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30 August 2012

Church Statement on Hurricane Isaac

August 30, 2012

mormonnewsroom.org

Seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Isaac came ashore along the Louisiana coast as a category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 75 miles per hour and a dangerous storm surge.

The Church released this statement:

“Prior to the storm, local leaders were in contact with Church members to make necessary preparations. Missionaries in the New Orleans area were moved inland as a precaution. The Church continues to monitor the situation and is prepared to respond as needed.”

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-prepared-to-assist-with-hurricane-isaac-aftermath

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Mormon FAIR-Cast 104a: Temple Worship Fireside, Introduction, pt. 1

August 30, 2012

FAIR Blog

Bryce Haymond of TempleStudy.com hosts this first in a series of on-line fireside discussions of the book Temple Worship: 20 Truths That Will Bless Your Life, by Andrew C. Skinner. Bryce is joined in this discussion by Frederick M. Huchel, Gary N. Anderson, Steve Reed, and Tevya Washburn. This discussion was conducted live on August 5, 2012 through Google’s Hangouts on Air. It was streamed live on TempleStudy.com, where the video can also be found. A rough transcript of the discussion can be found here. In this session, the participants discuss such things as what details about the temple can be discussed outside the temple, and the temple as a model of the universe.

Andrew C. Skinner is a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, was dean of Religious Education and the first executive director of BYU’s Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. He holds master’s degrees in Biblical Hebrew and Jewish Studies and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern and European History, specializing in Judaism. He is the author or co-author of over 100 publications.

http://www.fairblog.org/2012/08/29/mormon-fair-cast-104a-temple-worship-fireside-introduction-pt-1/

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Mormon FAIR-Cast 104b: Temple Worship Fireside, Introduction, pt. 2

August 30, 2012

FAIR Blog

This is the second part of the two-part introuductory episode of the on-line fireside discussions of the book Temple Worship: 20 Truths That Will Bless Your Life, by Andrew C. Skinner.

http://www.fairblog.org/2012/08/29/mormon-fair-cast-104b-temple-worship-fireside-introduction-pt-2/

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Romney makes Mormonism part of his big night

August 30, 2012

Boston Globe (Massachusetts)

After years of avoiding direct mention of his religion, Mitt Romney will open up about his Mormon faith as he accepts the Republican nomination for president.

The former Massachusetts governor is the first Mormon presidential candidate on a major party ticket. It’s unclear just how much detail he will provide on Thursday night, the pinnacle of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. He has spoken broadly in the past about the importance of prayer and belief in God, but has not discussed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I think this is a speech where he’s going to talk a lot about what’s informed his values, what’s informed his outlook. Of course his faith is an important part of that,” Romney aide Kevin Madden said in Tampa this week. “It’s an important part of who he is as a husband and a father. And so I think you can expect some of that.”

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/08/30/fellow_mormons_praise_romney_as_a_caring_friend/

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Media declares open season on Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith

August 30, 2012

Fox News

Several weeks ago, David Axelrod, the Obama campaign’s maharishi, called together his Chicago gang to discuss what they should do if their mudslinging campaign against Mitt Romney and Bain Capital didn’t do the trick and Romney began to pull even with–or ahead of–Barack Obama in the polls.

According to my sources inside the campaign, Axelrod & Co. discussed what might be called the nuclear option: unleashing an attack on Romney’s Mormon faith via the mainstream media.

As Axelrod knew, many pundits credit evangelical Christians, who are heavily Republican and comprise some 14 percent of voters, with putting George W. Bush over the top in the election of 2004.Axelrod was also aware that Mormonism is a fraught subject among evangelical Christians, a substantial portion of whom believe that Mormonism is a cult that is separate and apart from Christianity.

Axelrod calculated that if he could turn 5 to 10 percent of the evangelicals against Romney because of his Mormonism, he could deny Romney victory at the polls in 2012.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/08/30/media-declares-open-season-on-mitt-romney-mormon-faith/

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Mormons proudly celebrate one of their own

August 30, 2012

USA Today

“We’ve come a long way as a country,” agreed Enid Mickelsen, 53, a former U.S. congresswoman whose great-great-grandfather was a pioneer settler with nine wives. “Nice to see barriers come down,” fellow delegate Sen. Orrin Hatch said, beaming.
Mickelsen, used to say she suffered from the last two acceptable prejudices — against the Mormons and the chubby. “Now, after tonight, there’s just one,” she said with a laugh.

She said Romney will promote understanding: “He’s not running for Mormon in chief, but he’s given us a chance to talk to people who are curious about our religion.”

http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/story/2012-08-30/Mormon-Romney-ascendance/57457724/1

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Speakers Tell of Romney’s Kindness as Mormon Pastor

August 30, 2012

Wall Street Journal

Grant Bennett, who assisted Mr. Romney during his stint as pastor, said Mr. Romney gave up weekends and nights meeting with people who were “seeking help with the burdens of real life.”

“Mitt prayed and counseled with church members seeking spiritual direction,” he said. “Single mothers raising children. Couples with marital problems. …. Immigrants separated from their families and individuals whose heat had been shut off.”

A couple named Ted and Pat Oparowski said Mr. Romney sought to comfort their son David, who died of cancer at age 14.

Pat Oparowski said that Mr. Romney would visit David in the hospital. When David asked Mr. Romney to help him draw up a will, Mr. Romney showed up at the hospital with a yellow legal pad and took notes as David asked that his skateboard and fishing tackle be given away to friends.

