Mitt Romney’s Positions on Social Issues Dictated by Church Leaders

Mormon Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah

On January 26, I wrote a post about an excerpt from the biography The Real Romney that had just been published by Vanity Fair. The Vanity Fair article detailed Romney’s cruel treatment of women when he was a Bishop and later Stake President in Boston’s Mormon community.

In doing a little further research on one of those women, Judith Dushku, and came across an earler interview with Dushku in which she recounted a conversation with Romney in which he told her he had been given permission by his church leaders to lie about his views on abortion and LGBT rights. A few years before, Romney had cut Dushku out of his life because she supported a women who had to choose between having an abortion and losing her own life. Here’s the relevant excerpt from my post:

A few years after the friendship ended, Romney ran for the Senate in 1994 against Ted Kennedy. Dushku was very surprised to learn that Romney was running as a pro-choice candidate. Dushku:

I was pleased and called, asking to see him. I told him I suspected that we had our differences, but that maybe I could work with him if he’d come to a really good position on women and childbirth.

And he said – Yes, come to my office.

I went to his office and I congratulated him on taking a pro-choice position. And his response was – Well they told me in Salt Lake City I could take this position, and in fact I probably had to in order to win in a liberal state like Massachusetts.

Suzan Mazur: Who’s “THEY”?

Judy Dushku: I asked him the same question. And he said “the Brethren” in Salt Lake City.

In other words, Romney was consulting with his church elders before deciding his positions on the issues, and they told him to lie!

Last night The Daily Beast published a post by famed investigative reporter Wayne Barrett that adds weight to Dushku’s testimony. Barrett begins by discussing portions of another Romney biography, Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and his Politics, by R.B. Scott, a former reporter for Time and a “distant cousin” of Mitt Romney’s, as well as an adviser to Romney early on. In the book, Scott writes about

numerous trips Romney has taken to the mountaintop to square his positions on social issues like abortion and gay rights with church hierarchy….[and] he describes how Romney came away from these Salt Lake treks bolstered by a flexible understanding he reached with the brass: He was able to moderate his views during his runs for Senate and the governorship in liberal Massachusetts, yet he could still find his way back to doctrinal purity once in the governor’s mansion and safely on to his way to the White House….

Scott says that 1993 trip “established a pattern” that Romney “would follow in years to come when deliberating about whether to run for Massachusetts governor in 2002, and, especially, before announcing his candidacy for president in 2007.”

In the spring and early summer of 2005, while Romney was still Massachusetts governor and preparing to set up his first presidential PACs, he visited Salt Lake so often that one senior church official said he “basically camped out” at church headquarters, according to Scott. Gordon Hinckley, the president and prophet with decades of ties to the Romney family (he and Mitt’s father, George, went to high school together), reportedly found the frequency and “dithering,” as Scott put it, “a little tiresome.”

During the Republican primaries this year, there was much discussion about Jack Kennedy’s famous speech to Southern Baptist ministers in Dallas in 1960. Kennedy was forced by constant questioning to pledge his independence from the Roman Catholic Church–even though Kennedy never traveled to Rome to seek guidance on political issues and was never a member of his church’s hierarchy as Romney was for many years.

Why is Romney being given a pass on his lack of independence from Mormon church leaders? Why do you suppose these church leaders gave Romney dispensation to hide his “severely conservative” views from voters until he had taken office as Governor of Massachusetts? Here is Scott’s answer, as reported by Barrett (emphasis added):

In 1993, Romney went to Salt Lake with a Mormon pollster and poll results showing that he couldn’t win in Massachusetts without moderating his positions on those sorts of issues. “They realized it would serve no purpose to quibble—the greater good was to get him elected and give him a shot at realizing the victory his father booted 40 years earlier,” Scott writes. “Did they see him as a future presidential candidate? Did he? Do the statues of Angel Moroni atop every Mormon temple always face east?”

In other words, Scott is contending that the church in effect licensed Romney’s better-than-Kennedy promises on gay rights, as well as his pink flyers at the Gay Pride Parade in 2002 that beckoned: “All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference.”

