“The Mormon patriarch,” writes Yale scholar Harold Bloom , “secure in his marriage and family, is promised by his faith a final ascension to godhead, with a planet all his own . . . From the perspective of the White House, how would the nation and the world appear to President Romney?” In an essay ostensibly about the interaction between the coming presidential elections and Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, Bloom leans heavily towards sensational aspects of his perspective on Mormonism and makes little effort to explain why his musings are relevant to the current campaign. Bloom’s method of using Mitt Romney and the campaign as an excuse for taking readers on a tour of controversial elements of Mormon doctrine and history—real or imagined—has become a common practice within the media and blogosphere. Under the cover of political analysis, these authors treat readers to skewed and salacious glimpses into Mormonism to provide entertaining but, alas, uninformative and unenlightening commentary on the Church, its doctrines, and its adherents.
The campaigns of Mitt Romney and, briefly, Jon Huntsman have led to wide discussion of Mormonism and how it could affect a presidency. A thorough vetting of candidates and platforms benefits all Americans, but the Mormon candidacies have also given rise to a more troubling practice: using the political campaign as an excuse to mock or malign Mormon beliefs, culture, and people under the guise of political analysis. In its most egregious form, this clever bundling of political analysis with anti-Mormon bigotry includes calls for the most sacred elements of the faith to be dragged through heated political battles for no reason but to satisfy the demand of some commentators for sensationalism and entertainment. By pretending these attacks and demands are necessary for the vetting of candidates, their authors hope to avoid the criticism which might otherwise follow such unfair and destructive notions.
One does not have to be a political supporter of Mitt Romney to recognize the disturbing nature of this practice or its costly consequences (indeed, this author is a longtime critic of the candidate ). By dragging irrelevant (and often inaccurate) details about Mormonism into the political dialogue, commentators ensure that the religion and its people cannot receive fair treatment in public opinion. By demanding that Mormon candidates explain in detail every Mormon practice, past or present, commentators distract attention from the real policy and platform issues which should be the subject of debate. Most disturbingly, these commentators have attempted to set a precedent requiring a candidate of any religion not conforming to some group’s definition of “mainstream” to lay bare that which his faith holds most sacred in the hyperbolic and emotionally toxic atmosphere of heated political debate. Rather than doing the honest but difficult work of establishing what aspects of an aspiring leader’s religion are relevant to campaigns and what aspects are not, these thinkers make the intellectually lazy suggestion that nothing is off limits and candidates should be held personally accountable for the entire spectrum of religious and cultural practice. Consider a few examples.
Apparently seeking an opportunity to paint Mormons as fringe free-market zealots obsessed with wealth, in an October 2011 article for Harper’s Magazine Chris Lehman relies on such Mormon thinkers as Mark and Cleon Skousen, Howard Ruff, and Glenn Beck to show readers what Mormons supposedly believe.  Says Lehman,
One scours the endless, incantatory pages of Joseph Smith’s revelation in vain for any suggestion that wealth complicates the spiritual lives of believers. Not for Mormons the queasy business about the camel going through the needle’s eye before a rich man enters the Kingdom of Heaven. Instead, paradise is pretty much set aside for the enterprising rich, whose upward mobility is thought to persist even in the three-tiered scheme of the Mormon afterlife.Lehmann’s “scouring” of Joseph Smith’s works apparently did not include the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants, Smith’s two contributions to the Mormon canon. I have written elsewhere about the “business cycles” described in the Book of Mormon and how its authors made clear that wealth accumulation and growing inequality were the ultimate causes of these destructive forces.  The Doctrine and Covenants notes that “riches will canker your souls” (D&C 56:16), so Lehmann’s inability to find writings by Joseph Smith which suggest that wealth complicates spirituality is very puzzling indeed.  Lehmann’s omissions are coupled with a frequent misinterpretation of the Mormon concept of “eternal progression” as referring to the accumulation of material wealth.
