Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

Mormons Steal the Show at RNC’s Final Night

Forget Clint Eastwood’s surreal speech.

Print Email
Members of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan families play with balloons following Romney's acceptance speech on August 30, 2012.(MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/GettyImages)

If you watched the Republican National Convention last night, or scanned the reports about it this morning, you’ve probably heard a lot about Clint Eastwood’s truly surreal speech, which took the form of an unscripted dialogue with an empty chair representing President Obama. It was quite a spectacle—but far, far less affecting than the speakers that didn’t make it into prime time. That’s because for the first time this campaign, the Romney team brought his Mormonism out of the closet.

It was a turning point not just for Mitt Romney, but for Mormonism on the public stage. Until now, worried about conservative Christian mistrust and opportunistic partisan mockery, the campaign had studiously avoided the subject, instructing surrogates not to cooperate with the media on it. Romney would run for president while essentially running away from his religious beliefs.

But that began to change in the run-up to the convention, apparently at Romney’s insistence. On Aug. 19, the campaign allowed the press to join Romney in church. And on Thursday, the final night of the RNC, Romney’s faith finally took center stage.

First, Grant Bennett, who served as Romney’s assistant during his time as an LDS bishop, described the candidate’s unstinting devotion to his congregation. (To explain the character of the position to a wider audience, Bennett used the term “pastor” rather than “bishop,” which has different connotations to non-Mormons.)

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has an unpaid, lay clergy,” opened Bennett. “While raising his family and pursuing his career, Mitt Romney served in our church, devoting 10, 15, even 20 hours a week doing so. Like all Mormon leaders, he did so on his own time and at his own expense.”

Quoting generously from scripture, Bennett elaborated on Romney’s role: “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.”

These words laid the groundwork for the next two speeches from members of Romney’s Massachusetts congregation, which were unquestionably the most moving of the entire convention. Ted and Pat Oparowski recalled how Bishop Romney befriended their 14-year-old son David, who was dying of Hodgkin’s Disease, helping him draft a will and ultimately delivering his eulogy.

Pam Finlayson recounted how Ann and Mitt Romney welcomed her family to their town and supported them during the difficult illness of her young daughter, Kate. “I will never forget that when he looked down tenderly at my daughter, his eyes filled with tears, and he reached out gently and stroked her tiny back,” she said. “I could tell immediately that he didn’t just see a tangle of plastic and tubes; he saw our beautiful little girl, and he was clearly overcome with compassion for her.”

For a candidate frequently criticized as distant and out-of-touch, these moving testimonials were particularly powerful. Taken together, they suggest that one reason Romney has failed to connect with voters is that he has until now cordoned off one of the deepest aspects of his character—his faith. By the time these speeches were over, pundits had largely forgotten all of the reasons they’d advised Romney to avoid his religion. As one put it, “Seriously, why do you put Eastwood in prime time and not these people?” Judging by that reaction, we can probably expect much more Mormonism in the campaign to come.

Of course, Americans do not simply elect a president based on their moral character. But what these stories of Romney’s Mormon piety have accomplished, is to mainstream the Mormon religion on primetime television. For a young religion that was kept under wraps for months as a political liability, that is quite an accomplishment. Even if Romney loses, public acceptance of Mormonism may turn out to be the lasting legacy of this election.

Related: Protocols of the Elders [Tablet Magazine]

Print Email

Yeah I watched some of that on Faux and was amazed at the gung-ho theocracy peddling. I honestly don’t think Americans are going to vote for such a blatantly religious platform. Especially when its Mormon.

    What a shame that you can’t see and appreciate goodness when it is right there in front of you. Give some credit where credit is due, even if you don’t vote for Romney.

    bobschwalbaum says:

    No comparison to Obama’s parading out his “mentor”… the egregious Rev. Wright?
    And how he prudly sat in in his church and listened to his drivel for 20 years?
    Hell!.. the guy even married these two “wunderkind”
    No religous leanings here. HUH? . YES..,.. but the RIGHT kind.. not the WRONG kind like Mormonism or Catholicism.

      The diatribes of the Wright, despicable as they were, probably fill up a few minutes of video. Could you say with certainty what was said in that church during the 20 years to which you refer? I can’t. As a point of reference the Mormon church until 1978 considered black people beneath them. BTW Romney was a Bishop in the LDS and as far as I know went along with that. 30+ years a Mormon to that time.
      Just saying,

It was a great night

So…he was nice to people who shared his beliefs, were ethnically like him, and were below him in church hierarchy. Mmmhmm.

    MikeEpps says:

    This vicious tone poorly disguises your own prejudices. You’re denigrating demonstrations of compassion and self sacrifice because they weren’t ‘cross cultural’ enough for you? Please….

      teenygozer says:

      I’m sorry, but I watched him be condescending and insulting to every working-class non-Mormon person he met on the campaign trail. I also remember that he got his cronies together and attacked a kid with long hair and had his friends throw the kid down on the ground and sit on him while Romney cut the kid’s hair, mocking as the poor kid cried. Years later, when asked about this disgusting bullying behavior he’d exhibited, he laughed it off as if it was a fond memory and did not apologize to his victim. Clueless, cruel and not worthy of leading all the people of the United States. Let him continue to rule among his fellow Mormons, the only people he really believes are worthy of being treated as human beings.

