Skip to comments.A Mormon Reporter On The Romney Bus
Posted on 11/14/2012 3:52:19 PM PST by greyfoxx39
On the night of the South Carolina Republican primary in January, I sat near the front of a dark campaign press bus and listened to reporters talk about Mitt Romney's underwear.
Earlier in the day, one of them had happened upon the candidate and his wife doing laundry in the basement of our Columbia, South Carolina, hotel, and a small cluster of colleagues had now gathered to listen to him relate the anecdote, lapping up every mundane detail of this rare interaction with the closed-off couple.
Finally, another reporter interrupted.
"Did you see their underwear?" she asked, grinning mischievously as though she had just said something naughty.
"What do you think it looks like?" inquired another.
"I think you can see pictures online," someone chimed in.
The exchange prompted giggles from the group some nervous, others indulgent as I slid down in my seat and pretended to look at my phone, hoping it wouldn't occur to any of them I might be wearing the strange, exotic garment they were all gossiping about. It wasn't that their tone was antagonistic or insensitive; just uncontrollably curious like virginal adolescents talking about sex during a sleepover. And as a lifelong Mormon, I had grown fairly used to hearing my religion talked about that way.
This was how much of the political class was treating Romney's religion at the start of 2012: too awkward to discuss in an open forum, yet too tantalizing to ignore altogether. Questions permeated hushed conversations and private e-mail chains: Does Romney really believe he will get his own planet when he dies? Does he baptize dead Jews in his temples?
And as one prominent journalist at Newsweek quietly asked a colleague in the run-up to the Republican primaries, "Would he actually wear that Mormon underwear in the White House?"
If Mitt Romney has one lasting political legacy, I think it will be that next time a Mormon runs for president, that question likely won't be asked.
As Romney's expansive campaign headquarters collapses into a pile of cardboard boxes in Boston, his aides and supporters are beginning to mull what place their failed campaign will have in the history books. And many have determined that Romney's political career may be remembered most for the role it played in mainstreaming a large minority religion, despite a concerted, strategic effort to avoid the topic altogether something I witnessed with a front-row seat.
A couple days after the election, I spoke to Robert O'Brien, a campaign foreign policy advisor and avowed Romney loyalist. We'd spoken several times over the course of the campaign, and his surrogacy had always been marked by a sort of religious devotion to the candidate, and an undying faith that he was the man meant to save America from ruin.
Suffice it to say, he was crushed by the loss.
"I couldn't sleep on Tuesday night, which is unusual because usually I can sleep through anything," he told me from his office in Los Angeles. "I stayed up late and made a to-do list with like 80 things. I figured that was the best therapy."
He also began considering his friend's legacy, and as a Mormon who converted from Catholicism in his early twenties, O'Brien saw historical parallels between his current and former churches.
"I always thought Mitt Romney would be Al Smith," O'Brien said, referring to the first Catholic presidential nominee, who lost in a landslide to Herbert Hoover. "Now I think he's going to be Al Smith and JFK rolled into one person. Even though we didn't win the way JFK did, to come within a couple points of the presidency, I think makes a lasting impact on the faith... It's going to be a non-event next time a Mormon runs."
For a Mormon journalist who'd spent much of the past year examining the religious life of a candidate and coreligionist, his assessment was vaguely troubling. Was he saying editors won't be knocking down my door when Mia Love throws her hat in the ring in 2024?
But after a year of crisscrossing the country with Romney pestering his campaign for answers about his faith, and writing countless Mormonism-for-dummies primers along the way I couldn't deny that Romney's career had provided a national education on his young, American-born faith.
And if my experience was any guide, it's an education the country won't be unlearning anytime soon.
Even as his campaign turned him into the world's most famous member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Romney spent much of 2012 publicly evading the subject of his faith.
In speeches, he conducted all manner of rhetorical gymnastics to avoid uttering the word "Mormon." In interviews, he quickly changed the subject every time the topic came up. And to his staff, his instruction was to dodge and deflect all questions regarding his religious beliefs.
He regularly employed variations of the declaration, "I'm not running for pastor-in-chief."
His reluctance to engage the Mormon question was rooted, his aides privately told me, in a bitter 2008 Republican primary. Back then, Romney was trying to outflank John McCain and Rudy Giuliani on the right by presenting himself as a sort of culture warrior hoping his staunch, conservative values would attract the party's religious base.
But as his staff and family fanned out across Iowa to win over Evangelical voters in the fall of 2007, they were met with rank anti-Mormonism. Local ministers preached sermons against "the Mormon cult" on Sundays, Christian voters routinely confronted the Romneys with Bible verses during retail politics stops, and some people even refused to shake hands with Romney's former Lt. Governor Kerry Healey because they thought she was Mormon.
Romney's first instinct was to try to persuade the religious right that Mormonism was just another Christian sect. He answered complicated theological questions on local talk radio, and delivered a major address at the George Bush Presidential Library titled "Faith in America," designed to emphasize the "common creeds" his church shared with Protestants.
But the more he tried to educate conservative Christians about his religion, the more intense the pushback became. And for the candidate's family, the rejection was deeply disheartening.
On the day after Thanksgiving in 2007, Tagg Romney phoned a longtime family friend, who asked how the effort was going in Iowa.
"It's brutal," the friend recalled a dispirited Tagg responding. "It's just brutal."
