Where President Romney Would Go to Church

  • Share
  • Read Later
Mike Osborne for TIME

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Third Ward in Washington, D.C.

Bishop Robert Nelson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ in Chevy Chase, MD, isn’t exactly sure how to handle the casserole question. You see, the Mormon church is run by volunteers, and every member has a job: teaching Sunday school, managing church finances, organizing community food drives, or serving in the tutoring program. So when I asked Bishop Nelson who in his congregation would bring a casserole to Ann Romney if she were to get the flu while her husband was President of the United States, he paused and chuckled. “I can imagine wanting to bring the casserole, but then you have to go through security, and at some point you go, the casserole just isn’t worth it. Call for carry out.”

The casserole question is one of many puzzlers Mitt Romney’s presidential run poses for Nelson’s congregation on the northern border of the District of Columbia. Mormons attend church based on their addresses—and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is assigned to Nelson’s parish, or ward. “When we get new members in from any walk of life and I sit down and talk with them: where are you at, what are your needs, how can this church help you, how can you help the church,” explains Nelson. “It is that same discussion—it’s just with somebody who is the President of the free world, so I am sure there are nuances that will be unique.”

New faces are by no means rare to the Third Ward–the church averages 25 new converts a year, making it the Mormon church’ s highest baptizing ward in the area. Some 250 people attend gatherings every Sunday, and a total of 650 people from nearly two dozen countries are on the membership roll. Services are warm and people are friendly. When I visited on a recent Sunday, a suited young elder performed a rendition of “I Have been Changed for Good” from the hit musical Wicked to honor the service of departing missionaries. Congregants piled hundreds of cans of food in the foyer for an upcoming citywide food drive they spearheaded with other downtown churches. Everyone sang “Humility our Savior,” a Mormon hymn with the same melody as the “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” a Methodist standby. And the rotating preaching responsibilities fell to an elderly African-American woman, a retired couple, and a young Kenyan woman, who all spoke on the subject “We are our brother’s keeper”–which happens to be a hot topic in the presidential campaign.

The Third Ward’s facilities are moving close to the White House in October. After seven years of lobbying for permits to renovate a former Catholic convent on 16th street, the Mormon church will open its first meetinghouse in downtown D.C. built since the 1930s. Senator Harry Reid is slated to attend the new building’s dedication on Oct. 28, and Elder Quentin Cook, a senior Mormon leader from Salt Lake City, will preside over the service. The chapel will open its doors for the first time with a citywide food drive and community open house. “We wanted to be able to have people notice that we were in the neighborhood and that we were good neighbors that wanted to partner with other churches doing good in the area,” says Debbie Harrison, whose husband is the D.C. stake president (the leader of all D.C.-area Mormon churches) and whose grandfather, J. Willard Marriott, was Willard Mitt Romney’s namesake.

Nelson, who works in the Administrative Office of the Courts’ information technology division, says he has never met the Romneys and he doesn’t know what it would be like to be the President’s pastor. He will cross that bridge after the polls close on November 6. “I’ll just stay out of his way, and I’ll insert myself however he wants me to,” says Nelson, “and just make sure that I treat him as a member of the congregation, and that I treat him equally with all the rest of our members.”

Read TIME’s new cover story on Mormonism here.

MORE: Read About Gloria Borger’s Upcoming CNN Documentary“Romney Revealed: Family, Faith and the Road to Power”

66 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
JohnYuEsq
JohnYuEsq

George,  

Your times with David, Sam, Cokie, then George were de rigueur for any budding, young politico, back in the day. That was then, this is now. There is more at play than mere national guilt about slavery and all its chains that bond us to our current President. Much more. Women's rights, Gay's rights, the rights of the 47% to name a few. Our country has inextricably moved away from the era you grew up and came of age in: the era when we all Liked Ike, and Father Did Know Best. No George, today's rapidly changing and shrinking global society demands so much more that what Mitt Romney can deliver with his very narrow, and limited world view. Indeed, Romney is the very antithesis of what America needs now: a Global Leader. There is only one clear choice this election cycle. We must and we will elect the Most Qualified President for Our Times. 

