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12 January 2012

Pew Mormon Study Highlights Christianity, Religiosity of Latter-day Saints

January 12, 2012

newsroom.lds.org

Mormons’ faith, beliefs and practices translate to satisfaction with their lives according to a report studying members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the United States released today by the Pew Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The study, a nationwide survey of 1,019 Latter-day Saints, sought to determine the levels of religiosity among Church members and found that 77% of members say they attend religious services at least once a week, 83% say they pray every day, 98% say they believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and 97% describe their faith as a Christian religion. The study confirms that Mormons exhibit higher levels of religious commitment than many other religious groups and believe firmly in the distinctive tenants of their faith.

“The nationwide survey … finds that Mormons share many of the religious practices and beliefs of traditional Christianity,” the study says.

http://newsroom.lds.org/article/pew-mormon-study-christianity-religiosity-latter-day-saints

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Studying Mormonism

January 11, 2012

Washington Post

A Pew study shows how Mormons view their own faith, life priorities and politics, as well as how they compare with the general population.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/studying-mormonism/2012/01/11/gIQAfsx6rP_graphic.html

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Poll finds Mormons worry about acceptance but embrace differences

January 11, 2012

Washington Post

The first major independent poll of U.S. Mormons describes a conservative, devout community highly concerned about being accepted even as it embraces beliefs about gender roles, premarital sex and religious commitment that are well outside the mainstream.

The Pew Forum poll, to be released Thursday, offers an unusually detailed look at an American-born religion at a time when voters are craving information about GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, a Mormon who was once a bishop in his church.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/poll-finds-mormons-worry-about-acceptance-but-embrace-differences/2012/01/10/gIQAPCxRsP_story.html

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A third of Mormons say Mitt Romney’s religion will count against him

January 12, 2012

The Guardian (United Kingdom)

One-third of Mormons in the US believe that American voters are not ready to elect Mitt Romney, or any other member of their church, as president.

A survey of adherents to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) released on Thursday found that almost half of Mormons in the US considered themselves more discriminated against than African Americans.

According to the research by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, suspicion spills over to political life with 32% of Mormons believing that Romney’s religion will count against him in a presidential election. A little more than half say US voters will accept a Mormon in the White House.

While 97% of Mormons regard themselves as Christians, large numbers of other Americans do not because of the church’s origins and some of its practices, including a belief that its present leader is a prophet from God.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/12/third-mormons-mitt-romney-religion?newsfeed=true

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Mormons Uneasy in the Spotlight

January 12, 2012

New York Times

A new poll of Mormons in the United States finds that while one of their own is making unprecedented progress in a bid for the presidency, many feel uneasy in the spotlight, misunderstood and unaccepted in the American mainstream.

Despite this, a majority of the Mormons polled said they believed that acceptance of Mormonism was rising and that the American people were ready to elect a Mormon as president. It is a sunny outlook for a religion that is consistently ranked near the bottom, along with Muslims and atheists, on favorability surveys of various groups.

“On the one hand, Mormons do feel they are discriminated against, and that their coverage in the news and, even more so, in popular culture isn’t helping,” said David Campbell, associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame and a Mormon who served as a consultant on the poll. “But you also find this strain of optimism that things are going to get better and this is an important moment for Mormonism.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/us/mormons-uneasy-in-the-spotlight-but-see-gains-poll-finds.html?_r=1

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Mormons in the mainstream

January 12, 2012

Washington Post

Something novel happened this morning.

Over the years we’ve learned quite a bit from opinion polls about how Americans view Mormons. Clearly, there is a big knowledge gap about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, complicated by a lot of erroneous assumptions.

But this morning we saw something different with the release of an important study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which put questions to Mormons themselves about how they see their place in the religious and secular world, and what they think is important about their own faith. It delivers some fascinating data.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/post/mormons-in-the-mainstream/2012/01/12/gIQANtFGtP_blog.html

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Mormons confident US ready to elect first LDS president, survey shows

January 12, 2012

Fox News

America could be standing on the precipice of the “Mormon Moment,” according to a new survey that says most members of the religion believe the country is ready to elect a Mormon president.

The just-released Pew Survey, “Mormons in America,” overall shows a mixed bag of ideas and feelings Mormons have about how the general public sees them. Sixty-two percent of Mormons surveyed say the American people are uninformed about Mormonism. And nearly half (46 percent) say they face discrimination.

