Lawrence O'Donnell Was Right About Mormonism
Watching "The McLaughlin Group" on Sunday, I was impressed by Lawrence O'Donnell's fearless attack on the origins of Mormonism. I was also surprised to read Jason Linkins' piece, on this very blog, criticizing O'Donnell for a "radical assault on Mormonism" and claiming that he "lost his mind." Linkins seems shocked that someone would be so angry, but I totally understand O'Donnell - racism makes me angry too.
What Linkins completely fails to address is that nothing O'Donnell said about the Mormon faith is incorrect. Let's break down his statements:
...this man stood there and said to you "this is the faith of my fathers." And you, and none of these commentators who liked this speech realized that the faith of his fathers is a racist faith. As of 1978 it was an officially racist faith, and for political convenience in 1978 it switched. And it said "OK, black people can be in this church." He believes, if he believes the faith of his fathers, that black people are black because in heaven they turned away from God, in this demented, Scientology-like notion of what was going on in heaven before the creation of the earth.None of this is inaccurate. It was assumed that "blacks inherited the curse of Ham and the curse of Cain" and it wasn't until a "divine revelation" in 1978 by LDS Church President Spencer Kimball that they were allowed to be full members of the Mormon church. Mitt Romney was thirty-one years old in 1978; he's been a practicing Mormon all his life ("My faith is the faith of my fathers - I will be true to them and to my beliefs" is what he declared last week), so either he's lying about his commitment to his faith, or he believed this racist nonsense for the first 31 years of his life. What's more, Wikipedia tells us that in the mid-1960s, a full decade before Mormonism's divine racial correction in 1978, "Romney served in France for 30 months as a missionary for LDS Church." As a missionary for the Mormon faith, did Romney fully buy into Mormon doctrine of that time? These are highly pertinent questions for a man who wishes to lead a multiracial United States.
O'Donnell then goes on to claim that Mormonism was founded by a "fraudulent criminal." He's right, of course. Joseph Smith, Jr. was the charlatan who founded Mormonism; he's also a child molester by today's standards (his thirty-plus wives included seven minors: two 14-year-olds, two 16-year-olds and three 17-year-olds). The story of Smith's "revelation" is so bizarre and silly that I won't repeat it; you'd think I was making it up. You can read it all here, as told by Christopher Hitchens, if you have any interest in wading through all the revelations and counter-revelations, angels, gold tablets, and the true origin of Native Americans according to Mormonism (their account of Native American history, incidentally, is yet another horrifying facet of the Mormon doctrine of white supremacy).
Mormons were fairly pro-slavery, with one of their founding members quoted as saying "You must not think, from what I say, that I am opposed to slavery. No! The negro is damned, and is to serve his master till God chooses to remove the curse of Ham..." Those were the words of Brigham Young, who incidentally has a college named after him in Utah, which incidentally graduated a certain Mitt Romney in 1971.