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The Whole Truth….

Lamonte - December 3, 2007

This Thursday, Mitt Romney is slated to give an address at Texas A&M University where he will give an explanation of his faith.  Of course it is something that many people have been clamoring for throughout the weeks of the current campaign.  I am not writing this post to suggest support for Governor Romney or to suggest non-support.  I am simply raising the issue to suggest that Governor Romney’s best course of action, indeed the best course for all of us, is to be honest and straightforward about our religion and the things we believe.

In a recent Republican debate, Governor Romney was asked if he believed every word of the Bible to be true.  I immediately thought about the 8th Article of Faith (yes, I had to look it up to make sure it was the 8th) which says “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far it is translated correctly…”  It’s probably what I would have said in the pressure of a debate.    But Governor Romney chose to parse his words with something more complex and he choked a bit, which brought criticism and undoubtedly, more suspicion about our faith.

Robert Millet of BYU has written a book called “More Holiness Give Me” and he tells of serving a mission in the Eastern States mission (a long time ago).  His companion was kind of a slacker and so he insisted that he be the one to do all the talking at the next house.  A young woman answered the door and the companion gave the standard opening line (I didn’t serve a mission so I don’t know what that line is.)  The young woman stated that she already had a religion and so in an attempt to engage more conversation Brother Millet asked her to tell them about her religion.  She said something like, “Oh, you’ll probably think it is strange.  I believe the body to be sacred and so I don’t put harmful substance into my body.  I don’t drink or smoke and I try to eat healthy foods.”  Brother Millet saw the perfect opening here to introduce the gospel but he stuck to his guns about having the other companion do the talking and he gave him a look that said, “Go ahead”.  His companion then said, “We have baptism for the dead!” to which the young woman replied, “That’s sick!” and slammed the door shut.  That chapter of Bother Millet’s book is called “Milk Before Meat” and suggests that it is best to introduce the gospel in small parts rather than overwhelm someone with practices that might seem strange but that are more acceptable once someone has accepted the basic principles of the gospel.

And so we have a paradox, it seems.  Do we let it all hang out there when it comes to telling someone about our religion or should we be cautious?  Should we try to explain our faith in terms that sound more palatable to mainstream Protestant churches or should we just tell it like it is.  I hope Governor Romney will be forthright and open about our faith because I have found that once you explain it to people, in honest terms, they will identify with its most beautiful precepts.  I believe the basic precepts of our faith are just what Americans everywhere are looking for and I think if he is looking for the one moment that will help him become more acceptable to the voters, this may it.

What do you think?


  1. I don’t think he’ll explain our faith in any detail. Instead he’ll probably talk about the importance of having a leader with strong faith.

    He’ll probably get into how he won’t be taking orders from Salt Lake City. If he does any faith explaining, he’ll probably just focus on the things our religion has in common with other religions.

    Comment by JM — December 3, 2007 @ 8:09 am

  2. I think I agree with you, Lamonte. I thought exactly what you did while watching the debate. I kept saying “As far as it is translated correctly!” and just sighed and said “Oh, Mitt” when he gave his answer.

    Personally, I think he should just recite the 12 Articles of Faith. I mean, isn’t that what they are for? Weren’t they written in answer to queries about our faith? I don’t understand why Romney doesn’t just be honest about it. Being evasive doesn’t work with the American public –it just makes them (us) mad.

    Comment by Cheryl — December 3, 2007 @ 8:24 am

  3. I would like to tell everyone out there this. We all know that politics can and will get ugly. We know that one statement can ruin his or her career. So I ask look at all the republican party Who in that party has had extra marital affairs DUI’s etc… Look at the Democrats side most bad problem in there marrisages, just to let every one know they if voting for Hillary Clinton you must look at the embarrassment that her and her husband caused America just remeber it takes two married people to give 100% to make a marriage work. Know one else has to even bring there religion even Huckabee who was a Baptist Minister. What I know this far he is bringing his religion in his campaign watch and read all interviews and debates you will see. Please forward this to everyone. The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day saints (Mormons have a great family network and nothing to hide. Worrieed in California if voters vote against Mitt this country is lost….

    Comment by Rodney Mattson — December 3, 2007 @ 8:26 am

  4. Actually, Cheryl, when I learned them in primary there were 13.

    I think I’d just stick to the 11th, and make that the centerpiece of the speech.

    Comment by Mark B. — December 3, 2007 @ 9:42 am

  5. Please forward this to everyone.

    It worriees me that know one will remeber to.

    We all know that blogging can and will get ugly.

    Comment by Last Lemming — December 3, 2007 @ 9:53 am

  6. I really think that this will make or break Mitt’s career. I really don’t think he’s going to talk about religion in the sense of explaining the Mormon religion to the masses, because as much as we like to look to Mitt as a Mormon, he is also a politician. Not the negative connotation of a politician, but that is is job.

