Mitt Romney’s Mormonism

I have so far avoided posting much about Mitt Romney or my views about the 2012 election in large part because my views are still in formation. I am undecided and could be persuaded in either direction in the next two months.

I must say however, that the fact that Mitt Romney is an active member of the church and that he has served in such leadership positions as Bishop and Stake President makes me much more inclined to vote for him. Its not so much that he has the same faith that I do, but that I know that the kind of experiences that he must have had as a bishop make him highly qualified for the highest office in the land!

All  of  these articles are worth a read ! ( Those are 9 different links!)

These articles convey an incredible variety of voices some of which are strong supporters of Mitt Romney and others strong critics. There are incidents that liberals can use to portray Mitt Romney as radical or insensitive ( Advising women to not have abortions of to put children up for adoption for instance), but I challenge anyone to read these articles and to not be touched by the range of compassionate service rendered by this man.

Those that are concerned that Romney is out of touch with the poor should read these reflections published in the Washington Post 

“Nolan Don Archibal, a former member of the Cambridge congregation who went on to become executive chairman of the board at Stanley Black & Decker, said Romney picked up the phone to help the unemployed members of his congregation find work. He acted as a marriage counselor and a mentor to troubled teens and provided a willing ear to lonely widows. He called on those in his flock struggling with a crisis in faith to publicly meditate on their problems at sacrament meetings.

He believed in avoiding problems before they started. Bennett recalled Romney, who set aside Tuesday nights for annual one-on-one meetings with young members, poring over lists of birthdays to make sure he saw everyone.

In a building that prominently featured a depiction of Jesus instructing a rich young man to give his treasure to the poor, Romney reached out to the network of business leaders in the congregation to help put people on solid financial footing. He arranged for one member with money problems to sit down with Steven Wheelwright, a Harvard Business School professor who went on to run Brigham Young University at Hawaii, to develop a personal budget and a path to a better job, according to Bennett.

On one occasion, he dropped Barlow off at his home and the two discussed the array of challenges their congregation faced.

“The one that bothers me the most that I’ve thought a lot about over the years,” Romney told Barlow, “is how genuinely to help the poor.”

And how can those who dismiss Mitt Romney as robotic or indifferent do so after they read this touching account 

“Bryce Clark was a recipient of Mr. Romney’s spiritual advice. Late one summer night in 1993, distraught over his descent into alcoholism and drug use, Mr. Clark, then a 19-year-old college student, decided to confess that he had strayed from his Mormon faith. So he drove through this well-heeled Boston suburb to Mr. Romney’s secluded seven-bedroom home.

As the highest-ranking Mormon leader in Boston, Mr. Romney was responsible for determining whether Mr. Clark was spiritually fit for a mission, a rite of passage for young Mormon men. Mr. Clark had previously lied to him, insisting that he was eligible to go. But instead of condemnation that night, Mr. Clark said, Mr. Romney offered counsel that the younger man has clung to for years.

“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 Mr. Clark, now 37, sober and working as a filmmaker in Utah. “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.’ ”

That encounter with Mr. Clark provides a rare glimpse into the way Mr. Romney — now a Republican candidate for president — expresses his faith and exercised authority as a religious leader”

Most impressive to me was how Mitt Romney handled the tensions with the Feminist leaders of the Exponent II

“Mormon women in Boston still talk about an extraordinary 1993 meeting Romney called to address the women of the stake.

More than 250 members poured into the Belmont chapel. One by one they called out their issues while he stood at the front with three pads labeled: policies we can’t change, practices we can change, and things we can consider.

Nearly 100 proposals were made that day, including having female leaders give talks in various wards as the men on the high council do; letting women speak last in church; turning the chapels into day-care centers during the week; letting women stand in the circle while blessing newborn babies; recognizing the accomplishment of young women as the church does of Boy Scout advancements; and putting changing tables in the men’s rooms.

Many women left with a new appreciation of Romney’s openness.

He was “so brave,” says Robin Baker, who has worked on Exponent II.

Sievers, who worked with Romney to set up the meeting, was ecstatic.

“I was really surprised,” she says. “He implemented every single suggestion that I would have.”

