James Fallows

James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

James Fallows: Mormons

  • 'The 2 Most Reasonable People, by Far, Are the 2 Mormons'

    A liberal atheists wonders why other liberals are nervous about the religion of her youth

    I won't run this into the ground indefinitely, but of a huge number of interesting letters on the Mormonism front, this one drew my attention today. It is from a prominent Ivy League professor who asks not to be named, and it is worth reading in full.

    The professor writes:

    As a Mormon who grew up in Utah, and now counts herself among the left-leaning atheists of East Coast academia, it was a relief to hear you state what to me is so obvious and yet so rarely seems to be recognized or believed: Mormons belong to a religion, not a cult. American Mormons are, on the whole, almost exactly like other similar populations in the American West--conservative, predominantly white (but demographically changing), wary of having Feds and other outsiders try to tell them what to do (though happy to have federal funds pay for their highways and development projects).

    Take away the rather small set of odd sounding theological ideas and folk beliefs distinct to Mormons (most of which have little relevance to their everyday lives), and you have a collection of wholly ordinary folks--so much so that many of us leave the intermountain "Jello Belt" as soon as we get the chance. The "cult" characterization is mystifying to me. Yes, Mormons prize obedience to authority (as long as it's Mormon authority) but that's true of the vast majority of religious people. But Mormons can and do walk away from the church everyday. They also tend to be more educated than other Americans. And while we have always had our share of crackpots and fanatics, most folks are much more comfortable with moderation.

    For specific reasons pertaining to Mormon theology, and the age and insular backgrounds of the highest church leaders, gay and lesbian questions are turning out to be an obstacle the church will have a very hard time coping with. In my opinion, the leaders have done a terribly served their own families and gay members by becoming so politically active in opposition to gay civil rights. But on almost every other political question, the church hierarchy doesn't tend to risk losing anyone's good will over partisan battles. Moderation and good PR are the watchwords.

    I can mostly understand the dire alarm that some evangelicals have about the prospect of a Mormon president; they tend to think that all religious folk would make doctrine the absolute foundation of their political vision, as they would. But why are liberals so hysterical? The two Mormon GOP candidates are like most educated, upper-middle-class Mormons I know:  pretty smart, pragmatic folk who are far more comfortable in the role of problem-solver than prophet or culture warrior. How is it that liberals and independents don't look at the GOP roster and see that two most reasonable and knowledgeable people by *far* are the two Mormons?

    Alas, one of those two is a hollow man who believes too little, not too much, but that's not the fault of his religion.
  • Digging Back Into the Mormonism Mailbag

    Who is most suspicious of Mormons? Perhaps not who you think.

    Yesterday I posted a very long item about the "Mormon question," a question that keeps gaining salience with the serial self-destruction of each "anyone but Romney" candidate in the GOP field. Since it was so long, here's the executive summary of my own case:

    I can imagine Mormon candidates -- or Muslim, Baptist, Jewish, Christian Scientist, etc ones -- who were so fundamentalist in applying their faith that to vote for them would be to vote in their religion. Neither Romney nor Huntsman gives off that vibe to me. I'm not going to vote for Mitt Romney, but that's because of the corelessness of his positions, and the irresponsible warmongering of his talk about Iran, and his shameless bloody-shirtism about the immigrant menace, and many other positions that have no known connection to his faith. For me, Romney the Mormon is exactly as appealing as he would be if he were Catholic, Jewish,  Episcopalian, or any other mainstream faith. The only difference is that I would actually find him more appealing if he were an "out" Muslim or atheist, because those would be gutsier stances in the America of our day.

    Samples from the latest round of replies:

    1) Who is anti-Mormon? Reader SK points us to a fascinating Gallup poll of who would, and would not, hesitate to vote for an otherwise qualified Mormon candidate for president. The results are not categorized by racial group, but there are some other interesting patterns:

    GallupPoll.gif

    In short: Democrats overall, non-college people, Protestants, and non-Christians are warier of Mormon candidates than Republicans overall, college grads, and Catholics.

    1A) Bonus question: Which is a bigger handicap in running for the Presidency, being a Mormon or an atheist? According to the same poll, it's no contest.

