CNN: Tricia Erickson: 'An indoctrinated Mormon should never be elected as President'
ONLY ON THE BLOG: Answering today’s OFF-SET questions is Tricia Erickson, author of the new book," Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters? The Mormon Church Versus The Office Of The Presidency of the United States of America." She runs a communications company, Crisis Management, Incorporated and Angel Pictures & Publicity, a political and entertainment publicity and consulting company that promotes conservative causes and personalities.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to the provocative–and in some cases, inflammatory– nature of Erickson's answers, we asked for a response from Mormon historian Richard Bushman,the Howard W. Hunter Visiting Professor of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California. His remarks follow the answers below, along with reactions from Corey P. Saylor, National Legislative Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Ahmed M. Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR-Chicago.)
You ask, “Can Mitt Romney serve two masters?” He was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 – 2007 and his belief in Mormonism seems to have only served him well. Why would this be different if he were elected president?
Let me say that my book is divided in to two parts. Part I covers the spiritual aspect. Part II covers the political. Both parts are important when considering voting for this possible front runner.
To answer the above question, I would not say that Mr. Romney’s beliefs served him well during his governorship except in the case that Mormons are taught to shine a light on Mormonism in a way that would draw converts to the church, and if Mr. Romney’s office helped to promote Mormonism, this was a win/win.
The Mormon Church enjoyed the representation of having another public official under its belt and Mitt Romney became a shining example of Mormonism, which served to normalize the Church and its bizarre secret ceremonies, rituals and beliefs, to the American public.
There’s a thread of self-elevation that runs through the church and its membership. Mormons are taught and believe that they are on a path of eternal progression in this life to individual and eternal godhood. It is common in the church to be achievement oriented in order to promote a shining example to others to demonstrate the attributes of Mormonism in everything they do.
Although Mitt achieved the office of governor, he did not do well for the people of Massachusetts. Massachusetts was in the bottom 3 states in job creation during Mr. Romney’s term.
You have said that "if the American people knew what Romney truly believed, they would surely not place him in the highest office in the land." Have you corresponded or spoken with Mitt Romney?
No, I have not.
People of one religion may express their faith in many different ways. How do you know what Romney believes?
Mitt takes his faith and religion very seriously and has held the offices of Mormon Missionary, Missionary Zone Leader, assistant to the Mission President (the highest position a missionary can hold), Mormon Bishop and Stake President over approximately 12 churches in his former district, in the LDS/Mormon Church.
He was also a graduate of BrighamYoung University. You cannot attain the “calling” from the Lord to serve as Mormon Bishop or Stake President unless you are a thoroughly entrenched and obedient Mormon. Mitt comes from a long lineage of Mormonism which spans no less than four generations. He is certainly deeply entrenched in the Mormon doctrine.
Mitt and Ann were married in the Salt Lake CityMormon Temple in which they participated in the secret endowment ceremonies. They continue to go to, as all temple Mormons do, and participate in these ceremonies.
I experienced this same ceremony myself when I was married in the Mormon Temple. I cannot explain to you in a few words here just how completely violent, mind controlling and alarming these ceremonies are.
Just this information on the secret temple ceremonies would send most thinking human beings in to “warning mode” that maybe we all better rethink who our Republican candidate should be. I can’t stress enough to you how truly alarming these ceremonies that Mitt and Ann repeatedly went through, and continue to go to and participate in, are. The truth about this and more is truly stranger than fiction.
Mitt Romney is an accomplished leader. Do you have the bona fides to attack him–and his faith?
Where do I begin? Other than the fact that I have a long professional resume, I was raised in the Mormon Church and was a Mormon Bishop’s daughter.
I am well versed in all beliefs, ceremonies, creation and history of the Mormon Church, of which the Mormon hierarchy has continually re-written to cast the church in a different light, in order to continue to bring in to the church approximately 330,000 gross-of-their-income tithe payers per year.
It should also be mentioned that there is no accounting for these tax exempt billions of dollars to their membership.
I was also the first Crisis Management/Damage Control specialist in the US as announced by Barbara Walters on 20/20. And through the years, I have opined on many TV and radio shows and various media venues throughout the US.
I think it is important for people to know that I did not write this book because I wanted to. I wrote this book because I had to. I kept waiting for someone else to do it. It just amazed me, knowing what I know, that no one else would expose what has to be brought to light to the American people about this candidate, both from a bizarre belief standpoint and also regarding his political record.
There are a number of web sites that have labeled you as a “professional Mormon basher.” Are you anti-Mormon?
O Gosh No! My heart aches for the Mormon People. These people are doing the best they can to live up to the standards and the false doctrine of attaining godship in the Celestial Kingdom when they pass on.
