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Mormon Mitt Romney’s Message to the American People

As the race for the office of President of the United States draws to a close, history may well be once again in the making. History was made in 2008 when Barack Obama became the first ever African American to be elected as President, and now the possibility greatly exists that Republican Mitt Romney, a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (more commonly referred to as the Mormon Church), could well become the first Mormon to ever be elected as President of the United States.

On the campaign trail to the White House, Romney has largely avoided speaking publicly about his LDS faith, only speaking on rare occasions about his church-related values and charitable deeds. Why is this some may ask? Romney feels that his beliefs are personal, and he does not believe in boasting about his charitable deeds. Charity has always been a integral part of his life. Whenever and wherever a need arises that he is able to help with, he does not hesitate to do so, to include rolling up his sleeves in Ohio recently to help pack boxes and load trucks with supplies to be sent to victims of Hurricane Sandy. The simple fact is that Romney’s faith is the foundation of his beliefs and the driving force for his love and concern for humanity, but by the same token, he does not belief that he should have to wear his religion on his sleeve, or carry big signs that announce that he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In a 2007 radio interview in Iowa, Romney was quoted as making the following comments:

“I don’t like coming on the air and having you go after my church and me,” Romney told Jan Mickelson, the host of a popular conservative show on WHO-AM in Des Moines, in the August 2007 encounter as he was seeking the 2008 GOP nomination. “I’m not running as a Mormon, and I get a little tired of coming on shows like yours and having it all about Mormon.” [1]

Fast forward to the 2012 presidential race and Romney’s feelings have not swayed. He continues to hold fast to his stand that he is not running as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ (Mormon), but rather he is running for President of the United States. That is where he has chosen to place his focus.

Romney’s faith has been politically sensitive in the past, particularly for some core GOP evangelical voters, but in recent weeks social conservatives have flocked to his candidacy. The growing support suggests religious conservatives have abandoned their initial skepticism of Romney based on his faith— or at least that their fervor for defeating Obama has diminished any prior concerns about putting a Mormon in the Oval Office.

Where in his unsuccessful 2008 campaign Romney attempted to mollify evangelicals and other skeptics with a speech on Mormonism, this time he and his supporters have instead limited discussion to how religion has informed Romney’s values and charitable good deeds. [1]

Last month, shortly after a meeting with world reknowned evangelist, Billy Graham, in Graham’s home in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association removed Mormonism from a list of religious cults, and Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, wrote a column stating that it was okay for a religious Christian to vote for a Mormon. With those two actions being taken, Evangelical leaders now say “Romney could be the beneficiary of a major mobilization of “values voters,” largely as a response to Obama’s tilt to the left on social issues such as his support for same-sex marriage and his backing of a rule requiring coverage of contraception in employee health plans.” [1]

Romney’s message to the American people at this hour is that he wants to be the man who is elected to serve the people, and his charitable deeds along the campaign trail have only helped to reinforce how he personally defines service. He also wants to send a clarion message to the people that it is not all about politics, but rather it is about those in need in their hour of need. It is about being a leader who is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty as he works side by side with the people who will help elect him as the next President. His message is that although his religion has built a strong foundation for his life, he does what he does because of who he is, and that is what should define his character, and not his faith alone.

Additional Resources:

Basic Mormon Beliefs and Real Mormons

The Lord Jesus Christ in Mormonism

The Bible in Mormonism

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