When Romney eventually lost Iowa in 2008, many in the Romney clan took it as a repudiation of their religion. And when he gathered the family together in the living room a few years later to discuss the possibility of another run, the wound was still too fresh for some of them, according to a family friend. More than one of his sons raised the concern that another candidacy would result in their faith being dragged through the mud again.
Mitt took their worries seriously, but the team of political strategists he had assembled insisted they could pull off a win without talking religion. The 2012 battle plan would be to present Romney as a stalwart if one-dimensional figure who understood business and could fix the economy by sheer force of will. No culture war, no big religion speeches, and certainly no engaging the press as they pursued the inevitable "Mormon angle."
That's where I came in. I joined the campaign's traveling press corps for BuzzFeed just before the New Hampshire primary in January, and I quickly found that my expertise in Romney's religion posed a distinct advantage not in access or sourcing, necessarily, but in understanding the elusive candidate as an actual person.
When the "mommy wars" of the early spring shone a spotlight on Ann Romney's decision to stay home and raise her kids, I saw classic Mormon gender roles at play. And when critics raised questions about Mitt's participation in a church that barred black men from the priesthood until 1978, I innately understood the conflicted, sometimes tortured, position many devout Mormons found themselves in at that time. As a lifelong Latter-day Saint who grew up in the relatively close-knit Massachusetts Mormon community that Romney once led, I felt I had a unique window into the beliefs and experiences that defined an almost undefinable man.
And that, apparently, left the campaign deeply unsettled.
Multiple people in Romney's orbit both inside the campaign and out would later tell me that Boston tried to keep me at arm's length for a long time because they worried my knowledge of the candidate's faith would bait them into a conversation they were dead set against having.
"The campaign really doesn't like the religion stuff being out there, so that's always a concern in dealing with you," one adviser told me, bluntly.
At some level, I could understand their paranoia. I was fluent in a language that their candidate spoke without meaning to, and one that they would never understand. In their view, every seemingly innocuous question I asked had a "gotcha" lurking behind it, and even their most mundane answers might inadvertently signal, to me, greater meaning.
There was little effort to mask this concern as they dealt with me.
Whenever I managed to work the subject of Mormonism into the conversation while chatting with senior strategist Stuart Stevens, the operative's philosophizing and movie-quoting would abruptly give way to a virtual stupor, as he stared at the ground for several seconds in silence before finally shrugging his shoulders. Meanwhile, my Mormon-themed email inquiries to campaign headquarters were almost universally met with the same curt reply, "Ask the church."
(Interestingly enough, whenever I did ask the church which spent the year working feverishly to assert political neutrality I noticed a similar discomfort on their part in discussing Romney. The church's public affairs department, I eventually learned, had a policy of never mentioning Romney by name while talking to reporters, referring only to an ambiguous "presidential candidate.")
It was a credit, perhaps, to the campaign's message discipline that in my entire year of covering the election, I never got a single on-the-record answer to a question about Romney's faith.
But the push and pull often left me feeling conflicted. As a Mormon, I intuitively understood Romney's desire to paper over our religion's eccentricities, and disappear the darker chapters of our church's history. The Latter-day Saint longing to feel normal is practically genetic, and I sympathized with the candidate's practiced avoidance of uncomfortable questions. It was a habit I'd formed as an insecure adolescent squirming in my cafeteria chair as friends asked me about polygamy and a reflex I'd worked to get over when I was a Mormon missionary.
But as a journalist, I was now the one asking those uncomfortable questions. And as much as I wanted to believe Romney's aides when they insisted religion should have "no part in this election," I knew that couldn't be true. My entire worldview had been colored by my faith; was I really supposed to believe the same wasn't true of Romney?
Besides, there was plenty of evidence that Mormonism remained a very real part of his candidacy.
While Romney's senior staff was composed largely of secular east coast strategists, his campaign offices in Boston were stocked with young, Mormon mini-Mitts, sporting impeccably ironed dress shirts and eager smiles as they filled various junior positions and internships. Some were taking time off from BYU to work for the campaign, others had recently returned from missions, and they quickly gained a reputation among the rest of the staff for bringing an almost baffling level of earnestness to the often cynical work of presidential politics.
The candidate himself also went to extraordinary lengths to observe the practices of his faith while on the campaign trail. Aides said he prayed daily, and was often spotted in moments of privacy sitting alone on his campaign charter jet, for instance with his head bowed, and his hands clenched in supplication. He would often take free moments to read the Book of Mormon or Bible on his iPad, and even on the longest, most grueling days, he never took a sip of coffee, which is forbidden by the church.
Reporters in his traveling press corps often wondered why, even as the general election kicked into full gear, Romney insisted on dropping off the campaign trail on Sundays, opting to spend the day with family in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire or La Jolla, California. Some speculated that it was a symptom of his distaste for campaigning, but one aide told me his motives were mostly religious. Even when he was obligated to travel, he made efforts to find a Mormon Sacrament meeting nearby. He also abided by the other Sabbath-related bylaws, abstaining from dining out and and shopping on Sundays.
"He actually follows all those rules," the aide told me. "It's hard to explain to [press] that, no, he's not going to eat out on Sunday, or anything else."
Of course, reporters likely would have respected a simple explanation of the candidate's Sabbath-day observance. But if the Romney campaign had its own set of political commandments by which it lived, one of the most important was, "Thou shalt not discuss the boss's religion."