They are trying, through good works, to be perfect, "even as their Father In Heaven is perfect", which no man can achieve. That is why Christ came and died on the cross so that we could be forgiven of our sins because it is impossible to be human and sinless.
Mormon dogma lays out the "Mormon" plan for salvation, versus, "Christ’s" plan for salvation. The Mormon plan for salvation and exaltation to godship is not only false, but places demands on church members that are unachievable in order to merit the "highest degree of glory". (Oh, does this sound Masonic?)
Women in Utah are among the highest factions of consumers of anti-depressants (see Los Angeles Times article) in the US. There’s a reason for this. They are working themselves to death, while the goals that all Mormons try to achieve are based on false beliefs and theology. One cannot reconcile a lie, no matter how hard they try to believe it. And did I mention that their husbands have control over their Mormon Salvation?
It is a loving thing to lead people out of deception and in to the truth. If I did not love them, I would not try to save them.
Did you leave the LDS Church voluntarily—out of personal conviction—or were you excommunicated?
Here's a excerpt from the book's introduction:
As a little girl, I recall my Mormon mother brushing my hair while getting her five kids ready for church. She said to me, "Pat (they called me Pat back then), you don’t believe in our religion, do you?" This little Mormon bishop’s daughter answered, "No, mommy, I don’t." I couldn’t have been more than nine years old, but when I think back on this, I thank the living God for the precious gift of discernment, even as a child. If God had not placed that wonderful spirit in me, I would not have written this book and I may have very well remained blinded to the truth of the enslavement of my soul to the horrendously blasphemous lies of the well masked cult of Mormonism.
No, I was in no way, shape or form excommunicated or pushed out of the church. I have seen some Mormon posts out there that falsely suggest that I was possibly excommunicated from the church. This is an outright lie and a desperate attempt to discredit me so that the public, and Mormons, will not hear the message of truth from my book.
The truth is, I left the church because I knew it was a complete lie. As a matter of fact, it took many years to get the church to take my name off of their membership roles. Mormon Missionaries would periodically show up at my door and letters were sent to me in attempts to pull me back in. The Mormon Church does not let go easily.
After I left the church, it took years to clear the fog of the many years of indoctrination and deception that had been poured in to my brain. Even though I didn’t believe in it, when you sit in the pews for 21 years, you cannot avoid the mind binding programming and distortion. Many ex-Mormons go through the same process.
Are you of the opinion that a Mormon should never be elected President?
Yes, it is my opinion that an indoctrinated Mormon should never be elected as President of the United States of America. Indoctrinated temple Mormons (as Romney is) have experienced years of brainwashing and indoctrination and also have made covenants and oaths that they plainly cannot disobey.
Mitt Romney and all temple Mormons have sworn to obey The Law of Consecration in the secret temple ceremonies which states "You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at the altar, the you do accept the Law of Consecration as contained in The Doctrine and Covenants (a Mormon book), in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, an everything with which the Lord has bless you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church), for the building up of the Kingdom of God on earth and for the establishment of Zion."
Ex-Mormon Ed Decker reveals the penalty for disobedience that was made by Mitt Romney (and all temple Mormons) at the time he took out his temple endowments: The "execution of the penalty" for disobedience was demonstrated "by placing the thumb under the left ear, the palm of the hand down, and by drawing the thumb quickly across the throat to the right ear, and dropping the hand to the side."
He further states: "It is hard to imagine that well-educated Mormon men of such political stature like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada could bring their thumbs to their throats and swear a blood oath that they will 'suffer' their throats slit from ear to ear should they not sacrifice all that (they) possess, even (their) own lives if necessary, in sustaining and defending the Kingdom of God, as defined by the Mormon prophet."
I attest to these violent oaths and death signs that were made in the secret temple ceremonies, and more, because I also experienced and enacted the same.
It is also important to point out that the Mormon Kingdom of God is different from the Christian Kingdom of God. My book explains that Mormons believe the Kingdom of God will be in Jackson, Missouri and that the Mormons will be and maintain the government of the earth. No joke.
Long story short, it would be near to impossible for an entrenched Mormon to place his allegiance to the United States of America over the Mormon Church. After Mitt’s death oaths to the church, it is my belief that he lied about this to the American people and will continue to do so.
Furthermore, would you trust the judgment of a man who truly believes he will become a literal God and will be given his own kingdom/planet to rule over and populate with spirit babies (and many more bizarre beliefs explained in the book) to be placed in to the highest office in the land? Really?
In my humble opinion, I truly think we, as a nation can, no longer overlook the reality of any aspect of the background, character, belief system, and political truth that has formed the man or woman who will become our next President. There is too much at stake.