“How many men do you know who would take time out of their busy lives to visit a terminally ill 14-year-old and help him settle his affairs?” Mrs. Oparowski said.

Pam Finlayson, a member of Mr. Romney’s church, also spoke of how he would visit the hospital to see her daughter, who had been born prematurely.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/08/30/speakers-tell-of-romneys-kindness-as-mormon-pastor/

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Romney makes Mormonism part of his big night

August 30, 2012

San Jose Mercury News (California)

Starting in the 1980s, Romney was a bishop in the Boston suburb of Belmont, a job akin to the pastor of a congregation. He then served as a stake president, the top Mormon authority in his region, which meant he presided over several congregations in a district similar to a diocese.

He counseled Latter-day Saints on their most personal concerns, regarding marriage, parenting, finances and faith. He worked with immigrant converts from Haiti, Cambodia and other countries.

Grant Bennett, an assistant to Romney at the Belmont congregation, has in the past described how Romney built relationships with other religious groups around his Belmont, Mass., hometown, after a suspicious fire in 1984 destroyed a new Mormon meeting house there.

Bennett told delegates Thursday that Romney had “a listening ear and a helping hand.” He said Romney devoted as many as 20 hours a week at his own expense.

http://www.mercurynews.com/presidentelect/ci_21435839/romney-makes-mormonism-part-his-big-night

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Romney’s Mormon service celebrated by pastor, those he served

August 30, 2012

Los Angeles Times

Pat and Ted Oparowski described a “deeply good man” who helped them cope when their teenage son became ill with Hodgkins Disease. The couple described Romney as being in the “vanguard” of their support group in their Massachusetts community.

Romney brought their 14-year-old son, David, fireworks and even helped him write a will so friends could get his prized possessions. The aid was particularly meaningful because Romney helped without expectation of any credit, the couple said.

“The true measure of a man is revealed in his actions during times of trouble,” said Ted Oparowski — a time, he said, when there is only a dying boy and “no cameras and no recorders.”

Pam Finlayson, whose family also attended the Mormon church in Belmont, Mass., when Romney was a leader, told how Romney gently ministered to her infant daughter, Kate, who was born prematurely.

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-romney-mormon-20120830,0,1645421.story

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Mormonism’s Abandoned Race Policy: Context Matters

August 30, 2012

Huffington Post

In responding to Professor Turner, I want to emphasize three basic points in his excellent editorial that are commonly misunderstood.

First, some Mormons are racist.

Second, some Mormons are not racist.

Third, whether Mormon church leaders should issue an institutional apology for the prior policy of racial exclusion is about more than just racism.

The first point should go without saying because many humans are racist and Mormons are human. But even though it should be obvious, this point matters enough to say it explicitly. Some modern Latter-day Saints (LDS) still believe and employ the toxic folklore that once made sense of the policy of racial exclusion. (That folklore, while using some idiosyncratically Mormon imagery, does not differ in fundamentals from other racist Christian folklore.) This racism occurs more among people of prior generations and it appears to be waning, but this is a fact that must be acknowledged in any discussion of Mormonism and race.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samuel-brown/mormonism-abandoned-race-policy-context-matters_b_1834359.html

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Convention’s Mormon speakers expected to shed light on Romney’s faith life

August 30, 2012

CNN

Campaign aides have hinted that Bennett would talk about Romney’s leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bennett was a bishop in Romney’s ward, serving after Romney had been bishop – the rough equivalent of a minister or priest – in the early 1980s. The Romney campaign has said that a church leader would speak Thursday about the experience of trying to “”fill Gov. Romney’s shoes.”

That leader appears to be Bennett, who talked to CNN’s Gloria Borger this year about following Romney as a bishop.

As soon as he stepped into the bishop’s role, Bennett told Borger, he was moved by his predecessor’s humility. Romney had just stepped down as a Mormon stake president – the rough equivalent of a bishop in the Catholic Church. But Romney immediately approached Bennett about his next assignment, saying he’d “look forward to any assignment that you’ll give me.”

That first post-leadership assignment turned out to be Sunday school teacher.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/30/conventions-mormon-speakers-expected-to-shed-light-on-romneys-faith-life/

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Mormon church keeps up active PR campaign

August 30, 2012

Washington Post

In his Thursday night speech, Romney is expected to talk about how his Mormon faith has guided his life.

While many Americans may not be experts about the Mormon religion, they may have come across an advertisement for it at some point over the past couple of years. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has maintained an active public relations presence online. It launched its “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign in 2010, a marketing effort to to introduce ordinary people who belong to the Mormon faith. The campaign has included TV ads, online spots, billboards, and other offline marketing methods. The church continues to run ads online.

“We continue to run online ads in a variety of places, but there’s been no change in the volume or focus of those ads,” said church spokesman Eric Hawkins.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/08/30/mormon-church-keeps-up-active-pr-campaign/

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The basics about Mormonism, as Romney becomes 1st Mormon major party presidential nominee

August 30, 2012

Washington Post

MORMONS CONSIDER THEMSELVES PART OF TRADITIONAL CHRISTIANITY, BUT MOST CHRISTIANS DISAGREE. WHY?