 

Best regards,

Gene Libutti
Gene Libutti

Thanks for the informative article to help others understand what Mitt's church is all about.  Three cheers for Mitt's potential bishop and his casserole comment,  although the carry-out would not be half as good as what the church Relief Society would bring in.  The RS typically provides the best meals possible (absolute truth) and then there would be  about a week's leftovers and would include such delectable indispensables as green jello with whatever in it, fry sauce, funeral potatoes and zucchini bread.

MizMac
MizMac

Chevy Chase would be an odd assignment, since there is a brand new LDS church on 16th Street, NW. not more than 3 miles from the White House.

ChowT
ChowT

I thought wall street is Church for Romney?

Валерій Харченко
Валерій Харченко

Dear Friends,

hereby I am

kindly requesting your kind help. I am desperate as my beloved wife is very

seriously ill after her third and very hard stroke, and needs a brain surgery.

Currently she has a very high blood pressure, and the whole left side of her

body is paralized.

 

 I do need financial aid in order to

provide medical treatment for my wife. Please, help! I will greatly appreciate

your kind support.

   VISA

ELECTRON

4405 8858 1816 0118           

Sincerely yours Friend Valery Kharchenko. city

DNIEPROPETROVSK  49069  

UKRAINE 

https://www.facebook.com/pages...

Валерій Харченко
Валерій Харченко

Dear Friends,

hereby I am

kindly requesting your kind help. I am desperate as my beloved wife is very

seriously ill after her third and very hard stroke, and needs a brain surgery.

Currently she has a very high blood pressure, and the whole left side of her

body is paralized.

 

 I do need financial aid in order to

provide medical treatment for my wife. Please, help! I will greatly appreciate

your kind support.

   VISA

ELECTRON

4405 8858 1816 0118           

Sincerely yours Friend Valery Kharchenko. city

DNIEPROPETROVSK  49069  

UKRAINE 

https://www.facebook.com/pages...

setaf
setaf

From the few comments made on here, I can see why everyone says our educational standards have fallen through the floor. That's one of the problems with these boards/forums, they just allow people to spout off whatever tripe they want with no repercussions. As far as I can see there are idiots on both sides of the fence. Though the name calling seems to be more balanced to the Liberal side. Shallow insults and soundbites have taken the place of depth.

bojimbo26
bojimbo26

Religion is just a word : it has nothing to do with God . It is ' man-made ' , " you will do as I tell you , or you will go to hell " .

ChowT
ChowT

wall street = church to Romney

ChowT
ChowT

Mitt Romney steals and goes to church and donates.

Michael Staker
Michael Staker

If Mr. Romney is elected, he will help turn the economy around; if he wins America wins (and vice versa). BELIEVE IN AMERICA 2012.

mamaotis
mamaotis

The 'political' discussion in many cases is becoming irrelevant. What difference does it make where Romney would go to church? There are issues of far greater importance.

I_Am_Mitt_Romney
I_Am_Mitt_Romney

My fellow American's, I want you to know that I would carry my church in my heart, always, and that as your president you would never have to doubt the sincerity of my beliefs or their impact on your lives.

sacredh
sacredh

Mitt, are you really going to campaign up through the election? I mean your numbers keep going down and the battleground states are making you blue.

conet
conet

"American's"

That clinches it, I can't vote for someone who doesn't understand basic grammar rules.

ERenger
ERenger

The apostrophe was supposed to be an "o" --- "My fellow Americanos..." 

sacredh
sacredh

I'm trying to convince some friends that Barack is really Irish. It's O'Bama.

sacredh
sacredh

Where the HELL is your 2009 tax return pal?

bytebear
bytebear

 Right under Obama's school records.

LakersTrent
LakersTrent

Sounds like a nice group of people, but the reality is that if Romney becomes president he'll probably be too busy to spend much time at the local church. And if he did go, I'm sure cameras and secret service would go too, and just ruin the whole thing.

 I don't expect Romney to win the election, but if he does I don't expect him to go to this church very often.  Although, a president might like a chance to be treated like just another person, they don't get that very often.

grape_crush
grape_crush

Who cares?

Oh, sorry: Please keep on top of this very important issue, Elizabeth.

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

Some people think they can paint themselves into a corner and climb out a window

that isn't there.  

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

Did anyone mention that Romney loves dogs and low taxes?  For rich dogs, that is. 

ERenger
ERenger

Too bad Romney didn't attend the "We Are Our Brother's Keeper" sermon. 

