The Daily Beast:
Sue Emmett is Mormon royalty. Her great-great-grandfather was Brigham Young, the founder of Salt Lake City, first governor of Utah, and president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) from 1847 until his death in 1877.
Emmett, whose grandmother was born in Young’s historic Beehive House, attended Brigham Young University, where she walked past the imposing 7-and-a-half-foot bronze-casted statue of her great-great-grandfather every day on her way to class.
“Walking by that statue every day, I was reminded of my heritage, my lineage,” says Emmett. “That, plus going up to Salt Lake and walking through the Beehive House a couple of times and thinking of my grandmother, who I knew very well, all that pretty much sealed the deal for me being a very devout, obedient Mormon girl.”
But by the time she reached her mid-30s, she began to have doubts. Emmett started questioning the ethics and veracity of the church’s doctrine and its founders, including Young himself, and she grew increasingly concerned with the way, she says, the church treats women. She held these questions close to the vest for many years until, in 1999, at the age of 55, she finally made the hard decision to leave the church.
“There was a powerful mystique around me that I was special because of my heritage, so it was really difficult for me to leave,” says Emmett, now 71. “It was the only life, the only home I ever knew. But I just couldn’t stay any longer.”
Emmett, who still has dear friends and family members in the church—“You can be critical of the church and still be compassionate toward the people in it,” she says—is now president of the Exmormon Foundation, which was organized to give support and understanding to those who leave Mormonism. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Emmett, who rarely speaks to the media, talks about what life is like in the church, why she left, and what she thinks motivates Mitt Romney to want to be president.
As you might have already guessed, Ms. Emmett is not the most objective witness you can find on the subject of Mormonism. Do you know how many great-great-grandkids Brigham Young has? One of them is Steve Young, former quarterback for the SF 49ers.
“The church has astutely created a very benign image to the world. They spend millions of dollars a year doing this,” says Emmett, who was born and raised in Portland, Ore., and still lives there. “But there are things that go on inside the church that are hurtful to women. There are many women still in the church who have complaints about not having any real say in what goes on, but they have nowhere to go with these complaints.”
Last I heard the Catholics still haven’t ordained any woman priests, but that didn’t stop us from electing JFK.
But wait! There’s more!
Emmett has watched Mitt Romney very closely throughout his public life and has strong opinions about what shaped his personality and his character. “Mitt is a product not only of his wealth, but of an organization that gives men power when they are 12 years old,” she says. “That is when boys are ordained with the priesthood. It is a big moment in a Mormon male’s childhood.”
As for what pundits say is Romney’s difficulty connecting with people, Emmett blames it largely on what she calls “the entitled Mormon male syndrome, where the leadership professes compassion and concern but leaves the manifestations of that to the drones. All male leadership is not this way; there are some wonderful men who do their best to exercise their power compassionately, but many do not.”
Do you see anything in there about her having some kind of personal acquaintance with Mitt Romney? Did they ever attend the same church? Did they ever even meet?
Here’s the best part:
Regarding Romney and the presidency, Emmett cites a bit of Mormon lore called the White Horse Prophecy that has floated around since the time of Mormon founder Joseph Smith. It suggests that Mormons believe a time will come when the U.S. Constitution is eroding and Mormon leaders will save it and usher in a new theocracy with Mormons in charge. Emmett’s great-great-grandfather talked about it. In a discourse from 1855, Young wrote that “when the Constitution hangs, as it were, upon a single thread, they will have to call for the ‘Mormon’ Elders to save it from utter destruction; and they will step forth and do it.”
Romney has said that he considers the White Horse Prophecy just a matter of speculation by church members. “I haven’t heard my name associated with it or anything of that nature,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune in 2007. “That’s not official church doctrine…I don’t put that at the heart of my religious belief.”
But Emmett begs to differ. “I can guarantee you that there are millions of Mormons who believe this prophecy and see Romney as potential fulfillment of it,” she says. “As a Mormon, you grow up hearing about this prophecy. I think Mitt believes he has a mandate from God to become president so he can help move this along. I don’t know if it’s a conscious thought, but it’s in his subconscious.”
There you have it. It must be true because it’s posted on the internet.
If Mitt gets elected we’re all gonna have to join The Mormon church. I just hope they don’t make me get married again.