, however, in that we believe Jesus (and us) to be co-eternal with God.

    So, by explaining only half of our doctrine of Christ, do we provide fuel for those looking to burn heretics? And how much explaining of LDS doctrine will the voting public take without thinking it is all just too weird?

  18. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 5:12 am

    The tricky part is explaining that in its context so as to preserve their opposition in terms of righteousness, and to reconcile it with verses proclaiming Jesus as eternally God. Actually, it hasn’t been reconciled very well.

    The thing is that since we believe Lucifer is a man, we believe he and Christ are brothers in some sense even if you do come up with some sockdologer explanation for spiritual creation and all that.

    Maybe it would best if we just shrugged and said, yeah, we’re Arian, and left it at that. Except that I don’t think we are Arian.

  19. Clair on December 12, 2007 at 5:45 am

    sock·dol·a·ger also sock·dol·o·ger (sk-dl-jr)
    n. Slang
    1. A conclusive blow or remark.
    2. Something outstanding.

    Adam learned such words from reading Bill Buckley all those years. I grew up on Buckley, too, but that word was new to me.

    As for Arianism, I don’t think we should falsely plead guilty to an adjudicated heresy. We have enough problems with our own doctrines. The following anathema was added to the Nicene Creed, targeting Arians:

    [But those who say: 'There was a time when he was not;' and 'He was not before he was made;' and 'He was made out of nothing,' or 'He is of another substance' or 'essence,' or 'The Son of God is created,' or 'changeable,' or 'alterable' — they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.]

    I don’t think it can be said that Mormons believe there was a time when Jesus “was not”, nor that “He was made out of nothing.”

    Our heresy is better than that. (to paraphrase the Huckster)

  20. Geoff B on December 12, 2007 at 9:28 am

    I sincerely hope the Huckabee surge will be stymied. He doesn’t have a chance in the general election against Hillary or Obama. Can anybody see Huckabee winning Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida? A vote for Huckabee in the primaries is a vote for the Democrats.

    The National Review endorsement is a very, very big deal. It shows that Romney can win over movement conservatives, who are extremely important in swing states. I’ve thought for the last two years that Romney is the only Republican who can win in a post-Bush era. His main appeal to independents and moderate Dems will be competence. Giuliani has some of that appeal, but he has too many skeletons and does anybody doubt that the Clinton machine doesn’t have a huge file of potential October surprise skeletons on Rudy? Speaking to one of your main concerns, Adam, Romney is the only chance to keep more pro-choice votes off the Supreme Court. He is also the only chance to restore the “three legs” of the Republican stool — fiscal conservatism, strong defense and social conservatism.

  21. just me on December 12, 2007 at 9:40 am

    (An American Spectator piece reprinted in the Wall Street Journal: http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=12419 )

  22. Ardis Parshall on December 12, 2007 at 10:32 am

    A propos of nothing but Adam’s admirable vocabulary: “You sockdologizing old man-trap!” was the last line LIncoln heard before the gunshot.

  23. Eric Boysen on December 12, 2007 at 10:46 am

    The problem to admiting similarities with Arian doctrine is that the next thing you know is that people would hear “Aryan” and think “neo-Nazi.” All the associations would be fallacious at one level or another, but it sort of puts you in the soup.

    I would rather avoid classifying labels completely. Even insisting we are Christian is silly, because the opposition will just fight over the meaning of the term. We should follow the Master’s example when John’s disciples wanted to know if he was the Christ. He invited them to observe and report what they had seen — to bear testimony.

    In Romney’s situation I would say something like: “Like the primitive Christian church, Mormons believe in the universal fatherhood of our Heavenly Father and a pre-mortal existence for all mankind born on the Earth. Jesus was the Firstborn of God in the spirit and the chosen Savior from the beginning. Satan was a rebellious spirit who has forfeited any opportunity to become more than he was then, whereas Jesus has become like his Heavenly Father and is part of the Godhead.”

  24. Blake on December 12, 2007 at 10:52 am

    So Huckabee is now going to ask the question in print: Are Jesus and Satan brothers? See: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_7693729 That does it, his campaign has finally entered the Bozo stage of politics.

    My response? That is the question of an ignoramus who doesn’t see the soft-spots of his own views. Yes, this doctrine is the view that even the worst of us have a common Father. Even a brother of a saint can make choices that create mayhem and pain.

    Now for the evangelical version: Do you really believe that God created Satan out of nothing with perfect knowledge that Satan would inspire all of the evils in the world like rape, genocide and war? Why doesn’t he see that as the tougher question?

  25. East Coast on December 12, 2007 at 10:54 am

    (I’m commenting purely for the continuing appearance of the Recent Comments sidebar.)

    If Huckabee were to win the nomination, who would all these moderate Republicans that keep showing up in national polls as Guiliani supporters vote for?

  26. Dan on December 12, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Mitt should have stayed the moderate he’s been his whole life.

  27. Jeremiah J. on December 12, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Some fine comments, Adam. Some random responses: I wholeheartedly second your counsel to resist the urge to self-pity over the relatively mild anti-Mormonism in the current GOP contest. The urge is all the greater because Mormon liberals and Mormon conservatives can come together both feel good about denouncing Huckabee as a bigot. I hadn’t however, heard about the soon-to-be published Huckabee quote, which is indeed pretty bad.

    The Kristol stuff truly is silly. But have you read Kristol lately (past 8-9 years)? Leave aside the predictions about Iraq. The other week he was talking about how a Giuliani-Lieberman ticket would not only win, but would bring about a GOP realignment.

    “But as I mentioned, none of these explanations justify saying what Huckabee said publicly [about his rising poll numbers]. Saying it publicly is discourteous in the American context.”

    There’s really almost nothing that a politician can say to the question: “Why is your campaign doing so poorly/ well?” that isn’t either presumptuous or impolitic. Athletes are frequently ridiculed by sportswriters-turned-theologians who declare it’s dumb to say God helped you perform well, win the Heisman, etc. (“Ha! You think God was rooting for your team?”) But I think the athletes are more right than the sportswriters. “No one can have anything unless God gives it to him.” John the Baptist said, in a perhaps overly-categorical way, but if we’re talking about personal success, it’s rarely wrong to give God some credit, especially if you’re trying to avoid giving credit to yourself. Yes, Huckabee could have done it in a slightly more humble way than comparing a jump in the polls to the miracle of the fishes and loaves.

    I’m really surprised at the surprise over the Romney endorsement. You could see this coming for more than a year. Romney got a sticky sweet cover story a long while back; at the time I knew that McCain and Guiliani were never going to get treatment like that from the National Review. The Natonal Review is too conservative on principle and, for lack of a better term, elitist, to pick Huckabee, too establishment and too pro-war to pick Paul, and too realistic to pick anyone else. Yes, Adam I agree the National Review has been declining (will you agree that it’s largely Jonah Goldberg’s fault? I guessing _Liberal Fascism_ isn’t going to be the next _God and Man at Yale_), but this pick doesn’t show signs of that. With this pick they’re doing what I think Buckley would have done.

    Picking candidates is a dirty business? How so? I’m not a conservative, but it seems that if there was ever a time in the past 50 years for the institutions of the conservative movement to speak up and throw in their two cents in a presidential race, this has got to be the time. It’s an unbelievably wide-open race, and in the next three months the GOP is going to pick someone who has at least a chance against Clinton or Obama, or someone who could be humiliated. You could also have someone who loses badly and repudiates a significant chunk of conservative agenda at the same time. I agree with the National Review that Romney is the best representative of conservatism (its interests and its ideals), but I disagree with Geoff B that Huckabee is clearly less electable.

