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:
February 21, 2018
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein’s on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail