Larry Craig and the weird anti-Mormon commenters

There’s some discussion online about whether Idaho senator Larry Craig (recently in the news for lewd acts) is LDS. According to his official biography, he is not. For some anti-Mormons, this isn’t enough. Here’s a (real!) comment from one blog:

If you look around the internet, you’ll find no shortage of references to Craig’s interest in young men. It has been noticed for a long time. No doubt the men in the upper layers of the mormon pyramid knew that, in time, Craig was going to become an embarrassment to the LDS. I would not be surprised to find that he describes himself as a Methodist as a cover. First, it would make his Mormon superiors happy. Secondly, it would make him appear to be christian, and more likely to be elected. The mormons, who knew him to be mormon, would vote for him, and so would his constituents who don’t know any better and think that he’s christian. And, as a mormon, it’s ok to lie (use any word that fits, if you don’t like “lie”) if it’s good for God or the LDS. Take your pick. Having a member of the LDS as a congressman is good for the LDS. Having one as president is over-the-top good.

You just can’t make this stuff up, can you?

Yes, that’s what we nefarious Mormons do. We claim to be members of other faiths (in Idaho!) to, um, make ourselves more electable. (This is why Romney never tells anyone that he’s Mormon.) Also, to hide our bad habits.

By the way, I’m really a Presbyterian.

107 comments for “Larry Craig and the weird anti-Mormon commenters

  1. We like to think people admire us for our honesty and integrity, but I think the kind of twisted mentality you encountered is at the heart of quite a bit of the anti-Romney flip flopper type of comments. I don’t think he knows how to deal with it, because his integrity has never been challenged in this way before. It’s really eye-opening to think that our integrity is suspect because we are LDS. This is a side of anti-Mormon bigotry that I wasn’t really cognizant of until this campaign season. It’s creepy.

  2. The mormons, who knew him to be mormon, would vote for him

    Of course! All Mormons know who every other Mormon is! I just checked my hot-off-the-presses 2008 Thirteen-Million member “LDS Member Directory” (what, yours hasnt arrived in the mail yet?) and sure enough, there he is!

    I don’t know whats more preposterous: the idea that all Mormons instinctively know for a certainty who else is Mormon, or (having been a ward clerk and a bishop, and woefully aware of the sad state of ward records) the idea that our membership records are in such stellar condition that we know for a certainty who else is Mormon. It’s a toss up.

  3. It was a comment not the original blog post where the issue came up. Craig’s support of Mitt Romney and his being from Idaho probably contributed to the confusion. As for “We like to think people admire us for our honesty and integrity”; I think it’s time that Mormons get over themselves. I’ve worked with two Mormons who I admired for their integrity and honesty, and I know two Mormons that I consider nutjobs. I know several other Mormons who are among the most gullible, MLM promoting, fpr believing people I’ve ever known. No generalizations can be drawn from that sample unless it’s your position that I can make assumptions about the larger group from that sample. In fact, most people know little about LDS and therefore have no reason to admire them.

  4. This is one of those that warrants a “WOW!” I have heard some amazingly ludicrous things in my life, but this one is the . . . what’s the word?

    True story:

    My oldest son once was asked at his high school if he would show someone his horns. He dutifully parted his hair and told the person to run her fingers over a certain spot. She did. He asked her, “Do you feel anything?” She said, “No.” He replied, “Not even stupid?”

  5. “I don’t know whats more preposterous: the idea that all Mormons instinctively know for a certainty who else is Mormon, or (having been a ward clerk and a bishop, and woefully aware of the sad state of ward records) the idea that our membership records are in such stellar condition that we know for a certainty who else is Mormon. It’s a toss up.”

    It’s not about membership records! It’s like gay-dar, only it’s called mo-dar. If you don’t have it, you should work on it. It really helps at stake dances.

  6. Certainly the fact that Craig is from Idaho, a state with a large Mormon population, and his association with the Mitt Romney campaign would lead some to assume he is Mormon. But don’t you also think that these assumptions come from the generally accepted notion that ALL Mormons are Republicans has something to do with this jumping to conclusions? The fact that Senator Craig is easliy elected in a state dominated by Mormon voters only reinforces that false notion.

