This Mormon Moment: Mitt Romney at the RNC

September 3, 2012


Post by Joseph M –

The DNC will begin tomorrow, and President Obama will have his moment on the stage to highlight his accomplishments of the past four years and his plan for the next four.  But I would like to reflect back on Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech; a lot has been made of this “Mormon moment,” and Thursday night at the RNC in Tampa finally visited the source of this attention on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Because without Mitt Romney, the Church would not be in the spotlight as much as we’ve seen in the past year.  (A day hasn’t gone by without a new articles appearing about Mormons, their faith, their practices, their doctrines, and even their unauthorized Broadway musicals.)

So the Romney team finally decided to focus on the governor’s service in church by featuring, as speakers, one of his counselors and three members of his Massachusetts ward while he was Bishop.   The RNC delegates were clearly moved by their talks, and the panning cameras caught more than a few people shedding tears.  Of course, this led David Brooks and Mark Shields, who have been co-hosting the RNC with Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill for the PBS Newshour, to ponder as to why we haven’t seen these folks on campaign ads for months now.  They went on to declare this a missed opportunity for the Romney campaign and termed it, “campaign malpractice.”

I was also deeply moved by their talks and what these “character witnesses” had to say.  They reminded me of the difficulty of the calling of a bishop, and the number of bishops who have personally blessed my life in the past.  I am grateful for the countless opportunities for service within the Church, and the resulting blessings that come from the work of the gospel.  Additionally, I feel confident that Mitt Romney was a great bishop, and I acknowledge that he is a man of compassion and faith.  President Obama said,“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.”

So Mitt Romney addressed the convention, and he returned to the themes of the week: job creation, a strong military, help for the middle class, and he continued to push the message of Obama’s leadership as faded hope and glory and a series of broken promises.  He also continued the work of telling his story – relating the history of his father’s rise to politics, his time at Bain, and his experience of serving in his church community.  As he ended his speech, the crowd took to their feet, the balloons and confetti dropped, and his and Paul Ryan’s families joined them on stage – and I sat back and thought, “they look so Mormon!” (And trust me, this was a good thing!)

While I do not agree with Romney, and I will be voting for Obama this November, I do pause and reflect on the magnitude of this Morment moment.  Of course, I would rather us Mormons not receive all of this exposure; I love my church, and I find it hard to hear some of the negativity that has come our way during this election cycle.  However, with Mitt Romney receiving the Republican nomination, many in America have now heard our collective Mormon voices.  And I hope that our small efforts at this website, the Facebook group, and national organizing might also have been a portion of this.  We Mormons are a part of the American story; we believe in Christ, and we believe strongly.

When we first had the idea of creating this website to represent Mormons who support Obama, I spoke to a friend about it, and he commented, “that is a big responsibility.”   This increased my anxiety for what we were setting out to do.  And so much more for any man that runs for president: he represents this country and will be linked to our national identity.  In that same vein, Governor Romney, whether we like it or not, has been the face of our church for some months now, and he will also be forever connected with the nation’s view of Mormonism.  For that, I honor and respect him and his family.   Whether he wins or loses in 2012, I wish him success, and I trust that he will honorably serve (whether his community, nation, or church,) and for this I am thankful.



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21 Comments on “This Mormon Moment: Mitt Romney at the RNC”

  1. Kathy Mayeda Says:

    Let me respond to this with a little anti-Romney nastiness. The presentation of Mitt Romney at the RNC was too little, too late. At some point the candidate needs to take responsibility for things like his taxes, his off-shore investments, Bain from 1999-2002, and his negative and deceitful campaign. It can’t all be blamed on the accountants, the fact that his money is in a “blind trust”, “I was no longer with the company”, or super PACs beyond his control. He does have the power to take control of his negative message, and not by complaining that President Obama’s campaign is one of “division, anger, and hate,” and “small-minded”. He insults our intelligence by calling our president’s policies a failure (when we all know it is the Republican Congress who have blocked progress at every turn). I know people who know Mitt Romney personally who say that he is a very kind and honest person–significantly discrepant from the negative liar we see on television every day. He reflects poorly on the church, and upon all of us, and I resent it.

