|Mormon men, including Church Elders, held in Federal Prison for Polygamy.|
Mitt Romney’s Mormon heritage has been an issue bubbling just below the surface since his announcement that he was running for president. As he slogged through the primaries while desperate Tea Baggers, assorted religious zealots and Ayn Rand fan boys desperately ran through one any-body-but-Mitt possibility one after the other, the word was out that the crucial Evangelical block would not support a member of the anti-Christian cult.
Since clinching the nomination, some Democrats have delighted in mocking the more bizarre aspects of Mormonism from after death baptism of Jews to funny secret underwear. Lately immigration and marriage equality activists have brought up the flight of his great grandfather and father to Mexico to avoid prosecution as polygamists and to continue to enjoy their plural marriages. Even his dad, George Romney was born there before fleeing back to the United States during the Mexican Revolution.
But few American who did not grow up Mormon themselves or who did not live in Utah or one of the other Western states with major Mormon population have any idea about the back story to that episode. Even fewer realize the political implications that are felt to this day.
The story below explains why the secretive leadership of the Church of the Latter Day Saints has always cultivated political influence and tried to secure the election of Mormons to high office from both political parties. It explains the almost desperate drive to expand membership, particularly in Western states, so as to become so large and powerful that no governmental suppression could ever touch them again. And it explains the secret desire to place one of their own at last in the very center of power. Mitt Romney might be a stiff sock puppet, careless elitist snob, and willing tool of an oligarchy of powerful rich men to others. But to Mormon leaders, he is literally a savior.