A: Mormons and traditional Christians share many beliefs, including that Jesus was the son of God and that the Bible is the word of God. However, they differ on some fundamentals. Mormons believe their founder and first prophet Joseph Smith received revelations that restored true Christianity, which Smith said had been corrupted by other churches. Those revelations are contained in the additional scriptures that Mormons alone use, including “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” Mormons also differ with other Christians over the nature of the Trinity and the afterlife. A group of Mormon and evangelical scholars has been meeting for years to see where they can find common ground.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-basics-about-mormonism-as-romney-becomes-1st-mormon-major-party-presidential-nominee/2012/08/30/ffca1400-f2e1-11e1-b74c-84ed55e0300b_story.html

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In testimonials, Romney’s Mormon faith takes center stage

August 30, 2012

Reuters

They were stories of Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith, the kind of stories the Republican presidential candidate has not said much about during his run for the White House.

There was Grant Bennett, a former assistant to Romney who described how Romney, as a Mormon pastor in the late 1970s, devoted 15 to 20 hours a week visiting sick members of his congregation, delivering meals or shoveling snow for the elderly.

There was Ted and Pat Oparowski, an elderly couple who recalled how Romney befriended their 14-year-old son David in the seven months before he died of Hodgkin’s disease in 1979, when Romney was a pastor at their church.

And there was Pam Finlayson, who described how Romney sat with her in the hospital when she feared her premature daughter was on the brink of death.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/31/us-usa-campaign-romney-mormons-idUSBRE87U03F20120831

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Romney friends open up on Mormon faith

August 30, 2012

Washington Post

After having avoided talking about his life in the church for much of the campaign, Mitt Romney’s nominating convention began on Thursday with an invocation from Kenneth Hutchins, his former counselor in the Mormon church who succeeded the candidate as the chief spiritual authority in Boston in the 1990s.
Hutchins, a retired policeman and former lay cleric in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told a reporter recently that Romney used the Keys of the Priesthood in his church to “set apart” men for special service. “He laid his hands on my head,” Hutchins said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/08/30/church-members-on-the-real-romney/

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The basics about Mormonism

August 30, 2012

Associated Press

WHAT KIND OF CLERGY SERVE IN THE MORMON CHURCH?

A: Latter-day Saints have priests and bishops but they aren’t professional clergy in the sense that most Americans understand the term. The priesthood is for lay volunteers. A bishop is a lay person who serves as a pastor for a specific congregation. The leader of a regional Mormon district, which is like a diocese, is called stake president. Romney served as a bishop and a stake president in the Boston area for about 14 years.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jmWuU7bgTRVLKjddDFqoGSL951Ig?docId=97f6dc99782841708e90fe687ee5878b

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GOP convention to provide closer look at Romney’s Mormonism on the nominee’s big night

August 30, 2012

Washington Post

He counseled Latter-day Saints on their most personal concerns, regarding marriage, parenting, finances and faith. He worked with immigrant converts from Haiti, Cambodia and other countries. Bennett has in the past described how Romney built relationships with other religious groups around his Belmont, Mass., hometown, after a suspicious fire in 1984 destroyed a new Mormon meeting house there.

Other convention speakers have already laid a foundation for this new faith emphasis. In his acceptance speech Wednesday night, vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, a Roman Catholic, said “our different faiths come together in the same moral creed.” Ann Romney, in a speech meant to show a more personal side of her husband, describing the early challenges they faced as a couple, including religious differences. “I was Episcopalian. He was a Mormon,” she said. The reference was striking given that the Romneys almost never use the word Mormon on the campaign trail.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gop-convention-to-provide-closer-look-at-romneys-mormonism-on-the-nominees-big-night/2012/08/30/bccb8910-f2da-11e1-b74c-84ed55e0300b_story.html?wp_login_redirect=0

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Republican convention provides closer look at Romney’s Mormonism on the nominee’s big night

August 30, 2012

Washington Post

He counseled Latter-day Saints on their most personal concerns, regarding marriage, parenting, finances and faith. He worked with immigrant converts from Haiti, Cambodia and other countries.

Grant Bennett, an assistant to Romney at the Belmont congregation, has in the past described how Romney built relationships with other religious groups around his Belmont, Mass., hometown, after a suspicious fire in 1984 destroyed a new Mormon meeting house there.

Bennett told delegates Thursday that Romney had “a listening ear and a helping hand.” He said Romney devoted as many as 20 hours a week at his own expense.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/fellow-mormons-remember-romney-as-caring-compassionate-friend-in-good-times-and-tough-times/2012/08/30/2f98aef0-f30d-11e1-b74c-84ed55e0300b_story.html

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Romney Speaks of Mormon Faith to Try to Dispel Prejudice

August 30, 2012

Bloomberg Businessweek

In the closing stretch of a campaign in which he has seldom uttered the word “Mormon,” Mitt Romney is opening up about his faith as he strives to present a more textured self-portrait to undecided voters.

And Republican leaders — some of whom have worried that anti-Mormon views prevalent among evangelical Christians who form a sizable chunk of the party base would damage Romney’s chances of victory — are working to dispel the stigma.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-30/romney-speaks-of-mormon-faith-to-try-to-dispel-prejudice

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Will Mitt Romney Say The ‘M’ Word (Mormon) In Tampa?

August 30, 2012

ABC News

Romney has gone through almost the entire campaign cycle without using the word “Mormon.”
When asked in an April 2012 interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer whether he was reluctant to talk about his faith, Romney responded: “I don’t think there’s anyone particularly in the Republican primaries that doesn’t know that I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon church and happy to talk about my experiences- working as- if you will, a pastor.”

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/08/will-mitt-romney-say-the-m-word-mormon-in-tampa/

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An Ex-Mormon Woman Looks Back at the Church

August 30, 2012

Editor’s Note: Tonight Mitt Romney will accept the Republican nomination for president and publicly embrace his Mormon faith. For the first time, a Mormon stands a very good a chance of being the president. But what is Mormonism? What is it like to be a woman inside the Church of Latter Day Saints? Becky Grant, known to thousands of CounterPunchers as our business manager, was raised a Mormon. This spring Alexander Cockburn talked to her about the Church.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/08/30/an-ex-mormon-woman-looks-back-at-the-church/

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Spotlight Focuses on Romney’s Mormon Faith

August 30, 2012

Voice of America

Mormons see themselves as fervently patriotic. The U.S. Constitution is sacred according to their beliefs. And their church, formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, emphasizes all-American values such as optimism and self-reliance.

But unlike any other religion founded in this country, Mormonism has been met with hatred and persecution – from the murder of its prophet, Joseph Smith Jr. in 1844 – to the waves of attacks that drove his early disciples westward.

http://www.voanews.com/content/romneys-mormonism-enters-public-spotlight/1498598.html

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As Mitt Romney Gets Nomination, Mormons Celebrate and Worry

August 30, 2012

Daily Beast

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Mormon convert who has represented Utah’s 3rd Congressional District since 2009, said he’s pleased that so far, “the religious question hasn’t been demonized and used as a political weapon. I hope that our country has grown up a bit. But I shudder to think that maybe with 40 days to go [before the Nov. 6 election], they will suddenly try to play the religious ‘scare card’ in desperation.”

By “they,” Chaffetz added, he doesn’t necessarily mean President Obama’s campaign organization–just the vast left-wing conspiracy that can’t abide the prospect of Romney in the White House. Chaffetz said he was especially alarmed by an atheist group that has bought billboard space outside Charlotte, N.C., site of next week’s Democratic convention, to mock the Mormon practice of wearing religious undergarments as glowing “magic underwear.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/30/as-mitt-romney-gets-nomination-mormons-celebrate-and-worry.html

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Obama Admires Romney for Taking Mormon Faith ‘Very Seriously’

August 30, 2012

ABC News

Policy differences aside, President Obama says he admires Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for his family life, personal discipline and outward practice of his Mormon faith.

“He strikes me as somebody who is very disciplined. And I think that that is a quality that obviously contributed to his success as a private equity guy,” Obama said in an interview with TIME magazine ahead of the Democratic National Convention next week.
“I think he takes his faith very seriously. And as somebody who takes my Christian faith seriously, I appreciate that he seems to walk the walk and not just be talking the talk when it comes to his participation in his church,” he said.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/08/obama-admires-romney-for-taking-mormon-faith-very-seriously/

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With Tears And Thanks, Friends Add Context To Romney’s Mormon Faith

August 30, 2012

National Public Radio

Many stories have been written about Romney’s membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and how being a Mormon might or might not affect his chances to one day be president.

But Romney hasn’t spoken a lot about being a Mormon.

Tonight, his campaign began telling America about how the former Massachusetts governor puts his faith into practice.

As we wrote over in our live blog of Thursday’s action at the convention, Craig Bennett, a friend of Romney’s and a fellow member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was the first speaker so far this week to talk at length about the candidate’s Mormon faith.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/08/30/160353880/with-tears-and-thanks-friends-add-context-to-romneys-mormon-faith

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Is Mitt Romney’s Mormon religion fading as a negative?

August 30, 2012

Los Angeles Times (California)

As Mitt Romney prepares to give the biggest speech of his life Thursday evening, a new national poll suggests that one of his perceived political vulnerabilities — his Mormon faith — has receded as an issue.

The opinion survey, by the Pew Research Center, asked Americans what one word came to mind when they heard Romney’s name. Last fall, “Mormon” was the most frequent response when the independent polling operation asked that question.

Today, it is the Romney descriptor that has changed the most. Only eight out of 1,010 adults volunteered “Mormon,” compared with 60 in the 2011 survey.

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-mitt-romney-mormon-religion-20120830,0,2716942.story

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Romney to address his faith

August 30, 2012

MSNBC

As part of his acceptance speech, Mitt Romney is expected to talk about his Mormon faith, a subject he hasn’t frequently addressed on the campaign trail. Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins discusses.

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/newsnation/48847057/

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Mitt Romney’s French Mormon Mission Deepened His Faith In Jesus, Kept Him From Vietnam Draft

August 30, 2012

Huffington Post

From an invocation from a Mormon friend and videos highlighting Mitt Romney’s time as a church leader in Boston, where he pastored to thousands of Mormons, the GOP presidential candidate’s religious service will on display Thursday the Republican National Convention.

But it’s less clear if the campaign will showcase his work in his late teens and early 20s as Mormon missionary. Romney, now 65, has said the time was integral to deepening his faith in Jesus Christ, but it also allowed him to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War, and instead to spend two and a half years in France.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/mitt-romney-vietnam-draft-french-mormon-mission_n_1838260.html

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Mitt Romney Holds Mormon Faith Close Through Political Rise

August 29, 2012

Huffington Post

Mitt Romney has largely shied away from discussing his Mormon faith on the campaign trail, choosing instead to make his record as a businessman the central focus of his bid for president. That may change Thursday, as Romney accepts his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

Along with emphasizing economic issues, the convention will prominently display Romney’s experiences as a Mormon church leader to help package him as a down-to-earth and empathetic candidate, and to counter criticism that he is privileged and out of touch with ordinary Americans. A member of Romney’s former church near Boston is scheduled to speak Thursday. Biographical films emphasizing Romney’s work as a ward bishop — akin to a church pastor — counseling the poor, the sick, immigrants, troubled couples and wayward kids, will play on the big screens.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/29/mitt-romney-mormon-faith_n_1834466.html?ir=Religion

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Republican convention: Mormons tell personal stories of Romney

August 29, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Ken Hutchins, a former police chief who succeeded Mitt Romney as leader of his LDS stake, opened the Republican National Convention Thursday with a prayer asking relief for the poor and homeless.

