A new Hollywood movie retelling the true story of a band of Mormons who brutally murdered more than 100 pioneers passing through the Utah territory in 1857 may hurt the image of presidential hopeful and professed Mormon follower Mitt Romney.
The movie September Dawn, which opened in U.S theaters last Friday, stars Academy Award winner Jon Voight as Mormon bishop Jacob Samuelson, whose son falls in love with one of the girls on the wagon-train party heading for California from Arkansas.
The younger Samuelson's attraction to the settler girl combined with the Mormon's prior intention to harm the wagon party leads to the massacre on Sept. 11, 1857 of about 120 settlers by Mormons and their Indian mercenaries.
Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, believes the film will be harmful to Mitt Romney's campaign.
"What [the character of] Brigham Young does in the movie is talk about…that you have to have blood atonement, you have to kill the Gentiles; then he declares himself a modern Mohammad," said Baehr, according to OneNewsNow. "This is going to be an issue [for Romney]. It's going to be an issue that will dog him. I think he's got tremendous problems to overcome, and the movie will aggravate those problems."
Many Christian voters have already voiced concerns over voting for a Mormon for president of the United States. Some Christians are uncertain if Mormons can be considered Christians, while many view the Mormon church as a cult.
Recently, prominent theologian Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, stated conclusively that Mormons believe in a false gospel and are not Christians after a month-long online debate with a well-known Mormon science-fiction writer.
"Here is the bottom line. As an Evangelical Christian – a Christian who holds to the 'traditional Christian orthodoxy' of the Church – I do not believe that Mormonism leads to salvation," wrote Mohler on July 25 in his last set of comments on the online debate hosted by Beliefnet.com.
"To the contrary, I believe that it is a false gospel that, however sincere and kind its adherents may be, leads to eternal death rather than to eternal life," he stated.
Aside from criticism of Mormon theology, the newly released film, which revisits the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre, is also "pretty condemning of Mormonism," said Baehr. The entertainment expert does not recommend Christians watch the movie due to the level of violence.
September Dawn is rated R for violence.