Additionally, Romney showed his ability to surround himself with men of diverse views and perspectives. Renowned Scholar Philip Barlow was a member of Romney’s Bishopric. I also really liked this quote in the Salt Lake City Tribune article

“By all accounts, Romney the religious leader was a good listener and an innovative manager who considered various positions before making any decision. He was occasionally willing to work around bureaucratic edicts from Salt Lake City to better serve his people. He allowed divorced men to continue in their leadership positions, rather than remove them as church policy dictated at the time. He did not discipline outspoken writers and activists within his ranks.”

I also appreciated that the New York Times and other reporters recently attended sacrament meeting with Mitt Romney and reported on the meeting! This is exactly the kind of publicity that the Church has been encouraging.

From all of these accounts, it seems to me that Mitt Romney was an incredible leader. He managed to be compassionate and maintain a human touch while at the same time showing true leadership and guiding his stake and ward to great prosperity. Having served in the church, I know how serving the Lord can help us become better men: More patient and loving and charitable. It seems to me that Mitt Romney was influenced greatly by these experiences! Because of this, I believe that he would make a phenomenal President and I am strongly leaning towards him!

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2 thoughts on “Mitt Romney’s Mormonism

  1. You know I found your evaluation of Mitt Romney interesting. My testimony in the Restoration of the Gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith is firm but my reservations about the people of the church and the church structure that continues to condone his lies has stopped me attending church. If people will condone his consistent lying and continue to grant him a recommend, then a temple recommend is not worth the paper its written on. Mitt Romney did a few things that are interesting you listed. While he extended compassionate service to his ward family, does he extend the same compassion to those that are not. Remember the parable of the beggar man? I often turn to the admonitions of Alma the younger when he gives the speeches to his flock in Alma 5, and from my perspective Romney is what Alma refers to as “Children of the Devil”. I am also concerned that you think that Romney who violated his keys given to him by the Stake President through the First Presidency to carry out his duties as Bishop by allowing Divorced men to serve and entertaining women’s demands in violation of the theme of the central control of the Church. Jesus washed the feet of the diciples and he showed a leadership that we are to shed our pride and serve our fellow man. Romney’s policy is very self serving to a specific class of people. Is it not a concern to you that he feels almost like he is not answerable to a system of governance. LIke he thinks he is in charge and entitled to do what he so pleases to do. I have talked to my Bishop and agree that the fat that someone has been baptized in the church and been bestowed with the keys to carry out tasks according to the discernment of a leadership that made a choice that may be wrong. Church is not a retirement home for Saints but a hospital for sinners, I agree. But Mitt Romney is not the saint you make him out to be. President Eckdorf gave a talk one day where he said he was young and he went to a Beehive Clothing Store. On the door it said “Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints” on the counter was Latterday Saints only. He was confused and inquired why both signs existed. It was explained to him that one was for people who had been baptized and the sign on the counter to get garments was for those that are Obedient to the Gospel of Christ. We should not be supporting a member of the Church who so openly embraces his littany of lies, we should be calling on the church to pull his temple recommend. If not, the temple recommend means nothng. Would you say its ok for a person to keep on who is committing adultery and you knew about it,. What about complete dishonesty. What about lack of compassion, What about false witness? Search deeply the scriptures.
    Pray to Heavenly father,and please do not vote for this man.

    • Julie

      Thanks for your very thoughtful comment. I can feel your passion and devotion as I read it and I respect that very much.

      First of all, do not stop attending church for Mitt Romney or for any one else! The gospel and the Church is true and if we

      I would suggest that we should all show each other the benefit of the doubt as fellow brothers of and sisters of Christ and sons and daughters of God. Certainly, calling Mitt Romney a child of the devil is a bit strong. At worst, he is yet another imperfect member of the church trying to make a positive contribution to the world and society. At best, he is a man that as Bishop and Stake President as well as in his political offices as Governor has been able to do an immense amount of good and bless many lives.

      I agree that we are all imperfect. Neither Mitt Romney nor any of the candidates for President are perfect. Instead, we should try to determine which candidate is most in line with the values we hold and which candidate would put into place the policies best for the well being of the country.

      I will certainly pray to Heavenly Father before I vote or make a decision on a particular candidate. Indeed, the only reason that I can not even consider supporting Mitt Romney is because of such sustained prayer. I hope you do the same giving Father in Heaven a chance to soften your heart and take away your anger.

      All the best

      Daniel Ortner

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