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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The truth about Romney -- from a cartoonist?

Can't seem to get away from the campaign after several posts on the war -- though it's tempting to do something on Blackwater offing a New York Times pet dog in Baghdad. (As that fine film once put it, They shoot humans, don't they?) The funniest thing: On the home page at the Times tonight very near where they are, finally, reporting this incident, stands the small headline, "Employees explain the benefits of bringing their dogs to work."

But I'll dwell instead at an exclusive interview earlier today by my E&P colleague Dave Astor with Steve Benson. He is the Pulitzer-winning-- and hard to pin down politically -- editorial cartoonist who also happens to be an ex-Mormon and the grandson of Mormon legend Ezra Taft Benson. He thinks Romney is telling lies about how much he REALLY would be under the sway of the church if he really took the White House. Here's the link: http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003686826


Anonymous said...

Interesting that the piece never mentioned that this Bensen is an ex-mormon. No bias there, evidently? He (Bensen) sounds hostile, disturbed which makes me not trust what he says. I do think Mitt Romney has done many respectable things and has a very sound family, wonder what Bensens is like?

Lorin said...

Wow, as a Mormon and a journalism graduate, I found this story staggeringly bad, particularly coming from E&P. Benson is claiming his private interpretations of church teachings are actual church teachings (most anti-Mormons seem to do this), and the writer takes everything he says at face value. A five-minute fact check could have drastically improved this article. VERY sloppy journalism!

Independent said...

This story is a hatchet job. The paper actually sought this guy out? Shame on them. "Let's find a really BITTER Ex-Mormon" Lame. GO TO THE SOURCE IN JOURNALISM. Must have forgotten that one. Ever heard about interviewing The actual CHURCH??? What he said about the Temple is completely FALSE too... how about getting the facts from the Church before getting hit with a law suit for publishing incorrect practices??? This guy is probably an EX-COMMUNICATED MORMON. As in, KICKED OUT... completely one-sided and biased. This paper needs to print an apology to the Church and fire whoever recommended printing this story with so many holes in it!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the piece never mentioned that this Bensen is an ex-mormon. No bias there, evidently? He (Bensen) sounds hostile, disturbed which makes me not trust what he says. I do think Mitt Romney has done many respectable things and has a very sound family, wonder what Bensens is like?

What the world are you talking about?

The headline is this: Ex-Mormon Cartoonist Says Romney Not Telling Truth

In the first words of the story it says this: As an ex-Mormon, Arizona Republic editorial cartoonist Steve Benson...

Later in the story it says this: That was the year Benson left what he calls the "Mormon cult." One reason for his decision was disgust with the way Mormon officials tried to fool church members...

Need more examples or did you not read the story? JHC!

EvilPoet said...

Retro Politics: Censored by Two Mormons

nvbeehive said...

As a Journalist and a Mormon, I would only comment that the author does little to comment on Bensen's severe bias or prejudice. In the West, Benson is well known for his anti-Mormon rhetoric. He has been on a life's journey to say and do anything he can to destroy the Mormon faith that excommunicated him (only as a last resort because of his continued opposition to the church in the press and in his expressed views). Over the years, I have enjoyed his cartoons, but now he just seems like a bitter outsider. He is not a good source or should have been balanced out with another source. The commitment to the church he is talking about is regarding service, not fanaticism or blind faith. We all serve in the church without compensation. We also donate 10% of our gross incomes to help building projects and schools, etc. We give even more for welfare purposes. The clear intent of the commitment is to help and serve others, not walk around like robots following nonsense commands. What manner of command would a moderate 90+ year old leader of a 177 year old church make that would cause Bensen such concern? Be nice to others. Be happy. Go to church? Serve the less fortunate? Yep, those are real concerns, I can tell.

Alan said...

Steve Benson has been anti-Mormon for a long time. He's the grandson, not the son, of Ezra Taft Benson, the former president of the Mormon church. He was eager to go onto 60 Minutes to rail on the church a few years ago.

It's hilarious to hear him suggest the church was lying about the condition of his grandfather. What utter nonsense. We all knew Ezra Taft Benson's condition was poor. When he spoke publicly, it was with great difficulty, and then not at all. Where was the 'deception?' He didn't come to many meetings, and Gordon B. Hinckley (the current president) shouldered much of the work himself. I was just a teen back then, and even I got it.

Then, Benson's assertion that because Romney has pledged his allegiance to God and the church he's a liar for promising to answer to the voters is nonsense. The church has long been clear, in the Book of Mormon and in more recent teachings, that civic leadership and religious leadership are two separate matters, and that the church expects its members to do their duty as a citizen, and that neither the church nor God will expect a person to abandon his duty to country. Through history, the Mormons have shown their undeniable loyalty to both God and country. Steve Benson has only shown his desire to tear other people down, and not just the Mormons.

Ken said...

So, cartoonist Steve Benson has invented a new political conspiracy. What a surprise.
Benson had a falling out with his church and now takes opportunities to try
to embarrass his past associates. Benson is the one who should blush. What a
load of baloney he has delivered to E&P. He has drawn a picture of
temple-attending Mormons being subservient to church leaders who routinely
dictate political behavior. This is a joke. Being Canadian I am not involved
in any political campaign in the U.S. I have however spent the last forty
years working at the federal, provincial and municipal political levels in
my country and have worked with a number of Mormons in politics in all three
areas including six years as the Executive Assistant to a Mormon mayor of
one of our largest cities. In four decades I have never even once seen a
Mormon Church leader attempt to direct a politician or for a Mormon
government leader to allow Church duties to dictate civic responsibilities.
One of the thirteen Mormon Articles of Faith states, ``We believe in being
subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring,
and sustaining the law``. Moreover, a favorite Mormon scripture states that
Mormons should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do many things of
their own free will and bring to pass much righteousness ``for the power is
in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves``. I have experienced first
hand these ideals influencing Mormon culture.

