Mitt Romney is not the first Mormon to run for President. Nor is he the highest-ranking Mormon in politics (that would be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid). Yet his campaign to earn the Republican nomination has triggered endless discussion about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The former Massachusetts governor talked with CT associate editor Collin Hansen about doctrinal differences and common values.
Growing up in Michigan, how did you get along with evangelicals?
In a state like Michigan, there's very little attention paid to the different faiths of different people.
I went to an Episcopal school where maybe 15 to 20 percent of the student body was Jewish. But I didn't really know who was Jewish and who wasn't.
So no evangelicals ever tried to convert you?
No, I don't recall that ever occurring.
How do you think relations between Mormons and Trinitarian Christians have changed during your lifetime?
I don't know that there's been a significant change relating to doctrine. [But] several months ago, not long before he died, I had the occasion of having the Rev. Jerry Falwell at our home. He said that when he was getting ready to oppose same-sex marriage in California, he met with the president of my church in Salt Lake City, and they agreed to work together in a campaign in California. He said, "Far be it from me to suggest that we don't have the same values and the same objectives."
Have you seen changes between 1968, when your father ran for President, and now?
In terms of the relationship between the faiths, I don't see any particular differences. I know the media today focus far more on people of faith. In some circles, the bias against believers is pronounced. There are some people who would like to establish ...1