The EFM Feature

Following up on Steve’s post below, I have to say that few columns that I’ve read during the campaign season have been more wrong than Mark Davis’s. He begins with a flawed premise (that millions of people will start studying up on Mormonism as opposed to, say, familiarizing themselves with the basic of the Governor’s political positions) and then moves on from that flawed premise to literally arguing that Governor Romney must be prepared to present archeological evidence for the Book of Mormon during the course of his presidential campaign. In other words, Mitt Romney had best be a credible (as Mark Davis defines credible) defender of his faith before he can answer the “Mormon question.”
(What does this even look like? Should his website say: “click here for Governor Romney on strategy in Iraq; click here for Governor Romney on health care; and click here for Governor Romney on the millenial reign of Christ!”)
Yet this is quite literally impossible. As I have found, the evangelicals who obsess over Mormons and love to spout this or that element of Mormon theology tend to have a problem: they’re quite convinced they know more about Mormonism than, well, Mormons do. A perfect example of the phenomenon is the the recent youtubed confrontation between the Governor and a smug Des Moines radio host. In that clip, you see the Governor, a leader of his church, being told by his non-Mormon host what his church “really” believes.
Americans are not really that curious about Mormon theology. Americans are even less curious about early American archeology. Americans (at least many Americans) do want to know if a candidate shares their moral values and if that candidate has the right answers on the pressing political issues of our time. Theology only interests them to the extent that theology actually drives politically relevant actions.
As Steve notes, Americans certainly have a “right” to ask the Governor whatever question they want. They do not have a right to the answer that furthers their agenda. Mark Davis wanted to debate the Governor over the veracity of Mormon truth claims, and the Governor wouldn’t go along. Good for him.
CHARLES adds: I don’t think Americans are simply “not really that curious about Mormon theology,” David. I don’t think most of us, evangelicals in particular, are all that curious about theology in general–and very regrettably so.
Then again, I am a nerd.

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