    The nut job that concocted the theory stated in the paragraph referenced by Kaimi may be on the outer fringe of commentators but there are many less vocal members of society who believe the basic premise presented – primarily because of that long misunderstood notion that ALL (faithful) Mormons are Republican. It is a dangerous assumption that many have promoted and let stand for years.

  7. I had to double check myself to see if he was a Mormon. It is very easy to assume that a Republican Senator from Idaho who fully supports Mitt Romney is Mormon. The two Senators from Utah are Mormon. Senator Crapo of Idaho is a Mormon. Senator Smith of Oregon is a Mormon. It’s kinda hard for someone who didn’t research Senator Craig to NOT assume that he is a Mormon.

  8. it’s called mo-dar

    In practical terms, it’s called “looking for garment lines.” Does Larry Craig show garment lines? Enquiring minds want to know.

  9. In practical terms, it’s called “looking for garment lines.”

    True story (or at least I think it is; if anyone out there–like you, Norbert–can challenge the veracity of my memory, please don’t do so, as I like this story way too much):

    One of the residents of my Deseret Halls dorm during my freshman year at BYU was a fellow named Aldo, a non-member from California. (He’s commented here occasionally before; he joined the church during his sophomore year.) Someone told him, quite jokingly, about the garment lines thing, insofar as scoring dates were concerned. He actually went forward with it, lightly wrapping masking tape around his thighs at appropriate points. Apparently it worked splendidly.

  10. Does Larry Craig show garment lines?

    He’d probably show more than that, if you asked.

    I’m Black Muslim.

  11. I think taht Craig will either resign, not run again, or lose in the primary.

    Opens the way for Mike Simpson an LDS Dentist to get the seat.

  12. Lamonte, etc.,
    Except who knows that Idaho has a large LDS population? I certainly didn’t (growing up in California) until I was at BYU. And not a freshman, either. My wife, growing up in South Carolina, had no idea until her mission. And, while the East Coasters I know do associate Utah and Mormons, I’ve never had any of them make an Idaho-Mormon connection.

  13. The problem with conspiracy theorists is that you can’t tell them anything that will shake their true belief. Every rational argument is simply another layer in the conspiracy. They live full time in a through-the-looking-glass world.

    I’m a Wiccan Scientologist.

  14. RAF, I knew a guy who did the same thing at BYU with excellent results. He used scoop neck t-shirts he was able to buy and rubber bands just above the knees.

  15. Ooh, somebody else uses the term mo-dar? Most people just look at me and say “huh?” when I mention that mine is highly refined… :)

  16. Idaho is a myth

    Actually, Idaho was a real state until 1980, when the B-52s took it private. Gus Van Sant purchased it from them in 1991. He was going to put it up for sale later this year, but Senator Craig has ruined its market value. Dang.

  17. I’ve decided to be a Hindu Mormon.

    You’ll accept baptism in your next life?

  18. \”…that long misunderstood notion that ALL (faithful) Mormons are Republican.\” -lamonte

    Make that conservative Republicans. I think the notion is all but 100% correct. Where can someone read or participate in a discussion on that topic, please?

  19. Idaho exists. It was created as a buffer-zone to keep Mormons out of Protestant, pure Oregon (motto “Welcome to Oregon. Now, please leave.”). The territorial and state constitutions both prohibited Mormons from running for public office or voting, with the blessing of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The restriction on Mormons voting wasn’t particularly religious persecution, however. Mormons voted nearly 100% Democrat, while TPTW were predominately Republican.

  20. I\’ve seen some hilariously wrong anti-mormon bigotry on some of the other blogs I read, but linking Craig to Mormonism kinda takes the cake this week….given that Craig ain\’t LDS.

  21. All Methodists are Mormons. Well known fact. The Mormon ‘method’ is to lie when it serves their “God,” so now you know where that name came from. I don’t like Methodists, so I switched from Mormonism to being a Unitarian Particularist.

  22. #19 Matt – 27% is dominating if you compare it to the ratio of other religions in the state. I grew up in southern Idaho but felt the animosity of Northern Idaho towards the Mormons when I attended the Univeristy of Idaho in Moscow. The northerners resent the “power” of the Mormons in the south who dominate the legislature – and most of them (maybe all) are Republicans!

  23. Dan #10…
    I avoid assuming anyone is a member of any relgion. But this is particularly galling when one is making public comments about a public official. People have to get their facts straight.

