One of the reasons Mitt Romney has had trouble putting away his opponents appears to be the opinions of the religious right within the social conservative group. Born again Christians and Evangelicals particularly have been shying away from Romney and favoring Rick Santorum and his Catholic principles.
That appears to be strange as not too long ago, Protestants were very leery of the pope and the Catholic Church he represents. Just a little over 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy, a Catholic candidate for president, found himself required to make a special statement to the effect that his Catholic beliefs would not interfere with his duties as president and his oath to the Constitution.
It seems that Romney, a Mormon, is faced with some of the same skepticism that promises to grow until he addresses the matter of his faith and at least attempts to convince his religious critics of the notion that the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (LDS) is a mainstream Christian religion.
In this regard, Christianity has had a long history of division that impacts faith, belief and the role of Jesus Christ in people’s lives. The Council of Nicaea in 325 CE that led to the adoption of the concept of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and the Holy Spirit as one God), was opposed by Arius, the presbyter of Alexandria, Egypt and his large number of Christian followers who taught that Jesus as the only begotten Son was created by God and therefore deemed to be a distinct person that answered to his Father.
Then there is the matter of the repressed and hidden feminine principle by the name of Sophia within the Holy Trinity representing the Holy Spirit. The term philosophy or “filosofía” meaning love of (philo) wisdom (Sofia) is one of the manifestations of her role as the power of God’s knowledge in the Trinity.
The new Muslim religion in the early part of the 7th century defined Christ as a prophet in the Jewish Old Testament tradition that was then followed by the Prophet Mohamed that continues to intercede with Allah today. As we no doubt understand, this redefinition of Christ does not sit well with those who believe in the creed created by the Council of Nicaea in 325.
Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of the LDS Movement in the 1820s in western New York sought to restore the early Christian Church and its doctrine that he felt had been corrupted by “Greek and other philosophies” and had lost its priesthood authority because of the “martyrdom of the Apostles” under Roman rule.
“Smith told his followers that he had seen a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in the spring, 1820 … Sometimes called the ‘First Vision,’ Smith’s vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ as two separate beings was reportedly the basis for the differences in doctrine between Mormonism’s view of the nature of God and that of orthodox Christianity.”
Given the Mormon definition of God, the Father’s relationship with Christ, we seem to be back to 325 CE and the main issue before the Council of Nicaea, which challenged the notion of the Holy Trinity. In that instance, Arius and his followers were declared heretics to be persecuted.
That is not the way we do things today, but perhaps it is time for a national dialogue about religion and the finer points of our faith and beliefs. Not addressing the issue will only result in more questions about a great religion with a peculiar history.