The Fulford File, By James Fulford | Mormons and Migration
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[See: Immigration rally at Utah Capitol turns uncivil, by Lee Davidson and Roxana Orellana, Salt Lake City Tribune, November 17, 2010]

The leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ Of The Latter-Day Saints (I will refer to them as Mormons to save time) has come out in favor of mass immigration and amnesty in what they call the Utah Compact:

  • "We follow Jesus Christ by loving our neighbors.  The Savior taught that the meaning of 'neighbor' includes all of God's children, in all places, at all times.

  • "We recognize an ever-present need to strengthen families.   Families are meant to be together.  Forced separation of working parents from their children weakens families and damages society.

  • "We acknowledge that every nation has the right to enforce its laws and secure its borders.  All persons subject to a nation's laws are accountable for their acts in relation to them.

"Public officials should create and administer laws that reflect the best of our aspirations as a just and caring society.   Such laws will properly balance love for neighbors, family cohesion, and the observance of just and enforceable laws."

[Church Supports Principles of Utah Compact on Immigration, Press Release, Salt Lake City, November 11, 2010]

The appeal to law-abidingness means little when you consider that they're talking about legalizing the illegals—who will then by definition be "law-abiding".

And the nice words about national sovereignty mean little in the face of an invitation to all the "neighbors" to come in and help themselves.

The "Utah Compact" has met with some resistance in Utah, which has been suffering from illegal immigration:

"Rep. Stephen Sandstrom said the LDS Church's position on immigration announced Thursday was directed squarely at his enforcement-only bill and suggested the church should leave the issue to lawmakers.

" 'I kind of wish I'd been given more of a heads-up because it is taking aim at the bill I'm doing,' Sandstrom lamented Thursday. 'My other thought was that I thought the church's no-position was the best way to go and to let this be the purview of government."

[LDS Church weighs in on immigration compact, By David Montero, The Salt Lake Tribune, November 12, 2010]

The announcement suggests that the LDS hierarchy is doing this for the smushy reasons that mainstream Protestants do, which is partly true. But it's also because of the theology of the Book Of Mormon, which identifies pre-Columbian Indians with the people of the Bible.

Mormons are very American, very moral, very white—and deeply weird underneath, especially on racial issues.

They went from the crude prejudices of the nineteenth century (Joseph Smith's theology) to the cruder anti-racism of the late twentieth , mostly without actually meeting many blacks.

Christopher Hitchens in his anti-religion book God Is Not Great is pretty savage about the old-style Mormon theology about blacks, who until 1978 were considered by the Mormon church to be "Children of Ham" and ineligible for the priesthood.

Hitchens wrote:

"Christian preachers of all kinds had justified slavery until the American Civil War and even afterwards, on the supposed biblical warrant that of the three sons of Noah (Shem, Ham, and Japhet), Ham had been cursed and cast into servitude. But Joseph Smith took this nasty fable even further, fulminating in his "Book of Abraham" that the swarthy races of Egypt had inherited this very curse."

There's more like that in Hitchens. But Mormons did very little harm to blacks—since they didn't own slaves, and after being forced out of New York and Missouri, went to a land inhabited only by Indians. There is now, as a result of internal migration, black crime in Utah. However, the founding Mormons didn't take slaves with them to Utah, and the state is still 95 percent white. (See Steve Sailer's Utah's Not Diverse - It's Weird! )

Mitt Romney says he cried when he heard of the 1978 ruling that made blacks eligible for the Mormon priesthood:

"I can remember when, when I heard about the change being made. I was driving home from, I think, it was law school, but I was driving home, going through the Fresh Pond rotary in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I heard it on the radio, and I pulled over and, and literally wept. Even at this day it's emotional, and so it's very deep and fundamental in my, in my life and my most core beliefs that all people are children of God." [Meet the Press, December 16, 2007]

I'm afraid what this means is that Mormons have decided  that part of being moral and upright is shunning everything that can be called "racism" as if it were alcohol, coffee, or premarital sex (which as Mitt Romney put it, "can lead to dancing").