    But…as has been discussed…this person sounds like a conspiracy theorist nut jub.

  24. ps…Most Mormon members of congress have held off endorsing Mitt and Utah’s 2 top (Mormon) elected officials have endorsed McCain. Ultimately that is probably a good thing for Romney (and he still has more Congressional endorsers than any other candidate). I wonder what Mr. nutjobs explanation of those facts would be!!! All of Romney’s congressional supporters are closet Mormons!

  25. In all the comments from the blog Kaimi mentioned above, there was one comment by a blogger stating that Mormons will never be popular – too many clammoring detractors – so why even try. As strange as that comments sounds, it makes a strange sort of sense to me. Not that we really shouldn’t try, but that we shouldn’t try so hard. It almost seems that bigoted statements only bring out the bigotry in bigots. For the rest of the population, we can pretty much see through the bigotry and mostly ignore it. To fight so hard against it makes us look desparate. Now comments like that from a reputable news source should be defended. But from a lowly blogger? Hardly seems worth the effort.

  26. Forget the anti-mormon comments. I just know that after reading about Senator Craig I am going to view foot-tapping in the stall next to me in a whole new light…

  27. And to further spoil the stereotyping, not all Mormon senators from western states are Republicans. Harry Reid is a Mormon Democrat.

  28. Usually its a large green blip on the screen, unless you got the upgraded graphics package.

  29. Can I be an inactive Unitarian Universalist? I already have all the credentials, and it saves me from walking under a banner that says “FREE THOUGHT ZONE” in scary bold print every single week.

    I think we, as a people, should resign ourselves to people being stupid about us. The stupider the better, in fact. I think T&S should start selling “All Mormons are Evil, Satan-Worshipping Horned Demons” shirts. Though, please don’t make them yellow — that’s already been done to death by some anti-Mormon group that demonstrates in Palmyra.

    (I didn’t realize that “stupider” was actually a word, but my Firefox thinks it’s okay! But it hates “okay” because that’s colloquial… sigh.)

  30. I wonder if when Sen. Craig hears that some are calling him a Mormon, he’ll take to the airwaves, “OK, fine! I’m gay! Just don’t call me Mormon…”

  31. queuno, Nice!

    I always wondered why some evangelicals think it’s better to be Mormon than gay (too lazy to look up the source of that one), since we apparently are all gong to burn in Hell together. If God is going to punish us equally, why is one better than the other? To me, that’s about as weird an anti-Mormon comment as is possible.

  32. re: 43

    Sorry Grant, I can’t reveal that.

    re: 49

    I’ve never seen anything to indicate Evangelicals think it’s better to be Mormon than to be gay. They seem quite threatened by both sub-cultures, although it’s an apples-and-oranges comparison (or is that reprobates-and-heretics?).

  33. Here it is, Mike. Truly amazing to me, but . . .

    From the Christian Post, cited in Christianity Today liveblog (“a magazine of evangelical conviction”), dated July 19, 2007:

    “”The story of change should be used by believers to open the eyes of others like him and to lead them out of the homosexual lifestyle into a more godly one. And doing so is not an endorsement of the Mormon church,” the publication said. “Glatze should be accepted for who he is — not the result of Mormon conversion, but one of the latest and most prominent examples of former homosexuals who came to acknowledge homosexuality as sin and made the decision to turn away from the sinful lifestyle. And because Glatze’s conversion is more likely to pull people away from homosexuality than draw people towards the Mormon church, believers should be more concerned about Glatze returning to homosexuality than him joining the Mormon church.”

    You just can’t make up stuff like this.

  34. # 25, #31 Now that my cow is baptised I’m thinking of sending her to serve as a missionary to the elephants, so that they can turn away from the false prophet of Ganesh and spend their time doing Relief Society and Home Teaching instead.

