Yesterday, a commenter accused The Pink Flamingo of slamming the LDS faith. Mona Charen has a commentary today that highlights something I just realized. People are approaching Mitt Romney with kid gloves because they think they really don’t know people who are Mormon. It is as if he is part of some exotic religion.
For several weeks something has been bothering me about Romney and his version of what being a Mormon is, arrogantly ramming his perfect family down our throats to denigrate Newt Gingrich. Last night, while answering the comment, I was reading my response to my mother. She pegged it. Mitt Romney is not like any Mormon we’ve ever known.
You need a little background. If you delve into the Reidhead name, you will find that 90% of all Reidheads are Mormons. There are only two branches of the family. My side of the family is descended from “That Carter Woman”, John Reidhead, Sr. second wife. The LDS side of the family is descended from his first wife, who was related to Endicott Peabody. This is a really big deal in our family. Our two sides still don’t associate. It has nothing to do with religion, but the fact that John Reidhead, Jr. resented the fact that his father married a second time.
My uncle, who has been married 3 times, was married to a Mormon. Rhelda is STILL our favorite of his wives. Her family was legendary during the late 1950s and early 1960s in the rodeo world. She has a wonderful family.
I guess because of this, I find this tip-toeing around the Mormon religion just plain silly. I don’t like someone pandering via their faith and that is what Mitt Romney is doing. He’s arrogant and has turned his family into something that basically makes other normal Mormons look bad.
The Pink Flamingo is a compulsive genealogist and historian. I’ve written two non-fiction books about Wyatt Earp and Tombstone. As a compulsive genealogist, you learn the very first place to start work is in a LDS Family History Center. Genealogy is very important in the Mormon church, thank heavens! But, the people you meet at the Family History Centers are compulsive obsessive genealogists. If you are into genealogy, it is a “religion” all its own. They are wonderful, incredible people! When researching history, I have a tendency, when faced with a problem, to search out a local Family History Center (in that area) and have them find someone for me. Like I said, they are obsessive historians, some of the finest you will ever want to meet. They know everyone and everything.
These are good, incredible, NORMAL, salt-of-the-earth people. Their faith is now being approached as something weird, strange, and puzzling by a bunch of elitists who have a very small world view and really don’t get out much to meet real, normal people. Heck, people who are LDS are just like people who are Baptist, Catholic, or Episcopalian. You don’t wear a flashing neon light like Mitt Romney does, advertising their religion. They are who they are. You probably don’t know if you neighbor is Mormon because he may not know that you are Baptist.
This is insane. To me it shows how bigoted the world is when it comes people who don’t occupy their little high-rise. If they knew anything about the faith, they would be discussing their supply closets. That is where the LDS church has it over all of us.
Inside every Mormon church, no matter how small, is a room where common household supplies, food, housekeeping items are kept. If a member of the church needs help, it is freely given. When they are in a better situation in life, they replace the items. THIS is why the church is growing, because they are so willing to help one another. The Mormon church puts the rest of us to shame. BUT, you will not hear one pundit discuss this because they don’t know anything about it. You will not hear Mitt Romney discuss this because he is so far removed from the average member of his church that he probably doesn’t even breath the same air they do.
Lets put it this way, Mitt Romney is to the average Mormon what Queen Elizabeth is to the average Episcopalian. Get it?
He discusses his perfect family as if they are perfect. Many of the individuals I know who are attracted to the faith are there because they need help with their families. There is a certain form of discipline that keeps kids in line, without being brutal. I think every church in the country should be copying their missionary system. To me, it’s not about faith, but watching two very scared kids sitting on the wall outside my driveway, day in and day out. The faces change, but the looks on their faces, their fear, home-sickness, and abject terror at being in the world, on their own, for the first time in their lives, never changes. (Someone has donated a condo in my complex to house the kids here). I watch them grow and change, becoming more confident. It’s a very good thing, a very good learning tool.
Because Mitt Romney was so wealthy, he was spared the two by two on a bicycle, disparate for family. He lived in a mansion. He did not get the trial and error of locating someone from your family and calling on them. When the Reidhead boys would be on their missions and would be in our area, my parents were like ‘home’ to them. One group would show up on my mother’s doorstep, just in time for dinner, on a fairly regular basis.
I guess this is why Mitt Romney is annoying me and why those people who are supporting him are making fools of themselves. This is where Mona Charen is so very wrong. She is stressing a history of a faith, she obviously knows nothing about. She lives in such an elite world, she doesn’t know anyone who is a Mormon. How pathetic.
It has dawned on me, that is the real disconnect. Mormons are normal, Middle America, small town people who are terribly patriotic. They are John Wayne, Baseball, and Apple Pie. They exemplify what is good about small town fly-over country. They are no different from the rest of us who live in fly-over, small town America. They own restaurants, may do your hair, take your temp at the hospital, fix your car, deliver your paper, run your local bank, rub elbows at Lions, Kawanis, manage the local grocery store, run that motel down the street, or have your local insurance brokerage.
No wonder the conservative elite don’t get it. They don’t know real America. If they did, they would understand why many of us are disgusted with the way Romney is being portrayed. He’s no more normal Mormon than the Queen is a regular Episcopalian.
And, this is what makes me so annoyed with Mitt Romney. If he were truly involved in his faith, he would realize the secret to welfare and entitlement reform is hiding, right there in that storeroom. He is so removed from the everyday life in and around his church that he is not even capable of discussing it. It is the answer to many of our problems, a solution to what many of our economic plans. The problem, though, is he can’t even conceptualize this because he doesn’t know what goes on in the real world.
And – that is what really bugs me about him, and the people who are pushing him as the solution. They are so arrogant and so bigoted about the world around them, they think pushing a Mormon is like showing the world they aren’t bigoted. I dare them to name one person they know who is Mormon. I bet they can’t.
Have you noticed how Jon Huntsman is not promoting his faith? I suspect he is closer to it than the new chosen one.
All they are doing is getting Barack Obama re-elected.