October 17, 2011 by staff
Mitt Romney, The stone building is clad in a busy intersection in the heart of Manhattan’s Upper West. There is little to distinguish it from any other place of worship in New York Modern, which has a simple design, decorated windows and a spire modest – one topped by a golden statue of an angel of the trumpet-management. And that’s the difference: the angel, unknown to most Christians, is called Moroni.
The building is the Manhattan temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known worldwide as the Mormons. There are other temples scattered throughout New York, serves a growing community in the city of one of the youngest religions, but faster-spreading throughout the world. Normally associated with the desert mountains of Utah, where it is based, the church more than 6 million members are growing rapidly to prominence in the consciousness of the United States: two Mormons are running for the Republican presidential nomination. In fact, Mitt Romney is a favorite in the race and in 2013 the U.S. could have a Mormon president.
Since there are 15 Mormons in Congress, including Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid. The right-wing media firebrand Glenn Beck is a Mormon. This is the rock star, Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers, and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, contending with Romney for the Republican nomination. The Mormons have business hotel chain Marriott International, and displays them – like love great HBO drama – are successful on television. For a faith that was often persecuted, Mormonism, it seems, has never been more American.
“I am not only a New Yorker and a Mormon, but I’m proud of it. I started a family here,” says David Buckner, a business consultant who worship in the temple of Manhattan. For Buckner, 48, who has called New York home since 1995, the city and Mormonism is a perfect fit. “There is a deep respect for different religions here in New York. The people are respectful of our customs and values.”
That’s not true everywhere. Robert Jeffress, a conservative Baptist minister with links to their main rival for the nomination Romney Rick Perry, has recently launched a blistering attack on the faith, calling it a “cult” and saying “is not Christianity.” Others seem to see the appearance of the Mormons in everyday life with anxiety: a survey in June found one in five U.S. voters would oppose a Mormon candidate for president.
And that’s not a reflection of the only concern of the religious right. Mormonism has a strong opinion against gay marriage: it has provided financial support to the campaign to stop same-sex couples are filling marriage rights, especially in California in 2008. The actions of the church sparked protests across the country by activists.
Fred Karger, a gay Republican running in the back of the pack in the race for the nomination in 2012, has become a strong critic of Mormonism. “My biggest concern with the Mormon faith is the basic principle of obedience. If President Romney received a call from the president of the LDS [Latter-day Saints], has no choice but to obey. It is obedience on the family and the country, “he says.
That comment echoes a criticism of President Kennedy, when his Catholicism – and theoretical obligation that the papacy – was under attack. But it also raises the question of what Mormons believe in religion and is spreading rapidly. “In general, many Americans know very little about the Mormon faith,” says David Cohen, a political scientist at the University of Akron.
It began in the 1820 New York, when the church founder, Joseph Smith, claimed to have discovered a holy work, recorded in a set of golden plates, called the Book of Mormon. It includes an account of Jesus’ appearance in the U.S.. Smith assembled a group of followers and, fleeing persecution, began a movement to the west, before being killed by a mob in Illinois. His successors were established in Utah and the controversy continued acceptance of the church of polygamy, allowing men to have multiple wives.
The modern church, however, has always condemned plural marriage, despite continuing anticompetitive practices with several other Christian denominations. For example, many members of special underwear known as “temple garments.” The Church also places special emphasis on the conversion of the dead because of their belief that families are eternal, Mormons feel a duty to posthumously baptize ancestors for all to be together in heaven. That’s why the church is behind an effort to collect genealogical family histories.
Sometimes the limits are exceeded in tracing ancestors. The church became a subject of controversy after the victims of the Holocaust is in its databases. In 2009, it was discovered that the recently deceased mother, Barack Obama, Stanley Ann Dunham, was baptized posthumously.
Of course, while non-Mormons that much of this may seem strange, the same could be said of many traditional practices of other religions. What Mormonism is trying that is not your belief, but its novelty. Prophets of other religions lived hundreds or thousands of years and have become an accepted part of human culture. Mormonism was born in the industrial era. The expansion comes at a time of iPhones and the Internet, and its entry into the mainstream is designed to involve scrutiny of their agenda.
“The church is willing to be more known and a bigger player. You see that as part of its mission church,” says Matthew Burbank, a political expert at the University of Utah.
The LDS is nothing if not media-savvy. It has launched an advertising campaign to “normalize” their image, with portraits of people from diverse backgrounds, with the slogan “I am a Mormon.” “There is a national dialogue going on Mormonism and want to be part of it,” said LDS spokesman Eric Hawkins.
But it is difficult to find the Mormons in Manhattan. Take Natalie Hill, 30, a dancer on Broadway. She does not drink or smoke, which discourages the faith, but does not interfere with your enjoyment of New York, even pens a blog called Mormon in Manhattan. “People are sometimes afraid of what I do not know,” she says. “I am like any other in New York, but I have deep faith that my roots where I came from.”
She is happy to confirm that she wears clothes of the temple – but not when working. “I know that people call” magic underwear “, but I do not use on stage,” he laughs.
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