Georege Romney, father of Mitt Romney, received a letter from Delbert L. Stapley (of the Council of the Twelve for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in 1964 encouraging Romney to reconsider his views on civil rights. The letter was pretty devastating to my opinion of Mormon-influence politics. It’s hard for me not to feel betrayed; why were these issues never brought up and discussed in Sunday school?
George Romney supported Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. according to this site. He marched in parades and participated in demonstrations. He sent representatives to speak with Dr. King. What made the difference for Romney (when compared to other Mormons)? “…I got to know Negroes and…I began to recognize that some Negroes are better and more capable than lots of whites” he reportedly said. But that’s not what his church would have him believe. According to Stapley (who wrote on official church letterhead), “people are happier when placed in the environment and association of like interests, racial instincts, habit, and natural groupings” and “the Negro is entitled to considerations…but not full social benefits nor inter-marriage privileges with the Whites, nor should the Whites be forced to accept them into restricted White areas”.
This is really no different than what the LDS Church teaches and encourages today about my civil rights — the rights of gays and lesbians. Their argument could be rephrased to something like this (not an actual quote), “homosexuals are entitled to considerations…but not full social benefits nor marriage privileges…” And perhaps Mitt Romney is being encouraged by the Church to stand fast on the anti-gay platform. Let’s hope Mitt follows in his dad’s footsteps and stands independent of his church on issues of civil rights and liberties.