    JM is right – he’s going to make this about how his religion makes him more of a family man an example of someone who can lead the country

    Comment by Brandt — December 3, 2007 @ 10:04 am

  7. I think quoting the Articles of Faith would be a great idea. They explain what we believe and are not offensive to other christians…at least at first glance. He could also talk about our Family emphasis, his example and challenge the other canidates to step up to the plate with their moral character and examples.

    Comment by Don — December 3, 2007 @ 10:55 am

  8. Mark-
    I’m blushing with shame. Yeah, I knew there were 13, too. Oops!

    Comment by Cheryl — December 3, 2007 @ 11:38 am

  9. Knowing how to answer questions depends on who’s asking. Everyone needs at least a little milk before meat and it’s up to us to use our best judgment and the discerning power of the Spirit figure out who and how much.

    Some of our meat is pretty gamey:)

    Comment by Bret — December 3, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

  10. As someone who remembers my pre-convert experience, I wanted the truth. I came from a Baptist church, and I learned from them that Mormons were on their way to eternal damnation one minivan at a time. But my boyfriend, his family, and some of the nicest people I had ever met were Mormon, and that didn’t make sense to me. That the doctrine was strange didn’t bother me; I wanted to hear an honest, blunt explanation of what Mormons believed so I could judge for myself. I was familiar with the meat vs. milk idea, and I went straight for the meat. My friends were great about answering my questions. And that unabashed confidence in my ability to understand made me feel respected.

    I’m thinking that Romney ought to just come out and take a stance on his religion. If he doesn’t want it dragged through the media, he needs to just say that. If he wants his beliefs understood, he needs to just go ahead and make them known once. I don’t know about the rest of us, but I’m tired of waiting for the bomb to drop; for when he’s finally going to say something that’ll damn us all in the eyes of the American majority. And quite frankly, if he gets into the religious debate for the sake of discussion, he’s in the wrong business.

    Don’t get me wrong; I support Romney. I agree with him politically, and I think he has a lot to offer the American people. But I’d like to see him be less afraid to be more straightforward about this whole religion thing. I’d like to see him get past all these irrelevant discussions that are distracting from the real issues. If he would do that, I think it would be easier for the rest of America to see what Romney supporters see in him.

    Comment by Paradox — December 3, 2007 @ 8:18 pm

  11. Paradox – Thanks for putting a real-life experience behind the issue raised in this post. I visited your website and found many things of interest – your life’s journey to Mormonism and the struggles you continue to experience. Thank you for sharing that with all of us. For those of us born into the church – even for folks like me who grew up in an inactive family but in a Mormon community – it is good to read or listen to the experiences that have brought some of you so far, finally finding your home in the gospel of Jesus Christ. For all of us, whether recent convert or lifelong member from generations of Mormonism, this gospel is the joyful pathway back to a loving Father and I hope that Mitt Romney finds a way to extend that message in his remarks on Thursday.

    Comment by Lamonte — December 4, 2007 @ 5:50 am

  12. All we can do is pray for him, pray that he will have the right words, the words that Heavenly Father wants him to say, pray that the Holy Ghost will guide him and touch the hearts of all Americans!!!!!!

    And have faith :)

    Comment by steffielynn — December 4, 2007 @ 8:40 am

  13. Do we think that Romney is seeking divine guidance? I have to think that he is. I believe that for him to have acheived what he has, and to openly say he is LDS, he is going being guided and directed by a higher power. Does this mean I think he is a prophet? No, but I do think that if he is going to win- that means that is where the Lord needs him at this time.
    I don’t think he will just be winging it for this speech. I don’t think he made the decision to give this speech on a whim. I’m sure there will be critisism from the world but I don’t think he is “alone” on this presidential journey.
    So pretty much I agree with steffielynn. :)

    Comment by kanga — December 4, 2007 @ 1:58 pm

  14. I don’t think he’ll be winging the speech either, kanga, but maybe that’s where his problem lies. He seems so careful, amd stilted, in all that he says, that he comes across as inauthentic and scared of actually revealing what he thinks. From what I have heard him say I don’t agree with his politics so I don’t care to have him elected– my main concern regarding him is that his tone thus far has indicated that he, and thus all Mormons by association, have a lot to hide.

