Cult/ure


(system) #1

By Alexander Carpenter

I'm spending my Sunday catching up on the current New Yorker. I just enjoyed this paragraph in an article, "The Mission," on GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The application to emerging acculturated Adventism will be clear, for it gets at the deep identity connection in those who love a Christian community for more than its past disappointments and hope. Many commentators have suggested that Romney will need to make a speech akin to the one that John F. Kennedy gave in 1960 to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, in which he promised to resign if there was ever a collision between his beliefs as a Catholic and the national interest. Jan Shipps [a leading non-Mormon scholar of Mormonism] is skeptical of the idea that Romney could do something similar. “Mormonism was a cult, just as Christianity was a cult in the beginning,” she told me. “But a cult, when it grows up, becomes a culture, and the people who are a part of it take on an ethnic identity, a peoplehood. Romney is not Mormon the way, say, Ted Kennedy is Catholic. Romney is Mormon the way Ted Kennedy is Irish. That’s the difference. And, when it’s that much a part of who you are, it’s very hard to explain it to other people, because you can’t figure out why they can’t see it. [emphasis supplied] A peculiar peoplehood?


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4064