Category Archives: Politics

Guest Blog by Jane Freese: Dare to Examine Romney’s Mormonism

At the Las Vegas Book Festival (Nov. 2), Sally Denton, author of American Massacre and Faith and Betrayal said that she was puzzled by the lack of scrutiny about Mitt Romney’s Mormonism

Like Denton, I am a woman of Mormon ancestry, and I too am troubled by this lack of religious scrutiny. Being a Mormon is not the same as being a Presbyterian or a Methodist.  Being a Mormon is closer to being a Scientologist.  Anyone who has been a Mormon knows that being Mormon is integral to one’s character and belief system. As a Mormon friend of mine said, being a Mormon is “who you are.” It is not a religion.  It is a cult.

 He is Better Than You

To put it bluntly, Mitt Romney is not one of us.  I would not be surprised if Mitt has never tasted a beer, coffee, Coca-Cola, said a swear word, or had sex with any woman other than Ann outside of the marital bedroom. Is this an indictment? Not necessarily, but it does tell us that he cannot relate to the non-Mormon population without feeling self-righteous and superior.  To Mormons, all non-Mormons are “Gentiles.”

As a young man, Mitt participated in a rally supporting the draft, yet he was excused from it because he went on a religious mission to France.  That’s right, France. I have no problem with him avoiding the draft (who wants to go to war?), but to demonstrate in favor of the draft for others who might go to their deaths when you know you will not be put in that position is cruel and disgusting  Apparently, standard rules don’t apply to Mormon elders or the sons of governors.

Mitt has always known he was better than others. This knowledge gives him license to behave badly.  When he was in high school, a classmate’s flamboyant haircut offended his masculine sensibilities so much he recruited his posse of fellow gay bashers to assist him in a physical assault on the boy, tackling him to the floor and cutting off his blond locks with scissors, terrifying and humiliating him in the process. There were no repercussions.  Mitt claims to have no memory of the “hijinks,” but I do not believe him.  The young man came out as gay years later, but Mitt claims that people “didn’t think in those terms back then.”  Bull shit.  Homosexuality is a sin in the Mormon faith, one that invites excommunication. In other words, it will send the gay person straight to Hell. The defeat of Prop. 8 (marriage equality) was largely due to the millions of dollars the Mormon Church invested in its defeat.  Good work, bigots.

How many French people did Mitt convert to the faith?  There is no clear answer.  For a numbers guy, he cannot definitively take credit for a single conversion.  Apparently the French are not keen on abstention from wine, sex, colorful language, and the pleasures of being a little naughty from time to time. Good for them. But Mormon missionary work is not really about converting non-believers as much as it is about indoctrinating the missionaries themselves; the future patriarchy of the church.

Mormons are constantly told and encouraged to declare as part of their testimony that they belong to the “true church.” Other religions are not simply misguided. According to the church’s founder, Joseph Smith, God considers other faiths to be an “abomination.” Pretty strong word, wouldn’t you say? Abomination.

Prepare for the Apocalypse

Mormons stockpile food and water for the upcoming Apocalypse.  According to Mormon belief, Mormons will be notified first of a coming disaster through the church hierarchy. It isn’t enough to be a Latter-day Saint to qualify for the “run to your bomb shelter” phone call. You have to be on the bishop’s “Mormon in good standing” speed-dial.  The rest of the population, the Gentiles, will be doomed to extinction.  Poor bastards. They should have put down their Starbucks and listened to the missionaries who had only their best interests at heart.

Do we really want a president who believes that the end of the world is likely, soon?  Push the button, Mr. President; after all it is God’s will. Wouldn’t want all those cans of evaporated milk to go to waste now would we?  It’s all good.  Heavenly Father is purging the Earth for the Second Coming of Jesus.

Not only do Mitt Romney and other Mormons believe that they will be assigned to rebuild the Earth, they will be gods of their own worlds in the hereafter.  Sorry women, only males will be gods.  Females cannot gain entry into the penthouse of heaven (the Celestial Kingdom) on their own, they must be escorted “though the veil.” Without a priesthood holder (man) to escort them into the Celestial Kingdom, she will be relegated to the lower levels, doomed to dwell for eternity with the dreaded Gentiles.

