Close X

Two very different kinds of Mormons

May 12, 2011
source: The New Republic

Photo from NPR.

MR says: We don't agree or disagree, we just think this take on "two different kinds of Mormonism" is interesting.

Matthew Bowman is a Ph.D candidate in American religious history at Georgetown University and associate editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. He blogs about Mormon history at The Juvenile Instructor.

Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah, ambassador to China, and potential presidential contender, used to play the keyboard in a prog rock cover band called Wizard. In fact, he dropped out of high school, temporarily, in favor of music practices in a warehouse on the outskirts of Salt Lake City. The underground music scene of mid-'70s Salt Lake City was a bit tamer than most, but Huntsman faithfully toured the city's bars, fraternized with recreational marijuana users, and grew a shaggy mane — until his nineteenth birthday, when he got a haircut and left for Taiwan to serve a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For many presidential hopefuls, such teenage escapades might be little more than an embarrassing aside, but, in Huntsman's case, it's a striking example of his deft ability to negotiate between his Mormonism and the world around it. His coreligionist and fellow presidential contender Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has rarely displayed the same sense of ease. On the campaign trail in 2008, Romney appeared nervous and awkward when confronted with questions about his faith, often attempting to defuse the situation with a thudding joke about polygamy ("I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. And a woman. And a woman."). Although it was meant to seem self-deprecating, the gag only highlighted Romney's distinct awareness of his own otherness.

Read the rest of this story at


Comments 16 comments

blair said...

10:49 AM
on May 13, 2011

Report Abuse

Good article, I am praying Mitt pulls it all together asap, we need someone with his skills in the White House.

yessir said...

11:51 AM
on May 13, 2011

Report Abuse

who would have thought this run for the Presidency would have taken this turn. Confused! I guess I will have to learn more before I can say what I want to say.

mario said...

03:57 PM
on May 13, 2011

Report Abuse

Indeed there are two kind of mormons. Mormons like Mitt who "...appears nervous and awkward when confronted with questions about his faith..." and the other ones that certainly live their faith and are not apologetic when talking about their faith. I am LDS and I am not voting for brother Romney.

ashton said...

05:08 PM
on May 13, 2011

Report Abuse

I find it interesting that the article portrays Jon Huntsman's departures from Mormon values and teachings as a recommendation and endorsement for his presidential bid, portraying it as evidence of " . . . his deft ability to negotiate between his Mormonism and the world around it." Whereas, comments about Mit Romney focused on his lack of this type of "ease" when it came to the teachings a values of his church. Am I wrong, or does it seem odd that Mr. Romney's consistent integrity and good character are being portrayed as liabilities in his bid for the Presidency?

lph said...

08:06 PM
on May 13, 2011

Report Abuse

To Ashton: very good point!! Now, if these two run for President, will they backbite one another.....?

kedhuff said...

09:34 AM
on May 14, 2011

Report Abuse

I sure don't want another president who feels he has to apologize for who we Americans are or for his beliefs. Where Obama Hides the important things, Romney is appologetic for his beliefs. I dont want either one. Nor the blows with the wind dude(Huntsman), to get where he wants to go. I think we have enough of those in Politics now. The LDS religion is something to be proud of not to appologize for

nima said...

11:27 PM
on May 14, 2011

Report Abuse

In 2008 I learned that a non member was the best choice for President because he was a good, honest and wise man... Dr. Ron Paul. Sometimes doing the right thing is unpopular and who should know that more than we as a peculiar people.

canoelover said...

08:59 PM
on May 24, 2011

Report Abuse

I could never vote for Mitt Romney. He went from a moderate Republican who instituted universal health care in MA, gave a radically right-wing speech at the RNC, and is pretending to be more right than he actually is to pander to the GOP. Face it, the nation is mostly moderates, and want moderate candidates who think for themselves, not what the pollsters tell them to think. I think I'll write in Elder Eyring.

klh said...

01:25 PM
on May 25, 2011

Report Abuse

Weird article, but yet another outlet that seems to be pushing Huntsman on us. It seems every news show I see lately, they are saying that the person they are most afraid of is him. Yeah right! They (the MSM/White House) are trying to pick the republican candidate. Don't fall for it people! I'd love to get Romney in there to clean up the economy, but he may be too moderate for me on other things. :(

nanchi said...

09:30 PM
on Jun 05, 2011

Report Abuse

I am a good LDS and I am not voting for Romney...he changes his his mind too often. Watch out for good looking politicians who were born rich....they have no clue how real people live.

lange said...

01:10 PM
on Jun 23, 2011

Report Abuse

It is true that Huntsman is a much more appealing candidate than Romney. Neither one can hold a candle to Obama, who will get my vote in 2012.

perkins said...

08:14 AM
on Aug 15, 2011

Report Abuse

I myself am LDS, just as the two candidates are. I was actually asked by some co-workers (non-LDS) if I would vote for Romney in the last election, because he was LDS. I replied "NO". I don't believe that we should vote for anyone/someone, just because of their religion, race, past, income, known associates, or contributors. I believe we should only vote for those candidates that we feel will do the best job.

speedygonzalez said...

08:31 PM
on Sep 29, 2011

Report Abuse

I am a mormon. But I won't be voting for either of these 2 mormons. They want to get elected so bad that they cater too much to the Powers that Be, who really control the media, big business and both political parties at the national level. They don't stick to basic Constitutional principles. And they're too much a part of the "big government" mentality. I'll be voting for Ron Paul.

wonder_woman said...

05:23 AM
on Jan 12, 2012

Report Abuse

In the case of Mitt Romney i would welcome it if he would distance himself a bit from the church... I'm also LDS, but don't want our religion to be tainted by the whole mud digging & throwing Election theater.

sweetcarol126 said...

03:02 AM
on Jul 30, 2012

Report Abuse

Worse than that was the fact that Romney and some Mormon teens (or suppose they were) held down a fellow they thought was gay and chopped off his long hair back in the 50's or early 60's. This type of prejudice and treatment of others has no place in the church at all. This is the learned prejudice that encourages teenage boys to beat up or kill gays or homeless because they think it is okay or because their parents have said bad things about them and because they may have a lifestyle other than what the Bible indicates is right, they persecute it rather than being compassionate. This is totally unacceptable behavior to show such prejudice and persecution. We are to love the sinner and be an example to them. This was a great disappointment to find out this revelation.

bridget said...

12:52 PM
on Oct 09, 2012

Report Abuse

Yipes! We want a "Mormonism increasingly well-adapted to the boisterous diversity of early twenty-first century America"? Eek! I hope not. What we want is not an "ism," but Christians who obey the Lord in all things. And, gotta tell you hear, there aren't very many out there of that ilk. My parents don't like Mike Huckabee because he's one of those Protestant-minded people who bashes the church. But I like Mike Huckabee because I've heard him talk about the Lord with real respect and regard. Now, if Huckabee would just check with the Lord before he opened his mouth about Mormons, he'd have something real to complain of ... that Mormons think too highly of themselves and not enough of the Lord.
Leave a Comment
Login to leave a comment.