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No endorsement

Justin Webb | 17:21 UK time, Friday, 7 December 2007

romney_getty_203.jpgWe are all homing in - quite rightly - on what Mitt Romney said in his speech and whether he needed to say it, could have said it differently, etc etc. But it is interesting to note as well what the Mormons themselves make of it all.

The Church contacted me to point out this intervention (just posted on their website) which I think is quite helpful to Romney.

It stresses the fact, and it is a fact, that Mormons are really rather loosey-goosey when it comes to telling those among them who are politicians what to do or think...

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His speech initially seemed like a mixed bag, but on further reflection I think the message was clear -- he won't be swayed by any "church" but still believes we must incorporate "faith" in our government? Sounds like he's still struggling with the whole separation of church and state thing.

  • 2.
  • At 06:47 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Justin wrote:

Which just goes to show you that Mormonism isn't the evil cult that oddballs like Bill Keller would have you believe.

Romney did deliver a good speech. He should be proud of himself. I understand that it was also receieved well by his target audience - the moderate evangelicals.

But this deosn't deter for the fact Romey is still a conservative who, among other things, opposes stem cell research and as such should be denied the presidency.

Sorry America, but we need your expertise and money and people like Romney are preventing that.

Do the planet a favour and put a Democrat in The White House.

I do not think religion is evil, unlike many hip intellectuals and writers who have been drubbing Christianity in the last few years through best selling books; Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris et al. I believe it is people or rather individuals that are good or evil and many shades between. I myself cling to and uphold Christian ethics. That said, I would like to turn to Mitt Romney's latest speech to America and the world at large.

I think Mr. Romney's speech was vulgar. It insults both him as a candidate and the people of America, on many levels. That he believes in Jesus Christ as the son of God as the Saviour of mankind in front of TV cameras is childish and melodramatic. Someone may as well tell the nation if he or she masturbates, lusts after others or maybe urinates in the shower; and with how much frequency.

Mitt Romney's speech was not ennobling either for himself or America, unlike Kennedy's address to America in 1960. Mitt Romney's speech was, whether he intended it or not, fawning.

But at last, I can't help mentioning something else. If Mitt Romney really so literally believes in the demagogic catch-phrases of religion, in all fairness then, would he also go on national television and make another speech, categorically refusing to have any votes from Americans who are Atheist, Agnostic, Liberal, Liberal Christians of any denomination, and other non- Christian religions which he refuses to mention when he talks about ''religion.'' Would Mitt Romney do so?

  • 4.
  • At 08:59 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • J. D. Alder wrote:

In Canada, Dr. Grant Hill was the interim leader of the conservative party and thus, the Leader of the Opposition. It is the second highest position in the Canadian Government. This is the official who questions the Prime Minister in the House of Commons. Dr. Hill was and still is a very active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was a political science major and asked Dr. Hill questions regarding being a politician and being a Mormon. He said that he never received any instruction from church leaders and when he contacted them about speaking at BYU that they were very specific that they do not endorse political parties and wanted him to make sure that he respected this view in his speech at BYU. Two political parties joined and the leader of one would be the interim leader and the other would take over after that. The leader of the other party was Prime Minister Harper. If they would have changed roles and Harper would have become the interim leader then Dr. Hill would be the Prime Minister of Canada today. Dr. Hill, as Leader of the Opposition, is the one who exposed Prime Minister Marin's financial scandals which resulted in Dr. Hill's party taking over the Prime Minister's office. Having said this, I never heard of anyone speaking negatively about Dr. Hill and his Mormonism and the fact that he was so high up in Canadian government. It was never an issue. The same way that Harry Reid being the leader in the American senate and being Mormon has never been a problem. So, why is there all of this fuss with Romney? He is like a Hollywood cast President. He has two graduate degrees from Harvard, is the wealthiest candidate by far, is great looking, made hundreds of millions with his own company, became the governor of a liberal state, and comes from a respected political/business family. He also appears to be down to earth and not corrupted with all of this. If the Mormon church says they will not get involved, I do not believe they will. This is more than I can say for many of the other religious denominations in America. Who are the Evangelicals to worry about others possibly getting involved in religion, when they get fervently involved in everything in America. It is totally hypocritical. If this hypocrisy continues then America will have to choice but to be totally secular just to deal with all of the religious problems.

