Saturday, September 29, 2012

Proselytizing at the Point of a Gun

In 1966, at the beginning of the huge buildup of American forces in South Vietnam, a group of Mormon so-called General Authorities (LDS bigwigs, including the recently deceased "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" Gordon Hinckley, then only a member of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles),  made an official trip to Vietnam for the Dedication of the Land of Vietnam for the Preaching of the Restored Gospel. In Mormon land, this dedication is a Very Big Deal.

I would guess that it was also considered by the average Vietnamese -- those who were even aware of it -- to be just one more step in Yankee imperialism, since the ceremony took place on the rooftop garden of the Caravelle Hotel, then and now one of the most luxurious and exclusive hotels in Saigon. I couldn't drink there, none of my friends could drink there, and no one under the rank of bird colonel could drink there. Totally off limits to all but the top echelon.

I was in Vietnam later than this, in 1968-69, and one of the Group chaplains where I was stationed was a Mormon (despite the fact that there were probably only two or three Mormons in each of the two battalions in the Group -- go figure). I heard with my own ears his incredible statement that, since Vietnam was so dedicated, it took a war to make sure that God's promise was kept to the poor savages who inhabited that benighted land.

I don't know how much of that was official Mormon Doctrine, but I assume that it was pretty much right on, since this particular chaplain was a scion of Mormon Royalty: His father was one of the General Authorities of the church and the official guru of Mormon Doctrine (he even wrote a book on it). The opinions of those General Authorities on various matters have a similar weight and authority to pronouncements from the College of Cardinals in the Catholic Church.

I assume that since the Communist victory in Vietnam and their takeover of the country, the Mormon missionaries haven't been welcomed back in any number. So much for that whole god-wants-the-Vietnamese-saved thing, I guess.

Which brings me to Mitt Romney (you knew it was coming). His Mormon faith is not just a facet of his existence, it is all of it. There's no way to separate it from him as a person. Or him as a President. Which scares the living shit out people who are aware of the violent history of The One True Church. If he buys into the whole proselytizing at the point of gun thing -- and why shouldn't he? -- then what's to stop him from pulling some weak-ass excuse out of his ass (are you listening, George W?) and invading some other poor benighted land that needs to have The Restored Gospel brought to its savage denizens?


BadTux said...

One hypothesis about why Romney won't release his taxes is that if he did so, he'd be excommunicated. I.e., it'd show that he hadn't paid his required tithe to the Mormon church. Romney does not strike me as particularly religious, unless it's Mormon orthodoxy to rape companies for profit...

timr said...

Now that is something that I knew nothing about.
altho I am very glad that you pointed it out.
I now have one more argument to use on my neighbors who place romney signs in their yards