    • Darlene Fields Says:

      Thank you. I am glad someone has said this. At some point doesn’t our character in all aspects of our life matter? This has been troubling me all along and I have been struggling with this. I want this to be a non-hate discussion, but doesn’t the discussion have to be honest as well.

    • K. Lineauer Says:

      Here is something you might like to think about — looks as if a lot of “greedy” groups have profited from the “underhanded shenanigans” pursued by Bain Capital. I haven’t heard any of them complaining!! And that includes Michelle and Obama’s undergraduate schools. Not to mention their graduate alma mater.

      As Democrats convene in Charlotte this week, they likely will double down on their claim that Bain Capital is really the Bain Crime Family. They will accuse Republican nominee Mitt Romney and Bain’s other “greedy” co-founders of stealing their profits, evading taxes, and lighting cigars with $100 bills on their yachts. But Democrats will ignore this inconvenient truth: Bain’s private-equity investments have enriched dozens of organizations and millions of individuals in the Democratic base — including some who scream most loudly for President Obama’s reelection.

      Government-employee pension funds are the chief beneficiaries of Bain Capital’s economic stewardship. New York–based Preqin uses public documents, news accounts, and Freedom of Information Act requests to track private-equity holdings. Since 2000, Preqin reports, the following funds have entrusted some $1.56 billion to Bain:

      Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund ($2.2 million)
      Indiana Public Retirement System ($39.3 million)
      Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System ($177.1 million)
      Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension System ($19.5 million)
      Maryland State Retirement and Pension System ($117.5 million)
      Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada ($20.3 million)
      State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio ($767.3 million)
      Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System ($231.5 million)
      Employees Retirement System of Rhode Island ($25.0 million)
      San Diego County Employees Retirement Association ($23.5 million)
      Teacher Retirement System of Texas ($122.5 million)
      Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System ($15.0 million)

      These pension funds aggregate the savings of millions of unionized teachers, social workers, public-health personnel, and first responders. Many of them would be startled to learn that their nest eggs, or even their current pensions, are incubated by the company that Romney launched and the financiers whom he hired.
      Major universities have profited from Bain’s expertise. According to Infrastructure Investor, Bain Capital Ventures Fund I (launched in 2001) managed wealth for “endowments and foundations such as Columbia, Princeton, and Yale universities.” The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman noted on July 18 that Harvard “has also invested with Bain.” Thus, Michelle and Barack Obama’s undergraduate campuses (Princeton and Columbia, respectively) and the university where they earned their law degrees (Harvard) all have enjoyed Bain Capital’s financial prowess.

      According to BuyOuts magazine and S&P Capital IQ, Bain’s other college clients have included Cornell, Emory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Notre Dame, and the University of Pittsburgh. Preqin reports that the following schools have placed at least $424.6 million with Bain Capital between 1998 and 2008:

      Purdue University ($15.9 million)
      University of California ($225.7 million)
      University of Michigan ($130 million)
      University of Virginia ($20 million)
      University of Washington ($33 million)

      Major center-left foundations and cultural establishments also have seen their prospects brighten thanks to Bain Capital. According to the aforementioned sources, such Bain clients have included the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Doris Duke Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Ford Foundation, the Heinz Endowments, and the Oprah Winfrey Foundation.

      Courtesy of:

  2. Sharon Says:

    I do agree completely with your thoughts and your message. I too will vote for Obama because I bevieve he is the best man for the job and religion only plays into that because I feel his programs benifit the greater good of the most people. My voting for Obama does not mean that I think Romney is a bad person only that I do not agree with his stance on a number of issues.

