Well before Romney, Mormon founder ran for president

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For all the political hubbub over Mormonism, you might have thought Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are the first Mormons to run for president.

In fact, 11 Latter-day Saints have campaigned for the White House, including the faith's founder, Joseph Smith.

A barrage of bullets cut short Smiths campaign in 1844. He was the first presidential candidate to be assassinated, according to historian Newell G. Bringhurst....

...A study of his short-lived campaign demonstrates that anti-Mormon sentiment is rooted deep in American history.

"Quite ordinary people were roused to levels of hatred and fear they never reached at any other time, writes historian Richard Lyman Bushman in Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling: A Cultural Biography of Mormonisms Founder.

Six months into his presidential campaign, Smith was murdered by an angry mob in Carthage, Ill. Some historians believe his White House run incited fears of a looming Mormon theocracy.

"It was not a hatred of the alien, writes Bushman. "It was more a fear of the familiar gone awry.

Then, as now, it was theological — not political — disagreements that agitated many of Mormonisms opponents, said Adam Christing, director of a documentary about Smiths campaign....

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