The New York Times is reporting that a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be giving an invocation during the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
"On the night Mr. Romney will address the convention, a member of the Mormon Church will deliver the invocation," political reporter Jeremy W. Peters writes, explaining that "rather than shy away from Mr. Romney's faith, as some campaign aides have argued he should, they have decided to embrace it."
This is consistent with this past weekend's campaign decision to invite a few reporters to accompany the Romney family as they attended LDS worship services.
"How to approach his religion, a topic that he usually avoids speaking about beyond the most general terms, is a question that has long divided his campaign staff," Peters says. "But in the end, they decided to confront it head on. In addition to the invocation, Mr. Romney's work as a bishop in the Mormon Church will be on display.
"Despite concerns that his religion might alienate evangelicals and other conservatives," Peters continues, "Mr. Romney and his advisers hope that his faith ultimately will be seen as a sign of strength of character, and his time as bishop as an example of his willingness to serve when called."
All of which begs the question: which member of the LDS Church will be selected to give the first Mormon prayer at the Republican National Convention?
Mormon blogger and columnist Joanna Brooks said her initial thought was that it would be Mia Love.
"Who better than Love, a black Republican Mormon woman, to push the reset button on all of those preconceptions about Mormons and Republicans?" Brooks wrote.
But since it appears that Love will be speaking during the convention, the prayer honor will go to someone else.
"Whatever Mormon Republican is tapped to give the prayer (Bay Buchanan? Jason Chaffetz?), folks in the viewing audience will no doubt be stunned by just how startlingly normal it sounds," Brooks said.
Explaining that "LDS people are taught to adopt and adapt the general model of the Lord's Prayer in the New Testament," Brooks described LDS prayer forms for her readers.
"While set prayers are used for rites like baptism and the weekly sacrament (the LDS term for communion), personal, family and group event prayers are extemporaneous," she wrote. "Prayers customarily begin with the opening address, 'Dear Heavenly Father,' which is followed by a litany of thanks for God's blessings small and large, and then a set of petitions for help, strength and guidance. Mormons close our prayers 'in the name of Jesus Christ' and with an 'Amen.’ ”
Brooks also said that "Mormons pray using pronouns from Elizabethan English ('thee,' 'thy' and 'thou'), which reflects the LDS preference for the King James Bible."
"Mormon prayers also tend to be more formal, modulated and understated than evangelical Christian prayers," she added, "and in non-ritual setting, Mormons customarily pray with eyes closed, arms folded or hands holding the edges of the pulpit, and heads bowed."
Brooks also linked her readers to a lesson on prayer from the LDS Church's "Gospel Principles" lesson manual.
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