The Celestial Kingdom is for Mormons

Other than Mormons, I can think of no other religion besides Muslims that envision the afterlife more concretely with their lakes of fire and harems of virgins. All is to be sacrificed for the ultimate reward—Heaven.  Romney knew that focusing as much as possible on “the Creator” in his closing statements at the debates he would win the hearts of Christians.  What they don’t know is that Mormons don’t consider other Christians equal to Mormons. Mormons believe themselves to be closer to Jews than to Christians.  The Hebrew Bible states that Jews are “the chosen.”  The Book of Mormon states that the Latter-day Saints are “the chosen.” How lovely it is to be a little bit better than everybody else.

If you are raised in a Mormon family, this fabulous position is yours, and just as the Jews were persecuted, so were Mormons.  The Mormons were driven into the desert to establish a promised land—Zion. I was raised hearing great tales or deprivation, sacrifice, pioneer heroics, and miracles. There is no doubt that the Mormons did astounding things with very little resources.  There is nothing quite like religious zeal with its promise of celestial reward or eternal hell fire to stimulate construction and agriculture.

How this applies to Mitt Romney is simple.  As a former Mormon from a long line of Mormon pioneers I know that there is a sense of obligation to the sacrifices made by our ancestors. Like Romney, I too, am a descendant of Mormon polygamist Mexican expatriates.  When the federal government outlawed polygamy many families decided to flee the laws of this country and settle in Mexico.  Although polygamy was against Mexican law, President Diaz turned a blind eye to the domestic practices of the Mormon colonists in exchange for the commercial enhancement that Mormons brought to a desolate area.

Whites Only

I must point out that the Mormons colonists, although friendly with their Mexican neighbors, never integrated.  They still celebrated the Fourth of July and flew American flags.  According to the Book of Mormon, dark skinned people are Lamanites.  The light skinned people, the Nephites, were good and dark skinned people were inferior.

I was taught, as a child, that the reason blacks could not hold the Mormon priesthood was that Africans, and therefore African American blacks, were marked by Cain’s ancient curse for killing his brother Abel and lying to God.

How can people living thousands of years after an event (if you believe it ever happened at all) be blamed for it?  Here is another dimension of the Mormon religion that few know about.  Mormons believe that our souls exist before we are born and that we are assigned a family to be raised by.  So, souls assigned a Mormon home are just a tiny bit better than those who are not. Souls assigned an African American family (mark of Cain) must have done something to deserve it. How any person of color can be a Mormon is beyond my understanding.

Although Mormons pride themselves for being early abolitionists, they didn’t believe that black people were their equals. God apparently changed his mind in 1978.  Now African Americans can hold the Mormon priesthood. Oh goodie!

 “You People”

I was also taught that wealth is endorsed by God.  My grandparents worked hard to establish a successful mink business. They amassed a small fortune.  They made it clear and it is dangerous to let others know how much money you have because they will try to take it away from you.  Romney’s refusal to reveal his tax returns reminds me of this paranoia.  In an interview, Ann Romney was asked about their refusal to divulge more than two years of income tax returns.  She used the phrase, “you people.”  As in “you people don’t need to know.” “You people” indeed.

I’ve worked for the Obama campaign. I hope he wins.  However, there is another part of me that knows that if Romney wins his presidency and he is unsuccessful in fulfilling his excessive promises it could be detrimental to the Mormon cause.  The great Mormon patriarch, bully boss, High Priest and god in the making, could bring about the downfall of the middleclass.  Mormonism is the religion of misogyny, racism, self-righteousness, and oppression.

Political correctness cripples free speech and an honest examination of ideas and beliefs. Saying that Mitt Romney has contempt for 47% of the population is generous.  If only about 2% of the US population is Mormon, then I would assert that he has contempt, or at least pity, for 98%.  He said he cares about 100% of us.  I seriously doubt it.


