Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Close Call with an Insidious Cult

The votes are in and reason has prevailed! Thank you, America! I do not have to move to Canada (yet).

However, I am keeping this blog because we need to remember how close to disaster we came. While Obama's electoral college landslide is encouraging, the fact is that he only won the popular vote by a narrow margin. And that means that a dangerously large number of Americans were seduced by the Romney campaign's deception.

History professors tell us not to forget the past, lest we be doomed to repeat it. Whether we realized it or not, we witnessed history being made by the Romney campaign. The Republican candidate made history with a radical new strategy described by one of his staffers like this: "We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers." Princeton history professor Kevin Kruse says Romney broke new ground when he "placed a big and historic bet on the proposition that facts can be ignored, more or less, with impunity." Dr. Kruse puts the Romney campaign's whoppers in perspective: Romney's untruths were not only more numerous, but more blatantly false than those of any campaign in U.S. history. In fact, Dr. Kruse describes the Romney campaign's "fundamental disdain for facts" as "something wholly new."

I have already described how Romney's Mormon background has taught him that lying is justified whenever there might be a benefit to his Mormon Church. (See "The Ends Justify the Means and Other Mormon Doctrine.") I have also described the blood oath that he made to do all within his power to build up the Mormon Church. I have described how the Mormon Church fulfills every defining characteristic of a cult, and how cults hurt people. And yet, almost 50% of American voters trusted Romney enough to give him a bully pulpit for social policy and access to nuclear launch codes.

Please, learn what a cult is, how it controls its members, and how it uses its members to manipulate others in society. Education is the only way we will prevent similar religious radicals from obtaining high office in the future. Ignorance is no excuse.

Learn about the Mormon cult today, or risk being assimilated by it tomorrow.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"The Ends Justify The Means" and Other Mormon Doctrine

Mormon Doctrine teaches that the ends justify the means. Sure, murder and dishonesty are wrong in general, but when they serve the Church's purposes, they are okay. The first story in the Book of Mormon teaches this principal: God's people are told to go buy some records from a guy named Laban, who, it turns out, doesn't want to sell them. So, when God's people find Laban passed-out drunk in the street, they cut off his head, take his clothes, and dress up as him so they can retrieve the records from his archive, masquerading as Laban. God "delivered" Laban to his people, so it was only fitting that they decapitate him. When God's servant hesitates about the beheading, God tells him it's okay because the ends (promoting their religion) justify the means. Nevermind that the guy was unconscious and defenseless. They could have stolen his clothes without killing him. And since God "delivered" him in this unconscious state, certainly God could keep him unconscious long enough for His people to hit the road with the records they wanted. But that is not how the story goes. The story clearly teaches that murder is okay, even unnecessary murder, as long as you can justify it as building up the Mormon Church.

Remember that Mormons have sworn on their mortal and eternal lives to give everything they have to "build up the Kingdom of God (i.e. the Mormon Church) upon the earth." We have already described in this blog the ways in which the Mormon Church fits one of the  International Cultic Studies Association's criteria for a cult, i.e. "The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities)."

Mormons call it "Lying for the Lord," and they lie even to their own Church members. When Mormon historians find evidence that contradicts Church doctrine, they are told to keep quiet or be excommunicated. They are told this is not lying, or telling half-truths. Rather, it is keeping advanced doctrine away from people who are not ready to understand such mysteries of God. "Ken Clark, who worked as a teacher for the LDS Church Education System (CES) for 27 years and also served as a bishop before leaving the church in 2003, told The Daily Beast, 'Lying has become an institutionalized method of administrative control with the church.'

So are we surprised that Mitt Romney is a liar? He, too, was a Mormon bishop and trained in the art of lying. In fact, his lies rise to the level of felony offenses.

  • The organization MoveOn.org recently wrote a letter to the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section asking them to investigate Romney's inconsistent statements on federal financial disclosures and SEC filings. On a 2011 ethics filing, Romney said that he was not involved with Bain Capital operations “in any way’’ after 1999. But Securities and Exchange Commission filings say that Romney "continued to serve as chief executive and chairman of Bain Capital, as well as the principal in a number of Bain-related entities, until as late as 2002." Looks like a felony violation of the False Statements Act.
  • Romney's undisclosed off-shore bank accounts also constitute a felony for tax evasion. Romney was never criminally prosecuted for that felony, however, most likely because he took the 2009 amnesty deal. Of course, Romney won't show you his 2009 taxes because then everyone would see that he took the amnesty. However, Romney's 2010 taxes also failed to include off-shore accounts in Luxembourg, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Germany, Ireland and Australia. We only learned about these accounts in January 2012 when Romney went back and amended his federal ethics forms to include them. Looks like more felony tax evasion.
  • Romney finally released his 2011 taxes, claiming that he paid 14.1% in taxes, but only because he didn't take all the deductions he could have. Presumably, if he does not win the election (or even if he does), he will amend his 2011 return to re-coup the several-hundred-thousand-dollar tax rebate. But in the meantime, he will deceive voters into thinking that he paid 14.1% in taxes, which is still less than most middle-income Americans paid in taxes.

