After pummeling Newt Gingrich's remarks after Nevada's primary tonight as "negative tone" and "flailing" and "sad" - he was criticized roundly on Fox News for saying one of the reasons Romney "did well in Nevada was because of the heavy Mormon population." This despite the fact that this was also reported previous to the primary in many media outlets as a fact.
Mitt Romney's Mormonism may be nothing to hold against him, but I don't think most Americans not only don't understand what Mormonism is, they don't understand the very essence of WHO Mitt Romney is. While I'll skip the "theology" let me expound on Romney's roots. We all know Romney is a late-comer to Conservative philosophy. He had been a progressive and has turned "Conservative" as it's served his purpose. He actively embraces the ideals of his father, George Romney. George, former Gov. of Michigan, hated Barry Goldwater and led a revolt against him at the 1964 convention which ended with him walking out of the convention in protest. He came back, but he'd made his views known. For anyone who doesn't know Goldwater, he was one of the greatest Conservatives in the history of this country.
George Romney was born to Mormon missionaries in Mexico. They ended up fleeing to...Salt Lake City of course, where they were FROM. He was a very important Mormon, and the first sleek talking "businessman" of the modern age. George Romney initiated the first State Income Tax in Michigan, and vastly the expanded the role of the state in private life. He consulted and met with Saul Alinsky and recommended his teachings to friends as he tried to "deal with the poor" in Michigan.
You can read more about him at:
[link to en.wikipedia.org
[link to www.wnd.com
Keep in mind Romney boasts about his saving the Salt Lake City Olympics because he considers it his ancestral home. EVERY generation of Romney's family since Parley Pratt, Mitt's great-great grandfather has had a substantial contribution to the spread of Mormonism not just here, but across the world. And if you want to look at Parley Pratt - he was an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. You guessed it, he was one of Joseph Smith's gang here in New York. Here in New York, there is not a few plaques and mentions of Joseph Smith and his band of brothers. (In New York State people go to see the Hill Cumorah Pageant just for entertainment, not knowing what it is!) Now....I happened to live, for a short time near the "farm" where all this craziness started so I've got a little personal investment in this. Pratt, and Whitmer and Joseph Smith and three other guys were "founding members" of the Mormon Church and it all started in a little town called Fayette. It was here that six men had "visions" in the woods. Local accounts say the men were often raucous and drinking. I only found these things out after researching the area I had lived in. (This last bit was in local newspaper accounts I read years ago, and to be fair I cannot support that right now but can support everything else.)
Parley Pratt, or rather his murder, was also the most likely cause of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, an event depicted in the movie September Dawn starring Jon Voight. Pratt had taken a married woman with children as his 12th wife, and was later killed by her husband. Pratt is still seen as a martyr by the Mormon Church.
-----------------------------------------------In the heat of the Missouri Mormon War of 1838, Joseph Smith made the following claim:I will be to this generation a second Muhammad, whose motto in treating for peace was the Alcoran[Koran] or the Sword. So shall it eventually be with us Joseph Smith or the Sword!
[link to www.scribd.com]
The media and TV seem to treat Romney's "religion" as just a choice, like being a Methodist or a Lutheran. It is not but that's a discussion for another day. I have not heard anyone ONCE tell that his great great grandfather is one of the founders of the entire Mormon religion.
In most cases, talking about someone's ancestry is kind of moot. I certainly don't want to answer for anything my great great grandfather may have done. However, Romney mentions his father and his roots quite often, but not the WHOLE of it. Being a Mormon is part of WHO HE IS, much more so than Rev. Wright was relevant to who Obama is because the essence of who Romney is generational. And Romney, as you pointed out, is VERY important in the Mormon faith and pours millions of dollars into it. So...if he takes it that seriously, so will I.
Our election/campaigning process needs to be changed so the guy (or gal) with the most money doesn't win. I would like to have seen Gingrich, Santorum, Paul and Romney all have a fair shot from a financial perspective. They all seem to have done well in the debates, yet three were voted off the island by "the powers that be" by telling us who the candidate would be before we voted.