Robert Kirby: A politician compared to a religious figure? Be careful.

Robert Kirby

Religious people — Christians anyway — are encouraged to be like Jesus. The Lord’s disciples were told to follow in his footsteps.

I’m using Jesus for this analogy because he’s the only deity I’ve ever studied at any length. Not counting Timothy Leary, which I did only for a while. You can use your own gods/prophets/cult leaders, as long as they’re someone worth emulating.

But be careful. Religion is not known for the steadiness of its course. As we’ve seen many times, followers often start comparing the leader to themselves instead of the other way around.

Case in point is Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s recent comparison of the Book of Mormon character Captain Moroni to President Donald Trump.

At a Republican rally in Arizona, Lee pointed to Trump who was standing beside him and declared: “To my Mormon friends, my Latter-day Saint friends … think of him as Captain Moroni. He seeks not power, but to pull it down.”

Even if the Book of Mormon is not your thing, you would have to admit that comparing a pudgy billionaire to Arnold Friberg’s painting of a battle-hardened Captain Moroni is a bit of a stretch.

If you recall, pre-President Trump gained infamy when he was recorded explaining how to pull down things. It was vastly different than what he might do today when it comes to power.

Maybe Lee got his scripture references turned around, and meant to reference 3 Alma 21:19, in which Captain Moroni (allegedly) says, “…whereupon, seize those most delightsome by their nether parts and draw them nigh unto you.”

Look it up if you don’t believe me.

Granted, I’m reading from an early preprint edition of the 1818 Book of Mormon, which I came across at a used and rare bookstore in Mexico. It’s so rare, in fact, that you might not be able to find it. The one I have is handwritten.

But here���s one scripture you can easily look up regarding “secret bits.” It’s in the Old Testament. Check out Deuteronomy 25:11-12.

“When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.”

I don’t know where you would use that in a modern presidential campaign, but you should at least concede that grabbing people by the “secrets” once had serious religious connotations.

Never mind all that. The point is that I get suspicious when politicians are offered up by their supporters as somehow godlike, or at least closer to [insert religious figure here] than you or I will ever get to be.

It’s also more than a bit ironic for Lee to extoll Trump as a friend of Latter-day Saints when people have overheard Trump mocking the religious undergarments of known Mormon Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. Presumably, whatever Mitt is wearing fit Sen. Lee better.

Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.

Return to Story