When Mitt Romney ran for the American presidency in 2012, he became well-known for being the first Mormon politician to be the presidential nominee of a major political party. However, this caused a certain degree of internalized conflict within the Republican and conservative communities, as Mormonism possesses a particular set of historical values that many might consider incompatible with the traditional Judeo-Christian ethical paradigm. One of these historical values, manifested in the religion’s founder himself, are both polygamy and a history of pedophiliac actions by prominent leaders. 

Joseph Smith, who founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder-day Saints in 1830, is one of the most prominent examples. At the bare minimum, Smith was notorious for an intense sexual attraction to women, an attribute that is well-documented in Mormon history. In an official LDS publication called “History of the Church,” Smith’s attraction to females was detailed, as described in “The Wasp,” an LDS newspaper:

“[On 2 July 1843], the [Mormon] Church newspaper ‘The Wasp’ publishe[d] a phrenology chart of Smith’s head and personality. The first trait [was] ‘Amativeness-11, L[arge]. Extreme susceptibility; passionately fond of the company of the other sex.’ The official ‘History of the Church’ still publishes this chart, along with the caution that such a high score indicates ‘extreme liability to perversion’ in the trait.”

Helen Mar Kimball in her later years.

But, it’s not necessarily a sin to be a lady’s man; however, Smith’s sexual eccentricity doesn’t end with his “extreme liability to perversion.” Smith, who firmly believed in the divine institution of polygamous marriage, had a notable quiver of teenaged brides, the youngest of which being 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball. According to Helen, Smith promised her that marriage to him would secure her “eternal salvation,” and bribed her with promises of divine grandeur: 

“After which he said to me, ‘If you take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation and exaltation and that of your father’s household and all of your kindred.’ This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward.”

With the above context in mind, a petitioner by the username of M.A. has recently begun a White House petition to “call on Mitt Romney to publicly denounce Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism.”

This petition began on November 10, 2017, after Romney published the following tweet: 

“Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.”

Interestingly, on October 27, 2014, the Huffington Post and Associated Press published an article covering the Mormon Church’s official recognition that Smith was married to approximately 40 women, including 14-year-old Helen. 

“We the people,” reads the petition, “are calling on Mitt Romney to denounce the actions of the so-called prophet Joseph Smith and the atrocities Joseph Smith committed by engaging in a sexual relations with 14 year old child.”

The hypocrisy of the situation which warrants the above petition stems from allegations Republican politician Roy Moore engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old girl nearly 40 years ago. If Romney, who believes that the life and works of Smith are divinely authoritative, is willing to condemn a Republican politician for the very thing Smith himself is guilty of, then it should be no surprise that a horde of the general public will pounce of Romney’s hypocrisy. 

The petition requires 100,000 signatures by December 10, 2017 to get a response from the White House, and you can sign it here

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