Craig said...

So, "lorin", what private interpretations has Benson claimed to be Church teachings? The LDS covenant to the law of consecration in the temple, viz.:

You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the Law of Consecration as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants, in that you do consecrate yourselves, 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.

So where's the private interpretation? Either they covenant obedience and consecration or they don't.

Or are you taking umbrage at the fact that until 1990 the temple had penalty oaths, where the member vowed that they would suffer their life to be taken rather than reveal the signs and tokens?

Or are you disagreeing that in 1978, the Mormon Church finally allowed blacks to hold the priesthood, but not one jot nor tittle of the previous doctrine had been revoked, anymore than the Manifesto had revoked the doctrine underlying polygamy?

And do you disagree that LDS men can be sealed to women after the death of their first spouse and that in the hereafter they will be sealed polygamously to each of these women?

Exactly where is this private interpretation that you're moaning about - because I can assure you, the one with the problem of private interpretation is you.

And finally, "independent", Steve Benson RESIGNED from the LDS Church. Evidently, you can't read either.

Bill said...

If as Benson says Romney isn't fit for office, does also mean we should impeach Harry Reid....Both he and Romney are allegedly members in good standing of the LDS (Mormon) Church. Why do they act and believe so politically different? It pretty clear that the Mormon church isn't pulling either one of their strings.

Bill said...

If as Benson says Romney is not fit for office, does that mean we should impeach Harry Reid? Since both are allegedly LDS (Mormon) members in good standing, that would lead one to the logical conclusion that the LDS Church isn't controlling anyone.

I am not sure what really happened in Benson's life but he is clearly bitter, distorting the facts and jumping to illogical conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Wow, somebody's bitter...

ihenpecked said...

A one-source story? No comments from the church? So much for setting the example for journalism.

klebean said...

Mormons believe they will bring the kingdom of god on earth, starting with Mormons taking the reigns of the US government when the constitution is hanging by a thread. steve isn't mincing words. Mormons do make secret covenants (including handshakes) in their temples to give their all to "uphold the kingdom of god on earth." Romney's presidential campaign is backfiring on Mormoms, creating cognitive dissonance in many of their members. Some react as you see demonstrated in the comments above. I've seen it many times as a former mormon.

Bigotry alive and well In the US of A said...

I think your comments are a pathetic miss representation of the truth and clearly show your delusional miss understandings of the church. What didn't your mother hug you enough? Caught smoking dope, got called on it and it gave you a bad taste for the church? Whatever your issues are they started out having nothing to do with the LDS church. They are based on your hatred for something other than the actual truth and the facts. I know I used to be a childhood friend of yours. Nice to see you want freedom of speech but freedom of religion is a whole different deal. Bigot I don'think you deserve to be published if you cannot respect the freedom to choose a religion. Ever read the constitution?

Anonymous said...

The LDS Church's most fundamental doctrines are printed in what we call "The Articles of Faith". The 12th article states that we believe in...obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. Mitt Romney will do that as President. There are dozens of Mormons in state and national politics--I would like Benson to name one instance when our leaders tried to influence these politicians to do inappropriate things. I'm pretty sure Harry Reid has not preached from the Book of Mormon on the floor of the Senate. Brother Benson we pray for you. The church has always had detractors, but it will continue to grow and outlive all those that persecute it. Please let the lives of the Latter-day Saints that you know be the true test of whether the LDS church is good or bad.

insanad said...

Mitt Doll with exchangable values costumes, batteries not included.

Whenever I see Mitt Romney, even from when he was helping SLC with it's Olympic Games challenges I get the distinct impression of a very slick used car salesman and the American people are the shills.

Maybe it isn't his oily countenence and nasaly tone but more the sanctimonious sneer and practiced nods. He comes from a long line of Mormons who've perfected this "Public Persona" in their weekly meetings, BYU and televised broadcasts. That half turn at the podium and head nod that suggests he's coming down a notch to casual, "I'm going to let you in on the secret" pose.

I grew up Mormon and saw this all the time, especially in the church heirarchy. The more they blink their eyes in a practiced show of "Deep spiritual sincerity" and soften the voice to a BYU pentameter and sing songy tone, the bigger the lie they're telling. The Mormon leaders are so skilled at this tactic andit's been practiced from the inception of the church by their biggest leader/liar, Joseph Smith. Brigham Young mastered it better than any in his time and his manipulation of the press and our govt. for his dirty and corrupt secrets and power is legendary.

The documentation is overwhelming on all these counts. I believe Mitt Romney is just the latest puppet mouthpiece in this church's history of lies, manipulation, and absolute distortion of truth, history, or fact. They invented obsfucation. Go to http://www.mormoncurtain.com / and do a little browsing.

The Mormon people aren't bad, just their doctrine and religious practices. Beware America if you are foolish enough to support or elect such a charletan. He has been conditioned from birth to close his eyes to reality, fact, or reason. He'll jettison loyalties faster than grease through a goose when it comes to holding true to any value he professes at at the moment. He's a puppet of the Repub. party and I highly suspect under all that makeup is JEB BUSH, just waiting for his turn in the drivers seat.

Pinnochio wants to become a "Real Boy" but he just can't stop lying and so his nose grows and grows. He can't help it, he comes from a long line of such purveyors of obfuscation and revisionist history and he's been so well trained in the art that it's second nature to change positions, to re position his position, to deny, cover up and feign ignorance at the lies or inconsistancies. Yes, he's a dyed in the wool McMormon, but that makes him ripe for the kind of distortion necessary to be the perfect wooden puppet for the Republican Puppetmasters.

