Religion: Jew & Mormon?

  • Share
  • Read Later

Blocky, sandy-haired Harry Howard, 40, general manager of a Los Angeles machinery company, is president of San Gabriel Valley Lodge 1710 of B'nai B'rith, the national Jewish benevolent association. Last week he filed an appeal with B'nai B'rith Grand Lodge headquarters in Phoenix, Ariz. to prevent his expulsion. The ground for the proposed ouster: Harry Howard is an elder of the Mormon Church; therefore he is not a Jew.

Mormon Howard contends that there is no reason why he cannot be both. He is still a Jew, he says, even though he practices very little orthodox Judaism. And the Mormons, who claim to be descended primarily from the tribe of Joseph, are themselves Israelites. "My tribe, the tribe of Judah, is so fraught with internal disorder that I merely decided to walk across the street and live with my in-laws—the tribe of Joseph. Mormonism is a continuation of Judaism; all Jews are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Jews. Mormons are Israelites, too. The Jews are always claiming that Moses was the greatest Jew of them all. He wasn't a Jew at all. He wasn't a member of the tribe of Judah—he was a member of the tribe of Levi."

Said Reform Rabbi Ephraim Einhorn of Temple City, Calif., who began the move for Howard's expulsion: "Even though Harry Howard may personally believe that he can be a Jew and a Mormon at the same time, the fact remains that the Mormons give Jesus Christ divine status, and this destroys the indivisible status of God in which we Jews believe."