WBUR

Romney’s Distant Cousin Defends Candidate As Having ‘Heart’

Ron Scott, Mitt Romney's distant cousin and the author of a new book on the candidate (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

BOSTON — This election season, as one Republican presidential candidate after another has flamed out or been embarrassed by various gaffes, some political watchers have noted that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is looking like the luckiest guy around.

Still, the Republican Party doesn’t seem all that excited about him. Some political watchers point to his poll numbers, which they say are strong, but not dominant or rising. But a new book, “Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics,” argues there is more to Romney than most of us see.

The author, Ron Scott, is Romney’s distant cousin. He sat down with Morning Edition‘s Bob Oakes to talk about the perception of Romney versus Scott’s own take on the reality.

Bob Oakes: You begin the book with a 2008 quote from Jack Connors, leading and legendary Boston businessman. He says, “There’s no question that [Romney] has the creative business brain, good looks, and impressive leadership capabilities. But there’s no heart, like the Tin Man.” You know Romney personally, did you write the book to refute this idea?

Ron Scott: The Tin Man idea? In a sense, yeah. The original working title of the book was “Mitt Romney: The Heart of the Tin Man.” And my feeling was that, while what Jack said, I understand that, superficially Mitt does come off as being fairly stiff and heartless, I knew that beneath that surface there was more of an empathetic person there and he had shown that over the course of his life. I wanted to get at that.

Let me ask about that in this way — loyalty. Loyalty to close friends and associates. You talk in the book about an episode in July 1996 when Romney actually shut down Bain Capital, the big investment firm that he ran in Boston, for three days to essentially take the company to New York City to search for the missing teenage daughter of a co-worker.

I think he also enlisted the support of a bunch of “heartless people on Wall Street” to leave their businesses for the day to search for that particular girl. So yeah, that’s indicative of the kind of heart that he does have.

Let’s talk about how Romney’s Mormon faith fits in to all this. You write that we’re a country that likes our candidates to be rebels with flawed characters — people we want to have a beer with. You describe Romney as a Boy Scout, whose faith literally prohibits him from being able to have that beer. Is Romney punished by voters for being too good a guy?

Probably, and I think that we’ll see more of this as the campaign unfolds and as we get in to the general election. They’re looking for people who are flawed and who have flaws that they’ve overcome and challenges they’ve overcome. And at least superficially, Mitt comes across as being too squeaky clean. So people are understandably looking for, well, where’s the real Mitt?

I think his dad got to it back in ’94 when he was running against Sen. [Edward] Kennedy. His dad had said, “you need to stop listening to the handlers around you and be yourself.” Mitt being the kind of businessman that he is, that his father was not, had always been very data driven, so I think it was very difficult for him to not listen to the advice he was getting from handlers and relax and be the person that he is.

You write a lot about how his faith drives him as a candidate. As you say, the emphasis that Mormonism puts on leadership, children are taught to “live your life in such a way that you could be president if called upon.” Do you think that Romney feels that it’s his calling to be the next president of the United States?

I was talking to a cousin the other day, who I did not know he was a missionary companion of Mitt Romney’s in France, who said he was running for president even then. So the answer to the question is, he definitely believes that he’s been called to serve and that there’s more to life than making lots of money, which he’s made lots of money, but beyond that there are things that ought to be done.

And I’m sure that his father before he left this earth was loading the next generation responsibility on to his shoulders just like the Kennedys had that loaded on to their shoulders by their father and passed it on to the next generation.

Let’s talk about Romney’s position on abortion, which has changed quite dramatically over the years. As you say in the book, he got in trouble about this all the way back in his first political run in 1994 when he came out and said he was personally opposed but willing to let others decide for themselves. He said this was consistent with the church, but some members of the church strongly disagree, other voters just simply didn’t believe him. I want to ask you where you think Mitt really stands on abortion, as you see it.

This is risky territory.

Why? What do you mean?

Well it’s risky in the sense of trying to divine where he is now relative to where he was in 1993, which was a correct church position — that just because the laws allow you to do certain things doesn’t mean that you should do them, but you ought to allow people to make the choice for themselves.

I think he’s changed a little bit from that standpoint and I think he’s got some organization to do on, “where do I currently sit with regard to abortion, stem cell research, in vitro fertilization processes,” which require embryos to be disposed of in some way, embryos that aren’t used, and to find some consistency between all those inter-related issues. I don’t think he’s done that clearly yet.

Are you troubled at all that we’re still and you’re not quite yet sure of where Romney stands on one of the most influential issues of the day?

I actually don’t think it’s going to be influential this time around. It’s a highly visible issue, because it speaks to all of us, but is it going to be a driver in this particular campaign? And I think the answer to that question is no. And I think we’re in a period where we’re addressing old issues with new science and new ideas and you make the decisions based on what’s current.

Do you think Romney considers himself or sees himself as a flip-flopper?

I have no idea. I’m certain he’s read about it, and he knows that others do as well, and I know it’s a sensitive topic for him. It became an issue when they were talking about, “where do you stand on health care?” And I think the takeaway is, “if I change my position on how I feel about universal health care, people will once again accuse me of being a flop-flopper. And I’m not going there. They’d just kill me.” Plus, the program is a good program in his mind, I think.

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  • Don

    This book push is nothing but free political advertising on listener supported, government subsidized public radio.  Romney is no different than any other ordinary person when it comes to empathy.  Like many people, there’s both a public side and a private side in their lives (both good and bad).  This “distant cousin” author has been assigned to display Romney’s private side (the good part).

    • Billy

      Don –

      The funny thing you should note is that the “distant cousin” was refused access to interview Mitt Romney since they were afraid it was going to be too left leaning and critical of Romney.  So your comments are completely uninformed and misguided but I can understand from where your hypothesis originated.  And since I happen to know said “distant cousin” quite well as well as the Romney family, I can say that the author is unbiased and more left leaning than you might initially think.  So for you to surmise that his book is a political banner for Romney is quite amusing.  I think you should buy the book and read it before rushing to a quick and critical judgment.