If you want to know how many Mormon Leaders have practiced "lying for the Lord" in the past, here's an in-depth link. This man's experience is very common among those who try to leave or make sense of the church doctrine. http://www.exmormon.org/whylft149.htm

Dan said...

Actually, doctrinally speaking, Mr. Benson is wrong and Romney is correct. Romney said, “When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God.”

This is doctrinally consistent with Mormon teachings in that the laws of the land must be obeyed and the oath here would be his highest covenant with God. I would even speculate that this was some of the subject matter discussed in his meeting with Hinckley.

But it was clear in this article that Mr. Benson was not interested in Mormon doctrine and finding any truth therein.

It begs the question, when ex-Mormons leave the church, why do they care so much about proving it wrong? If you leave it and don’t believe in it, then why even care? Why would you waste your time talking or thinking about it? Wouldn’t you move on with your life and instead promote something that you replaced it with instead? Funny, it always seems to be the case with them… they can never leave it alone.

Seems as if they live their lives trying to justify leaving or reassure themselves they made the correct decision in the first place. Sad really…

Anonymous said...

Good analysis by Benson. Take Harry Reid, for example - another believing Mormon - whose political positions are by direct order of his church.

Swint said...

Steve Benson is a notorious Anti-Mormon, among the likes of those that created the GodMakers. His claims are less valid on Mormonism than ignorant evangelicals whom claim to know LDS doctrine.

Steve doesn't even attempt to hide his contempt for the church, thus how can his claim be taken as accurate?

The Real Truth said...

Enough has been said about the lack of partiality in the journalism.

To those who say that the Church and BYU are chalk full of scheming liars, consider this:

None of the leaders campaign for positions. They don't even know which callings (positions) they will ever receive.

Let's use Occam's Razor. Which is more likely, these are honest, God fearing men, who are doing their best to help mankind?

Or that they're evil scheming fiends? If you're really interested, do some research. Look at some biographies on these men and see for yourself.

As for me, I've listened to and read their words. I've met some of them.

I once met Elder Richard G. Scott in Lima, Peru. I had the chance to shake his hand and look him in the eyes. This is a man of God! I could feel it as surely as I could feel his hand.

In Peru, I also had the chance to hear Elders Dieter F. Uchtdorf and David A. Bednar in person. Say what you like about conspiracies and hypocrisy, I know that these are honest men, called of God.

These men are personal witnesses of Jesus Christ. Their invitation: Come unto Him .

Anonymous said...

All your comments regarding Steve Benson leave out a small fact which you should remember: he is the grandson of your late "prophet, seer and revelator" Ezra Taft Benson, and he knows his stuff. His own father tried to silence him when he brought to the forefront a little truth that the mormon hierarchy wanted to hide: that near Mr. Benson's death, he was unable to function and the hierarchy wanted the world to think he was fully functional. So if anyone would know the truth about the mormons, it would be the grandson of a previous "prophet, seer and revelator."

Anonymous said...

A bitter man and a one-sided article. Whate ever happened to religious tolerance?

awesome said...

Benson hit the nail on the head. He speaks the truth.

Anonymous said...

Talk about sour grapes! The Mormons I've had association with are some of the finest people I've ever known. I really wonder if Romney is too good a man to be elected with his high morals, devout values and vision. Maybe our society would rather have someone like Benson run the country?

Paul Derengowski said...

Steve is spot-on in his comments, and essentially comes to the same conclusions that I had when I wrote my rebuttal to Romney's bait-in-switch effort in College Station.


The Real Truth said...

One blogger commented that because Steve Benson is the grandson of the late President Benson, he should know better than anyone about the "real" Mormonism.

What he/she silently fails to recognize is that Steve's father and other family members (so far as I know) are faithful members of the Church and wholeheartedly sustain it.

The argument is also a logical fallacy as it is a false appeal to authority.

Brian said...

I think the notion that Romney, or any other endowed LDS member, should not serve in political office because of their temple oaths of service to the church is far overstated. Many people can make such covenants and interpret them in many ways that do not conflict with public service, particularly given that the church since the late 19th century has not expected members in public positions to make decisions based on church considerations.

On the other hand, I think the fact that Romney was a representative of the LDS church as a missionary at a time when the stated belief of the church, based on the 1949 First Presidency statement and reenforced by the 1969 First Presidency statement, was that Blacks were cursed collectively and individually disqualifies him for public service, given that he has never apologized for condoning white supremacy. Moreover, his lack of critical thinking skills, as demonstrated by his statements on a range of topics secular and religious, should really cause him to remove himself from the race.

Deseretian said...

How funny. Benson's got a lot o' kin who are still faithful Mormons. His bitterness probably extends to his feeling that he and they have lost a connection. Just because Romney didn't build his life around comic strips (I mean, c'mon!), Benson doesn't need to hate. Lame complaints from a lame dude with a lame job.

billy said...

All of you LDS supporters have yet to name a single item where Mr. Benson is in error. The fact is, the LDS God, "Heavenly Father" is merely an exalted man. He has parents, grandparents, wives, and is NOT the creator of all. Mormons are free to believe this stuff, but theologically it's NOT Christian. Christians have a different God, one who has ALWAYS been God, has no wives, and is omnipotent and awesome; much bigger that the LDS God....

Portia said...

Couple of things here: bitterness in and of itself does not prejudice testimony. If it did, no one would have been convicted at Neuremburg.

Second, maybe one of these mormons posting about Benson's comments would also like to comment on the following statement, taken from their own church's records and made by their most admired prophet, to whom they sing anthems. (Joseph Smith, the church's founder, is presumably the foremost authority on mormonism):

"Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers![Joe was under attack for polygamy] All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet...When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go." (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408, 409)
- Joseph Smith: founder, prophet, seer, and revelator of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Nathan Raeburn Kennard said...