    “And though most of you come from the wrong background to appreciate this, the National Review also broadened my mind and moderated my views.”
    I think I understand what you’re talking about quite well. Most politically engaged people would do well to be tutored by as thoughtful a source of political wit and wisdom. And not by those who make their way by catering to their worse impulses and prejudices.

  28. Nate Oman on December 12, 2007 at 11:15 am

    Doctrinal point: Mormons are not Arians. We believe that intelligence is uncreated, which is inconsistent with Arianism. I am also doubtful that the statement by the Church PR person is correct, as I am not covinced of the doctrinal correctness of the doctrine of spirit creation or spirit birth. There is no scripture in support of it of which I am aware, and it seems flatly inconsistent with what D&C 93 and the KFD say about the nature of intelligence. We’re not trinitarians, but that doesn’t make us Arians.

  29. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Yes, Adam I agree the National Review has been declining (will you agree that it’s largely Jonah Goldberg’s fault? I guessing _Liberal Fascism_ isn’t going to be the next _God and Man at Yale_),

    I don’t think there has been much of a decline and I don’t think its been the fault of Jonah Goldberg. If there’s a fault, its Bill Buckley’s fault for getting old. He’s irreplaceable.

    Also, I think you’re probably right that this Romney endorsement is something Buckley could have done in his prime, and therefore not part of any decline narrative.

    I still think horse race politics and picking candidates is grubby business, though necessary.

  30. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 11:19 am

    I am not convinced of the doctrinal correctness of the doctrine of spirit creation or spirit birth.

    Same here, though I’m not convinced its wrong either.

  31. bbell on December 12, 2007 at 11:34 am

    I have said this over at 9 Moons but Huck will get killed in Ohio and Florida. That is the end of the election.

  32. bnielson on December 12, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Thank you for posting this and bring it to my attention. I was planning to vote for Huckabee if he won, as I have no problem with voting for an Evangelical as long as they are not part of the bigoted group of Evangelicals (which the vast majority are not.) However, this is concerning enough to really make me feel that Hillary would be a better candidate.

    Hillary ’08!!!!

  33. Paul Reeve on December 12, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Paul, where in the world do you live within commuting distance of the University of Utah where you feel like the only Democrat? Are you the only U prof in Davis County?

    Matt, I live in Bountiful. I’m sure I’m not the only U prof in Davis County, I think we are spaced about every ten miles. I passed out campaign literature last year and had a yard sign for the Democratic candidate for the state legislature from my district. The lawn sign didn’t last, even though it was the only one that I saw for some distance. The deacons quorum (I’m the advisor there) chanted “Reeve is a Democrat” one night at YMs like it was a bad thing. Some of them continue to bring it up on occassion. I voted for every Democrat I could get my hands on in that election, but in Davis County there were not any Democrat challengers in some of the local/county positions. At the primary gathering there were more than a handful of people, but it was small and we didn’t even vote for delegates to the state convention. The organizer simply asked who was interested, and because there were so few, they all became delegates by virtue of volunteering.

    I’d love for the national election next year to change some people’s underlying assumptions and force their hand. If people in Utah are wedding to the Republican party because of abortion and gay marriage, what happens if Rudi gets the nod? What will Utahn’s do then? Or if Huckabee continues down his anti-Mormon path and gets the nomination, how will Utah respond? I think the Republican party is currently a mess and I’d love to see this election shake things up a bit locally. Wishful thinking, perhaps. The last time the Democratic party controlled the state legislature in Utah was 1976, if I’m not mistaken. Prior to that the two party system was alive and well in the state. Some legislative sessions contained only a few Republicans and Utah voted for FDR four times. The last time Utah went for the Democrat presidential candidate was LBJ in 64.

  34. bnielson on December 12, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    >>> [Has] Romney’s candidacy has forever altered the profile of our faith in electoral politics and I think any candidate we feel is targeting us will incur our wrath.

    In all honesty, I hope so. No, I don’t think it’s hypocritical to take a person’s prejudice or intolerance into consideration when voting. Mormons have long proved that as a whole they don’t mind voting for an Evangelical Christian. I think the way the Evangelical’s have treated Romney and the way Huckabee is treating Mormons will probably cause us to rethink our allegiance to the Evangelical’s, even though I suspect we’ll stay loyal to them because they really are our only natural allies.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I think Romney may be a historic moment where Mormons become a tad less republican and Evangelical’s (20 years from now) realize they really made a mistake in the way they are being intolerant to Mormons.

  35. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    I think its extremely distasteful that some of the commenters here want Mormons to start seeing evangelicals as political enemies.

  36. Doc on December 12, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Adam,
    I think they just want people to start coming around to their side is all. I have to say demonizing evangelicals is probably not the way to do it. FWIW, the new guard evangelical leadership is moving in a more liberal direction anyway, meaning they would just migrate along with us.

  37. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    I think they just want people to start coming around to their side is all.

    That’s natural. But hoping for a Mormon-evangelical sectarian fight to help accomplish that end is wrong.

  38. Mark B. on December 12, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    I don’t know that either Mormons or evangelicals should be considered politically so unified that one can speak of the groups being either allies or enemies. And I don’t think that speaking of religous voting blocs is at all good for the USA.

    If Huckabee has the usual collection of anti-Mormon canards floating about that empty space in his cranium, that’s fine. But when he starts “innocently” spewing them out, he’s crossed the line.

    I asked [a confidential informant], who describes himself as the only . . . candidate with a degree in [biology], if he considered [Huckabee] a [Neanderthal] or a [homo sapiens]. ‘‘I think [he's a homo sapies],’’ he said. ‘‘I really don’t know much about [the sapiens part, though].’’

  39. Dave Smith on December 12, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Great post Adam. I do love me some presidential politics. Couple questions:

    “I hesitate to post this news. I think a mild tribalism is healthy. I have no real problem with Mormons supporting Romney because he’s Mormon or evangelicals gravitating to Huckabee because he’s evangelical. But Mormon tribalism can sometimes go beyond that to seeing evangelicals as an undifferentiated mass or lusting for evangelicals to suffer even when it doesn’t benefit the spread of the Kingdom in any way. And this kind of news will stoke that.”

    Do you hold this view only in terms of Mormons looking at Evangelicals and vice versa? Do you think that Mormons seeing democrats as an undifferentiated mass benefits the spread of the kingdom? Ho

  40. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Hugh Hewitt has some grade A polemic:

    Huck asks in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”

    No word yet on whether the former Arkansas governor asked if the Jews killed Jesus or if Catholics pray to Mary as a god.

  41. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Dave Smith,
    the Democratic Party is an organization and a purely political one to boot. Evangelicals aren’t. But Mormons should not believe that all Democrats are cut from the same cloth.

  42. Dave Smith on December 12, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Sorry, that was sent before I finished. Bottom line is that I think that seeing any group as a “undifferentiated mass” and hoping for the worst for them doesn’t help Mormon voters in the least bit.

  43. roland on December 12, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/74472

    Hey Adam – You should check out this week’s main cover story on Newsweek. The lead story portrays a Republican Party Holy War brewing as Mitt and Huck clash on religion to win over party Christian conservatives.