“Horrible Mistake”

Jacques Tourneur directed some cult classics under the producer tutelage of Val Lewton in the early 40s, “The Cat People” and “I Walked With a Zombie.” And in 1957 he did   “Night of the Demon”/ “Curse of the Demon,” (UK) which I saw with my parents. My father was surprised and let down that Dana Andrews was in this horror picture as if had chosen to be mired in B movies. Amazing what one dredges up from childhood.

Andrews had been in “The Best Years of our lIves,”1946,  “Laura,” 1944, “The Ox-Bow Incident,”1943,  and “A Walk in the Sun,” 1946, most of these A films. Tourneur and Andrews also worked together in “Canyon Passage,”made in 1946 with Susan Hayward, Brian Donlevy (memorable in “Beau Geste” as a vicious sergeant, 1939)  Ward Bond and a very young Lloyd Bridges. It was a standard B flic in which Hoagy Carmichael introduced “Ole Buttermilk Sky,” a rather homely man who often tinkled the ivories in several movies and was the composer of the classic “Stardust,”and “In the Cool Cool Cool of the Evening.”

“Canyon Passage” was nothing much as a film but directorially it did have one or two nuances, especially the executing of a convicted murderer off screen, subtle for an oater. Why I recall this film which I have seen off and on within the last few years is a memorable line spoken in a bar by Onslow Stevens, a dry and durable actor of the 30s and 40s. It is delivered off hand which makes it more telling and while the actor’s back is to the camera, thus even more effective.

When Andrews confronts the gambler Stevens about all the loses his friend Donlevy has incurred at his poker table, Stevens is also upset at that also but as he rises he says, “Mankind is a horrible mistake.” I don’t recall a memorable line from “Ben Hur,” “Spartacus,” “El Cid,” or “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” I wonder how the writer and director in 1946 got away with this noirish comment. In fact after the war up to the mid 50s were the years of film noir, much of it was a response to what the war had taught us about humanity. Tourneur directed the classic film noir “Out of the Past.” And Welles made the greatest noirish B movie, “Touch of Evil,” in which there are several memorable lines by Marlene Dietrich (Welles’ friend and assistant in the magic act he used to entertain troops during the war) in a cameo as a madam.

In some way, in some fashion, the line about “horrible mistake” resonates in me, fits suitably into my general frame of mind. I relish that the suits at the front office missed that one acidic if not brilliant accusation about the species — its innate failings. As I look at the debates and observe how one is condemned for showing feelings (Biden vs. Boy Scout), I see how nauseating and politically correct we are. Watching that blustering grotesquerie, Russ Limbaugh, blame and castigate Martha Raddatz, as the moderator for limiting Ryan’s performance, I conclude that we are indeed a horrible mistake.

If a truth is accepted after denial, projection and other psychological human defenses are let down or worked through, we come upon a realization or an awareness that we give large measure of credence to. For me mankind is not as much a species, very much the animal. For me it is as profound a truth as it is for a die-in-the-wool Catholic that Christ was the son of God–but he wasn’t, nor did he rise, fitting mottled mythological musings for an animal.

Recently I was labeled, in essence, by some old cocker about my age, a curmudgeon. He could not grasp my comments about authority or rules and regulations, for they spoke of disgruntlement, which is not allowed. For me it was my ongoing battle with authority. As I walked out of the place in which he was a volunteer, he muttered words, in effect, wondering how I could exist as a person and how my wife could endure the bleakness of my soul. Ah, to be judged by a volunteer.

He went so far as to show me a plaque on his desk ostensibly to be used with misfits such as myself. It had a homily about accepting old age which was an Irish proverb and I had the temerity to tell him that of all the proverbs he could give me, Irish ones were near the bottom, and I also felt but did not say that if your insight came down to a Hallmark sentiment how pathetic you were. It is the misbegotten belief  that if you shove a bible into one’s hands you will find the truth. Hogwash! Books are not life. Words are not life. Learn how to live moment to moment free of other people’s convictions and musings and then you will be free.

Jane and I looked at one another. He didn’t get it, never did, never would, for his life, if I may judge, was spent as an adherent. And because he didn’t get it, he labeled me. I became a “horrible mistake” as a person.