Some people are saying that Romney "won" the debate last night, but that is only because he lied so much. 
  • First Romney said he doesn’t have a $5 trillion tax cut, when, in fact, his plan does include a $5 trillion tax cut.
  • Then Romney says he will pay for the $5 trillion tax cut without raising the deficit or raising taxes on middle class. Experts say that's notpossible. The fact is, Romney's tax break for the rich will cost the middle class an extra $2000 in taxes per family per year.
  • Romney says his health plan covers pre-existing conditions, when it does not. (He keeps saying it does, and his own campaign keeps correcting him because it doesn’t.)
  • Romney says Obamacare includes a board that will make treatment decisions, which it does not. That, in fact, is specifically forbidden by Obamacare.
  • Romney said at the debate that he likes teachers, but he has said in the past that we don't need more teachers, firefighters and police. In fact, last night, he said he would "stop the subsidy to PBS" even making a reference to Big Bird. Sesame Street has been providing free pre-school education to millions of Americans since 1969, the educational impact of which has never crossed Romney's mind. Romney thinks spending money on education is a waste, but providing more tax cuts to billionaires and big oil companies is going to help our economy.  
  • Romney said at the debate that we have a responsibility as a people to take care of those who can’t take care of themselves, yet he thinks people with cancer and no health insurance can just “go to the emergency room” to get treatment. He wants to let un- or under-insured people just get sick and die.
  • And he wants to take away student loans and Pell grants from college students because he thinks they are moochers. Well maybe everyone can’t sell their dad’s stock to pay Harvard tuition. Romney's buddy Boehner says Obama has never had a real job. Oh really? And Romney has had a real job? Has he ever cleaned toilets or flipped burgers for minimum wage? No, he got cushy jobs set up by his rich, well-connected dad. Meanwhile, Romney thinks it’s great to move American jobs to China, where he only has to pay the workers 24 cents per hour and feed them rotten food. These poor workers don’t even have showers. They have little buckets of water that they splash on themselves in between their 16-hour work shifts. Romney toured the facility in 1998, and saw the conditions himself, yet did nothing to improve them. He invested $23 million in this sweat shop, but according to the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, conditions have not improved and workers are still paid below subsistence wages. Which is fine with Romney, the unemployed retiree whose investements earn him $10,406.97 per hour, 24-hours a day, while he does nothing. Romney's got it made, so why should he care if Americans can't find work because he out-sourced their jobs to sweat shops in China? Romney "created the model of harvesting profits by shipping good American jobs to China" say laid-off Sensata workers, explaining how "Mitt Romney is personally benefiting from our misery."
The second debate will give Obama a chance to call Romney out on all of his lies. May the truth come out!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A For-Profit Charity

Mitt and Ann Romney boast that they donate 10% of their income to charity. That "charity" is the Mormon Church, and it turns out that describing the Mormon Church as a "charity" is a stretch of the imagination. "Corporation" would be a better description. The Mormon Church donates only about 0.7 percent of its annual income to charity. You read that correctly: less than 1%. Doesn't seem very charitable of them, does it? For comparison, the United Methodist Church gives about 29 percent to charity.

The Mormon Church doesn't even pretend that the 10%-of-income donations (tithes) will go to charitable causes. It is often reported that the Mormon Church takes care of it's own members, and it's true that the Church sometimes gives money or food to it's poorest members. But that money comes from a separate fund (called "Fast Offerings"), that all members are expected to contribute to ON TOP OF the 10% tithe donation. Similarly, charitable donations from the Church to victims of natural disasters come from yet another fund, the Humanitarian Aid Fund, which is separate from, and in addition to, the 10% tithing donation. As you can imagine, most Church members have a hard enough time paying 10% of their income, so the donations to Fast Offerings and Humanitarian Aid funds are much smaller than their tithing donations. Which means that the vast majority of the money donated to the Mormon Church, while tax deductible, is not designated to go to any charitable cause.

If the Mormon Church is not spending it's money ($8 billion per year in tithes) on charity, what is it spending it on? Answer: Real estate and various large, for-profit businesses. The Church is spending $3 billion on a mall in downtown Salt Lake City. That means they spend 32 times more money, per year, on the mall construction project than they do on charity. And the mall is just one tiny piece of the Mormon Church's vast capitalist enterprise, which includes:

  • The Polynesian Cultural Center (i.e. Hawaiian theme park) that is the #1 most lucrative paid-admission tourist attraction in Hawaii. It brings in $60 million a year, yet pays no taxes because it is related to church activities.
  • $2 million in Burger King stock. (Note that Mormons would have to pay capital gains tax if they cashed in their stock holdings before donating 10% to the Church. So many donate the stock directly to the Church, which pays no capital gains tax when it sells the stock.)
  • $1 million in Domino's Pizza stock.
  • A 300,000 acre cattle ranch in Florida that is the largest cow-calf ranch in the United States, according to National Cattlemen's Beef Association statistics.
  • Control of "at least 100 companies or businesses." (a conservative estimate from a 1991 investigation)
  • Real estate holdings in all 50 states and around the world, making the Mormon Church the nation's largest landowner.

