Politics & Society
August Thu 16, 2012
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Helen C. Whitney is a famous and award-winning documentary film maker who specializes in documenting the religious experience of Americans at the present time and of their origins in American religious history. I have had the privilege of working with Helen in a number of documentaries and I know how thorough is her research, and how fair on all sides she seeks to be. Among the documentaries produced by Whitney is a four hour PBS series entitled, The Mormons.Recently, Helen sent me the text of an article she wrote with Gregory A. Prince, a biologist, author and consultant on Whitney’s documentary who is a practicing member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. In this article, Whitney regrets the refusal of Governor Mitt Romney to answer her questions and clear away the fog that continues to obscure the Mormon religion whose effect on a person’s life view can be powerful. (—the father of Mitt Romney once said he was completely the product of the Church of Latter Day saints. The Catholics and the Mormons are similar in the sense of organization and structure.)Helen sent me the list of questions that she wanted to ask Romney. Here is a summary of the questions.Question 1 “How have your experiences, particularly the two years spent as a missionary in France, and as a Bishop and Stake President, shaped your character and your world view?”Question 2 “How does the almost boundless optimism that characterizes the Mormon faith, which even goes beyond death, shape your vision of America’s present and future?”Question 3 “I understand that Mormon theology tells us that God has a body, ‘There is a plurality of gods who eat and drink and mate as we do...’ How has this physicality of your faith shaped your view of the world not only as a private citizen but as a national leader of the world.”Question 4 “The Mormon founder, Joseph Smith, had a final vision of man ‘As God is, man may become.’ Can you explain this central belief in a way that responds to the charge of blasphemy made by other religions.”Question 5 “Your most recent positions on immigration, social welfare, gay rights, and abortion, differ from the official position of the Mormon Church. How can you assure the American people that the Mormon faith has within it ample room for such diversity of positions?”
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