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Could I Vote for a Mormon for President? An Election-Year Guide to Mitt Romney's Religion Paperback – July 1, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Cragun and Phillips' irreverent guide for the perplexed tells you everything you need to know about Mormonism this election season. --Mark Silk, Professor of Religion in Public Life, Trinity College

Ryan Cragun and Rick Phillips have written a scholarly but highly accessible analysis of Mormonism in politics that is even-handed, educational, enlightening, and even entertaining. Whether you're curious about the religion's theology and practices or concerned about the prospect of a Mormon president, this book provides helpful answers and insights. It should be read by anyone who's planning to vote for Mitt Romney -- or against him. --Geoffry Kabaservice, author of Rule and Ruin: The Decline of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, from Eisenhower to the Tea Party

Cragun and Phillips have brilliantly performed the rare task of both making Mormonism intelligible to the outsider and opening its hermetic self to comparative understanding. To this they bring their deep knowledge of mainstream Christianity as sociologists of religion as well as their well-schooled but native knowledge of Mormonism. As a result, this book is important for people during this political season when a Latter-day Saint is the Republican candidate for the presidency. But the book also has long term importance as a sociological monograph explicating the nature of Mormon life. --David Knowlton, President of the Mormon Social Science Association

About the Author

Ryan T. Cragun is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Tampa. His research interests include Mormonism and the nonreligious. He is the author of more than a dozen peer-reviewed articles and half a dozen book chapters. His research has been published in such journals as: Sociology of Religion, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Journal of Religion and Health, Mental Health, Religion and Culture, and Nova Religio. His research has been featured in numerous local and national newspapers, including: Tampa Bay Times, The Salt Lake Tribune, The Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and Bloomberg Business Week. Dr. Cragun is also a past President of the Mormon Social Science Association.

Rick Phillips is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of North Florida. He is the author of one book and more than a dozen articles on Mormonism. His research has been published in such journals as: Sociology of Religion, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Nova Religio. Dr. Phillips is a former President of the Mormon Social Science Association, a scholarly association of social scientists interested in the study of Mormonism.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Strange Violin Editions (July 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983748454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983748458
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Despite the fact that Mormons have played a role in American history for over 150 years, many Americans know very little about the beliefs and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As a result, the candidacy of Mitt Romney has generated tremendous speculation about Mormonism, and whether or not people are willing to elect a Mormon to highest office in the land. In fact, conservatives and liberals have each expressed concerns with Romney's religious background, and many media outlets have sought to make sense of Mormonism in relation to contemporary American politics, social problems, and culture. Amidst all the debate and confusion surrounding Mormonism in relation to the upcoming election, it stands to reason that it would sure be nice to have an easily accessible, well-researched explanation of how Mormonism may or may not impact the candidacy and ideological leanings of the Republican nominee.

Luckily, two sociology professors that were raised in the Mormon tradition and currently specialize in the social scientific study of religion have sought to provide such a guide. In this book, Cragun and Phillips offer a timely and informative introduction to Mormonism just in time for the election. Rather than a treatise for or against Mormon political candidates, however, the authors take the opportunity presented by Romney's candidacy to masterfully paint an intricate picture of the beliefs and practices of contemporary Mormons. Further, they draw upon social scientific studies of religion and politics to clarify the ways that contemporary Mormonism relates to both the primary political concerns of the day and other - more well known - American religious traditions.
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Format: Paperback
Wallace Stegner wrote, "It is almost impossible to write fiction about the Mormons, for the reasons that Mormon institutions and Mormon society are so peculiar that they call for constant explanation"

As a writer and former member of the LDS Church, I understand Stegner's dilemma. In spite of their existence for over 150 years, the Mormons remain a mystery to many. Nevertheless, America is poised to elect one as its president. That is why "Could I Vote For A Mormon For President?" by Ryan T. Cragun and Rick Phillips is such an invaluable work.

Written with wit and clarity, this short and timely book covers all of the basics. The authors who are both professors of sociology and former Mormons tackle topics such as polygamy, the Mormon temple ceremony, whether or not the Mormons are Christians, the Mormon view of the afterlife, and the church's stand on feminism, homosexuality, and race relations.

Cragun and Phillips' observations are direct, at times humorous, and fair to both Mormons and their critics.

For example, on the topic of polygamy: "There's really no other way to say it: Joseph Smith was a horny guy."

On whether or not the Mormon underwear is weird: "We don't think so. From an anthropological perspective, many religions prescribe ritual or symbolic clothing for their members."

On the church's view of women: "...men are the ultimate authority in Mormon families, and that's the way God wants it. Men might be enjoined to be benevolent rulers of the household, but they rule nonetheless."

On LDS approved sexuality: "No premarital hanky-panky and no masturbation of any kind is ever allowed. The church does not recognize the validity of gay marriage...hence gay people cannot have orgasms...
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Format: Paperback
Disclosure: I received this as an advance copy from the publisher, and have interviewed Mr. Cragun (to be released at a later date). I am an active, practicing Mormon.

With the focus being on Mitt Romney and his bid for president of the United States, many questions have been brought up concerning his religion. Is it a cult? Do they really read a "Golden Bible"? Does he wear special underwear? And what really goes on in those big temples?

Both Ryan Cragun and Rick Phillips, prominent sociologists, attempt to answer these questions and explain the religion that Mitt Romney belongs to in "Could I Vote for a Mormon for President?" From the offset, both authors make it clear that they will not be delving into Mr. Romney's politics, and neither feel inclined to vote for him. This book focuses soley on explaining Mr. Romney's religion, and how that might pertain to him as president.

I would like to give this book 3.75/5 stars, however, I'll err on the side of positive for Amazon's rating system. As I read the book, I kept asking myself who the book was for. I don't believe it would be for anyone familiar with Mormonism, either from a believer's perspective or a disaffected Mormon's perspective. This book also was not written for anyone involved in the evangelical right, since Cragun and Phillips make no effort to endear themselves to those groups. As a matter of fact, the authors attempt to be as neutral as possible, and I feel on the whole they accomplished that very well. Many of the issues are explained in a fair manner, and while the book isn't bogged down with footnotes, at the end of every chapter is a very handy "Additional Reading" section that lists (in my opinion) some of the best books on a given topic.
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