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Romney’s relationship with the truth

A few months ago, during the Republican nomination process, my boys asked me about Romney. What was he like? Good or bad?

I said, “If he gets to be president, it’ll be bad, but it won’t be a disaster. Unlike the other nominees, he isn’t stupid. He isn’t crazy. And he isn’t evil.”

That’s still what I think about Romney. During the third debate, I was struck with the impression that Mr Romney was, at heart, a Good Man. Not crazy, stupid, or evil.

But there is one thing that was very disappointing: He lied. He conducted a campaign that was described as ‘breathtakingly dishonest‘. He was called on his lies, and he doubled down on them. (The lie that Obama hadn’t reached out to Republicans was particularly galling.)

But were they really lies? What does Romney consider to be the truth?

Mormons believe in a revelatory method for finding truth, involving prayer and reflection. I’ve written about this at length before, but here’s the short version: If you pray about something, and then feel positive spiritual feelings as though a supernatural spirit (or a ‘Holy Ghost’) is confirming the truth of that thing to you, then that thing is considered to be truth. For Mormons, that kind of ‘spiritual witness’ is considered to be the highest sort of evidence one could have. A thing is true if you feel that it’s true, and you deeply believe it.

During this campaign, we heard snarky comments about Romney’s magic underwear and the planet/star Kolob, but this is the aspect of his faith that I never really saw discussed. It is a deeply delusional way to think, and should be a disqualifier for the highest office in the land. It is stupid. It is crazy. And if Romney had become president, he might have been successful, but only insofar as he disregarded his epistemological method.

1 Comment

  1. That was my biggest problem with him (and with the thought of voting an active Mormon into office), too. He was, reportedly, a good governor in MA. I have friends in that state that liked him even tho they're democrats. But his persistent lying and refusing to admit the lies when caught during the campaign reminded me of how the seemingly nice and kind Mormon missionaries could utter patent falsehood and half-truths to my face because they had convinced themselves into believing that they can turn any wishful thinking into truth if they profess to have faith and refuse to back down on it. That sort of willful dishonesty bugs the heck out of me. :o(

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