“We pray for the little children, father, those who are often left homeless and hungry and afraid,” said Hutchins. “Bless us to see with compassionate eyes and have our hearts filled with a desire to reach out and provide of our substance so those who have lost homes and those who feel the ravages of disease and war and famine might receive succor … and help them draw close to the.”

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/54799150-90/romney-republican-son-convention.html.csp

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Mitt Romney and the Mormon Machine

August 30, 2012

US News and World Report

What do Mitt Romney, Glenn Beck, Katherine Heigl, and Stephenie Meyer all have in common? Their Mormon faith. Many successful people, including the Marriott family, the founder of JetBlue, and more than a dozen members of Congress, are among the 7 million Mormons in the United States. In his book The Mormonizing of America: How the Mormon Religion Became a Dominant Force in Politics, Entertainment, and Pop Culture, Stephen Mans­field, the author of several books on the role of religion in history and modern culture and founder of the Mansfield Group communications consulting company, explains why he says Mormonism’s doctrinal values and emphasis on family and education put its followers on the path to success. Mansfield recently spoke with U.S. News about what he calls the “Mormon Machine” and why religion will be a factor in the 2012 election.

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2012/08/30/mitt-romney-and-the-mormon-machine

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Ralph Reed: ‘There’s bigotry against Mormons. It’s on left.’

August 30, 2012

Atlanta Journal Constitution (Georgia)

Reed posited that most of the nation’s anti-Mormon prejudice doesn’t come from the right:

‘What is more disturbing to me is that 41 percent of self-identified liberals in a recent Gallup poll said they wouldn’t vote for a Mormon. There is bigotry against Mormons. It’s on the left.”

Not that Southern Baptists have changed their mind, Reed said. But politically, they don’t matter as much:

“Remember, if you’ve got a grandma sitting in the third row of an independent Baptist , white sideboard church who can’t bring herself to vote for a Mormon because she believes it’s a heresy, she’s more than likely in north Georgia, upstate South Carolina or eastern Tennessee.

“And we don’t need her. But when you talk about the suburbs of Orlando, or the exurbs of Cincinnati, that’s not their deal. It’s not an issue.”

http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2012/08/30/ralph-reed-%E2%80%98there%E2%80%99s-bigotry-against-mormons-it%E2%80%99s-on-left-%E2%80%99/

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Mitt’s Mormon Moment: Pastor Affirms Romney’s Faith

August 30, 2012

Talking Points Memo

He described Romney as more concerned with service than with the intricacies of church ritual or theology, a more sensitive area where many Mormon beliefs come into conflict with Catholic and Protestant beliefs.

“He found the definition of religion given by James in the New Testament to be a practical guide: ‘Pure religion … is to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,'” Bennett said.

The first Mormon nominee of a major party, Romney’s religion has most often been discussed as an obstacle to the presidency — many credited it with swaying evangelicals against him in his failed 2008 bid.

http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/mitts-mormon-moment-pastor-affirms-romneys-faith.php

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Romney guided by Mormon faith

August 30, 2012

The State News (Michigan)

And although Romney has not been so outspoken in his personal life, particularly his adherence to the Mormon faith, the American public has heard how his religion has affected his political views.

State Budget Director John Nixon, who attends the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in East Lansing, 431 E. Saginaw St., said as a Mormon, his beliefs play a central role in other areas of his life.

“As far as religion, I’ve been a Mormon all my life,” Nixon said. “I was baptized when I was 8 years old (and) raised in the belief system, and it helps shape your core values.”

http://www.statenews.com/index.php/article/2012/08/romney_guided_by_mormon_faith

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A look at Mormonism

August 30, 2012

USA Today

Mormonism was born in upstate New York in the 1820s based on the religious visions of Joseph Smith, who said an angel led him to a book containing the religious history of an ancient people.

Smith’s translation was called the Book of Mormon, named for the ancient prophet who he said compiled it.

The early church grew westward, following the path of missionaries dispatched by Smith. But persecution followed the Mormons as they settled in Missouri and then Illinois. After Smith was killed by a mob, the Mormons fled west to Nebraska and eventually settled in Utah — a place in which most Western settlers were uninterested.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2012-08-30/mormonism-religion-history/57444428/1

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The global reach of Mormon faith

August 30, 2012

Global Post

Mitt Romney, who has in the past kept discussion of his religion to a minimum, is expected to speak openly about his Mormon faith during a speech at the Republican National Convention Thursday night when he accepts his party’s nomination for president.

The Associated Press noted that Romney spent 14 years serving as a lay Mormon pastor in Massachusetts — where he also served as Governor — counseling church members and “immigrant converts from Haiti, Cambodia and other countries” on their personal lives.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/culture-lifestyle/world-religion/120830/the-global-reach-mormon-faith

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Mormonism, back in the spotlight

August 30, 2012

Washington Post

As we noted late Wednesday, Mormonism has really fallen off the radar of most Americans, despite Romney’s nomination for president.