    A very fascinating sidebar does a side-by-side comparison of Mormon Doctrine (2% of US population) to Evangelical Protestinism Doctrine(33% of US Pop). The most interesting item of note is the definition of the trinity.

    While the article keeps referring to Huck as the former preacher – it never mentions any of Mitt’s church background as missionary, bishop, callings, etc. The article also chastizes Mitt for not reaching out to atheists and non-Christian believers in his faith speech last week. (I would like to take them to task on that – the big point of the speech was the value of having a solid christian faith background.)

  44. Jim Cobabe on December 12, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    As I dither dislexic the names come over as “Muck” and “Hit”.

  45. Josiah on December 12, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Let me start out by saying I don’t think Romney’s faith is particularly relevant to his fitness as President (to the extent it is a factor to me at all, it is a net positive). And let me say further that, as far as I’m concerned, the belief that Jesus and Satan were brothers is no more strange or problematic than the belief that Jesus was God, or that Satan was a fallen angel.

    With this throat clearing out of the way, I’m still not clear, after reading this thread, what it is that the LDS church believes about the relationship between Satan and Jesus. Is the idea that they were brothers contrary to LDS doctrine? Is it something that is not official church teaching, but that Mormons can believe, and that many do? Is it an overly simplistic or distorted statement of what the LDS church does actually teach? Or is the complaint not that what Huckabee said was false, Mormons really do believe that Jesus and Satan were brothers, but many here feel that it is nontheless wrong for people to point this out (because of its tendency to inflame, its irrelevance to the presidential contest, etc.)?

  46. WillF on December 12, 2007 at 3:17 pm
  47. WillF on December 12, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Maybe a little off topic but it just occured to me that with the Hollywood writer’s strike, I’m betting were going to get a lot more election coverage this time around.

  48. C Jones on December 12, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    “I think its extremely distasteful that some of the commenters here want Mormons to start seeing evangelicals as political enemies.”

    Maybe so, but as far as we have political enemies, can you deny that the evangelicals are arming them?

  49. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Yes. I’m not even sure what you’re talking about.

  50. C Jones on December 12, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    I’m asking where all the misinformation we are hearing lately about Mormons from both the left and the right is coming from. Do you think the well-organized evangelical anti-Mormon propaganda system (movies, classes, sermons, etc) has nothing at all to do with it?

  51. Clair on December 12, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    #48. That citation from the Bible Dictionary is the best short reference I have seen on the subject of the Jesus and Satan. Thanks.

  52. Jason J on December 12, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one hoping Mormons turn on the Huckster if he gets the GOP nod. I don’t see evangelicals as enemies, but I resent the underhanded attacks on Mormonism. I never like identity politics (never planned to vote for Mitt), but I particularly resent a campaign that defined itself as the foil to my own faith. I don’t want to punish evangelicals as a group, but I absolutely will compensate Huckabee with a vote. I have never voted for a Democrat for national office, but I hearby vow to vote for any Democrat over Huckabee.

    My vote will not make a difference here in Massachusetts, but I hope Utahns follow suit. The poetic justice would be just too sweet if the right-winger could not carry the reddest state in the union.

  53. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    I’m asking where all the misinformation we are hearing lately about Mormons from both the left and the right is coming from. Do you think the well-organized evangelical anti-Mormon propaganda system (movies, classes, sermons, etc) has nothing at all to do with it?

    I think we shouldn’t want that to bleed over into politics.

  54. Ben H on December 12, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    I agree with Mitt that what Huckabee is doing with his faith is out of line for a candidate for president. I have to say, though, that I think it might be a nice change to have someone like Huckabee running as the Republican candidate, whether he won or lost. I actually think he would appeal to a lot of people in the middle, and if we’ve had excesses in the direction of excluding faith from public life, maybe we’re due for some excess in the other direction. People say Bush owes his presidency to religious voters; if religion is becoming the defining issue in U.S. politics, we may as well face it head on with a preacher running for president.

  55. Josiah on December 12, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    WillF,

    The article you linked to doesn’t address the brother issue, which is what I’m interested in. What is the status of the claim that Jesus and Satan are brothers in LDS theology?

  56. WillF on December 12, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Josiah, I think it does address it. Read it again.

  57. Jeremiah J. on December 12, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    “a campaign that defined itself as the foil to my own faith.”
    Aren’t you going a bit far, here? It’s certainly reasonable to argue that Huckabee is casting himself as the *Christian* candidate, but I think it takes a bit of paranoia to imagine that “Christian” means simply “anti-Mormon”. All the candidates, except Romney, are as much not-a-Mormon as Huckabee; I don’t see Huckabee thinking he can unite all the various strands of anti-Mormonism under his banner. And I don’t see how a guy can rise to a virtual tie in the national GOP polls because he defined himself against the religion of a guy who’s been bouncing around from 4th to a distant 2d over the past few months.

    I’m not hoping Mormons suddenly vote Democratic en masse, if they’re doing it because of the kind of slights we’ve been receiving so far. That would mean that they’ve stopped voting on issues and values and started voting in order to register collective grievances about theological misrepresentations, in a country where we are treated quite well and where our missionaries are having success. Huckabee’s comment to the NYT is bad, and I don’t blame Mormons for being angry about it. But this election is not all about us. If our existence or basic rights were under threat, it would be very different, but they’re not. I doubt even that the kingdom faces any harm, since public discussion leads people to find out more about the church.

    “I never like identity politics”
    But you’ll vow to vote for any opponent at all of a guy who launches a dirtball attack on a Mormon? Why? Out of disgust about dirtball tactics? Then I’d qualify my vow to exclude those who do the same kind of thing against Huckabee or anyone else (these attacks happen a lot in presidential campaigns). Out of solidarity with another Mormon, then? That seems to be what people generally are talking about when they refer to identity politics.

  58. Josiah on December 12, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    What’s the answer, then?

  59. WillF on December 12, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    Define brother.

  60. Bruce Nielson on December 12, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    If someone that was an Evangelical were to ask me about whether Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers (and Josiah asked, so I’ll answer him) this is how I’d respond:

    Sound bite version:
    Like many Christians, Mormons affirm the universal fatherhood of God. Like all Christians, Mormons affirm that Jesus is the Son of God, the only begotten in the flesh and that He alone is uniquely divine.

    These are two different sense of the concept of “fatherhood” and Mormons do not confuse them. Jesus alone is Divine and His relationship to the Father is unique.

    However, in the sense of God the Father’s universal fatherhood, Mormons do sometimes speak of Jesus as “our Elder brother” though this is never understood to infringe upon Jesus’ unique status as only begotten nor His unique divinity.

    Likewise, in the sense of God the Father’s universal fatherhood, we understand Satan to be a brother to us.

    In the 37 years I’ve been in the LDS Church, I can honestly say I’ve never even once heard of Jesus and Satan being referred to as brothers, even though I suppose that would be technically true if I understood you as speaking only about the universal fatherhood of God.

    Evangelical’s, through use of intentional equivocation, have long suggested that Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers as a way of inappropriately suggesting that perhaps Mormons see Satan as divine in some sense or a second begotten like Jesus.

    Non Sound Bite version for Josiah:
    Mormons believe we all have a spirit and that God the Father is the father of all our spirits, including Jesus and Satan. However, Jesus was divine and no one else was, including Satan. Jesus is understood to fully represent the Father and to be fully divine.

    Satan is a fallen angel (we believe our spirits, including yours, Josiah, are all “angels” in this sense.) He did not receive a body. Our bodies are, of course, are literally begotten of our parents and thus of the fallen Adam and Eve.