    • marmashi Says:

      But why is Romney such a liar and shadowy creature? He has not been honest. He lies blatantly and refuses to stop. His campaign says it will not be limited by “Fact checkers”- indeed. This is a reflection on our church. Time Magazine had an article last month, “Why does Mitt Romney Lies so Much?”. Their conclusion was that Mormons do not believe in facts, they just believe in whatever they say –so they can say anything and believe it.” (I did paraphrase there) Nice job Mitt- good example of honesty for the world. NOT. I was taught not to trust liars and I DON’T.

  3. Laura Says:

    Being a bishop is an important and challenging position. Yet I’m confused how being a good bishop would qualify someone to be the president. And while Romney has taken on a big responsibility to represent the church, I’m personally disappointed in his integrity and honesty, attributes that ought to be present in any member of the church.

  4. Janet Bradshaw Says:

    I too am a Mormon and would give my eye teeth if I could vote for Romney but I just can’t. It saddens me to see him be so terribly critical of Barack Obama. The lies that he has told and the flip-flopping on issues has bothered me alot. How can he believe one thing one day, and then completely the opposite the next day. This is perplexing to me. I am sure Romney is a good man and he means well, but there are alot of things that I just don’t understand. It seems like the poor and middle class are being swept under the bus and the only ones that are important are the super wealthy. He wants huge tax breaks for his rich friends at the expense of the rest of the citizens of this country. A friend once told me that I couldn’t be a good Mormon if I wasn’t a Republican and this really hurts. I just appreciate the hard work that Obama has done in the past 4 years and will continue to do for another four years.

    • marmashi Says:

      Good job of articulating our problem. People in church attribute the greatest attributes and hopes on Romney. But it is not warranted by his actions. His actions speak for themselves and if he wins, America will be back in the 1800’s robber baron days. There will be the ultra rich, (who pay no taxes) and the working poor (who pay lots of taxes which are then given to the corporations as subsidies). Oh my it keeps me awake at night.

    • Allan Says:

      Can you please remind me how many people be it citizens congressmen or senators that voted for the “Affordable care act” when it passed? It is easy to verify that the answer to this question is ZERO. You can call Mitt a flip flopper if you like but at least he seems to believe in a government that remains for the people, by the people and of the people. I know you really love Obama. I just wonder how many Presidential Mandates it will take for people to realize he is changing America with little reguard to the will of the people and the checks and balances system. You would not ask anyone to join the Mormon church with out reading the book of Mormon would you? Can I then ask you to read Romneys book prior to the election?

  5. Karen Pillow Says:

    Governor Romney will be ” forever connected” to the nation’s view of the church?
    I hope not.

    • Allan Says:

      “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” Publicity be it positive or negative has always lead to good things for the church. You can be certain that all this attention is a very good thing for us.

  6. Darlene Fields Says:

    I am so saddened by the comments by Allan. First that his facts are so wrong – that he does not know that the Affordable Health Care Act was passed by the Congress in Dec of 2009 (albeit along party lines) and that it was authored by the same person who authored Romney’s Health Care Plan in MASSACHUSETTS right down to the mandate. He really believes that Pres Obama signed some sort of executive order creating this and that that is what the mandate means. Rather than checking out the facts, he repeats the lies of the Fox news-Beck-Limbaugh crowd. Second that he knows so little about church history and really believes that negative publicity could be good for our church. I think that the saints that were run out of Far West and Nauvoo would disagree that negative publicity is a good thing. When the character of someone who is a highly public member is called into question for negative reasons, it does not cause people to check out a denomination, rather it causes them to flee. And all the good our people and our church have done is quickly overshadowed by the transgression – real or not – of the person called into question. That is why we are called to live beyond reproach in all our dealings and most people do and have, running businesses and living their lives in an honest, faithful way. I hope that sights like this and LDS Dems will have an impact and will bring members who have felt the way we do know they have a voice and we can begin to make positive changes. Offered IMHO.