    #42, #43, #51 MikeInWeHo…it’s early in the morning here and I was still so sleepy when I switched on T&S that for a second I thought Adam’s #45 was your answer to Grant’s #43

  35. Oh, and now I realise it actually is an answer to #43….I think I’ll just shut this all off now and go to work.

  36. This would be a threadjack, except for the fact that the entire thread has been one.

    Two things:

    Anyone who has ever flown Northwest Airlines through MSP knows that it is sufficiently infuriating to drive men to do things that they would never do in real life. Sen. Craig should have used that for a defense, and millions would have jumped to his defense. I’m afraid, however, that the “wide stance” defense is just going to provide more fodder to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

    And, regarding Kaimi’s link in the sidebar to the NY Times article on toe-tapping in restroom stalls: the first I heard that toe-tapping was a code for picking up guys in johns was in the early 1970’s, when a professor at BYU was fired and excommunicated from the church. The rumor was that he was a homosexual, and that he had been confronted by none other than Elder B. K. Packer, who happened to be in the restroom when this other man started the toe-tapping pickup routine. I suppose this isn’t the kind of story that you could get confirmed, but you could ask.

  37. My sense is that Craig is in a panic at this point, and his ongoing comments are just digging a deeper hole. Poor guy. I feel kind of bad for him. All these “he should just come out” comments strike me as unreasonable and hostile. I’m sure he does not think of himself as gay (or homosexual or whatever). In a sense, up to this point he might well be considered some kind of Evergreen- or Exodus- style success story.

  38. The whole affair has really ruined it for all of us at the Idaho chapter of Ye Ancient and Honorable Order of Latvian Lavatory Tap Dancers.

  39. . All these “he should just come out” comments strike me as unreasonable and hostile.

    Good point. But what he should do is resign. As long as he’s in office the circus goes on.

  40. The question is which offense(s) Craig should resign for:

    (a) For being gay or bisexual. (Few, I think, would actually say this is the case.)

    (b) For trying to hide that he is gay or bisexual.

    (c) For soliciting sex in a public restroom.

    (d) For attempting to use his senate position to intimidate or influence a peace officer.

    (e) For resisting arrest.

    (f) For pleading guilty to disorderly conduct–the only thing he has “apologized” for thus far.

    (g) For attempting to hide his conduct and conviction from his constituents.

    (h) For lying about his conduct and conviction when the story broke publicly.

    (i) For posting one of those annoying, double-spaced, enumerated lists on a blog (oh wait…that’s me….)

  41. There’s a fantastic commentary by Glenn Greenwald on today entitled:

    Craig vs. Vitter: The right’s cost-free moralism

    Check it out. He makes an excellent point. The more I think about this sordid little tempest in a toilet stall, the worse I feel for Senator Craig. I’m sure he’ll soon be forced out, now that the Right has turned on him out of political expediency. But Vitter can carry on another day. It’s just appalling. Anyone who can’t see that the Republicans and the Democrats are equally cynical and immoral is refusing to acknowledge the obvious.

  42. let’s just assume that larry craig IS mormon…how is that compelling anyway? Him being a mormon doesn\’t mean anything other than, he\’s mormon. that\’s the thing that amazes me about anti-mormon bloggers…it\’s the same as their uproar about those \”mormons\” who participated in the MM Massacre…they were bad guys…as if any religion out there is free of \”bad\” guys. but they twist it to therefore mean that the book of mormon isn\’t true. where\’s the intellectual honesty here?

  43. MIWH,

    for what its worth, I think Vitter is appalling and should have immediately resigned. You can repent and get forgiveness for patronizing prostitutes while married, but you can’t remain in office, is my opinion.

  44. I lived in MA when the Barney Frank scandal surfaced – many years ago. (His chief of staff, who almost surely also was his lover, was running a male escort service out of the central political office.) Frank still is serving in the Senate to this day.

    I agree that Vitter and Craig should resign, but I have a hard time accepting the moral outrage of a group (both parties) who refuses to apply the same standards of morality to all its members. I can accept the outrage of those who voted for them, and it can be argued eloquently that the will of the people by re-electing someone like Frank justifies his continued presence in the Senate, but I have no faith in the objectivity of the group as a whole when it comes to moral outrage.

    Frankly, that bothers me more than comments by an individual, anti-Mormon, conspiracy-theory nutjob.

  45. “…I have no faith in the objectivity of the group as a whole when it comes to moral outrage.”

