July 18th, 2012
08:49 PM ET

Is Romney's Mormon faith still 'taboo' in this 2012 presidential election?

Fifty-two years after John F. Kennedy broke a barrier by becoming the first non-protestant president, Mitt Romney's Mormonism is proving to be a thorny issue, in part, because we don't know how to talk about it, honestly, thoughtfully and respectfully.

Discussion of religion in politics has long been dominated by demagogues - Mitt Romney's deeply held faith is no exception.

OutFront tonight: Buzz feed political reporter Mckay Coppins. He's been covering the Romney campaign from a unique perspective. He is also mormon.

Mormon influence in Nevada fading, but still a factor

In 1986, with control of the United States Senate up for grabs, The Economist dispatched a reporter to Nevada, an important battleground that year, to survey the race between then-Rep. Harry Reid and his Republican opponent, James Santini.

"Mr. Reid's performance in Las Vegas could well turn on the Mormon vote," the correspondent noted, spotlighting Reid's religion. "Though only some 12% of Nevadans are Mormons, they punch more than their weight. Less than half the state's eligible voters bother to register, but Mormons almost always do, which gives them about a quarter of the likely turnout."


Filed under: 2012 Election • Political Strike Team • Politics • Religion
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Non-Mormon UT resident

    Secrecy is the mormon modus-operandi.
    I have been observing this 1st hand for many years.
    Been approached by missionaries on many occasions and have asked pointed questions and in return received answers to those questions that I "Should have Asked". This is mentioned above by "tweedmeister" and is a fully accurate description.
    My children have experienced discrimination from mormon children and teachers in school.
    Polygamy, there is the big "wink and a nod" issue, the official line and the reality on the ground are two very different things.
    There are polygamists in both Salt Lake City and Park City by all accounts.
    It would be hard for me to imagine anything more terrifying than a mormon in the White House based upon my many years as a resident of Utah. Ask a missionary about "Baptism of the Dead" and see how fast the topic changes.

    July 20, 2012 at 7:21 am | Reply
  2. Lars

    As an employer of Mormon people in Idaho, I can say they are like all the other employees I've hired, mostly hard working and fair. But anyone who really knows the Mormon faith will tell you that it is very much an "us and them" religion. Their public relations can only go so far in convincing people live in Mormon communities that "we are just like you". The simple fact of life is that they want, like all of us, to be well thought of by their fellow countrymen, but they view non-Mormons as lost and outside the circle of Americans that they are comfortable being open with. It is a very cultural religion. And it is indeed secretive.

    July 20, 2012 at 6:34 am | Reply
  3. Michael Pace

    I didn't see the interview. I have been softly and tenderly talking with Mormons for over 40 years. Suffice it to say, Mormons are Mormons. Christians are Christians. Jeh. Witness. are Jeh. Witness. Islam is Islam. Mormons are NOT Christians. All the above sects I mentioned believe in a different Christ. But give Mormons their due: They put many Christians to shame in their giving, their kindness, and their practicing of their faith....weird as it is. I don't believe religion should play a big role in electing a president. A vote should be cast on a ma's character, and how he would tackle the big issues. Most of the B.S. we see during an election year is a sham and a dodge. Politicians have their own best interests at heart.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:33 am | Reply
  4. J

    -Incomprehensibly slanted journalism.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  5. tweedmeister

    I really took exception to McKay Coppins' interview last night on CNN. I was a Mormon for 59 years, and can verify that what Coppins stated on CNN was wrong, and that people are right to be wary of Mormonism. The common belief, for instance, that Mormons are "secretive": Coppins reassured the public that Mormons are NOT secretive. But while Mormons do, indeed, welcome visitors into their ward buildings (only to block their exit of the pew by placing a beefy missionary on each side of the person–creepy), they will not answer the most simple of questions a person has when investigating Mormonism. As a Mormon missionary, I was taught, "Do not answer the questions they ask; answer the questions they SHOULD have asked." It is much later, generally after a year of vetting by fellow church members, when they introduce a person to the secret temple ceremonies, the Mormons' version of Craft Lodge Freemason induction that are believed essential to salvation. As for the question of polygamy, the Mormons remind everyone that they "quit" in 1890, yet Wilford Woodruff himself, the man who supposedly ended polygamy in 1890, took another polygamous wife in 1897. Mormons were found to still be secretly practicing polygamy in 1904 during the infamous Reed Smoot senate hearings, after which the church released a new statement banning polygamy. Yet the practice did not actually cease until 1911. Even today, Mormons still believe in polygamy and that The Elect will be practicing it during the millennium and in the hereafter. And even today, the Mormon-led State of Utah is notoriously protective of polygamous Mormons such as the FLDS, and the nation must look to Texas to prosecute them. Quite simply, the LDS church lives a culture of lying, and has never been able to quit.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:40 am | Reply
  6. Ryan D.

    As a member of the LDS Church, I wanted to say thank you for your fair and accurate story of our faith. When I realized this would be a topic, I cringed and hoped it would at least fair, and it was. Thank You.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:02 am | Reply

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