On Thursday December 6th, 2007, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered the long-anticipated "Mormon" speech from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in Texas. Contrary to many expectations, Romney did not launch into a meticulous discussion of Mormonism in detail, to explain some of the more unique doctrines such as plurality of Gods, the three degrees of glory, and temple ceremonies. And, to his credit, he also did not claim to be an evangelical Christian, since Latter-day Saints believe in a Godhead of three separate personages rather than a three-in-one anthromorphic blob. Instead, he reached out to the greater religious community, saying "There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do you believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. My church's beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history." As you can see, he made it crystal clear that he not only recognizes Jesus Christ as the literal crucified, buried, and risen Savior, but that he is also unmistakably and indisputably a Christian - a Christian of the Latter-day Saint denomination.
And this speech was almost universally well received, by a diverse group ranging from Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention to a group of University of Utah political science students. Most pundits believe it will provide at least a modest boost to his campaign.
Watch Mitt Romney's speech HERE.
Click HERE to read the full text of Romney's speech.
Click HERE for primary KSL Channel 5 news story, including 519 public comments.
However, there were some detractors. One of the most vocal is an ex-Mormon named Tricia Erickson (pictured at left), who's billed as a "Christian" writer, consultant, and businesswoman who left the LDS church years ago after spending her childhood growing up in a LDS home. According to an article published December 6th, 2007 on the OneNewsNow website, Erickson's two primary difficulties with Mormon theology are that first, she believes the Church "negates the virgin birth", and second, that Jesus was a merely a man who, through his good works, achieved the status of godhood.
Erickson says the key to Romney's statement is the portion referencing his church's belief about Christ differing from those of others. "They kind of talk out of both sides of their mouth," she states. "They always say that they believe that Jesus is the Savior, but yet they believe that they are going to be like him -- 'as God is, man may become' is their motto." She continues: "And through their good works, what they will do is work themselves to death here to do enough good deeds to merit the celestial kingdom so that they can [literally] become god of their own planet."
Erickson caps her arguments by saying that if Romney cannot discern that Mormonism is a false religion, he has neither the "discernment [nor] the judgment to be able to adequately and objectively run our country."So even though Romney himself has clearly stated that as President, he won't be a tool of Temple Square, Erickson insists he will be whether he wants to be or not. This, of course, is an completely invalid type of argument because it is merely a statement of faith on her part to which she will accept no rebuttal rather than a logical, empirical statement inviting further discourse.
It turns out that Tricia Erickson has a website from which we can glean further information about her. She actually has her own dedicated page on the Renaissance Women Network website, inclusive of such diverse personalities such as Ann Coulter. Here's her bio:
Crisis Management / Media / Entertainment / Corporate, Personal, Public and Political Image / Major Motion Picture and TV Industry / Scandals / Business / Islam / Mormonism / Family / Faith and Values / Publicity / Adultery and Divorce (http://www.crisismanagementincorporated.com/)
Tricia is a veteran media pro (translation: experienced bullshitter). Tricia is and was the first Damage Control/Crisis Communications/Media Manager and Crisis Management Expert in the country as stated by Barbara Walters on the show, "20/20".
Tricia is also a frequent on-air expert, called to speak on various current media issues. She has appeared on every major network and most cable networks numerous times over the years. Some of the issues Tricia has been called to comment on are the strategy and imaging of Presidential Candidates, Islam, Mormonism, Wal-Mart, Michael Jackson, politics, Hollywood, Ethics in the Media and more.....
Tricia has also been a casting director for 22 years and has worked on many TV shows, series and major films, some of which are Minority Report, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Fat Albert, Rules of Engagement and many more....
Tricia is presently the President of Angel Pictures, LLC, a Major Motion Picture, TV and project development company and Angel Pictures Studios, LLC.
Tricia is also an Image and Business Consultant.
