Our country is fast approaching election year. Candidates are debating, and soon the "frontrunners" will be chosen. Being a Mormon, I have been quite interested to watch the race between Mormon candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, who are both Mormon. Only time will tell if either is chosen to represent the Republican party. But if public opinion counts, perhaps neither will be chosen.
Today's topic is animosity, and it goes right along with the fact that many of the conservative Christians in America despise Mormons. I would wager that they would rather elect someone from the opposite party, than to elect a Mormon. What most liberals fear about religion is that the ecclesiastical leaders "preach" to their congregations about how they should vote. I am afraid they are right on this point. There are many church leaders who "warn" their congregations about voting for a Mormon. Although their membership is probably not tied with how they vote, still they are convincingly told that their souls will be in danger if a Mormon becomes president.
This animosity is seriously misguided, and comes from ignorance about our beliefs, but what most people don't realize is that there are already many Mormons serving in high political positions. Mitt Romney was the governor of Massachusetts. Jon Huntsman was the Ambassador to China. Let's not forget Harry Reid who is the Senate majority leader for the Democratic party. Did you know that Ezra Taft Benson, who was the secretary of agriculture for both terms of Dwight D. Eisenhower's term as president, was also the 13th president of our church? Most Senators from Utah have been Mormon, including Jake Garn, who spent some time as an astronaut.
It is curious that many of these conservative Christians think nothing of having a president with Muslim ties, but shun the idea of a president with Mormon ties. This kind of animosity comes from fear, and misunderstanding. They do not believe we are Christian, and actually think we do the work of the Devil. The interesting thing is that even in "mainstream" Christianity, there are many vastly different religious opinions. Some believe in repentance, and other don't. Some believe in using the Old Testament, and others only believe in using the New Testament. The fact that we use both, but also use the Book of Mormon, which we believe to be the record of the people of ancient America, is too much for them to grasp. So they do what others have done through the ages with things they have not understood, and that is to throw the baby out with the bath water.
My thinking is that animosity is not part of Christ's teachings. He taught us to love our enemies, and to bless them and do good to them. Why a Christian would look at another believer of Christ as an enemy is beyond me. But this prejudice is found throughout the United States. It's sad that these kinds of walls have been built, because surely we could be working together to make the world a better place.
So keep your eye on the next US presidential election. Let's see if the citizens of the US can lay aside their prejudices and elect a Mormon president, should he be chosen. Let's see if intellect can overrule emotional bias.