From today’s Salt Lake Tribune:
Romney’s speech is a seminal episode in the history of this American-born faith, unseen since 1904 when Sen. Reed Smoot of Utah was not allowed to take his seat until Congress vetted Mormon beliefs and practices. Never before has there been a viable Mormon candidate so politically well-prepared to go before the American people and make a claim on the presidency.
“Because this has garnered so much attention, it has the potential to be one of the most important moments in the church’s recent history,” said Bill Simmons, a Washington lobbyist, Mormon and Romney supporter.
Much is at stake.
My sense of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I’ve talked to about this over the last year is that they’re not delighted about the idea of Romney, Mormon, running — because they really don’t want to have to hear about the specifics of their religion on the evening news and talking-heads shows. If he can manage to make his religion about religion in America, if he can actually change the conversation about him vis-a-vis religion, they’d be delighted.