Lehmann’s article is riddled with other inconsistencies. He briefly notes the Church’s early attempts at socialist economics but fails to acknowledge that the doctrines which motivated those efforts directly contradict his claims about the Church’s view of wealth and markets. He mentions the Church’s vast welfare system but strangely uses it as an example of the Church’s “corporate” aspects instead of recognizing how it operates based on charity and generosity of members who prioritize the needs of others ahead of their own wealth accumulation. He also makes the common mistake of confusing preferences for corporate welfare with preferences for laissez-faire economics when he cites Mitt Romney’s and John Huntsman’s support for the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the “stimulus”), respectively, as more evidence for his thesis, apparently missing the irony of his earlier quotes from Mark Skousen criticizing “Keynesian” fiscal policy and other government interventions. It is very unlikely that Skousen supported either law, and Lehmann’s attempts to mesh all Mormons into the same category rob his readers of a more honest and nuanced discussion of the variety which exists in Mormon political culture.
The true nature of the article is highlighted by Lehmann’s multi-paragraph discussion of fringe Mormon thinker Howard Ruff’s doomsday finance writings, but Lehmann provides no evidence that Ruff represents the consensus of Mormons’ views. He also mentions that Cleon Skousen embraced the famous “White Horse Prophecy” (in which the Constitution is predicted to “hang by a thread”) despite the fact that, as Lehman acknowledges, the Church began distancing itself from the supposed prophecy at least as early as 1918.  Lehmann apparently finds it useful to showcase fringe thinkers who happen to be Mormon without noting the foreign nature of their perspectives among traditional Mormon views. The author also includes a reference to the Church’s pre-1978 priesthood ban; it is understandable that this policy troubles many, but it has no relevance to Lehman’s argument (or Mitt Romney). In general, Lehman’s essay is misleading at best and intentionally dishonest at worst. Regardless of his intentions, his use of the Romney and Huntsman candidacies to trot out poorly supported, self-contradicting claims about Mormonism portrays the faith’s twelve million members as unthinking, fringe extremists following a religion of greed. The reader is left wondering what part of Lehman’s essay is relevant to Mitt Romney and the presidential campaign and, more troublingly, with an inaccurate and unfair perception of Mormons.
While Chris Lehmann’s use of the Mormon candidacies reads as an excuse for tarring Mormons as greedy, other authors use the opportunity simply to poke fun at strange Mormon doctrines or cultural quirks, real or imagined (and past or present). On a New York Times blog in January 2012, Lee Siegel  suggested that Romney might be the “whitest” president in history:
I’m not talking about a strict count of melanin density. I’m referring to the countless subtle and not-so-subtle ways he telegraphs to a certain type of voter that he is the cultural alternative to America’s first black president. It is a whiteness grounded in a retro vision of the country, one of white picket fences and stay-at-home moms and fathers unashamed of working hard for corporate America.In the article, situated under a photo of Romney’s immediate family (all of whom are white—a great discovery by Siegel), the author is seemingly making a comment about the campaign and, presumably, the Republican electorate. But he quickly gets to his real point:
There is no stronger bastion of pre-civil-rights-America whiteness than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. . . . Mormonism is still imagined by its adherents as a religion founded by whites, for whites, rooted in a millenarian vision of an America destined to fulfill a white God’s plans for the earth.It is unclear how these paragraphs are related to the rest of Siegel’s article, but what is clear is that he fancies himself somehow cognizant of what Mormons are thinking.  Further, to believe Siegel’s claims about Mormonism would require that readers ignore not only the racial and cultural diversity of the Church’s global membership but also the fact that each year tens of thousands of Mormon missionaries depart for decidedly non-“white” parts of the world, spending two years trying to convert people to a faith which those missionaries believe will bring the converts great happiness—converts which, incidentally, come from cultures which are a far cry from the one described by Siegel. Under the guise of political analysis, Siegel finds a chance to inaccurately portray Mormonism as a quaint, 1950s white culture, hoping his readers will find his discovery entertaining (and he also manages to call Mormons racist at the same time).
Still other authors have segued into strange Mormon doctrines and history not merely to poke fun but to actually accuse Mormons of being sinister and dangerous. The late Christopher Hitchens provided a nice example of this approach, touching on such obligatory topics as racism, proxy baptism for the dead, views of the end times and the state of Missouri, and alleged violent inclinations of early Mormons under Joseph Smith. 
Calling the early Church “pro-slavery,” Hitchens omits the facts that one of the reasons Mormons were forcibly driven from Missouri (with an accompanying extermination order) was that they were “opposed to slavery”  and that as a presidential candidate Joseph Smith advocated for “ending slavery everywhere.”  Whatever views other early Church leaders shared with other pro-slavery Americans of the time, it is clear that the story is far more nuanced than Hitchens would admit.