    Gallup2.gif

    If these results can be believed, except for being an atheist, the greatest electoral handicap is being gay or lesbian. After the jump, a note on that front, and a few more items.

    2) What about the Mormons' anti-gay views? Reader LB, who has argued with rising choler that my criticism of anti-Mormonism makes me effectively anti-gay, writes now to say:

    Loved the anti-gay bigotry you threw in with your new "I love Mormons" post.

    Did you even notice the hateful attitude toward gay people in this comment? [Not from me but from a reader's message I quoted - JF]

    "I remember a gay(!) fundamentalist Baptist co-worker tell me, a couple years ago, softly, under his breath, that Mormons are nice people, but they are not Christian."

    Because it's absurd and evil to suggest that Mormons aren't Christians. But perfectly unremarkable to suggest how ridiculous it is for gay people to consider themselves Christians. Fundamentalist yet!  Baptist!  What  a hoot!

    Hideous.

    I do not mean to say that you intend to endorse this attitude by printing it.  I think you genuinely didn't notice the contempt for the idea that gay people deserve to have a full participation in life.  Or just didn't think it mattered.  Because bigotry against gay people is something that you believe is inherently okay.  You don't share it, but you know lots of nice people do, and you don't want to see them pay any price for it.  That's the attitude that most "reasonable" straight people in authority have.  It's why Obama needed Rick Warren at his inauguration.

    And it's that tolerance of bigotry, that belief that on some level there is nothing wrong with someone who hates gay people, that really hurts us most now.  Vocal, ugly bigotry, is mostly disapproved of.  But put on a suit and speak softly, and people like you will insist people must listen.  And so people do.  And they elect people like Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann, who are as hateful toward gay people as any Klan member could ever be.  And because that bigotry is directed at gay people, you accept it.  It's not the best thing, but it's just the way it is.  No need to ever mention gay issues, unless it's to explain why they shouldn't be held against some straight bigot.

    Please stop making anti-gay bigotry okay. 

    Take our reality as seriously as you take Mitt Romney's.

    3) The "wedding cult" issue. One of several notes about a different message I quoted, from a mother whose daughter had become an LDS convert:

    That letter from the mother of a girl who converted to Mormonism really got me. I did not know that the Mormon Church would not allow non-believers to attend their marriage ceremonies. If we want to talk about cults, this seems to me to be one of the border lines. If the general public, not to mention the bride's own mother, is excluded from attending Church ceremonies then that does not pass the smell test for me. Presumably this exclusion is based on the assertion that the couple to be married are also becoming married in the faith and family of the Church and that this family will be more significant than any prior, including biological, family. Any group that sponsors, or even endorses such a practice is highly suspect in my view. I see nothing wrong with asking Mr. Romney to answer questions in this regard. Otherwise, I would consider him to be practicing some form of omerta with all of the associations that word calls to mind.

    4) From an atheist:

    What is most important in this entire discussion is having the discussion itself. Taking the time to educate ourselves on the beliefs of candidates and using their religious beliefs as a way to navigate and explore the foundation of their principles are the actions of an enquiring and intelligent populace. The level to which each individual delves into details may vary but the discussion certainly exposes the extremes to more moderate positions....

    Questioning anyone's religious beliefs is to question both how and what they think, but the former is what carries all the weight in my decision making. Any religious person exposes how they think by claiming to be a person of faith. What they think after claiming faith is of little importance. In most cases their beliefs are mind-numbingly predictable.

    I also don't believe Mormonism is a cult. Mormonism is a religion though.... As an atheist I find all organized religion (specifically theology) to be cultish. Mormonism is a religion. Mormonism is a young minority religion. Mormons are therefor stuck trying to justify their unwelcome beliefs to a religious body whose equally ridiculous claims have two thousand years of inertia behind them.

    5) Are Mormons really that homogeneous? Finally for today's installment, this message from someone who will not vote for Romney or Huntsman:

    One problem I have with both the high- and low-grade anti-Mormonism is in the assumption of Mormon homogeneity. Even the more refined arguments tend to assume that all Mormons share a single understanding of their faith which disposes them to a single political perspective. Senator Harry Reid should sufficiently disprove this assumption. Sure, he might be an outlier among LDS politicians, but that's the point. There is room in the faith for political variation along the same spectrum as in the nation as a whole. Where that's the case, I don't see how Romney's Mormonism (or Huntsman's Mormonism) can be grounds for excluding him from political office.
     