Again I am nauseated by culture, any culture, and especially sickened by this one, in which a political wife speaks of her husband in an attempt to “humanize” him to the populous. Now that is real resurrection of the dead! If he ain’t a human being, why run this cadaver for office and why must we endure such a pathetic plea. And little Sarah that Todd knocked up in the backseat in his truck as her fanny wriggled uncomfortably on a spent Coke can, this vagina on stilts, is off to the side yelling at Romney to pull the trigger.

What is one to do if one sees all this cant? It is the perennial question — rush off like Thoreau to the woods for a respite, not bad if you are single and have the time for it; go out and try to change the system (never works, only leads to reform which leads to more structured recalcitrance until the next reform is required — the history of revolutions teaches us this; start with Condorcet and end with Robespierre and then Napoleon.) Human stupidity is a repetition compulsion.

After decades of living I have reached some insight and thus some concluding propositions. I conclude that all I can do is be free of the bullshit, to cleanse myself on a daily basis; that I am surrounded by human frailities, gross behaviors and lunacies that assault me on all sides. It is a struggle to be free of religion, of others in particular, of parents, of the state, the government and of one’s own blindednesses. By the by, isn’t that the curriculum of a meaningful education?

I have also concluded that it is a losing proposition to sustain, yet I continue to do so, for in a way I too, for others,  am a “horrible mistake.”




If I Had to Choose

Since mid September I’ve been involved writing my third book within the last two years and it is finished, which means editing follows, proofing, grammar checking, footnoting, and all the many little details before it is really finished. This book has been a pleasure to write and it comes in about 41,000 words or maybe 134 pages, nice, short and compact. As you have read in prior blogs, it is about my long distant relationship with Krishnamurti, perhaps the greatest spiritual genius of the twentieth century. The book has taken on the air of an extended memoir, a reminiscence that has lingered for over three decades. Wafting through my writing of this effort are the remembrances of things past, as I associate to my younger children, my wife, Rochelle, of the good and difficult times we had during the seventies and eighties, struggling times. As I write about my response to K, I recall the place and often the time, what I was doing as a teacher, like asking an Egyptian slave to remember how he schlepped a massive stone with others for Ramses’ pyramid. A sweet melancholia drifts across my mind, but not for too long, but it is the kind of melancholia that makes you smile a little like Mona Lisa, it is there, but encrypted.

The book contains my fevered youth, rising in the morning, heading out to work, writing, parenting, whatever that is, working as a shrink part time late into the evening and rolling in after one a.m on Wednesday nights and up five hours later to go to work. And now I skulk about the house and fart along down the stairs as I am superannuated. In Nevada I experience anomie, for it is an environment, at least in Henderson, in which you have to join an organization in order to curry attention for your existence and from that you may extend your connections to others. It is an implosive community out here and this New Yorker is sometimes looked at askance, nervy, et al. At least I have nerves as opposed to abdominal fats for a brain. Nevada is the equivalent educationally of Mississippi in the 50s. It is a well kept secret. The difference, let us say, between Nevada and New York comes down to guiderails, that is right, guiderails. Here if you drive near a cliff or a significant precipice you do not come across these metal barriers, whereas in upstate New York they are manifest. I have figured it all out. If you go over the side, that is your fault, your responsibility and the government stays out of it; if you are less than a rugged individual, the consequences are severe. In New York State the government evinces a reasonable concern for your safety.

Once you step out of the Strip, you are in Paducahville. My long range plan is to become an ex-pat, living in Costa  Rica, let me say, with a woman Presidente, drug-laden packages bobbing toward shore late at night, and outrageous insects crawling about, beautiful beaches, not so expensive homes for a couple, with the knowledge that this country is corrupt as well as ours, except they know it and we don’t, free of our hypocrisy. And so I write my book about K, stemming from my years as a spiritual seeker, if you will, while the decadence about me almost oozes through the windows. I am a stranger in a strange land and the humor for me is that I enjoy that, for it allows me to experiment, to observe freely without conditioning, to be outrageous in my thinking, braver in my feelings, outlandish in my perspective on things and savage about the “governing” we are experiencing as a people. Everyone should, at least once in his or her life, experience being a loner or outsider, but better still, rather than recoiling from that situation using it as an armed combatant, bravely. Imagine all the well-bred shnooks who cannot conceive of ever going against their society, these jerks who refer to protesters in Wall Street as “mobs.”

