Mitt Romney’s end-times theological beliefs have largely remained in the shadows during this election. However, a secretly-recorded video has resurfaced from Romney’s first presidential run, bringing renewed attention to Romney’s apocalyptic beliefs.

The video, recorded in 2007, shows Romney arguing off-air with conservative radio host Jan Mickelson, who prods Romney about his Mormon beliefs and attempts to get Romney to admit how different Mormonism is from evangelicalism.

Angrily and somewhat haltingly, Romney explains the LDS Church’s end-times theology, and how parts of its apocalyptic Second Coming theology aligns with evangelical teachings. While all of the video is worth viewing, the part in question begins at the 1:30 mark, in which Romney says:

Christ appears – it’s throughout the Bible – Christ appears in Jerusalem, splits the Mount of Olives to stop the war that’s coming in to kill all the Jews. Our church believes that. That’s where the coming and glory of Christ occurs. We also believe that over the 1000 years that follows, the millenium, he will reign from two places, that the law will come forward from one place (from Missouri), and the other will be in Jerusalem.

Now, Romney doesn’t explicitly say that he believes such apocalyptic beliefs – just that his church does. However, he begins the surreptitiously recorded session by claiming that as a leader and bishop of his church, he understands its teachings better than Mickelson.

And as Sarah Posner points out, what he’s said about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict does not line up with contemporary Mormon thinking, which could be described as non-apocalyptic.

Posner eloquently and rightly explains:

The question that’s being raised now, as this video resurfaces and generates discussion, is: does Romney himself really believe this? Does he somehow revel in a “war that’s coming in to kill all the Jews,” or see it as inevitable?[...]

Apocalyptic beliefs are a Republican problem, though, not just a Romney problem; for example, George W. Bush, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee are all evangelicals who forged relationships with apocalyptic preacher John Hagee. I would very much like to know whether they co-sign Hagee’s apocalyptic visions.

I want to know the same answers about Romney, but not because he’s Mormon. Equally as pertinent to what Romney himself believes is what he thinks his base believes, and to what extent, as president, he’d be worrying about placating them. Remember, he was trying to show Mickelson he believes the same things evangelicals do. He’s running for president, for Pete’s sake!

I think we’d all like to know those answers about Romney. After all, he takes this stuff very seriously.

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