    Comment by Maryanne — December 4, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

  15. I disagree with Romney’s position on the War in Iraq (it is identical to George Bush’s) and therefore I won’t be voting for him. But I still think he has an opportunity to present the Church and those who belong to it to a skeptical world. Despite my disagreements with his political policies (some of them anyway) I still see him as a good and decent man who has raised a family of good and decent sons and he wants that opportunity and that goal for all Americans. If he can articulate how his church membership has helped mold him and his family into the kind of citizens they are, then he will have succeeded despite what the press or his political opponents try to portray. If he can turn around one person’s opinion of what it means to be a Mormon (turn them from a false, negative idea to a positive and accurate one) then he will have succeeded.

    Comment by lamonte — December 4, 2007 @ 5:08 pm

  16. The Master Architect help us all if a filthy-rich warmonger mormon gets elected president. Note that I didn’t mention any names.

    On another subject, I think Romney will be fine speaking about his faith.

    Comment by Manuel — December 4, 2007 @ 6:15 pm

  17. steffielynn and kanga,
    Sorry if this comes out harsh but I don’t believe God inspires flip-flopping, let alone torcher for that matter. I would not doubt that Romney prays daily for guidance. I just don’t think he’s listening very well right now. He’s not acting himself – just trying to get elected. So essentially, he’s just like all the others which is fine but please don’t tell me he has some divine presidential destiny. If God influenced elections, Bush Jr. would have never seen the Oval Office.

    Comment by cj douglass — December 4, 2007 @ 6:59 pm

  18. Is “torcher” supposed to be some kind of joke?

    Comment by Maryanne — December 4, 2007 @ 7:10 pm

  19. It is probably supposed to mean “Torture”

    since Romney seems to support the idea of labeling people “terrorists” in order for the USA to do as they wish disregarding the Geneva Conventions.

    Comment by Manuel — December 4, 2007 @ 8:17 pm

  20. sorry about the misspelling….its late.

    Comment by cj douglass — December 4, 2007 @ 9:42 pm

  21. I had typed some comments earlier but my browser crashed. I will say – I have sympathy for Romney (and any prominent LDS politican). How do you separate what you believe from what other LDS may believe? Or what current LDS leadership says? And not be accused of picking and choosing your beliefs?

    How can you explain – well, those men may have said those things but they were speaking as men and not prophets? It opens a large can of thorny questions.

    Comment by aerin — December 5, 2007 @ 1:56 pm

  22. I had typed some comments earlier but my browser crashed. I will say – I have sympathy for Romney (and any prominent LDS politican). How do you separate what you believe from what other LDS may believe? Or what current LDS leadership says? And not be accused of picking and choosing your beliefs?

    How can you explain – well, those men may have said those things but they were speaking as men and not prophets? It opens a large can of thorny questions.

    Comment by aerin — December 5, 2007 @ 1:57 pm

  23. Apologies for the duplicate.

    Comment by aerin — December 5, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

  24. Apologies for the duplicate.

    Comment by aerin — December 5, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  25. Romney is awesome, but that’s just my opinion. If he is not asking for inspiration, then I have no problem asking FOR him. I think this is much bigger then the presidency, I think this will open the door for better conversations about the LDS faith! I’m excited for that!

    On another note, my hubby is in Iraq and I want him safe and home, BUT I also want my children to be safe. There are dangerous people that our boys are keeping out of our country. I support the war, and any war to come that will keep my kids safe. Does that make me a war monger?

    Comment by steffielynn — December 5, 2007 @ 7:27 pm

  26. When the war is based on a platform of lies built by corrupt people who use fear to manipulate people (like the nonsense motto: Iraq war makes USA safer) and when you follow blindly just because of the war worshiping American culture, yes.

    Comment by Manuel — December 6, 2007 @ 1:25 am

  27. I have not followed blindly, My husband has been in Iraq for 3 years, I’m no expert, but I do know what has happened and IS happening. And America is not “war worshipping” That is a sorry statement. The world IS safer, and if you don’t think so then maybe you are the one who is blind. I don’t LIKE war, it’s awful, and I prefer to have my husband at home with me raising our two children and being a nice normal family. The sacrifices that they make for people are more then many will ever understand. War is necessary when there are people who want to destroy you. And I am beyond thankful that I live in a country that is strong, and safe because of the people who have fought and continue to fight for us.

    Lucky for all of us we live in a free country (because of those who have fought for that right) and we are all allowed to have our own opinions!!!!

    Back to topic though, I am anxious to hear Romney And I will be praying for him! :)

    Comment by steffielynn — December 6, 2007 @ 7:01 am

  28. The idea that we are safer now that Iraq is in civil war and a heavy enfiltration of Al Queda (that was non existent under Saddam) is highly laughable…….But I appreciate your enthusiasm for Romney to do well. And I certainly appreciate the sacrifice our service men and women and their families make. I only wish your integrity was not so often betrayed by our governement.