    While other Christians might see the universal fatherhood of God as symbolic, Mormons equate it to Him being the father of our spirits and thus see a “spark of divinity” in all if they don’t lose it as Satan did. But this is not to be confused with the total and complete divinity of Jesus who is one with the Father in purpose, deed, and spirit.

    Jesus is unique in another way; He is begotten of God in the flesh. That is to say, we literally believe Jesus is the Son of God. (We have no doctrine on how that happened other than it was a miracle.)

    I was shocked, when I read How Wide the Divide to find that Craig Blomberg believed Jesus was not literally the Son of God. It literally blew my mind that he saw it as a figure of speech.

    So in short, Jesus is unique in two ways: 1) He’s the literal spiritual and physical Son of God (whereas all others are spiritual only), 2) He’s fully divine and is already one in purpose with God and thus the fullness of the Godhead (literally “divine nature”) dwells in Him bodily. That last statement is true even though most Mormons don’t use the word “Godhead” in that sense any more. I’m translating to its KJV meaning.

    Most Mormons now use “Godhead” as a substitute for “Trinity” because the word “Trinity” now has connotations that we can’t accept – i.e. Athanasius creed. However, I grew up using the word “Trinity” and “Godhead” interchangeably and still do to this day. I have yet to have a Mormon not understand me.

    Josiah, I’ve now given you a very complete answer. I hope you can appreciate why I feel that Evangelical’s saying that Jesus and Satan are brothers is a bigoted smear and also why it’s hard to wrap up our beliefs into a sound bite.

    On the other hand, other Christians can’t wrap up their beliefs about Christ into a sound bite either. In fact, I think trying to explain the doctrine of Trinity would be MUCH harder than trying to explain the Mormon version of it.

  61. Jason J on December 12, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    Jeremiah,

    My point about “identity politics” was that I was not turning on Huckabee simply because he doesn’t like Mormons or that he’s not a Mormon, etc. I would vote against him because he has played the identity politics game. And yes, if a candidate suggested that Huckabee’s or anyone’s Christian, Jewish, whatever faith somehow disqualified him or her for office, I would pledge not to vote for that person on the spot as well.

    It’s not so much about Huckabee’s isolated comment to the NYTimes as it is his entire campaign so far. He has been, as you said, a bottom dweller in the polls for most of the campaign. He didn’t make a splash nationally until he surged in Iowa after the “Christian Candidate” commercial. And I don’t see that as merely a statement about his own faith. The ad takes clear shots at Romney: “I don’t have to wake up every morning wondering what to believe in.” etc.

    I agree that we should vote based on issues and values. One “value” that I adhere to strongly is religious tolerance. And that’s a value I may just vote on if I don’t like either nominee on the issues.

  62. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Testy, testy, all.

    Josiah, here’s what I think is a good answer:

    http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YjYwNWIyNDgyMDQ2MGZmNjlkZjljMzZkNzdkNjQ0MGE=

    Here’s my answer in more detail. In Mormon belief, angels and devils aren’t different classes of beings from men. Mormons believe that all human spirits existed before conception/birth and that Satan and his angels are just those spirits that rebelled against God instead of being born. So, since Mormons believe that in some sense all men are brothers, Christ is Lucifer’s brother in the same sense that Christ is Adolph Hitler’s brother. Not that we believe in Jesus in jackboots.

    But it goes beyond that. Its a mainstream Mormon belief that everyone was spiritually created, that this spiritual creation makes them spiritually a son or daughter of God in some sense and that Christ was the firstborn spiritually and that Lucifer is also one of the Father’s spirit children. This isn’t central by any means and consequently in my opinion some of the wrinkles aren’t very well thought through, since Mormons also usually believe that Christ was eternally God and that everyone, in fact, has in some sense existed eternally, so you get “epicycle” type explanations where a kind of uber-spirit called the intelligence is said to be the eternal thing that is given a spirit body during spirit creation (so Christ’s spiritual birth would be a kind of incarnation, though I’ve never heard any Mormon describe it that way). So, in short, while Mormons themselves don’t make the claim that Christ and Lucifer are brothers in some sense, them being brothers in some sense is implied by things that we do usually claim.

    The problem with the evangelical mantra that “Mormons believe Christ and Lucifer are brothers” is that its usually intended to smear and mislead. If the objection really is that Mormons believe Christ is in some sense a creation of God’s, and that this smacks of Arianism, they could say so. But this doesn’t have the same frisson of making it sound like Mormons think Christ is devilish or the Devil some kind of unfairly-maligned gnostic hero.

    In any case, it has no place in a presidential campaign.

    Update: I think Bruce Neilson’s answer is fair.

  63. Bruce Nielson on December 12, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    #63: Jeremiah: “if a candidate suggested that Huckabee’s or anyone’s Christian, Jewish, whatever faith somehow disqualified him or her for office, I would pledge not to vote for that person on the spot as well.”

    “I agree that we should vote based on issues and values. One “value” that I adhere to strongly is religious tolerance.”

    I have nothing to add but to say “Amen.”

    This is a very distrubing turn of events with Huckabee.

    HILLARY 2008! Sign me up!

  64. Adam Greenwood on December 12, 2007 at 5:53 pm
  65. Josiah on December 12, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    Bruce,

    Okay, so Jesus and Satan are brothers, but only in the sense that Jesus and I (or Satan and I) are brothers, that is, that we are all created by God and are therefore children of God. That makes sense, and I can certainly appreciate why, if that is the LDS position, Mormons would vehemently object to people saying they believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers. That is at best a distortion of the LDS position, and could very well be a bigoted smear depending on whether the person saying such things knows better.

    You’re also probably right that doctrine of the Trinity contained in the Athanasian Creed is, from a purely objective point of view, weirder than the Mormon position (it’s certainly weirder than the Arian position, which I had thought, perhaps mistakenly, was also the LDS view). That it doesn’t seem as strange is purely a function of the fact that we live in a society where Trinitarianism is widely held and has been widely held for millenia. As a Catholic, I am quite aware of how strange certain religious beliefs can look to those outside the religious tradition in question. Anyway, thanks for answering my question.

  66. bnielson on December 12, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    Josiah,

    Thanks for the feedback. Yes, you understood me correctly, it would seem.

    Let me quickly answer you about Mormons vs. Arianism.

    Contrary to popular belief, there are actually three views of Trinity represented at Nicea. 1) the Athanasius position of “one of substance”, 2) the Arian position of Jesus being a created from nothing being just like everyone else and thus less divine than the Father, 3) the middle ground position (later unkindly called “Semi-Arian”) of Eusebius and others that believed Jesus and the Father were of the “same kind of substance” with Jesus being separate from the Father but fully divine.

    #1 is the modern christian view
    #2 is roughtly the Jehovah’s Witnesses view
    #3 is roughly the Mormon view

    So, no, Mormons are not Arians. We could be called Semi-Arians, but that is a label that is “retro” in my opinion and somewhat offensive. For starters, #3 was the majority opinion. Secondly, they *signed* the Nicean creed (admittedly under some threat of deportation) precisely because the term translated “one of substance” could technically also be understand as “one in essense” and thus didn’t actually go against their beliefs because it didn’t suggest modalism.

    Even most Mormons doesn’t realize that something fairly close to our view of Trinity was represented at the Nicean council. (There were, I admit, some significant differences in other areas, however, but I would have to spend a full essay describing these.)