But 63 percent of Mormons say acceptance of their religion is on the rise. And more than half (56 percent) said the American people are ready for a Mormon to sit in the Oval Office.
“Even though there is this recognition on the part of Mormons of some of the challenges they face in terms of acceptance in American society, they also exhibit, a sense that things may be changing and express quite high levels of satisfaction with their lives,” said Greg Smith, Pew Study Senior Researcher.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01/11/mormons-confident-us-ready-to-elect-first-lds-president-survey-shows/

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Poll looks at Mormon political views

January 12, 2012

Politico

With Mitt Romney leading the Republican presidential field, a detailed new poll of Mormons is shedding light on a community that feels ambivalent about whether the country is ready for a president of their faith.
The majority of U.S. Mormons, 66 percent, describe their ideology as conservative, while 22 percent identify themselves as moderate and 8 percent as liberal, according to a survey of more than 1,000 Mormons across the country released by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life on Thursday.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/71362.html

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Mormons say U.S. is ready for a president of their faith

January 11, 2012

Los Angeles Times (California)

Call it the Mitt Moment, the Mormon Moment — by whatever name, this would seem to be a pretty good time to be a Mormon in America. And it is, according to a survey of American Mormons being released Thursday, even though many church members say they still face discrimination and hostility.

Mormons are generally more satisfied with their lives and communities than most Americans, and a majority believe that America is ready to elect a Mormon president, says the survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The survey provides a snapshot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — the formal name — at a time when one of its members, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, could become the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major political party.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2012/01/mormons-say-us-is-ready-for-a-president-of-their-faith.html

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Mormons like Mitt Romney more than Jon Huntsman but question his electability

January 12, 2012

Christian Science Monitor

In one high-profile example of the potential political drawbacks of Romney’s faith, the Rev. Robert Jeffress called Mormonism a “cult” at the Values Voter Summit in October.

While there is a considerable feeling among Mormons of being misunderstood, 63 percent of those surveyed said that acceptance of Mormonism was on the rise. Moreover, Mormons also said that gays and lesbians as well as Muslims suffer more discrimination.

Overall, 1.9 percent of US adults describe themselves as Mormon. The survey of 1,019 adult Mormons has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2012/0112/Mormons-like-Mitt-Romney-more-than-Jon-Huntsman-but-question-his-electability

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‘Mormon moment’ examined in U.S. survey

January 12, 2012

Chicago Tribune (Illinois)

Most Mormons believe their religion is not well understood by Americans and many sense hostility but a survey done as Mormonism gains political and cultural prominence shows they are also optimistic that tolerance of their faith is rising.

The New York Times and other media have dubbed this the “Mormon moment” with two Mormons – Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman – vying for the Republican nomination to run for U.S. president, a hit play (“The Book of Mormon”), a popular cable television series (HBO’s “Big Love”) and the best-selling “Twilight” vampire books written by a Mormon.

“We wanted to find out how Mormons themselves are responding to the Mormon moment,” said Greg Smith, chief researcher at the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, which surveyed 1,019 adult Mormons in October and November 2011.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-religion-mormonsl1e8cadar-20120111,0,2770981.story

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Majority of Mormons think US ready for president of their faith

January 12, 2012

Boston Globe

With Mitt Romney, formerly a leader in the Mormon Church, considered a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, 56 percent of Mormons in America say they believe the country is ready to elect a Mormon president, according to a Pew Research Center study released today.

“Mormons are saying we recognize there are these challenges and barriers to understanding,” said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at the center and an author of the study. “At the same time, things may also be changing. There’s also this real opportunity as well.”

http://bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2012/01/12/majority-mormons-believe-ready-for-president-their-faith-pew-survey-says/LwiyRBpuKUOrCCufWdHzVJ/story.html

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Jon Heder: Mormonism Prevented Taking Raunchy Roles

January 11, 2012

Huffington Post

“I did get a lot of offers, especially back then, of stuff that I’m not comfortable with,” he told Vulture on Tuesday. “A lot of the projects just seemed too raunchy. Quite honestly, a lot of it was that: the raunch factor. I’ve never been interested in doing those kinds of projects.”

One of the guiding lights that Heder followed while navigating his suddenly booming career was his Mormon religion, he said.