And what about a Jewish or Muslim candidate?
The Jews are God’s chosen people. They follow the Old Testament. Even though every Old Testament prophecy of the coming Messiah was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, they still have not accepted him as the Messiah. They cannot be compared to a cult religion in any way. They are to be respected and protected. There is no intellectual or spiritual argument that a person of Jewish decent should not run for the Office of the President.
A Muslim candidate would compare to a Mormon candidate in many ways. The two religions contain histories of false prophets and man-made (not God-made) religious books, writings that are full of fallacies, false doctrine, indoctrination and bizarre promises of the afterlife. So much more to say but I would like to keep the topic on the current election.
Let me just say that there are good people in both the Mormon and Muslim religions who are striving to live a righteous life according to what they believe. It’s just that some beliefs have been proven to be patently false. And when it comes to placing a candidate in the highest office in the land, we need to place a stable and discerning president in office.
If a candidate believes in proven lies and practices cult-like doctrine, how can the American people hold confidence in him/her as the leader of the free world?
This may be the most important Presidential election in our history. We can’t afford to get it wrong.
* * *
We asked Richard Bushman for his reaction to Tricia Erikson's answers. Bushman, once a Mormon missionary himself, is the Howard W. Hunter Visiting Professor of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California.
An emeritus professor at Columbia University, he received his Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Harvard. Among his books is the biography, “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.” He also serves as one of three general editors of the Joseph Smith Papers.
Tricia Erickson brings up to date a line of argument that has circulated in conservative evangelical churches for quite some time. Ed Decker, whom she quotes, has been a leader in exposing Mormonism for about three decades. His well-known book and movie by the same name, The God Makers: A Shocking Expose of What the Mormon Church Really Believes, has been shown and read in evangelical churches thousands of times and may be the single most important factor in the evangelical opposition to a Mormon presidential candidate.
Both Dekker and Erikson are one-time Mormons who became disillusioned, and instead of walking away felt an obligation to discredit their former faith.
Erickson does a good job of making Mormon temple rituals seem ominous and irrational. The secrecy surrounding the temple inevitably arouses suspicion, but in my opinion secrecy is important. I see Mormon temples as an effort to create a sacred space in a secular world, a quest followed by numerous religious peoples throughout history. They are a spatial equivalent of the Christian and Jewish Sabbath where a sacred time is demarked from the rest of the week.
One way to set temples apart as a sacred space is to make them secret. They are not, of course, actually secret, Erickson and Dekker quote passages from the ceremony and the whole script can be found online. But Mormons treat them as secret by not even discussing the ceremonies among themselves outside the temple walls. The various measures taken to protect these spaces means Mormons find they can draw closer to God when they enter the temples.
To my way of thinking the idiosyncrasies of Mormon belief and practice are not the issue; Catholic belief in transubstantiation and Protestant belief in the Resurrection can be made to look silly, too.
The question is Mitt Romney’s independence. Will he pursue the public good as he rationally understands it, or will he bow to the judgment of Church leaders? Does his religion force him to be a puppet? Here we can turn to history for an answer. Temple-attending, believing Mormons have held national office for over a century now.
Is there a single instance where they have succumbed to Church direction against their own consciences. I do not know of one myself.
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UPDATE 7-7-11 / 11 am ET: We received this statement from Corey P. Saylor, National Legislative Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Tricia Erickson’s arguments sound remarkably like anti-Catholic attacks directed at John Kennedy during the 1960 presidential campaign. Many remember him as among the better presidents to ever serve our nation.
Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, also known as the law of the land, says, “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any office or public Trust under the United States.”
Romney and other candidates for public office should win or lose based on the solutions they offer to the issues confronting all Americans.
Thank God followers of minority faiths, such as Muslims like me, have the wisdom of the Founding Fathers enshrined in the Constitution to protect us from people like Tricia Erickson, who seem to think a person’s choice of a faith other than hers should relegate them to second-class citizen status.
And here are comments from Ahmed M. Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR-Chicago.
The only determination as to whether or not Mitt Romney, a Mormon, should be elected president of the United States are American votes, not Tricia Erickson's religious test. The same goes for a Muslim, Buddhist, or Atheist candidate.
In the United States like in all modern secular democracies, the relationship between the individual and the State, otherwise known as American citizenship, is not a Christian or Jewish contract as Erickson seems to suggest, but a secular social contract that guarantees equal treatment of all religious groups under the law.
Erickson's faux patriotism flies in the face of the basic freedoms enshrined in our constitution, threatens our commitment to pluralism, and undermines our culture of meritocracy, by seemingly mistaking the U.S. for a religious state that privileges her chosen faith over those of other Americans.
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