Apparently Romney's religious affiliation to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is important to many voters, due to a lack of understanding about what Mormons believe, as many have only heard, if anything, the more controversial aspects about our faith, that make Mormonism sound either mysterious, strange or weird.
For most Americans, tonight was really the first introduction to how Mitt Romney's Mormonism has influenced his life, and how much of what he values, in life, relates directly to his faith -- from his perspective. Perhaps his reference to such a thing as Neil Armstrong's spirit still being with us would not alert most to Romney's belief in an afterlife, but you can bet to most Mormons hearing that, his faith stood out like a beacon in that moment -- including many other similar comments throughout the evening.
Leading up to Mitt Romney's own speech where he would officially accept the Republican nomination for POTUS, three very personal narratives, from Mormons who had, years ago, Mitt Romney as a bishop, were shared, with the word Mormon avoided. Rather, Romney's service, compassion and integrity were the focal points to each of these stories.
McKay Coppins, over on Buzzfeed, put together this short video highlighting moments shared by each of the three witnesses, or testimonies, to Bishop Romney's service. I say it like this because that is how some members online are describing what it felt like to listen to each of these three speeches. Although I would probably describe them more as love-imonies.
Video: Three Stories To Make You Love Bishop Mitt Romney
I personally found the RNC Biographical video, put together to introduce Mitt Romney to America, to be the most compelling part of the evening, to tell Mitt Romney's Mormon story. It was really beautiful, and from a member perspective so much of Romney's success in both his personal and professional life can easily be traced back to his Mormon upbringing, and personal testimony of Jesus Christ.
Video: Mitt Romney Introduction Republican National Convention
Romney's actual acceptance speech, for those who support him, was inspirational. As far as his Mormon faith being brought to light, it was minimal but effective.
"We were Mormons and growing up in Michigan; that might have seemed unusual or out of place but I really don’t remember it that way. My friends cared more about what sports teams we followed than what church we went to.
My mom and dad gave their kids the greatest gift of all – the gift of unconditional love. They cared deeply about who we would BE, and much less about what we would DO.
Unconditional love is a gift that Ann and I have tried to pass on to our sons and now to our grandchildren. All the laws and legislation in the world will never heal this world like the loving hearts and arms of mothers and fathers. If every child could drift to sleep feeling wrapped in the love of their family – and God’s love -- this world would be a far more gentle and better place."
You can read the entire text here: RNC 2012: Mitt Romney speech to GOP convention (Full Text)
I've said this many times in writing here on my blog, that this is not a political blog. And it's not. However, I'm also clearly a conservative Mormon and so it shouldn't be a big surprise to most of you to find that now that Mitt Romney is the official Republican party nominee for POTUS, I support him in this endeavor. Nevertheless, I do not intend to use WBMW to campaign and will continue to respect that not all agree with my political leanings.
But I will continue to, on occasion, share my thoughts when the Mormon faith is brought up in the media in conjunction to the current political climate, where I believe there is something to discuss. For instance, even though Romney has been a bit more open about his Mormon faith, I seriously doubt that for those who have been clamoring for months that he needs to talk more openly about about his religion, satisfaction will result. In fact, I believe this will only stir the hornets nest even more and that all hell is likely to break loose, in regard to Romney's religion, over the next few months leading up to the election. ( BTW, Mitt said "hell" tonight, too. Shocking! ;)
Do I think it was risky for Romney to cop to the media pressure and bring his faith into the campaign? Yes, I actually do. Do I respect him for doing so? Absolutely. Like I brought up in my previous post, knowing that he was going to do this, I really don't feel it was necessary. If people really want to know about Mormon beliefs there are many credible sources, online, to acquire such information.
Mormons believe in freedom of religion, which is something most American's of faith will resonate with, in his pledge to protect it for all of us. Likewise, the majority of Christians are passionate about preserving traditional marriage. Romney is strong on both of these social issues, and others, of which the majority of Mormons consider issues of morality. These two issues, alone, are likely to make these next few weeks, and potentially beyond, divisive features in conversations everywhere.
We are living in divisive times. Standing up for Christian values, without intention to do so, finds opposition, and often times closer to home than we are comfortable. Nevertheless, as faithful members of His Church we have made a covenant to stand as witnesses of Him in all things, and in all places and at all times. Mitt Romney, in my opinion, is clearly one who takes this covenant seriously.
As one commenter stated on my WBMW Facebook page:
"We need a President that's not afraid to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."