Welcome to the new feature for “Salt and Light.”Â I have asked my pastor, Dr. Dennis Brunet to help shed some light on very contemporary and somewhat controversial issues.Â We will be exploring why evangelicals take the stands they do.Â Stay tuned!
Also, if you haven’t got yoursÂ yet, you’re going to want to get a copy of my book, “Understanding Evangelicals: A Guide to Jesusland.”Â Just hit the link on the lower righthand column and it will take you to Amazon.Â
Here is Part 2 of Bro Dennis’ stance on a Mormon President. Some readers may find these comments disturbing, especially if you are of the Mormon faith. If you would like to send comments to Bro Dennis, please email Salt and Light. Please keep you comments polite and constructive; any vulgarity or disrespectful language will result in your email being immediately deleted.
S&L: And I donâ€™t know that that was even possible of JFK when he said that because you have toâ€¦I had a conversation with a co-worker and wondered, what does that say if heâ€™s telling you that… â€œMy record of 14 years of supporting public education, supporting complete separation of church and state, and resisting pressure from any source on any issue should be clear by now to everyone.â€ What heâ€™s saying is then is his personal religious beliefs are compartmentalized and donâ€™t affect his everyday decision making in the public sector. And that to me as a biblical Christianâ€¦Iâ€™m going to call myself an evangelical in the oldâ€¦with the definition I used in my bookâ€¦butâ€¦
Brother Dennis: (leans forward towards recorder) yeahâ€¦and his book was very good by the wayâ€¦
S&L: (laughs)â€¦that makes me wonder about his beliefs then? How do youâ€¦one thing we teach here (at Midway Baptist Church) as a Sunday school teacherâ€¦one thing I try is to get people to adapt a biblical worldview, to not compartmentalize their beliefs, without us trying to beat people over the head and say its my way or the highway. Weâ€™re trying to change hearts.
Brother Dennis: But take JFKâ€™s statement within the context of the 50â€™s, okay, although he said in 1960, you canâ€™t take it as a 60â€™s conceptâ€¦
S&L: Right, because it was early 1960â€¦
Brother Dennis: Thatâ€™s right. The 50â€™sâ€¦well thereâ€™s just some things we just, hey, the man said it; the man said it. There was an amazing naivenessâ€¦itâ€™s also part of the problems of the 60â€™s came out of the naiveness of the 50â€™s, where there were certain pressures and trends. The â€œhappy daysâ€ of going to make out on theâ€¦
S&L: …Lookout Hill.
Brother Dennis: Yeah, okay, now that might make funny television, but it lead to the hellishness of the 60â€™s. You understand? So when heâ€™s coming through, I can see the naiveness and the propriety and the climate at that day of saying, itâ€™s not relevant that I want this stress. Itâ€™s not relevant what pressures, if any, might conceivably be brought on me. People wanted to see things in a very sweet way coming out of World War II, you know, yes, Koreaâ€™s gone. Here we are, letâ€™s beâ€¦maybe itâ€™s timeâ€¦hey doesnâ€™t he look goodâ€¦isnâ€™t this Camelot or whatever?
But now days, now that weâ€™ve come through and our society is far more cynical and far less believing and trusting. For him to say, I want you to believe meâ€¦ (reads from JFK statement) â€œAnd you have at the same time placed your confidence in me and my ability to render a free and fair judgment.â€
We donâ€™t do that anymoreâ€¦so he couldnâ€™t get awayâ€¦Iâ€™m not saying he wouldnâ€™t get elected, because he was very charismaticâ€¦especially against his opponent (Nixon). But today, the avenues of discussion, the intensity of scrutiny, and the lack of respectâ€¦they will cut you no slackâ€¦they will get you! And he couldnâ€™t have had the womanizing going on without these things coming to light, big time!
And so if he (Romney) wants to pull the JFK approach, I believe he is absolutely foolish because this country is far down the river from this (points at JFK statement). And whatâ€™s going to matter to people across the board, and even among like the evangelical of you just spoke, and not whether he believes in Jesus. Thatâ€™s not going toâ€¦many of them have abandoned the biblical Jesusâ€¦but on two fronts. One is heâ€™s holding onto a religion that claims to be the only true Christian religion; whereby he has to acceptâ€¦they have no personal interpretation rights in Mormonism. He canâ€™t say I accept this and Iâ€™ll say that and be genuine.
And then, the polygamy argument that is going to cross religious line, because even those who are not biblically based are going to say, this is crazy, this country is losing itâ€™s mind. What? One man, seven wives? How can one man support seven wives? How many of those women are on welfare? Whatâ€™s happening over there? Since when have we thrown the light of scrutiny on Utah, and really went into the sacred temple of Mormonism, which demands no audits? Thereâ€™s a lot more I can say, but thatâ€™s just some warming the pot.
S&L: No, thatâ€™s some good stuff there, becauseâ€¦I guess for a specific answer what would one teaching of the Mormon Church that would cause a concern for a Mormon president? Where it would bring that conflict, possibly, I mean you brought up the polygamy, thatâ€™s probably the biggest one.
Brother Dennis: I think thatâ€™s the easiest one for people to see; to grab onto. I still believe that there is the problem of Mormonismâ€™s exclusiveness that controls its members; they are highly controlled. But I donâ€™t know how much people across the land are going to be able to get ahold of that.
Although to me their view of salvation, their rejection of Scriptures as written, their view of God as a man from another planet, Jesus being the first child from God and Mother God, denying the Trinity, baptizing the dead, many of those things are of great concern to me. And if youâ€™re asking me specifically for the biblical Christian group, those are the areas that touch, but across the board the biggest part is the polygamy; heâ€™s not going to be able to get away from that.
S&L: So pretty much, the more light, the more scrutiny on the Mormon faith, the more heâ€™s going to have to explain for, is what youâ€™re is what youâ€™re basically sayingâ€¦
Brother Dennis: Yeahâ€¦
S&L: â€¦and itâ€™s going to be hard for him to separate the two.
Brother Dennis: Well heâ€™s going to have to explain why Mormonism isnâ€™t the only Christian, quote Christian, religion, okay. A great question to him is, â€œHey, yâ€™all say the Mormons, you gotta be a Mormon to go to heaven, the Catholics say you gotta be a part of the Catholic Church to go to heaven; whoâ€™s right?
S&L Note: It is expected that many readers will take issue with Bro Dennis’ statement, “the polygamy argument that is going to cross religious line.” Many will say that polygamy is no longer officially practiced in the Mormon Church and is cause for ex-communication. This is true and Gov. Romney will be addressing the polygamy issue in the May 13 episode of “60 Minutes.” Nevertheless, polygamy is still practiced today by self-proclaimed Fundamentalist Mormons. Please read Bill McKeever’s excellent article titled, “The Polygamy Dilemma – Is Plural Marriage a Dead Issue in Mormonism?” This will explain Bro Dennis’ assertion that polygamy is not dead among Mormons and that the government is indeed supporting polygamist families in the form of food stamps.