You may feel that I hopped the rail here and that I’ve gone on a rant. Yes and no. As I wrote the book on K I “relived” the issues I had with him and I recalled the new thinking he presented me, especially on conditioning, indoctrination and the need to question authority. Hiding latently in that miasma that is Washington, is the latent expression that might lead to repressive measures if we are not attentive. I observe “newscasters” on Fox news in their late twentties and early thirties, especially ahistorical women reporters, expressing archaic and rigid philosophies that sadden me, for I can only imagine how much more arthritic they will be in their later years. I wonder what went wrong in their childhood to produce such mean spirited thinking, often without any historically accurate references. So street protests are equated to “mobs,” the Tea Party protests were orderly, neat, anal while others are labeled as “lefties.” I can’t wait until the word “pinko” returns.

Socialism is constantly bandied about, although these historical nincompoops haven’t the slightest idea how socialism was the coming wave throughout the ninetenth century and if W.W.I had not occurred, we would most likely be living under a kind of socialist state. They don’t want to know, they don’t want to read. We are a notoriously unread people and we really know little about our own history  which has a strong genocidal streak to it, as an example. The Yahoos are in large measure in charge in Washington. I may be accused of cutting and running, leaving our desperate straits here for other Americans to handle. I have several responses to that red herring. Implied in this is that it can be rectified, implied in this is the old American myth of the can-do people, that Americans can be suckered but that they finally wake up and ultimately act nobly. It reeks of American exceptionalism. Patent nonsense! It reveals, to me, an inept capacity to assess human nature. In the thirties some in Europe realized the threat and got out, I’m thinking for example of the immense array of artist emigres who fled to Hollywood — Wilder, Wyler, Lorre, et al. The only loyalty I have is to my own personal freedom and my family. Since Individuals are now being told to leave America and go elsewhere, I may very well heed that “advice,” but for different reasons. At this point, at this time, we have become crazed.

Of the candidates running for the Republican Party, does it flabbergast you that except for Huntsman, all of them are Creationists?

I Am Planning My Escape

While Michele Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, dance for the media and he practices “reparative psychotherapy” on gays which the American Psychiatric Association has declared disreputable and of no worth and indeed, might create confusion and conflict additionally on unwilling clients; while Marcus himself sends out latent homosexual vibes himself, one can only imagine why he has devoted something of his life to this nonsense, should I say projection, displacement and inner self-contempt; and one more “while” –In a famous letter (1920s) from a mother of a homosexual asking Freud what was she do for she was at a loss, Freud wrote back urging her to embrace her son, to love him dearly and to accept him as he was. Clearly Marcus Bachmann has not read the DSM IV or V in which homosexuality is not listed, if I am correct, as a neurosis, psychosis or anything such as a personality disorder. Marcus Bachman belongs in a Boschian painting, near the bottom, often where a pitchfork is shoved up a tortured creature’s ass. Finally, picking up a recent issue of National Geographic with ape-man pictures in it and a skull of a woman-like creature dating to 4 million years ago, I wondered how the Bachmanns deal with evolution. Sickening to hear or imagine their responses, for they are the trash we in this country feel competent to run for office. Shame on us!

If you love your country more than you love yourself, that is, you sustain an idol of the mind and you are conditioned beyond belief, stop reading now, for I am going to give the specific reasons why I am planning my escape. I first got turned off when McGovern ran against Nixon, and that foul creature won. I could not believe it. Having grown up under Eisenhower during the Fifties,  I had a real good bead on that joweled-psychotic. A whole generation of non-readers had no idea what they were voting for. After that, I knew my masses well and didn’t vote for many years after. I could have predicted Watergate, character is destiny, the Greeks knew so well. The last decade or so has been abysmal politically. I never thought that a major TV station would become an ally of a political point of view, Fox News; when I first watched  it I caught myself challenging almost everything said, for the news was not “fair and balanced,” that insane mantra, but biased, often subtly so. I grew up with Murrow, Sevaried, Brinkley and I was left to decide what to do with the news. And there is that evangelistic Glen Beck, crypto -racist, deranged human being, maudlin, stuffed with treacle, who pandered to America’s worst biases, stuffing his Mormon cheese into the collective olive.