Naturally, Hitchens also mentions baptism for the dead. He describes the Church’s popular ancestral archives, calling them “weird,” and brings up the question of Church commitments to abstain from proxy baptism of certain deceased Jews. Hitchens calls the practice “a crass attempt at mass identity theft from the deceased” without explaining exactly what he means or how the issue relates to the Romney candidacy. He begins discussion of the practice by calling the baptisms themselves weird but spends most of the discussion on the Jewish issue, declining to mention how it is related to Romney or why it constitutes “identity theft.”  Others have made similar comments. Said blogger Andrew Sullivan, “it’s deeply disrespectful to and invasive of other faiths to be posthumously coopted in this fashion.”  It is unclear why Sullivan believes that reading a deceased person’s name during a ceremony is any more disrespectful than common practices like baptizing infants who have no say in the matter or saying more general prayers for the dead as some religions do. Nor does Sullivan explain what he means by “coopted,” a strange description given that the Church and its members gain nothing material from the practice, standing only to gain spiritually if the doctrine is true (in which case Mormons have done the deceased a great favor). 
New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd has also used the Romney candidacy as yet another excuse to talk about the posthumous baptism issue.  Using a rather clumsy transition from Romney’s wealth to Rush Limbaugh’s most recent outrage to the Mormon practice, Dowd asserts that Romney has a responsibility to “step up as the cases have mounted of Jews posthumously and coercively baptized as Mormons.” Like so many others, Dowd also reveals her ignorance of the Mormon hierarchy by suggesting that Romney has sway over Salt Lake City leadership. Again, the issue of Jewish proxy baptisms is a sensitive one and centers on Church commitments, but the Dowd article is making a more general point—that the public should hold Romney accountable for all the policies of a church of which he is but a member. Given the absurdity of the claim, the notion that Dowd uses the Romney connection only as an excuse to use sensationalism to sell articles is not out of the question. Hitchens, Sullivan, Dowd, and others have spent a lot of time criticizing the Church for proxy baptism but much less time demonstrating knowledge of the practice itself or constructing arguments to support their assertions, let alone articulating the nature of even existence of Romney’s influence over Church leadership.
Sullivan also directly responded to Hitchen’s article by suggesting that “voters have a right to know what a candidate does in [temple] ceremonies and why, unlike most ceremonies in mainstream Christianity, they are hidden from view.”  Apparently the standard for how a religion and its sacred ceremonies should be treated in political dialogue is how those ceremonies compare to “mainstream Christianity.” Honest readers might doubt whether the usually fair-minded Sullivan would apply this standard to all other religions. Aside from the fact that curious souls can probably find anything they want to know about Mormon temple ceremonies from exposés and, well, the internet (does Sullivan think the only person who can satisfy his curiosity is Mitt Romney?), Sullivan’s demand sets the disturbing standard that political candidates from out-of-the-mainstream religions must compromise whatever their religion holds sacred, dragging it through the mud of partisan debate, before qualifying for office. The notion is absurd for any religion and Mormonism in particular since it is easy to verify that nothing in Mormon ritual is dangerous or seditious. Does Sullivan truly think that a discussion of Mormon temple ceremonies during a heated political campaign would be somehow healthy and productive, let alone relevant in any way? As with so many other demands for public apologies and explanations, it is unlikely that Sullivan and others make this demand with the pure motives they claim.  Once again, it appears that some commentators are fishing for any excuse to point out how scary and strange Mormons are, and Mitt Romney provides a nice excuse.
After a completely irrelevant digression on Cleon Skousen, the John Birch Society, and Ezra Taft Benson , Hitchens finally returns to the subject of Mitt Romney, claiming that “we are fully entitled to ask Mitt Romney about the forces that influenced his political formation and—since he comes from a dynasty of his church, and spent much of his boyhood and manhood first as a missionary and then as a senior lay official—it is safe to assume that the influence is not small.” Apparently Romney’s 30-month mission constituted “much of his boyhood,” and serving as the leader of a handful of Boston congregations in a worldwide church constitutes a role as a “senior lay official.” Those revelations of Hitchens’ ignorance aside, it is certainly fair to ask a candidate how their religion affects their worldview; but it is much less understandable that Hitchens expects Romney to respond to the former’s uninformed assertions about whether Mormons’ attitudes towards slavery were as egregious as those of most Americans in the 1830s or his caricature of Mormon temple activities. That anyone thinks a reasonable, constructive discussion of the intricacies of Mormon doctrine and history, particularly when those intricacies are being so inaccurately represented by people like Hitchens, is possible amidst the heated, partisan atmosphere of a presidential campaign is comical; in fact, authors suggesting such probably know better. While he pretends to make Romney relevant to his essay, it is likely that Hitchens’ real intent was to simply remind readers of how “sinister” those creepy Mormons are.
