Mitt Romney: What Would it be like to have a Mormon President?

“What do you think of the Republican candidates?” I asked the sound guy at the church where I play organ. He’s a good ol’, salt-of-the-earth farmer type.

He shook his head. “Newt, he’s crazy. Don’t know much about Santorum.”

“What about Romney?” I asked.

“Well, you know he’s a Mormon …”

I won’t claim to be an expert on Mormons. My stereotype of them is that they’re conservative, decent, “good people.” They go to church. They read their Bibles and they have “family night” each week, for Pete’s sake. They vote more conservatively than any other major religious group. Can’t get much more wholesome than that. I know just enough of the wacky stuff to make me dangerous … there’s that weird holy underwear issue, the belief that each male will get  his own planet upon death, and of course — Sister Wives!

Mitt Romney mormon presidentBut how would Romney’s Mormon faith likely affect his actions as president? It’s a valid question: 61% of Democrats hold an unfavorable view of Mormons, as do 45% of Republicans. 25% of the population would never vote for a Mormon as president.

Mormons are a powerful group. Recently, a Swiss rule went into effect which prohibits foreign missionaries from entering the country. This was bad news for Mormons, who send out thousands of missionaries each year. Thirteen Mormon members of Congress sent a letter of protest to the Swiss ambassador. The ruling stood, but it’s an illustration of the way Mormons (though largely under-the-radar) work to advance their cause in even the highest echelons of power.

Grant Hardy, a history professor (who also happens to be Mormon), predicts that a President Romney would be reluctant to appoint many Mormons to high posts, in an effort to appear fair and impartial. He might also be reluctant to work closely with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, since he’s a Mormon as well (I didn’t know that) – although he’d likely not work closely with the outspoken Democrat anyway.

What does Romney himself say?

“I don’t try and distance myself in any way, shape, or form from my faith, but my church doesn’t dictate to me or anyone what political policies we should pursue,” he said during his first run for the White House. “There has never been a time in my four years as governor, that anyone from my church called me or contacted me and asked me to take a position on an issue.”

Back when John F. Kennedy was elected, his Catholic faith was a big impediment to many voters. His wife Jackie famously said something to the effect that “If people knew what a bad Catholic Jack is, they wouldn’t mind him being Catholic.” What about Romney – what kind of Mormon is he?

By all accounts, he’s a devout one. His great-great-grandfather, Miles Romney, began following Mormon religion founder, Joseph Smith, and later trekked to Utah with the early Mormon pioneers. Mitt has served as Bishop of his local congregation, and later as Boston’s stake president (a stake is similar to a Catholic diocese). His family follows the Mormon belief in tithing, and has given millions to Mormon Temple-building projects and other outreach ministries of the church.

As Boston’s highest-ranking Mormon official, Romney offered counsel to congregants seeking it. When a young Mormon who’d transgressed sought Romney’s advice:

“He told me that, as human beings, our work isn’t measured by taking the sum of our good deeds and the sum of our bad deeds and seeing how things even out,” recalled the man, now 37. “He said, ‘The only thing you need to think about is: Are you trying to improve, are you trying to do better? And if you are, then you’re a saint.’ ” I might argue his theology, but Romney sounds like a decent guy.

Utah Mormon higher-ups were highly upset by Romney’s support of abortion rights as Massachusetts governor. Perhaps this is an example of Romney’s refusal to let church teachings influence his governing, even though in this instance, I feel his actions were wrong.

My own feeling is that, however nervous and wrong-minded many of Mormons’ beliefs seem, I’m infinitely more comfortable with a Mormon president than with our current one, who for years attended Jeremiah Wright’s church, with its emphasis on black liberation theology and social justice.

I believe a Mormon president could, and hopefully would, steer our nation in the direction intended by its founders, and away from our current trend towards socialism and perhaps eventually Marxism.

What do you think? Does Romney’s Mormon faith change your feelings about him, either pro or con?

7 thoughts on “Mitt Romney: What Would it be like to have a Mormon President?

  1. I’m an onlooker from the UK – I can’t believe the amount of religious bigotry that still exists in the US these days. I thought the US Constitution allowed people freedom of religious belief – apparently not. It seems to me that not much has changed since the mobs ran the Mormons out of Missouri in the 1840’s.