      • Don

        Your point is well taken and is more informative than the interview.  One cannot help to assume that the timing of a “distant cousin” is all about writing favorably for the declared candidate during a hot political campaign period when bad news about the lineup of all candidates’ past misgivings changes almost daily.  That is certainly not misguided and uninformed.

        The interview did not stimulate enough curiosity for me to buy the book.  Your brief insider comments and amusement at least tells me that it’s worthwhile to check it out.

        On another note:  Jack Connors is not a “legendary Boston businessman”  Leading maybe, but not “legendary”.  Jack Welch is legendary.  Quite a difference.

        • Billy

          I do agree on the surface it does seem like a family member and fellow Mormon is writing a PR piece, but in fact it really is just an insiders take on Mitt trying to explain who he is as a whole.  I think the distant cousin reference is only to point out a funny quip about Mormonism since they have the same great grandfather or something but a different great grandmother (polygamy). 

          An interesting tidbit in the book is about how Mitt’s kids used IVF and surrogates and for one son it was to have a 4th child.  So I would love to see how he responds to questions about abortion, stem stell research and the like since IVF inherently has left over viable fetusus.  What do you do with them?  But unfortunately jobs and the economy are the number one issues. 

          But touche on the Jack Connors reference I do agree with you there,  although if you asked Jack I’m sure he would say legendary ;-) 

  • Don

    The photograph selected looks like a catalog advertisement for Sears windbreaker jackets on sale and the male model just happens to be Willard Romney.

  • Jelun

    If this former governor of Massachusetts has heart I would like to know where he put it during his administration.
    As a retired employee of the Commonwealth I have to tell you that all he and his appointees showed for the staff that did the work that people say they don’t mind paying for( and claim that we must have been saints to do) was disdain.
    Negotiations for benefits and raises, which by the way are really cost of living adjustments, made it quite clear that they felt that the workers for agencies such a Public Health, Mental Health,working on the line with those who are our most vulnerable due to disability and those who monitor youth at risk are expendable.
    He certainly tries to portray a reasonable, caring persona, it is a facade developed by a man who wants to garner more power.
    We should remember the game he played with then governor, Jane Swift, in order to grab the Repulican nomination from her.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3WSQ2S4HXMTWZTTQEMYY4NAVTE Fred E.

      Jelun; Sounds as if you maybe a member of one of those out of control public unions.

      • bt33blue

        To Fred:  What’s the
        point of your ad hominem, snide comment here? 
         Do you have anything of any value
        to say?  Do you want to argue any of the
        points raised by Jelun on their merits, or are you content simply to make
        disrespectful and sarcastic remarks?

  • Anonymous

    I frankly do not care what Mitt Romney’s religion is, but I care very much about the critical thinking skills of any presidential candidate.  

    Romney is well entrenched in the Mormon church. He has been a bishop and a stake president.  That tells me he is a 100% believer.  And that tells me he believes:

    - A 19th century con artist was visited by an angel and given golden plates that later mysteriously disappeared 

    - That God lives near a star named Kolob

    - Black people were spiritually inferior

    - Native Americans’ skin will whiten as they become more righteous

    - A man named Brigham Young spoke for God when he said unless people practiced polygamy they were damned

    - The Mormons’ Book of Abraham was written by and about Abraham, despite numerous Egyptologists saying that’s nonsense

    - One needs secret handshakes to enter Heaven, the same handshakes Joseph Smith ripped off from Free Masonry

    - It’s okay for a Utah church to spend big bucks fighting gay marriage in California

    - A multi-billion church can keep its finances secret from even its own membership

    No thanks.  Romney IS in a cult and if he can’t see through this nonsense in the era of the Internet he won’t get my vote.

    • T’ville

      What can Mitt’s Church give you in return if you’re not part of their faith anyway? Nothing!!! We need someone who can fix the Economy! Whoever can create jobs and have smart policies I am forward them. Nothing has proven from the Super Committee and the White House. So why wasting time talking about Church and look for someone can change the Economy!!!

      • Anonymous

        I don’t expect anything “in return” from Romney’s church.  I just don’t want as my president someone who is insane enough to believe what he does.

        And I can give you plenty of others reasons I won’t vote for him.  Go to http://mittromneyflipflops.com/ for a start.

        There isn’t an issue he hasn’t flipped on, depending on the audience.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3WSQ2S4HXMTWZTTQEMYY4NAVTE Fred E.

          Really Tornogal; You should if you are a Christian read Matthew 12:36-37

    • erp

      Tornogal, I am a 100% believing Mormon, and I don’t believe any of the supposed Mormon dogma in your list.  I am well educated, earn a good living and do my best to help people around me, even those who believe differently than I do.  I think all Americans deserve to play a role in our civic life, no matter their religion.  I would hope that you don’t treat the Mormons you run into outside of the internet with the disdain that you’ve displayed in your post. 

      We live in a great country. Live and let live, I say.

      • Anonymous

        erp:  Oh, I am all for “live and let live.”  I just won’t vote for someone who believes so much of  Mormon doctrine, because they fail the test for critical thinking skills I think the president of the United States needs.

        And if you don’t believe the list of things I provided, then you are in disagreement with your church’s history or doctrine.  I am happy to provide references for everything listed.

      • Anonymous

        If you are a 100% believing Mormon, then you *do* believe in the Book of Mormon.  And the Book of Mormon was (according to the founder of Mormonism) delivered by an angel (Moroni) on plates of gold, and those plates are nowhere available for examination.