Jayson2 says:

“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.”
And Mitt made sure to remind them, paying their tithe comes before raising your children, your mariatal problems, your youth with addictions, immigrants separated from their families, and individuals who have no heat.
From recovery from Mormonism.
The Blessings of Tithing
09686_000_003
God’s purpose in giving us commandments is to bless us. He wants to give us eternal life, the greatest of all His gifts (see D&C 14:7). To receive the gift of living with Him forever in families in the celestial kingdom, we must be able to live the laws of that kingdom (see D&C 88:22).
He has given us commandments in this life to help us develop that capacity. The law of tithing is one of those preparatory commandments. The law is that we give to the Lord one-tenth of all our income. It is simple enough that even a child can understand it. I have seen children hand a bishop a tithing envelope that contains one-tenth of the coins they earned.
One of the blessings that comes from paying a full tithing is developing faith to live an even higher law. To live in the celestial kingdom, we must live the law of consecration. There we must be able to feel that all we are and all we have belong to God.
http://www.lds.org/liahona/2011/06/the-blessings-of-tithing?lang=eng
http://www.exmormon.org/
Mormonism is a cult. If repubs or non repubs, are stupid enough to vote for a man who will always puts his church before his country, you deserve every inch of misery you get.

brynababy says:

Thanks, I’ll put my faith in the Jewish religion where similar acts are performed every day BY THUSANDS OF KIND PEOPLE. That doesn’t mean that he’s not comfortable with the lies he’s telling about the Obama ADMINISTRATION. tHAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT HE WON’T BE TRUE TO HIS WORD (WELL, IT’S THIS YEAR’S WORD ANYWAY) THAT HE WILL DO EVERYTHING HE CAN TO REPEAL rOE VS. wADE. hE USED THE cHURCH, NOT TOO LONG AGO ADVOCATING MANY WIVES FOR ONE MAN, TO ADVANCE HIMSELF IN BUSINESS. gIVE ME A BREAK. tHESE PAGES SHOULD BE SPENT HILIGHTING THINGS THAT INVOLVE THE GOOD AND BAD THAT FACES jUDAISM AND iSRAEL, NOT GUSHING OVER rOMNEY’S DEVOTION TO mORMONISM!

    Even more embarrassing when the low life candidates wife, figuratively
    displays her 60 year old sick knickers, at the RNC Carnival of the Grotesque, to
    wheedle the sympathy Women’s votes.
    How desperate can it get….this tart is shaming America.

The Lord said, “I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall Not prevail against it!” I think not that it has a man given name of Catholic, Methodist, Pentacostal, Baptist, Islam or even Mormon but the acceptance of Gods Son determned the relationship of any believer with his maker! That alone joins them into the kingdom of God- not Allah, Confucious or Buddah. The One true god is a jealous God and will have no other before Him! Learn of Him in his guide to righteous living–the holy bible.

    Buddhism is not a religion but a way of life much like the teachings of Jesus before they were corrupted by those who added the “church” as a power tool to control others.

The
following is a part of the Mormon belief system:

Abraham
chapter three:

2
And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them
was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones
which were near unto it;

3
And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the
name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am
the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all…

We
have all noticed that Mitt and Anne Romney speak from a very lofty
and removed position using the the phrase “you people” to refer
to others. They believe they are from another and superior planet
closer to God so they of course regard us as inferior. Christians
who support Romney would do well to understand his religion and thus
his attitude toward them and toward us all.

michael cherry says:

you know i am sick of the media bias it is really starting to upset me, cbs you an nbc need to tell the news report what happens not be Obama’s cheerleaders really this morning i saw a staff member for Romney on the morning show,,, they grilled the man,, if Obama is so great,, in the first two years on the job,, he could of passed any bills he wanted,, but no healthcare an the bail out of the UNIONS, stop saying they bail out general Motors, it was the Unions who got bail out,, well thank you I’m now voting for Romney, Why want Obama release his college transcripts want more than likely show he stated he was a exchange student from KENYA an his said the other day,, on tv, he was raised in a Muslim country oh our 50th state is Muslim, really an i have never seen the Obama’s attend any church, why can’t he admit he is Muslim, the DNC changed there platform, then Obama was told he would lose the Jewish vote so he had them reverse it and we all saw how that Vote went,, three times, the nays had it,, it was a scam….. just like Obama a scam……………..

michael cherry says:

well i don’t like getting in to these type of discussions, because i always upset people, well have you ever ask who wrote the Bible, well Google it, also why your at it Google Pagan Holidays, an for you Christians,,, your so called belief didn’t even come along until,…… 400 years years after the death of Christ, i’ll give you this much,, some of the bible is correct, the day is at hand,, when all nation shall turn away from Israel ( you know what happens next right,,,,,, hell is on earth Iran will get a nuclear boob an it will be used against Israel an the U.S. all this the Government can do it so much better,, if that is so,,,, what happen to the USSR Russia is not that great any more, But Obama will sale us out to Russia if he was to be re elected, not going to happen,,

If anything, The GOP convention of 2012 smacked of Mormonism all the way around.
I am a WASP, but I did not find it appealing, but rather repulsive. It certainly am not, and do not, want to have anything to do with the values that the LDS or the RNC had for sale.

NewAge says:

Here is God’s “endorsement of Mitt Romney: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4MEla2xhv0

Acceptance of Mormonism because of Romney? No, he lost because he was a Mormon and was trained in the art of lying and flip-flopping, as the Mormon church has done since Joseph Smith.

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Mormons Steal the Show at RNC’s Final Night

Forget Clint Eastwood’s surreal speech.

More on Tablet:

The Nazi Romance With Islam Has Some Lessons for the United States

By David Mikics — Two new important histories look at Hitler’s fascination with Islam and Turkish conqueror Atatürk