  67. WillF on December 12, 2007 at 6:48 pm
  68. Jason J on December 12, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    After being perhaps harder on Huckabee than anybody, I must say I’m glad to hear his apology.

  69. bnielson on December 12, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    I am glad too. I’m still uncertain if I will vote for him, but he’s apparently a decent guy that can admit when he’s wrong.

  70. Blake on December 12, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    OK. The apology was fast and somewhat public and I am willing to give Huckabee the benefit of the doubt that it is heart-felt and sincere. I suggest that it is enough we let this one go and move.

  71. Bob on December 12, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    I will state my usual wrong positions: Romney is happy Huckabee took a cheap shot, and Romney is still standing. Like Rocky said while fighting with Mr. T in Rocky 3, “Is that all you got…?” (see Obama on Hillery talking about his kindergarten paper)
    In my world, Mormonism has never said Satan was just another guy in the pre-existence. Get ready for a lot bigger shots than this, there are coming….

  72. bnielson on December 12, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    Bob: “Get ready for a lot bigger shots than this, there are coming…. ”

    Seems unlikely now. Romney isn’t still standing, he’s down for the count as far as I can see. If he loses Iowa (which he is massively trailing now – 39% Huckabee, 17% Romney, I believe) he’s finished. I doubt Huckabee’s screw up is going to change that much.

    I’ve been asked for months now what Romney’s chances were for President. I always give the same answer: exactly 0% chance. One doesn’t overcome this much prejudice in a single election season. We are now seeing that play out.

  73. Aaron Brown on December 13, 2007 at 12:44 am

    Well, some of us are unapologetic fans of all things Jonah Goldberg, thank you very much. :)

    Aaron B

  74. Adam Greenwood on December 13, 2007 at 1:02 am

    I always give the same answer: exactly 0% chance.

    If you really are so sure, you have a chance to make some money on the prediction markets.

  75. bnielson on December 13, 2007 at 2:05 am

    #76: “If you really are so sure, you have a chance to make some money on the prediction markets”

    How?

  76. Matt Evans on December 13, 2007 at 9:56 am

    #77: selling Romney presidential futures at markets like Intrade.com. $10 Romney GOP nomination futures are currently trading at $2 (4:1 odds against nomination).

  77. Jeremy Gayed on December 13, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    As an evangelical–and one who was impressed down to the soles of my shoes by Romney’s speech on faith, particularly his refusal to disavow his faith a la Kennedy and his principled understanding of the role of the First Amendment–I don’t see where this anti-Huckabee rage really comes from.

    I’m the first to admit that I understand little of Mormon doctrine, and what I know I’ve learned from Mormons or places like this site. After reading Adam’s (typically) penetrating observations, and the 78 comments that followed, here’s the way it appears to me (as an outsider), that:
    1. You all acknowledge that Huckabee’s comment about Christ and Satan in Mormon doctrine was generally correct; but
    2. You’re angry that he made it because it implies that Mormons believe that Satan and Christ are spiritual or moral equals

    To the extent that Huckabee’s comment may have mislead through oversimplification, I can understand your frustration. But the pure vitriol I’ve seen above is, honestly, shocking. This is presidential politics. Oversimplifying the position of your opponents is par for the course, and all the candidates do it. I’m not justifying Huckabee’s comment or behavior–I’m just saying that its no more egregious than what all the candidates have been doing to each other since the start of the race.

    Huckabee’s comment, if anything, presents an opportunity for Mormons to explain the tenets of their faith on a national stage, with the whole country’s attention. I encourage you to embrace this opportunity, for it may not come again.

  78. Who? on December 13, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Jeremy: You are correct that vitriol seldom serves us well. However, the notion that Huckabee is merely giving Mormons an opportunity to explain their faith is a bit near-sighted in my view. The assertion: “Mormons believe that Satan and Christ are brothers” is standard anti-Mormon fare. Mormons see it in anti-Mormon pamphlets and it is yelled at them as they cross the street to go to their temples and to attend conference. It is an easy cheap shot that is a sound-bite intended to shock. “What? Satan and Christ brothers?” The psychology of the assertion is easy to understand. “What? Bill Clinton has a no-good for nothin’ brother?”

    Moreover, it isn’t oversimplifying Romney’s political record. It is oversimplifying and trivializing his religious beliefs with a strong message to Huckabee’s political base without having to say it: “Mormons aren’t Christians.” That just isn’t acceptable.

    However, Huckabee’s half-way apology may be genuine and as Blake says maybe we ought to just forget about it. But maybe it was an easy way to send signals to his political base while appearing to be above-board.

  79. Mark IV on December 13, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    I agree with you that LDS people ought to take this as an opportunity to explain our beliefs, and that we ought to be better at it than we are. However, I think you are letting Huckabee off the hook too easily by describing his statement as simple oversimplification.

    If I were running for the Senate against Joe Lieberman, what would you think of me if I happened to say, as an aside, “Say, weren’t the Jews the folks that killed Christ?” That statement would be the equivalent of Huck’s statement: technically true, but misleading and inflammatory. So while Mormons probably ought not to make too much of this, neither should we give Huckabee a free pass.

  80. Adam Greenwood on December 13, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    But the pure vitriol I’ve seen above is, honestly, shocking. This is presidential politics. Oversimplifying the position of your opponents is par for the course, and all the candidates do it. I’m not justifying Huckabee’s comment or behavior–I’m just saying that its no more egregious than what all the candidates have been doing to each other since the start of the race.

    There’s a lot of bad blood between Mormons and Southern Baptists, so folks don’t always act sensibly. Frankly I don’t find the response to what Huckabee said any more shocking than what he said. You are correct that politicians frankly say egregious things; but those egregious things just as frequently draw angry overreactions. We shouldn’t excuse the one on grounds of frequency and not so indulge the other.

  81. Rob on December 13, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    What, Santa and Christ are brothers?

  82. Jeremiah J. on December 13, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    “Seems unlikely now. Romney isn’t still standing, he’s down for the count as far as I can see. If he loses Iowa (which he is massively trailing now – 39% Huckabee, 17% Romney, I believe) he’s finished. I doubt Huckabee’s screw up is going to change that much.”

    Romney is still doing fine in New Hampshire, where Huckabee has an uphill battle. Romney actually has money, which Huckabee doesn’t so that’s another reason Romney can keep chugging and weather a loss in Iowa, even though he did put a lot of eggs in that basket. Dukakis and Clinton came in 3rd in Iowa. That was the Democrats, granted, but the GOP race is much more like a Dem race this year. In other words, it’s actually fun to follow.

    Iowa can *create* a juggernaut that wasn’t there before, but only, it seems to me, if the party is eager to rally around someone and they want to use Iowa as a way to pick a winner. Kerry in 2004 is the only example of that I know of. But for many reasons the GOP is not eager to rally around just anyone who can win. The race is still wide open, no matter what happens in Iowa. But I agree, Romney’s game plan will be really screwed up by losing there, and he’s going to have to make adjustments.

  83. gst on December 13, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    If you think Huckabee is rough on us, wait until you see how the Democratic base treats us in the event of a Romney nomination. I think Joseph Addison’s video of Lawrence O’Donnell is a good preview. http://trashcalls.blogspot.com/2007/12/lawrence-odonnell-reveals-his-inner.html

  84. gst on December 13, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Also, imagine how the Evangelicals are going to react when they find out that we believe that Luke Skywalker’s father is Darth Vader.

