Mitt Romney’s attempt to satisfy the White Horse Prophecy is going up in flames
In 1835, Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, aka the Mormons, wrote in his collection of prophecies and insights titled Doctrines and Covenants:
“If ye are faithful, ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies.”
One has to assume, if one is to believe in the efficacy of Smith’s prophecy, that his fellow Saints were less than faithful; or alternatively, that their sense of entitlement was ill-conceived; or that Smith was just another BS artist. Because, a mere three years later, after a successful voter suppression effort by 200 non-Mormon settlers in Gallatin on August 6, 1838 that led to a wider, catastrophic war, he and his entire community were driven out of the state of Missouri, lock, stock and barrel.
His petition for redress to President Martin Van Buren in 1839 was refused for starkly political reasons. Four years after that, Smith is said to have uttered another prophecy that became known as the White Horse Prophecy (WHORP) . Bill McKeever over at Thom HartmOnenn.com describes it thusly:
Another of Smith’s predictions, the “White Horse Prophecy,” gets its name from the biblical book of Revelation. The prophecy has been given a dubious distinction since there is no evidence that Smith ever gave it in a public setting. Instead, its pedigree goes back to two Mormons, Edwin Rushton and Theodore Turley, who said they personally heard Joseph Smith give this prediction at Smith’s home on or about May 6, 1843. Smith allegedly gave numerous predictions in this prophecy, but the portion that is most repeated speaks of a day when the Constitution of the United States will “hang by a thread.” It will be “preserved and saved” by a White Horse, A.K.A. the Mormon Church.
Seven generations of Mormon leaders, while jettisoning various parts of the prophecy including the violent overthrow of the US government, have nonetheless, kept hope alive. McKeever again:
In 1963 [Evra Taft] Benson again mentioned this prophecy in a conference message: “The Prophet Joseph Smith said the time would come when the Constitution would hang as it were by a thread. Modern-day prophets for the last thirty years have been warning us that we have been rapidly moving in that direction. Fortunately, the Prophet Joseph Smith saw the part the elders of Israel would play in this crisis. Will there be some of us who won’t care about saving the Constitution, others who will be blinded by the craftiness of men, and some who will knowingly be working to destroy it? He that has ears to hear and eyes to see can discern by the Spirit and through the words of God’s mouthpiece that our liberties are being taken” (Conference Report, April 1963, p.113).
Shades of the Tea Party, who never tire of warning us that “our liberties are being taken.” One has to assume that was a major selling point on the part of the Romney campaign to gain the support of the Teabaggers, whether they believed in the overarching validity of the prophecy itself, they were certainly down with the ‘they’re stealing our liberties’ stuff. One Teabagger who does believe wholeheartedly in the WHORP is the Mormon Mad Man, Glenn Beck. As Dana Milbank wrote at Huffpo:
“In one of his first appearances on Fox News, Glenn Beck sent a coded message to the nation’s six million Mormons — or at least those Mormons who believe in what the Latter-day Saints call “the White Horse Prophecy.”
“We are at the place where the Constitution hangs in the balance,” Beck told Bill O’Reilly on November 14, 2008, just after President Obama‘s election. “I feel the Constitution is hanging in the balance right now, hanging by a thread unless the good Americans wake up.”
Was it just a coincidence in wording, or was Beck, a 1999 Mormon convert, speaking in coded language about the need to fulfill the Mormon prophecy? A conversation on Beck’s radio show ten days earlier would seem to rule out coincidence. Beck was interviewing Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, also a Mormon, when he said: “I heard Barack Obama talk about the Constitution and I thought, we are at the point or we are very near the point where our Constitution is hanging by a thread.”
“Well, let me tell you something,” Hatch responded. “I believe the Constitution is hanging by a thread.”
Days after Beck’s Fox show started in January 2009, he had Hatch on, and again prompted him: “I believe our Constitution hangs by a thread.”
Large numbers of Mormons watch Beck…
Earlier, during his 1999 run for the presidency, Orrin Hatch was quoted by The Salt Lake Tribune: “I’ve never seen it worse than this, where the Constitution literally is hanging by a thread” (“Did Hatch Allude To LDS Prophecy?” Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 11, 1999).” Mormons of a feather flock together.
Which brings us to the question: Does Mitt Romney, a bishop in the Mormon Church, consider himself the embodiment of Joseph Smith’s prophecy?
Well, it would explain a number of things about the way he has managed his presidential campaign, beginning with the issue of how he has managed his presidential campaign. See, for example, Mitt Is On Fire, a collection of conservative wailings about what is arguably the worst GOP presidential campaign since…John McCain’s.
Additionally, it would explain his and Ann Romney‘s sense of entitlement, which Ann summed up in her best elitist manner: “It’s our turn.”
Then there’s his attitude towards withholding a more extensive release of his taxes that, in contravention to his own father’s example of releasing 12 years worth, would give American voters a better understanding of how he became so filthy rich.
And finally, it would explain his cavalier attitude to providing any meaningful details about his policy imperatives. As with his refusal to provide same with regard to his taxes, the overarching goal of saving the Constitution must take priority over such quotidian concerns.
Of course, all of these infirmities of the Romney campaign can be explained using CW political analysis. But, as every novelist or screenwriter knows (written a few of the latter myself), understanding a protagonist’s formative beliefs provides insight into his character, and ultimately, his motivations and actions.
If I be permitted a prophecy of my own– Romney’s presidential bid will go down in flames. The only question remaining is how much damage he will do the the immediate, mid-range, and long term goals of the GOP. As conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham warned:
“If you can’t beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party. Shut it down, start new, with new people. Because this is a gimme election, or at least it should be.”
We should be so lucky.