That’s about to change.

Paul Ryan and Mike Huckabee addressed Romney’s religion in their speeches Wednesday night, urging evangelicals to vote for Christian values rather than for the one man in the race — Obama — who is an evangelical. And Thursday, Mormonism is expected to be a significant part of Romney’s speech and the night’s overall message.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/08/30/mormonism-back-in-the-spotlight/

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In An Election About the Economy, Mitt Romney Should Embrace His Mormonism

August 30, 2012

Forbes

In campaign 2012 the following statements are almost inexplicably mutually exclusive:

The Church of Jesus Christ Of latter Day Saints is the most economically successful faith community to have ever been established in the United States of America. The United States of America is currently going through its greatest economic crisis in nearly 100 years.

Somehow a determination that these two facts not be connected in this election has prevailed – especially in the mind of the most famous member of the Mormon Church, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. But is that what the American electorate really wants?

I don’t think so.

In campaign 2012 the following statements are almost inexplicably mutually exclusive:

The Church of Jesus Christ Of latter Day Saints is the most economically successful faith community to have ever been established in the United States of America. The United States of America is currently going through its greatest economic crisis in nearly 100 years.

Somehow a determination that these two facts not be connected in this election has prevailed – especially in the mind of the most famous member of the Mormon Church, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. But is that what the American electorate really wants?

I don’t think so.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/cedricmuhammad/2012/08/30/in-an-election-about-the-economy-mitt-romney-should-embrace-his-mormonism/

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Wealth replaces Mormonism as Romney’s defining trait

August 29, 2012

Washington Post

Mitt Romney used to be the Mormon guy. Now, he’s the rich guy.

A new poll from the Washington Post and Pew Research Center shows that Mormonism — which was closely associated with Romney’s early presidential candidacy — has slipped from voters’ minds. It’s replacement as the No. 1 defining characteristic of the GOP nominee?

What else? His wealth.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/08/29/wealth-replaces-mormonism-as-romneys-defining-trait/

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Mormon Faith to Take the Stage

August 30, 2012

Wall Street Journal

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will deliver the invocation. And Grant Bennett, a longtime friend who has served in Mormon leadership roles with Mr. Romney, will speak to the Republican convention here.

The Mormon church counts more than six million U.S. members. But many say they still face a lack of understanding about their Christian faith. During most of his campaign, Mr. Romney hasn’t been inclined to offer much insight.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443864204577619872214026012.html

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Will Romney break his silence on Mormonism?

August 30, 2012

AFP

A hush continues, however, around one of the guiding forces of his life: the practice of his religion with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as Mormonism is formally known.
There is a good reason for this. Many Americans, especially Christian evangelicals who are a key part of the Republican voter base, are deeply suspicious of the religion. Some view it as a cult, even a heresy.
And in a sign of widespread skepticism about the faith, a Bloomberg News poll from March found that more than one in three Americans hold an unfavorable view of the Mormon church.
“There’s the obvious risk of many Christian conservatives within his party who have deep doubts about Mormonism,” said expert Charles Franklin. “That’s the fundamental tactical or strategic reason not to make a big deal out of it.”

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hxqQcv2iwQHNL0OAdhGwcdU1E4aw?docId=CNG.ff1a8f7767d9db44408f5e9f15631b01.3a1

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If Romney Wins, Will Mormons Like the Limelight?

August 30, 2012

Chicago Now (Illinois)

There is a good chance that Willard Mitt Romney next January will be making the White House his home. If he does, he will be the first Mormon to serve as president. I don’t presume to know what this would mean for the country. But it may not be a great public relations coup for the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

Earlier this year in June I wrote a piece about the LDS. I framed the piece in a series of questions. I simply asked whether a few alleged beliefs were indeed real beliefs. I got over 60 comments. Mostly from Mormons and ex-Mormons. I’m a Democrat. So I’m still curious blue.

Perhaps, it should be patriotic to be proud of Mormonism. After all, it is truly an American religion. It’s founder was an American, Joseph Smith. In the 1800s Smith claimed that an angel, Moroni, appeared to him and gave him the Mormon Scriptures. Smith and his early converts were persecuted and driven out of communities by other Christians. And often—as Smith himself was—brutally murdered.

http://www.chicagonow.com/quark-in-the-road/2012/08/if-romney-wins-will-mormons-like-the-limelight/

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Romney’s Faith is an Asset, Not a Problem

August 30, 2012

Commentary

Heading into this year’s Republican primaries, it was an open question as to whether Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith would be a hindrance to his presidential hopes, as it may have been four years earlier. Evangelical resistance to voting for a Mormon was exploited by Mike Huckabee in 2008. Last October, when a pastor affiliated with Texas Governor Rick Perry spoke up about Mormons being part of a cult and said it was acceptable for voters to reject a candidate because of his faith, it was reasonable to wonder whether religious prejudice might play a role in this election too. But this time the attacks on Mormonism didn’t work and tonight Romney will be in the spotlight as he accepts his party’s nomination.

Just how much Romney will talk about his faith in the speech is a subject for speculation. But rather than shy away from it, tonight’s convention program will talk about the subject openly. Given that faith has always been central to him, that’s appropriate. But it’s also good politics. Though Democrats have at times spoken as if they could profit from a campaign aimed at portraying Romney as “weird” — coded language that could only be a reference to the uber-conventional Republican’s faith — the more the public understands about the candidate’s religiosity, charitable giving and belief in helping others, it can only help him.