Scotoma is an apt description for the Mormon commenters claiming Steve Bensen is biased. They are apparently more focused on their perception of bias than on the merits of his claims. Some Mormons treat the belief system like a cafeteria plan, taking what they like and dismissing the rest as irrelevant. Reading Steve's comments, it seems that he makes the egregious error (in some people's eyes) of expecting Mitt and other temple Mormons to interpret literally doctrines taught to be literal.

Mormons are threatened by anyone who chooses to resign. As for Mitt's truthfulness or not, Mormonism has a long and venerated history of 'lying for the Lord'. By redefining the word 'lying' to mean 'saying something God would not want you to say', Mitt can honestly claim he is not lying. Redefining is a very Mormon approach.

Tom Clark said...

Mitt Romney is what Mormons refer to as an endowed member of the church, meaning he has gone to one of the Mormon temples and made several sacred covenants with God. One of those covenants is called The Law of Consecration and this is the exact wording of it:

"You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the Law of Consecration as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants, in that you do consecrate yourselves, 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."

At the point in the Mormon temple ceremony in which this Law of Consecration was read aloud, Mitt Romney was asked to bow his head and say yes as a way of signifying that he was promising God that he would uphold the Law of Consecration.

Before the internet the Mormon church was mostly successful at keeping what went on in their temples a secret. But all of that has changed and what Mitt Romney promised his God when he went through the temple is now a matter of public record.

Most active members of the Mormon church don't like that we know all of their temple secrets but the horse is out of the barn and it's not likely to be coaxed back in anytime soon.

I believe we're justified in asking Mitt Romney to address the Law of Consecration candidly and honestly. For true believing Mormons the Law of Consecration is a very serious matter. If Romney takes it seriously then Americans need to know that because it would ultimately present a conflict of interest if Romney were to become president.

Elder Matt of the Seventies said...

Elder Matt of the Council of Seventies, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

First let me clear up any misconception about the Church of Jesus Christ agenda.










Zarathustra said...

Benson's comments are right on! Those Mormons who want to discount his comments as "biased" are simply saying that they don't like them. Of course they don't.

Mormons accuse anybody who criticizes their church or one of their fellow-believers of bias, lying, distortion, or misquoting. Mormons also believe in giving the non-Mormon public only "milk before meat" - i.e., telling them only what will be acceptable, not the whole truth.

I also left Mormonism after 25 years as a faithful Mormon. I also believe that it is a "cult." Those examining Mormonism and Mormon claims (and Mormon candidates) should be open-minded enough to wonder WHY those of us who know Mormonism from the inside, but left, are so opposed to its influence.

MommyBear said...

Steve is 100% correct in his comments. I should know. I was a Mormon for 17 years.

Think - then blog... said...

So Benson is biased. Can any true believing Mormon honestly say that they are not biased? Is the church not biased in everything it claims and teaches. If the church could offer 100% truth openly and honestly they wouldn't need a PR firm to spin their statements and marketing.

I am still an active member of the church and would claim that Benson is honest. He brings a biased version of the truth but it is truth none the less. I have studied church history and am ashamed that the church hides and down plays some serious controversy. We teach honesty but do not practice it 100%.

Before you take your pot shots at Benson, try listening. Better yet - try thinking on your own. You may see he has a point.

Portia said...

Alan said: "Through history, the Mormons have shown their undeniable loyalty to both God and country."

Now THAT is rewriting history with a vengeance! That temple oath before 1930 included an oath against the United States government. During the Civil War, mormons were busy predicting the end of the US and Joseph Smith's ascendency to President (he'd already declared himself King of Zion). They spent their time in Missouri trying to set up a theocracy and doing the same in Illinois. They started three wars, and the last one, the federal government had to send Johnson's Army to Utah because Brigham Young was busy defying US laws and chasing federal officials out of the territory. When mormons betrayed the flag of truce and literally executed 120 men, women and children at Mountain Meadows, Brigham Young refused ALL cooperation with the government's investigation--which is the reason it took 20 years to bring John Lee to trial and the rest of the murderers went free.

In regard to how the church influences public officials, all one needs to do is look at Utah. When the General Authorities have spoken there's no debate and the legislature, the governor and the judges are all led by the ring in their nose placed there by the mormon church authorities.

And another thing, everyone keeps saying that mormon Congressmen and Senators aren't guided by their church. Not so. Just last year, Hatch led the effort to pass a bill which exempted mormon tithing from the bankruptcy laws. Yup. Mormons can stiff every creditor except the mormon church. And don't kid yourself if you think mormons spend their billions on good works--there are no public disclosure of their finances, but what figures are available indicate that my employer spends more on public service and charity than mormons do with their tax-free, unaudited billions and billions. Did you know that the only other single entity that "owns" more land than the mormon church? That would be the federal government.

Politicus said...

STEVE BENSON is the biggest flip-flopper there is - yet he claims Romney and the LDS Church are flip floppers?

He uses his Father's and Grandfather's name for his claim to fame, and in the same "breath" attempts to destroy them and what his Grandfather dedicated his life to.

Steve Benson is a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

anonymous wrote>... I would like Benson to name one instance when our leaders tried to influence these politicians to do inappropriate things.

Well let's see.

President/Prophet/Seer/Revelator Marion G. Romney was Mitt's cousin. Here's what he told ALL of the TrueBelievers, and remember, he's qouting President/Prophet/Seer/Revelator Heber J. Grant

"Always keep your eye on the President of the church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, even if it is wrong, and you do it, the lord will bless you for it but you don't need to worry. The lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray."