I often found myself watching Romney bound up the steps of his campaign plane on some midwestern tarmac, marveling at his religious stamina. My spirituality had, regrettably, faded amid the frenetic schedule of the campaign trail. My prayers had become shorter and more utilitarian Please help me to stay awake during this stump speech and while I'd managed to successfully eschew coffee, I became reliant on 5-Hour Energy capsules, an only slightly-less-sinful substitute.
But even as I allowed Romney's righteousness to inflict a measure of religious guilt on me, I remained uncertain of whether he even knew that a fellow Mormon was lurking in the back of his plane. Romney wasn't the kind of candidate to hang out with his traveling press corps, and his distance often gave him a sort of televised quality. Even from 50 feet away, he seemed more pixels-and-plasma than flesh-and-blood.
I sometimes thought about how I might bring up our shared religion if I had the chance. Name-drop our alma matter, perhaps? (We both went to Brigham Young University.) Mention a mutual acquaintance in Belmont?
The opportunity never arrived BuzzFeed, alas, was not among the outlets to score a rare sit-down interview with the candidate but I did once get the chance to mention it to his wife, Ann.
It was during the Republican primary in Puerto Rico, and Romney had just wrapped up a campaign stop in a suburban plaza. Afterward, a small number of reporters gathered around Mrs. Romney at the rope line, and listened as she praised the raucous mega-rally we had attended the night before.
"It was amazing!" she exclaimed. "Though I couldn't understand anything they were saying. Do any of you speak Spanish?"
A few of the reporters shook their heads, before one of them volunteered, "McKay does."
It was true; I'd become fluent while serving as a Mormon missionary in the Latino neighborhoods of Dallas a few years earlier. It would have been so easy to tell her that as she turned to face me, to let her know that at least one member of her husband's traveling press corps understood this crucial chunk of their lives. But for some reason, I couldn't.
Instead, I lamely muttered something to the effect of, "Yeah, I speak," and let the conversation roll on without me.
Maybe it was because I didn't want my colleagues in the press to think I was using my religion to curry favor. Or maybe I was worried that establishing that link would muddy the waters of the adversarial relationship I was supposed to have with the candidate.
But I think the real reason I hesitated was more simple: I didn't want to feel different.
Around August, something began to change in the way the campaign dealt with the Mormon issue. Romney's press pool was invited to start attending church with him on Sundays. Surrogates were instructed to cooperate with cable-news segments about the candidate's faith. And in a move that initially shocked much of the political class myself included an entire block of programming on the final night of the Republican National Convention was devoted to testimonials from Romney's fellow Mormons.
Yes, the stories that were shared dealt more with Mitt's personal compassion than any specific tenets of his religion. But for a faith that had spent the better part of 180 years fighting to gain acceptance into mainstream American society, that night which also featured an invocational prayer by a longtime Mormon church leader in Massachusetts will be remembered as an historic one.
At one point, as a Belmont Mormon stood on stage recounting stories of Bishop Romney, I received a text message from my dad, who I think spoke for a lot of Latter-day Saints: "This is surreal."
According to aides, Romney had recognized the historic nature of his nomination as they planned the convention, and it was he who'd insisted that Mormonism be made part of the biographical story the campaign was trying to tell.
Romney never became fully comfortable talking about his Mormonism in public, but the convention seemed to relieve a sort of tension shrinking his faith from an elephant in the room down to a bite-sized bit of campaign trivia.
As the campaign moved into the general election stage, Republicans remained on guard, as some worried that a desperate Obama campaign might sic its surrogates on the Republican's faith. (I heard the same concern from a number of Mormons.)
One RNC official told me they were prepared to release opposition research dealing with polygamy in Obama's family tree including passages from a little-noticed memoir by the president's half-sister Auma if the left tried to make hay of historical Mormon polygamy. But Chicago held its fire, and the issue never surfaced.
On the right, the long-feared Evangelical backlash to Romney's faith never materialized, and there were signs that the religious right was finally accepting conservative Mormons into the fold. In one particularly potent gesture, Billy Graham removed Mormonism from a list of "cults" on his website. That may seem like a low bar to clear, but on election day, Romney ended up winning a larger portion of white evangelicals than John McCain did in 2008.
"This showed that having a common faith was not a litmus test," Mark Demoss, an evangelical adviser to Romney, told the Washington Post after the election. He added that it was "something to feel good about, and there's not a lot to feel good about."
Meanwhile, as grassroots Mormon voters mobilized, some in the conservative movement began to see a real upside to keeping them engaged. The disastrous meltdown of the Romney campaign's get-out-the-vote effort may have masked the fact that the Republican Party reported a substantial uptick in voter contacts over other recent presidential campaigns. Skeptics have claimed the numbers were juiced by counting messages left on answering machines.
But within elite GOP circles, speculation abounded that it was the Mormons, with their missionary zeal, who were driving the numbers upward.
"Bush had his evangelicals, McCain had the veterans who would do anything for him," said one strategist involved in the party's GOTV efforts. "In terms of a base constituency who goes and makes phone call for eight hours for Mitt Romney? It's Mormons."
The strategist added that, based on anecdotal evidence, Mitt's Mormon army was exceptionally good at canvassing.
"If you're someone who's willing to walk around Temple Square and try to talk to people in Estonian, your level of skill in cold calls is probably above average," the strategist told me.