        If you are a 100% believing Mormon, then you *do* believe in the Pearl of Great Price, and the Pearl of Great Price *does* say that god lives near Kolob (Abraham 3:9)
        http://lds.org/scriptures/pgp/abr/3.9?lang=eng#8

        If you were a 100% believing Mormon prior to the 80s, you did believe that people of Negroid decent were spiritually inferior: 
        http://www.i4m.com/think/comments/mormon-racism.htm

        And if you are a 100% believing Mormon, then you believe that black skin is a curse from god, because that is what the Book of Mormon teaches:
        http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/5.21?lang=eng#20

        If you are a 100% believing Mormon you also believe that when black-skinned people repent, their skin turns white, because that is *also* what the Book of Mormon teaches:
        http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/2.15?lang=eng#14

        Mormon prophets have also taught this in modern times: “”I
        saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today….
        The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have
        been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and
        delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of
        the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as
        light as Anglos, five were darker but equally delightsome. The
        children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter
        than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation.
        At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old
        daughter were present, the little member girl–sixteen–sitting
        between the dark father and mother, and it was evident she was
        several shades lighter than her parents–on the same reservation,
        in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather….These
        young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness.”- Apostle Elder Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference, 1960

        If you are a 100% believing Mormon, then you believe the words of all Mormon prophets.  And Brigham Young (second Mormon prophet) *did* teach that plural marriage was required:
        “Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266). Also, “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269).

        The Book of Abraham does claim to have been written by the hand of Abraham: http://lds.org/scriptures/pgp/abr/1.31?lang=eng#30.  So, if you really are a 100% believing Mormon, you do believe those things.

        And finally, it is a fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really is a multi-billion-dollar corporation, and it really is a fact that they make no public disclosure of their finances.

        So why would you lie about all those things?  Why would you, a supposed 100% believing Mormon, lie and deceive and pretend that those teachings are/were never part of Mormonism?
         
        It is, in fact, a sad aspect of Mormonism that “lying for the Lord” is an established mode of behavior among the “Saints.”  This is a pattern of behavior in which Mormons feel vindicated in lying about church doctrine/practices if they think that such lies will help toward the greater good of Mormonism.  Unfortunately, this pattern of lying is part of Romney’s mentality, too, and a major reason for his numerous and famous flipflops.

        Duwayne Anderson
        Author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”

        • klr56

          Mr. Anderson,
          I would like to reason together with you, but you take the writings above so totally out of context it would take hours of writing to come close to help you and others understand the truth rather than the lies that you have perpatrated in your message above.
          Let me just ask you a few questions, please.
          Have you seen the original text for what is now the Bible? Since you can not now examine it, according to you, it must not exist. Therefore, you would conclude (if you were consistent) that the Bible is not true.
          Do you believe in prophets? If not, then you do not  believe in the Old or New Testament since they were written by prophets. God said that He would “do nothing save He reveals His word to His prophets”. A prophet would have direct communication with God. If a man declares that He speaks for God then he declares himself a prophet. If he states that he is not a prophet then he is a liar. Joseph Smith did declare himself a prophet and as all other prophets before him, he was denied, abused and like some, murdered for his positions. If a true prophet, then he would certainly know where God lived.
          Do you know where God lives? You certainly seem to imply that you do.
          Have you read the Book of Mormon? It witnesses of Jesus Christ, that He is the God of all people in all the World. Could a man with a third grade education write such a book at the age of 25? Was Joseph Smith a genius, since you believe him to be “a con man”?
          As to the black race, did not the Lord pick and chose when certain races were to receive the message of the Gospel? Read the BIBLE. There is a time and place for all men to come to the understanding of Jesus Christ and God the Father. The Gentiles were the last to receive the message the first time around. Now they are first and the Jews will be last. That’s in the Bible.
          As to polygamy, since it is found in both the Old and New Testament. Again, you have taken the message of a prophet out of context. Abraham, David, Solomon and many others had more than one wife. What God commands you do and what He recinds you do also. Are you telling God what He can and cannot do?
          The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made a complete financial disclosure and yearly has audits made. Are you so fixated on finances that that is all that you are concerned with?
          As you may have discerned, I am also 100% Mormon. I strive to be 100% honest in all my dealings with everyone. I am trying very hard not to be angry with your lying attempt to discredit that which you obviously do not understand or you have a lying spirit within you. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is to be  understood not only by the intellect but more importantly by the spirit. I do not mean to criticize or argue with you but you appear to me much like the Pharisees and Sadducees at the time of Christ. More interested in destroying that which you do not understand rather than trying to discern truth.

          • Anonymous

            It’s highly dishonest for you to claim that I’ve taken anything “out of context,” as I provided links to the official Internet site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where anyone not too lazy to click on the link can read in *full* context.

            Furthermore, you’ve completely missed the point of my post.  The point is not whether Mormon doctrine is right/wrong, but that Mormon *lie* about what their doctrine is.

             ”erp” says he’s a 100% believing Mormon, and then he proceeds to deny doctrines that are *clearly* taught by the Mormon Church.  If you would read my post in the context of my reply to erp, you’ll see that my post consists of links to the church Internet site and to quotations by Mormon prophets demonstrating the doctrines that “erp” denies.

            This is a curious feature within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Church has many odd/curious/strange doctrines that they would rather other folks not know about — so they will (as “erp” did) lie about those doctrines.  I’m simply calling out “erp” — and any other “apologist” who feels similarly inclined.

            For a good read on the Mormon practice of “lying for the Lord,” have a look at the following two links:

            http://mormonthink.com/lying.htm
            http://www.exmormon.org/lying.htm

            Duwayne Anderson
            Author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”

            PS:  The Book of Mormon is a clumsy fraud.  It’s bad fiction, and bad literature.  If you think it’s such a spectacular book, you really need to expand your literary horizons.  For a good read on the absurdity of the Book of Mormon, have a look at the following link:

            http://mormonthink.com/book-of-mormon-problems.htm

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3WSQ2S4HXMTWZTTQEMYY4NAVTE Fred E.

          And if you are a 100% believing Mormon, then you believe that black skin is a curse from god, because that is what the Book of Mormon teaches: I think you have missed something Duwayne; the dark or black skin is not a curse the curse is separation from God the black skin is a mark as the bible tell us. I think the Bible indicates as well that the mark was for Cains own protection. I am a member and have never in the fifty years of membership felt that those with a darker skin were inferior to me in any manner because we are all the offspring of God, who is I might add no respecter of persons. I of course can’t speak for former members such as yourself nor for that matter for the other 14 million plus members across the earth, only the prophet is authorized to do that. 

