A Mormon President?

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Mitt Romney in Washington D.C. on February 11, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While I am very far from the general buzz surrounding the current bid by Mitt Romney to become the nominated Republican leader, and in the hope that this does not become a political discussion as such, I am certainly interested, from an outsiders point of view, in what kind of effect his bid is having out there in the mission field.

Indeed, this past week it is clear that Romney has won that bid, and is now in line to challenge Pres. Obama for the Presidency. These are certainly interesting days for the Church. Mostly for our brothers and sisters in the US, but that effect will, I am sure, have some kind of follow-on outside its borders as well.

Are our missionaries experiencing many more opportunities to teach the gospel because of his prominence, or are they finding roadblocks?

My daughter is currently serving in a Utah Mission, and has so far made no indication to me that there is any ‘Romney’ effect as she serves. But this doesn’t surprise me; it would not be as hot a topic in Utah, as it would be in say New York, or any other location. Or would it? Well, maybe it is a hot topic there in Utah, but certainly not for the same reasons it would be elsewhere.

I have already talked a little bit on this blog about the effect that his political prominence has had on the church through mainstream media, as well as how the media in general can really get it wrong sometimes. Even from my distant location (New Zealand) we are getting a fair bit of interest in this election process, mostly because of the religious position of Mitt Romney. So I would assume that continental USA is humming with it.

Just recently Kathryn Skaggs, a well-known LDS blogger, wrote an article for the Washington Post titled “Mitt Romney’s Mormon milestone”. In there she talks about his successful bid for the Republican leadership and her perception that overall this was a positive thing for the church. She also states that, “…people are searching to know more about what Mormons actually believe and are much more apt to find credible information online.”

My question then is not a political one, but one which would explore the effects that this campaign is having upon the work of the Lord – face to face. I have always been told that any mention of the church, whether good or bad, is always beneficial as it gets people talking and asking questions.

So, what is the experience of our missionaries over there in relation to Mitt Romney’s 2012 US Presidential bid? Are there questions being asked? Do any of your missionaries, as they knock on doors or meet people in the street, talk about their experiences in relation to this? Are they finding people more inquisitive, or are they finding them less receptive?

As an outsider I am hugely interested in this. Maybe some of the mum’s, or family members, have had an experience themselves. Has it been the topic of conversation between you and your non-member friends? I would love to hear some of your, or your missionaries, stories if you have any.

I would also love to hear how you feel about this milestone? What kind of effect do you think it will have on the church in general? Is it a positive thing, or do you see it as being detrimental for the church?


2 thoughts on “A Mormon President?

  1. We asked our local missionaries a similar question, and they said they’d been called “Mitt’s Boys” or “Romney’s people” while tracting. In some cases that was a good thing, but often not so much because of our rather liberal climate in the county. I’m actually curious about the reverse effect… How will our missionaries and their awesome examples of clean, responsible, hard-working living make people look at a Mormon candidate differently than, say, their pastor would want them to? 🙂

    • It doesn’t surprise me that there is a form of branding happening with our missionaries. But I don’t think it is a huge issue that they are being met with this type of reference. I understand that fundamentally the perceived image of the LDS missionary does not fit the social climate of the day (similar standards exist here), but their commitment and example should, at least, engender respect from the majority of the community.
      Most definitely, I think our missionaries have a huge responsibility to continue to represent the church honorably for that very reason.

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