Mitt Romney, when he was a pastor

Mormons do not have ordained clergy, as such, but lay people step into that role in local congregations and church hierarchies.  Mitt Romney shepherded his local flock and was over the other Mormon congregations in the Boston area, serving as “bishop” and “stake president.”

The Washington Post has an interesting and surprisingly sympathetic account of when Romney was, in effect, a pastor.  He comes across as being staunchly orthodox (in the Mormon sense) while also “pastoral,” helping some of his people get around some of the church’s regulations and trying to help the poor.  At the same time, the piece gives us an inside view of the Mormon religion that is rather unsettling from a Christian perspective.

See Mitt Romney, as a leader in Mormon church, became a master of many keys – The Washington Post.

Christian pastors, how much of what this article describes resonates with what you have to do?  What are the differences in how you exercise your office and what Romney did?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Well I’m not a pastor, but I would hope that one of the biggest differences between Lutheran pastors and Romney is that the Lutheran pastors got the gospel right!!!

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Well I’m not a pastor, but I would hope that one of the biggest differences between Lutheran pastors and Romney is that the Lutheran pastors got the gospel right!!!

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    “get around some of the church’s regulations”?

    I couldn’t say how much this resonates. There are too many unanswered questions. Such as what do they mean he “compromised with feminist mormons”?

    Of what I saw the only correlation I saw was helping those in need. The rest made him sound like a person who was willing to say anything to anybody depending on what the audience wanted to hear.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    “get around some of the church’s regulations”?

    I couldn’t say how much this resonates. There are too many unanswered questions. Such as what do they mean he “compromised with feminist mormons”?

    Of what I saw the only correlation I saw was helping those in need. The rest made him sound like a person who was willing to say anything to anybody depending on what the audience wanted to hear.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    I too, am not a pastor, but it bothers me when Christians use Christian language to describe non-Christian religions.

    There is no Mormon “church”. Mormons do not have biblical “faith”. Mormons do not have “pastors”. And Mormons have a different “Jesus”. Mormons wouldn’t know the “gospel” if it hit them in the face.

    Is it possible that there could be some Christians in that non-Christian religion? Sure. But that does not make their religion a “Christian” religion by any stretch of the imagination.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    I too, am not a pastor, but it bothers me when Christians use Christian language to describe non-Christian religions.

    There is no Mormon “church”. Mormons do not have biblical “faith”. Mormons do not have “pastors”. And Mormons have a different “Jesus”. Mormons wouldn’t know the “gospel” if it hit them in the face.

    Is it possible that there could be some Christians in that non-Christian religion? Sure. But that does not make their religion a “Christian” religion by any stretch of the imagination.

  • Stone the Crows

    It’s interesting to see how Romney evolved as a leader. First very strict and then more compassionate, learning how to not run afoul of LDS canon yet still providing for the needs of those around him. His abilities in this capacity are impressive and show him in a better light than the “GOP stiff’ that he comes across as on the campaign trail. Yet the fervor he shows in a pseudo-christian religion is disturbing. A moral and competent man who follows a blind faith religion makes voting for him a tough proposition.

  • Stone the Crows

    It’s interesting to see how Romney evolved as a leader. First very strict and then more compassionate, learning how to not run afoul of LDS canon yet still providing for the needs of those around him. His abilities in this capacity are impressive and show him in a better light than the “GOP stiff’ that he comes across as on the campaign trail. Yet the fervor he shows in a pseudo-christian religion is disturbing. A moral and competent man who follows a blind faith religion makes voting for him a tough proposition.

  • Joanne

    Mormonism, it’s the 4th Abrahamic religion, right after Islam.

  • Joanne

    Mormonism, it’s the 4th Abrahamic religion, right after Islam.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Yep, his story has it all, from “converting” the “lost” (I wonder what Christian faith his wife’s family is) through marriage, to converting the poor (what were they before; Catholic or Baptist or Lutheran?) through financial incentives, to the sure and certain word of the “Holy Spirit” authenticated through weeping. It sounds very much like normal life in Mormon Utah.

    And many of the struggles/pressures that Romney faced as a “church” leader do resonate with this Lutheran pastor.