I won’t belabor the White Horse Prophecy myth again, but it certainly appears that Mormon church leaders very much want a man in the White House who will follow their “advice.”

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47 Comments on “Mitt Romney’s Positions on Social Issues Dictated by Church Leaders”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Well, this explains a lot about why he lies all the time so easily. I guess if the brethren say it’s okay then he thinks he’s doing the work of whatever planet and aliens they get their orders from. Scary stuff!!

    • northwestrain says:

      Aliens — of Course!!!

      How else would Joseph Smith — LDS founder — and finder of the metal plates given to him by the “angles”. Not angles but aliens — both begin with an “a” — so who can blame Smith for getting the two words confused A very strange religion invented by a con man.

      Romney does get his orders from his church — and he makes no promise to cut all ties with his church if he wins. Romney is as much a con man as the founder of the LDS.

      Also 0bama gets his marching orders from the other religion — MONEY and the corporations. But perhaps this sort of religion is more comprehensible to the majority of voters?????????????

      Whatever — this nation is truly f**ked — two very poor choices — two penises with wives who are basically useless and as crooked as their partners.

      I’d never vote for Romney and since I’m on the west coast I do not have to vote for the con man currently in the White House. I don’t vote for males who hate women. Presidential order called Stupak .– I don’t forget nor will I forgive 0bama for his misogynistic behavior. . . .

      • I don’t think their wives have much, if anything, to do with it…but the choices aren’t very inspiring.

        2016: Gillibrand, Liz Warren. (If we’re miraculously lucky…Hillary!)

      • northwestrain says:

        Well I disliked Prez Ford but I loved Betty Ford.

        The wife can make a difference — Mrs 0 began her bid for first lady — telling us all that she was NOT a feminist — and she has been one of the most useless first ladies ever. Sort of like the dem version of Mrs. Raygun — who was another useless bag of wind.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I don’t know about “orders” per se, Northwestrain, but the church approved of Romney being dishonest about his beliefs and policies. That’s enough for me.

      • I’m much more a fan of the Hillary style of first ladying, but I remember Mrs. O began her bid for first lady trying to bring Obama back down to earth, humanize him, point out he’s not a god, but the media and the “public” (as characterized by the media) poo-poo’d her, gave her the Hillary treatment. Which is when she did the anti-Hillary (and arguable stepfordesque) reboot on her public image.

        Michelle Obama in 2007:

        “People understood that this is how we all live in our marriages. And Barack is very much human. So let’s not deify him, because what we do is we deify, and then we’re ready to chop it down,” Michelle Obama said in the interview. “People have notions of what a wife’s role should be in this process, and it’s been a traditional one of blind adoration. My model is a little different — I think most real marriages are.”

        http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Decision2008/story?id=3571642&page=1#.T67eJ7-Yk7A

      • Those weren’t her words — she reads words and then takes vacations at our expense.

        Her past record is one of pure self centered me-ism.Her core values are Chicago political machine. Black Agenda Report won’t give her a pass and neither will I. She has A vast PR staff to mold her image while she is still to racist who threatened to claw Clinton’s eyes out.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Scott Lemieux (h/t RalphB)

    If you think that, just for starters, something like the Ryan budget being passed by the Republican Congress he’d be working with* and a median vote on the Supreme Court to the right of Antonin Scalia don’t matter — nothing I say is going to convince you otherwise. And if you think Romney can’t win you are either way too optimistic about the economy or don’t understand voting behavior. I will add, however, that claiming that Mittens is a “calculating centrist” is a classic example of the “what he really believes” fallacy.

    The same mistake the “progressives” made with Obama. Only worse.

    • BB, correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the one constant big mistake (well one of the mistakes anyway…) progressives made (and still make) with Obama was the tribal mistake–that they think the same things Bush did are awesome under their guy, which thereby turns everything upside down, and really just reactionary, rather than about anything progressive or liberal. (If I’m not saying this clearly, see any of Vast Left Wing Conspiracy’s webcomics.)

