Mitt Romney Mormon – Faith vs. Politics
Willard Mitt Romney, or Mitt Romney as he is well known, is a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As the Republican candidate for the office of President of the United States, Mitt prefers to put less focus on his faith and beliefs, and more focus on the issues that he needs to address during his campaign. Not placing so much emphasis on his faith should not be construed as Mitt not wanting to talk about the faith that has been, and continues to be his mainstay, for he is “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh [him] a reason of the hope that is in [him] with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15.) It is also because of his faith that Mitt understands the importance of “having a good conscience; that, whereas [people] speak evil of [him], as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse [his] good conversation in Christ” (1 Peter 3:16.)
Fellow Mormons believe that Mitt’s faith is what would make him an especially effective president. Others feel that his faith is more likely to affect his presidency than who his Vice Presidential pick will be. Mitt, however, will only speak on the topic in the broadest terms. His staff will not discuss the subject at all. In all fairness, most of his staff, other than those who are Latter-day Saints, doesn’t have adequate knowledge of the subject to be able to comment. Besides wanting to focus on the issues at hand, Mitt’s faith and beliefs are something that is very personal to him. He wants to control the conversations regarding religion to limit the political downside.
Fellow Mormons write op-eds in the newspapers and blogs expressing their concerns and opinions of how Mitt’s faith, especially being a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ, could impact his presidency. On Monday, 18 June 2012, two leaders in the Church spoke at the Faith Angle Forum on Mormonism in Washington D.C., and made it clear in their remarks that they feel that Mitt’s faith is not something to hide, but rather something that can be used as a selling point.
By explaining his faith and his role in the church, Romney could show why he is not as walled off from regular people as President Obama claims. Describing how his religious values have shaped him would explain why he makes decisions with such rigor and is so restless in his pursuit of excellence. 
In the course of the discussion at the forum, Michael Otterson, the Managing Director of Public Affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, talked about the Latter-day Saint faith and described a religion especially compatible with the office of the presidency.
Mortal life is a test, a probationary period in eternal progression which accounts for Mormons’ relentless work ethic, deep ties to the community, and particularly rigorous decision making. A passive attitude of faith is no part of being a Latter-day Saint. 
Mitt Romney, as a devout and active member of the Church, has all of these qualities. His faith is not something that he would passively carry with him into office. In fact, his faith would be the central driver of his presidency and would help to inform people of two important aspects of his presidency: his decision making process and his capacity to show empathy for those who don’t share his immediate experience. Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School and author of “How Will You Measure Your Life?” stated:
If you want to offer to America the full package of who he is, if you don’t [talk about his religion], you lose a very important half of what’s shaped his life. I don’t think there’s a whole lot for him to be ashamed of—as you dig deeper and deeper you’ll be able to show exactly who he is. 
One of the passages of scripture that is often quoted by Mitt’s friends concerning his decision making process is found in modern day revelation, in the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) 9:7-8:
Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
The second aspect of Mitt’s faith that would inform his presidency is the time that he spent serving as the Bishop (equivalent to a pastor) in an LDS congregation in Massachusetts in the 1980s. In that capacity he counseled members of his ward about their most personal matters. Clayton Christensen, who has also served as a Bishop said of Mitt:
He personally … met with them in their home and just had a very deep sense of what was going on in that family. That is another really important attribute. He feels it, whereas other people voted for legislation that took money from these people to give to those people. That’s not an understanding of humanity. 
Although there are several people who feel that Mitt’s faith will play an important role in his presidency, he chooses not to discuss it, but rather he chooses to stay his focus on the issues at hand – namely President Obama’s failures. He believes that placing too much emphasis on his faith detracts from the tasks before him. He also realizes the pitfalls of engaging in a forlorn discussion about religion with the press. To engage in such a discussion would find him having to consistently defend the doctrines of Mormonism. Therefore, his decision to stay the course on political issues, and leave his faith out of it, proves to be a wise one.