LDS President Marion G. Romney (of the first presidency), quoting LDS President (and prophet) Heber J. Grant "Conference Report" Oct. 1960 p. 78

That's right kids. Do what the Prophet tells you EVEN IF YOU KNOW THAT IT'S WRONG, BECAUSE THE LORD WILL BLESS YOU FOR IT.

Anonymous said...

What I discovered after 25 years of active LDS membership is that the founding events of the Mormon church are strictly imaginary. The evidence doesn't support the story the church tells about how it came into existence, and the leaders know this. It is a conscious lie. Romney should know this too. If he does, he is lying, if he does not he is too ignorant to be President of the US.

There is zero evidence to support the claim that the book of mormon is historical. All the evidence--anthropological, DNA, you name it--points to the contrary.

All of these statements above can withstand examination.
The church's claims of authority cannot.

Curt said...

This whole discussion simply proves that we see what we believe - not believe what we see.

I am deeply saddened by the article - which is DEEPLY biased and badly written, but I am even more saddened by people's bitter and strident reactions to it. BOTH sides should be ashamed of such sweeping generalities.

Finally, the one point that Benson made that has ANY degree of legitimacy is the question about competing covenants - IF there was a shred of evidence that the Mormon Church would try to exert influence over a member who was President. That is ridiculous, given the actual words and actions of every Mormon politician I have know, as well as what I have found quoted from the Mormon Church itself.

These "debates" almost make me ashamed to be known as a Christian.

fritilary said...

Ezra Taft Benson (Steve Benson's Grandfather) was Secretary for Agriculture in the Eisenhower Administration.

Both Ezra T Benson and Mitt Romney made the same Temple covenants and promises. Ezra T Benson was considered fit for political office and in fairness Mitt Romney should be judged by the same standard.

Surely Mitt Romney's policies should be the issue instead of his religious affiliation.

Portia said...

Politicus said: "STEVE BENSON is the biggest flip-flopper there is - yet he claims Romney and the LDS Church are flip floppers?

He uses his Father's and Grandfather's name for his claim to fame, and in the same "breath" attempts to destroy them and what his Grandfather dedicated his life to.

Steve Benson is a hypocrite."

Let me see if I have this straight. Benson is a hypocrite because he left the cult of his father and grandfather? Oh, well. Using that reasoning, we'd all be singing "God Save the Queen". Or are you saying he needed to change his name?

I hate to burst your bubble, but no one but mormons and a few history buffs with a specialty in the Eisenhower Administration would even know who Esra Taft Benson was. And a Pulizer Prize is a fairly good indicator of a journalist's work. Surely you're not suggesting that the Pulitzer Committee chose Steve because his name was Benson?

I know mormons are fond of thinking of themselves as some sort of huge organization, but even if the 13 million figure were not exaggerated (I mean, you counted me as a member, and I hadn't been in a mormon church for 40 years), compare this to the 1,229 million Catholics, added to the 680.25 million Protestants, the 260.04 millio Eastern Orthodoxy, the 78.97 million Oriental Orthodoxy, the 77 million Anglicans and the 3 million ACTIVE mormons look pretty small in the scheme of things. Heck, even the Jehovah's Witnesses have more members than mormons.

Believe me, more people know about the Pulitzer than know about the President of a relatively small cult in the Mountain West. About the only thing most people know about mormons is that they have a lot of wives.

Nick said...

To be honest, I feel bad for Benson. You can tell from the tone of this article that he must not be very happy - which I would attribute to his losing the Spirit of the Lord by attacking His true church.

It's hard for me to read articles like this, because journalists can write anything they want and make it sound convincing to people who don't know any better. The truth is that anybody with a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ could sit down with Benson, or any other skeptic of the church, and easily teach what the LDS church believes.

As for any readers of this posting, if you believe a angry journalist more than any active LDS member who would be happy to share what we really believe, you have been fooled.

Anonymous said...

No mention in the article that Benson is an "ex-Mormon?" Look at the headline. Mormonism is a cult.

Anonymous said...

Hey Nick - I'm sure you and other Mormons who've come on here to criticize Steve Benson and share your testimonies are convinced that doing so will help your cause or at the very least set the record straight.

The reality is, that by coming on here and saying the things you're saying with such over-the-top emotions and testimony bearing you only further reinforce the widely-held notion that there is something fundamentally wacky about Mormonism. You're driving home the point that so many fundamentalist leaders around the country are trying to make about the Mormon church.

So far no one has used any facts or citeable evidence to dispel the things that Benson has talked about. All you've done is mounted an ad hominem attack against him because you don't like him. Disliking Steve Benson doesn't change the truth or inaccuracy of the things he said in the interview. You've got to come more prepared than that or risk not being taken seriously.

It would be really interesting to see a Mormon weigh in here who could deal in something besides hystrionics, ad hominem and burning in the bosom sharing. I'm not going to hold my breath though.

Steve Benson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

I have no opinion on Romney's campaign, but I do think it was an excellent idea to interview Benson, and an appropriate one, given E&P's remit - which is *not* reporting on presidential politics, is it? Dave Astor did a good job with this. Benson's a public figure, has an opinion on a relevant issue, and is an editorial cartoonist - viola, we get an interesting interview. The story is not about the LDS or Romney - it's about Benson. Again, this is Editor and Publisher.

LDSNinja said...

Is Benson fishing for an interview with Romney? That would be funny, watching a guppy try to reel in a shark!

Steve Benson said...

Answering direct and legitimate inquiries from a robust and skeptical media operating in an open and free society is something with which apparently both Mitt Romney and his Mormon Church are not comfortable dealing.

It is the power of the people bolstered by free inquiry--not the convenient appeal to the authority of gods in the face of tough questions--that moves society toward knowledge and enlightenment.