“Absolutely it comes from how I was raised. It’s just kind of who I am,” he said. “These are the standards I live by and whatever comes my way in the future, whether filmmaking or animation or whatever, I’m going to do my best to live by those standards.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/11/jon-heder-mormonism-kept-raunchy-roles_n_1199328.html

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Mitt Romney and the Curse of Blackness

January 12, 2012

Huffington Post

When it comes to others’ choice of religions, I’m pretty much a live-and-let-live guy. In fact, I don’t believe in religious litmus tests of any kind. Frankly, I think they are self-righteous and insulting. Yet I must admit that there is something about Mitt Romney’s religion that I find deeply troubling, particularly in light of the possibility that he could become the next president of this nation. What concerns me is this: the Book of Mormon, the book that Mitt Romney and all Mormons embrace as divinely revealed scripture that is more sacred, more true, and more inerrant than any other holy book on earth, declares that black people are cursed. That’s right. Cursed. And not only accursed, but lazy and aesthetically ugly to boot.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/obery-m-hendricks-jr-phd/mitt-romney-curse-blackness_b_1200470.html

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Huntsman condemns video attacking Romney’s faith, denies involvement

January 11, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is condemning a YouTube video purporting to come from his campaign that attacks rival Mitt Romney for his belief in the LDS Church and the faith’s previous ban on blacks holding Mormon priesthood.

The clip calls Romney’s religion a racist organization because it did not allow black men full privileges in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and questions why Romney didn’t speak out about the ban when he attended LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University.

“Do we really want a racist in the White House?” a computer-generated female voice intones in the video.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/53281720-90/huntsman-mormon-romney-campaign.html.csp

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Jon Heder on Napoleon Dynamite, Avoiding Raunchy Roles, and Fellow Mormon Mitt Romney

January 11, 2012

New York Magazine

Is being a Mormon why you avoid raunchy material?

Absolutely it comes from how I was raised. It’s just kind of who I am. These are the standards I live by and whatever comes my way in the future, whether filmmaking or animation or whatever, I’m going to do my best to live by those standards.

This was a huge year for Mormonism: Jimmer and The Book of Mormon swept the Tonys, and now you have Mitt Romney and Napoleon Dynamite is back. Are you proud of your people?

I’m always proud of my people. But I don’t watch much sports. Sports and politics are the two things that I’m not huge into. I guess I follow politics more than sports. But I’m proud of those guys for upholding the parts of American culture that I’m not into.

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2012/01/jon-heder-on-napoleon-dynamite-avoiding-raunchy-roles-and-fellow-mormon-mitt-romney.html

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Jon Heder, ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Star and Mormon, on His Career: ‘A Lot of the Projects Seemed Too Raunchy’

January 11, 2012

Moviefone

It is still hard to imagine that someone like Heder, who seemed poised to appear in more big-budget comedies, completely dropped off the map. However, he says (or claims, anyway) that it’s just because he was being “picky” about his career, some of it due to his beliefs as a Mormon.

“I still am [picky]. I enjoy success and I certainly want the projects I did to do well. But I realized how happy I am trying to be somewhat normal without becoming huge. But I did get a lot of offers, especially back then, of stuff that I’m not comfortable with. A lot of the projects just seemed too raunchy. Quite honestly, a lot of it was that: the raunch factor. I’ve never been interested in doing those kinds of projects.”

http://news.moviefone.com/2012/01/11/napoleon-dynamite-series-jon-heder_n_1199424.html?ref=moviefone

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Mitt Romney Pressured Single Mother To Give Up Baby For Adoption While He Was A Mormon Bishop, New Book Claims

January 12, 2012

Huffington Post

An upcoming book about Mitt Romney claims that the GOP presidential candidate, then a Mormon Bishop, once pressured a woman to give her unborn baby up for adoption.

Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, adapting portions of their book The Real Romney for this month’s issue of Vanity Fair, recount the 1983 pregnancy saga of Peggie Hayes. According to the book, Hayes was a single mother raising a young daughter at the time. Romney was her church leader and helped set up the 23-year-old nurse’s aide with what the authors describe as “odd jobs for other church members.” Hayes recalled that Romney “was really good to us. He did a lot for us.”