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/08/30/romneys-faith-is-asset-not-a-problem-mormon-church/

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Republicans applaud Romney’s focus on Mormon faith, even as U.S. divided over religion

August 30, 2012

National Post

John Swallow knows what it’s like to be roused in the middle of the night by the call of a Mormon in distress. Like Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, he worked as bishop at his local Church of Latter-day Saints, caring for the well-being of his “flock.”

“It does take a lot of commitment,” said Mr. Swallow, who is running for attorney general in Utah. “And it takes a great empathy for people and concern for their challenges, because we all have challenges.”

As another Mormon delegate from Utah put it, “It’s not a job you do to be cool.”

http://life.nationalpost.com/2012/08/30/republicans-applaud-romneys-focus-on-mormon-faith-even-as-country-divided-over-religion/

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Romney expected to explain Mormon faith during speech

August 30, 2012

WTVM (Ohio)

When he accepts the Republican nomination Thursday night, Mitt Romney will become the first major party candidate who is a Mormon.

And he’s expected to dedicate at least some of his acceptance speech explaining a faith that leaves him outside of the historical presidential norm.

The invocation for tonight’s proceedings will be given by Ken Hutchins, who is a Mormon leader in Massachusetts, and his wife Priscilla. Scheduled to do some introductions is Grant Bennett, who also is Mormon.

http://www.wtvm.com/story/19420828/romney-expected-to-explain-mormon-faith-during-speech

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Profiles in Romney’s personal service, Mormonism take stage at GOP convention

August 30, 2012

Daily Caller

So, what specifically did Mitt Romney do as our pastor?

For one or two evenings each week and several hours every weekend — week after week and year after year — he met with those seeking help with the burdens of real life, burdens we all face at one time or another: unemployment, sickness, financial distress, loneliness.

Mitt prayed with and counseled church members seeking spiritual direction, single mothers raising children, couples with marital problems, youth with addictions, immigrants separated from their families, and individuals whose heat had been shut off.

To uphold the dignity — and respect the privacy — of those who came, he met with them in private and in confidence. He has upheld that trust.

Mitt’s response to those who came was compassion in all its beautiful varieties: He had a listening ear and a helping hand.

Drawing on the skills and resources of those in our congregation, Mitt provided food and housing, rides to the doctor and companions to sit with those who were ill.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/30/profiles-in-romneys-personal-service-mormonism-take-the-stage-at-the-republican-national-convention

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Word Association: Voters See Romney Increasingly as “Rich”, Not “Mormon”

August 30, 2012

Slate

I say “Mitt Romney” and you say, _______? Apparently, for an increasing number of Americans, the answer is either “honest,” “businessman,” or “rich.”

A new report from Pew takes a look at the results of a trio of word association surveys conducted last fall, in March 2012, and just before this week’s convention. The results indicate a changing portrait of the newly-minted Republican presidential nominee, who was once defined largely by his particular brand of religion and is now known more for his bank account and professional resume, according to the results.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2012/08/30/mitt_romney_rich_businessman_and_honest_in_new_survey.html

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Mormon church-goers recall how Romney helped dying teen

August 30, 2012

BBC (United Kingdom)

Members of Mitt Romney’s Mormon church have spoken at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, and described how the presidential nominee has served his church community.

Among those who spoke were Ted and Pat Oparowski, who told the crowd about how Mr Romney befriended their son, David, who was terminally ill with Hodgkins disease.

Mr and Mrs Oparowski brought tears to the eyes of those gathered as they remembered how Mr Romney helped David write a will and also spoke at the boy’s funeral.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19432556

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Ann Romney delivers a Mormon moment for Mormon women

August 29, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Many Mormons, no matter their political leanings, seemed proud of the GOP’s first lady hopeful.
On the Internet, they described Ann Romney as “strong and inspiring” or as “beautiful, successful in her family and marriage, strong-minded, decisive, confident, forceful.” Some said the candidate’s wife was “relatable, appealing to women by talking about wives and mothers being the glue of the nation.”
Many also noted a kind of “LDS General Conference cadence.”

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/blogsfaithblog/54789059-180/romney-mormon-mitt-lds.html.csp

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Romney confronts questions on Mormon faith and career as a corporate raider

August 30, 2012

The Telegraph (United Kingdom)

For the first time, the 65-year-old was to be introduced by close colleagues from his work as a bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and a private equity boss at Bain Capital.

Mr Romney has rejected calls to speak candidly about his devout faith, or to answer repeated attacks from Mr Obama that he made his $250 million (£160 million) fortune as a heartless corporate raider.

Ken Hutchins, who in 1994 succeeded Mr Romney as the top Mormon bishop in Boston, was to deliver the invocation – the first blessing of a party convention by a Latter-Day Saint.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-election/9510018/Romney-confronts-questions-on-Mormon-faith-and-career-as-a-corporate-raider.html

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Romney’s Mormon Faith Enters Spotlight

August 30, 2012

Voice of America

Mitt Romney is the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to be nominated for president by a major party. But Mormonism, as the faith is commonly called, is a mystery to many Americans. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky met a politician in majority-Mormon Utah who is also a Romney relative.

http://www.voanews.com/media/video/1498641.html

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Mentioning Mormonism

August 30, 2012

World Magazine

Team Romney hopes that voters skeptical of the Mormon faith will feel more assured after Ryan, a Catholic, and Huckabee, an evangelical Christian and ordained Southern Baptist minister, took nonthreatening stances on Mormonism.