      Yes, the projection mistake is a HUGE one too— but I really don’t see the vast majority of progressives projecting onto Romney whatever they want (well at least not anything positive!) and ready to vote against Obama/stay home? I guess I’m really missing something– Glennwald and Taibbi being somewhat contrarian is nothing new imho, and I’m sorry but they’ve not impressed me with their ability to not come home to Obama when the time comes–they have to have something to write and sell copy n the meantime. But the rest of Obama 2.0 seems fired up and ready to go? Now if Joan Walsh or Arianna Huffington start calling Romney and Obama interchangeable, that would raise my eyebrows. These gals have more sway than the Matt Stollers. ;)

      • bostonboomer says:

        I was talking about the 11 dimensional chess garbage they believed before Obama became president. They’re defending his policies so they won’t have to admit they were wrong when they argued he was just pretending to be conservative.

        How are Taibbi and Greenwald being contrarian in arguing that Obama and Romney are equally “centrist.” I guess I’m missing something. They’re being ignorant, as far as I’m concerned. They haven’t bothered to learn anything about Romney–just like they didn’t bother to learn anything about Obama in 2008. I don’t know what either will do in the voting booth and I don’t care.

      • I see, BB–I guess my confusion lies in how anyone on the left could think Romney is playing 11-dimensional centrist chess?! With the exception of Stoller, whose comment (that people don’t realize how “liberal” Romney is) makes no sense— Is that really what the rest of these bloggerboyz are up to now?

        I guess I’ll have to go back and read what they are writing these days more carefully.

        The impression I’ve gotten was just were going against the grain of blindly supporting Obama. That’s all I meant by contrarian.

        I don’t care what they do in the voting booth either, or even what they blog until then. They may fashion themselves cassandras, but both yours and Dakinikat’s writings were more prescient then–and now.

        I also happen to think my vote or lack thereof counts (however diluted by the Citizens United/Electoral College one-two punch) but I’m clearly populist brainwashed on that one.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Mona,

        Where I differ with Taibbi is that I don’t think there was a clear difference between Obama and McCain. I do think there is a distinct contrast between Obama and Romney. Obviously you and a number of other commenters agree with Taibbi that Obama and Romney are indistinguishable.

        I’m discouraged (almost depressed) by the comments to this post, and I probably should just give up and stop writing about Romney. But I probably won’t.

        One thing I’m not going to do is rehash the 2008 primaries. I just don’t see the point. But if you wanted to write a post about it, I know it would be interesting and well received.

      • BB,

        I’m sorry I’ve depressed you with my responses– I meant mine as discussion, and the furthest thing from discouraging you from writing about Romney in the future (?! that wouldn’t even work, the blog would suck! I mean that! You’re very good at what you do, and I wish your investigative pieces were more widely read!)

        I don’t think they’re indistinguishable, but I guess I’ve done a poor job of explaining myself if that’s what you’ve gathered.

      • I also do not agree with Taibbi. Or, IF we have similar conclusions about anything, usually for different reasons…

        He’s a self-styled misanthrope… I’m a hopeful ‘bitch’!

        (I’m trying to lighten things up–I hope I’m not making them worse…olive branch and hugs to you, BB!)

      • bostonboomer says:

        Mona,

        I wasn’t objecting to your comments specifically. It’s just that I wrote a post about Romney, not Obama or Hillary. I’m being asked about the “blogger boyz”–how would I know what they are writing? I haven’t read anything by Matt Stoller for years. As for Arianna, she attacked Obama for his ad about bin Laden. I don’t know that she’s supporting him. But I really tend not to read any of these people, including Joan Walsh. Sorry….I just can’t speak to what they’re saying or doing.

        I’m interested in Romney as a personality, just as I was interested in Obama in terms of psychology. As for Vanity Fair, I didn’t even quote anything from them in my post, did I? I just referred back to my older post in the light of a new article at the Daily Beast. I guess I don’t understand how this whole conversation developed out of my post. I’m really wondering if anyone read it. But it wouldn’t be the first time.

      • I was replying here to the quote you posted underneath in the comments about centrist and progressives making same mistake about Obama and Romney. I guess I saw it as a continuation of our conversation from the last thread.

        Hillary always comes up (my bad!) because she’s still someone I could vote *for*–and recently she’s becoming pretty in demand, at least for 2016.