As we neared election day, it became increasingly clear to me that Mormonism was being woven into the social fabric of the political class. Pool reporters began to see trips to church with Romney less as a tantalizing peek into the candidate's strange religion, and more in the way Mormons sometimes view it: a dull chore to be fulfilled out of obligation.
And even some Republican donors who had long viewed Romney's religion as little more than a line to factor into the balance sheet as they determined how much to give to his campaign were now becoming fiercely defensive of the faith.
One Romney friend told me about flying cross country on a private jet with a group of wealthy conservatives after an east coast fundraiser, and listening as the candidate's religion came up.
"Mitt's a good guy, a smart guy, but I can't believe how he believes this Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon stuff," one of the donors said, offhandedly.
The jet's owner, a Catholic businessman with no ties to the Mormon Church beyond Romney, became indignant.
"There's no difference between Joseph Smith receiving the Book of Mormon, and Moses going up to Mount Sinai and talking to a burning bush," the jet owner argued.
When the first man half-heartedly disagreed, the owner proceeded.
"What's the difference?" he demanded. "Mitt Romney's a smarter guy than you are, maybe he knows something we don't."
Romney's friend was amazed.
"This was the elite of America, and that conversation was taking place. It was almost surreal," he said. "I mean, that guy was not converting to Mormonism. But what it tells you is that Mitt Romney, because of his example and who he is, has given people a different appreciation for Mormons."
Of course, the rising relevance that Mormonism has enjoyed in 2012 cuts both ways for the church, which now faces the task of disentangling its public image from polarizing Republican politics.
I'm not sufficiently well-acquainted with presidential history to judge the validity of the Al Smith comparisons Romney's supporters are now tossing around. But to determine whether his candidacy got the country more comfortable with the idea of a Mormon president, there's one clear bellwether.
Toward the end of the election, I was sitting on another dark campaign press bus in another battleground state, when a correspondent flopped into the seat behind me and began making casual conversation. His topic of choice: Mormon underwear.
"So, do you wear them?" he asked at one point.
"What do they look like?" he inquired at another.
The questions were generally similar to the ones that had been naughtily whispered among the press corps nine months earlier, but this time the tone was entirely different. The reporter was speaking in full voice, gliding through the conversation with the same nonchalance he exhibited in his assessment of the pulled pork sandwiches we had just eaten for dinner. Romney's underwear and the faith it symbolized was no longer considered taboo.
As the bus started up, and began rolling away from the site of the rally, the correspondent remarked, "I saw some pictures of the underwear online. They didn't seem very weird to me."
Besides, you were given verses 16,17, & 18, as has been pointed out to you.
For one whom boasts of mathematical skill (and sees the question of damnation or not concerning his having a Buddhist on his team, being answerable by way of mathematical equation) you sure do appear to have continuing difficulty counting to "three".
Perhaps the singular verse John 3:16 is for you after all! And that my fine-feathered FRiend, truly is special.
No, what is special is that you think I'm taking any of the latter portion of our conversation in a serious fashion.
In any case, the idea that you bothered to look it up is funny. You are funny.
What's with the right now addition? Truly your own assumption, but a habit pattern evident in your replies. Some added twist of your own manufacture, attributed to the other.
Yet with each post to me, the truth of certain matters, and the real you, keeps coming out more and more.
Do you not know that in the kingdom of heaven, we shall know, even as we are known? one can begin in this life entry into that kingdom, converting into becoming a citizen of it (albeit bearing that of an immigrant/adopted status).
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
It’s beginning to add up, isn’t it? (like it wasn’t painfully obvious from the get-go, ha!)
Oh, wait. John 3:16.
Reply hazy, try again.
Hitting the sauce, again?
Are you? No answer to that question is required to be given to myself here, particularly since you yourself answer no other questions directly, yet keep coming back to pester others regarding this singular one question which you are unsure of.
Make no mistake, you still amuse me . . . but your schtick is getting tired.
faith alone...(he added the word alone and bragged on it)...Sola scriptura,,,,nonsense
I have no problem with that at all...but if you really believe in Jesus, then it would be nice if YOU FOLLOWED HIS INSTRUCTIONS...that would be Catholicism...about 1,600 years earlier that the protestant revolution!!!
Jesus’ supposed talk about the Roman Catholic Church quite conveniently got written down nowhere by any pre-Roman witness. The present day organization arrogates to itself self-referential statements from manuscripts that predate it.
The “protestant” revolution was the reappearance of Captain Obvious. The Word of God, those old manuscripts that were to a one all penned before there was a Roman Catholic Church, is sufficient.
This is a powerful thing, and by no means insignificant.
From scriptures you may be able to claim that the Roman Catholic Church is “a” Christian body. There are theological disputes even about this, even though most modern evangelicals will give obviously Christ worshiping members of the RCC the benefit of that doubt.
But NOT, that it is “THE” Christian body.
The RCC went off the rails; and we are the result of that.
Nice try with the Counter Reformation; but the veil had been lifted by then and your seeming lock on everything Christian was gone forever.
You are wasting your time trying to fight with us now, as we ain't that far apart in belief.
Practice - a bit more so, as you guys have lots of extraneous stuff dragging you down.
Try going after a source of REAL heresy: MORMONism.
There’s a fundamental stumbling block in the middle of the dispute still, and that’s the idea of “THE” Christian church versus “A” Christian church.
This is in theological theory; in practice there is a lot of comity exercised between individual Catholics and evangelicals who both have faith placed directly on Christ the Lord (even if they have other misplaced faiths alongside of that, which are not unforgivable sins).
