Friday, May 20, 2011

Republican Presidential Hopeful Jon Huntsman Still A Mormon, Reaffirms His LDS Church Membership On Good Morning America

On May 12th 2011, Republican Presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman Jr., who is not yet an "official" candidate, generated a stir when in response to a question about his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Time magazine reported that Huntsman said, "That's tough to define...There are varying degrees. I come from a long line of saloon keepers and proselytizers, and I draw from both sides." Immediately, many questioned whether or not Huntsman was still formally a member of the LDS Church, and some accused him of waffling, particularly since other sources reported that Huntsman recently passed up attending LDS services to attend services at a different church. Mormon Mentality responded with a post entitled "How Do You Spell Inactive: H-U-N-T-S-M-A-N".

So on May 20th, Huntsman addressed the issue during an interview aired on ABC's Good Morning America. During the interview, Huntsman discussed his ambassadorship in China, America's role in Libya, the stimulus, health care, and the budget. Finally, at the 4:15 point on the video embedded below, Huntsman addresses the "Mormon Question":

Read the full written transcript of the interview HERE. Here's the specific segment:

George Stephanopoulos: We're just about out of time. I just have two more questions. One comes from one our viewers. And it's from Joelyn Singley of Salt Lake City, Utah. And she says: "The recent comments from Mr. Huntsman confused me as to his religious affiliations. Is he a practicing Mormon or not?"

Jon Huntsman: I believe in God. I'm a good Christian. I'm very proud of my Mormon heritage. I am Mormon. Today, there are 13 million Mormons. It's a very diverse and heterogeneous cross-section of people. And you're going to find a lot of different attitudes and a lot of different opinions in that 13 million.

George Stephanopoulos: Is it going to be an issue in this campaign?

Jon Huntsman: And I probably add to that diversity somewhat. I don't think so. I think people want to know that you, if you get in the race, are going to be a problem solver. A pragmatic problem solver who's going to look laser-like on jobs and keeping this economy moving forward in ways that will maintain our preeminence in the world. I think everything else that people like to talk about, in many cases, are less relevant. In fact, some-- some are sideshows.

Note that Huntsman first said he is Christian. This is designed to reinforce the idea that Mormonism is Christian and to reassure those who might question that premise. But then Huntsman clearly says "I am Mormon"; this can be logically interpreted to mean that he remains an enrolled member of the LDS Church.

Later on, KTVX Channel 4 contacted Joelyn Singley, who explained “I feel he’s dancing around it. It’s not important to me if he’s a practicing Mormon or not. I just want a straight answer. He just sounds like every other politician out there who dances around hard questions. It’s really not a hard question”.

The LDS Church is a diverse church; there are many degrees of involvement. Some are fully-active Mormons who attend services weekly, hold callings, and are templeworthy. Others are less active but attend periodically. Still others are inactive and may not live up to all the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. All have two things in common -- they maintain formal membership, and they do not engage in public insurgency against the Church. All can legitimately call themselves Mormons.

There's also another group of Mormons -- New Order Mormons. By their definition, New Order Mormons are those who no longer believe some of the dogma or doctrines of the LDS Church, but who want to maintain membership for cultural, social, or even spiritual reasons. New Order Mormons recognize both good and bad in the Church, and have determined that the Church does not have to be perfect in order to remain useful. New Order Mormons seek the middle way to be Mormon. Reaction to them has been mixed; while LDSAliveInChrist, edited by a devout Mormon, characterized it as a "path to deception", Latter Day Commentary, also edited by a devout Mormon, says that one can absolutely be a member of the LDS Church and not believe some of the doctrine or accept the official story of the history.

Jon Huntsman is probably better qualified than any of us to decide whether or not he's a Mormon. His real task now will be to persuade Republicans that he is qualified to be President of the United States.


Anonymous said...

He would be a great president of the united states and I love the fact that he is a good Mormon, and shows it by his example and his actions. Yes, a good Mormon in good standing, with a brain to run this country too. I applaud him.tde

Anonymous said...

I think it is clear that he is an active, card-carrying TBM.

I do think, however, that he is trying to downplay his religion a bit. Let's be honest, Romney lost the Republican primary for one and only one reason, his faith. As a moderate voter (and in some cases quite liberal), I think I resonate more with Huntsman than Romney.

Still, as a TBM myself, I am going to have to admit I resonate more with Romney on a personal level. As much as I can understand why Huntsman dances around the issue, I personally wish he wouldn't. I have to admit that I do appreciate Romney taking one in the gut for the team. For that reason only, i would vote for him.

Would Huntsman make the same speech Romney did? If not, I do believe that shows a little bit of a lack of character, personal direction and conviction. Huntsman is going to find out that evangelicals are going to hate him either way and the rest of America will only love him if he stands for something.

I do believe that is the real reason Romney is doing so well in the polls -- i.e., while the evangelicals still hate him, the rest of America, whether Mormon or non-Mormon, can appreciate his dedication and unwavering conviction. Whether you agree with LDS doctrines, I have learned from a lifetime of experience that people are going to respect your conviction and sincere dedication more than they will look the minute doctrinal views of your religion.

That said, Mr. Huntsman, I am not certain this is a good political move on your part. But based on our similar political and religious views, I do hope it works. Nonetheless, I will be voting for Romney over you.

Anonymous said...

Huntsman is losing. Big time. No one wants a mushy president. Jon reaps the consequences of his lack of convictions, and his ridiculous belief in evolution and man made global warming. He is a rich brat who knows NOT what it is like to have to work for your money, and what it is like to lose your money to government waste. He has never wanted.

Anonymous said...

The fact that Jon breaks his covenants by embracing the ecumenical approach, and skips out on covenant bound Sunday meetings and sacrament, etc., and priesthood meeting, means he is NOT a mormon. He is an apostate now. He has fallen away.

He is playing semantics.