New website on Mitt Romney, the Mormon

Anticipating that Mitt Romney, the Mormon, might be selected as John McCain’s running mate, we created a website about Mitt Romney’s family, his mission to France, his involvement in the Church, some misconceptions about Mormonism, and issues surrounding faith and politics for Mormons:

Mitt Romney Mormon

Maybe it will come in handy in 2012 or 2016.

John F. Kennedy on Mormonism

On September 26, 1963, President John F. Kennedy spoke at the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City to an audience that included the Mormon prophet David O. McKay. JFK was complimentary of Mormons, but spent most of his time talking about U.S. foreign policy. I listened to the talk with my parents, little brother, and cousin as we drove to Park City during the Christmas break. My dad and I couldn’t help but think JFK would be in favor of the Iraq war if he were here now.

Here is a video with some snippets about Mormons and the Church:

Of all the stories of American pioneers and settlers, none is more inspiring than the Mormon trail. The qualities of the founders of this community are the qualities that we seek in America, the qualities which we like to feel this country has: courage, patience, faith, self-reliance, perseverance, and, above all, an unflagging determination to see the right prevail.

Let us remember that the Mormons of a century ago were a persecuted and prosecuted minority, harried from place to place, the victims of violence and occasionally murder, while today, in the short space of 100 years, their faith and works are known and respected the world around, and their voices heard in the highest councils of this country.

As the Mormons succeeded, so America can succeed, if we will not give up or turn back.

You can find the full talk on Archive.org.

The Bright Side of Tragedy

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Robin Baudier moved in with her parents in their FEMA trailer home. She was embarrassed to move in with her parents and missed her autonomy, privacy, and good job in Los Angeles. But she said she’d never been in better shape, never spent spent so much time outside, and never been closer to her family.

I know it might sound strange that I am indirectly describing Hurricane Katrina as a blessing, since it took my family’s home and recovering from it has taken over our lives. But I love my awful life so much right now, that I find it hilarious when I am unable to convince anyone else of it.

I know in my own life it’s easier to remember God, appreciate my family, and be thankful for what I have when times are hard. The Book of Mormon teaches that this is a true principle, and a primary reason for difficulties:

2 Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.

3 And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.

There’s nothing supernatural about Robin’s lemons-to-lemonade story except maybe her optimism. Hard times bring perspective and reset priorities. But even more importantly, if salvation is about knowing God and always remembering Him, we should be thankful for events that help us know and remember.

Read “The Strange Blessing That Brought Me Home” by Robin Baudier.

Mountain Meadows Massacre and September Dawn

This weekend a new movie called September Dawn was released, presumably to coincide with the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The Mountain Meadows Massacre was the killing of roughly 120 emigrants by local Mormons who were passing through Southern Utah. Though evidence does not support involvement by Brigham Young or any Church sanction, the Massacre has rightly been a disturbing part of Church history.

This weekend I helped create a new website at mountainmeadowsmassacre.com, with a page specifically about September Dawn. The movie received poor reviews and is not likely to make any lasting impression on the public, but it was unfortunate that it so sensationalized the story and was devoid of serious scholarship and history.

The Church’s recently released article on the Massacre was written by Richard E. Turley, who I recently saw speak at the FAIR Conference. In his presentation, he said the Mountain Meadows Massacre precisely fits the pattern of other massacres which he has studied, i.e. a group of people who has repeatedly been persecuted or injured lashes out against perceived enemies. While this does not excuse the killing of the emigrants, it does help explain how an otherwise peaceful people could perform such an unthinkable act. I look forward to rereading Richard Turley’s talk on the FAIR website when it is available.