So I got a little interested in why Romney kept talking about the Olympics, and in my research I began realizing that we might be playing down Romney's religious affiliation. I know that no one likes religion bashing, but this is a bit different.
We might say that Newt Gingrich is a Christian. Maybe he is a baptist or whatever. Well, to make a proper comparison, let's say Newt is Jesus' second cousin. Cause that more the proximity Romney shares with the Mormon religion.
Mitt Romney is not "A Mormon". Mitt Romney is one of "The Mormons". His family could be seen as the first family of modern LDS and fundamentalist Mormonism. This is a bit more than what church he happened to choose.
We all probably know that Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith. This man died in 1844 after being arrested in a town he founded called Nauvoo, Illinois. He was killed while in prison. Well with him at this settlement were what Smith referred to as the apostles, which represented 12 men, who had been with Smith since the beginning of the new faith.
Two of these original apostles were brothers by the name of Parlay P Pratt and Orson Pratt. Well, Mitt Romney is directly descended from Parlay Pratt (John Huntsman is also related to the Pratts).
This might not seem that odd to you, but the Pratt family would become the most influential force in the Mormon faith after the death of Brigham Young. In fact most of Young's changes to doctrine were actually retracted by members of the Pratt family.
You might have heard Romney say his father was born in Mexico, as if his father were just another immigrant story. The truth of the matter was that Romney's great grandparents fled the United States to avoid the federal government's crack down on polygamy. In Mexico they could continue practicing plural marriage.
As the Mormon church entered the 20th century, a major split occurred. The mainstream of the church abandoned plural marriage, and strangely inserted patriotism as a key tenant of the LDS faith. This represented the Pratt and now Romney view of the modern LDS church.
Those that followed Brigham Young's teachings split off into the much smaller Mormon fundamentalists.
With the more mainstream focus, the Pratts and Romneys began using the LDS church to gain political power in Utah and other western states. They even went as far to include the US Constitution as one of the religious texts of their faith.
So when the Salt Lake games became embroiled in scandals ranging from corruption to sex scandals, the LDS church found themselves square in the middle. After all they doubled as the power brokers and religious leaders in Utah.
I was wondering why they would turn to some ordinary member of their church, who ran a Wall Street firm. The truth was that they weren't turning to just another member. They were turning to a direct descendant of one of Joseph Smith's original apostles. They were calling on the name of Romney, which had been among the original bishops.
Romney's success with cleaning up the games, became the spring board of his political career. He had attempted to run for national office, but had failed. This time he was able to secure a governorship, which would be the basis for his Presidential ambitions.
Mitt Romney's religious affiliation isn't a tangential American religious story. It wasn't the story of someone seeking spiritual guidance, and finding it in the teachings of a church up the street. Rather Romney is a part of the lineage of the church itself, and the eventual political influence it would have in American politics.
Tolstoy described Mormonism as the quintessential American religion. It is a religion that took the old world tales, and retold them in American settings with an America centered theology.
If Tolstoy is right, then Romney is the quintessential American Theocrat. I guess Pat Robertson can suck it.