Saturday, January 11, 2014

Was Mitt Romney Being Auditioned For A General Authority Slot At The LDS Arizona Young Single Adults Conference?

The Arizona Young Singles Adult Conference was in session from January 10-12, 2014 at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, and among the speakers was former U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Since Romney has no political ambitions, this makes me wonder if perhaps he's auditioning for a calling as a General Authority to the Quorum of the Seventy without even realizing it. At the very least, the Church could be eyeing him for such a position, and extended this opportunity to him as a trial balloon. Romney was invited to speak at the conference by Paul E. Gilbert, who not only serves as the President of the Tempe Arizona YSA Stake, but was also the chairman of Romney’s presidential campaign in Arizona. An estimated 3,800 young single adults from five states are in attendance.

Romney was one of the scheduled keynote speakers during the Saturday January 11th session, which included speeches from Deseret Book Company President Sheri Dew, ASU President Michael Crow, and former NBA star Thurl Bailey. According to the Deseret News, Romney said that he has never been able to find a consistent formula for worldly success, noting that there is a great deal of chance, or serendipity, or even luck to success in business, in politics, in science, in academics, in investments, in winning and losing. He said the bad news is that if people define their lives by the standards of the world, then their success is something out of their control or something left to chance. But the good news is that by God’s measure, success is entirely within one's control. It is not in any way subject to serendipity or luck or chance, but is up to the individual alone.

Picking up on the theme of the conference, “No obstacle too great", Romney noted that given the outcome of his presidential campaigns people think he knows something about obstacles. He said during the recent campaign he participated in 20 different presidential debates in the primary contest and three in the general election. He and Ann Romney attended hundreds of fundraising events and spoke more than 1,000 times. The last year of his campaign, the Romneys spent more than 300 nights in hotel rooms, and Mitt characterized it as a great experience. He noted that although we shy away from obstacles, they can be some of the best experiences of our lives because they can be a vehicle for learning are growing in unimaginable ways. Romney also said Jesus defines success as loving God and loving his children by serving them. Mitt Rommey is tailor-made for a slot on the First Quorum of the Seventy.

But there was some levity. The Daily Mail reports that during a performance by artist Alex Boye, Romney got up on stage and attempted some gangnam-style dancing:

Ann Romney also shared her conversion story. She explained that she grew up in a home that never had any religious experience, then as a teenager began dating Mitt Romney. One night she asked Mitt “What do Mormons believe?" His explanation "We believe in God the Eternal Father, in his son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost" changed her heart as the spirit whispered to her so strongly that what he said was true that she burst into tears.

Of course, on Friday January 10th, there was supposed to be even a heavier hitter than Mitt Romney in attendance as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was scheduled to lead the devotional, but he was called away on an emergency assignment and so Elder David E. LeSueur, an Area Seventy who has been called to serve as president of the Gilbert Arizona Temple, presided at the event and spoke. He was joined by Sister Nancy R. LeSueur. Elder LeSueur focused his remarks on faith, quoting Elder Holland’s April 2013 general conference address, “Lord, I believe”. He said faith operates between the two poles of gullibility, in which one believes everything, and cynicism, in which one believes nothing. Faith can originate with something as simple as hope, and is reinforced by spiritual experience and confirmed by the Holy Ghost. Elder LuSueur added that his faith has been significantly strengthened by obedience. This same article also summarizes the remarks by Sheri Dew.

A different Deseret News story summarizes remarks by Michael Crow, former NFL player and current KSAZ Channel 10 sports director Vai Sikahema, and Thurl Bailey. The Arizona Republic reports that attendees were encouraged to spend at least an hour participating in a service project: stuffing 21,000 backpacks full of school supplies. The backpacks will be given to American Indian children in Arizona. The supplies were donated by National Relief Charities, a non-profit organization that works with American Indian communities.

The Sunday session was a Sacrament meeting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If Romney is named a GA then I know for sure the church leaders have gone astray. And are leading the church astray. I already feel that the church has gone off course since Brigham Young, and over the years some GA's have even said the church is veering off course.