Can Mormons Be Trusted? A Shallow Guide to Managing Your Most Ill-Informed Fears.
Concerns have been raised over Mormonism's decision to move to Cleveland. Because, you know, it's Cleveland.
Mitt Romney Campaign
Last month evangelical leaders gathered in D.C. for the Values Voter Summit, where disciples of the Pissed-Off Jesus harrumphed and yammered about how much America sucked. That's when the bomb ignited.
As you no doubt recall, Robert Jeffress was on hand to introduce Rick Perry. He warned that Mormon "cult" members were not only despoiling Broadway, but were actually running for president. "Non-Christians" like Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman had invaded the Republican primary like a bunch of damn Mexicans - and they didn't even have comparable skill at operating a riding lawn mower.
If patriots didn't take heed, Jeffress cautioned, America would soon be possessed by heretics.
The nation was shocked. Until that moment, Mormons were considered a mere nuisance, polite yet pesky young men who came to the door when you were trying to watch Supernanny. Or perhaps they were paid spokesmodels for the short-sleeved dress shirt industry. No one was certain.
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But Jeffress uncloaked them as enemies of Jesus. They might even be worse than Muslims, who at least offered competitively priced 40-ouncers of Midnight Dragon at their convenience stores.
So we decided to get to the bottom of this menace, providing answers to your most alarmed and misguided questions:
Why do Mormons worship Satan? They don't, actually. They believe in God and Jesus. It's just that those guys get busy, so they named Joseph Smith their VP of Operations here on Earth.
Smith was a magician from Palmyra, New York in the 1820s. He was also the first American to possess superpowers, claiming he could find precious minerals and buried treasure by staring at rocks. Farmers paid him $3 a day to locate riches beneath their fields.
Alas, the buried gem market in Upstate New York wasn't what it was thought to be, otherwise Smith would have found it. So he decided to start an exciting new career as a prophet.
As fortune would have it, he began receiving visits from the Angel Moroni. Though often mistaken for the fake Italian chef in Olive Garden commercials, Moroni was actually a warrior-priest from this country's earliest civilization.
So you're saying Mormonism was founded by a schizophrenic? No. Schizophrenia hadn't been invented yet. And at the time, half the population of Upstate New York was claiming to be prophets, since it paid better than having X-ray ground vision.
Moroni told Smith about some Golden Plates buried on a hill. They warned of religious corruption, pointing the way to a New & Improved Christianity. That's when Smith discovered a second superpower - the ability to decipher ancient languages, which weren't regarded for their penmanship.
He translated the plates into the Book of Mormon. It was like the Bible, only better. Critics were soon hailing it as a "tour de force of ecclesiastical drama."
He had the audacity to rewrite God's words? Yes. Smith had inadvertently launched the My God is Way Better Than Yours Period, a belief still practiced today by great leaders like Rev. Jeffress.
Missionaries were sent out to convert followers. Word reached Ohio that he'd pioneered a fabulous new religion. So Smith teamed up with a preacher there and moved Mormon headquarters to a town outside of Cleveland.
What kind of prophet willingly moves to Cleveland? Exactly. Though to be fair, this was the 1830s, when Cleveland was still celebrated by Chamber of Commerce types as the "Krakow of the Rust Belt," its restaurants known for serving the finest gruel on the western frontier.
With his flock growing, Smith started a bank. But he was an inexperienced prophet still grasping the subtleties of his all-seeing powers. He failed to arrange a golden parachute. When the bank went bust, he wasn't justly rewarded for blowing everyone's money, as bankers so rightfully are today.
In fact, the flock was pissed. So they kicked his ass all the way to Jackson County, Missouri. Is that where he went perv? Yes. Smith realized that a religion known for bank failure and an inability to find buried treasure lacked market potential. Fortunately, God intervened, introducing Smith to polygamy, which allowed men to take as many wives as they pleased.
The new Unlimited Chicks for My Guys campaign was a hit. The Mormon enclave blossomed.
Bonus round: Smith's money problems were also solved when God told him about the Law of Tithing, which ordered Mormons to give 10 percent of their income to Joseph Smith, thus saving him the hassle of wrecking another bank.
But like Rev. Jeffress, the good Christians of Jackson County were outraged. Polygamy was not only heresy, but the Mormons were hogging all the chicks.
So the Christians naturally asked themselves, "What Would Jesus Do?" Jesus apparently told them to burn down Mormon homes and kick their asses to Illinois. The Mormons tried torching Christian houses in response, but showed an inferior gift for arson.
So you don't want a Mormon to have your back in a bar fight? No. But Smith and his followers did prosper when they reconvened in Nauvoo, Illinois. At one point, it had an estimated 12,000 residents, nearly the size of Chicago. Yet they still freaked out their neighbors. The Mormons had their own religious courts, which were akin to the Muslim's Sharia law, only creepier because everyone was dressed like the cast of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
Plus they believed in magic underwear, which contained super-celestial powers that allowed them to become kings or queens in Heaven.
Sadly, this was a darker time in America, when people were less tolerant of underwear fetishists than they are today. Smith was arrested for being a degenerate. And when the Christians once again asked, "What Would Jesus Do?" Jesus mentioned that it might be good to storm the jail and kill Smith's ass. So they did.
Did he get 72 virgins for being a martyr? No, but a very nice bundt cake was served at his Going Away to Heaven Party. The problem was that God had forgotten to appoint Smith's successor. So his followers became prophets of their own. Their revelations told them to excommunicate, poison, and assassinate their rivals. Some encountered an even more tragic fate: They were forced to move to Pittsburgh.
In the end, Brigham Young arranged for the church to be run by 12 disciples - with him being the most disciplistic of all.
But isn't Brigham Young a football team? No. It's actually a college that saw fleeting fame after discovering that Samoans were good at football. Then the Samoans realized that Mormons don't drink, which meant that dorm parties were totally lame. They all transferred to USC.
So how did that whole Occupy Utah thing come about? We're getting to that. Young and his henchmen decided to move to a place so shitty no one else would go there. That would be Utah. Mormons migrated en masse, hoping to let their freak flag fly without anyone setting them on fire.
But prospectors heading for the California Gold Rush reported that they were creating their own polygamous kingdom, which was seen as treasonous. Eastern Christians bagged on President James Buchanan for letting wild sex orgies to take place, since they hadn't been invited. So Buchanan dispatched the army to see what was up with that.
Is that when the Mormons went all terrorist? Yes. By 1857, they'd grown tired of the Old Burn Down Our House & Drive us Out of Town Gag. So they took the offensive, torching army forts and setting fires to keep Buchanan's troops from reaching Utah.
They also indiscriminately robbed and murdered settlers. At one point they killed 120 unarmed men, women and children during the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre. For reasons unknown, this is no longer taught in Sunday schools.
Yet Buchanan was in no mood to start a war in Utah. The feds were soon to battle the South, and there were tons of Indians that still required slaughtering. Thus was born a strategy of armed engagement that still lives today: It always sucks to have more than two wars going at once. The feds and the Mormons reached a truce.
So Buchanan just let terrorists hold wild sex orgies? Yes, except for the wild part. Think of a porn film starring ZZ Top and Ukrainian babushka ladies. It wasn't that interesting.
So when did they stop going perv? In 1890. Still worried that the feds might attack, God told them to lose the polygamy thing. They decided instead to become the most tight-assed people in America. You couldn't even get into church if you smoked cigs, pounded brewskies, or used caffeine.
They can't drink coffee? No. That means if Mitt Romney becomes president, the government will only be open from noon to 5 p.m., and he'll be really crabby if Pakistan starts a nuclear war during Good Morning America.
But wouldn't our country suck if it was just like Utah? Yes. Think of it as the white Saudi Arabia, only with better skiing. Have you ever tried buying a shot of whiskey in Salt Lake City? It's like fishing for lobster in a parking garage.
I hear Mormons don't like black people. They didn't -- past tense. Until 1978, Mormons wouldn't let blacks into Heaven. But this created problems. Young Mormons are required to do two years of unpaid missionary work. When they went door-to-door in Detroit, they encountered uncomfortably long silences, since they could only talk about the weather.
So church elders had a revelation to let black people in. They may have been 10 years behind southern Christians in their racial policies, yet they were totally pumped to beat South Africa and avoid finishing last in their division.
But aren't Mormons a bunch of damn socialists? Yes and no. Joseph Smith prophesied of building a New Jerusalem in Jackson County. To make it happen, he urged followers to give up all their property for equal redistribution.
But his flock thought his commie revelation sucked, so he put the blueprints in storage. Prominent modern Mormons - like Glenn Beck and Romney -- have since had revelations of their own. They assert that what Smith was really trying to say is that Mormons should give all their money to very large corporations, whose excess divinity would eventually trickle down to everyone else.
Most Mormons today prefer the revised prophesy.
So should we hate these guys or not? Your call. Mormons may be lesser perverts than Catholics, and not nearly as mean as the Baptists. But if Romney declares martial law and forces you to get naked with a squadron of babushka ladies, don't come whining to us.
As Rev. Jeffress might counsel, the wise man always hates first and asks questions later -- if only to stay on the right side of Jesus.
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