Mitt Romney: Draft Dodger or Selfless servant of the Lord?
Why is this man even a viable contender in the race for the presidency? Being “self-serving” is not an admirable trait, no matter how it’s presented. It’s the reason that bums sit in front of Walmart. They’re obviously successful there because it’s hard to justify denying a man a dollar to put some food in his stomach while you’re on your way inside to buy another armful of $5.00 DVD’s. That would be self-serving. On the other hand, regardless of your religion or your stance on religion, being a person who serves others is always highly regarded. There simply is no better example than that of the Armed Forces. Men and women who put their own goals and aspirations on hold in order to don a uniform, learn how to shoot a gun and carry both into enemy territory to put themselves in harm’s way to defend our freedom and our way of life are exemplary human beings. These men and women each deserve our thanks, and most of us understand that and give it to them sincerely.
What, then, of those who serve themselves by appearing to “serve” others, if even only to promote their own point of view or that of their church? Should we offer these men our gratitude? From their point of view, they most definitely should be thanking us for “bringing us the good word of God”. While that’s a noble idea, in and of itself, I’m left to wonder, “Where, exactly, is the risk that these men are taking in order to do that ‘for us’?” As a reminder to everyone and to educate those who still may not know; Mormons believe in “Holy Garments” (read: “magic underwear”). They believe that they cannot come to any harm, whether from man or the devil, himself when wearing what basically amounts to a tightie whitey for your body. Even a soldier doesn’t trust his Kevlar body armor to this degree: He or she knows that a bullet-proof vest isn’t going to protect them if they’re shot in the face or if a grenade lands on top of them. So before someone points out that going door-to-door and talking to random people holds its’ own set of risks, I’ll preempt that argument by asking whether or not they want to admit that their faith in “God” is flawed and maybe a bit misplaced.
I bring this up because today, on The View, Ann Romney was questioned about why her husband had declined his invitation to appear on the show.
Ann Romney: He was serving his mission. (Explaining that none of her sons have served in the military) My five sons have also served (on) missions. We find different ways of serving… I sent them away boys and they came back men. (from Politicususa, 18 October, 2012)
Let us be clear: “Serving” on a mission is NOT serving on the military. In the military, your very individualism is stripped and you are taught how to behave as a member of a unit. This unit responds, without question, to the orders of its’ commanding officer in order to achieve various objectives.
The training is absolutely rigorous; No-longer do you enjoy the option of being able to sleep in a few minutes longer at the risk of arriving late and losing your job or angering your boss. There IS no option. The food you eat is the food which is placed on your plate-again, no options here. Then the physical training begins. Push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and running… LOTS of running. And by “running”, I don’t mean a leisurely jog through a pleasant neighborhood or park: Your drill instructor will take you to task, often pitting you and a few others against another team that he has determined will learn to work to together. The losers will be handed tooth brushes and directed to the latrine, where they will spend their evening, cleaning and shining it from top to bottom. As for the winners? Well, the winners can save their tooth brushes for use on their own mouths. Yes, the level of intensity varies between the different branches of the Armed Services, but no matter which path you decide to take, the road to your goal will probably seem like the longest thirteen weeks of your life!
"The losers will be handed tooth brushes and directed to the latrine, where they will spend their evening, cleaning and shining it from top to bottom.
The “preparation” for a Mormon missionary is, arguably, a bit longer: Approximately four years, or the length of a high-school “career”. But intensity? There is probably more intensity in one hour of military basic training than in the entire four years of Mormon Seminary. In fact, from what I was able to find, I see that Seminary is largely a pleasant experience for young Mormon men. Taken from ExMormon: 18 Oct, 2012:
“I grew up in the "mission field" where it wouldn't be possible to build a special building for seminary classes next to each high school for seminary since each HS in the area had only about 2 or 3 Mormon kids. So we took our daily Mormon theology class (seminary) in the morning before school started.
This is how it worked: All the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade kids in the ward would get up at 5 in the morning and drive to the home of whichever member of the ward was unfortunate enough to have the calling of seminary teacher. This is almost always the mother of one of the seminary students (since who else would agree to do it?). The class was opened and closed with prayer like any other Mormon meeting. For the curriculum, each of the four years of seminary was devoted to one of the four standard works: BofM, NT, OT, and church history (with D&C and PoGP). There weren't enough students to have a separate class for each grade, so which of the four books you get first depends on what year you start.
At the end of the lesson we would do an activity called the "scripture chase." There was a list of important scriptures from whichever book we were studying, and for each scripture on the list we would memorize a key phrase (like "fire insurance" for the tithing scripture) and memorize the location (book/chapter/verse). The seminary teacher would recite one of the key phrases, and the students would race to find the corresponding scripture. (We may have done scripture-chase tournaments against other wards at the end of the year, but I don't recall precisely.)
The biggest advantage (for the kids) of being in early-morning seminary was that Mom was very motivated to let us have a car to drive ourselves to school as young as possible so that she wouldn't have to drive us to seminary herself. One drawback was that since nobody wants to be the seminary teacher, the ward has to give the job to whoever will take it. As a result, we learned some pretty funky things from one really strange lady that they got to teach for my later years of HS. She was one of those people who receives a lot of her own revelations. She was still teaching us lessons about how blacks were less valiant in the pre-existence, and this was the late 80's, probably 1989! (She then told us that she loves black people though because they "sure can dance." I am not making this up--I really did learn that in seminary.)”
Tough, huh? Tell me again, Ann: where, exactly is the sacrifice and hard work that justifies your comparison between serving your country and serving yourself? There isn’t any, you say?
Well, then please desist from making the comparison in an effort to justify your husband’s draft-dodging. This hasn’t been a main focus yet, but believe me: IF your husband manages to win this election and if he makes good on his promises to extend the current war and start others, as well as reinstate the draft-especially if he also does away with considerations based on gender, as he’s said he would, this is really going to come into question. Remember: the most effective military leader is one who never expects more of his soldiers than he is willing to offer, himself.
"The most effective military leader is one who never expects more of his soldiers than he is willing to offer, himself.