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SALT LAKE CITY — Throughout the presidential race Mitt Romney has not talked much about being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Only at the Republican National Convention was his religion highlighted.
While Romney's faith has not been a major focus of the campaign, Americans are curious about a religion many know little about. The LDS Church is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States, but a majority of Americans do not know or understand the doctrines of the church.
Members of the national media and Americans alike have attempted to define LDS Church doctrines and Romney's role in his religion. A video posted on YouTube on Oct. 31 shows Romney talking candidly about his religion.
The video is a radio interview with conservative talk show host Jan Mickelson as part of an "ask anything" tour during Romney's first bid for the White House. Speaking about abortion, Mickelson challenged Romney, saying he violated his religious beliefs because he was not pro-life from the beginning.
Romney tells Mickelson that he was never "pro-choice," but promised as governor to uphold the law of the land, which gives a woman the right to choose.
The great thing about this country is that individuals who run for secular office are not implementing the policies of their church — they're doing what they think is right for the nation.
"The great thing about this country is that individuals who run for secular office are not implementing the policies of their church — they're doing what they think is right for the nation," Romney said.
During the commercial break, Romney and Mickelson continue their conversation, with Romney telling Mickelson, "You don't understand my faith like I do."
Romney continues, saying, "You're not giving me the opportunity to explain to you that my faith has very strong beliefs that if I commit abortion or I encourage abortion — I was beaten up in Boston time and time again that I encouraged girls not to get abortion, but I told them to have adoptions. I have never done anything that violates the principles of the church in that regard.
"But the church does not say that a member of our church has to be opposed to allowing choice in society. It does not say that," Romney continues. "And therefore, there are Mormon Democrats. There's a Democratic Party in Utah filled with Mormons and the Church doesn't say they're wrong, they're being excommunicated. No, it says we are vehemently opposed to abortions ourselves, but we allows others to make their own choice."
Fighting back, Romney ends his interview telling Mickelson, "I'm not running as a Mormon, and I get a little tired of coming on a show like yours and having it all about Mormons."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remains neutral in political affairs, asking members of the church to be knowledgeable and responsible citizens of the community and to engage and participate in civic affairs. The Church does not "endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms."
"Elected officials who are Latter-day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with one another or even with a publicly stated Church position," the Church said in a prepared statement. "While the Church may communicate its views to them, as it may to any other elected official, it recognizes that these officials still must make their own choices based on their judgment and with consideration of the constituencies whom they were elected to represent."
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