Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mitt Romney's Presidential Campaign Ends Up The Longest And Possibly Most Expensive Service Mission In The History Of The LDS Church

The presidential campaign of Mitt Romney came to an unsuccessful end on November 6th, 2012. Despite the fact that Romney avoided the scandals that normally accompany such campaigns and projected a personal image of sterling character, a majority of American voters decided that snake oil was more attractive than substance. The latest count from CNN indicates that Barack Obama won the electoral vote count, 303-206, and also the popular vote by just over 1.9 million.

Even before the count was complete, allegations of chicanery surface. James Buchanan found out that by comparing an election map with a map of states requiring voter ID, Obama lost in every state with a photo ID law in effect. A list of closely contested state elections with no voter ID, which narrowly went to Obama included: Minnesota (10), Iowa (6), Wisconsin (10), Nevada (6), Colorado (9), New Mexico (5) and Pennsylvania (20). This amounted to a total of 66 electoral votes. When added to Romney’s total of 205 electoral votes, that would have given him 271 electoral votes even without Ohio or Florida. Nevertheless, unlike Al Gore in 2000, Mitt Romney decided to be gracious and conceded much more quickly than I would have expected. You can read the text of Romney's concession speech HERE, and listen to him on the video embedded below:

Romney thanked all those who played major roles in his campaign, and explained that continued partisan bickering and political posturing is risky, noting that our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work. He asked people to earnestly pray for Obama and for the country.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially got into the act. After a year of staying aloof, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve issued a statement congratulating Barack Obama, calling for unity, and commending Romney on the example he set during his campaign:

We congratulate President Obama on winning a second term as President of the United States.

After a long campaign, this is now a time for Americans to come together. It is a long tradition among Latter-day Saints to pray for our national leaders in our personal prayers and in our congregations. We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times. May our national leaders reflect the best in wisdom and judgment as they fulfill the great trust afforded to them by the American people.

We also commend Governor Romney for engaging at the highest level of our democratic process which, by its nature, demands so much of those who offer themselves for public service. We wish him and his family every success in their future endeavors.

Even though Mitt Romney did not succeed in becoming President of the United States, he was hardly a failure. In fact, one could consider Romney's campaign one of the longest and most expensive service missions in the history of the Church. His campaign exposed countless Americans to Mormonism who had previously heard little or nothing about it. His campaign also served to rebut negative biases and stereotypes about Mormonism. And perhaps most importantly, Romney's campaign changed Evangelical thinking about Mormons and Mormonism; leading evangelicals such as Billy Graham and Jonathan Falwell no longer consider Mormonism a "cult", and some Evangelical leaders urged their followers to hold their nose if necessary and vote for the Mormon rather than the Muslim. We will still have our theological differences with Evangelicals, but more of them now understand we all work for the same Boss, and share the same Savior.

Don't be surprised if the next call extended to Mitt Romney would be a calling as an Area Authority or perhaps as a member of the Quorum of the Seventy.


Anonymous said...

Jack, I will admit that despite his loss, I was pleased with the campaign Romney ran. It wasn't perfect, but at the same time, I will admit something I have said earlier: If someone who is a member of my church runs for office, I would rather that they lose while striving to keep true to principle as opposed to throwing aside personal decorum in order to win. Overall, I will admit that is for the most part, exactly what Romney did, he let the world know about who he was, ran his campaign, and when he lost, he left for the most part with dignity. Among the better things I do enjoy is the fact that we actually have a good chance to keep on going and leading the way in service, charity, and more.

Jack Mormon said...

I agree that the genie that Mitt Romney let out of the bottle can't be put back in, and that Romney's campaign will have permanent favorable impact among some segments of the population. The best part about his campaign was how he exemplified our standards.

Whether the Republican brain trust agrees is another matter. Will they seek a more controversial candidate in 2016 to stir up people more in hopes of winning?

Anonymous said...

Well Jack, they may or they may not. I would recommend, however, that regardless of party, each party should place a principled candidate up for the vote. As for the overall situation, the hand of God is behind it. Regardless of the opposition, the Lord's plan works. In fact, the opposition pretty much unwittingly actually helps the church in the long run. Right now, the biggest issue is all the charity work that will be needed, because regardless of which candidate won, the economy, quality of life, and people living in the stable family would inevitably be a growing problem. It's important that plenty of people, Latter-Day Saint or not, be the force for making a difference in these times.

Frankly, we might be able to do it all with less scrutiny, now that we don't have the political power, it might go under the radar of much of the media.

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