At a social gathering I attended, the topic of Mormon magic underwear came up for discussion. One of the more geeky participants looked it up using her smart phone. She showed everyone a photo of the "temple garments" and read an on-line description out loud. I told a story of how I asked some Mormons if it were true that the Mormons have special underwear. (Mormons are not always easy to spot in public, except when they are dressed and badged for missionary work.)
The issue of racism in the Mormon experience was raised by an African American woman who knew more on the topic than all others in attendance. Her expertise prompted one of the other guests to ask me if the woman was a Mormon. I got the distinct impression that the woman had boned up on the topic as a result of the faith of the opposition candidate. Her expertise had an outsider quality to it.
When the notion that the Mormons are a cult came up, I pointed out the case of the kitten buried alive in the backyard of a former Mormon. This kind of intimidation is sometimes done by cults when a member quits. Like the Westboro Baptist Church, the sect associated with the buried kitten does not represent the mainstream Mormon organization.
I brought up the Mormon opposition to marriage equality and tied it to the experience of a Mormon neighbor who is openly gay. One guest pointed out that the Mormons may have become gun shy after their Prop. 8 experience. They did not seem to present significant opposition to a Salt Lake City ordinance promoting homosexual rights. In fact, the actually supported it. On the other hand, the ordinance in question merely makes it more difficult for a bigoted landlord to evict a homosexual tenant.
When all is said and done, at least the Mormon religion (or cult, if you prefer) has roots in the American experience. Its founders were member of the Freemasons, an organization which played a significant role in crafting the American "republic." Mormon clerical authority is more distributed in a cadre of presbyters rather than in a central episcopacy. Unlike the fears of papal despotism that hounded Kennedy, the current opposition candidate is not seen as a pawn of a foreign prince (other than the princes of the Cayman Islands).
Do you see the opposition candidate's brand of superstition as a liability, an asset, or both? Would it affect the way he conducts business once in office?
Links: Stormin' Mormon missionaries. Fundamentalist Ed Decker's description of his Mormon experience. Buried kitten video. Mormon support for gay rights.