          • Anonymous

            Here’s what the Book of Mormon says:

            And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity.
            For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had
            become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly
            fair and delightsome that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. [Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 5:21] 

            Read it yourself, on the official Internet site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Here’s the link: http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/5.21?lang=eng#20

            “And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites; [Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 2:15]

            Read it yourself, on the official Internet site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Here’s the link: http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/2.15?lang=eng#14

            “Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, …” [Jacob 3:5]

            Read it yourself, on the official Internet site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Here’s the link: http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/jacob/3.5?lang=eng#4

            Finally, I should comment that you’ve raised a classic strawman argument, because it doesn’t matter whether you interpret the Book of Mormon saying that the black skin is, itself, *the* curse or simply the mark of *the* curse — because either way, it’s racist.

            Your attempt to misrepresent racism in the Book of Mormon, and your attempt to cast the Book or Mormon as saying that the black skin is only a “mark” of the curse, shows how entrenched Mormonism is, within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its followers.

            Duwayne Anderson
            Author of “Farewell to Eden: Coming to terms with Mormonism and science”

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3WSQ2S4HXMTWZTTQEMYY4NAVTE Fred E.

      The plates didn’t mysteriously disappear. If you had read as you said you have you would know where they were at. Maybe you aren’t a Christian and haven’t read the Bible Plural marriage is a religious institution and can be found especially in the old testament and then we are instructed this in Ephesians 1: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: This means that God shall gather together in one all things in Christ. Maybe maybe plural marriage wasn’t supposed to last very long in this dispensation but that portion has been fulfilled and was officially set at rest in 1890 by declaration of the first presidency of the church. Of course this is my opinion not being a representative of the church.

      • Anonymous

        Fred,

        So please, tell us where we can find the golden plates.

        And please tell us, is polygamy practiced in your temples?  May a man be sealed to more than one woman?  May a woman be sealed to more than one man?

        And also, please tell us:  Did Joseph Smith practice polygamy?  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mormons-Are-Christian/1086620691 Mormons Are Christian

    Tornogal,

       You should stop taking your talking points from Anti-Mormon websites.  Check out http://MormonVoices.org

       Also, the Chruch of Jesus Christ (LDS) is a restoration of New Testament Christianity, as such the church’s theology is non-Trinitarian.  11 of the signers of the Declaration of Indepencence were non-Trinitarians (including several presidents).  To now deny the presidency to a non-Trinitarian Christian would cause our founders to scratch their heads.

    • Anonymous

      @Mormons Are Christian:  I’ll take my “talking points” from wherever I please, thank you.  But for the record, I took them from nowhere in particular.  My spouse and I looked closely into your church for a long time.  We had some Mormon neighbors–very nice people–who took us to church with them.  But then we did serious research in a lot of places, including your own “Journal of Discourses.”  The facts jumped there out at us.
      And I frankly do not care who scratches whose head.  My basis for not voting for Mitt Romney is not that he is a “non-Trinitarian Christian” (which is debatable), but that in believing what Mormons do, given hard evidence it is yet another of the several made up contemporary religions to come out of upstate New York in the 19th century, he does not display the critical thinking I want in a president.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3WSQ2S4HXMTWZTTQEMYY4NAVTE Fred E.

        You my friend are not applying critical thought in making your decision simply because you attempt to present yourself as fair. You give yourself away when you then ignore the criteria that you should apply to the choosing of a presidential candidate. If he were to be elected he would not be your pastor so why the religious test which is prohibited by the constitution? It is obvious to me that you are most likely a progressive socialist who is desirous to make sure your candidate wins. The sad thing is you most likely have not applied a religious test to you candidate. You made a statement about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but just mentioned the Journal of Discourses knowing if one accuses a person, organization, or thing that your accusation will soil the candidate that will give your choice a possible defeat. Most folks fall into this category and then we wonder why our nation is in such a condition of deterioration. Integrity used to count but for many now it has nothing to do with winning. Kind of fits in with pro sports where many use an illegal disadvantage to win. It is obvious that you have taken your talking points from undependable sources concerning the church. 

        • Anonymous

          Fred, 

          We are not “friends,” so kindly don’t patronize me with that form of address.  And you know NOTHING about my political inclinations, so speculate all you wish, but you haven’t a clue.  And if you want to cite the Constitution, please understand it first.  There is no prohibition on the electorate applying any test it wishes to candidates.  The prohibition on a religious test is to qualify a person for office; it neither prescribes nor proscribes any test people wish to use in their selection of whom they wish to put in office. The facts are what they are:  Mitt Romney’s faith requires belief in: A 19th century con artist was visited by an angel and given golden plates that later mysteriously disappeared 

          - That God lives near a star named Kolob

          - Black people were spiritually inferior

          - Native Americans’ skin will whiten as they become more righteous

          - A man named Brigham Young spoke for God when he said unless people practiced polygamy they were damned

          - The Mormons’ Book of Abraham was written by and about Abraham, despite numerous Egyptologists saying that’s nonsense

          - One needs secret handshakes to enter Heaven, the same handshakes Joseph Smith ripped off from Free Masonry

          - It’s okay for a Utah church to spend big bucks fighting gay marriage in California

          - A multi-billion church can keep its finances secret from even its own membershipAnd please, tell me which “talking points” I have raised which aren’t correct.

  • Dodie

    What if we applied all these statements and questions to Barack Obama?   What do we know about him, his core, his beliefs past and present?

    • Anonymous

      Interesting thought (President Obama).  Would love to have that discussion  But it’s irrelevant. here.  This discussion started with the article above.  It’s about Mitt Romney.

  • bt33blue

    I couldn’t agree more with Tornogal, and I commend his forthrightness
    in responding to his critic below.

