Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Mitt and the Seed of Cain

by CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI

A great devotee of the Gospel of Getting On.

— G.B. Shaw,  Mrs. Warren’s Profession

I hope he remembers them.  The explanations that is.  They could be handy if anyone ever asks him about his days as a missionary.  Of course it’s possible that no one will since everyone is reluctant to bring religion into what is an otherwise very civilized campaign for the presidency.  Nonetheless, the answers he recently gave may prove handy if anyone ever does.

The answers to which I refer are the ones he gave when asked about his assault on John Lauber, a boy who had bleached blond hair draped over one eye.  A friend recalled Mitt saying:  “He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him.” And with those words Mitt the Barber and a group of friends gave a haircut to  John Lauber who according to participants was distressed at the assault and cried and screamed for help, to no avail. When asked about it on Fox news, Mitt said he “did not recall the incident.” .  Philip Maxwell, a Michigan lawyer, who participated was astonished that Mitt had forgotten saying “I would think this would be seared in his memory.  Certainly for the other people that were involved, nobody has forgotten.”

I am not surprised that Mitt does not remember the Lauber incident since,  as his classmates have pointed out, it was only one of a number of teen age pranks that amused Mitt, if not his victims.  It would be more interesting, however, to engage Mitt in a theological discussion and explanation of his feelings about spreading the word of the Mormon religion in foreign lands when the official doctrine of that church considered people of black skin to be inferior beings.

Mitt went to France in 1966 as a Mormon missionary.  He served there for 30 months.  While working as a missionary he rose at 6 a.m. each day and rang doorbells from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. hoping to convert the residents to the Mormon faith. While going door-to-door one of the things he might have been called upon to explain was why people with black skin were not as welcome in the Mormon Church as people with white skin. For almost a century before Mitt became a missionary,  blacks of African lineage could not join the Mormon priesthood.   Brigham Young announced in 1852 in a speech to the Utah Territorial Legislature  that:  “Any  man having one drop of the seed of [Cain] . . . in him cannot hold the Priesthood and . . . I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ I know it is true and others know it.”  This official treatment of the black as inferior to the white was church doctrine throughout the time Mitt was propagating its faith and until 1978.  During that time not only could male persons of black African ancestry not hold the priesthood but they could not participate in some temple ordinances nor in  celestial marriage.

It is commonly accepted  that attacks on people’s religions is not fair game and that in a campaign for the presidency discussion of the candidate’s faith should be kept off the front burner and talked about only in hushed tones.  Thus, it was accepted by most commentators (except right-wing-nut Fox equivalents) that if John Kennedy became president, the Pope in Rome would not be dictating foreign policy.  And this column is not to suggest that if Mitt were to become president, the people in secret temples in Salt Lake City would exert control over his actions.  It is simply to assume that having so easily put aside his assault on John Lauber, he can with equal facility explain what he said to folks in France when he was knocking on their doors trumpeting the virtues of the Mormon faith, thus reassuring us all.

When, in 1978,  Spencer W. Kimball, the president of the church,  announced that he had had a revelation from God saying that every faithful and worthy man in the church “may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color” Mitt heard the news over his car radio.  He said he pulled over and cried because he was so happy.  However, he did not protest the policy prior to the revelation to Mr. Kimball.  As he explained:  “The way things are achieved in my church, as I believe in other great faiths, is through inspiration from God and not through protests and letters to the editor.”  Mitt participated in civil rights marches with his father and professed concern for civil rights. How he could encourage people to join a church one of whose most significant tenets ran counter to what he believed is hard to understand.  Unless, of course, he simply flip-flopped.  Or, perhaps, he doesn’t remember what the church believed when he was a missionary and just considers that bigoted belief an “incident.”  He has to consider himself lucky that the Lord saw fit to give Mr. Kimball a revelation back in 1978.  Had He waited until 2012 it would almost certainly ruin Mitt’s chance to become president. As it is, it simply leaves one wondering what Mitt REALLY believed back when he was a missionary.

Christopher Brauchli can be emailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu. For political commentary see his web page at http://humanraceandothersports.com

 

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Debate Night: Undecided is Everything, Advantage Trump
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail