Theocracy, or as Mormons call it theo-democracy; is a system of government controlled by Apostles according to their God’s law. It is the way Saints believe the earth must be run to achieve their fate as inheritors of the planet and managers of Jesus’ power. Addressing the staples of Mitt’s religion was less about faith than it was to demonstrate the goal s of a political prophet. On our journey to understand his calling, we are now stopping in the state of Utah.
The western frontier was mostly their own, as pioneers forged the Mormon Trail to the great valley. Utah was deemed the new Jerusalem and new platform from which a theocratic government could thrive without the interference of Washington. Brigham Young was the equally new president of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and he picked the next Heaven on earth, while Mitt’s family were the ones to proclaim it Zion on behalf of their kin to follow.
Great-great grandpa Parley, along with Uncle Orson, was first on the scene and considered to be one of the most influential Apostles in the building of an empire. Among his sermons that founded the doctrine, he also created a language (beyond Reformed Egyptian) that was secretive within the Saints. The Deseret Alphabet was rebellion against the Latin based English language and relied more on phonetic symbols, known only to the creator and those he taught. Although books were translated in the new form it became too cost prohibitive to transition the whole community and the tongue of Deseret was then used as the code of personal missives. Curiously this language was important enough to mark the gold Utah currency from the Latter Day Saints mint.
(Wikimedia Commons, from LDS Mint)
(Wikimedia Commons, from University of Deseret)
In the beginning the iconic Mr. Young petitioned the federal government to create the state of Deseret. The eager proposition included most of the west (including parts of what is now California, Wyoming, Nebraska, Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico and Utah), to be regulated by Saints according to the Book of Mormon. They used the Constitution to justify theocratic rule and that argument was reasonably successful, except with the Civil War approaching the ambitious land grab was reduced from Deseret to the Territory of Utah (see Compromise of 1850).
The Mormon clan formed their own legislature, ensuring only Prophets and Apostles held these bureaucratic positions. This included Mitt’s predecessors as the first senators and constitution drafting members of the legislative assembly. The government of Utah was dedicated to men-Gods and the full senate was re-baptized to confirm the purity of their hierarchy as the main condition to being sworn in (see Dec 30, 1856). They sought to build a wall around their fortress, to keep the goodness in or the evil out and as a result the religion-ruled state was finally realized.
The courts were ecclesiastical in nature and Brigham Young exercised tighter control over the lives of inhabitants than any other state as the first governor. The United Order of Enoch was established, stipulating residents would owe all their profits from commerce and trading directly to the church for the benefit of the Mormon community. The Welfare Plan was such that non Apostles could work on the farms and be fed for their contribution to the literal commune, as a means of giving the poor some purpose within their ranks. Despite many troubles gaining adoption, the most successful areas were under command of the Romneys/Pratts and this feat remains a condition to achieving world ownership according to the official Mormon Doctrine and Covenants.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints describes early Utah in these terms (see Provisional State of Deseret),
“There was no separation of church and state because the Latter Day Saints considered all affairs of the kingdom of God to be one, whether spiritual, economic or political.”
Upon the grand opening of the first Utah tabernacle (architect Miles Romney), Brigham Young delivered an impassioned sermon to command support for their theocratic version of government. He goes on to warn that any person of riches who hoards them from the church, will be condemned to an eternity of suffering and ousted from the kingdom. (Journal of Discourses by Brigham Young, Weakness and Impotence of Men, pgs. 201-203, April 1852, with access to scan of original church document.)
Current lessons for Mormons include explanation of their gospel as the only way to exaltation, noting all earthly religions before them fell short of becoming God’s rulers and are therefore part of the Apostasy. Humans were only returned to the divinity through the prophecy of Joseph Smith and the Twelve Apostles,
“The Lord began to prepare those social, educational, religious, economic and government conditions under which he could more easily restore the gospel for the last time.”