    • Allan Says:

      Hello Darleen,

      I really love the spirit of your response. Let me further say that I am claiming a zero vote for Obamacare because it did not pass as a bill, rather it passed as a part of a budget which was even then passed only as you stated, on a part lines vote after previously being held up by a fillabuster. FYI – I do not follow Fox, Beck, Limbaugh or the like. I have no Cable TV and mostly rely on reading. As to the negative publicity the early saints experienced I do hold that those very harsh trials did work to our good. See D&C 122. Negativity does not leave one satisfied, rather it is unquenchable and does lead people to look for more and more. When this takes place there will be earnest truth seekers that end up finding it this way. Let me confirm that you do have a voice as a Democrat Mormon and I applaud you for sharing it. When I stubmled into this place I realized it was significantly more civil than other sites where debate takes place. If this is to be a Democrats only club let me know and I will buzz off. It just seemed as a good place to peacably exchange ideas.

      • Joseph Says:

        You are fine Allan – plenty of people have commented on both sides of this presidential campaign, and you are welcome to add your voice. Your comments have been respectful, and so thank you for that.

  7. Joseph Says:

    I am somewhat amused by the reactions to this post. First off, can I explain how difficult it was to write a post devoid of sarcasm and rib jabs at Romney? That said, I do appreciate magnitude of the position he is in – as the “face of Mormonism.” He definitely didn’t ask for it – he just wants to be president (really really bad.) But he knew what he was getting into, and I think that is partly why he has tried to keep the “Mormon” talk to a minimum. And of course being a great Bishop or Mormon doesn’t qualify you to be president (if it did, then MY DAD 2016 everyone!!! Go DAD!!! and happy late birthday!) And to address the Romney/Ryan lying: well… yeah. I ain’t got much to say there. It really is too bad.

  8. Frank Stark Says:

    Dear Marmashi
    In response to your worry about “There will be the ultra rich, (who pay no taxes) and the working poor”, I offer the following chart from the Congressional Budget Office.

    Top 1% of the population earns over $340,000/ yr and pays 36.7% of the income taxes
    Top 5% “ 154,000 “ 58.6 “
    Top 10% “ 112,000 “ 70.4 “
    Top 25% “ 66,000 “ 87.3 “
    Top 50% “ 32,300 “ 97.7 “
    The bottom 50% of income earners, those who earn less than $32,300 per year, pay only 2.3% of the total income taxes paid.

    Kind of looks like the rich are paying, and the poor don’t pay that much. Now, that doesn’t count SS taxes.

    Joseph, being a bishop or stake president may not qualify one to be president, but it does say something about one’s honesty. To be a good US president also requires executive experience, something of which Romney has plenty.

    • Darlene Fields Says:

      I clicked on the link you provided ( I must admit without reading where it would take me) asuming I would end up at the Congressional Budget Office the view the amazing information you posted. My son and his wife are in the Top 25% according to your chart and I can guarantee you they do not pay 87.3% income tax and then SS taxes on top. They do not take more than the standard deduction for married filing jointly and have no dependants. I know this because I help him prepare his taxes. I wish you would provide the link where these facts come from and I mean the link to the CBO document, not the Wall Street Journal extolling how Mr. Romney and Bain Capital Saved America.

  9. Frank Stark Says:

    The chart on who pays how much from the CBO in a little better form:
    Top 1% of the population earns over $340,000/ yr and pays 36.7% of the income taxes
    Top 5% ………………”……………………… 154,000 ……….”………..58.6………………“
    Top 10% …………….”……………………….112,000 ……….“ ……….70.4 ……………..“
    Top 25% …………….”…………………………66,000 ……….”………..87.3 ……………..”
    Top 50% …………….”…………………………32,300 ……….”………..97.7 ……………..“
    The bottom 50% of income earners, those who earn less than $32,300 per year, pay only 2.3% of the total income taxes paid.


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