Recently Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had a chance to address concerns about his Mormon faith and concerns about a racist doctrine the church abandoned when Romney was a 31-year-old man.
By dodging the question about his Mormon faith and race, Romney failed to address legitimate concerns voters may have; concerns about Romney’s biography, and Romney’s position on race relations.
At a Town Hall meeting in Green Bay, Wisconsin, a voter confronted Romney about controversial and racist teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, teachings the church officially abandoned in 1978.
The voter made a clumsy attempt to quote a passage from Mormon scripture – a verse from the Pearl of Great Price, a standard Mormon work, that clearly states that dark-skinned people are inferior to whites. Romney quickly cut the voter off. The following is a transcript of that exchange:
Voter: OK. Well, um, In the Mormon book, it says there were a blackness came upon all children of Canaan and..
Romney: [Talking over him] I’m sorry, we’re just not going to have a discussion about religion in my view, but I can—if you have a question, I can answer your question.
Voter: I guess my question is, do you believe it is a sin for a white man to marry and procreate with a black woman?
Romney: No. Next question.
Romney, a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, served as a Mormon missionary in France as a young man. In addition, Romney was appointed a counselor in his stake in 1977 when he was only 30 years old, a very high position in the church for someone so young.
In 1978, giving into considerable outside pressures, the Mormon church officially abandoned their racist doctrine, a doctrine that explicitly taught that black-skinned people are inferior to whites. This means that Romney apparently lived in accord with the racist teachings of his church for the first 30 years of his life. This is something voters have a right to be curious about, and something Romney needs to explain.
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