    Comment by cj douglass — December 6, 2007 @ 8:39 am

  29. Ummm are you guys missing the part where I said my husband has been in Iraq for 3 years? I do not have first hand knowledge, but he does. He sees it EVERYDAY, and finds it sickening that the media portrays the war the way they do. I am not being influenced by the government, my influence is my husband, who is THERE! There was already a war going on before we got there. My husband tells me the stories of the mass graves found, of the women and children that were killed by Sadam. My husband attends church with Iraqi’s who are so grateful because they now have the ability to go to the church of their choosing! I know that freedom is not free, and I appreciate those who are willing to risk there own lives so that others may live!

    And I just watched Romney’s speech, He ROCKED it!!!!

    Comment by steffielynn — December 6, 2007 @ 9:18 am

  30. steffelynn,
    You’re right, its hard to argue with those who have first hand knowledge of the situation over there. But if the Iraqi people are so much better off, I have a hard time seeing why over 4 million of them have fled their homes and are now either internally displaced or immigrants to other, safer countries. We’re comparing two evils here. I happen to think the Saddam evil was much better for the Iraqis and US. But lets not get into a pissing contest. I can agree to disagree.

    Comment by cj douglass — December 6, 2007 @ 10:36 am

  31. It seems our discussion has strayed away from originaql intent of this post. That’s OK because it is always good to promote dialogue about important issues. Can I just make a few comments in relation to the comments above?

    1. I haven’t had a chance to read the speech nor did I see it but from all the commentary made since the speech it seems that Mitt did a pretty good job of explaining how religion informs his personal philosphy and his political beliefs and his sense of patriotism. I have heard criticism that he said some thing like “freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.” I think I agree with him but I see the other side of that statement as well.

    2. The War in Iraq is certainly one of the most devisive issues to face the country in decades. I was a youth during the Vietnam War and I while there was great division among the citizens I don’t remember it being this devisive. Maybe that is just convenient memory of an event from the past but I believe that to be the facts. There are those like Stephielynn who have strong feelings that our presense there is actually making a positive difference in the world and that we are doing good. There are others who believe that our decision to attack Iraq in a preemptive war has brought on the disdain and distrust of the rest of the world. Stephielynn’s husband reports good things happening in Iraq and feels that things are better there now than under the Saddam Hussein regine. A good friend of my son’s reports just the opposite. He has served two tours in Iraq and reports total chaos. He has seen two of his best friends literally blown to pieces from IED and he, himself, has been seriously wounded. Now that he is home and about to be released from the Army he fears the he, like several thousand other soldies who have been wounded and witnessed the ravages of that war, will be classified as “mentally unstable” before he leaves the service so that the government won’t be liable for his mental counseling if he should suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I find that policy unconscienable for a government – a country – that pays so much lip service to “Supporting the Troops” to now deny basic benefits to so many who have given so much. For me, it is indiciative of the sad path that this administration has led us down. And so I have a serious disagreement with the picture that Stephielynn has painted but I respect her right to her opinion and I pray for the safe return oif her husband and her children’s father.

    3. And finally, despite all the things I desagre with pertaining to the current adminstration I maintain great faith in the American political process. We have a chance every fourth year to go to the polls and elect our leaders. We even have processes to remove them sooner if there is justification for it and enough people agree with us. I would caution all of us to beware of everyones political agenda whether they be from the left or the right, from the crop of politicians or from the press, from the private sector or the government. Strive to find the truth and let the guiding hand of the Holy Ghost help you make the important decisions that will be facing us all in the next year – and all the time before and after the next election.

    Comment by lamonte — December 7, 2007 @ 6:55 am

  32. Lamonte, I did not mean to steer away from the original point of your post, and I certainly do not think that the Iraq war is all peachy and good. It’s a war, death and distruction are everywhere, and it’s awful and sad!

    I am so worried about my husband and miss him terribly, there are days when I can hardly get out of bed. And it is so hard on our children, they need their father! When we talk on the phone I can here the sirens and the mortars that are aimed at him. But I believe in what he is doing, I believe the outcome will be good! I cannot understand how people could think that the Iraqi’s were better off under Saddam! There have been mistakes, and I think that the war could be handled better, but I believe that in 20 years we will see a free and prosperous Iraq, I believe that the Gospel will reach these people, I even think about how amazing it would be if my son was a missionary in the very place his dad was at war. It is freedom that all humans are intitled to, and my prayer is that all will have it!

    Sorry I went off again :)

    Comment by steffielynn — December 7, 2007 @ 7:42 am

  33. Steffielynn – “It is freedom that all humans are intitled to, and my prayer is that all will have it!”

    The perfect thought for the Christmas season. My prayers this weekend will include your husband and your family.

    Comment by lamonte — December 7, 2007 @ 3:39 pm

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