Two Very Different Christians Are Running For Office In 2012

Forrest Johnson

As a practicing member of the National Union of Friendly Americans (NUFA) and having been raised by happy and hard drinking pagan Lutherans who never once had a fight during any family gathering, it is with some trepidation that I would bring up the faiths or beliefs of others.

However, as most progressives are just too darned polite to bring up such matters, I figured I have the license to do so while not crossing the line of civility.

Ye shall not judge lest ye be judged, which has always been fine with me. Most of my habits and inclinations have been disclosed in previous writings and well understood by the people I know. Not much you can hide when you write columns for over 30 years.

So I’ll let’er rip. With civility I might add.

We have two Christians running for office in this presidential year, one happens to be of the unaffiliated stripe while the other has a set of beliefs that are easily scrutinized because of church doctrine. They both believe in Jesus they say.

One, the President, has been the target of the far right, suspected of being neither Christian nor American. The other is a Mormon, which in my view is pretty interesting territory for a writer. Long ago I received my Book of Mormon, a gift from a co-worker named Preston Diehl.

We were both loggers for Weyerhaeuser in Snoqualmie Falls, Washington. Every morning before daybreak our crew would trundle up into the mountains and pull out hemlock, Douglas fir and western red cedar as big around as wagon wheels. Preston and I car-pooled to the mill every morning and one day as we headed home he turned to me and presented the Mormon handbook to me and asked me a very pointed question.

He asked if I knew the Truth.

I told him I had been expecting his question, proselytizing in nature, for some time. I asked him what took him so long to inquire and then I asked if he knew the Truth and of course he said he did. The Truth.

He said he was being polite and tried not to be pushy with his faith, even though he’d spent his two-year mission doing just that in rural America.

All I could say at that point was that my truths were  probably a bit different from his truths but I supposed they would all intersect at some point in about the same place so I asked him if he could tell me the Truth so I wouldn’t be a heathen any longer. Of course he couldn’t but he told me to read the Book of Mormon and I would be on the road to finding The Truth sooner than later.

It’s funny how people who claim to have the truth, or the answer, never seem to be able to relate it clearly to someone else. Hell, if I had the truth I’d be telling everybody, in easy to follow directions with illustrations.

Many years later after thumbing through many, many pages all I can say is that sooner than later is important to a Mormon. Sooner means you’ll be in the best company in Heaven, first class, while the later means you’ll likely end up with coach or second class accomodations. Resurrected, yes, but I’d be in the basement of heaven not on the top floor of the Kingdom.

As a fiction writer the book was getting more interesting all the time. Don’t get me wrong, most faiths have some real doozies in terms of their beliefs and historical perspectives, but the Mormons are right up there at the head of the class in my view.

Not judging, trying to stay civil. Plenty of Christians want to believe that the Bible is a literal text, one where the age of the planet is about as old as one of those Joshua trees up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, give or take a thousand years or so. And it did take the Catholic Church quite a few years to acknowledge that Galileo had it right when he said the earth wasn’t the exact center of the universe and the Vatican threat of a good old fashioned burning at the stake unless he recanted was a bit unwarranted.

The Mormon belief that people from the Middle East, Babylon and Jerusalem specifically, migrated magically to the uninhabited Americas somewhere between 2200 B.C and 421 A.D., a land fully inhabited with the ancestors of the Ojibwe and Sioux and thousands of other native peoples, seems a stretch to me.

And did you know that Jesus himself came to the new land after the crucifixion to minister and save the new inhabitants. Did that one count as a Second Coming or was it just an ongoing tour of the original resurrection?

Some pretty good reading forms the core beliefs for the New Conservative Neanderthal Party (NCNP) nominee Mitt Romney. The  Repent of Sins and Vulture Capitalism? As a journalist, and a fiction writer, I’d sure like to ask him how those two ideas line up in his mind.

Just where does the Doctrine of Covenants fit in with his NCNP belief in The Backwards Doctrine? What about the Pearl of Great Price? Is that proof Capitalism is divine?

Does he really believe that God Almighty wears Bermuda shorts and sandals just like me and lives on a planet near the star Kolob, a celestial body that no modern astronomer has located to date?

All I can say is that if the loonies on the right can go and poke at Obama about his birth certificate and wonder if he’s really not a Muslim, well then, this looney on the left is just getting started on a candidate who holds a position of authority within the church and must believe the Mormon doctrine when it says the Garden of Eden wasn’t located in the Holy Land but was found in Missouri instead.

As always, I will be civil in my discourse.