This quote is taken from Mormon Doctrine, Second Edition 1966, as presently instructed by LDS leaders. The book was revised by Mitt’s cousin and former Mormon president Marion Romney, from its original “tone” that was deemed too blunt for the masses. Although it remains a cornerstone for Bishops to teach, the church ceased printing any more copies should they fall into critical hands. When Mitt was confronted about this in April 2012, according to the Washington Post the discussion was off limits. The presidential nominee would only address his faith as opposed to the workings of it.
According to the Divine Constitution (that Mormon’s feel was angelic inspiration for the American one),
“We’re now digesting a plan which in its operation would decide forever the fate of Republican Government…. It is our duty to concentrate all our influence to make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound. Tis right politically, for a man who has influence to use it. From henceforth I will maintain all the influence I can get.”
More adeptly preached by Grandpa Parley in the church’s Journal of Discourses (see pg 10),
“The Jews once held the Gospel, with its Apostleship, powers, and blessings offered unto them, but they rejected it as a people and for this reason it was taken from them…. These blessings would have continued on earth and would have been enjoyed in all the ages and nations of man, but for the agency of the people. They chose their own forms of government, laws, institutions, religions, rulers and priests, instead of yielding to the influence and guidance of the chosen vessels of the Lord, who were appointed to instruct and govern them.”
They created their own money to govern themselves and since the land was essentially free, it was divvied up amongst the Saints who then donated the deeds to the church. Much of this prosperity was used to benefit the Romney family as executives of LDS and so appeared Prattville, the Pratt Ward(entire region) and numerous historical sites maintained in the Romney honour.
Grandpa Parley became a top judge who wrote many of Utah’s early laws, Uncle Orson was the stake president and polygamously-related Uncle Mathoni was named the presiding bishop. Because the family was so heavily impacted by considerable plural marriages it is difficult to outline every one of Mitt’s makers, but they all enjoyed esteemed positions within the administration of Mormonism. The founding capacity of Apostle grandparents on both sides of the tree has spawned an American made patriarchy in which every Romney may aspire for the crown. (See Romney family tree.)
Upon rebirth of the ‘ancient gospel’ to Mormons there was also recreation of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Only those special enough and called to the highest order can achieve this oneness with God and bestowal of His powers as a Prophet. Mitt is a Melchizedek Priest (see The Washington Temple). His dad was a Melchizedek Priest, as were all Romneys of Apostle heritage since the beginning of Mormon in 1830.
Grandpa Parley explains (Journal of Discourses by Parley P. Pratt, Reminiscences and Testimony of Parley Pratt, pgs 194-201, Sept 1856, with access to scan of original church document),
“I learned something of the rights of the Church…. the restoration of the Priesthood and many important truths….The man that believes in Mormonism, believes in…. the keys of the Priesthood and Apostleship, and through those keys the people are to be built up, preserved, sanctified and prepared for the coming of the Lord. These keys came from Joseph Smith who received them from…. the risen Jesus, the Redeemer of men. If we harken unto these keys we shall be saved and inherit the celestial glory and exaltation….”
Only iconic men can be Apostles and the church produces a lesson guide to teach women about the respect they must show them. Although they’re permitted to receive blessings, only males can hold these limited keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. This birthright is so protective that Prophet and father George Romney shared his testament on record while paving the way for Mitt.
As a sidebar, Cousin Marion Romney was born in Chihuahua, Mexico along with George W. Romney. Mitt’s father was a Mormon bishop, stake president and high priest who became the Republican governor of Michigan. Immediate Grandpa Gaskell Romney ran for county commissioner as a Republican and Cousin Henry B. Eyring spoke of him as the church patriarch who gifted his official blessing. This was before Henry’s exaltation as an Apostle to the Quorum of Twelve in 1995. Mitt’s polygamous but immediate other grandfather is Rey Pratt, who served as president of bringing Mormonism to Mexico. Cousin Vernon B. Romney completed missions for the Saints and sat as attorney and chair for the Utah Republican party before making his own run for governor.
