My former missionary companion Mit Romney’s latest gaffe may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The same poor camel, by the way, who was scheduled to get into heaven by squeezing through the eye of the needle, a feat easier than rich-man Romney entering the same celestial real estate—sure handshakes, special tokens, secrets names and all.
All the grief Mit has been getting for not giving a rat’s ass about the poor may finally have sent him over the edge. There was my prickly friend on CNN, growing more and more agitated as Wolf Blitzer grilled him about his Christian duty to care for the poor. Finally, punctuating his response with his trademark tinny ha-ha-ha-ha laugh, the exasperated Mit blurted out, “For Pete’s sake, Wolf, I’m a Mormon, not a Christian.”
Well, it was Twittermania out there in campaign land. Bad as it was, it was far worse at LDS Church headquarters, where the consternation among the Brethren was heavier than the gold plates hefted by the eight witnesses. Before Mit’s blurt, all of us at headquarters were hoping that we were on the verge of shedding the scales of castigated culthood and joyfully slithering into the sunshine and warm embrace of the extended Christian family, yea, verily clasped unto its milky bosom.
Mit was our boy, the very model of a modern Mormon patriarch, the chosen son who was going to ascend to the highest office in the land (good practice for becoming a god of his own planet and fathering innumerable smiling sons anointed with Mit-like monosyllabic monikers), once and for all lifting Mormons, a hounded and persecuted people, into the luxury suites of American respectability.
Alas, Mit’s incorrigible cluelessness may have finally done him in. The Brethren are wincing, and the howling you hear echoing in the subterranean corridors of the temple issues forth from the ghost of Gordon B. Hinckley, who labored all the livelong day to sneak his sheep into the Christian fold, come hell, high water and hedged bets.
How do you solve a problem like Mitty? As an ex officio member, in good standing, of the Council of the Twelve, I was granted an exclusive interview with Apostle F. Marlin McConkie, who has been the Church’s point man for the Romney campaign.
Deep End: Is Mit toast?
Apostle McConkie: Looks like it, doesn’t it? But as you know, we believe in repentance, so if Brother Romney demonstrates contrition and a broken heart, we will sustain him in his quest. In the eye of eternity, this latest booting of an easy grounder is a mere blip.
D.E.: So this “I am Mormon, hear me roar” boner isn’t a deal-breaker?
A.M.: Well, technically speaking, he’s correct about not being a traditional Christian. The other lads on the Council of the Twelve are of the opinion that we can weather the whole Mormon/Christian flapdoodle. But I have to tell you that me and the lads are exceedingly worried about the state of Mit’s immortal soul. All of Mit’s boasting about being filthy rich and his blowing off of the poor show that not only doesn’t he know his Bible—which, admittedly, hasn’t been translated correctly—he also has forgotten his Book of Mormon; that is, if he ever read it in the first place. Maybe the French translation he used on his mission omitted all those lessons about not being too lifted up in your heart because of your exceeding great riches. It’s the same story over and over again: Righteousness leads to prosperity leads to pride leads to a fall into wickedness. Then you repent, and back to righteous square one.
When Brother Romney meets with us this weekend, his homework assignment will be to bone up on Alma 46:24 and the story of the Nephites not heeding the words of Helaman. Then we want him to study the book of Mosiah, where my favorite Mormon, King Benjamin, wags his finger at the Nephites who aren’t concerned about the very poor, contending that they have brought their misery upon themselves. Do you remember, Brother End, the words of Benjamin?
D.E.: As well as I know the back of my hand: “For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?”
A.M.: Amen, Elder End.
D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.