  85. Nate Oman on December 13, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    I’m less inclined to be charitable toward Huckabee’s apology. The line is a stock jab from anti-Mormon literature, and the way that he played it strikes me as orchestrated to throw the bomb while being able to plausibly deny throwing the bomb. It is rather like the game the Kennedys played with Romney during his Senate race. Some lesser Kennedy cousin or nephew said something like, “You know that Mormons are all racist, misogynistic homophobes with six wives, four of whom are 13.” This gets play in the Boston Globe for a couple of days, after which Teddy comes out, publically rebukes the cousin/nephew, and says, “Religion has no place in this race.”

    If you think that the little exchange among the Kennedys was not scripted in advance, I have a bridge in New York that I would like to sell you.

  86. a random John on December 13, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    gst,

    On that completely unrelated point I’ll just mention that my son comes up to me at least once a day and says, in his most serious voice, “No, I am your father!”

    I’ve tried to explain to him why this is pretty funny, but he’s four and doesn’t get it.

  87. a random John on December 13, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    Nate,

    Huckabee is smart to do this. The original dig gets even more airplay because of the apology. And the half-truth never gets explained. And the topic of religion stays in the news but without Romney in the driver’s seat.

    Any LDS Republican that thinks the party won’t throw them under the bus for their own self benefit is delusional. There aren’t enough LDS Republicans to matter in the primary and in the general they’ll all vote Republican (like sheep) even if Huckabee recruits Lawrence O’Donnell as his improbable running mate.

  88. gst on December 13, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    I think a Huckabee/Hitchens ticket would be unbeatable.

  89. Russell Arben Fox on December 13, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    The line is a stock jab from anti-Mormon literature, and the way that he played it strikes me as orchestrated to throw the bomb while being able to plausibly deny throwing the bomb.

    Well, then if so, I can’t say much Romney’s level of preparation for such. The question gets some media play, and immediately Romney’s on the airwaves, describing Huckabee’s question as an “attack.” Two clicks of the mouse will allow every reporter to find out for themselves that the allegation in Huckabee’s question was correct, at least nominally so, and rather than digging into the legacy of anti-Mormon rhetoric, the reporters will do the obvious thing: play up the “defensive” Romney. Not well played, Mitt.

  90. Nate Oman on December 13, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Agreed. To take a much more extreme example, suppose that someone says, “Didn’t the Jews execute Jesus?” One might think that this is a question about the New Testament, where one would find that the issue was a little ambigious — the Romans actually performed the execution but they were egged on by local elites. The problem with this response is that it totally misses the coded meaning of the statement — contemporary Jews are Christ-killers responsible for the sins of Ciaphas, etc. — to say nothing of the extreme ugliness that it has justified over the years.

    Saying that “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers?” is nowhere near as extreme or pernicious as the old blood libel, but anyone who doesn’t see it as a coded statement is missing the boat. The message meant to be conveyed — and certainly the message that will be heard by conservative evangelicals — is that Mormons denigrate Christ, are likely duped by Satan, and can be treated accordingly in good conscience. To treat the question as though it were a dispasionate inquiry into Mormon theology strikes me as niave, and Huckabee — while not the sharpest knife in the drawer — is not THAT dumb. Certainly, I have a hard time thinking that a Baptist minister wouldn’t understand exactly how the “Jesus and Satan are brothers” claim operates in evangelical discourse.

  91. Matt Evans on December 13, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    In the 20 to 30 articles I’ve read discussing Huckabee’s Jesus-is-Satan’s-brother “question”, I think all of them have cast Huckabee in a bad light. Mostly because his intent to throw a bomb was too obvious. I’m certain the Romney campaign hopes Huckabee throws below-the-belt punches every day.

  92. bbell on December 13, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    I get this phrase from a son a couple times a week as well.

    “you be obi wan and I will be Darth” “when I get you with my saber fall down really hard and try and disappear”

    Nate is right in #92.

  93. Jacob M on December 13, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    There aren’t enough LDS Republicans to matter in the primary and in the general they’ll all vote Republican (like sheep)

    Darn! If only I heard earlier that I’m like a sheep for voting for Republican candidates that I feel will best represent me! Thanks for the enlightenment!

    Gov. Huckabee’s action just goes to show how close he is to imploding. No need to worry about him winning the nomination.

  94. gst on December 13, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    arJ: LDS Republicans vote Republican not because they’re sheep, but because they’re Republican.

  95. Nate Oman on December 13, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    gst: I think that is slightly wrong. I have always assumed that candidates became Republican because they knew that was how I voted.

  96. Frank McIntyre on December 13, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    “LDS Republicans vote Republican not because they’re sheep, but because they’re Republican.”

    Also, sheep aren’t Republicans. Wolves are Republican. Sheep are Green Party.

  97. bnielson on December 13, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Jeremy,

    Go back and read my explanation. Jesus and Satan are not brothers in the sense that is being implied. This isn’t a “true” statement, it’s a “half-truth” i.e. it’s a lie.

    Jeremy, anyone can play this game and it’s always bigoted. There is no difference between an Evangelical saying Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers than there would be for someone to say any of the following about the Evangelical religion:

    1. Evangelicals believe in ritualistic cannibalization (i.e. a reference to the communion made by anti-Christians)
    2. Evangelicals teach God doesn’t love people everyone. (i.e. a reference to predestination and the possible contradiction/paradox with God’s love involved. Obviously a misrepresentation of real Evangelical beliefs.)
    3. Evangelicals believe in polytheism. (i.e. this is the Muslim smear to the Trinity doctrine)
    4. Evangelicals believe God had sex with Mary. (i.e. this is the Muslim smear to the virgin birth)
    5. Evangelicals are intolerant because they don’t accept other people’s prophets (i.e. the Muslim smear to not accepting Mohamed)
    6. Evangelicals don’t believe in the Bible but instead believe their traditions are more important than the Bible (i.e. a possible misleading way to over simplify belief in Sola Scripture or a number of other traditional beliefs that are arguably not found in the Bible.)
    7. Evangelicals are racist because they supported ownership of slaves for many years. (An obvious attempt to hold a modern Christian accountable for something some small subset, now dead, did a long time ago. Also ignores the role Christianity played in ending slavery. Usually made by bigoted atheists.)

    Jeremy, let me assure you that all of the above statement I personally know to be half-truth and thus a lies. To say one of the above is bigotry because it intentionally misleads people on your beliefs.

    But as I said, this game is easy to play. It can be done to any religion and Evangelicals far too often do it to Mormons because they know that there aren’t yet enough Mormons to counter their voice.

    This is why it is concerning what Huckabee did. I admit I don’t feel so bad any more now that he apologized. I’m not one to assume it was some sort of game either. I think it did him more harm than good, for one thing. However, I’m still left feeling like Huckabee is not so much a bigot as just insanely poorly informed for a previously practicing minister. I’m not saying what I really feel here, so let me be a bit more straightforward. I’m faced with the realization that Huckabee is either a bigot against Mormons (as some Baptist ministers are) or he’s just really so stupid that it never occured to him that you don’t ask a reporter about someone else’s faith, you ask them. 5 minutes on Google would have resolved that question pretty satisfactorily, I’d think, so he didn’t even need to officially talk to a Mormon or anything.

  98. Jacob M on December 13, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    98 – And Democrats are Wolves in Sheep’s clothing!