The Mormon system is just plain wacked out, spiritually. It may actually be the fact that Mitt doesn’t really take it all that deeply to heart in spite of having a nominally high post in the organization, that is to credit that he is as sane as he is. Imagine having actually to believe that stuff. I’d sooner be able to believe Star Wars was real.
Yeah, I think repentance is in there too...ain-it.
That’s pretty much a description of something (and not everything) that saving faith DOES.
Elsie, Elsie, Elsie!
Read it in context.
Rudey is getting at the matter of, “WHAT damns me”? “Is it this? Is it that?”
It is a perfectly valid theological question!
Once one realizes logically (and not by being bullied into it) “yes, I’m mired in sin and need saved”... then, John 3:16 speaks. Not sooner!
That said, I'm no "lady". But quite literally an old salt, amongst other things. After the Navy spent about a quarter century commercial fishing. Seen and done things you may have never dreamed about. Got "lucky" and lived through it to tell the tale, more than once.
Where were you when that took place?
Now we're just playing ping-pong.
Naa, you quit 'cuz you kept getting your head handed to you. All you've got left is spit.
That the conversation here turned into a game, was your choice from the beginning, for it's doubtful you ever cared for the answer but for hope use it to justify your own disdain for a few others here.
666? then back to 3:16? an apropos verse here comes to mind, but nevermind for now, some other may come along and provide it. We'll see.
If we are supposed to laugh at numbers shouted out, I gotta tell ya'--- it's like that prison joke routine, it all in how you tell it. Ever heard that joke? [and yes, I already know what first will come to your squirming toad of mind for reply, but go ahead --- since that's all you've got]
I understand plenty about Christianity. I went to Catholc schools, hang out with a lot of Christians, and I know the majority of them do not think I despise Christianity, Christians, Catholcs, etc. because of my religious beliefs.
Narrow minded people refuse to understand that, which is why we laugh at them.
Because we have to respect all religions of Gentiles. That is Hashem’s commandment. Got a problem with it? Take it up with Hashem.
Now, why do Jews have to respect all religions of Gentiles?
You knew the answer, because I told it to you many times before. Yet you feign ignorance.
You seriously just quoted the NY Times to me in an argument.
Torah > NY Times
The only thing I despise is religious bigotry in the conservative movement.
Tell me how that advances conservatism when we automatically exclude people based on their religion?
We’re so busy damning one another over differences in faith rather than identifying ourselves as people of various faith.
It it’s the Judeo in Judeo-Christian.
Actually, I was judging from your own direct comments made some months ago, LIKE I SAID, but which you ignored, like I'm just talking to hear my head roar or something... if we are going to have a conversation, please pay attention.
The comments I am referring to which you made; first in a Smokey Backroom thread which JR finally locked down, then in a couple of Jewish proclamation type threads shortly thereafter, where amongst other things you trashed much of Christian belief, and made sure to fold in some real insult towards Christians, in general (except for the wishy-washy sort).
Otherwise, a short time after a pair or trio of those "Jewish" threads, within a few weeks, I also recall you sharing a "Jewish" teaching, telling us how marvelous it was (and it was!) and that such things were not taught in Christian churches.
But they are, for I do recall experiencing the same exact teaching myself, hearing it more than once, in decidedly Christian setting. I knew then, upon hearing you relate the teaching, holding it up as example of the superiority of Torah teaching, over "Christian" teaching, that you didn't have much depth of understanding in regards to in depth Christianity, which is why such made an impression upon me which took no effort to recall.
It may have been that the lesson from what you term Torah, was clear enough from careful reading of the assembled texts, to make itself apparent to the devoted scholar --- and/or possibly the same "spirit' led both the Jewish, and the Christian teachers, in regards to that one overall lesson. Whichever the case, it could have been traded word-for-word between them, best as memory does serve...
But nice try at deflection, blaming me for narrow-mindedness.
It remains, that if you do not recognize how the three passages cited can well enough be seen to not only answer the question (the answer found there would be "no", btw) but offer some condensed insight into what provides means of salvation also, (which is the opposite of damnation, is it not?) then you do not understand Christianity as well as your own pride tells you do. There may be a gentler way to say that --- but would it matter much if I had tried?
I cannot but be true to what I know of the conversation here, your comments made elsewhere and what can plainly be seen in the scriptures under discussion.
The comments I am referring to which you made; first in a Smokey Backroom thread which JR finally locked down, then in a couple of Jewish proclamation type threads shortly thereafter, where amongst other things you trashed much of Christian belief, and made sure to fold in some real insult towards Christians, in general (except for the wishy-washy sort).
***She was the one who campaigned to have the thread removed and when that didn’t happen, to have it locked. She was offended that the gospel was preached to her.
Ryan is a good man, but does not redeem the abortionist/homosexualist statist Romney
Sunday, August 12, 2012 7:59:19 PM · 2,223 of 2,390
Kevmo to sf4dubya
You got it half right. Jews believe he was a false messiah because he didnt meet the requirements. We take the no man shall come before me stuff pretty seriously. When a Jew says he is the son of G-d, we kinda get puzzled because we believe we ALL are G-ds children.
***He didnt just claim to be the son of God, he claimed equality with God. He was God Himself. Even his enemies acknowledge the claim, and they put him to death for it. If he was NOT God Himself then he deserved his death sentence according to his crime of blasphemy. Ethelbert Stauffer points out that there were others in history who claimed to be Messiah and were not put to death.
