The most prominent Mormon politician in the United States, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, has been vehemently critical of former President Donald Trump for refusing to denounce the extremist far-right QAnon cult. QAnon supporters who are religious are most likely to be White fundamentalist evangelicals, but according to Religion Dispatches reporter Cristina Rosetti, the movement has been making inroads with Mormons.
Citing data by the Public Religion Research Institute in a recent article, Rosetti explains, "Earlier this year, PRRI offered statistics for the intersection of Q-belief and religion, noting that White evangelicals, Hispanic evangelicals and Mormons are most likely to believe the ideas espoused by Q. This includes 21% of Mormons who believe in QAnon, and 18% who specifically believe that 'the government, media and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation.'"
In contrast to all the far-right White evangelical churches that have engaged in coronavirus denial during the COVID-19 pandemic and held dangerous superspreader events, many Mormon leaders have promoted safety.
Rosetti observes, "Things grew complicated in 2021 as the (COVID-19) vaccine became widely available. The leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the largest branch of Mormonism, acted quickly during the pandemic to close temples and offer guidelines for Church meetings, including social distancing and masks. In addition, they encouraged vaccines, referring to the medical technology as a 'literal godsend.' On January 19, 2021, the president of the Church and other senior members of leadership received their own vaccination, sparking both applause and outrage."
The journalist continues, "Members with political disagreements felt ostracized, and some began questioning their membership in the LDS Church altogether. Others took these events as confirmation that the hierarchy of the Church had gone astray."
The QAnon cult believes that the United States' federal government has been infiltrated by an international cabal of Satanists, pedophiles, child sex traffickers and cannibals and that Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 to fight the cabal. QAnon supporters in the Republican Party include Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado.
On January 6, QAnon supporters were among the extremists who — along with other far-right groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers — attacked the U.S. Capitol Building.