I am so ready for this Republican primary to be over with. Its time for every one to rally and stop acting like liberals and spending our time kicking each other in the teeth. (and writing Obama's damn ads for him) Heres a newsflash, Mitt is our guy. Yes, I recognize that there are candidates that are more conservative in their voting record but lets not lose sight of why we hold the primary in the first place: To pick the guy will the best odds of winning the long term prize which is to beat Obama. Mitt has always been that guy. He is consistent, has the money to stay in the game forever, and once we get our act together, conservative principles will rule the day.
Jonn and I disagree. We went around and around and couldn't convince each other and finally accepted that we will cancel one another's primary vote. He likes Santorum. Of course he also liked Bachman, Perry, Cain and Gingrich back when they all had their flash in the pan. We always discuss the debates and the issues and what specifically we like or don't like about the candidates but there's always an unspoken undercurrent of judgement and eye rolling just under the surface. He wont come right out and say it (because he knows he is no match for me in an argument like this) but he thinks I like Romney because he is Mormon and that because of that fact I am willing to overlook things I wouldn't overlook in a non-Mormon contender. He, on the other hand, is a convert to the church raised by slightly anti-Mormon parents in Mesa and I can tell that he is just not comfortable throwing his support behind the Mormon guy because he doesn't want anyone to think about him, what he thinks about me. I don't care what anyone thinks about my vote. This is not the same as black people turning out to vote for the black guy without listening to a word of debate or even bothering to ask if he had even one qualification before doing so. Yes, most of the Mormons I know are voting for him, but I don't know any Mormons supporting him who don't fundamentally understand the issues and given the whole thing a lot of thought.
Heres the other thing: I AM SUPPORTING HIM BECAUSE HE IS MORMON. I wouldn't vote for Huntsman if you paid me but I will not claim to be above the influence of basic human nature and be drawn to people who are like me. Its what we do, we go around all day long calculating how much people are like us and then we like them accordingly. Its how species survive. So with that said let me explain why I am sold…
1# Do I like the idea of the president of the free world holding the Melchezidek Priesthood of God? Yes. Does it comfort me to picture our leader kneeling in the temple before declaring war somewhere? Hells. Yes. Do I like the fact that he is squeaky clean with a fabulous family and wife? Absolutely. Do I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true and living church on the face of the earth? Do I tingle to think of the doors that would open for the preaching of the Gospel of Christ across the globe with that kind of publicity? Check. It will sound in every ear and in every nation.
I served a full time mission in the Brussels, Belgium Mission which at the time covered Northern France, North Eastern France, Luxembourg, and the French speaking half of Belgium. Pretty much every where I served is in the Geneva Mission now and I served in the International Ward in Brussels which is now in the Netherlands Mission. We all had Belge visas and lived in France as "tourists" which I thought was funny becasue I had never realized how much the church is willing to bend the rules to get their missionaries in. It was a good back door approach and when we crossed borders we knew to tell them we were visiting and use the mission home as an address of residence. (I have since heard of missionaries that had to literally dress up in disguise as tourists to get passports stamped and when it starts to get fishy looking at the end when the passport is full they are instructed to "fast and pray before attempting a border crossing".
So the number of missionaries was plummeting in Belgium and a whole bunch of missionaries that had already ben called were stuck in MTCs or sent to random stateside locations to await visas. The Belge government was undergoing a religion crisis and froze the missionary visas while they decided what to do about it. They had always let pretty much anyone put missionaries in Belgium but had a recent outbreak of strange sects and cults taking root. The church was on the cult list and we were pretty much screwed. My mission president was going crazy filling out paperwork and pleading with them to see reason and pointing out how much cash flows in from each missionary. We learn the language and culture. There is no missionary crime. We take no resources, we rent apartments and pay bills on time and spend a massive amount of energy (a minimum of 15 hours per month) doing service in the community outside of our proselyting. We teach free English classes in every town. All of the relevant arguments had been made and every other misunderstood or group of religious freaks had clogged up the system with their pleas. It was insane. My mission president was at the very tail end of his three years and knew that if he couldn't solve this that the church would literally die in Belgium. He always said "Pray and have an increase of faith" as an answer to every problem and he asked us to do just that. The whole case was about to be closed one way or another and a new incoming mission president without all of the contacts and history and work invested would be useless. So finally the day came when the Office of the Minister of the Interior was going to take a final vote to seperate the good and bad apples. Pres. Hart was there pleading to be heard. They didn't allow him. The Church vote came up and all of a sudden one of the Belge members of the MI board, asked to say something about the church before the final vote. He then told the story of twenty years ago when he had gone through a phase of being interested in learning about religions. He had met with a pair of Elders back then and listened to the entire message. He then said, "Religion is not for me personally, but I can tell you that what these missionaries teach is true and if we disallow them to live and work here, we are doing our country a great disservice." They voted, the church was voted in, the fight was over. The visas unfroze and it would never be an issue again. It was a miracle, plain and simple. It gave me great comfort to think about those two missionaries who probably wore their knees out praying that this guy would humbly consider their message. They probably taught him and then got ditched with no explanation and they were probably sad. Its not an unfamiliar story in missions like this. What they didn't know and what they may never know until the next life is that the effort they put into it twenty years ago SAVED THE CHURCH twenty years later. Their actions would eventually result in thousands and thousands of convert baptisms. its incalculable really. It made me feel a lot better about the rejections I had experienced and I received a witness that my effort was accepted by the Lord and that I would never know or need to know the fruit of my labor, but it had been worth it.
My point is also this: If the church is facing struggles like this in first world developed nations where they have been established for a hundred years, I guarantee that they constantly deal with roadblocks caused by ignorance or bigotry or misunderstanding. I have a feeling that having a card carrying Mormon president would bring these roadblocks down in an instant. You can not buy that kind of mainstream exposure and I don't think it is a coincidence that the church is launching the largest global most aggressive marketing campaign in history. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. Lets get the show on the road, right? I am biased. Shouldn't we all be?