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What Latter-day Saints Can Learn from Mitt Romney’s Decision to Vote to Convict

This past Wednesday, Utah Senator and 2008 and 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney announced he would vote to convict President Donald Trump during his impeachment trial. Though President Trump was acquitted yesterday evening, Senator Romney’s vote to convict the President has caused a stir throughout the political world, especially among those from his own party. However, no matter our political affiliation, there’s a great deal we can learn from Senator Romney about character, humility, and the conviction to do what is right in the face of fierce opposition.


This is not the first time Senator Romney has taken a stance against the President, as he openly opposed his 2016 candidacy, and stated his opposition to the President’s treatment of rivals and our foreign allies. On Wednesday, Senator Romney decided to place his country above his party and followed his conscience in doing what he felt was right. In an interview with the Atlantic, Senator Romney stated that “this has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life,” but that he took solace in his father’s favorite scripture found in the Doctrine and Covenants that reads, “Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good.” Senator Romney went on to say, “I have gone through a process of very thorough analysis and searching, and I have prayed through this process.” The Atlantic went on to say that upon entering Senator Romney’s office following his announcement, “[they] found Romney filled with what seemed like righteous indignation about the president’s misconduct–quoting hymns and scripture, expressing dismay at his party, and bracing for the political backlash.”

But the Senator’s actions offer hope to a political landscape that has been called an “Era of Rage”, and a landscape so polarized that we have drowned out almost any voices of bipartisanship. Senator Romney proved, to either the delight or disgust of many individuals, that there are politicians who place their convictions above party loyalty. Many Latter-Day Saint youth on Twitter have expressed their appreciation for the Senator’s actions as it has inspired them to actively vote during the coming elections.

This is not the first time a member of the Romney family has acted stirred the political pot, as Mitt Romney’s father George once did during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. In a recent Instagram post from the popular page LDS Equality Project, they featured a piece that highlighted George Romney’s actions and support of the Civil Rights Bill and Movement, referencing that upon Barry Goldwater’s opposition to the bill, George refused to support his party’s Presidential Candidate during Goldwater’s presidential campaign. George Romney’s actions to support the Bill were seen as controversial and radical to members of his party. He faced fierce opposition in standing up for what he believed to be morally, and spiritually right.

 

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“There is a hymn, do what is right and that the consequence follows. I know in my heart that I’m doing what’s right. The worst thing that already happened me politically was losing the presidency in 2012. I have broad enough shoulders to be able to weather personal changes in my career, political or otherwise. What I don’t have is the capacity to ignore my conscience.” -Mitt Romney, Fox News Interview . “Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it?”-Mitt Romney, Senate Floor . Rewind to George Romney’s political career during the Civil Rights era: . “Romney had just become Governor of Michigan and declared the occasion “Freedom Day in Michigan.”… Romney was one of a number of moderate and liberal Republicans who strongly supported the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 and, at the Republican Party convention, worked on behalf of efforts to include an anti-discrimination plank in the party platform. When the party’s presidential nominee, Barry Goldwater, opposed the bill, Romney refused to support Goldwater’s candidacy for the presidency. When asked whether he would be campaigning on behalf of Goldwater, he said (with his characteristic directness), “You know darn well I’m not.”. In 1964, the year King won the Nobel Peace Prize, George Romney was the most powerful Mormon in American politics and was gearing up for a presidential run in 1968. The LDS hierarchy took note and worried about his positions on civil rights. Delbert L. Stapley, a high-ranking member of the LDS… wrote to Romney deeply troubled. “After listening to your talk on Civil Rights, I am very much concerned. Several others have expressed the same concern to me.” The letter was “personal” and not an “official Church position” but it still came on letterhead that read, “The Council of the Twelve.” Stapley directed Governor Romney to read Joseph Smith’s position on “the Negro” and “abolition.” Stapley warned, they could not change the fact that the “Lord had placed the curse upon the Negro, which denied him the Priesthood.” While Stapley supported some elements… (continued in comments)

A post shared by LDS Equality Project (@lds_equalityproject) on


No matter our feelings towards Senator Romney’s actions, there is no denying the massive impact that they will have on our political landscape. It is a reminder of the power we each possess to shape our nation for the better, and the freedom we have to stand up for what we believe in. We are a nation built on principles of just that, and this coming November we will once again have the ability to raise our voices and further shape the nation we hope to create for generations to come. Click here to register to vote.

As President Ezra Taft Benson once wrote, “We must be devoted to sound principles in word and deed: principle above party, principle above pocketbook, principle above popularity.”

Above Photo Courtesy of Business Insider

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About Devin Justesen

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Devin is a graduate of Brigham Young University where he studied English and Business Management. He is a writer, photographer, movie-fanatic, and a lover of street tacos. He served his mission in Tokyo, Japan.
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