One can chuckle over the timing of Andrew Sullivan’s posting a video of Mormon rituals, but the thing itself is quite interesting — and illuminating for those (like this writer) who rather lazily and ignorantly classified Mormonism as basically just a somewhat exotic 19th century variant of Protestantism.
I found the “oath of vengeance” against America, once part of the secret oath leading Mormons swear, particularly worthy of note. Though this segment of the oath was discontinued from the Mormon liturgy sometime in the 1920s, Mormons of Romney’s parents’ generation must have grown up with it. It is derived from the Mormon desire to avenge the killing of some of their church founders, and was no doubt fueled by resentment of the forced exile Mormon polygamists were subjected to.
One thing to take from the story is how much ethnic and religious hatreds and reconciliations are malleable and socially constructed. Mormons are now perceived among the most white bread and mainstream American groups — and Romney’s success at wooing evangelicals (who might be expected to be seriously put off by Mormon beliefs) is one testament to that. Plainly Mormons could have continued to harvest a “never forget” attitude, raising their children to take vengeance, looking in every slight for evidence of the reemergence of ancient hatreds, demanding reparations, in short bought into the full repertoire of the ethnic grievance industry. Evidently they have not. There are facets of Rommey which trouble me greatly, but the ability of he and his fellow Mormons to “get over it” is rather remarkable.