“I served for nearly five years as the bishop of our Boston congregation — called a ‘ward’ and similar to a parish. I then served for another eight years as the president of our ‘stake,’ which is a group of wards and might be compared to a diocese. During those 13 years I did my best to lead large congregations, but perhaps more importantly I ministered to countless families and individuals across the widest possible economic and social spectrum. I became deeply involved with the problems and concerns of every conceivable kind of poverty, domestic situation, racial issue and interpersonal crisis. Many of my paradigms and perspectives, and certainly much of the empathy I feel for all Americans today, were shaped by these experiences. In addition, as a much younger man, I spent two and a half years as a full-time volunteer missionary in the poorest areas of Paris doing all I could to help those in both physical and spiritual need.
“The second aspect of my church that I think is relevant to what voters need to know about me is my church’s highly family-centric theology. Mormons put huge emphasis on the importance of families as the basic unit not only of our society and our economy, but also of God’s plan and purpose for the mortality of us, his children. The church offers extensive youth programs, music and sports activities, parenting classes and ‘family home evenings’ to help keep parents and children together and to pick up the pieces when family relationships are strained or come apart.
“The highest form of marriage in our church is not ‘till death do you part,’ but ‘for time and all eternity.’ We literally believe that ‘families are forever.’ Ann and I have tried to make the raising of our five sons our highest priority, and I tell you this because it is an integral part of why I am running and of the kind of president I would be. I want America to be as great if not greater for our children and grandchildren as it has been for us. I believe that parents are this country’s most important special interest group. And I would like every policy and direction of a Romney presidency and of the Congress I work with to be considered from a family impact standpoint.
“America is great because of our unprecedented ability to blend cultures, faiths, and traditions and to draw the best from all of them. Even as we celebrate our diversity, we can gain strength and unity from the common values and priorities that we share. Understanding and appreciating the unique aspects of our faith can help us know each other better and trust each other more.”
Richard and Linda are the founders of Joyschools.com and New York Times No bestselling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit the Eyres anytime at www.joyschools.com or at www.valuesparenting.com.
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