And all of our stuff was sort of canonized before then, so he is not mentioned in our holy books. (Sounds like a familiar argument some use here against Mormonism.)
***And in your Canon there is Genesis 49:12, which states that the Messiah would come before Judah lost its own sovereignty (which happened when the Romans took over Jerusalem). If you want to watch a jew backtrack real fast on his own scriptures, see what he does with that one.
We dont believe in hell or any of that either.
***News to me. Ive met several jews who acknowledge hell. I see youre starting to sidetrack into issues that the original poster did not even question.
Life is the most precious gift; enjoy it now instead of worrying about the hereafter.
***Now youre contorting Judaism into what you want it to be. Your own scriptures do not support your viewpoint. But thats a problem between you and God.
G-d doesnt punish His children for all of eternity.
***Youre right, He punishes those who choose not to be His children. But even then, its probably not God doing such choosing, it is probably going to be those people loudly proclaiming that they want nothing to do with God for eternity.
No souls to save or any of that in the Reform/Conservative movements we think of Christians as lost sheep that will return to the flock anyway.
***Whatever, it appears that most of your post immediately sidetracked into issues that the original poster didnt even ask about.
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Denying Jesus Christ as the Mashiach and thwarting a lame hellfire and brimstone attempt to convert me trashes Christians?
Is your faith that shakey that a failed conversion attempt against a Jew whose faith in Hashem’s word rattles you that much?
You know, I could have simply disengaged from this argument, but there are plenty of Jews that were convinced the conservative movement and Republicans would reject them. And absolutely no other political movement aligns itself so well with Judaism than the conservative way.
This complete BS against Mormons, Hindus, or whatever a minority of posts here have needs to be ridiculed as non-conservative because if you want to win the war against atheist communism, you are going to need more than just Christians of a specific denomination. And in case you haven’t noticed, we’re losing that war.
But if you want to continue this absolute moronic path of attacking people because their faith is different than yours, and you hold up texts as proof with no context as I did with Luther’s as an example of how stupid that tactic is, well, enjoy the bread lines and be satisfied you successfully ate your own.
BTW, it appears that JimRob has reopened that thread where SF4dubya was acting as a troll, so much so that he even singled out her behavior when he locked the thread.
Maybe it’s open season on CINO trolls.
To: sf4dubya; All
From: Jim Robinson
I think its about time for us all to move on. .... This whinefest should end now. If you cannot live with the way I run this forum, please consider just moving on.
Christ made the so called OLD Testament one and the same as the so called New Testament. Paul did describe the varying degrees of understanding by Christians.
This thread is filled with a famine of the words of the LORD: I have seen Saul Alinsky techniques of ridicule in full display. Harry Reid is all I need to know about what is acceptable in Mormon circles. And Romney belly aching like a liberal about those Santa voters demonstrates just how far out of reality he literally is. People are not capital, and that is how Romney views voters.
Why is it the common expectation that Christians are told they should always turn the other cheek. Some of us know that is only required when we might inflame the unlearned, other wise Christians have complete authority to give up no ground.
You shouldn’t turn the other cheek. But you seriously need to stop viewing the existence of other religions as an attack on yours.
Spread the beauty and love in your religion without knocking down the faith of others.
Would you want people to view all Baptists as the same as the Westboro freaks?
Oh look, you’re back. You left when this site changed its mind and supported Romney.
Aren’t you doing your happy dance that Obama won? I mean, we can survive four years, if not more, of Obama.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the scorched earth policies you supported. Enjoy paying the triple vehicle registration taxes as well.
I sleep well at night with a clear conscience that I did everything I could to deny Obama a second term. Do you, or are you still dreaming of trying to convert Jews?
Sorry dude, I don’t believe in eternal salvation. You are just going to have to cope with that like the associations of many faiths already have. You’re better off using your time preaching to those with no faith.
Mark Levin gets it. Many Jewish conservatives including myself get it.
The more you try to shove us out of the conservative movement because we ain’t Christian, the more we’re going to remind you why we’re still here.
Hey you are the one raising cain not me. God told Ezekiel 3 that Ezekiel was a watchman unto the house of Israel: (This would have been after the civil war, wherein the nation of Israel was split into two houses, house of Israel and the house of Judah.) Ezekiel 3:17 "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word of My mouth, and give them warning from ME.
18 When I say unto the wicked, 'Thou shalt surely die;' and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
I am Christian, and I believe with my whole heart that what God instructed Ezekiel to do and say is still required.
Based upon your own words, there is no way you would find the beauty in Ezekiel's writing, else you would be focused in the warning to the wicked instead of ridiculing those you consider bigots.
Oh and for the record I do also believe that every individual has the God given right to believe whatever they choose to believe, rightly or wrongly. Judgment is preserved for and by Him.
I see you’re back as well, trolling against conservatism. That thread where you got caught in several outright lies has now been unlocked.
Exposing Mormonism's serious flaws may mean nothing to you, so appear only as "bigotry", to you. Your own judgements towards religions other than your own --- what are they? Don't kumbaya me now concerning such. I've seen you in action, once you let your hair down.
What a strawman argument, in the form of a fake question! What's with you and "boy" with the phoney questions? His was answered, yours has been addressed on this forum dozen of times (a couple dozen times I've seen with MY OWN EYES) as applied to the recent presidential election, if that is what you are implying.
