As Americans go to the polls today to elect their next president, many Christian voters on the Republican side remain uneasy over their candidate's Mormon background. And while Mitt Romney has tried to keep the issue of faith off the election agenda, at times he has been cornered into acknowledging his church's views.
Much of Mormonism is shrouded in secrecy, but one point that most outsiders are aware of is that Mormons believe Missouri, not Jerusalem, will be the center of Messiah's coming reign, a position that for many reeks of Replacement Theology.
In 2007, prior to the previous presidential election, which Romney also contested, Christian radio host Jan Mickelson of WHO-AM in Des Moines, Iowa pressed Romney on this topic.
A clearly agitated Romney insisted that his church "says that Christ appears on and splits the Mount of Olives, which is in Jerusalem. ...That's what the [Mormon] church says. The Second Coming, the arrival of Jesus Christ, our church says is in Jerusalem. That's our doctrine."
Romney went on to note that this position is rooted in scripture. "Throughout the Bible Christ appears in Jerusalem, splits the Mount of Olives to stop the war that is coming to kill all the Jews. Our church believes that."
But that's not the end of the story. For Mormons, Romney admitted, after Jesus intervenes on Israel's behalf, he proceeds to establish Missouri as, if not the sole base, then the primary center of his earthly kingdom.
"We also believe that over the thousand years that follow [Christ's return], the millennium, he will reign from two places, that the law will go forward from one place, from Missouri, and the other will be Jerusalem," explained Romney.
A video of Romney's exchange with Mickelson was posted to Youtube one week ago. To date it has already garnered well over two million views.