  3. This is all extremely well researched, BB, thanks for putting it together. Too bad the Obama camp already did the 1984 “think different” attack ad against Hillary in ’08… it would have actually fit Romney.

    A comment on the media, not the content of your post or what you are arguing:

    I’m just wondering where was Vanity Fair when it came to Rezko and the rest of Obama’s Chicago connections… the entire media except for the conservative asshat channel treated Obama like the only pol to come out of the dirtiest political environment pure as the driven snow… Oh that’s right, they were busy researching Bill’s big affair story that would come out if Hillary won the nomination! where were they when it came to pointing out the Obama WH backroom deals on healthcare? Hell where were they when it came to researching going into Iraq BEFORE we went in there? Clearly they’re capable of researching with great specificity whatever they want… But anyways.

    Now we have weird ass Obama swiftboaters going after him on killing Osama which is totally crazytown and frankly makes me want to vote for Obama more than anything else… I really hate this election. And, the media is totally bankrupt and useless as usual.

    • pdgrey says:

      Thank you Mona, and I agree.

      • Thanks pdgrey. I’m sorry, though. It’s upset BB, and that was not the spirit it was intended.

        And, bb–I think only one or two people here even agree with me on Romney and Obama both being candidates to vote against, rather than for.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I don’t know why you say that. I don’t like either of them. But if it comes to a chance that Romney would carry MA, I’d have to vote for Obama.

        BTW, I couldn’t care less what Obama or any politician’s motives are for doing anything. I just care what they do. I think Obama speaking out of gay marriage was and is important. I also think he has done other important things to change how LGBT people are treated. Most politicians do things for political reasons.

        My problems with Obama have more to do with his grabbing executive power and continuing Bush’s policies on domestic spying, rendition, torture, and even expanding them to assassinations and drone attacks.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Vanity Fair just published an excerpt from a biography. I haven’t praised them for doing any research on Romney, because they didn’t do any that I know of.

      Of course the media was in the bag for Obama in 2008. This is 2012, and this time I expect most of the media to cover for Romney as much as possible. Why? Because in 2008 Obama was the Wall St. candidate. In 2012, Romney is the Wall St. Candidate.

      • Point taken on the VF biography excerpt distinction. I realize you had to dig and dot-connect. Still, I don’t even think I’d seen an excerpt like that in VF. The most telling stuff I read about O was buried in a few obscure Boston Globe/NYT articles.

        I may very well be wrong in thinking Wall Street is hedging/knows its covered no matter who wins. But, there is a foregone feeling to all this–It seems like just yesterday I was writing about the likely conundrum of choosing between R and O.I think that was before the 2010 midterms?

        There certainly is no Hillary type candidate in the race who has to be stopped from entering the WH with all her witchy political knowledge at all costs.

    • northwestrain says:

      Here’s another article:
      http://www.politicususa.com/uncomfortably-numb-mitt-romney-has-no-idea-how-you-feel.html

      Are you one of the 1 in 2 Americans that is poor or low-income? Mitt Romney has no idea how you feel. With an estimated personal worth of up to $250 million, if there ever was such a thing as “Easy Street” Romney would probably own a whole block on it. He has reported over $40 million dollars in income over the last two years alone. Much like the 26 hugely profitable corporations that paid no taxes last year, Romney even gets a nice break on his tax bill. While the tax man may be eating away at your personal savings, Romney only pays 15%, “lower than what he would pay if he earned a regular paycheck like many Americans.”

      Not that Romney minds sharing–with other millionaires. Back in 2011, when the Romney Plan was first released, it was discovered that it also included a further tax break for his fellow millionaires to the tune of $1.5 trillion. One can get a sense of Romney’s “empathy” when you consider the Romney Plan’s tax cut for the average working class family: $54. Unlike many Americans, Romney is loaded to such an extent that when asked about the $374,000 he earned in speaking fees between 2010 and 2011, he replied that that amount was “not very much.” Most Americans, would probably consider themselves blessed to ever see that amount in a year.

      But then 0bama isn’t/wasn’t much better — while people in his district were freezing in a building owned by Rizko — one of the money guys for 0bama’s campaign — 0bama was so involved in his own plans that he had “no idea”.