So tell me true, who is being excluded, primarily, first & foremost for their religious belief?
Kieth Ellison maybe? In his case his "faith" translates much into Islamism which is known as a blend of Islamic supremacy blended with political force -- which just happen to not align well with this nation's founding documents, and long term interests once so blended.
Religious freedom is one thing. Surrender without a fight, is quite another. Then again, it can and does depend much upon the political ramifications of which particular religions are allowed to operate unrestrained. National Socialism became a State belief system, and we see how that worked out. As something of a bad hangover, Baathism is said to be a blend of Arab Nationalism, and Fascism (control). That might do for some in majority Muslim populated nations, somewhat...but it depends upon who exactly is in control, and if they don't like somebody -- woops ---disappeared.
If we are to not recognize, from one side of the fence, the ramifications of a persons religious views (which greatly inform their own world view by definition) then why must we sit silently when those of Christian faith are characterized as wishing to establish a theocracy, as is so often and widely charged (but proven a false charge even by the political history of the United States itself!) by those antagonistic towards Christianity, itself?
Once you figure out how we can proceed without giving up our values, then please feel free to explain it. In the meantime, please re-think your questions, for otherwise, trying to figure out how to correct the perceived problem, is like trying to tune a few instruments playing in an orchestra, once the musical score has begun.
Judge if you want. I am not some meek Jew who fears the wrath of man over G-d.
I have 613 mitzvot, which leaves little time to debate the validity of other religions. :p
Arent you doing your happy dance that Obama won? I mean, we can survive four years, if not more, of Obama.
***Standard anti-conservative troll line. I voted against Obama. I tried to help JimRob preserve his principles and his brand. But you were a compromising CINO back a few months ago, and you’re a CINO troll now.
Do you, or are you still dreaming of trying to convert Jews?
***I love jews. God commands us to convert them. I attempted to convert you, out of obedience. You have enough information about Jesus’s historical claim to be God Himself that you can process it for yourself. I noticed in my interactions with you on that thread and a couple of others, that you are a very dishonest person. At the time I noted that this could cost your soul, and you took great offense to that. Perhaps that’s a good thing, because it’s your soul crying out to live rather than to spend eternity away from God when you were given the chance.
Yes, I knew that would throw you off track. But we were not discussing what your particular belief was or is, but what particular Christian belief is, in regards to a certain question asked --- whether he was damned or not --- under Christian belief system. You claimed to know all about Christianity. I maintained you didn't, due to your statement regarding the three verses referenced, being "not an answer". It's funny how after many posts, "boy" finally admitted is was an answer, but in his words, not the answer. And he says I crack him up. Go figure...
Believe what you want. I have no real problem with Jewish belief, or Jews themselves actually, particularly in regards to their religion. But my, my, my, now we see what's really eating at you, don't we?
You have failed to actually address a single thing I have said to you, but rather reacted out of defensive emotion. It is quite telling. If you only could hear yourself talk!
Shove you out? Where did I do that? Citation please...
Back? Honey chile, I never left. You did.
Apparently Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers, Mark Levin, etc. are all CINOs to you. I am in good company.
If your “values” are to tear apart another religion because you perceive it as a “threat” to your own, then that is bigotry. You’ll start with one, move on to another, then another and then you’ll wonder why conservatism doesn’t grow. The behavior on this thread only feeds the stereotype, not demolishes it.
You made an accusation that I abhor Christianity. Pretty big assumption there, as I said pretty plainly that as commanded by G-d, I must respect all religions of Gentiles. You seem to keep forgetting that one itty bitty thing. But of course, the rules I have to live under are different than yours.
I worked with the RJC on Jewish outreach. Because of those efforts, Obama suffered a 9pt drop in Jewish support, and Romney got a 10pt gain over the McCain ticket. You will laugh and think that is small potatoes, but that is a good uptrend for conservatism.
So when I read this anti-Mormon tripe on a supposedly conservative forum, it signals all we gained into a pile of manure. We spent countless hours convincing Jews to abandon the Democrat party, and told them the conservative movement welcomes them. Apparently, that isn’t true?
But you obviously have a different opinion of me, so do your worst. Tell me what I really am. It should be entertaining.
Again, this is not in the Religion forum. This is News/Activism.
I roll my eyes again at you who thinks all that reject Christ as the messiah are a bunch of liars. There is a reason why most Christian faiths gave up on converting the Jews, and instead focus on complete non-believers, which is really your best bet. More people recognizing Hashem is a good thing, silly.
I had rather forgotten about that, as you say "lame attempt at conversion", there were some choice words there perhaps, but if you look carefully, the places I did specify more that you tore into Christians in general, were on certain Jewish promotional (or explanatory?) threads.
Then I made mention of the teaching (which I remember as being excellent ---even as I cannot recall whatsoever it was specifically about). You know, the one I mentioned could be traded word-for-word? You didn't tear into Christians there. Just said, oh look at how beautiful Torah was, while making mention of how ignorant Christians were of it. That may be true to an extent, but at about the same or less percentage of the average American Jew today, I'd wager. And like I said, it was a modern Christian teaching also which those whom are blessed with good teachers, dine upon also.
No. not at all. In fact, I'm rather underwhelmed. But that you would mis-characterize my own words to that extent, doesn't give me much hope here for being able to reach an understanding. it's a real pain to ahve to be keep re-adjusting things, when my own word become the topic of discussion -- but are distorted. It becomes tedious quickly.