  • 5.
  • At 11:52 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • Dave Flurkey wrote:

One of the "cult like" properties of the Mormon faith is they DO tell them who to vote for.
It's why Utah isnt run like other states, that claim is (that the church doesnt tell them how to vote) utterly false.

  • 6.
  • At 04:54 AM on 08 Dec 2007,
  • Me wrote:

Loosy-goosy is quiet an expression Justin.

  • 7.
  • At 06:34 AM on 08 Dec 2007,
  • Patrick Lanaghan wrote:

They don't seem to be "loosey-goosey" about anything, except requesting that the media, "when reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," should use its full name. This seems rather straightforward, but Webb refers to the them only as "the Church."
Who is loosey-goosey, again?

  • 8.
  • At 12:16 PM on 08 Dec 2007,
  • Todd Mansfield wrote:

Please say more what you mean by "loosey-goosey". I honestly can't tell based on the links or the context. The way it's written now, there's a "fact" there somewhere and everyone gets to pick her/his own version of it.

Also, why do you call the posting of church's policy an "intervention"? That makes it sound like the church just made this up or something. I'm pretty sure this has been their policy for at least my entire lifetime.

I was raised in the church but don't practice now. I certainly have my own disagreements with the church. But you don't see me slinging innuendo like this on blogs or anywhere else.

  • 9.
  • At 02:54 PM on 08 Dec 2007,
  • mita higton wrote:

In response to Todd Mansfield,(no 8) I remember seeing the President of the LDS church last year(can't recall exactly when), making a statement on TV, to the effect that the church no longer required its members to vote for the Republican party. They could now vote for the party of their choice.
Being a Brit, newly arrived in Utah, I was flabbergasted that, up until that point, members of the LDS church were told who to vote for. I wonder how many members missed that broadcast (they aren't great for keeping up with events in this part of the world!) and still vote for a party they think their church supports and expects its members to support!

  • 10.
  • At 03:50 PM on 08 Dec 2007,
  • K. Tyson wrote:

There will always be confusion over "separation of Church and State". Mainly because the term does not appear in the US Constitution. (It was used by Thomas Jefferson in a personal letter to a group of Baptists.)

In the US, people acknowlege that Romney has the right to his beliefs. But people just do not trust a religion that has secret rites and rituals. In addition, we already have a President who wants more and more power. Most of us reject the idea of electing someone who wants to be (and thinks he can be) a G-d!

My prediction is that Romney will take the electorial votes from Utah and that is it. Conservative Christians will vote for Huckabee or Hunter.

  • 11.
  • At 04:09 PM on 08 Dec 2007,
  • LARRY COOK wrote:

HIS WAS A VERY PROFOUND ACKNOWLEGEMENT OF THE ROLE RELIGION PLAYS IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THESE UNITED STATES’ CONSTITUTION. WE DO CLEARLY ACKNOWELGE GOD AT OUR SWEARING IN CEREMONIES, ON OUR CURRENCY, ON OUR FOUNDING DOCUMENTS AND THRUOUT THE PAPERS AND CORRESPONDENCE WE INHERITED FROM OUR FOUNDING FATHERS. THOSE WHO GET UNCOMFORTABLE AT EVERY MENTION OF TO THE DIETY SHOULD GET A LIFE! VERY WELL SPOKEN INDEED. AS THE BRITS SAY: "HERE!, HERE!" OR IS IT "HEAR!, HEAR!"?

  • 12.
  • At 04:17 PM on 08 Dec 2007,
  • Donald Orlando wrote:

I grew up in Utah and have family there. I am non mormon and have no plans to move back. Being Mormon and supporting the Republican Party and their platforms are the same.