Romney believes we are the keepers of 53% of our brothers, and the other 47% of our brothers can go to hell. 

Jerry R Wood
Jerry R Wood

You are such a pitiful creature.

ERenger
ERenger

Well, you got the creature part right. 

The difference between you and me is that I, ERenger, am a creature, while you, Jerry R Wood.

ounbbl
ounbbl

That's what you believe. ;-< You are simply a hater, like those hate us simply because we are who we are. They wish we are all dead and they are literally and truly hell-bent to destroy us, openly shouting. Sadly Obama keeps his ears closed would rather praised and cheer them up.

You are a divider in a nation divided, the Great Divided States of America, run by satans. You are not uniter this country need. You're as worse as jihad rhetoric. Where and when did Mitt say they can to go to hell. Of course, you, and anyone for that matter, can go to hell. It's your choice. Even God doesn't not decide. You do. And that, whatever you mean by 'hell'. There is no word 'hell' in the Scripture. It's only in your Bible and in you jargon so that you can spit out like a cruse word, just like so many spit out 'Z_zas Chr_st'.

ERenger
ERenger

Actually, it is Romney who is dividing us, at least in his mind, into 47% who he thinks are moochers, and the rest who he thinks are his supporters. To me it has nothing to do with religion whatsoever, but it does have something to do with being your brother's keeper --- and that extends to all of your brothers, not just the select few Romney cares about. 

ConservativeRep
ConservativeRep

That is totally out of context.  He cares about everyone.  

JSoarT
JSoarT

 Nope.  What I don't get is why people think it's the government's job to do this.  People need to do this on their own outside of the government.  Liberals are always so generous with other people's money, but conservatives are consistently more prone to volunteer and donate.  Look at Mitt's charitable giving.  He doesn't just talk about helping others, but puts his own private money where his mouth is.

jsfox
jsfox

The answer to the question in the headline depends on what state he decides to reside in after the election and he is still a private citizen.

Tero1
Tero1

Maybe he will "find" his own golden plates on the White House grounds and decode them using his magic decoder hat? Then the White House could become a mormon temple itself and he would never have to leave?

ERenger
ERenger

The decoder is not a hat. It is magic goggles. 

Once the plates are decoded, they can be used for serving the casserole.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

I'd bet there are thousands of LDS and neocons that believe it's Divine Will for Momney to become prez. 

ConservativeRep
ConservativeRep

We do not believe in divine will.  The church stays out of politics.  Proof of that is Harry Reid.

Tero1
Tero1

I have heard that a couple of times. I wonder what they will think when he loses and is seen as one of the worst presidential candidates in history.

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

sacredh, about the ahole, it had never occurred to me that the TPs had any redeeming value whatever.  I guess they do.

ERenger
ERenger

"The Tea Party pushed him so far to the right to win the primary that he started out in ahole."

----------

Yeah. He started out an ahole. 

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

"The Tea Party pushed him so far to the right"   

...and he doesn't have the wherewithal to push back.

sacredh
sacredh

"My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Us?".

.

God: Because you folks make me sick. You saw what I did to Texas when Perry ran, didn't you? I'm not all that pleased with Romney either.

ERenger
ERenger

My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Us?

Tero1
Tero1

You absolutely have a point, but I think if Mitt had even an iota of personality he might not being doing so bad. The man just oozes insincerity. When I hear him speak, I don't believe that HE actually believes what he is saying.

sacredh
sacredh

I'm not trying to defend Mitt, but he's got to be one of the unluckiest candidates ever. The Tea Party pushed him so far to the right to win the primary that he started out in ahole. The Tea party distrusted him to the point that he felt compelled to pick one of their darlings to keep them in line. He's hasn't dared move to the center where he needs to be to attract moderates.

.

He needed Florida to have a shot and Ryan is practically the anti-Christ to seniors and then there's Ohio. Romney needs Ohio too and the governor is a republican, but a very umpopular one. To top it off, Ohio's economy is out-performing most of the rest of the country and yet Mitt has to tell us how bad we're doing.

.

The only thing missing is a bird flying over and sh1tting on his head during a speech.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Like Glenn Beck?

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Yipe.  Chief amongst them.

Ironically, people want their presidents to worship, yet hardly anyone outside of Mormonism knows what Mormons believe!