  99. Mark B. on December 13, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    So, RAF, what should Mitt have said? “Huckabee’s question is a standard anti-Mormon slur, a half-truth that’s intended only to obsure.”

    or

    “His suggestion that he doesn’t know much about Mormonism is borne out by the stupidity of this question. This clearly puts Huckabee (and, by the way, just what the h e double toothpicks kind of name is Huckabee, anyway?) in league with the backwoods hillbilly anti-Mormons who spout this kind of ignorance?”

    or

    “Actually, we believe that Huckabee and Satan are brothers.”

    or

    “Hey, I give you one. I heard that Huckabee believes that God made everything, including Satan. I guess that means Huckabee believes that God is ultimately responsible for all evil and suffering in the world. Can you tell me if I’m right about that?”

    or, with apologies to Jimmy Kimmel and his “This Week in Unnecessary Censorship”

    “*uckabee?”

  100. a random John on December 13, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    baaaaaaa!

  101. Jeremiah J. on December 13, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    “Huckabee is smart to do this. The original dig gets even more airplay because of the apology.”

    I don’t think he was smart to do it at all. First it’s a pretty sharp attack in a Republican primary. If he wins the nomination he’ll have the green light from some quarters to go nuclear on Obama or Hillary, but not when fighting for Iowa. Second everyone can see it’s an obviously theological attack against Romney. Some people may like that kind of thing, but those people are not in charge of major Republican institutions and are not writing headlines. Third it’s coming out of his own mouth. If it would really hurt Romney’s chances for voters to hear certain attacks on Mormon theology, then in a Machiavellian sense the “smart” thing to do would be to get it out there in some other way, more like the Kennedy attack that Nate mentioned.

    The other thing is that if Huckabee’s comment was premeditated (it easily could have been, but not every “move” in a campaign is premeditated; no one is that composed and deliberate), it really misunderstands Huckabee’s marginal voter at this point. He’s already on his way to getting most of the evangelical conservatives. By going theological he’s shooting mostly for voters he had a while ago. Of course, perhaps Huckabee believes that Mormon strangeness can drive just about any kind of Republican away from Romney and into his arms. I think that’s incorrect, since for many people the attack likely seems as bizarre and inexplicable as the doctrine it points to.

    “Gov. Huckabee’s action just goes to show how close he is to imploding.”

    Everyone in the GOP race has some big reason why he supposedly can’t win. If it were the Pulitzer the nomination would go unawarded. But somebody’s going to get it, and it could well be Huckabee.

  102. just me on December 13, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    With regard to comment 99, Muslims also believe in the Virgin Birth.

  103. bnielson on December 13, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    #103: “I don’t think he was smart to do it at all.”

    I have to agree with you on this, Jeremiah. This was a very bad move on Huckabee’s part, whether it was premeditated or not. And I don’t believe it was premeditated for exactly that reason.

    “Some people may like that kind of thing, but those people are not in charge of major Republican institutions and are not writing headlines”

    Interesting point, and I agree with you again. In fact, the fact that NYT made a point of including this in the interview and the fact that it got jumped on by the media so fast that Huckabee has apologized before the interview even came out shows that the media, as much as they really dislike Mormons and Mormon beliefs, dislikes Evangelical’s as much. (Actually more because they are a more serious threat due to their numbers.)

  104. Jeremiah J. on December 13, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    “Muslims also believe in the Virgin Birth.”

    But not that Jesus is God’s son. That’s the big outrage for Muslims.

  105. bnielson on December 13, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    103 an 106:

    Sorry, I was apparently too brief. Yes, Muslims believe that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth. No, they don’t see that as a sign that Jesus was divine or the Son of God. Thus their objection to Christians is that if Jesus is the Son of God that means (they claim) that God and Mary had sex.

    Obviously their point of view about what Christians believe shouldn’t matter much… and since Christians DON’T believe that, it’s hard to understand why some Muslims would say such a thing other than to try to take a Christian doctrine out of context and misrepresent it. (i.e. deceptively reprsent it. I.e. Lie about it.)

  106. bnielson on December 13, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    I meant 104, not 103. *blushes*

  107. Bob on December 13, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    #101: Romney should say “Huckabee is my Brother..
    #99: It is never going to raise above half-truths. The weak spot for Mormons is their long history of spinning on their own History and ‘ Doctrines’.

    Am I mis-thinking, (note how quickly the Church responded to the Huckabee statement), that Romney will have to deal with being Mormon, but the Church will deal with attacks it see directed against IT, due to Romney’s “Run”?

  108. a random John on December 13, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    Jeremiah J and bnielson,

    The message that is out there right now (right after Romney’s big speech) is, “Romney’s Jesus isn’t your Jesus.” We’ll see how well it works. I think that Huckabee is playing a spoiler to Romney and that throws the whole thing to Giuliani, but I really don’t think that what he is doing is stupid. It is in his self interest. He isn’t turning very many people off by doing this and is raising doubts about Romney.

    As for the idea that his nephews should be doing this, have you ever heard of his nephews? He is the only person in his campaign (or Giuliani’s as the case may be) high-profile enough to be effective at this.

    He’s not dumb enough to have done this accidentally and he isn’t dumb enough to not know exactly what it means.

  109. Ivan Wolfe on December 13, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    So, if Romney gets the nomination, what will the religous right do if he picks Huckabee to be his running mate?

  110. Jacob M on December 13, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    109 – Bob, the Church rep. was called by the reporters, which is why there was such a quick response. They leadership has mentioned several times that they are ramping up their Public Affairs people to coincide with Mitt’s Run, knowing that they will be getting asked more and more questions by the media.

    110 – a random John, I completely agree with your last sentence.

  111. bnielson on December 13, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    #109: Bob, there is a huge difference between interpreting history, a complex thing that must of necessity be interpreted and continually re-interpreted by all, and misrepresenting living breathing people that can be asked what they personally believe.

  112. bnielson on December 13, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    #111 – Does anyone else find it rather suspicious that of all the things the media has allowed to be said about Mormons so far (mostly coming from liberal commentators) that the moment the media caught a relatively small barb (though still a bigoted one) towards Mormons by Huckabee the media FINALLY figured out how to call the LDS church to ask for clarification? (And did so so quickly that they could get the response out before the article even ran?)

  113. Bob on December 13, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    #110, #111: I hope this stays just just the usual political mud fight, and doesn’t spread to a “Substitute War ” (Mormons Vs Evangelicals)

  114. Jacob M on December 13, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    113 – One does wonder . . .

    114 – I’m not entirely sure what you mean, but I do hope that Huckabee doesn’t try any other shenanigans.

  115. bnielson on December 13, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    #114: “I hope this stays just just the usual political mud fight, and doesn’t spread to a “Substitute War ” (Mormons Vs Evangelicals)”

    Um, isn’t that exactly the opposite of what everyone is worried about here? Isn’t the whole point of this discussion that we’re worried that the “theological war” between Mormons and Evangelicals has just spread into politics, where both are actually natural allies and shouldn’t be shooting at each other?

  116. bnielson on December 13, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    #110: “He’s not dumb enough to have done this accidentally and he isn’t dumb enough to not know exactly what it means”

    And yet he *is* apparently very very dumb. Allowing himself to be interviewed with the liberal (and presumably hostile to Evangelicals) NYT and then to make a comment like that was inevitably going to be exploited by them. They *did* exploit it. They didn’t hesitate to let Dowd chew up Mormons and allowed her to call an “expert” who was in fact a anti-Mormon. But the moment Huckabee does the same they call the LDS church for clarification. It adds up. Huckabee is just very dumb. He may or may not have intended this as a slur against Mormons. He may or may not actually understand the Mormon belief on this point. But no matter what he was stupid. Thus, I must conclude that the idea that he’s not smart enough to have planned this is an open possibility and I think it likely you are reading too much into his acts.

