RNC Takes America to Church, Mormon Style, as Rank-and-File LDS Step Up

Thursday night, the Republican National Convention took America to church—Mormon style.

And Mitt Romney had nothing to do with it.

After eighteen months of fastidiously avoiding the issue of religion—a strategy that at times conveyed the unfortunate impression that his Mormonism was something Romney felt he needed to hide—the Romney campaign invited regular rank-and-file Mormons to do the heavy lifting on religion for them.

First up was Grant Bennett, who served alongside Romney during his tenure as a bishop (or lay pastor) of his Boston area congregation. Bennett explained in plain language Romney’s responsibilities of an LDS bishop—not theology, not ritual, but rather practical service that ranged from counseling physically, economically, and spiritually distressed parishioners to “shoveling snow for the elderly” and folding chairs after church meetings.

Next came Ted and Pat Oparowski, Mormons from New Hampshire who Romney had visited every month when he was serving back in the 1970s as a “home teacher,” a volunteer position held by virtually every participating adult male in the LDS Church. When the Oparowskis’ son David was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Mitt Romney provided exceptionally thoughtful support to the family and their son through his final days.

Finally, Pam Finalyson recalled Romney’s service to her family when their daughter was born prematurely—he even made an entire Thanksgiving dinner for the family himself—and his caring when that same daughter died two decades later.

The rest of the article may be found on Religion Dispatches.

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