Recently, I invited three LDS missionaries to speak to my American Presidency students. Considering the possible “Mormon moment” that might arise from a Romney campaign win, I thought it made sense to hear the church’s perspective. The three young men, who took time from their personal day to make the visit, were polite and gracious, but we didn’t learn much about Romney. A couple of students and I asked, in several different ways, about the intersection between faith and politics within the church, but the only response was that the church allows its members latitude to support whomever they want politically and does not officially endorse any candidate.
I wish I had asked about the “white horse prophecy.” If you aren’t familiar, Joseph Smith Jr. allegedly said that the United States would face an unprecedented constitutional crisis that threatened the nation’s future, only to be saved by the “white horse,” or the LDS Church. This prophecy has gotten some media attention, with Salon, NPR, and other news outlets mentioning it.
I find the whole idea silly, but like with fundamentalist Christian eschatology, people on both sides of the aisle take it seriously.
2 thoughts on “Mitt Romney and the White Horse Prophecy”
Although the LDS Church doesn’t take stances, Politics and Religion are interconnected in Mormon Doctrine. Richard Bushman’s biography on Joseph Smith contains some interesting insights. Joseph Smith instituted what he termed a theodemocracy. He believed that the Lord ought to appoint political leaders through his prophet who would guide the World by revelation. He established the Council of Fifty, an organization which would eventually rule the World. Joseph Smith was crowned King of Israel by the Council. This Council was important in Utah government in the 1850s. These dotrines are scary because the give the Church a basis to direct Mitt Romney while he is in the Presidency. However, I don’t think this should be a reason to exclude Mr. Romney from the Presidency because the Church has promised not to do this.
You asked the wrong people to talk to your class. Perhaps if your class was about the philiosophy of religion or theology or something, they would have been useful. Te focus of LDS missionaries is on theology and on the conversion process. If the missionary has been serving for more than a year, and if the missionary is following the rules, he doesn’t even know enough to make an informed vote himself. They aren’t supposed to read daily newspapers, listen to broadcast news or read about politics on the Internet. The most they can do is give you vague cultural attitudes toward politics — which is what you got.