Another popular essay in this vein is the one quoted in the introduction to this text written by Harold Bloom, a thinker who in times past has been beloved by many Mormons for his congenial and, many thought, fair discussions of the religion’s founding prophet. Bloom uses Romney to draw attention to caricatures of the Church as a greedy corporate force full of dangerous secrets teaching doctrines about man and God which can only be malignant if held by an American president. Like Hitchens, Bloom justifies using the Romney excuse by suggesting that having served as a stake president means that Romney is “deep within the labyrinthine Mormon hierarchy.” Uninformed readers of such inaccuracies are likely to believe that Romney has been calling the shots at Church headquarters for some time.
Like many observers, Bloom is apparently fascinated with the Church’s financial assets and draws the popular conclusion that the Church is led by “plutocratic oligarchs” awash in ill-gotten wealth. Like so many others with a similar view, Bloom declines to provide any evidence that Church leadership employ Church resources for personal gain; indeed, the practice of putting off retirement until death renders LDS leadership unlikely to be guilty of feathering their own nests on the backs of members. Bloom nevertheless finds it useful to refer to the Church as a “corporate empire of greed.” The effort required to establish the nature of the black box is too much for Bloom and most others; it is easier to make the logical leap from reports about the Church’s assets to the allegedly obvious greed and plutocracy of its leadership.
Bloom follows Andrew Sullivan and others in feigning ignorance of Mormon temple practices: “That aspects of the religion of a devout president of the United States should be concealed from all but 2 percent of us may be a legitimate question that merits pondering,” says Bloom, as if the temple’s teachings about morality and charity would be a great danger in the hands of an American president (Bloom omits any discussion of how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, also Mormon, has avoided inflicting these dangers on Americans). Bloom also makes sure to include a mention of Mormon doctrines about the relationship between God and man:
The Mormon patriarch, secure in his marriage and family, is promised by his faith a final ascension to godhead, with a planet all his own separate from the earth and nation where he now dwells. From the perspective of the White House, how would the nation and the world appear to President Romney?Bloom does not suggest any answer to his question, probably because it is nonsense. While he is kind in noting that critics of obscure Mormon doctrines “forget the equal strangeness of Christian mythology, now worn by familiar repetition,” he ignores his own advice by suggesting that this particular bit of “mythology” would have a significant impact on how Romney governs while more mainstream Christian views have not affected previous Christian presidents in such deleterious ways. The natural way to evaluate Bloom’s question would be to examine just how “relevant” Romney’s Godhood delusions were when he was governor of Massachusetts, but that sort of comparison would reduce the impact of Bloom’s argument, which amounts to little more than a claim that Mormons are greedy and weird.
It is difficult to know what exactly was the purpose of Bloom’s essay. Despite several references to Romney, the article serves mostly to showcase the corporate side of the LDS church (only superficially, though) and a few of its doctrines which depart from mainstream Christianity. Like Dowd’s piece described above, this sort rehashing of old news and innuendo is apparently worthy of being published in the country’s most respected newspaper if the writer can somehow relate it to the presidential campaign.