      Also that mansion that Michelle found out about and that Rizko helped the 0bamas buy — that was one of the details that the media failed to investigate. Now Rizko and a couple of other of the Chicago political machine are in jail. No there is no way that 0bama got as far as he did in the Chicago political machine without being part of the evil.

      0bama goes to DC as a US Senator and sends home millions — some of which was used to boost the pay of MRS 0bama. Funny coincidence.

      Bambam is no saint — the only difference — social issues. MAYBE.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Frankly, I’m more worried about Supreme Court nominations, but my vote won’t count in November and neither will Mona’s–unless there’s some chance of Obama winning Texas’ electoral votes. If it appears there’s any chance of Romney winning Massachusetts, which I highly doubt, I’ll vote for Obama. I don’t know how your state will go Northwestrain. The election will be decided in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia, and a few other swing states.

      • My state has long been in the bag forObama. So I won’t vote for him ever. I’ll vote third party. Obama bought WA state in 2007. There is no Dem party either — just the Obamacrat party. My vote will count for a third party — which will demonstrate to the dems – that they are losing votes.

        Many have made the point that IF Bush were doing what Obama is getting away –that there would be more made of our loss of privacy, and loss of Constitutional rights etc. This Constitutional erosion will continue under both jerks.

        Obama has no moral core & neither does his wife. Neither does Romney or his self centered wife.

        I’m guessing that a whole lot of voters will abstain from voting. Obama hasn’t given us much reason to vote FOR him.

        Romney is just awful —

        BB I don’t believe anyone is attacking you. I’m grateful for all yourresearch on Romney. I really understand — because I was in California when Ray-gun was Govenor. I was shocked that anyone would even consider him for Prez. The anti college — punish the college students was started by Ray-gun. He wanted to destroy the CA college system and he has fullfilled his dream.

        We have two bad choices — Obama is systematically destroying the Constitution — and Romney would probably continue the Bush/Cheney march toward fascism.

    • pdgrey says:

      I saw that and sent it to every one I know.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    The Mormon Church is a global entity. Their youth are required to perform a “mission” to other nations during their lifetime and most do. Romney did his in France.

    Most religions – and I am willing to take the blowback – is based on superstition, the Mormon Church is a case in point.

    What makes them a little different from the mainstream however, is their belief that each male member is infused with the “gift of prophesy”. That whatever they say by way of a dream or a vision must be accepted. Warren Jeffs lived on this dynamic for years.

    Having said that, how would a Mormon, imbued with this notion of prophesy, respond on issues of a national import? If Mitt has spent most of his life conferring with the higher ups of this organization how would he govern in the future?

    Most of these religions are knee deep in Apololyptic fantasies. The Evangelicals are a testament of forseeing The Rapture take place for the purpose of establising a worldwide global Christian government that will take place when Christ returns to earth and all of us heathens are slaughtered during this event.

    The Mormon Church has thrived on its secrecy, admitting only those who pass muster to join their ranks. Ann Romney’s family was barred from witnessing their marital blessing in the temple because they were not one of them.

    This religion, like all of them, poses a danger to the pubic at large. Basing their existence on fantasy while disabusing the idea of thinking for oneself, I would be remiss in wanting to see a Romney in the White House under any circumstances.

    • all organized, institutionalized world religions have at their base patriarchy, imho. Controlling women is the power structure’s gateway drug to controlling everybody.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Do you want someone high up in any church’s hierarchy to be POTUS?

      • northwestrain says:

        ALL fundamentalist religions major purpose is to dominate women. Every single one.

        That’s why the Catholic church is attacking nuns and the Girl Scouts.

        My guess is that the Fundamentalists churches are banning together working in a basement someone to find a drug to mind wipe all women — to turn women into submissive slaves for the supreme penises of the world. (Too much SciFi reading on my night stand?)

      • northwestrain says:

        Well BB — I would never ever vote for Romney.

        At the same time — I watched the very hateful misogynistic 0bama four years ago — and he hates women. I really really hates women.

        A whole lot of people will not be voting — both men are evil. Both men lack empathy. Global warming will worsen under both men.

