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Religion, politics and the LDS

June 12, 2007

Re "Romney's cross to bear," Opinion, June 10

I am weary of biased people trying to explain my religion. Warren Jeffs is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is head of a breakaway sect. It's like saying a Methodist is a Catholic. Those who practice polygamy are excommunicated from the LDS church.

If the public truly wants to understand Mitt Romney's religion, there are much better sources than Sally Denton; lds.org is one source. Better yet, ask your Mormon neighbor, dentist or teacher. We are everywhere, and you probably never realized it. We are just nice people who try to help others and live Christ's teaching to the best of our ability.

LINDA M. HAMILTON

Granada Hills

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Romney's cross to bear is a cross for all of us to bear who believe in freedom of religion. That presidential candidates must now state, and in some cases defend, their religious beliefs can be attributed to the Christian right. When any one religion has become so powerful as to influence our national elections, we should all be very afraid.

As a former evangelical Baptist and a close observer of recent religious rhetoric, I am well aware that the primary goal of Christian right leaders is to make this a Christian government by "spreading the word" of their own faith to all those who would otherwise go to hell. Their political plan is to ensure that a majority of our country's future leaders be from the extreme right. To see how that religious view could play out in a nation with multiple religions, observe the Middle East.

BETTE BALLIET

Mission Viejo

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Mormon doctrines do have major departures from traditional Christianity in matters such as reopening prophecy, the nature of God and the destiny of man. However, Joseph Smith Jr.'s writings were grounded in the Bible, and early on Smith's church affirmed certain core Christian beliefs, such as Christ's atonement for sin and the Holy Trinity. Regarding communal property ownership, many contemporary sects, such as the Shakers and the Oneida Community, had similar practices.

Most important, an analogy between Romney and John F. Kennedy is a bucket with some big holes. In 1960, many American Catholics had an honorable record in progressive politics and the labor movement. By contrast, the Mormon leadership has been committed to conservative politics, which has given us wage depression, abridgement of rights and a failed war. Romney cannot disown this legacy, and that more than his religious faith should keep him out of the White House.

ROBERT P. SECHLER

Seal Beach

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