It would behoove the Mormon Church and Mr. Romney to recognize those facts--and to start coming clean to the American people, so that the best interests of this nation may be served--a nation that a fudgingly slick Mr. Romney wants to have voters somehow believe he is qualified to lead.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Buddy said...

All the members of this reli, er cult, are now coming out of the woodworks on defense, wow!

Anonymous said...

I'm an ex-Mormon...or I will be just as soon as they let me out of their cult. I sent a letter of resignation a few months ago, but they have not sent me a letter of confirmation yet. So why do I need this? Because otherwise the constant visits by the missionaries, home teachers, visiting teacchers, the bishop and a few High Council members won't stop! They have been constantly harrassing me, and I am not exaggerating one bit. With any other church/faith, if you want to leave you just stop going - no problem. But not with this dang cult. They will not LET you leave.

And it is not the fastest-growing church - very FEW people who get baptized stay active. But the church does not subtract those people from their numbers nor do they subtract the people who resign. Their "numbers" are a joke.

And to the person who claims it's so wonderful because Mormons tithe: Yeah of course they do; otherwise at the year-end Tithing Settlement with the bishop they get in trouble. I know many couples who are on the brink of financial peril who have taken out loans on their credit cards to come up with the money they "owe" the church. And if you don't come up with the 10% at year's end then you don't get a Temple Recommend, which is needed to enter the temple.

Ugh, this so-called church makes me ill. Now why won't they let me leave?!

Steve's comments were right on. I challend any Mormons here to show proof anything Steve said is wrong or misleading. C'mon, I'm waiting...

Anonymous said...

wow! reading through these comments it's obvious the LDS church is all over this. As a non church member, but familiar with them, I'd say the cartoonist is onto something. From all the LDS "evangelizing" I've received, I'd call the LDS a cult, too. It's scary what they preach. I just can't believe all the stuff about Joseph Smith and the angel moroni or the seer stones, etc. To me, the beginning of the LDS sounds like a scam that got out of hand and when Smith was killed, Brigham Young decided to keep it going. What really gets me is that they teach Jesus and Satan are brothers! WRONG WRONG WRONG Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah and LORD OF ALL. satan is a fallen angel who tried to exalt himself over God but was thrown out of heaven. Smith is just another man. Jesus came to earth in the form of a man and He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death to pay for your and my sins on the cross of Calvary that we receive by FAITH, not by temple rituals. Read what Paul wrote to the Galatians. The whole message of the letter is that faith plus nothing else, equals salvation. We are saved by the grace of God, not Smith. The bible is the word of God, not anything Smith wrote. Read 1 john 4:1-3.

billt said...

one other thing...elder Matt's comments scare me (shudder.) If that's the beliefs of the LDS, then it definitely IS A CULT!!!

Newspaper Publisher said...

Wow, a great forum for ex-mormons to join Benson and bash the LDS faith.
Where's the forum to bash the Episcopalians?
If religion is so important in this campaign, shouldn't we be discussing what the Baptists believe with an ex-Baptist? If you look hard enough, I'm sure you can find a lot of trash talk about any religion you want.
This discussion is pathetic and so is this story. Please take your trash to youtube and quit embarrassing yourselves on these pages.

Max said...

Hey "newspaper publisher"-

If this story is so "pathetic" then why are you joining in?

And what has Steve said that is false and misleading??

Anonymous said...

Some of you might be interested in reading more here:


You can ask questions anonymously and do not have to register to post.

Anonymous said...

Shame on those who make fun of other peoples religion. Shame on Steve Benson for being a hate monger.

Mormons who make covenants in the temple are doing no more than what a president of the United States does when he puts his hand on the Bible and takes the oath of office.

Mitt Romney's life is an open book. What has he done other than be representative of the best America has to offer. Find anything in his life that shows this statement to be wrong. If you can't then you what are you flapping your lip about.

Those who defame him without cause are representative of the worst American has to offer.

nvbeehive said...

Note to non-LDS readers: Those commenting in this section using language from the LDS temple know that Mormons are committed to keeping the temple covenants to themselves as they are sacred to Mormons.

I find it deeply disturbing that some would use language that is sacred and considered holy (and unspeakable outside the temple walls) as ammunition for an attack on religion. These are bigots, clear and simple. They use holy matters to others and without any hesitation spew venom against a peaceful people.

Governor Bogg's extermination order is alive and well.

I would only comment that the covenants taken in the temple are considered holy by Mormons. They are covenants to build what they believe is the kingdom of God upon the earth. It is religious in nature and is intended to focus on service to others and to exemplify true Christ-like characteristics.

It is a lie to assert that such commitments would cause a person to blindly follow in doing an action that is contrary to the laws of the land. The stated Articles of Faith prepared by Joseph Smith before he was murdered in cold blood for his beliefs clearly states that Mormons believe in being subject to the laws of the land. That is why Mormons were allowed to build their temple in Eastern Germany during the Cold War. It is amazing that the Communists understood the commitment Mormons had to their respective countries, but disaffected anti-Mormons treat us like we are lemmings running off a cliff.

Mitt Romney should be elected for his talent and skills and leadership, not for his religious beliefs. Period.

clint-o-bean said...

Someone going 'anonymous' said: "I'd say the cartoonist is onto something. From all the LDS 'evangelizing' I've received, I'd call the LDS a cult, too. It's scary what they preach."

I can understand in part what you must feel. Someone else calling themselves "Elder Matt of the Seventies" - pretending to be a leader of the LDS church posted so-called beliefs about the church. For anyone who knows anything about the church, this was obviously NOT an LDS leader. But if you do not know any better, you might believe it.

I think it is quite sad really that misconceptions are fed by things like this.