Great uncle George S. Romney also completed missions and was rewarded with the presidency of Brigham Young University in Idaho. He added his name to a Supreme Court lawsuit brought by Mormons against the United States government, to recoup property in Utah that was confiscated due to transgressions by the church against federal law. He was not successful but challenged the court to the very end. Cousin Spencer W. Kimball then received exaltation to the Quorum of Twelve to make it a family affair. He then inherited the all-powerful presidency and instituted the Indian Placement Program; where indigenous children were taken from their homes to be assimilated into white culture and educated by the Mormon Church.
Marion on the other hand, went from working at the Salt Lake post office to becoming the city prosecutor, before winning a spot in the state legislature as a Democrat. However, this resulted in being called to the Quorum of Apostles so he’d resign his post under a non-Republican banner. He was tasked with chairing the Home Teaching committee which regrettably led to lawsuits that persist to this day, regarding complications with oversight and the abuse of youngsters while in an Elder’s care. The Mormon religion purports to be a Republican institution, but aside of this all Romney men have stood as general authorities of this highly political religion. Church president Marion Romney also descended from an original Apostle through polygamy, but Mitt’s particular lineage is worshiped as the most esteemed of any.
Had a rough go with polygamy not hampered his ambitions, Grandpa Parley might have succeeded Brigham Young as president of the faithful. But non-Mormons of the founding day were staunchly against the ministry of plural wives and God-dom, giving rise to tipping points that precipitated the Utah War.
The way grandpa contributed is through a mission he took to Arkansas to preach the gospel and convert those who’d never heard it. While there he celestially married another wife, Eleanor McLean, but she was already legally married to Hector and they had a few children. Grandpa Parley absconded with the lady and her little ones, although he claims to have saved them from a life of oppression without the Book of Mormon.
Needless to say Hector was angry and when stifled by the law he took matters into his own hands. Parley Pratt was murdered May 13, 1857 and his remains never made it back to Utah. What did return was word of the Apostle’s demise and this reignited the violent side of every ecclesiastic general in the Utah Mormon army, including President and Governor Brigham Young.
A plan was hatched to exact revenge but the Saints didn’t want their name on it. News arrived that a caravan was migrating from Arkansas and Mormons set out to deceive the Indians about it. They felt the people of Arkansas were responsible for not protecting the Prophet and wanted to see these 120 men, women and children sacrificed to atone for their error.
In his last confession, a fellow by the name of John D. Lee explains he was sent to spin the tale, that an emigrant group was on their way and Mormons had word they planned to viciously kill the Indians. The only option was to destroy the group and convincing them took a great deal of prodding. The orders had come from Brigham Young and the Apostles though, so Brother Lee wasn’t in a position to let them down.
After desperate negotiation he managed to sell the idea and Indians, against their better judgement, set out to snuff the allegedly threatening clan on their way from Arkansas. To their surprise the travelers were formidable and managed to fight them off, with the tribes returning to Lee in horror asking for the same help in return.
According to Plan B the Mormon army accepted responsibility to commit the act. It was a terrible ambush on September 11, when Saints befriended pioneers to gain their trust and swooped in to murder everyone when their guard was down. It was dubbed the Mountain Meadows Massacre and to this day it remains one of the darkest moments in establishing Mormonism.
In the meantime Brigham Young declared martial law in the Territory of Utah. The federal government passed anti-polygamy laws and decided to crack down on the theo-democratic violence as well. Eventually this led to the 1890 Manifesto in which Mormons would give up plural marriage and senate, in exchange for clemency (related to polygamy) and having Utah inducted into statehood with access to federal funding.
The only last bit of business was persecution for the massive slaughter at Mountain Meadows. Despite John D. Lee being unable to kill 120 alone, Brigham Young and the Elders testified against him to protect themselves and higher ranking Prophets. It’s a sad story no matter the perspective and upon his execution, Mr. Lee made rather poignant comments regarding the treachery of these Apostles.
Up next is the special Mormon doctrine focused on Blacks, Jews, Indians & Christians; followed by Good Ole Dad and how these theories make their way into real legislative and moral actions committed by Mitt Romney and his prophetic family.