What Would You Ask Mitt Romney?

Now that he’s the Republican candidate, Romney’s Mormonism is on the table. I’ve been critical of the LDS Church, and will continue to be. In fact, my response to Jake Tapper’s question wouldn’t have been much different from Rick Warren’s on Sunday. LDS teaching on the Trinity is more than a “sticking point” for me. Their Christology is also suspect.

At RealClearReligion, Jeff Weiss has seven questions that he, as a religion reporter, would like to ask Romney about LDS teaching. Here are the first two:

1) LDS teaching about gender: “All human beings — male and female — are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

Has this teaching informed Gov. Romney’s thinking about homosexual rights generally or gay marriage specifically?

2) LDS teaching about the role of men and women in families: “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”

Has this teaching informed his thinking about the rights of women, tax breaks for families, or other family-related legislation?

Read Questions 3-7 at RealClearReligion – 7 Questions for Mitt About Mormonism.

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  • Curtis

    Romney has recently started responding to such questions with something along the lines of “instead of talking about my religious doctrine, let me talk about my religious practice” he then goes into warm and touching stories about teaching Sunday school, working to help the poor, and so on.

    For a movement such as the ECM, it is pretty hard to criticize the argument that practice trumps doctrine, don’t you think?

  • ME

    Forget what they say. Is there anything Romney or Obama do that would indicate they are trying to follow Jesus? Their stances on Christology are about as important as their video game skills.

  • Patrick S

    I’m new to your blog. Did you ask similar questions about Obama’s beliefs four years ago? Did the actions and preachings of Rev. Wright, the leader of Obama’s church for 25 years, have any impact on what you thought of Obama? And in the end, did Obama’s religious beliefs matter when you voted?

    • Richard

      You should watch the full video of that Jeremiah Wright video and see if you’re still as concerned about it. It’s actually pretty fundamentalist in way…

      • Patrick S

        I’ve watched a bunch of Wright’s video and watched him for an hour at the National Press Club. I find much of his worldview reprehensible, but that is beside the point. My point is, was Obama’s religion as a follower of Wright an important issue for Tony 4 years ago? Sensing Tony voted for Obama it must not have been. I would argue Wright was more (or as) out of the mainstream as Mormonism. So why is it so important with Romney? I get the sense that many people don’t want to vote for Romney and use religion as the reason, which is just a canard.

  • In my little town here in Sweden, Europe we have seen a few people leaving the local Mormon church (LDS), what worries me is that my friends from LDS tell me stories about things like that “tithing” is not voluntarily but “a must” and was controlled by “interrogation like situations” when the leaders ask them about it. They tell me that they had to wear certain holy underwear (!) as members, that they had to go throw a lot of baptisms for dead people etc. (and even marriages)

    But the most frequent reason they left was that questions were not encouraged and that you as a member must obey the leadership and not think for yourself. This seems to me like a very hierarchic structure.

    So my experiences is that LDS is more “cult” like than the average church, at least here in Sweden.

    If I were an American I would worry about the hierarchic structure of mormonism and I would like to know if Mitt Romny is under the leadership of the church.

    In short it would worry me to have a president who bows to such a system.

    I side with what Prof. John Stackhouse wrote back in 2007

  • Kenton


    Harry Reid has been the 4th most powerful man inside the beltway for how many years? I don’t ever recall these questions and comments being made at him. Is it possible there is one standard for Democrat Mormons, and a second or “double” standard for GOP Mormons?

    (Yeah, yeah, I know Sen Majority leader isn’t quite the same thing as POTUS, but still I find it interesting that objections to Romney’s Mormonism aren’t all that important to Reid’s.)

  • me-n-u

    with this line of questions you sound like an anti-Kennedy bigot … He is not being elected as a theologian and so it is that the question as to parity with the same scrutiny of Obama was undertaken. If it is that the distracting LDS issue diverts you from a political discussion on policy and direction then so be distracted. If your progressive side will not allow you to vote for any republican then just say so, but don’t hide behind some vague misuse of the mans theology as your reason… Change the LDS for GAY and your argument dies and ignominious death.

  • I wouldn’t ask any politician about their religious views unless the place they attended did something wild or crazy that set off alarms. I would ask them about their views on issues (abortion, gay rights, etc) and what has lead them to their stance on the issue.

    I could go to any churches creed and find things I dislike or think are contrary to my view of scripture, but that doesn’t mean every member inside that denomination agrees wholeheartedly with them.

    Of the seven questions I could list other Christian faiths that has or had a similar creed or general practice at one point in time. I think questions like above are gotcha questions and as a politician I would refuse to answer them.