    Romney wants it both ways: 
    he wants to tout his religion, with its supposedly superior “moral
    values,” when it suits his purposes, but he cries “Bigotry!” and wraps himself
    in the protective cloak of righteous indignation at the merest hint of
    questioning whether his beliefs have any basis in reality.  Not that we ought to be singling out Mormons
    for such criticism.  Is the doctrine of
    transubstantiation central to Catholicism any less absurd than the Mormon
    notion that the American Indians are a lost tribe of Israel?  It’s just that Mormon ideas are so unremittingly
    loony as to invite ridicule (as Tornogal’s list clearly reveals).  And ridicule is a legitimate weapon against
    the sanctimony Mormons wear upon their lapels as badges of honor.

    Beyond this, we must remember that for Romney, as with so
    many other politicians, John F. Kennedy’s political dictum applies in
    spades:  “When the chips are down, money
    counts more than religion.”  Romney is an
    ardent worshipper at the altar of Greed. 
    His stint at Bain Capital, where he unhesitatingly bought up companies
    and fired workers for the sake of making enormous profits, ought to be enough
    to cause any working-class person to reject his candidacy outright.  Unfortunately, working-class people hardly
    have a good alternative in the weak “Capitulator-in-Chief” currently in the
    White House.  President Obama has
    hypnotized himself into chasing “bipartisan” moonbeams and has consequently
    been played like a cheap violin by the avowed enemies of working people,
    otherwise known as the Republicans.  He is
    almost as bad as Romney in his willingness to kowtow to the wealthiest sliver
    of the population at the expense of the majority.  Such is the state of affairs in a country
    eager to export its non-functioning brand of democracy at gunpoint to any hot
    spot in the world threatening “our” (i.e., corporate America’s)
    interests.

     

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3WSQ2S4HXMTWZTTQEMYY4NAVTE Fred E.

      Mitt didn’t cry bigotry he simply ask that he be afforded his constitutional rights. and I believe that anyone who has a statement on the subject would demand their rights if they were being trampled on as Mitt Romney’s has been during this campaign season. 

      • Anonymous

        Fred,

        Which rights has Mitt Romney had trampled?

        • bt33blue

          To Tornogal:  Good luck
          trying to get Fred or any other Romney apologist to explain themselves.  Fred
          reminds me of easily offended people (e.g., the odious Bill O’Reilly) who
          complain that Christianity is under attack because the phrase “Happy Holidays”
          is currently in vogue instead of “Merry Christmas.”

          Far too much deference is paid
          today to religious beliefs in general, and especially those of sanctimonious
          and stuffy politicians like Romney.  Why is it considered a scurrilous attack on
          religious freedom to doubt whether we should want a president who believes in
          demonstrably false (or, worse, morally reprehensible) notions as are on display
          in your list of Mormon principles?   Shouldn’t it be fair to ask that
          if people truly believe such things, then what else might they believe – and do
          – once handed the fantastically overarching powers of the presidency?  It goes
          without saying, but in daily life only a fool would accept obvious quackery
          instead of demanding proper training for a service about to be rendered.  Would we
          stand for being operated on by a surgeon who consulted a Ouija board?  Would we
          put up with a plumber who prayed in front of our malfunctioning kitchen sink
          instead of using tools to repair it?  Of course not.  But the
          glaring exception is the field of politics, where “correctness,” that term
          conservatives love to hang around the neck of liberals, dictates that we daintily
          sidestep questions of value and fact and instead be willing, in the name of
          some misbegotten ideals of tolerance and fairness, to bend over backwards and
          accept without question blatant absurdities.  This situation is much like that
          described by the fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” where
          acquiescence to power prevents people from stating the obvious and it is left
          to a guileless boy to show enough courage to speak the truth.

          We who value rationality should
          not be deterred by those who claim principled criticism of religious belief is
          tantamount to bigotry or prejudice.  We should be like that boy and speak out.  We
          should not be cowed by complaints of the likes of Fred who, in towering
          hyperbole, equate even the slightest criticism with having one’s supposed constitutional
          rights “trampled.”  The alternative if we remain silent is
          ironically to empower, in the name of tolerance, more and more intolerance,
          more and more mischief masquerading as religious “values,” which the
          philosopher Blaise Pascal – a highly religious man, no less – candidly warned
          about when he wrote: “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when
          they do it from religious conviction.”

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Mormon/100003047205497 Joe Mormon

          Here is a RE posted to Toronagal before i knew who she was (met on the Associated baptist Press, two articles on Mormons) I hope everyone will seriously think about what would motivate someone to do what she is doing (intentionally posting misleading information about an alraedy hated religious minotiry): is it hate? Or does she stand to gain somehow?  I have an idea on who she is working for, but will not post it unless asked to do so, and then it might be removed……
          Here’s what I said to her elsewhere:
           

          I’ll focus first on Tonya/Tanya’s comment, since she seems
          to be everywhere repeating misinformation and many of the well used
          anti-Mormonisms, then I’ll glance at a few others (some perhaps paid to post
          anti-Mormon propaganda full time, as I’ve noticed elsewhere).

           I noticed that
          some responded Tonya, and Tonya also offered to give
          citations for her misinformation, but we are still waiting on that….:  ) So please check out the other LDS comments
          also, and if you really want to know what LDS believe, the best sources are The
          Book of Mormon, LDS org, etc.

           

          Some seem to care about Mitt’s religion only enough to look
          at anti-Mormon propaganda and then go no further. This is sad. After studying
          many faiths, including Atheism (takes more faith than most), I’ve concluded,
          based on logic alone, that, for me, the Church re-established by Jesus Christ
          (“Mitt’s religion”) is the only religion that has answered the important
          questions, it is rational, backed by abundant evidences, and above all that,
          most importantly, the members ask people not to believe them, but to study it
          out, and ask God. So Tanya:

          “ And that tells me he believes:”  You begin by assuming Mitt believes what you
          believe about Mormonism, not a fair or open minded start, but that’s ok, I
          still love you : ).

