At first glance, the proposition seems absurd--why would the LDS vote for anyone just because they also were LDS? The history of recent Utah politics shows plainly that LDS voters do not necessarily think they should vote for an LDS person just because they are LDS, for they have voted into office non-LDS candidates in campaigns where LDS candidates also ran. Furthermore, LDS candidates undeniably differ strongly, even vociferously, on policy issues, and so to vote for an LDS candidate is certainly not to be voting for some "generically Mormon" political platform (just ask Harry Reid).

But the presidency is so much more than any other political position in the US. The president is (supposed to be) a role model for the entire nation. His or her policies, applied at the federal level across all states, will have lasting effect long after they have died. Fateful decisions, both economic and military--the archetypal blood and treasure questions--will be decided by the president. The president is also given a "bully pulpit" unlike any other in the land, and perhap, even in the world.

Couple that with the LDS doctrine of "the gift of the Holy Ghost," and the whole matter begins to give one more pause than before. In LDS doctrine, one who has been baptized and confirmed into the Church and lives worthy of that covenant is entitled to the "constant companionship" of the Holy Ghost, which will provide guidance on a regular, not intermittent, basis. The Holy Ghost is able to provide intelligence above and beyond that which one possesses as a mortal. The Holy Ghost is able to steer one away from bad decisions, or decisions that will have unfortunate though unforeseen consequences. The Holy Ghost is even able to soften one's heart to repentance and desire to change one's attitudes and actions if they are not in harmony with the Spirit. While we have every reason to believe that President Obama is open to the influence of the Holy Ghost, it is also true according to our theology that he does not have the "constant companionship" of the Holy Ghost, as does Mitt Romney.

Of course, one can also ask whether Mitt Romney has been open to the gift that he possesses, or whether the rigors of politics have so buffeted him that he no longer feels that he is free to follow the promptings he has been given. In such circumstances, the gift is not operable, and there is no distinction between Romney and any other candidate who lives a basically moral life.

So we put it to our readers, does Mitt Romney's gift of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost figure into yor calculations concerning whom to vote for in November, or not, and why?

Full Citation for this Article: Editorial Board, SquareTwo Journal (2012) "Reader's Puzzle for Spring 2012: Should You Vote for Mitt ROmney if You are LDS?", SquareTwo, Vol. 5 No. 1 (Spring), http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleReadersPuzzleRomney.html , accessed [give access date].

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