When Hayes became pregnant that year, Romney sat down with her and “said something about the church’s adoption agency.” Hayes, who recalled that she “wanted to” have the second child, eventually came to the realization that Romney “was urging her to give up her soon-to-be-born son for adoption, saying that was what the church wanted.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/12/mitt-romney-pressure-adoption-book_n_1200865.html

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Mitt Romney threatened pregnant, unwed mom with excommunication, book claims

January 11, 2012

Global Post

Mitt Romney once demanded that a single mom give up her baby for adoption or face excommunication from the church, according to excerpts from a new biography by two Boston Globe journalists.

Romney allegedly made the threat while serving as bishop of a Mormon congregation near Boston in the early 1980s, a passage in “The Real Romney,” by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, claims.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120111/mitt-romney-mormon-church-single-mother-excommunication

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Mitt Romney Allegedly Bullied Single Mother into Giving Child Away

January 12, 2012

Gather

A recent book written by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman is calling Mitt Romney out on some pretty staggering accusations. A woman by the name of Peggie Hayes knew the career politician back when he was a simple “bishop” for a Mormon church. At the time he was her bishop, but she considered him a close and dear friend. However, their friendship didn’t stop him from allegedly convincing her to give her child up for adoption while she was pregnant and unwed. Well, to be clear, she wasn’t quite “unwed.” She was divorced from her husband. So the Mormon church apparently sees it as more suitable to rob children from their mothers even if their fathers left them behind.

http://politics.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474981016579

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Compassionate Mitt Romney Told Unmarried Woman She’d Go to Hell if She Kept Her Baby

January 11, 2012

Jezebel

Romney, of course, has denied that the incident occurred. Even if it had, he didn’t have the power to excommunicate the woman; that power lies with a council of church officials. And keeping one’s child to raise in a single parent environment isn’t considered a grave sin worthy of excommunication, either.

http://jezebel.com/5875237/compassionate-mitt-romney-told-unmarried-woman-shed-go-to-hell-if-she-kept-her-baby

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2 Dems, 2 Republicans explain how Mormon teachings fit their politics

January 11, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)

Four LDS politicians appeared on stage Wednesday to explain how their religious views mesh nicely with their party’s political stands. Two happen to be Republicans, and two are Democrats.

They argued Wednesday that it is possible to be not only a faithful Mormon and a Democrat, or Republican, but also pro-choice or pro-life on abortion or opposites on immigration policy, gay marriage and other issues.

“Here we are: four of us with similar religious views. Yet I see my views on the Democratic side and the values we espouse as being so aligned with my religious views. And they see the same thing, where I may see some of their views as somewhat mean-spirited,” Rep. Carol Moss, D-Holladay, said Wednesday at a discussion on LDS values and political partisanship at Utah Valley University.

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/53281657-90/lds-views-political-religious.html.csp

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Geraldo Rivera: ‧l padre de Romney es de Mexico! Who Knew?

January 11, 2012

Fox News

Taibbi traveled to what remains of the ancestral home of the Romney’s of Mexico, Colonia Juarez and Colonia Dublan, two Mormon settlements just 175 miles south of the U.S. border. There Taibbi spoke with Leighton Romney, the candidate’s second cousin and recounted the family’s saga of South of the Rio Grande.

Like many things 19th Century Mormon, the story is funky. So let me qualify it by saying I have never met a 21st Century Mormon I didn’t like. Further, my impression is that those who practice the religion these days are members of the most impressive religious sect in the country. The hilarious Broadway smash ‘Book of Mormon’ aside, (and whatever credo floats your personal theological boat,) seldom has the world seen a group that so effectively teaches adherents to be the best they can be by doing the best they can for others, as well as themselves.

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/01/11/geraldo-rivera-el-padre-de-romney-es-de-mexico-who-knew/

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Gayest city in America site of Mormon HQ

January 11, 2012

Examiner

Ironically, the gayest city in America is (drum roll) Salt Lake City, Utah, headquarters of the Mormon Church (for LDS). When The Advocate released its 2012 list for the LGBT community, who knew this city would hold the top spot this year?