           

          “- A 19th century con artist was visited by an angel and
          given golden plates that later mysteriously disappeared.”  Oddly, the religions of other Presidential
          candidates and Presidents are not subjected to this sort of name calling “con
          man” etc  The gold plates didn’t
          disappear mysteriously, and many people saw them, felt them, and watched Joseph
          translate etc. 

          It is fact that Joseph Smith could not have made up the Book
          of Mormon, it is a miraculous book. Mormon haters have been trying to prove it
          false for almost 200 years, and all have failed. This, being translated by a
          19th Century plow boy who could barely spell and didn’t even know Jerusalem had
          walls.

          “- That God lives near a star named Kolob” Many people
          believe God still has a body. Some Baptists believe Jesus still has His body.
          Jesus ascended to God somewhere, before He would let Mary touch Him etc. Our
          very real God lives somewhere, clearly, and that is clearly near something,
          etc… Why is it so wacky to give the place a name besides the
          “sky?” 

           

          “- Black people were spiritually inferior” This is untrue,
          it is not what Mitt’s Church teaches, and it is presumptuous for you to attempt
          to establish LDS doctrine for the world, no offense. Check FAIR lds for
          questions about this and other anti-Mormonisms. There’s a link to Black LDS
          there. The LDS congregation I attend (in conservative Lehi Utah) many racially
          mixed couples, serving as Bishops, Relief Society Presidents etc. I also have
          Black family members. They are LDS and have expressed that they feel very much
          loved and at home in Christ’s Church, but people who just have to keep
          repeating this sort misinformation are intentionally hurtful. Contrary to what
          the article says, the Church issued several statements on this around the turn
          of the 19th Century and later. The First Presidency explained they didn’t know
          why Priesthood was restricted and they didn’t feel at liberty to change it
          without direction from God. Many leaders and LDS scriptures, beginning with
          Joseph Smith, have plainly stated that black people were not inferior, and
          slaves would outshine our highest dignitaries if allowed opportunity. LDS were
          strongly opposed to slavery and they were attacked, raped etc, for their
          pro-black stances. These attacks on LDS and responses led to an official
          government extermination order. The headline on the first LDS paper was an
          anti-slavery statement. Joseph Smith had given priesthood to Blacks, and Blacks
          were among leading early LDS.  True,
          Brigham Young and others held some ideas of the times (curse of Cain) but his
          ideas were mild compared to the Founding Americans, and other non-LDS
          Christians (leading slave ship was called the Jesus, even though Africa was
          predominantly Christian) etc. Arguing that Mitt believes that Blacks are
          inferior is dishonest. It is like arguing that he believes in slavery because
          he is an American, and Founding American Fathers were racist.  Brigham could not help but dress like a
          person from the 19th Century, and have some ideas from those around him. He was
          raised by non-LDS parents who also taught him that a fiddle was evil. He was a
          prophet of God, but also a product of his environment, just as Peter was. Peter
          wouldn’t even “associate” with blacks, whites, etc, until Jesus gave him that
          revelation. Even then he said “not so” but his mind was changed.

           

           ”Forget
          everything I have said, or what…Brigham Young…or whomsoever has said…that
          is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding
          and without the light and knowledge that now has come…” McConkie 

           

          That is what LDS doctrine is on the subject, as I understand
          it (perhaps you know more as you claim : ), everyone thinks they know more than
          the Mormons about Mormonism, right?)

           

          If what Mormons “really believe” is found anywhere besides
          the Bible, it is found in the Book of Mormon, here is what the Book of Mormon
          tells us about God’s Children:

          12 And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me;
          for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all
          good;

           

           

          “- A man named Brigham Young spoke for God when he said
          unless people practiced polygamy they were damned.”   This is untrue. I haven’t read everything
          Brigham wrote, since much of it doesn’t apply to me, but this seems to be one
          of those special quotes from the misinformation, limited edition, anti-Mormon
          Book of Mormon : ).

          “- The Mormons’ Book of Abraham was written by and about
          Abraham, despite numerous Egyptologists saying it is nonsense”  Do you mean the fake Egyptologists in the
          anti-Mormon movie “The God Makers”? Numerous Egyptologists also say the
          Bible is nonsense, this doesn’t make all Bible believing Presidents fools does
          it?  : 
          ) The Book of Abraham has been shown to be miraculously translated, it
          is not nonsense.

           

          “- One needs secret handshakes to enter Heaven, the same
          handshakes Joseph Smith ripped off from Free Masonry”  It’s unfair to make misleading statements
          about sacred mysteries that you know we won’t discuss in a forum, it’s also
          un-Christian, un-liberal, etc.   All I
          will say about this right now is that, if you are claiming that Temple Passion
          plays were “ripped off” from Masons I suggest you do some research…..you might
          find these rites originated from God, and were passed on to the original
          Christians, predating the Masons (who allegedly got the rites from Templars,
          who went to Jerusalem seeking from Christians there), and these rites are still
          practiced in varying degrees by the some of oldest Christian Churches today
          (Armenian Apostolic etc) (Check FAIR). 
          As we look further back, we find that these are teh original Christian
          ordinances, practiced by the Church established by the apostles.  Just as the doctrine of deification was the
          original Christian doctrine (we find this with almost everything taught by the
          plowboy….no offense, but it’s unwise and unfair to dismiss millions as fools
          because you misunderstand

           

          -“ It’s okay for a Utah church to spend big bucks fighting
          gay marriage in California”

          More LDS live in California than Utah, and more are outside
          of America than in. It is not honest to call it a Utah Church. I have gay
          family members (so I have some insider info) they are wonderful people, but I
          happen to know that activists are still seeking to “destroy the Utah brand” and
          are allegedly using media to push in a liberal President for political gain
          (see “Crafting Gay Children”). Much of the hatred against LDS (and therefore
          Mitt) is spread by extreme activists who are anything but “gay” (nothing like
          my open minded gay family members). These activists have expressed hate, post
          anti-Mormon propaganda full time, and have called for violence against
          Mormons….

