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What Happens If We Wake Up With a Mormon in the White House? What Joseph Smith's Run for President Suggests About Mitt Romney

The truth about the man with 33 wives -- and what that tells us about Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

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Romney, a seventh-generation Mormon who has served as a Latter-day Saint bishop, has distanced himself from the founder's theocratic talk, just as he has repudiated plural marriage. "That's not official church doctrine," he said of the White Horse Prophecy in a 2011  Salt Lake Tribune  interview. "There are a lot of things that are speculation and discussion by church members and even church leaders that aren't official church doctrine. I don't put that at the heart of my religious belief."

But Christing told me he believes Romney has taken a secret oath pledging his loyalty first and foremost to his church: "There are, still today, very secret ceremonies in the Mormon temple, which Romney has participated in -- virtually all of those, including something called the Oath of Consecration, where he consecrates his money, his time, his talents. His whole life, really.”

Here is the Oath of Consecration: “You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the law of consecration as contained in this,  The Book of Doctrine and Covenants , in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion."

"There was a time when sharing this info was dangerous," Christing said in an email. "Now, it's probably on Google. To me, the interesting thing is that the oath of consecration is specifically directed to the Mormon church (not God)."

CHAPTER THREE: Joseph Smith's Game

And then there is the matter of polygamy. By the time he was murdered, Joseph Smith had amassed 33 wives, eleven of whom were married and still living with their husbands. They ranged in age from 14 to roughly 60, according to an expert interviewed in the film.

Christing, who belongs to the second largest Mormon branch, the Reorganized Church of Latter-day Saints, treats Smith’s polygamy not just as a historical quirk but as an element of the behaviors we might associate with a sociopathic cult leader: “When Joseph reads to his wife Emma the ‘revelation’ from God instructing Joseph to marry as many wives as he can, he reads her a ‘letter’ from God telling his wife that if she doesn’t accept it, she’ll be damned. So if you believe that Smith was the prophet -- basically he’s saying to his wife, ‘If you don’t believe this, you’re going to hell.’”

Emma wasn't the only one thus coerced. Christing adds: “Imagine if you’re an 18-year-old woman. You’ve maybe left your family, or come with one family member from England, and you’ve arrived on a boat at New Orleans, and you come up the Mississippi River, and you get off the boat in Nauvoo, and there’s Brigham Young and Joseph Smith. And Joseph says, ‘God gave me a revelation to take plural wives, and if I don’t, an angel of God will kill me. An angel appeared to me with a drawn sword, and he’ll kill me.’ That’s a little bit of pressure to get from the ‘prophet,’ you know?”

The journey from England to Illinois was the one taken by Mitt Romney’s great-great-great grandfather, Miles Romney, along with his wife, Elizabeth, from the miserable factory town of Preston, England, to Illinois. Miles, an architect, was tasked with assisting the construction of the Nauvoo Temple.

One of the interviewees in  A Mormon President  is a gorgeous Mormon with a pre-Raphaelite face draped with perfectly silk dark hair. Her name is Kara Lyn Roundy. When she speaks of Joseph Smith, she lights up: “All I know is that there’s one prophet at the head of the church who has been given the keys to the holy priesthood. And he has been ordained by God…. It is so key for people to understand: There is only one Church on the face of the planet that has all the keys of the priesthood, and that is in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” When this MMILF gushes over Joseph Smith, you want to agree with her. You might even want to know what his secret was. The more one learns about his shameless pick-up techniques, the more one realizes there’s a Mormon version of  The Game  just waiting to be revealed to shy nerds everywhere.

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