This Mormon Moment: Mitt Romney at the RNC

[slideshow]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.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Subscribe Share


get updates