    Many Mormons in the past did, and some Mormons now do, believe in things that strike outsiders (and many insiders) as bizarre. But unless and until someone can provide evidence that Mitt Romney's personal beliefs (as opposed to those of some of his co-religionists) would interfere with exercising the duties of office, merely belonging to the LDS Church should not be a disqualification.
     
    Several of those who have written to you or written in other publications have pointed to Mormon beliefs about the potential to become like God as particularly troubling. It is true that Mormons hold fast to the promise of their potential as God's children to inherit (through Christ) "all that the Father has." This is part of their understanding of what it means to be God's children. But this is not an exclusive Mormon promise. Rather, it is extended to all those who will accept it. Mormon theology includes not only a strong emphasis on proselyting in this life, but also a belief that all of God's children will have the opportunity to accept this promise in the life to come. So in answer to Harold Bloom's question about how a Mormon U.S. President would view the 98% of his constituency who are not LDS, one possibility is this: as children of God with divine potential. I fail to see how that would be a disqualifying perspective.
     
    Personally, I won't be voting for Romney or Huntsman. Their political views are too conservative for me. But I can honestly say that has nothing to do with their religious beliefs. Because, you see, I am an active Mormon Democrat.

    More »

  • With Mitt's Ascent, We're Back to the 'Mormon Question'

    Coming soon: new attention to a long-standing issue of church-state relations

    To begin working through the queue of open issues, let's dip once again into the anti-Mormon mailbag.

    RomneyFamily.jpgFrom the Republican Party's point of view, the big news of these past two months is that the nomination of Mitt Romney has become both unavoidable and unacceptable.

    Unavoidable: Seriously, which of these other people can you imagine on a platform with Barack Obama? Even as beset and damaged as Obama has become. Which of them could Roger Ailes, Karl Rove, or the most partisan anti-Obamaite imagine succeeding in that role? The only possible exception is Jon Huntsman, and he can't get out of the cellar among the GOP candidates.

    Unacceptable: The symptom of this problem is the apparent 25% ceiling on Romney's support in GOP polls. This ceiling persists despite the increasing smoothness of Romney's debate performances, despite the relatively gaffe-free nature of his campaign, and despite the clownish or pathetic self-destruction of each "promising" challenger in turn. (Next up: Newt Gingrich.) The causes of the problem seem to be some combination of (a) the "Obamneycare" flip-flopper image, (b) whatever other things people don't like about him personally and politically, and (c) the Mormon Question

    The striking aspect of the Mormon Question is its high-low strategic mix. Earlier I quoted a specimen of low-grade anti-Mormonism, from the "they are not real Christians, they're just crazy cultists who worship snake-gods" tradition. Recently we've seen anti-Mormonism from impeccably lofty sources, eg Harold Bloom in the NYT and Christopher Hitchens in Slate, the former summing up the high-end critique this way:

    The Mormon patriarch, secure in his marriage and large family, is promised by his faith a final ascension to godhead, with a planet all his own separate from the earth and nation where he now dwells. From the perspective of the White House, how would the nation and the world appear to President Romney? How would he represent the other 98 percent of his citizens?

    And from Hitchens:

    Whether this makes it a cult, or just another of the born-in-America Christian sects, I am not sure. In any case what interests me more is the weird and sinister belief system of the LDS, discussion of which it is currently hoping to inhibit by crying that criticism of Mormonism amounts to bigotry.

    Here is a note I got to similar effect from a long-time Atlantic reader:

    An investigation of any religious doctrine will disclose it is fantasy. A good look at Mormon theology will document it is insanity. The Presidency is REAL. A person in that office is actually able to give an order that will result in the destruction of our world. Mormons believe, along with a lot of other certifiable nonsense, that they are more safe than other people because they wear a special set of underwear, and that a man living a proper Mormon life will, after death, be given his own planet to populate. It is not bigotry to wish to avoid having within arms length of the red phone a person convinced of such nonsense.

    To declare my own views:
       - I believe that virtually any faith you can name rests on tenets that are "irrational," unprovable, and largely supernatural. That's why they call it "faith."
     
