Linda & Richard Eyre: The 'Mormon speech' we wish Romney would give

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 28 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Mitt Romney and his wife Ann attend the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

David Goldman, AP

As we watch the Republican Convention, we find ourselves wishing that the general public knew Mitt and Ann Romney better — really knew them, not just as candidates and office-seekers but as people and as parents and as friends.

For the most part, Mitt has avoided speaking about his faith, and there are good reasons for this.

The problem is that his faith and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are so much a part of who he is that it is almost impossible to know or understand him and Ann without knowing at least some things about the church.

So forgive us for being presumptuous, but here is a hypothetical speech we wish Mitt Romney would give — and whether or not he does, we can at least share it as our thoughts about serving and parenting in the LDS Church.

“Fellow Americans, as you all know, and as the media frequently point out, I have been hesitant during this campaign to talk in depth about my faith. I believe, as I think most of us do, that a person’s faith is a deeply personal thing and I also do not want to distract from what I think political campaigns should be about — namely political issues and political solutions.

“Still, I realize that as voters consider their alternatives, they deserve to know as much as they can about a candidate's ‘core’ and about his convictions. I have tried to be candid and open about my lifelong and deeply held belief in God and my love and devotion to Christ as my personal savior.

“As most everyone knows by now, the church where I worship and where I practice my faith is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nicknamed, somewhat unfortunately, Mormonism. Those who want to know more about this denomination or who have questions about it should go to the church’s sources itself, at Mormon.org or LDS.org.

“It is not appropriate for me to speak for or on behalf of the church, but as I talk about myself and about why I am running for president, it is important that I not omit the parts of me that were shaped and defined by my faith.

“I would like people to know that most of Mormonism is very much like most other Christian churches, including the central focus on Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. And this conviction, more than any other, makes me who I am. We are also very similar to other churches, synagogues, mosques and other major faiths and places of worship in our strong emphasis on humanitarian service and our outreach to people less fortunate the world over.

“But today, I would like to point out a couple of aspects of my church that are quite unique, that differ with traditional Christianity, and that have had a great deal to do with how I have lived and prioritized my life.

“First is that the LDS Church operates with a lay ministry — that is, our clergy is not made up of professional priests or ministers, but of unpaid volunteers who are called to be bishops and teachers and auxiliary leaders within the church. This has had a profound effect on my life and on my perspective — and on Ann’s and on all of our family.

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