Patrick Mason on Anti-Mormonism and Mitt Romney
Date: October 3rd, 2011
With Mitt Romney making waves as a presidential candidate frontrunner for the Republican Party, we visit with Prof. Patrick Mason — the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Momon Studies at the Claremont Graduate University — to discuss the history of anti-Mormon bigotry in the United States tracing it back to the founding of the faith in the 1820s. We start be examining the diaspora of Mormons westward and into the postbellum South, the latter which is the focus of Prof. Mason’s most recent book. Patrick provides a detailed description of the Cane Creek Massacre, which exemplifies some of the violent hostility faced by Mormons in the 19th century. Our conversation covers Mormon relations with Native Americans and African Americans, and then moves on to cover one of the most controversial aspects of Mormon history — polygamy — which served to animate a great deal of the animosity that the LDS Church faced. Prof. Mason explains the historical aspect of that practice, how it was viewed by non-Mormons, and why it was eventually abandoned by the main church. Tony then raises two interesting questions about why Mormons have become one of the most patriotic segments of American society, and why anti-Mormonism has persisted even though many of the issues that gave rise to bigotry have been resolved for over a century, namely the polygamy question. As to the former question, we speculate about why a persecuted religious minority would strongly embrace the patriotic norms of a nation that once excluded them. The latter question leads us into a discussion of whether lingering bias against Mormons will affect the presidential aspirations of Mitt Romney, and we make comparisons to the cultural obstacles that Catholics and Jews had to overcome to be accepted into the mainstream of American political life. Recorded: September 19, 2011
Patrick Q. Mason’s website at the Claremont Graduate University.
The Mormon Menace: Violence and Anti-Mormonism in the Postbellum South, by Patrick Q. Mason.
Claremont Mormon Studies website.
Michael McBride on Religious Free-Riding and the Mormon Church.
Douglas Baker on Dominionism, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry.
Louis Bolce on the Media and Anti-Fundamentalism.
Bradley R.E. Wright on Christian Stereotypes.
William Donohue on Secular Sabotage.
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