    For that matter, what was the point of doing it? He had already beat out Romney in Iowa via his much more subtle playing on voters prejudice against Mormons via his ads. He had it made in Iowa. This really is going to hurt him more than it will help. Now, having already vanquished Romney, he’s handed the more liberal media an advantage that will hurt him from this point forward. Just look at how much they suddenly defended Mormon beliefs in the name of tolerance now that they can use it to hurt Huckabee! (Which, I might add, is a double standard and is thus ironically intolerant of them.)

  117. Bob on December 13, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    #112: “….Living breathing people that can be asked what they personally believe.” I am your missing your point. I don’t believe Huckabee asked Romney the question. I believe, if anything, it was directed to all Mormons or Mormonism, or the Church. The media went directly to the Church (not Romney says #111), I don’t know is Romney said anything directly about what he believe on this.

  118. Adam Greenwood on December 13, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    This has been a good conversation, y’all. We’ll be closing comments shortly. At that point, if there’s anything left to be said that hasn’t already been said, email me at adam at times and seasons dot org and we’ll add it in.

  119. bnielson on December 13, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    #118: I’m not talking about Romney, Bob. I’m responding to your insinuation that Mormons use half truths about themselves (their history and doctrine) that is somehow similar to the Evangelical half-truths used by the more intolerant Evangelicals. I’m sorry, but that is simply not true.

    Huckabee or ANY Evangelical have a responsibility to not spread lies, rumors, or stereotypes about a minority (or anyone). By comparison, Mormons do not spread half-truths about their history or doctrines. They spread their personal interpretation of such. There is a WORLD of difference here.

    Let me give you an example: Let’s say there is a Evangelical that studies about Brigham Young’s teachings about Adam. Now personally, I do not believe BY taught that Adam was God. I personally subscribe to Elden Watson’s theory that BY was actually trying to teach that the *real* Adam (the father of Adam) was God. Adam Sr. so to speak. Obviously this is a complicated subject subject to a lot of possible interpretations.

    However, because there are many possible ways to interpret BY’s statements, I accept that the facts fit a number of possibilities and there are mulitple valid points of view.

    I would have no problem at all with this hypothetical Evangelical, who has studied this out, to say something like “I have studied Brigham Young’s teachings about Adam, and I believe Brigham Young taught that there was no real Adam, but it was actually God in disguise. However, it’s apparent that this doctrine never caught on beyond Brigham Young and isn’t believed today.”

    I might even be okay with this hypotheical Evangelical just simply saying “Brigham Young taught… but modern Mormons don’t believe this, nor did all or most of the Mormons in Brigham Young’s day.” (This second is stating as fact something that is purely opinion, but as we all know, this is just how history is handled so it’s hard for me to get too upset over this.)

    Now let’s compare this to how many Evangelicals today often explain this complex subject: “Mormons believe Adam is God!”

    I’ve seen this stated, as if it’s an actual belief of Mormons today, many many times.

    This is a lie. It’s not even a half truth this time. And it’s particularly bad because it would be so easy to verify.

    This is is what I’m talking about. There is a big difference here between stating your opinion as fact about a purely opinional subject (like history) and speaking for a group of people that should be asked to speak for themselves.

  120. just me on December 13, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    Why can’t a Baptist wonder about this doctrine? Sure, not one running for public office–similar that old saw about not discussing religion or politics in polite company. (Which convention Ann Coulter breaks on purpose, as, for example, when she didn’t unequivocate, when discussing the subjuct in a broadcast discussion, to state her personal belief that Christians are perfected Jews, or something like that).

    I mean I understand that the LDS are sensitive to sensationalism, still, the doctrine in question clearly is a long held orthodoxy in the Church. (See the June 1986 Ensign’s “I have a Question” column is this statement of Mormon theology by Institute director Jess L. Christensen):

    On first hearing, the doctrine that Lucifer and our Lord, Jesus Christ, are brothers may seem surprising to some, especially to those unacquainted with latter-day revelations. But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers. Jesus Christ was with the Father from the beginning. Lucifer, too, was an angel who was in authority in the presence of God, a ’son of the morning.’ (See Isa. 14:12; D&C 76:25?27.) Both Jesus and Lucifer were strong leaders with great knowledge and influence. But as the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus was Lucifer’s older brother. (See Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21.)

  121. just me on December 13, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    edit to “didn’t equivocate”

  122. Adam Greenwood on December 13, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Isn’t that just another response to the “Mormons think Jesus is Satan’s brother” canard? In other words, you haven’t found proof that this is actually a doctrine that matters to Mormons, though I agree that it logically follows from doctrines that matter to Mormons. So I still think that folks retailing it are guilty of sensationalism and, usually, of trying to imply things that aren’t true.

  123. just me on December 13, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    Hucklebee could have asked a similar question about Lieberman’s beliefs (who Hucklebee said he admires and frankly wishes were a Republican)…since Evangelicals believe that Orthodox Jews hold to extra-Biblical heresies (that is, the majority of Othrodox rabbis who believe in the Kabbalah).

    (Especially since one such Kabbalistic belief is that Satan is a natural byproduct of the blessings of God to man. From Wikipedia): Some Kabbalistic scholars…believe that all things are linked to God through [divine] emanations, making us all part of one great chain of being. Others…hold that God is all that really exists; all else is completely undifferentiated from God’s perspective. If improperly explained, such views can be interpreted as panentheism or pantheism. In truth, according to this philosophy, God’s existence is higher than anything that this world can express, yet he includes all things of this world down to the finest detail in such a perfect unity that his creation of the world effected no change in him whatsoever…. Kabbalistic works offer a theodicy, a philosophical reconciliation of how the existence of a good and powerful God is compatible with the existence of evil in the world. There are mainly two different ways to describe why there is evil in the world…. Gevurah (גבורה, “Might”), for example, stands for strength and discipline, while her male counterpart, Chesed (חסד, “Mercy”), stands for love and mercy. Chesed is also known as Gedulah (גדולה, “Glory”), as in the Tree of Life pictured to the right. The “center pillar” of the tree does not have any polarity, and no gender is given to it. Thus evil is really an emanation of Divinity, a harsh byproduct of the “left side” of creation. In the medieval era, this notion took on increasingly gnostic overtones.

  124. just me on December 13, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    Thus Gov. Hucklebee, in an interview with a reporter, (or rabble-rousing commentator Ann Coulter, touching on distinctions of her Christian beliefs from normative Hassidic Judaism in a broadcast discussion) could seemingly “innocently” ask: “Don’t Jews believe that ‘evil is really an emenation of Divinity’?”

  125. Bob on December 13, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    #120: I can only say it’s not simple for me. I wish it were, I could save many hours looking under every rock for the truth, only to find more questions. Mormons are the only ones I can recall admitting to telling lies, it was called ” Lying for the lord.”

  126. Adam Greenwood on December 13, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    I don’t believe it. I’ve heard plenty of anti-Mormons say that, but never Mormons.

    This thread is closed. If you need to add something, email me at adam at times and seasons dot org

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