Mormons oppose Mitt Romney.
“He puts forward anti-immigration policies and therefore recants our holy book”.
Latino Mormons, who share his faith, oppose the nomination of the former governor of Massachusetts to the White House.
The same South American immigrants who have joined the U.S. Mormon Church over the last two decades are now taking their distance from Romney, accusing him of not being a good Mormon.
And they are doing this right in the midst of the electoral campaign for the Republican Party's primary elections.
They protest that the Book of Mormon, the sacred text of their faith, is full of tales of people migrating and experiencing tragedies and triumphs during the journey, therefore the closing of the borders suggested by Romney goes against the faith he declares to follow.
For this reason the Latino Mormons have taken action against him in the election, even though the Republican Presidential hopeful is an integral figure in the Mormon high hierarchy of Salt Lake City in Utah, which is the historic cradle of the movement.
Mormons arrived in Utah after a mass exodus from the East to the West. Today about 70% of the population belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mormons are very conservative and their education is particularly strict. It is prohibited to drink alcohol or watch films containing nudity. Romney is a respected representative of this Church and in the past he was the Mormon equivalent of a bishop.
However, so far, his Mormon faith has been more trouble to him than help. Only a few days ago a scandal broke out because the Mormons posthumously baptized the parents of Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Nazi-hunter who died in 2005.
In short, a series of gaffe and problems seem to strike Romney’s electoral campaign any time his affiliation to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (this is the full name of the Mormon movement) comes into play.
This Church was founded officially on 6 April 1830 by Joseph Smith, a visionary young man who lived near New York. According to Smith, in one of his visions, God told him not to join any of the existing Christian Churches, but to establish a new one, or better to return to the purity, simplicity and essentiality of the early Christian communities.
God showed him that the Church had steered away from Chirst’s will very soon after his ascension to heaven and therefore the new Church which was modelled on the very first Christian communities needed to be named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; in this case the word saint is meant to encompass all the members of the community.
Moreover, according to Smith, in another vision a ‘messenger of God’ had revealed to him a book, written on golden plates, which narrated the story of the first Christian communities in America and how they had experienced the ‘fullness of the Gospel’.
This book, allegedly translated by Smith himself, is known as the Book of Mormon (from the name of the Angel Moroni who had appeared to Smith) and, together with the Bible, is the source of ‘Truth revealed’ for the Mormons.
In 1884 Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum accused of destroying a printers that produced a newspaper against the Mormons, were killed in Carthage, Illinois.
The lead of the new Church was taken up by Brigham Young who had 30 wives and 66 sons and led the Mormons on a long march across the United States, to finally reach Salt Lake City, in Utah, where the largest Mormon community was formed and it still lives today.
Often in European cities we see young men in white shirts and dark tie, with id badges, speaking American. These are the Mormon Saints (members of the Mormon Church) who go ‘in mission’ abroad.
They recommend the Bible and therefore also the Gospels of Jesus Christ as a starting point, but they also add to these the Book of Mormon and some texts relative to their own tradition. Even though this practice is officially banned, Mormons are often polygamous, but they have very strict rules of life.
They don’t drink alcohol, or caffeinated dinks, they are against abortion and homosexuality.
They don’t think of themselves as Protestants but as ‘reformists’ of the Catholic Church which, in their opinion after the death of St Peter was ‘betrayed’.
Their faith is based on an epic which sees travellers as protagonists and according to the Latino Mormons, Romney betrays it with his restrictive immigration policies.