Now there are other people who have posted with emotion on this site that do seem to be LDS, and that might also seem strange to you? But I don't think it is scary at all. Not that any of us are very good at it all the time, but the core of Mormon belief and practice is to do good in the world, to care about others more than yourself, and to try and follow the golden rule.

Most of the "strange" things posted about Mormons are just not even thought about or talked about much in the Church unless an anti-Mormon person brings them up.

I don't know if it will help any, but I have recently posted about my experience in growing up in the LDS Church. I believe I am biased, as we all are in certain ways, but I have at least tried to not be defensive, and to share more about the core of what it was like in growing up in the Mormon church. http://www.clintrogersonline.com/blog/?p=75

IndyThinkingMan said...

What galls me most about this article in the Editor and Publishrew, is that it is "made-up news." to quote the article: "Benson -- who was contacted by E&P for this story -- said journalists have basically given Romney...".
Although I rarely pull up the E&P website, I have to wonder how often the E&P contacts bitter ex-Clintonistas (though there are probably many more of these than bitter ex-Mormons).
Maybe you should interview ex-newspaper readers who have escaped from the clutches of the cult of the lame-stream media. (Oh wait, that's me...)
Left-wing lame-scream media will do anything, make any flip-flop, in order to gain and maintain power. Witness their allegiance to going to war, and then there sharply anti-American tone when things weren't going well, and the current "brown-out" of illuminating news about Iraq now that the surge is working.
Thank God citizen journalism has arrived!

Anonymous said...

I'd call Steve Benson a "whistle-blower" as opposed to a "bitter ex-mormon".

What's a Prophet anyway? said...

As Rev. J. R. Dummelow described the authors of the Bible: "Though purified and ennobled by the influence of His Holy Spirit; men each with his own peculiarities of manner and disposition--each with his own education or want of education--each influenced differently from another by the different experiences and disciplines of his life. Their inspiration did not involve a suspension of their natural faculties; it did not even make them free from earthly passion; it did not make them into machines--it left them men."

What does the Church say about Politics? said...

Mr. Benson knows that Mormons follow their leaders instructions. The following are official statements from Mormon leaders. Visit www.lds.org and search for political neutrality.

“In light of articles appearing in the media, we reaffirm the position of neutrality taken by the Church, and affirm the long-standing policy that no member occupying an official position in any organization of the Church is authorized to speak in behalf of the Church concerning the Church’s stand on political issues."


"This is especially ironic considering the partisan political neutrality of the Church, which does not endorse candidates or party platforms, does not put out voter guides and has some of the strictest rules of any church in America in forbidding use of its buildings and membership rolls for political purposes. As individuals responsible to their constituencies, they are free to support or oppose whatever political platform or policy they choose."

Mr. Benson claims Mormons are obedient followers, then why is he so worried, when the Church itself declares itself politically neutral. Oh yeah, Benson's got a vendetta.

Anonymous said...

I came on here looking for news about Mitt, stumbled onto the post. Funny comments, hilarious to read the nonsense of the non mormons, how hard they attack and fight. All the ex members scream against the church as if it scarred them for life. I can't stop laughing. It was interesting to see the different comments pull out obscure mormon ideas from 1930. Way too much time fighting the mormons -- go feed some starving kids like the church is...

Portia said...

I think the mormons have who is attacking whom a bit backwards. It is mormons who call other churchs "abominations", who represent a Protestant minister as the handmaiden of the devil, who call the Catholic church "the great whore".

They are horrified that people are discussing their secret ceremonies and oaths but don't have a clue how their church's teachings denegrates the sacred beliefs and personages of other faiths.. Let's start with the very, very basic that would makes all other discussions about specific Biblical doctrine and exercise in futility. The simple fact is that mormons worship a god who has more in common with Zeus than he has with the immutable God of Christianity and Judaism. Like Islam, Mormonism is a Christian derivative, and trying to find something in common between mormons and Christians is an impossible quest since they start from a completely different premise, i.e., the God from which all else flows. The mormon god is an exhalted man and mormons need to understand that they are allowed to believe what they will, but to a Christian, mormon teachings about their God and His only begotten son, whom they worship, are as shocking and abhorent as the anti-Christian "art" which portrays the Last Supper with Christ as a naked woman and that photograph of a man urinating on the Cross. I'm sorry, mormons, but it is you who have used the sacred beliefs of billions of people and turned them into obscene teachings (like God the Father having physical sex with the Virgin Mary and that Jesus had sex with 3 women---and before someone says "we don't teach that", please check your own history and what your apostle Brigham Young wrote). Mormons even belittle Jesus's death on the Cross and eschew the Cross, with the cutsie quip: "well, if he'd been shot would you wear a gun around your neck?"

Greg Mitchell said...

We have a new interview with Benson up at E&P in which he responds to some of the criticism here. It's at:


Amateur Mormonologist said...

Whenever Mormons get criticized, they have two standard reactions:

1. We're being persecuted. A variation on the theme is that the critic is a better ex-Mormon. Another one is to cry, "Bigot!"

2. The critic is ignorant. "You don't know anything about us," you'll cry.

It's a hermetically sealed defense, because the most knowledgable critics will inevitably be disaffected ex-Mormons. But their criticisms are automatically rejected.

Enter another kind of critic: The amateur Mormonologist who, for whatever reason, has studied the canival fraud that calls itself the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

That kind of critic isn't an ex-Mormon. He or she simply got interested, in the same way that anyone can get interested in an esoteric topic. Over time, some of us wind up with a big storehouse of knowledge.

You see, these days, nothing about Mormonism is secret. It's all out there, freely available on the Internet. So, how do you answer this sort of critic? You go back to defense #1: All criticism is bigotry.