        My vote doesn’t count where I live and the new political boundaries — so I can vote third party or for none of the above with absolutely no guilt.

        This year I don’t have to vote for the lessor of two evil penises.

      • “Do you want someone high up in any church’s hierarchy to be POTUS?”

        No.

      • I wouldn’t go as far as to say Obama hates women–but he doesn’t respect women’s rights or LGBT rights as cause/rights issues. He sees them as interest groups, political means to political ends.

  5. pdgrey says:

    I think we can all agree Mitt lied about not remembering the “scissors” but does anyone find it strange that the “atta girl” and the abuse of the blind professor has not been mentioned? Also, I don’t believe for a second he did not know words for gay in 1965. I think he just does not like anything different from him. And there is no regret, he’s just better.

    • northwestrain says:

      Dogs are right — they don’t like Romney. I’d never vote for a person my dogs hate.

      Anyway — this weekend at least a quarter of a million people will lose their unemployment benefits. What are this folks going to do? A few will have RVs or trailers and can live in the uninhabitable areas of Arizona and buy their water at commercial wells. Anyway a whole lot of our citizens are going to see even harder times and the GOP doesn’t give a damn.

      Seems like we need to concentration on the grass root political offices — vote the bastards out. This is how the Republicans have taken control — they started at the grass roots.

      There isn’t much we can do — one way or the other about evil 0bama or evil Romney. They are owned by the corporations. We’ll have better luck to find and support the good guys — the ones who are still idealistic.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Romney was asked about the “atta girl” story, and his response was the same. He didn’t recall, and since the kid was closeted he would have had no way of knowing he was gay in any case. Sorry, I don’t have time to hunt down the link. It’s in one of my recent posts though.

  6. NW Luna says:

    Not Mormonism, but about men in religion:

    American Catholic sisters deserve praise, not criticism

    ….the Holy See through the Congregation on Doctrine and Faith has mandated a reining in of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).
    It calls into question the leadership of the American Catholic sisters and hence their generous, intelligent, compassionate contributions, and their prophetic voice within the church. Many are shocked, even scandalized, by this intervention. The reasons given are even more problematic. ….

    Precisely because of their identification with the poor and with women oppressed, they have grasped what the church most needs in contemporary society.”

    • The Patriarchal churches at their core hates women. I figured this out when I was 9 years old. And I do believe that Obama hates and has no respect for women. That’s why he considers us merely an “interest” group.

      • Pilgrim says:

        I think he is mainly disdainful of women. This is why he comes out with epithets like “sweetie.” More importantly, he ignores those women who, for whatever reasons, he has working on his team. Ask Christine Romer about that.

  7. BB, just catching up…when Romney’s father was Gov, did he consult the elders of his church?

    I know Reid is Mormon, does he consult with the elders as well?

    I am just curious, because remember the stink about Rev. Wright? (I am in no way making any comment about what Wright said, okay.) But if there was so much crap from the right about the influence of a preacher on a presidential candidate when he is sitting in the pews, where the hell is the uproar about this?

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t know, JJ. I kind of doubt that George Romney consulted the elders, because he supporter civil rights, and at that time the Momon church didn’t agree with that.

      I don’t understand why Mitt is getting a free pass from the media on this.

      • tle says:

        I’ve felt from the beginning of this primary season that Romney would be the last man standing if the GOP wants bragging rights for the White House rather than just pulling the strings behind the scenes as they are now. I also predicted that the media coverage of Mormonism would be predictive of the outcome of the general election. That coverage is non-existant, so I believe that Romney will be our next president.

        Of course, there’s not a household in this country that hasn’t received several visits from the creepy white-shirted, necktied Stepford sons selling their bizarre beliefs, so maybe media coverage is unnecessary. Additionally, more and more women are becoming extremely uneasy about the religious right’s attacks on them as a group, and are unlikely to vote for someone who identifies so strongly with a church that is one of the worst offenders.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Hi tle,

        I’ve never received a visit, but I’ve seen the missionaries in Boston a couple of times. I don’t think Romney will be elected–he’s just too much of a jerk. If he does win, we’re in big trouble.