Preach it sistah! You go girl!
Whoaa! stop that bus right there. Complete BS against Mormonism? Produced from Mormon archives, Mormon theological works, etc., is "complete BS"? Why? Because you believe Christianity is complete BS, too? Just admit it. That's tied in with your reasons.
And just what is this mention of Hindus? Who's said anything about them? I see nothing much negative other than convenience store/motel comments in the mainstream, and less in our quiet, peaceable little discussion forum here. <8^)
Methinks you a bit on the touchy side due to being part of a religious minority yourself. But one of which has flourished as a people in this nation, overall. In the bad old days (if there was much of those for Jews here) most of their suffering of anti-semitism, here in the U.S. was having to hear some negative and at times hateful Jibba-Jabba. There were exceptions to this, deadly ones even...but nowadays, across the nation, and particularly on FR too, one cannot utter even justified criticism, if or while also adding the mere word "Jew" to the statement, without causing massive reaction resulting in total censorship, with pariah hood place upon the offender.
If you are wishing to extend this same sort of protection to all...nope. It won't help so I won't help.
Religious views have political ramifications, or at least can. Other than Islam, of course. That happy fambly' can be the real bomb. not that that makes all American Muslims that way, but still, the religion itself is the driving force when it goes BOOM.
What of present day context -- that shows without doubt they still preach much of what is highlighted here (in times in colored font!), does that count for context??? It would seem to, since the very lack of modern context for some of the more marginal statements of Luther, one can find little to no real support of, in say, Lutheranism today. Well, except from looking at it from a Roman Catholic perspective, perhaps, and that's depending on what is said, for at times some Catholics quote him for effect.
What's interesting here is a another question. Which is "moronic"? Nominating Romney, bringing him along as the face of the Party, or the GOP trying to throw the religious right and the TEA Party folks, both under the bus?
The Mormons I'm afraid, will just have to ride along with us, if they want a conservative outcome. They can go through the same sort of pain many of us went through here when the R.Party pushed RINO Romney (Obama lite). Give the people a choice between a liberal, and a wanna-be, and this time around, they chose the real liberal.
said as she wiped her lips, coming from chowing down on others herself.
Tell you what. There could be some change of tone or tenor. Yet in the acrimonious environment that this forum can frequently be, must those seeking change in that way, be forced to endure ceaseless attacks themselves? It seems like you and others want the luxury of driving both ways on a one-way street, while certain others should get ticketed if they turn around and go with the flow of traffic to return fire on those pulling drive-bys on them.
So lead on. State your case peaceably. Do not unfairly malign others. Endure all hardship. Be the example, not part of the problem if you can.
Yup, and in the religion forum when a rabbinical student linked a video explaining why observant Jews don’t believe Jesus was the messiah, you suddenly went very quiet. Then you opus’d out when the site supported Romney, while I never did. So who is the CINO?
Messianic Jews are not observant Jews, and that is who you were referring to. They can come back to Judaism without conversion.
So I do want to thank you for all your trolling posts; it brought me to see how much counter missionary work Jews must do, and I have since reached out to some Jewish organizations to find out how we can expand efforts into these areas.
Your ethuggery pushed someone into a new direction!
Do you read what you write, seriously? Jews don’t recruit, and to label threads as promotional is plain ignorant. And quite frankly, this is not a good place for Jews to discuss Judaism itself. It is a good place to discuss conservatism and the reasons why Jews, Mormons, Hindus, Baptists, etc. belong in the conservative movement.
If you want to feed the stereotype, then keep on trucking with the anti-whatever religion it is this month posts.
The fact that a candidate for President had to downplay his own faith in order to pander to his party’s base is abhorrent. And I have some other news for you: no matter how amazingly conservative a candidate is, this election proved that the GOP cannot win Senate majorities or Presidential elections for a long, long time with a battleground state strategy. The urban areas decide elections, and we simply do not have the machine to get out the vote in these areas even if the most perfectly conservative candidate is run in 2016. It is just easy to blame the candidate, the candidate’s religion, his/her skin color, or whatever.
We collectively failed to stop Obama and Reid. So let’s keep continuing what we did before and trash other’s religions, fighting among ourselves, blaming everyone but ourselves, call each other RINOs or whatever... All while the Marxists in control proceed to destroy everything we hold dear.
Fantastic strategy. Let me know when conservatives wake up and realize we need to push actual conservatism and not this divisive tripe.
If any of those others are going to post on this conservative website and berate conservatives for compromising their conservative principles, then yes, they are all CINOs. Do any of them do that? No. Do you? Yes. That makes you a CINO.
I roll my eyes again at you who thinks all that reject Christ as the messiah are a bunch of liars.
***No, as usual you got it wrong. I think YOU are a liar. Based upon my dealings with you.
There is a reason why most Christian faiths gave up on converting the Jews, and instead focus on complete non-believers, which is really your best bet.
***Jews for Jesus seems to be doing pretty good. The reason why I gave up on you was because of your dishonesty. I said so right on the thread. It is your inability to process things on an honest and honorable level is what prevents you from having a real relationship with God, and it poisons the discourse you have with others on this website.
More people recognizing Hashem is a good thing, silly.
***Based on your lack of honesty, if this is your way of recognizing God, then you are the silly one; you are a fool.