One theme which is briefly touched or hinted at by authors mentioned above is the notion that Romney is part of a larger Mormon conspiracy to establish an American theocracy administered from Salt Lake City. After describing the “white horse prophecy” (without mentioning that it has been repudiated) and noting Joseph Smith’s 1844 presidential campaign (which, as the author reminds us, Romney “avoids mentioning,” as if it were relevant at all), Salon’s Sally Denton  states matter-of-factly that “Romney is the product of this culture,” that is, the culture of Mormon aspirations for theocratic dominance of the United States. Denton avoids mentioning any of the obvious evidence that such a culture does not exist; nor does she feel impelled to actually demonstrate that Romney is acting as a “product” of that culture. For Denton, innuendo and accusation based on 150-year-old sound bites are sufficient to pass for credible journalism. As with so many others mentioned above, Denton’s intentions are transparent: her article is not about Romney but about a sinister, inaccurate caricature of Mormonism. In response, Tablet contributor Yair Rosenberg  makes the following observation:
Scores of Mormons have served faithfully in the United States Congress and other top governmental positions. . . . Given the preponderance of prominent Mormon politicians, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that if there really is a clandestine Mormon blueprint for U.S. domination, Latter-day Saint lawmakers have done a remarkably poor job of executing it. Those pundits fretting about the advent of Mormon theocracy never get around to explaining why all of these officials have always seemed more interested in advancing the interests of party and country rather than imposing church doctrine on the unsuspecting American masses.
Rosenberg proceeds to debunk Denton’s specious reasoning, noting that “one need not agree with Romney’s policies to recognize that it is wrong to play Da Vinci Code with his faith’s traditions, picking and choosing questionable texts from LDS history and using them to demonize an entire diverse religious community.” But this is precisely how Denton and other commentators think of Romney: as an excuse for demonizing a religion.
The writings described above are fine demonstrations of uninformed attempts to misrepresent, mock, and attack aspects of Mormonism—real or fictionally constructed—which may depart from mainstream thought. Their comments reveal that mentions of Romney are sometimes little more than a weak justification to dabble in sensationalism; these essays and posts were not about the candidate at all. In the absence of the current political climate, publishing these sorts of attacks on Mormon doctrines and culture to national audiences would be seen as tactless, but under the cloak of political commentary writers can indulge the public’s hunger for sensationalism and mockery with impunity.
The most troubling part of these attacks is that they are often accompanied by demands for Mormon political candidates to compromise sacred aspects of their religion during heated campaigns before qualifying for office, a standard which poses an obvious threat to the safety of religion in American democracy. A variety of other authors have engaged in similar absurdities. Whatever the merits of Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate, his use as an excuse for uninformed and inaccurate lampooning of Mormonism speaks volumes about the sophistication and maturity of some participants in our national political dialogue. Not only do the authors reveal their ill will towards and inability to objectively discuss Mormonism, but they also typically reveal an ignorance of the faith and its people which would prevent more responsible journalists from commenting at all. The ongoing campaign will continue to be a test not only of candidates, parties, and ideas (and marketing) but also of the integrity and knowledge of our loudest opining voices. Regardless of Americans’ preferences over candidates, we all have an interest in protecting religion from inaccurate representations and the destructive atmosphere of partisan politics; and we all have an interest in keeping the political stage open for potential leaders from all faiths.
 Bloom, Harold (2011) “Will This Election Be the Mormon Breakthrough?” The New York Times, November 12, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/opinion/sunday/will-this-election-be-the-mormon-breakthrough.html, accessed March 22, 2012. [Back to manuscript].
 For example, see the following:
Decker, Ryan (2009) “2012: The Trajectories of Huntsman and Romney,” SquareTwo, Vol. 2 No. 2 (Summer), http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleDecker2012.html, accessed March 24, 2012. [Back to manuscript]
 Lehmann, Chris (2011) “Pennies From Heaven: How Mormon Economics Shape the G.O.P.,” Harper’s Magazine (October), http://harpers.org/archive/2011/10/0083637, accessed March 22, 2012. [Back to manuscript]
 Decker, Ryan (2008) “Inequality and National Survival: The Scriptural Case for Modern Legislation,” SquareTwo, Vol. 1 No. 1 (Fall), http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleDeckerInequality.html, accessed March 22, 2012. [Back to manuscript]
 Lehmann would also do well to survey the works of beloved Mormon scholar Hugh Nibley, who spent his entire career explaining how Mormon doctrine views material wealth. See, for example, the following:
Nibley, Hugh (1989) “Approaching Zion,” in Don E. Norton (ed.) The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol. 9, Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain.
Nibley, Hugh (1994) “Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints,” in Don E. Norton (ed.) The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol. 13, Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain.