       - In my experience, almost any belief system appears "weird" to people outside it, and most of them, inspected closely enough, have aspects of the sinister. It's a banal point, but still true, that the supernatural parts of the Book of Mormon seem "weirder" than those in Exodus, the Nativity story, the Book of Revelation (talk about weird and sinister),  or the Koran because they allegedly happened in the 1800s, not millennia ago, and in upstate New York rather than in the Holy Lands.

      - On the other hand: there are such things as cults, dangerous "belief systems," and organizations so odious that mere membership in them presumptively disqualifies people as political candidates. The American Nazi Party? Sure. The U.S. branch of al Qaeda, or Aum Shinrikyo? Also yes. Scientology is a closer call, for reasons I'll get into another time.
     
    Reduced to its basics, the "Mormon Question" is whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with some 15 million members worldwide and about half that number in the United States, is this kind of presumptively disqualifying organization. It is embarrassing to have to say this, but I don't think it is.

    That leads to the second-level question, of whether a candidate's stands and traits are so determined by religion that you really can't judge the person apart from the faith. People who didn't live through those times will find it hard to believe, but such a fear really was part of the barrier for John F. Kennedy in 1960. "Serious" people wondered -- in print and out loud -- whether an American Catholic could govern with America's best interests in mind, not the Vatican's.

    I can imagine Mormon candidates -- or Muslim, Baptist, Jewish, Christian Scientist, etc ones -- who were so fundamentalist in applying their faith that to vote for them would be to vote in their religion. Neither Romney nor Huntsman gives off that vibe to me. I'm not going to vote for Mitt Romney, but that's because of the corelessness of his positions, and the irresponsible warmongering of his talk about Iran, and his shameless bloody-shirtism about the immigrant menace, and many other positions that have no known connection to his faith. For me, Romney the Mormon is exactly as appealing as he would be if he were Catholic, Jewish,  Episcopalian, or any other mainstream faith. The only difference is that I would actually find him more appealing if he were an "out" Muslim or atheist, because those would be gutsier stances in the America of our day.

    But enough about me!  Here is a sampling of recent mail, with more to come. First, from a reader who identifies himself as an LDS member, on the general question of who is the nutty cultist:

    On the accusation that Mormons believe such crazy things that we can't possibly be rational: have they been watching the Republican debates? The two most rational people in the room have clearly been the two Mormons.

    I'm actually not a fan of either Romney or Huntsman. I voted for Obama in 2008 and anticipate doing so again. I'm not at all proud of how Romney in particular has run his campaign thus far, but "rationality" is definitely not one of his problems.

    And further on nutty cultism, from another LDS member:

    I was amazed at the letter you published by the man who talked about the sun god stuff. I've been LDS my whole life and that was the weirdest characterization of the faith I've ever seen. How could I attend this church weekly for 55 years and never hear of such things??  He must really be an enemy to this church to create such a distorted view of our theology.
    Amazing!

    More after the jump.

    ___
    "It's not bias against Mormons, it's bigotry against non-Christians as a whole."  A reader writes:

    I think you're missing an important point in the backlash against Romney by fundamentalist Christians in the GOP.

    Whether Romney were Mormon or Jewish, or Hindu, or (god forbid!) Atheist, or Buddhist is, to a large degree, all the same. To a large portion of today's Republican Party, if you're not Christian, you're not acceptable. And a large number of Christians do not define Mormon as being Christian. I remember a gay(!) fundamentalist Baptist co-worker tell me, a couple years ago, softly, under his breath, that Mormons are nice people, but they are not Christian.

    So this is an example of bigotry against non-Christians in general as opposed to bigotry against Mormons, specifically. In that sense, it's wrong to think that Mormons are being singled out in this instance.

    It's difficult for me to feel particularly sorry for Romney on this matter given the degree to which he has been willing to change his political stances to best appeal to Republicans. One cannot help but think that he might be quite content in a world where fundamentalist GOPers defined Christianity in such a way as to include Mormonism in the tent rather than out of it, where Romney was a beneficiary of that bigotry, rather than a victim of it.

    I have no proof of that, of course. But it's hard not to think it quite possible, given Romney's flip flopping over issues like abortion.