    As the raving liberal that I apparently am, I lean toward allowing them all (Frank, Vitter, Craig) to stay in office through the end of their term and let the voters decide if they deserve to continue in power. Lots of political leaders make mistakes while in office (what about a series of speeding tickets? haphazardly hiring an illegal immigrant gardener? etc) but should be not run out of office over them. Craig’s tap-tap-tapping in the Northwest terminal seems more in that category; he didn’t actually commit a lewd act there, right? The sheer horror and shame he must be feeling is punishment enough. Leave the man and his wife alone.

    This is all political maneuvering. If Craig’s replacement were to be picked by a Democratic governor, you can be sure the Republicans wouldn’t be going on TV saying he should resign. The Democrats would behave in exactly the same way if the situation were reversed.

    At this point in U.S. history, anybody who expects moral leadership from just about anyone in Washington is going to be sadly disillusioned. I’m amazed at how many intelligent LDS seem to think the Republicans really represent conservative family values. Y’all have been duped, friends. That party has been playing religious people like a fiddle ever since Reagan.

  46. MIWH,
    have you ever met any politicians? Because the notion that any particularly group of them is capable of duping anyone is laughable. Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.

  47. Thanks for the correction, Adam. I guess I think Kennedy and Frank and end up thinking of Frank as a Senator.

  48. OK, I don’t live in Utah, so I will have to trust those of you who do to carry out our revenge.

  49. “My sense is that Craig is in a panic at this point, and his ongoing comments are just digging a deeper hole. Poor guy. I feel kind of bad for him. All these “he should just come out” comments strike me as unreasonable and hostile. I’m sure he does not think of himself as gay (or homosexual or whatever). In a sense, up to this point he might well be considered some kind of Evergreen- or Exodus- style success story.”

    Yeah, he’s a a straight man who has sex with men.

  50. C. Biden, I don’t want to turn this into a threadjack discussion of homosexuality, but there are a large number of men who participate in homosexual activities who do not consider themselves to be “gay”. Often, they don’t even identify themselves as bi-sexual. They describe themselves as straight men who experiment sexually – even when the frequency would seem to indicate otherwise. There are terms for this type of outlook in various cultures, but that doesn’t need to be discussed here. Suffice it say that Mike very well could be correct about how Craig justifies his actions.

    That’s all I have to say about that.

  51. re: 69

    Point well taken, Adam. But I am loath to describe the Karl Rove and Andrew Carvilles of the world as incompetent.

    Does anybody here remember Roy Cohn? Senator Craig is hardly in the same league, of course.

  52. Point well taken, Adam. But I am loath to describe the Karl Rove and Andrew Carvilles of the world as incompetent.

    The skills needed to get elected are often quite different from the skills needed to enact good policy and meet governance goals. The Roves and Carvilles are essentially campaign consultants.

  53. #78
    Indeed, indeed, indeed. Wow I can’t believe I’m agreeing so wholeheartedly with you, Adam. Of course, an interesting question to ask is this: Can anybody govern the U.S. effectively today, given our size and polarized cultural environment? This question is also asked about California specifically as well, although the relative success of our Governator has given some hope that this Golden State is not so out of control after all.

  54. I think it is irrelevant whether Craig is or isn\’t a Mormon. I will vote for Mitt Romney if he gets the nomination even though I believe that Mormons are not Christians and the recent LDS moniker is a ruse. I will vote for Mitt Romney even though it is clear to me that the experiences of Joseph Smith and Muhammed are very similar as are some of the basics of Islam and Mormonism. I will vote for Mitt Romney even though I believe that Mormons, like Muslims and Scientologists, belong to successful cults. I hope this ends this insane discussion about Larry Craig\’s religious affiliation.

  55. But would you Vote for Romney in a Box? How about with a fox? What about here or there? Would you vote for Romney everywhere?

  56. A Vote for my Dad is a Vote for a man who isn’t running for president. Write Jim W. on your Ballots folks!

  57. Can anybody govern the U.S. effectively today, given our size and polarized cultural environment?

    I have dark suspicions, but I ignore them.

  58. “But I am loath to describe the Karl Rove and Andrew Carvilles of the world as incompetent.”

    Am unfamiliar with Andrew Carville. Are we talking about Andrew Card or James Carville?

  59. I agree with Mike (in West Hollywood) who somewhere above decries the meta-hypocracy of Vitter’s ending up with pardoning backslaps while Craig is shunned and encouraged to walk to the door due to the gender of the casual encounter he’d I’M NOT GAY! footsied with.