The former text is particularly useful in light of Lehman’s quip about Mormons ignoring the “camel through the eye of a needle” story from the New Testament. Nibley is famous for having taken this line quite literally (see “Approaching Zion” page 315) [Back to manuscript]
McConkie, Bruce (1966) Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, page 835. [Back to manuscript]
 Siegel, Lee (2012) “What’s Race Got to Do With It” Campaign Stops at The New York Times, January 14, 2012, http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/14/whats-race-got-to-do-with-it/?hp, accessed March 22, 2012. [Back to manuscript]
 For a more accurate description of Mormons’ views on race in the context of Mormon doctrines, see the following:
Campbell, David, John Green, and Quin Monson (2012) “Survey Clarifies Mormons’ Beliefs About Race,” Deseret News, March 30, 2012, http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765564520/Survey-clarifies-Mormons-beliefs-about-race.html?pg=1, accessed April 1, 2012. [Back to manuscript]
 Hitchens, Christopher (2011) “Romney’s Mormon Problem: Mitt Romney and the Weird and Sinister Beliefs of Mormonism,” Slate, http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2011/10 /is_mormonism_a_cult_who_cares_it_s_their_weird_and_sinister_beli.html, accessed March 22, 2012. [Back to manuscript]
 Bushman, Richard (2005) Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, Alfred A. Knopf, page 327. [Back to manuscript]
 Ibid, p. 516. [Back to manuscript]
 My critique of Hitchens should not be mistaken for a defense of proxy baptisms which are prohibited by Church agreements. Some Jewish figures have expressed understandable sensitivity to the practice when performed for their ancestors. That is a separate issue from attempts by Hitchens and others to caricature the practice in general or imply that it is somehow sinister. [Back to manuscript]
 Sullivan, Andrew (2012) “Is Posthumous Baptism Offensive?” The Dish, http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com /2012/03/is-posthumous-baptism-offensive.html, accessed March 22, 2012. [Back to manuscript]
 Sullivan also published responses by Mormon readers to his comment (but neither retracted nor provided any kind of logical support for his statement):
Sullivan, Andrew (2012) “Is Posthumous Baptism Offensive? Comments,” The Dish, http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/03/is-posthumous-baptism-offensive-ctd-1.html, accessed March 22, 2012. [Back to manuscript]
 Dowd, Maureen (2012) “Is Elvis a Mormon?” The New York Times, March 17, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com /2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/dowd-is-elvis-a-mormon.html, accessed March 22, 2012. [Back to manuscript]
 Sullivan, Andrew (2011) “The Mormon Question,” The Dish, http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com /2011/10/quote-for-the-day-13.html, accessed March 22, 2012.
Sullivan indulges in such sensationalism at Mormonism’s expense despite claiming elsewhere, “I sure hope [Romney’s religion] wouldn’t be exploited in any way.” Call this author a skeptic: Sullivan frequently makes such claims in between posts mocking Mormonism. From the following:
Sullivan, Andrew (2011) “Mormon Or Just Weird?” The Dish http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com /2011/08/mormon-or-mogul.html, accessed March 22, 2012. [Back to manuscript]
 For a related discussion see the following:
Mitchell, David (2012) “I’m Sorry But This Constant Demand for Public Apologies Really Offends Me,” The Guardian: The Observer, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/25/public-apologies-gingrich-de-niro, accessed March 28, 2012. [Back to manuscript]
 Again, Hitchens provides no nuance for this particular tangent, mentioning Ezra Taft Benson’s ties to the John Birch Society but omitting any discussion of the debate within Church leadership over Benson’s views and activities. See the following:
Prince, Gregory and Wm. Robert Wright (2005) David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, p.279-322. [Back to manuscript]
 Denton, Sally (2012) “Romney and the White Horse Prophecy,” Salon, January 29, 2012, http://www.salon.com/2012/01/29/mitt_and_the_white_horse_prophecy/, accessed April 1, 2012. [Back to manuscript]
 Rosenberg, Yair (2012) “Protocols of the Elders,” Tablet, February 16, 2012, http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/91447/protocols-of-the-elders/, accessed April 1, 2012. [Back to manuscript]
Full Citation for this Article: Decker, Ryan (2012) "'Sinister and Weird': Using Mitt Romney as an Excuse to Slur Mormonism," SquareTwo, Vol. 5 No. 1 (Spring), http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleDeckerCritics.html, [give access date].
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