Conspicuously absent is any account describing the precise circumstances surrounding her departure from the LDS Church. This is important, for it can reveal one's underlying motivation. If Erickson voluntarily left the Church out of personal conviction, one could take her more seriously, even if she's wrong. However, if Erickson was removed from the LDS Church for cause through the process of excommunication, then her credibility sinks like a stone, because it is quite possible that she would be critical of the Church primarily out of a desire to get back at the organization that rejected her. In such a case, she could become so consumed by a spirit of vengeance that she could no longer successfully distinguish between fact and fancy. Her perspective about the LDS Church would become fatally flawed.
Also note Tricia Erickson's close association with the entertainment industry. Everyone knows by now how hopelessly corrupted the American entertainment industry has become. The majority of movies released absolutely reek of sex and special effects from start to finish, primarily to compensate for the lack of anything vaguely resembling a plot. Movies are punctuated by multiple sex scenes and dozens of "f-bombs". Our popular culture has become so sleazy and perverted that the Muslim world has arisen against us. The promotion of the homosexual lifestyle, particularly amongst our youth, has become systemic and a matter of routine. Efforts to mitigate the effects are not always successful; recently, an outlet in Orem, Utah selling "sanitized" versions of popular movies announced it must permanently shut down by December 31st under threat of lawsuit.
And I don't believe the corruption of our culture is accidental or incidental; a research report entitled "Who Rules America" provides an entry-level primer as to who's behind it and why they are doing it. I contend that exposure to the Hollywood cesspool has further contaminated Tricia Erickson's outlook and hardened her anti-Mormon attitude.
And the Romney campaign has not been exactly blind to this lady's machinations. While Mitt Romney himself is not known to have addressed Erickson's issues directly, the Blogsformitt website has stepped up to the plate. Here's what Blogsformitt wrote back on May 16th, 2007:
I caught wind of Erickson’s diatribes sometime ago and had to chuckle. Her experience with Mormons ended during her teen-age years and yet she still claims expertise on a subject and people she’s long separated herself from. Maybe she has delusions of working as a PBS documentary subject someday.
Erickson’s singular claim to fame – other than being an anti-Mormon bigot – is her having headed a modeling agency which represented the likes of Fawn Hall and Donna Rice. Maybe you’ve heard of those two – maybe you haven’t. Think really bad 1980’s hair – maybe that’ll help. Now she bills herself as a crisis-management expert. If your crisis happens to be caused by your secretary stuffing classified memos in her unmentionables or your presidential candidate having a Monkey Business fling, I’m sure Ms. Erickson can help you. Should your crisis happen to involve something else, good luck and let me know how she works out for you.
Now she’s in search of a talk show (radio/television/blog/outerspace) which will book her as a “Mormon” expert and by so doing will allow her to again enter the limelight – this time to vent all of her pent up anti-Mormon rage upon whichever listener/viewer happens to be in the vicinity.
I have no qualms about a person leaving the LDS Church if he finds it inconsistent with his beliefs or life. The LDS Church is not for everyone - that's why we have multiple religions and faiths. If the ex-member departs graciously and finds another constructive way to worship, more power to him. He's not the enemy of God - nor our enemy. But when he or she launches a hate campiagn against the Church and deliberately misrepresent its doctrines, then he becomes the enemy of God. The Great Commission is to build up Christ - not to tear down Christians. Tricia Erickson, becoming of the world as well as being in the world, has fallen into that trap of bashing the Church to vent steam. It's ironic how so many people who leave the LDS Church can't leave the LDS Church alone.
So, does this speech cause me to switch my support from Ron Paul back to Mitt Romney? Absolutely not! While Romney is an honorable man, I fear he would run an imperial Presidency, since his vision for America is more as an empire rather than republic. That imperial vision has cost us nearly 4,000 of the best and bravest in Iraq and conferred upon us a $9 trillion national debt. We can no longer afford the burden of empire.
Ron Paul is clearly an America-first constitutionalist who believes America should be a republic rather than an empire. Mitt Romney would make a good President, but, as Jimmy Carter wrote back in 1976, "why not the best". Ron Paul is still better for America.