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Monday, November 5, 2012

As Romney Vid Goes Viral, Don't Forget Missouri is Mormon Jerusalem

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 7:38 AM

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What's supposed to happen during the Second Coming of Christ? Like most evangelical Christian texts, the Book of Mormon tells us that the Second Coming of Christ marks the completion of Earth as a testing ground for human souls. Some Mormons refer to the Second Coming as the Millennium, a time during which Jesus will personally rule Earth and peace, happiness, and justice will be the new norm.

The Millennium happens right before God passes his final judgment over humanity (will we attain celestial glory for all eternity or rot in Hell?), but not before a massive world war wipes out all evil.

Why isn't Independence the Mormon capital of the world? Once Smith and his followers got settled around Jackson County, the locals started to get hostile.

In 1838 and 1839, after an "extermination" order (Missouri Executive Order 44) issued by Gov. Lilburn Boggs, 8,000 to 10,000 Mormons were driven out of Missouri. Boggs had declared Mormons in "open and avowed defiance" of the state's laws and of having made war upon the people of Missouri.

"The Mormons must be treated as enemies," Boggs said, "and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace; their outrages are beyond all description."

On October 30, 1838, a unit of the state militia killed 17 men and boys, all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in what is now known as the Haun's Mill Massacre. The members of the militia/mob that attacked were never prosecuted. It wasn't a proud moment in Missouri history.

For a time adherents to the Mormon faith settled in Illinois but another war forced them to press on to "empty" lands out west in Utah. The religion has been based out of Salt Lake City for the last 150 years.

Why were Mormons so persecuted in Missouri? Part of the conflict stemmed from age-old local-settler tension (the kind of stuff we see here in St. Louis... *cough* Wash. U grads *cough*). As the Mormons' numbers grew and grew, original settlers feared they were being overrun and outdone. Wikipedia breaks it down thusly:

  • They believed that if they were righteous they would inherit the land held by others in Missouri.
  • Their economic cohesion allowed the Mormons to dominate local economies.
  • They believed that the Indians were descendants of Israelites, and proselytized among them extensively.
  • Most Mormon immigrants to Missouri came from areas which were sympathetic to abolitionism.
  • They tended to vote in blocks. Where there was a critical mass of Mormons in the community, they were frequently viewed as having sold the election to the highest bidder, although there is no recorded proof of this ever taking place.

According to Alexander Baugh's A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri, the Mormons were flogged, disarmed and run out of town by vicious Missouri slave-owners. Again, not a proud moment in Missouri history.

Does Romney believe in Millennium? Judge not lest ye be judged, so go ahead and judge for yourself. Check out the 2007 video in question: Or watch these more poised Q&As:

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