    All of this, by the way, still leaves open the possibility that some may be motivated by specifically anti-Mormon bias. But in this case, I don't think it's any more anti-Mormon than anti anything else that these Values Voters see as non-Christian.

    From the Southern Hemisphere, a case for more atheists in public life:

    We live in New Zealand, and my wife is Australian.  We enjoy, and certainly notice, how none of this religious talk ever ever EVER comes into the political sphere down under. How refreshing it is, that when it comes to politicians, no one knows, or seems care about your personal religious beliefs.  There is no psuedo religious test, or proclamation of your belief in Jesus Christ necessary, to be in the political game.

    Julie Gillard, Australian PM, is an atheist, for goodness sake.  Can you imagine that in America?  Me either. Also, what is so noticeable is  "what is absent" in the political speech. There is none of that "God Bless Australia or NZ"  talk, or "We are praying for you " language related to this last seasons horrific Queensland's floods, as an example.  A simple, "We have you in our thoughts", worked just fine, and no one politician thought or felt the need to either beech or blame God.  

    Agreement about the atheists, from a reader in England:

    Can't wait to see if your mailbag includes any of my fellow liberal atheists noting that (a), of course it's bigotry; but (b) you'd have to be crazy to take the tennets of Mormonism (or any other religion) seriously.

    The Plates of Nephi aren't any weirder than, say, the Assumption of Mary. But the Assumption isn't any less weird than the Plates. The Latter Day Saint movement simply hasn't been the necessary millenia to acquire the patina of normalacy that mainstream Christian churches have. (Though I wonder if that patina is washing away; the Catholic Church in Ireland and elsewhere springs to mind. Imagine an election between a Mormon candidate and an Opus Dei candidate.)

    And, raising some issues that I'll turn to in further dispatches, from a mother of a Mormon convert:

    I hope that as you continue this topic, you will give space to some of the more sensible replies you received, rather than the rant you printed today - a rant that certainly does seem to prove your point - that those who would not  vote for a Mormon are ignorant and bigoted.

    Personally, I would be very reluctant to vote for a Mormon, and I don't think this is the same as not wanting to vote for a Black person or a woman. You have said that you will address the issue of what is inborn versus what is a choice, so I won't go into that here.

    You also have stated that a Mormon has a constitutional right to run for office. While I agree with you there, I don't think it means that I can't consider that person's religious beliefs when choosing how to vote. Can you imagine no circumstance in which you would consider a person's religion in voting? Some fundamentalist Christians believe that God put dinosaur bones in the earth to test our faith. Is it wrong for me to consider that denial of scientific knowledge important in casting my vote? Would refusing to vote for a person because he is a member of the Heaven's Gate religious group be simple bigotry? Must we cast rationality completely aside because a belief falls under the category "religion"? If not, who gets to decide where we can draw the line without being accused of bigotry?

    I know quite a bit about the Mormon religion because my daughter converted while she was in high school. She asked if she could go to a class to "learn" about Mormonism and, being open minded, I allowed it. I had no idea at the time that I was sending a child who had not yet developed critical thinking skills to face a very sophisticated marketing plan. I was not allowed to attend her wedding because it was in a Mormon temple. If you are a parent, perhaps you can imagine that pain. I object to a church that claims to be family friendly, yet is so willing to tear parents and children apart.

    And their beliefs really are far outside the mainstream. For instance, they do believe that they can ultimately become gods. The church is extremely homophobic and sexist. And one doesn't have to search very hard to discover that Joseph Smith, their prophet, was a fraud with a record of involvement in get-rich-quick schemes and a truly reprehensible attempt to override citizen's rights in Nauvoo, Illinois. I have numerous other problems with the Mormon church, but this letter is already long.

    A Black person cannot choose to be white, but Mitt Romney does not have to stay with the Mormon church. I do not care whether he is or is not "Christian." I would be willing to vote for a Muslim. But I think Romney's adherence to the Mormon church matters, and I am not a bigot because I will consider that when I vote.

    More »

  • Let's Open Up the Anti-Mormon Mailbag

    'You have done a lot of harm to our country with your extreme ignorance.'

    Mormons1.jpg

    It was three weeks ago that I made the (I thought) obvious point that opposing a Mormon candidate for president because he is Mormon is as backward and bigoted as opposing a Jewish candidate because he is Jewish, a female candidate because she is female, a black candidate because he is black, a lesbian candidate because she is lesbian, and so on. (And, yes, I am aware of the difference between inborn traits, like race and gender, and chosen identities or affiliations like religion. More on that later.) Here is Jeff Goldberg's recent entry on the topic. Wikipedia image of Joseph Smith at left.

    I received a flood of email, which I've been storing up and will start selecting from soon. Some of it was from LDS members and was unsurprisingly affable. But most of it took me aback. The great majority of messages came from people who said: You're wrong, Mormons are an outright menace, and that's because they are Mormon. What they believe is either (a) dangerous in its essence, or (b) an indication of  deeper intellectual or character flaws in the candidate, because no sane person could believe the elements of the Mormon faith. Or (c) both.

    Here's an sample that arrived just now, from a man I won't identify but who appends the honorific "M.A." to his name. I offer it as an illustration of what I am talking about. I'll save response (plus some other messages) for the next installment, including the tangled issues of what is a "cult," what is a "religious test" for office, etc.

    The only thing I'll add for now is that while I am no fan of Mitt Romney's, I don't envy him having to deal with this sort of thing -- which of course is stronger in the Republican primary electorate than in the population as a whole. Most white people have an idea of what anti-black (or Latino or Asian) prejudice sounds like. Most goyim have an idea of what an anti-Semitic rant sounds like. But even having grown up in an area with lots of Mormons and had LDS friends all my life, I hadn't been fully exposed to the intensity of anti-Mormon views. Here's the latest sample.

    Dear James Fallows:

    With your recent article calling those who tell the truth about Momonism "bigots," you are dreadfully uninformed on Mormonism. You have done a lot of harm to our country with your extreme ignorance.

    With two Mormons as candidates for the presidency, it is one's duty to be informed about Mormonism. According to all mainstream Christian religions, Mormonism is a cult. (A cult claims to be Christian, but it is not Christian.)

    There is no reason not to be reasonably informed on Mormonism, since there are various quality, highly documented sources easily available.

    Chapter and verse, plus more about my own failings, after the jump. Plus an illustration of the media doing the right job in covering the Mormon threat: a quote from the NY Times 99 years ago!

    For instance, read this article: 

Among other things, the article quotes a dozen Ph.D. Egyptologists on Joe Smith's completely false translation of Egyptian papyri for the Book of Abraham, Mormon scripture. In fact, Mormons do not have even one Ph.D. Egyptologist who agrees with Smith's "translation." Using Mormons' own documents, which Mormons cannot refute, the article also reveals the gods Mormons worship: The Egyptian sun god Ra and the ithyphallic (with erect penis) pagan Egyptian god Menu-ka-mut-f. The Mormon Holy Ghost is Nehebkau, an ithyphallic snake god.



    Mostly the major media is shamefully uninformed and cowardly concerning Mormonism, but sometimes the media does its job. For instance, on December 29, 1912 [!!], the New York Times headlines about Joe Smith's Book of Abraham blared, "Sacred Books Claimed to Have Been Given Divinely to the First Prophet Are Shown to be Taken from Old Egyptian Originals, Their Translation Being a Work of Imagination."

The headlines were based on the book Joseph Smith, Jr., As a Translator by F. S. Spalding (Salt Lake City, Utah: The Arrow Press, 1912). In the book, eight experts on Egyptian antiquities found Smith's explanations of the Facsimiles in the Book of Abraham false.

    All universally respected Egyptologists who have since examined the matter have pronounced Smith's translation of papyri and explanation of Facsimiles completely incorrect.

A Mormon is somebody who wants to believe a lie. For those who argue that one's religion does not matter, do you think that wanting to believe a lie is a good character trait for the presidency? Do you think that having a tendency to be profoundly deceived is an acceptable quality for a president?

    Do you not agree with reasonable people that one would have to be mentally ill to worship the Egyptian sun god or a penis god in this day and age? Do you think that a person such as Mitt Romney, who has insane beliefs as a Mormon, would be good for this country? Is not this country in enough trouble already? If you have even a smidgeon of patriotism, you will want to get up to speed on Mormonism and read the article.

    

Sincerely, Mark Xxxx, M.A.

    More to come.

    More »

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