    Indeed, as a pastor in Utah my congregation and I work hard to help the poor, but we just don’t have the resources in the same arena as our Mormon neighbors, yet we reach out to all people, many weary ones being all around us in an utter poverty of Spirit, but our strength is in the cross of Christ, with the outpoured love of Jesus and the forgiveness of sins. A small amount of people are given to see the truth and a real Savior, despite the humble place we hold here. With others (large but financially struggling minority families being served faithfully by our church, being a recent example) are enticed by other spirits (a very painful experience for this little Lutheran congregation).

    It is difficult work, and I have it much easier in SLC than my brothers who live and serve in other areas of Utah, where Mormons are 75 percent or more of the population.

    I pray Romney is not elected simply for the welfare of all non-mormons trying to stay sane and reasonable in Utah.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Yep, his story has it all, from “converting” the “lost” (I wonder what Christian faith his wife’s family is) through marriage, to converting the poor (what were they before; Catholic or Baptist or Lutheran?) through financial incentives, to the sure and certain word of the “Holy Spirit” authenticated through weeping. It sounds very much like normal life in Mormon Utah.

    And many of the struggles/pressures that Romney faced as a “church” leader do resonate with this Lutheran pastor.

    Indeed, as a pastor in Utah my congregation and I work hard to help the poor, but we just don’t have the resources in the same arena as our Mormon neighbors, yet we reach out to all people, many weary ones being all around us in an utter poverty of Spirit, but our strength is in the cross of Christ, with the outpoured love of Jesus and the forgiveness of sins. A small amount of people are given to see the truth and a real Savior, despite the humble place we hold here. With others (large but financially struggling minority families being served faithfully by our church, being a recent example) are enticed by other spirits (a very painful experience for this little Lutheran congregation).

    It is difficult work, and I have it much easier in SLC than my brothers who live and serve in other areas of Utah, where Mormons are 75 percent or more of the population.

    I pray Romney is not elected simply for the welfare of all non-mormons trying to stay sane and reasonable in Utah.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    I pray Romney is elected for the welfare of each person in this country.

    “I’d rather be ruled by a smart Turk, than a stupid Christian.”

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    I pray Romney is elected for the welfare of each person in this country.

    “I’d rather be ruled by a smart Turk, than a stupid Christian.”

  • SKPeterson

    But Steve. What if they’re both stupid?

  • SKPeterson

    But Steve. What if they’re both stupid?

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Then I’d go for the one who is less stupid and hold to a more American ideal.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Then I’d go for the one who is less stupid and hold to a more American ideal.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Insidious. Yes, it seems he learned how to tell anyone what anyone wanted to hear. But talk about a god complex!

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Insidious. Yes, it seems he learned how to tell anyone what anyone wanted to hear. But talk about a god complex!

  • Jon

    Bror, yes, I was thinking that, too. But the term “pragmatic” was how I articulated it. Do what works, which pretty much sums up Mormon religion, no?

  • Jon

    Bror, yes, I was thinking that, too. But the term “pragmatic” was how I articulated it. Do what works, which pretty much sums up Mormon religion, no?

  • http://Www.gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    I concur with all that Rev. Lindemood wrote, esp. The part about fewer resources.

  • http://Www.gslcnm.com Pastor Spomer

    I concur with all that Rev. Lindemood wrote, esp. The part about fewer resources.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I’m not one to advocate abstention from all things political a la Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I can see why such a position is desirable, especially when you’re looking at what might be the lesser of two evils for voting options.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I’m not one to advocate abstention from all things political a la Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I can see why such a position is desirable, especially when you’re looking at what might be the lesser of two evils for voting options.

  • Stone the Crows

    Rev. Lindemood, the Lord bless you and your congregation as you serve in Utah. Resources indeed are a strong point of the LDS. I used to live in Las Vegas, and the leverage the LDS church could put on a local government was considerable. Lutheran pastors, (nor clergy of any other Christian church) do not have the sort of authority over their members that LDS elders do, which is to virtually demand goods and services from them if they are needed by the church.
    Again, God’s rich blessings to you and yours as you sow seeds in what appears to be quite stony ground.

  • Stone the Crows

    Rev. Lindemood, the Lord bless you and your congregation as you serve in Utah. Resources indeed are a strong point of the LDS. I used to live in Las Vegas, and the leverage the LDS church could put on a local government was considerable. Lutheran pastors, (nor clergy of any other Christian church) do not have the sort of authority over their members that LDS elders do, which is to virtually demand goods and services from them if they are needed by the church.
    Again, God’s rich blessings to you and yours as you sow seeds in what appears to be quite stony ground.


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