          “- A multi-billion church can keep its finances secret from
          even its own membership”  I’m not sure
          but it seems you are implying that even the taxman can’t look into LDS finances
          or??? Are you trying to make it look like LDS leaders are taking tithing money
          and buying cars etc?  Again, seems
          misleading to me…but we both know that the only LDS living on members donations
          are the very poor, many of them in other Countries.

           

          “No thanks. Romney is in a cult and if he can’t see through
          this nonsense in the era of the Internet he won’t get my vote.”   Hopefully we do all see through “this”
          nonsense :  ), not saying what you
          believe is nonsense, I don’t know what that is and would never attack you. But,
          when someone is everywhere claiming to know what MItt believes, and then posts
          almost nothing that any LDS believes well….: ) that’s nonsense…:  )

           

          I hope this helps clear some things up, please write back
          soon….in love JM.

          • Anonymous

            Joe,

            Again, happy to go point by point with the facts.

            Joseph Smith con man:  He was taken to trial and paid a fine for being a “seer,”  using magic rock to find treasure.  Of course he never succeeded, but he did charge people money for the service.  And the rock?  It’s what he stared at in a hat to “reveal” the Book of Mormon.  Further, look into the Kirtland Safety Society.  He conned people out of money with an illegal bank.  And look into his practice of sending men on missions so he could marry their wives while they were gone.  He was a con man.

            I do not dispute that Joseph Smith wasn’t up to creating the Book of Mormon, and many believed he plagiarized it from View of the Hebrews or the Spalding Manuscript.  And many of the witnesses who said they had seen the plates were related to Smith, were regarded as mystics, or later said they had seen the plates only with their “spiritual eyes.”  

            If God truly lives near Kolob with a physical body, how does he violate time/space rules to get here and back?  And I’d offer it’s goofy because the notion comes from the Book of Abraham, a book no non-LDS Egyptologist supports as being what it claims.

            Are you excusing Brigham
            Young and Joseph Fielding Smith’s racism because they lived in 19th century
            America? How does that work?  Are prophets really subject to the current sentiments in their countries if they truly speak for God?

            Joseph Fielding Smith, a Mormon prophet
            said:  ”There is a reason why
            one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another
            is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had
            an estate before we came here, and were obedient; more or less, to the laws
            that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there
            [pre-existence] received greater blessings here, and those who were not
            faithful received less. . . . There were no neutrals in the war in Heaven. All
            took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there,
            and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will
            receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro,
            evidently, is receiving the reward he merits.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines
            of Salvation, 1:61, 65-66)

            Note he was a prophet.  Note he titled it “Doctrines of Salvation.”  How can you possibly argue your prophet–THE man you say speaks for God–was not saying that was the doctrine of your church?

            Oh my:  ”“- A man named Brigham
            Young spoke for God when he said

            unless people practiced polygamy they were damned.”   This is untrue.Well let’s look at what your prophet said:  ”Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266).Sounds pretty clear to me.  Don’t you agree your prophet said people are damned if they don’t practice polygamy?”The Book of Abraham has
            been shown to be miraculously translated, it

            is not nonsense. ”Fair enough.  Please tell us one non-LDS Egyptologist who has said it is “miraculously translated.”  Please, even one.”As we look further back, we
            find that these are teh original Christian
            ordinances, practiced by the Church established by the apostles”Please, show us ONE shred of non-LDS evidence to support that.  Again, just one.The fact is, Joe, you have been hoodwinked.  I do not hate Mormons.  We had some very good neighbors who wanted us to join your church.  We were fine until your missionaries warned us to never look at anything not published by the Mormon church.  That set off an alarm.  We reasoned that if it were truly what it claimed, it ought to stand ANY scrutiny or charge.  Unfortunately, despite wanting to believe it, it did not stand scrutiny or bonafide research.  It made us said in a way, but we were relieved we found out before we joined.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Mormon/100003047205497 Joe Mormon

      bt33blue, I hope you will look beyond people like Toronogal, who is a professional hater. She posts misinformation everywhere, and knows she does it. It is sad commentary that so many people accept her hatred without question…..hope you don’t… If you have any real questions ask a real Mormon… :  ) If you wonder about anti-Mormonisms, the abundant evidence for the Book of Mormon, etc go to FAIR lds, Maxwell, etc. Hope to see you exploring the truth soon…: )

  • Mavin10

    Is the doctrine of the Trinity in the
    Bible?

    What is the
    doctrine of the Trinity?

    Mormons believe in
    the the doctrine of the Trinity taught in the Bible. The Bible
    Trinity

    teaches that there
    are three beings, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost

    in the Godhead.
    (Acts 7:55-56, Matt. 3:16) The Scriptures
    also teach that the Trinity is not a mystery but that the Godhead can be clearly
    seen and understood and that our eternal life is dependent on our knowledge of
    God. (Rom. 1:20, John 17:3, 2 Thess. 1:8)
    In twelve places the Bible make it clear that Christ, the God that
    created all things, has a God. Paul tells
    us that Christ has a God, (Eph. 1:17) Christ tells us that He has a God, (John
    20:17, Rev 3:12) and even God the Father tells us that Christ is God and that He
    is Christ’s God. (Heb. 1:8-9) The Bible is also clear that three Gods in the
    Godhead are one God in knowledge, goals and purpose. (John 17:21-22) The Bible does not teach that the one God of
    the Bible is a God of one substance or that we will become one big spirit with
    God as taught by some eastern religions.
    The Bible talks of many gods, (1 Cor 8:5, these are not evil or idol gods in
    Heaven,
    Deu 10:17, and these are not evil or idol gods that God is a God
    of, Rev 19:16 and note that Christ is not a LORD of evil or idol
    LORDS, John 10:34) and all the gods of the Bible that are heirs of
    God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:16-17) and are given all things that the
    Father has (John 16:15, Rev 3:21) are a group representing the ONE God that when
    Christ speaks for the group and says that He knows of no other God in Isaiah.
    (Isaiah 44:6,8) Certainly one cannot
    believe that Christ, the King of Israel, does not know of God, His
    Father!

