Sometimes a Romney religion joke is just a joke

The last night at the Republican convention was one that included a ton of religion. While some of the networks didn’t cover all of the speeches, there were multiple testimonies from people who talked about Mitt Romney’s life as a Mormon. They gave truly interesting testimonies about how Romney had interacted with them in their lives. One liberal Mormon I follow on Twitter joked, saying, “Y’all just went to Mormon church.”

But in a world of limited resources, networks have to choose what to show and so much of that religious discussion wasn’t seen. There were other mentions of religion in the speeches, including Marco Rubio’s introduction of Mitt Romney.

Romney mentioned his religion a bit in his speech, although it wasn’t a major theme, but there was one part where I saw journalists trip up. Here’s the relevant section, as written up in Politico:

Romney also spoke a little about his religion, mostly referring to the community that built up around his church when he was in Massachusetts, far from his family, which still mainly resided in Michigan where both he and his wife were born and raised.

“Like a lot of families in a new place with no family, we found kinship with a wide circle of friends through our church,” Romney said.

He also joked about his religion when talking about his time at Bain.

“I had thought about asking my church’s pension fund to invest, but I didn’t,” Romney said. “I figured it was bad enough that I might lose my investors’ money, but I didn’t want to go to hell too.”

The crowd chuckled.

“Shows what I know,” he continued. “Another of my partners got the Episcopal Church pension fund to invest. Today there are a lot of happy retired priests who should thank him.”

On Twitter and via email, I saw reporters asking about Mormon doctrines on hell. And that’s actually something I would typically encourage. But there is a time when a Mormon talking about hell makes a good hook for a discussion of Mormon doctrine.

And there’s a time to know when you’ve just heard a corny church pension joke. And this was simply the latter.

But perhaps we’ll see some good religion coverage built around the joke in any case.

Photo of church lady laughing at corny joke via Shutterstock.


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  • Mattk

    I found the commentary and interviees by the talking heads very annoying. All I wanted to see was all the speeches. It seems to me that if resources were limted the networks (I tried to watch the convention on abc’s website.) wee really suffering from limited resources they could have just pointed a camera at the podium and left it there. That all I cared to see. Was very annoyed that they cut away from the Orthodox Metropolitan’s prayer so they could broadcast their taking heads nattering opinions.

    • Gary

      Just watch on C-Span. My wife put it on. I’d have griped at the commentators on other networks. They just show the convention – that’s it.

  • bob

    Couldn’t anybody get a reaction from….. John Spong, Gene Robinson,Barbara Harris, about getting their monthly retirement check from the Episcopal Church pension fund and how Mitt’s business ventures have been supporting them in their accustomed life style? Pretty please?

  • Jettboy

    Here is the really funny part unless I am misunderstanding Romney’s joke. Mormonism doesn’t have a pension fund as its a lay leadership. Even those who are paid (mostly the full time leadership like mission presidents and general authorities) are given stipends and not salaries. He is basically making a two for one joke, and no one seems to have paid attention to the first part.

  • Jettboy

    I do want to make one correction. Mormons do have full time Seminary and University LDS Religious educators that probably retire with a pension. However, they are more glorified Sunday School teachers than religious scholars. There are also lots of non-ecclesiastical jobs. None of them have leadership responsibilities related to their roles like his priest punchline.

  • Darren Blair

    A lot of people outside of the church don’t seem to realize it, but there’s actually a fair amount of Mormon humor floating around among the membership. Sometimes it’s old family stories and whatnot, but other times there are jokes and gags as well.

    I myself am up to item #213 on my own personal Skippy’s List.
    “If I have to ask whether or not I’m going to Hell over something, it probably means that I am…”

    • Rhian

      I have never heard anything like this joke and have been in the LDS church all my adult life.

      • Darren Blair

        How many congregations have you been in, then?

  • Julia

    “A lot of people outside of the church don’t seem to realize it, but there’s actually a fair amount of Mormon humor floating around among the membership.”

    “I have never heard anything like this joke and have been in the LDS church all my adult life.”

    I think it’s more likely that the joke is common in investment management circles, not amongst Mormons.
    Having a son who does investment analysis and another who sells insurance, I know that supervisors will push employees to solicit friends, relatives and people or organizations with which you are affiliated.
    The employees usually hate doing that.
    The joke about going to hell if the investment goes bad is a good and funny cop-out – regardless the religion.
    You wouldn’t want to be responsible for your grandma’s nest egg, either.