Of course, the other thing that makes Mormons susceptible to immigration enthusiasm is their belief that American Indians, including the Aztec and Mayan ancestors of modern-day Mexicans, are descended from the people of the Bible, who somehow came to America in prehistoric times. This is a feature of the Book Of Mormon—as Christopher Hitchens writes in God Is Not Great:

"[Joseph Smith] was operating in an area [the "Burned-Over District" of Upstate New York] which, unlike large tracts of the newly opening North America, did possess the signs of an ancient history.

"A vanished and vanquished Indian civilization had bequeathed a considerable number of burial mounds, which when randomly and amateurishly desecrated were found to contain not merely bones but also quite advanced artifacts of stone, copper, and beaten silver. "

This led to a lot of amateur archeology, partly in the hope that there was gold in them there mounds, but also in the hope of discovering the legendary Lost Tribes of Israel, who were much sought after in the nineteenth century.

Smith said he'd discovered some books written on golden plates. Hitchens writes:

"The resulting 'books' turned out to be a record set down by ancient prophets, beginning with Nephi, son of Lephi, who had fled Jerusalem in approximately 600 BC and come to America. Many battles, curses, and afflictions accompanied their subsequent wanderings and those of their numerous progeny."

This was perhaps not entirely an original idea that Smith had—Hitchens says that most of it is taken from Ethan Smith's 1823 book View of the Hebrews: The Ten Tribes of Israel in America.

Many editions of the Book Of Mormon contain pictures painted by Arnold Friberg, (1913-2010) showing the prehistoric "Lamanites" in America, and showing Jesus Christ visiting America. Steve Sailer has described this as Smith's "sci-fi anthropology".

It also happens not to be true.

Now, this is not the kind of thing that I would normally say. And this not because of a taboo on anti-Mormonism. There isn't much of a taboo on anti-Mormonism, since Mormons are white Americans, who practice patriotism, sobriety and morality.

No, it's just not polite or helpful to tell adherents of other religions that they're wrong. In defending the late W. Cleon Skousen from a random attack by National Review Online, I said that

"There's also something about the Mormon priesthood that used to be limited to whites–a policy that I personally view as a relic of Joseph Smith's era, because I'm not a Mormon myself, and as a non-Mormon, I hold to the view that Joseph Smith made the whole thing up. (This is not meant to be offensive, just a statement of non-belief. I hope our readers who are Mormons will agree to disagree on this, and not tell Hugh Hewitt.)"

But it's important in this context to say—for the record—that the North American and South American Indians are not the Lost Tribes Of Israel, as shown by everything we know about history, archaeology, anthropology, and the kind of ships available in 600 BC.

And if you don't believe that, there are DNA tests. [Bedrock of a Faith Is Jolted |DNA tests contradict Mormon scripture. The church says the studies are being twisted to attack its beliefs, By William Lobdell, Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2006]

Let me put it this way—G. K. Chesterton said in one of his Father Brown stories that "I can believe the impossible, but not the improbable". He explained that "it really is more natural to believe a preternatural story, that deals with things we don't understand, than a natural story that contradicts things we do understand."

So I could believe that Jesus came to America by supernatural means, but not that a whole tribe of Israelites sailed ships that hadn't been invented to a land no one knew was there , and had an entire Biblical history without leaving any trace—after which they turned into Indians.

So I don't believe it.

Still, the problem is that there is a large group of people in Utah who do believe it. They have Senators and Representatives in Congress.

And they're turning into immigration enthusiasts. Since Utah is so white, the inhabitants have little experience with having neighborhoods and whole towns taken over by immigrants. But if they keep on the way they're going, they're going to find out.

Most Mormons are Republicans, because of the high moral character thing, which means that, as they become more in favor of immigration, they'll hurt the patriotic immigration reform movement.

I suppose Harry Reid, a Nevada Mormon, would be in favor of the immigration invasion just because he's a Democrat and believes the Hispanic vote is good for him and his party. But one of the worst immigration enthusiasts in the Republican Congress was Utah Mormon Chris Cannon.

Cannon's immigration enthusiasm was so bad that Patrick Cleburne once wrote

"How strange it is that Mormonism, that most American of religions, might well be causative in the Nation's fall."

In conclusion, one hopeful note—just as the leaders of both major parties want immigration and amnesty, but the American people generally don't, the leadership of the Mormon Church may be more enthusiastic about immigration than their followers.

After all, the Mormon voters of Utah sent Chris Cannon into retirement in 2008.

James Fulford [Email him] is a writer and editor for

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