    (Oh–and I don’t know if (skillful orator) Stever Matson (#81) is still here but I for one appreciate his candor in acknowledging that despite that he thinks Mormons/ others are heterodox he can overlook this when voting for politicians who share his political beliefs. :^)

  60. Steve Matson figured it out. The “LDS moniker” really is a “ruse” to get all you foolish little Christians into thinking us devil worshipers are Christians, too. Never mind that the “LDS moniker” has been part of our name for more than a century now.

    Sorry for the threadjack!

  61. Matt W (#82), that was LOL funny. Thanks for making my day. Anybody with small kids could recognize the cadence.

    Steve Matson, you’re welcome to enjoy me at Church anytime to help you overcome some of your prejudices.

  62. Whoops, that was definitely a Freudian slip. “Join me.” “Join me.” Wow, that was one for the ages.

  63. (#81) I would vote for Romney too even if I weren’t LDS. I would also be upset with Senator Craig if I were one of his consituents regardless of his religion. I don’t put a whole lot of stock into a person’s religious beliefs regarding whether or not they can do a good job in political office, as long as they were good hearted and competent. Actions speak louder than beliefs.

    However, you are calling to end an “insane” discussion about an uproar about someone’s religion while, at the same time, taking a couple of jabs at a religion. What’s with that?

  64. “Moniker” refers to the new logo featuring JESUS CHRIST in larger type – which Matson offhandedly says is a “ploy” e/g since LDS don’t believe in creedal Christianity (almost typed Xtianity to further arouse ire… despite /chi – rho – iota/’s perhaps being as ancient as the four Gospels?)

    Did I just type “arouse”?

  65. Geoff, do you need to resign from blogging for that proposition? – I mean proposal – I mean offer – oh, never mind.

  66. I don’t have an issue with what I think is Craig’s likely lifetime of homosexual activity, which I think is pretty well proved in Tuesday’s Idaho Statesman article. I have an issue with his hypocrisy in presenting himself as a family values conservative while his secret life repudiates that.

    Worst of all, and here there is no room for conjecture about his actions, he votes to continue what I regard as second class status before the law for homosexuals. Whatever one may privately think of homosexuals or homosexual conduct, by my lights, it’s wrong to deny any citizen equal rights under the law.

    For the sheer bloody partisan politics of the matter, however, I do hope that he does not resign.

  67. In a Clintonian sense, Craig is telling the truth, “I am not gay or ever have been gay.” He is bisexual and this is a bit of parsing.

  68. MikeInWeHo:

    Mormons are Christian:

    The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is misunderstood by Mike In We Ho . . You accuse the Church of not believing in Christ and, therefore, not being a Christian religion . . helps to clarify such misconceptions by examining early (First Century) Christianity’s understanding of baptism, the Godhead, the deity of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) adheres to Early Christian theology more closely than other Christian denominations.

  69. Bot, I don’t need to defend MikeInWeHo, but to which comment are you referring? Mike is Mormon, and I have *never* once heard him claim that Mormons are not Christians. In fact, I have read multiple comments from him that argue eloquently that Mormons are Christians. If you are going to claim that he misunderstands Mormonism and claims they aren’t Christian, you really need to include the comment that prompted you make that claim.

  70. Ray,

    But you would deny the children of homosexual “hookups” equal rights under the law. Why does everyone think only of themselves. Isn’t a Christian supposed to be altruistic? It is a proven fact that children do best when they are with their natural father and natural mother.

  71. So you are avoiding the question about MikeInWeHo totally. Fine.

    As to your last comment: Same question – Show me a comment I made that says what you claim I would do. I guarantee you won’t find one.

    Also, then you apparently would deny children of single parents (never married or divorced or widowed) equal rights under the law. Is that correct?

    Summary: I don’t understand what caused your last two comments, I disagree completely with your claim that Mike misunderstands Mormonism, the first sentence in #103 is ludicrous (since I have never said so), I *think* I understand the second and third sentences of #103, and I think you have not thought through the last sentence of #103 to its logical conclusion. I really don’t have any clue what you mean.

  72. Ray,

    Comment #82 was not Mike In We Ho, it was Steve Matson who wrote about Mormons not being Christian. Sorry, Mike.


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