Winston Churchill famously said that Americans and the English are two great peoples separated by a common language. Mitt Romney thought he was speaking English when he said some disconcerting things about the London Olympic Games; i.e., your Old World traffic sucks. In fact, his native tongue was pure American Exceptionalism — whatever you can do, we can do better.
The British, who have endured millennia of such stuff from the French, knew how to respond: they booed.
Romney was nonplussed. He hadn’t expected this. A great many of us who grew up LDS put great stock in the fact that we are transplanted Britons. There was a time in the late 19th century that, for one brief shining moment, the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the LDS Church, John Taylor, was British born, and a majority of Mormons came from the British Isles.
So why the hate? I mean, a Conservative British prime minister goes and disses one of the Empire’s farthest-flung conservative outposts, Salt Lake City, as “the middle of nowhere” (we actually prefer the term “center of nowhere”), when all Romney wanted was a tummy rub from friends, nay, family, from across the pond.
Like I say, Romney was nonplussed. But he moved on, seeking firmer footing elsewhere on his world tour. Like Israel.
Much is made about the special relationship between Great Britain and the United States, but it is nothing compared to the relationship that Mormons imagine exists between themselves and the Jews.
Weird as this may sound, Mormons consider themselves to be Jewish. Mitt Romney, like almost all Mormon adolescents, was given a blessing that named the lost tribe of Israel to which they belonged. My grandmother, and everyone else of her generation, referred to those who were not Mormon as “gentiles.” Ironically, that even included Jews.
And Mormons secretly congratulate themselves for the creation of the State of Israel.
In 1841, Mormon Apostle Orson Hyde scaled the Mount of Olives in Ottoman Palestine and dedicated everything in sight, and then some, to the return of the Jews. There is no record of what the Turks thought about this giveaway of this bit of their empire by a tiny American frontier sect. They probably didn’t notice. Perhaps they should have.
Hyde had it right. More than half a century later, Theodor Herzl and leaders of world Jewry would meet in Switzerland and endorse a plan to gather Jews from all corners of the world and establish a Jewish state. So that Christ could come again.
Okay, that last bit wasn’t on the First Zionist Congress’ agenda in Basel. But it is bullet-point number one on the Mormon agenda.
In the Mormon universe, God’s plan is obvious for those who have eyes to see. The collapse of Communism was to crack the Iron Curtain wide open for Mormon missionaries. The opening up of China was for the same reason. Iraq was all about getting a foot in the door of the Islamic world.
According to LDS doctrine, Christ won’t come again until the whole world has been presented with the Restored Gospel. A president of the United States who is Mormon would seem to be an obvious part of that story before the final wrapping-up scene.
In the meantime, the Romney campaign is fundraising where Jews have their prophesied state and where Jesus once walked.
Award-winning cartoonist Pat Bagley describes himself as a fifth generation “retired” Mormon from Salt Lake City. He is a graduate of BYU and served a two year mission in Bolivia. For 32 years Pat has been the editorial cartoonist for The Salt Lake Tribune, and his cartoons are exclusively syndicated internationally by Cagle Cartoons. Email comments to Pat at email@example.com.