The LDS Church does not need to officially support Romney. Unless one is a member of "The Church" and Republican, don't expect to have political clout in Utah.

  • 13.
  • At 06:54 PM on 08 Dec 2007,
  • Graham wrote:

I'm quite prepared to believe Romney's assertions that his presidency would serve all religions equally, and hopefully non-believers as well. But to me, the issue is whether America can afford the luxury of being led by a person so gullible as to believe in a book "translated" from golden plates by an 18th century convicted fraud, plates that then miraculously rose into heaven, thus destroying the "evidence". At a time such as this, I would suggest that the US needs someone whose feet are planted more firmly on the ground.

  • 14.
  • At 10:28 PM on 08 Dec 2007,
  • Cory wrote:

As a Mormon I have never once been told who and what political party to vote for (despite the accusations made in a previous comment). A few local leaders may espouse their political beliefs, but it is strictly forbidden to do so. When I see politics in action in this country I see the Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, and Jewish religions all deeply involved in local and national politics. Utah is 50% Mormon and many of the states and municipal policies reflect that. How is that different from lets say Massachusetts which is over 50% Catholic, or all southern states which are mostly Protestant? When people like Keller make statements, the Evangelicals listen and cast their vote accordingly. Mormons generally do not vote as a block in this country. Its true they steadfastly oppose unnecessary abortions and sexual promiscuity. But when it comes to health care, educations, and the war opinions differ greatly. Most of the accusations pontificated on this blog I would suspect come from dubious sources and are woefully misinformed.

  • 15.
  • At 11:41 PM on 08 Dec 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

The Church of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons), like other churches and religious organizations in the US, has Tax-Exempt status. If it were to publicly endorse a candidate or attempt to influence the election in any way it (or rather it's various constituent non-profit corporations) would be in violation of its 501(c)(3) status and its various tax exemptions would likely be revoked by the IRS. Since this would be a major hardship the neither the Mormons nor any church can act as a political advocacy group, so this a sort of pointless inaction on the Church's part.

  • 16.
  • At 03:00 AM on 09 Dec 2007,
  • John Kecsmar wrote:

What ever is said by either side...historically churches of which ever demomination have influenced leaders, whether good or bad.
To think that the Mormons will not affect Mitt, whether directly or indirectly is simply foolish...

  • 17.
  • At 06:55 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Melanie Baker wrote:

The people who have posted information concerning whether or not the LDS church tells it's members who to vote for need to re-check their information. I am a life-long member of the LDS religion and NEVER have heard any leader of the church say who they should vote for, or what party they should vote for.

In fact, during election years, there is a letter from the presidency of the LDS church (which is sent and read in every congregation) informing members that the church, as a whole, does not support any particular canidate or party and that members should make an educated decision according to their own political beliefs.

I have many neighbors and family members who are LDS...from both parties...republican AND democrats! Any who don't believe me...well, this is from a Mormon who would know what is really going on inside the religion.

  • 18.
  • At 02:28 AM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • Kathryn wrote:

I understand why his speech emphasized the distinction between his religious beliefs and his potential decisions as president. But seriously: do we want a president who claims in the same breath to have important and deeply held beliefs, and that those beliefs will in no way affect him? If that's the case, how important are they? And can we honestly believe he (or anyone else) can utterly disengage like that?

Maybe this is a reflection on his true faith, a commitment not primarily to his religion but to a socio-political philosophy - albeit one that allows anyone to worship as they see fit.

Don't know, just musing.

  • 19.
  • At 11:20 AM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • AK wrote:

Well, whoever said that a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has to be a flag-waving, frothing-at-the-mouth Republican to have any sway should probably be informed that the late James E. Faust, Second Counsellor in the First Presidency of the Church, was a lifelong Democrat. Also, rumours abound that Gordon B. Hinckley, the Church's President and the Prophet, is also a registered Democrat. Hmmm.

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