The Mormon Cult Kerfuffle – Bigoted Texas Pastor Blows Bile
Jay B Gaskill
An intemperate and bigoted Protestant minister has just generated an embarrassing kerfuffle by attempting to trash Mormonism during the presidential campaign, specifically by calling the LDS religion a “cult”.
I beg to differ. I regard myself a Judeo-Christian in the CS Lewis tradition. I grew up in an interesting small town wherein Mormons and non-Mormon went to school together, played together and worked together. I enjoyed Jewish friends, Mormon, Protestant and Catholic friends, free-thinking friends and anti-religious friends. Several of my Mormon high school classmates went to Harvard and Harvard law- one of them is a US Senator who served on President Obama’s first deficit commission – the one whose recommendations our inexperienced president chose to ignore. Another LDS classmate became Ford Motor Company’s CFO in Mexico. The list of LDS high achievers I have personally known over the decades is a very long one.
As a very famous Jewish rabbi once said, “by their fruits you shall know them”. [From the discourse in Mark 7] This was said in the context of how one can judge the faux prophets of any age. My current rant is not the place to talk about the foundational narratives of any religion. My core point is that, for purposes of hiring decisions, the fruits of one’s religious formation are the important thing, not the doctrines, histories or myths.
For example, if we were to indulge in stereotypes, it would be difficult not to notice that the percentage of Nobel Laureates awarded Jews far, far exceeds their representation in the general population. Some react to this happy fact with jealousy. I have nothing but unbounded admiration for a culture of achievement.
Now, if you are looking for high ethical standards, a strong emphasis on family obligations, love of country, a gift for business and a tradition of constructive public service, you could do worse than hire from the subset of college-educated Mormons. Note this recent news story –
God’s MBAs: Why Mormon Missions Produce Leaders
“The list of Mormon-trained business leaders also includes JetBlue (JBLU) founder David Neeleman (Brazil), Chief Executive Officer of the global Investment Bank of Credit Suisse Eric Varvel, self-help mogul Stephen Covey (England), author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Kim Clark (Germany), former dean of Harvard Business School, and Gary Crittenden (Germany), who’s served as CFO for Citigroup (C), American Express (AXP), and Sears Roebuck.
“The Mormon Church is 181 years old, and its adherents compose less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, according to a 2009 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS). Yet Latter-Day Saints hold, or have held, a seemingly disproportionate number of top jobs at such major corporations as Marriott International (MAR), American Express, American Motors, Dell Computers (DELL), Lufthansa, Fisher-Price (MAT), Life Re, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Madison Square Garden, La Quinta Properties, Pricewaterhouse Cooper, and Stanley Black & Decker (SWK). The head of human resources at Citigroup is Mormon, and in 2010 Goldman Sachs (GS) hired 31 grads from BYU, the same number it hired from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.”
The latest Mormon “cult” charge eerily echoes the all too typical anti-Semitic blather we have heard from others. The latest intolerant fool who chose to trash certain LDS candidates has a lot of fellow travelers among the Jew-hating subgroup.
The Mormon religion is a uniquely American one and, as religions go, it is also unique in that its high calling to public service is steeped with a healthy patriotism. If it is a cult, I can only echo the Vulcan greeting from the Star Trek series, “Live long and prosper”, my friends.
Here is just a sample of the Mormons who have served this nation with distinction in public office. By their fruits, you know them…
David Matthew Kennedy US Secretary of the Treasury, Ambassador to NATO and Ambassador-at-Large for the United States, CEO of the Continental Illinois Bank of Chicago.
Michael O. Leavitt, US Secretary Health and Human Services, Governor of Utah from 1993-2003, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency), Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Ivy Baker Priest US Treasurer, (for Eisenhower). Her signature appeared on U.S. currency from 1953 to 1961. She later served as California Treasurer.
George W. Romney Governor of Michigan, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Chair of American Motors Corp.
Elbert Duncan Thomas, noted United States Senator. Thomas. He was a major sponsor of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, the Wages and Hours Act of 1938, the Nurses Education bill, and the G.I. Bill of Rights. Prior to World War II, Senator Thomas was a leading interventionist and supporter of lend-lease. Later, he actively promoted the U.S. rescue of Jewish refugees from the Holocaust, championed a Senate resolution pressuring President Roosevelt to establish the War Refugee Board. After he left the Senate, Thomas became the first civilian High Commissioner of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
Stewart Udall, US Secretary of the Interior, served as Arizona’s Congressman for District 2 from 1954-1961 and as Secretary of the Interior from 1961-1969.
Do you want to turn around the culture of economic failure in the middle of the scariest economic crisis since the 1930’s? Don’t reject down an otherwise qualified candidate for leadership just because of a Mormon formation. Trust me: you could do far, far worse….
Jay B Gaskill is a California trial and appellate lawyer who served as the 7th Public Defender of Alameda County (in Oakland, CA and 9 other cities) where he supervised a staff of 200 legal, clerical and investigation professionals until he left “his life of crime” for his creative and public policy pursuits.
This article was first published on his web site, The Policy Think Site < www.jaygaskill.com > and on several of the linked blogs (esp. Dot 2 Dot).
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