The Mormon Church's business subsidiaries were estimated in 1991 to generate $4 billion a year in sales. I'm sure the current figure is much larger, but since the Church does not make it's finances public, it's difficult to know. But even in 1991, the Mormon Church's $8.7 billion volume would make it, if it were a publicly traded company, 54th or 55th place on the Fortune 500 list, above Honeywell, General Mills and Campbell Soup.

Most Mormons are not aware of all the Church's business and real estate holdings. In fact, they are mostly in the dark about where their money is going. This is because the Mormon Church, unlike most tax-exempt charitable organizations, has not disclosed its assets publicly since 1959. Members are reassured by a vague statement from Church leaders at their annual meetings that all the money was spent in accordance with Church goals, but no financial details are ever released. No wonder Mitt Romney sees no reason for transparency about his finances.

All of this begs the question: Why is Romney's (or anyone's) donation to the Mormon Church tax deductible? What happened to the separation of church and state? Why do donations to capitalistic "churches" (read: "corporations") that are raking in billions of dollars deserve a tax break? Why do we allow these for-profit enterprises to wear the guise of a "charity" so they can avoid paying their fair share? These are questions we need to ask if we are truly concerned about the national deficit.

Furthermore, if Mitt Romney points to his "charitable donations" as an excuse for his embarrassingly low tax rate, we should think twice about how charitable those donations really are. I think I'm starting to understand where he got his I'm-rich-and-I-don't-have-to-pay-taxes mentality from. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Romney Still Hasn't Answered the Question

Thank you, Richard Packham, for standing up and asking Romney the question that matters! In Packham's excellent article, which is more thorough than my short post on the subject, he describes the secret Mormon temple ceremony, illustrates how the Mormon Church uses the temple oaths to coerce its members into action (think California's Proposition 8), and extends the question to a Mormon President of the United States:
"The question for American voters is: knowing that Romney has taken this secret oath, that he is a faithful Mormon, do you want him to answer the question 'Would you feel bound by your sacred oath to obey the law of consecration that you made in the endowment ceremony and use the power of the presidency to benefit the Mormon church?'"
Please read this article, and then contact the Romney campaign, asking them to answer the salient question. You can contact the Romney campaign using the web form at http://www.mittromney.com/forms/other. Or call 857-288-3500, or write to

Romney for President
PO Box 149756
Boston, MA 02114-9756

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Romney won't let you have an abortion, but he won't let you keep the baby, either.

A new book about Mitt Romney tells about the when Romney, a bishop in the Mormon Church, pressured a pregnant woman to give up her baby for adoption:

"He came over to her apartment, and encouraged her to turn her son over to the church’s adoption agency when he was born. (The church’s position is that if a happy marriage between parents of a newborn seems unlikely, adoption is preferable to single parenting.)"

"Hayes was offended by the suggestion, and told Romney she would never give up her son. But, according to Hayes, Romney told her, 'Well, this is what the church wants you to do, and if you don’t, then you could be excommunicated for failing to follow the leadership of the church.'"

"Though she was defiant, the authors write, 'In that moment, she also felt intimidated. Here was Romney, who held great power as her church leader and was the head of a wealthy, prominent Belmont family, sitting in her gritty apartment making grave demands.'

"Hayes acknowledged the seriousness of excommunication: 'This is not playing around. This is not like, ‘You don’t get to take Communion.’ This is like ‘You will not be saved. You will never see the face of God.’'"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Simple, Yes/No Questions

Mitt Romney thinks that religion should not be brought up during the campaign.

True, we shouldn’t waste too much time on religion when there are more pressing things to discuss at the debates, like foreign policy and the economy. However, I think these questions are relevant to Romney’s competence as a Presidential candidate. Therefore, I have distilled them down to just a few simple yes/no questions so that we can quickly get them out of the way and then move on to unemployment and other pressing issues facing the nation.

Question: Mitt Romney, did you hold your right arm to the square and "promise before God, angels and witnesses" to "consecrate yourself, your time, talents and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion"?

Answer if Romney is not lying: Yes

Question: When you made this promise, did you mean it? Did you take it seriously?

Answer if Romney is not lying: Yes. Yes.

Question: Have you since forgotten about this promise? Or have you memorized it by repeating it hundreds of times, every time you attend the Mormon temple?

Answer if Romney is not lying: I have not forgotten. I have repeated it hundreds of times.

Question: If you were elected President of the United States, would you consider your position as President to be one of the things that falls under the category of “everything with which the Lord has blessed you”?

Answer if Romney is not lying: Yes

Question: When you participate in the “true order of prayer” in the Mormon temple, are all of the women (but not the men) in the room required to wear veils over their faces?

Answer if Romney is not lying: Yes

Question: When Thomas S. Monson was named President of the Mormon Church in April 2008, did you participate in a “Solemn Assembly” where you raised your right arm to the square and promised to sustain Monson?

Answer if Romney is not lying: Yes

Question: And does “sustain” in this context mean that you will follow the teachings of Monson, whatever they may be, because the Mormon Church teaches that the President of the Church will never lead you astray?

Answer if Romney is not lying: Yes