    I’m Mormon (you may be surprised that there are more of us these days outside the USA than inside) and I consider myself and my Church to be Christian ( – the clue is in the name… ‘The Church of ‘Jesus Christ’ of Latter-day Saints’)

    Yes, I suppose that we have some beliefs that may be different from your way of thinking – you mentioned ‘weird holy underwear’ – most of the time its only because these things are very much mis-understood and mis-represented.

    For example ……yes, its well know that many members of the Church wear speacial underwear after making a special commitment with God in our Temples. This is no different to priestly clothing worn by priests in other churches – however, we do not have paid clergy, but all worthy men hold the priesthood. As such, and as we also work in society, this reminder is worn under normal day clothes, very much in the same way that Orthodox Jews wear the ‘Tzit-tzit’. It is an ‘outward expression of inward commitment’

    Your comment about Mormon missionaries shows how truth can be distorted…. my son is serving in Switzerland as a Mormon Missionary – the Swiss have stopped visas to alot of US Citizens generally as they are worried about people taking up Swiss jobs – this is not directed at the Mormon Church – Missionaries from Europe continue to serve there.

    I am pleased at least that your article is pretty open to other faiths.

    I have Jewish, Catholic, Muslim (etc) friends – our friendships are strengthened by those things we agree about, whilst we recognise and respect each others in things we disagree on. America…. isn’t it time you Americans did the same?

    I don’t know enough about Romney to say whether he’s the man for the job but perhaps it might be a good idea to choose a Presidential candidate based on his ability to get the USA out of its financial and social mess, rather than basing your choice on the candidates’ belief system.

  2. Oh, and I forgot to mention the multple sister wives thing…… Polygamy is not part of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday-Saints today.
    Anyone who enters into a polygamous marriage is excommunicated from the Church. Because there are still small groups in Utah calling themselves ‘Fundementalist Mormons’, the story still continues that all Mormons have more than one wife… Thats not the case.

    Frankly speaking…. I wouldn’t be too keen….. just think about putting up with all the mother-in-laws!!!!

  3. I think people are far too hung up on Mitt’s faith. I’m more interested in his political leanings – whether he’s a fundamental constitutionalist rather than a fundamental Mormon.

    He’s not my first choice at this point, BUT when the Republican nominee is selected, I’ll vote for whoever that is – whoever’s NOT Obama – be it a Mormon or a Martian. . .

    (It does trouble me, though, that he doesn’t seem to worry the Obama administration much. I’d like to see a candidate that they see as a real threat.)

    Unfortunately, just like the last presidential election, it may end up being sort of a “hold your nose and vote” sort of situation.

  4. I’d rather have a Mormon president than a M_____ president, as we currently have!

  5. I do have questions about his religion, but I’ve also considered the conservative aspect you speak of. The trouble is, Mitt Romney has been governor of one of the most liberal states there is – so it doesn’t seem likely that his policies will be conservative in the White House. Also, the liberals all seem to be pretty cool with him being the Republican nominee. Sounds to me like even they don’t want Obama so they want the Republicans to have a liberal choice for them to be happy with, which makes me wonder how happy I’d be with him.

  6. Sounds like no one here has even cracked the Book of Mormonism. Some of the teaching of Brigham Young and Joseph Smith are racist. Even today blacks are not fully accepted into the Mormon Church. Someone mentioned Rev Wright but let me tell you after a Romney administration you will wish Rev Wright was in power. Mormons are not Christians who believe Jesus Christ was sent to save the world. They do their work steathly prefering to implement their agenda through the establishment. Elect a Mormon President and then you’ll see the true agenda unfold. This day, 07 May 2012…..

  7. @Chumpper

    It seems that you misunderstand a couple of things about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Firstly – there are over 400,000 black members of the Mormon Church in congregations all round the world.The Church is growing fast in Black Africa – my son served as a LDS Missionary in the townships around Johannesburg – all his missionary companions were black. Blacks have access to all the blessings of the Gospel the same as any other group/race/nationality.
    The other issue is that we do believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of Mankind – we believe he came to earth, live a perfect live, and died for our sins. We believe he was resurrected and lives today.
    We believe is Divine, the Son of God, the one that we look to for a remission of our sins. We believe in the Biblical account of His life. We believe He is the ONLY source of salvation. Why then do you not consider us to be Christian?
    I don’t understand your reasoning.

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