-{Note: This was supposed to go up before the election. I apparently muffed the scheduling.}-

If you haven’t seen this video, it’s quite interesting. It involves a Mormon settlement in Mexico and their standoffs against the drug cartels.

Also, Steve Sailer asks:

[W]hat will happen among Mormons if Romney is defeated in sizable part because he’s so Mormon in affect, values, and behavior? Will they redouble their efforts to be even more what they are? Will they decide they have to loosen up and get funky? Will we see more ads on TV featuring Mormon Tongan NFL players?

Or, feeling rejected as a people, will Mormons go off in a new, subversive direction of … what?

Mormons aren’t a huge group (usually said to be about 9 million). And they aren’t hugely talented. They generally seem to be about the white American average — but that puts them increasingly above the American average. And they are better organized, more cohesive, and less dysfunctional than most. So, if they move in a particular direction, it could be moderately significant.

The most likely reaction would probably be to modernize by accelerating the Third Worldization of Mormonism. That would be the easy, socially acceptable path. But that way leads to irrelevance because nobody cares much about nonblack nonwhites, especially ones who choose to assimilate into polite Mormonhood rather than riot over YouTube videos.

This was written before Romney’s polling surge after the debates. What I say about now, however, was even more true then. It simply doesn’t appear to me that if Romney loses that it will have much to do with his Mormonism. There has, as Mr. Blue recently put it, a greater percentage in it for Democrats to portray him as a Dirty Jew than a Creepy Mormon. I have no doubt that Obama would have gone there had it proven advantageous, but there were more and better avenues of attack.

Though I don’t live in Mormonland anymore, I am still at least somewhat plugged into it and have gotten little indication that a Romney loss would involve a change in trajectory.

But a change of trajectory somewhere along the line does seem possible. The Romney loss could play a roll in it, but I think being on what will be the losing side of the gay marriage issue will be a bigger one. To be clear, I don’t think the LDS Church will ever formally or informally endorse same-sex marriage. Civil unions and such yes, but marriage never. But I think their experiences with Proposition 8 and the backlash they faced may have jarred them a little (it sure as heck would have jarred me). Not just that they were publicly reviled, but it was the conspicuousness with which they were targeted. It’s not that they don’t like attention – they clearly do – but they have always seemed at least a little wary of being seen as backwards. It’s actually a bit difficult to describe, but many southern evangelicals seem to revel in being the big, bad guy to their opponents. Mormons maintain their distinctness, to be sure, but perhaps because of a history of having been on the wrong side of public backlashes, they are reluctant to be too different.

I think there may come a point where, culturally speaking, they wish to unhitch their wagon to the evangelicals and far right of the Republican Party. We might start hearing more about their broadly liberal immigration preferences and economic liberalism that they presently seem to downplay.


Category: Church

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8 Responses to Mormons in North America

  1. SFG says:

    Romney’s loss had nothing to do with him being Mormon and much more to do with him being an out-of-touch plutocrat. He lost all the big Midwestern ex-manufacturing states. This hardcore capitalism doesn’t work electorally.

  2. Abel Keogh says:

    What, exactly, do you define as “economic liberalism” when it comes to Mormonism?

  3. SFG says:

    They practice socialism over the Mormon community, with relief funds and actions to help out Mormons who are doing badly–in effect, a private welfare state.

    Most churches try to do this, but the Mormons are better at it.

  4. Peter says:

    Many other religious group are opposed to gay marriage: the Catholic church, the Southern Baptists, Orthodox Judaism, Islam, surely many others. What set the Mormons apart was their deliberate attempt to influence the voters in California. An unwise move.

  5. SFG says:

    Eh, wasn’t just that. A lot of black people voted against gay marriage, but we can’t blame them, because that wouldn’t be PC. So instead the Mormons take the hit.

  6. Abel Keogh says:

    “They practice socialism over the Mormon community. . .”

    No, they don’t. Their welfare program is nothing like socialism. It’s a program designed to teach and foster self-reliance. If anything, it’s the opposite of socialism in many respects.

    A fairly good write-up of how the program works was done by Naomi Schaefer Riely in Philanthropy magazine here.

  7. trumwill says:

    That’s a great link, Abel. Thanks for sharing it.

    My reference was primarily with regard to the fact that Mormons seem willing to accept and tolerant of those who accept government services provided that they are working. It is also a reference in part to the extent to which Mormons are willing to take care of their own and fond of charity.

    Whether this counts as “liberal” or not I suppose depends on how important you consider the caveats to be (provided they are working, public/private distinction), but that Mormons put their money where their mouth is in terms of social support networks strikes me as significant. I tend to believe that in a different paradigm – one in which contemporary liberalism did not have the hostility that it does to a number of their other beliefs – they’d be more like the Catholics (doing what they can on the private level, but supportive of the government doing more).

    Anyway, my main point is that Mormons have one of the most significant non-government support networks in the world, and it’s something that most people never even know about. It gets downplayed.

  8. trumwill says:

    Eh, wasn’t just that. A lot of black people voted against gay marriage, but we can’t blame them, because that wouldn’t be PC. So instead the Mormons take the hit.

    I think this is part of it. Another is political calculation. Even if the Catholic Church was helping fund Prop 8, I still can’t imagine this sort of thing* being made to target the Catholics. They at least somewhat want to bring Catholics to their cause (albeit the laid back or cafeteria or C&E Catholics), but could care less about the Mormons.

    * – Of course, Catholics don’t have missionaries the same way that Mormons do. But you can imagine similarly hostile ads involving pederast priests or something.

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