  • As someone familiar with the LDS Church and culture, I’m skeptical for a lot of reasons and most of them are not on Weiss’ list. While I understand the religious views effect our stance on things… we all know politicians are not always forthright with the things they believe nor do their beliefs always come out in their politics… while I disagree with the LDS Church on Christology, Ecclesiology, and just about every other ology I can think of… my concerns are about the power, control, and influence the LDS Church would gain with him becoming president.

  • CJ

    So I once heard a conservative, reformed, preacher say of a Jehovah’s Witness that if they believe in God who created them and Jesus who redeemed them then I can call them my brother or sister in Christ. Truth is none of us really agree on the beliefs and rituals and I think Jesus spent a good bit of time on faith and works being a lot more important than theology and doctrine anyhow. So, if I could ask Gov. Romney a question, I wouldn’t waste it on Mormonism. Because despite what so many people think, his Mormonism is not on the table.

  • Thanks for the shout-out!
    To the commenters: I did post these questions to Reid’s office back when. Got the same polite “no comment.” And four years ago, I was spending a lot of my time researching and writing about Wright and Obama. (Oh, and in 2000 I got to ask Joe Lieberman comparable questions about how his understanding of Judaism informed his governance decisions.)

    • Kenton

      Fair enough, Jeffrey. I know your work is fair and this post was about your 7 questions, but I couldn’t help it that the things Lawrence O’Donnell has been saying came to mind when I read Tony’s post.

  • Rob

    This is a very sensitive issue. We cannot on one hand praise JFK for rising above the cultural anti-Catholic prejudice; share a nuanced view of defending President Obama’s Christian faith and at the same time supporting that this shouldn’t matter, and then conversely have Governor Romney’s faith tradition become part of our divisive political discourse. Secular discourse on policy such as fair wages legislation, birth control, economic fairness, regulation, social justice, and environmental practice are all fair questions that should be asked. In fact, my faith helps inform how I view each of these, but this is not to question faith and tradition, but on how policy affects how we live together respecting each others tradition while celebrating our own.

  • Evelyn

    Consideration of Mitt Romney’s religion is quite important to me in that the purpose of organized religion seems to overprint the Self or compensate for an undeveloped sense of Self. This Self is composed of an internal ethos or wisdom that can be built through action, experience, and contemplation. Given that many people don’t seem to have the wherewithal to achieve internal maturity (Self), organized religion is used to mandate the principals by which they live their lives. In a pinch, Mitt Romney is going to fall back on his Mormon ethos which may be quite different from a Christian or functionally secular ethos. I think that most religions get things right most of the time (otherwise people wouldn’t be able to function under them) but it is the aberrations in religions or the parts that don’t jibe with our functionally secular society that are cause for alarm.

  • Basil

    I’d ask how long it takes to count his money, and what is the minimum amount of money I need to be able to have my own Cayman Island tax shelters.

  • Those questions are interesting. They don’t feel uniquely Mormon – the language about spiritual parents and gender-specificity continuing through eternity, OK that’s Mormon. But the Christian Church has held similar opinions about homosexuality and the authority of a man in a household.

    • And by saying that the Christian Church has held similar opinions about those issues, I am by no means agreeing with a fixed unchangeable view of them.

  • Donald Severin

    Mr. Romney, For what I’ve seen on tv. you have not proven to be a superior over the Democrate, You have no issues to stand by.To stand on Television and say how bad the other guy is , is know one I would vote for . the issue is are economy sucks,and what are you going to do about it. Thank you Donald Severin

  • Glenda Sowards

    What does Mitt Romney think about “friends of coal”? What are his plan for coal miners and coal in general? My husband is a coal miner and they have been so many coal miner’s that have lost their jobs because of Obama’s adminstration. If we don’t have coal, don’t use your electricity! Obama made so many promises when he came to Virginia, well look what happen! I am speaking for all the coal miners from Virgina, West Virgina, Kentucky and many other states across the US. I come from a family of coal miners and proud to be a coal miners daughter. Lets hope he helps the coal industry, we stand firm and we are friends of coal!

  • Stephen Kwiatkowski

    I am paying school tax Phila Pa that is failing ,School tax For a vacation home .I send my children to a private home So they can get a decent education .Don’t seem fair to me.

    • Um, where did you go to school Stephen?

  • Stephen Kwiatkowski

    I went to Mastbaum 10th grade ,saan Diego night school,Self taught

  • Stephen Kwiatkowski

    I went to Mastbaum 10th grade ,San Diego night school,Self taught