And there is Palin, that grotesque, phantasmagoric entity spewed from the head of John McCain who is the idealized pinhead housewife of America, raising the dysfunctional family to greater heights, with her dull Ahab fisherman spouse and Bristol, who recently penned a book about her vagina monologues. Have you noticed at rallys with her special needs child beneath her left arm as if a ragamuffin child, an emblem of how adversity for her and her child can be overcome, how she can mother and be a politician and be split in so many ways and remain whole, the foisted American dream that some women think they have to live up to, is beyond parody. Screwed into the cortex of Bachmann and Palin is an unwavering spinal rigidity which  comes from seeing life simplistically, without shades of gray or nuance, proof that a college education in this country is the equivalent of a junior high school degree.  Hold on, I am enjoying this rant, for it is the basis of my considering leaving the States. I am prepared to go to any sinkhole outside of this country so that I can best see us for what we really are, although I have a good handle on it now. I will not bother to answer questions about this idea of mine, for they will be as conditioned by being an American more than by anything else. I am not an American, nor am I  un-American, for these are not issues for me. I owe more to my heritage than I do to nationalism. American exceptionalism, to use the jargon, is defecating all over this globe. Have you noticed?

As I mentally spin the globe, Costa Rica came to mind, as well as Belize, Panama, Ecuador, and Roatan. Checking out some stats about each country, Costa Rica looms large. I could not have Medicare there but if you become a resident you can get health care; the doctors are just as good or bad as they are here. The government is reasonably democratic which is what ours is as well; there is no extant democracy in this world at this time that I can see. Perhaps Costa Rica in mind rests on my own personal and idiosyncratic contention that this culture has become unbearable for me. I don’t flee to Costa Rica for safety; I flee America for it disfigures and appalls my own personal sensibility of what a culture should be. I have an affinity for life. i do not have an affinity for this or that countrty. I live once. So do you, reader. Think on that. So when and if I get it all together, I will gear up and vamoose.

The bromides we have in this country to deal with disaffection are legendary. We have lost, if we ever had, the capacity or the willingness to look at  ourselves in the mirror and to correct, remedy or change the lingering maladies we suffer from. The essential character trait of this nation, as I see it now, is a moral blindness to how we affect the world, other nations and the very planet itself. So wrapped in the stars and stripes are we, that we are blinded by our grandiosity. If a man or woman begs for change in the street, he is viewed as lacking character and the poor schnook probably believes this rap. In other words, poverty as in Dickens’ time, is a character fault. And the poor buy into it. And when things get really tough, the capitalistic slime comes out and offers workshops on how to market yourself. We are experts on marketing ourselves. Oh, yeah, what an achievement! In the fifties I would be called a pinko or commie. And what would you call me now? Un-American. Just a bromide. We are brilliant at making the disenfranchised despise themselves. Hoffer argued that the role of the undesirables in this country was essential for its greatness. That has long since passed.

We are a war-mongering country and as outlandish as that charge may be, if you pause and consider where we are in the name of “democracy,” you detect a glimmer of reason to this argument — we are stationed all over the planet; we are involved in two wars and our defense budget is the largest in the world. We are a bloated empire with a bloated ruling class which is now the classic cliche of the 2%. The fiscal crisis was the well-to-do, the ultra wealthy fucking this nation and being rewarded as a consequence. Tell me, who has been charged with crimes against the American people in the years since the crisis?

I am an exile in my own country, a stranger in a strange land, and America has become a very strange land. A writer, a decent writer, a serious person, has to have in some measure a sense of disaffection, of not belonging, of looking in from the outside. In short, an exile. I can spend my self-exile in Costa Rica because here, in America, I don’t belong any longer. And what does it matter except to me how I see my world. Judge me if you choose, and how American that is.


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