    The Creedal doctrine of the Trinity has
    little in common with the Bible. True one
    can find the three Gods, (Trinity) God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy
    Ghost in the Bible, but note that in English, the word “and” refers to more than
    one. No place in the Bible does it state that God is one in substance,
    consubstantial, unknowable, one incomprehensible God, a single immutable Being
    or one spirit without body, parts or passions. The Bible does say that God is
    spirit but it does not say that He does not have a body, it does say that
    Christ, a spirit who is God, has a resurrected body of flesh and bones. If the Creedal Trinity doctrine is true that
    God is a spirit without body or parts then the core of Bible Christianity about the resurrection of
    Christ must be false, God forbid, for the
    central point of the Gospel of Christ is the resurrection. The Bible is full of scriptures that talk of
    Gods passions, (Deu 1:37, Exodus 20:5, John 3:16) body and parts, (Mark 12:36,
    Acts 7:56, Exodus 24:10, Exodus 33:11,23, Luke 24:39, Heb 1:3,13, Gen 1:26-27,
    Gen 32:30, John 14:9, James 3:9, Phil 2:6, Rev 22:4.)
    Critical thinking is a gift from God.  If you have the gift, use it wisely when judging others.

    • David_squires

      In defense of the Book of Mormon you need to remember that  none of our scholars knew of the great cities that once stood in Latin American areas. They do now. The Book of Mormon testifies of great cities.
         But I would like to refer you to a book written in the 16th century by Pedro de Cieza de Leon, a Spanish soldier who was also a historian. He interviewed the original inhabitants of the region that Incas later occupied. Cieza writes, “…these Indians tell tell a thing that far exceeds anything else all else they say.” I have compared quotes written in the book “The Incas” by Ceiza along with correlating verses from the Book of Mormon.
      INCAS: “They state for a long time they did not see the sun, and they did suffer a great hardship…”
      BOOK OF MORMON: “And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three day s that there was no light to be seen; and there was great mourning and howling and weeping…;”3rd Ne 8:23
      INCAS: “….they say that out of the regions of the south there came and appeared among them a white man, large in stature, whose air and person aroused great respect and veneration.”
      BOOK OF MORMON: “….they cast their eyes up again toward heaven, and behold, they saw a man descending out of heaven, and he came down and stood in the midst of them:…”3rd Ne 11:8
      INCAS: “And the man they had in this guise had great powers, making plains of hills…”
      BOOK OF MORMON: “All these I caused to be sunk, and made hills and valleys in the place thereof.”3rd Ne 9:8
      INCAS: “And when they saw his power, they called him the Maker of all things, their Beginning, Father of the sun….for he called into being men and animals….”
      BOOK OF MORMON:  ”Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are…” 3 ne 9:15
         These are three of the eight comparisons I listed. Sorry, the INCAS was not translated into English until 50 years after the Book of Mormon was first published.
        By the way, your last name is not Pharisee is it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Mormon/100003047205497 Joe Mormon

    The article was interesting, the comments evern more interesting. Torongal is an anti-Mormon who knows that she is being dishonest. She has pasted these comments all over the internet (not just on Romney articles, on anything where she can hate on Mormons), and has been responded to many times, she simply moves on, unconcerned that she has been caught lying. Once she posted sources, and they did not say what she claims they say. She also knows that LDS Doctrine is not determined by any one leader, I’ll respond again below.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that there does seem to be an
    anti-Mormon element within the Republican party, and they would rather let the
    Country fall than overcome their bigotry. Most turn a blind eye at the other two
    options: Obama and Newt. Obama flip-flops on little things like the legality of
    him declaring war, etc (see U-Turn President, there’s a big list) yet his
    supporters still call Mitt the flipper. Newt flips on small things like being a
    liberal (not just representing them), marriage, etc, and he reportedly
    dishonestly received over a million of our dollars from the freddie mac thing
    (for services rendered as an “historian”), and there is a big list of legit
    issues, but people tend to overlook them, and prefer fabricate issues with Mitt.

    I’ve been undecided, but I’m a factory worker, in one of America’s few
    surviving manufacturing industries (food). The company I work for has 20,000
    employees. They have been bankrupted by greed. Our leading competitor was just
    bought out by a Mexican company that is now the largest and most successful in
    the world. They pay their employees more, and CEO’s less. Many people will
    probably lose their jobs under the next president, due to issues created right
    now. The numerous vice presidents, managers, etc in the Company I work for are
    presently taking bonuses etc from the pension funds and paychecks of the people
    who make the food you eat. If you think this will not affect you, think
    again…the jobs lost due to their poor management, the price increases etc
    will. Obama has done nothing about this. I can’t picture Newt doing anything
    from the heart. I think Mitt will. I hope Americans will overlook petty bigotry
    and I am given the opportunity to vote for him.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, my “Joe Mormon.”    

    I am not an “anti-Mormon,” unless disagreeing with the strange and illogical beliefs of the Latter-day Saint faith is being “anti” anything.  In fact, I think Mormons are generally very nice people, if not misguided, and I most certainly do not “hate on” Mormons.

    I absolutely deny  being dishonest, much less “know[ing]” I am being dishonest.  Everything I have posted is true and taken from reputable sources, most generally from the very words of Mormon so-called  ”prophets.”  I am always happy to have any information I have wrong pointed out, but I strongly object to your claims that I lie.   I do not.

    But in all this, we note you can’t dispute the facts of my original or subsequent posts.

    Mormon prophets have said:

    - Black people are spiritually inferior

    - One needs secret handshakes and signs to enter heaven (These handshakes and signs are remarkably similar to those  Joseph Smith just happened to receive from the Free Masons just weeks before he “revealed them” to his followers)

    - God lives near a star called Kolob

    - The Book of Abraham was written by and about Abraham (despite the fact acknowledged Egyptologists say that is bunk)

    - The Book of Mormon speaks of giant cities and epic battles, plants, and animals (Yet there has been no evidence of any of them)

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