In the past, when the popular publication released its annual list of the gayest places in the USA, the criteria used in arriving at the top finalists were objectively driven. However, that’s been replaced this year with a bit of tongue-in-cheek mixed with statistics.

http://www.examiner.com/tampa-top-news-in-tampa-bay/gayest-city-america-site-of-mormon-hq

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‘Throne vision’ motif points to Book of Mormon authenticity

January 11, 2012

Deseret News

Many years ago, I presented a paper to an academic conference in Boston in which I argued that the earliest version of Muhammad’s prophetic call represented another such story, and, in support of my claim, I circulated a comparative chart of several ancient throne theophany accounts. Without comment, I included 1 Nephi 1 in my list — because it provides an unusually good example of the phenomenon:

Lehi “was carried away in a vision, even that he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God” (1 Nephi 1:8).

In these accounts, a “historical prologue” typically provides the background for the theophany, and place, time and surrounding events play a significant role.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700214472/Throne-vision-motif-points-to-Book-of-Mormon-authenticity.html

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Romney hopes to turn South Carolina into rivals’ last stand

January 12, 2012

Action 4 News (Texas)

South Carolina’s less visible politics are often darker than even the brutal attack ads that are running out in the open. Tompkins refused to address just what the campaign would do in the face of surreptitious attacks on Romney’s Mormon faith. His team has already sent out mailers emphasizing that he’s been steady in his faith. It’s a contrast with Gingrich, who recently converted to Catholicism.

“We just have to be prepared for anything and everything and be disciplined with the message and how to cut through the misinformation,” Tompkins said.

Asked if he was prepared for a whisper campaign about his Mormon religion or other aspects of his background, Romney said: “Politics ain’t bean bags and I know it’s going to get tough and no one’s going to be happy if things are said that are untrue. But I know that is sometimes part of the underbelly of politics.”

http://www.valleycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=706708#.Tw7qOKVrPd4

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¿El Presidente?

January 11, 2012

Foreign Policy

He might look and sound like an Anglo-American, but Mitt Romney could make a real run at being the first Latino president. And it wouldn’t be just in the sense that Toni Morrison called Bill Clinton the “first black president” or Latinos and even Muslims hoped Texas Gov. George W. Bush, apparently sympathetic to their issues, might be their honorary “first” when he got to the White House. As recapped this week on NBC’s Rock Center, Romney’s great-grandfather settled in a Mormon colony in Mexico in 1885. About three dozen Romneys still live in the northern state of Chihuahua, holding U.S. and Mexican citizenship, speaking Spanish and English, and described vividly by Nick Miroff in the Washington Post. They form one of a few enclaves started in the 19th century by Mormons who left the United States amid growing anti-Mormon sentiment, largely over polygamy (which the Romneys no longer practice in Mexico, either).

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/01/11/el_presidente

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Dem Drives Anti-Mormon Card

January 11, 2012

National Review

On MSNBC just now, South Carolina Democratic chair Dick Harpootlian painted Republican voters there as potentially refusing to vote for a Mormon, while trying to make it so. From memory: It does not bother me that he may believe the Garden of Eden is in Missouri, but it may bother them.

This is an ugly card and I hope Republicans looking to keep Romney from the nomination do not run with it in the coming days.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/287836/dem-drives-anti-mormon-card-kathryn-jean-lopez

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South Carolina GOP Chair Discusses Primary

January 11, 2012

National Public Radio

CONNELLY: You know, I think here it is kind of expected, that people want to know a little bit about your faith and are you true to your faith, that kind of thing. But, you know, I really do think the whole Mormonism issue, if that’s where you’re headed, is kind of overblown because as a Christian myself, I can tell you, people aren’t that worried about the religion as much as the relationship. They’re concerned about your relationship to Christ and how you apply that religion isn’t as important to them.

But having a faith matters and having a character matters and people do expect that out of candidates.

BLOCK: I did hear some of that concern voiced on my last trip to South Carolina, where there were some conservative voters who said, look, I do not believe that Mormonism represents a true Christian faith and that will come back to hurt Mitt Romney here.

CONNELLY: Well, you know, four years ago, Bob Jones himself endorsed Mitt Romney. The public perception of Dr. Jones was, boy, he’s a hard-line fundamentalist Baptist and there’s no way that he’ll ever accept a Mormon. And that was kind of the narrative, the message that went out. And when Dr. Jones endorsed him, all that kind of went away because he said himself, I’m not looking for a guy who’s theologically perfect. I’m looking for a guy who can run the country. And so I really think that’s an overblown story, to be honest with you.

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/11/145055088/chair-of-s-c-gop-discusses-upcoming-primary

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