“Let me clear the air about whether guys like me would only support an evangelical,” Huckabee said. “I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than I do about where he takes this country.”

http://www.worldmag.com/webextra/19902

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Mormons outside of Utah feel a kinship, pride with Romney

August 29, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

When Mitt Romney addresses the Republican National Convention Thursday night, he will do it as the first Mormon major-party presidential nominee, a moment that members of the faith from around the country say they are eager to see.

“That’s not the reason I’ve supported his policies, but it will be a breakthrough. It will be just like John Kennedy was” for Catholics when he was nominated, said Lynne Hansen, a delegate and Mormon from Hawaii. “It will be historic and very personally fulfilling and exciting.”

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/54791415-90/romney-faith-religion-lds.html.csp

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Defining Romney, In A Single Word

August 29, 2012

National Public Radio

What one word best describes Mitt Romney?

That’s a question the Pew Research Center and The Washington Post posed to the public last fall (before the campaign began in earnest), this spring (in the midst of a bitter GOP primary fight), and again in recent days (on the eve of the Republican National Convention).

“Mormon” was the top choice — and by a wide margin — last fall.

“No/No Way/Nope” topped the list this spring, barely edging out “rich.”

“Honest” is now the word of choice, followed closely by “business/businessman” and “rich.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/08/29/160276369/defining-romney-in-a-single-word

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GOP sees Romney’s Mormon faith as vital in building image

August 29, 2012

Poughkeepsie Journal (New York)

Nancy Skeels said she’s proud, as a Republican and a resident of the upstate New York community where the Mormon faith was born, to have a fellow believer at the top of her party’s presidential ticket.

“I think that people in general need to know what he has in terms of personal principles and standards,” said Skeels, a retiree from Palmyra and a member of the Wayne County Republican committee.

Palmyra is where Joseph Smith Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saints movement, first published the Book of Mormon. The book was based on a Christian history of indigenous Americans that Smith said was inscribed on golden plates hidden in nearby hills and revealed to him by an angel.

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20120830/NEWS/308300018/GOP-sees-Romney-s-Mormon-faith-vital-building-image?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7C%7Cs

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Romney speech touches on faith

August 30, 2012

CNN

In the excerpts, Romney a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, plans to speak often of his faith although the excepts make no mention of the LDS Church or Mormonism by name.

But Romney, who has both led a Mormon congregation as a bishop and a regional group of churches as stake president, will speak to specific practices of his church and his experiences.

“Like a lot of families in a new place with no family, we found kinship with a wide circle of friends through our church. When we were new to the community it was welcoming and as the years went by, it was a joy to help others who had just moved to town or just joined our church,” the excepts say.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/30/romney-speech-touches-on-faith/comment-page-1/

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Jeb Bush: Romney’s Mormon faith won’t be an issue

August 30, 2012

Washington Post

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush says he does not foresee Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith emerging as a major focal point in the general election.
“I don’t think it will be an issue” in the general election, Bush said at a Washington Post/Bloomberg breakfast in Tampa this morning.
Bush added that “it would be hard to imagine” how President Obama’s campaign or its allies would “demonize” it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/08/30/jeb-bush-romneys-mormon-faith-wont-be-an-issue/

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Romney Campaign Focuses Spotlight On Mormons

August 30, 2012

National Public Radio

SONNY: You know, I found that this political season, knowing that there would be a great deal of media attention on the church, I was honestly a little bit nervous, being a Mormon myself, and very devout and practicing. But I found the conversation to be both fairly accurate and very respectful, which was a little bit surprising, but I’m very grateful for that.

CONAN: What, in particular, has impressed you?

SONNY: Well that they haven’t jumped to judgments about what certain doctrines mean. They present the doctrines and the practices of Mormons, but they don’t make judgment valuations about those things. They just present the facts, for the most part, without making quality judgments.

CONAN: And when you say they, you mean us, the news media?

SONNY: The media, yeah.

http://www.npr.org/2012/08/30/160322675/romney-campaign-focuses-spotlight-on-mormons

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Romney makes Mormonism part of his big night

August 30, 2012

Associated Press

Starting in the 1980s, Romney was a bishop in the Boston suburb of Belmont, a job akin to the pastor of a congregation. He then served as a stake president, the top Mormon authority in his region, which meant he presided over several congregations in a district similar to a diocese.

He counseled Latter-day Saints on their most personal concerns, regarding marriage, parenting, finances and faith. He worked with immigrant converts from Haiti, Cambodia and other countries.

Grant Bennett, an assistant to Romney at the Belmont congregation, has in the past described how Romney built relationships with other religious groups around his Belmont, Mass., hometown, after a suspicious fire in 1984 destroyed a new Mormon meeting house there.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jkKdpoIO_aDrlOMtP1gIIxPjvu_w?docId=b019d9be8aac49ddaa290ca375707b7b

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Convention Voices Hope to Add Texture to Romney’s Faith

August 29, 2012

New York Times

“Maybe some people who are very rich or on top of the world look down on us peons, but he doesn’t,” she added, sounding the precise notes that others — fellow Republicans, fellow Mormons — have been urging Mr. Romney to share.

Whether or not to address his faith has been a source of disagreement inside the Romney campaign for months, with many family members (and other Mormons) arguing that Mr. Romney needed to disclose more about his life inside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and political advisers,

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/30/us/politics/romneys-mormon-faith-in-convention-spotlight.html

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