All of this is to be expected, of course. Does it fool anyone? Not really. Probably not even yourselves. But you persist, and life goes on.

By the way, Mitt Romney is never going to be president. He's too blatant and clumsy a liar, which by political standards is pretty blatant and pretty clumsy.

Anonymous said...

Well, as a true believeing Mormon, Mr.Bensen is telling the truth. The Temple rituals are copied from the Mason's. And yes it is true that you conventant to give all your time, talent's, to building up the Church. I would wonder where Romney's loyalties would be, as the Prophet and apostles are heavy weights. These being the reason why, I would not support a Mormon Presidential candidate regardless of political afiliation.

Dan said...

Wow, this is crazy stuff...I really wish we didn't have to get into all this, because I am very jaded!!! I think there may even be non-members posing as Mormons saying things to throw others off.

Bottom line, if we started a debate against what the Jews believe, Joe Lieberman's religion for example...how would that go?

This discussions is a waste of all of our time, there is no way this will ever be an objective fair discussion, from either side. (Although when reading these blogs I get the feeling that people who are not members of the Mormon church are here attacking and I have to ask why?)

Lets stick to the issues, and keep the religions and politics seperate. On that note, anyone who believes the Mormon church will control Mitt Romney is ridiculous in my estimate. Think about it, it makes sense.

I'm not saying to vote Romney here, but lets at least understand the issue and vote for who is qualified.

Greg Mitchell said...

A Mormon journalist/professor has written a guest column for E&P hitting negative media coverage of the faith. It is here:


Anonymous said...

It has been pointed out, and it is obvious: People can leave the Mormon Church, but they can't "leave it alone." Why don't you ask believing Mormons what they believe rather than relying on those who do not believe it what others believe?

A Passing Skeptic said...

I'm coming to the party a bit late. Much of what needs to be said has already been said. However, as a non-Mormon and general religious skeptic, I see the same behavior over and over when Mormons "defend" their organization and its doctrine: They personally attack the critic and do whatever is necessary to avoid the criticism itself.

Mormon apologists are vociferous practitioners of the Ad Hominem Attack. Benson is bitter, he's sad, he's disturbed, he's whatever.

What utter crap. Attacking the person is a pathetic way to deflect the spotlight from the real issues. People in this country - religious and non-religious alike - will continue to feel uneasy about Mormonism as long as:
- Mormons continue to proselytize in such an aggressive manner;
- the Mormon religion keeps shrouding itself in secrecy.

I won't go into the rather bizarre origins of Mormonism and how most non-Mormons who take even a passing glance quickly conclude Joseph Smith basically made the whole thing up in his head (ha! I just did).

I've known and been friends with a number of Mormons and, like many, have found Mormons in general to be extremly nice and polite. However, I've also seen many instances where Mormons look out for their own first, without consideration of anyone else.

I mention the above because it reflects the insular nature of Mormonism as well as the ingrained sense of THE ONE TRUE FAITH that practicing Mormons have.

Romney's religion IS an issue because most people see it as, well ... just plain weird. And I don't think his speech came across as anything more than a clever political document designed to get him elected and deflect attention from Mormon doctrine.

Anonymous said...

I was an active member of the church for 30 years. On the positive side, most members I knew were dedicated to the church. hard working and honorable people. The church emphasis family and service (primarily to other church members). It emphasis clean living.

I resigned my membership two years ago because I decided to investigate the church's claims and history from its own sources. I discovered that the Mormon church has very little to support its claims. The doctrines are a loose menagerie of statements made by different church leaders over the life of the church.

One of the Mormon Apostles, Bruce McKonkie attempted to publish a comprehensive set of doctrines in Mormon Doctrine, but the presidency of the church disavowed it and to members it was often incorrect. Yet, the Mormon church has never published a clear set of doctrinal statements, instead leaving members to try to determine what is correct doctrine and what is not, or which of past doctrines are still valid.

Even some of what were considered to be core such as the Mormon god was once a man, were disavowed in televised interviews with the Mormon prophet.

So when Steve Benson and others come out against the church they have very good reasons. I have long said that if the church would revoke its absurd claim that is god's true and only valid church on the earth, that the Jews sailed to an uninhabited America and populated both the North and South American continents with Jewish descendents, that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from gold plates given to him by an angel, which is riddles with so-called facts that have long been proven false from gold plates, that the Temple ceremonies are from ancient Israel, The Garden fo Eden was in Missouri, that Joseph Smith is a decendent of Jesus, and so many, many more...

If they simply come out and say that they want to be just another Christian religion, adopt Christianity as generally recognized, and drop their absurd and often comical claims, they will likely be recognized on the world stage of Christian churches.

But given that they have invested so much in the message that they are the only ones with the authority to bring god's message, that the Book of Mormon is a literal history of the people in the Americas, etc. they simply can't abandon their doctrines and history. They are stuck with them, for better and for worse.

So what is all the fuss about? Recent days have brought it to light in spades - Mormon leaders, and Mitt Romney are liars, plain and simple. Mitt has shown that he is willing to lie about his dad and MLK in an attempt to distance himself from the Mormon's long standing racial bigotry. This is akin to what is termed "Lying for the Lord" in the church. Lying by ommission, forgetfulness or simply saying things that they know are wrong is more common than most members suspect.

Mitt shouldn't be president because he is a liar. I suspect taht he feels some entitlement to lying because it would bring about a greater good, i.e. Mitt Romney as US president.

For all of you who are dismayed by the "Mormon bashing frenzy", it will soon be over. Mitt will swiftly lose ground to his opponents not just because he is a Mormon (sorry, this is a political reality) but because he represents the worst that the Mormon church has to offer. But then again, he is only following his leaders.