I confess: I was once both a Republican and an active Mormon. In fact, I used to live in Belmont, Massachusetts, and went to church there... and even sat in Sunday School with Mitt Romney.
Although I will touch on how I became a Democrat and a completely disaffected almost ex-Mormon (I'm still listed as a member because it would kill my parents were I to resign), I will be writing about how Mitt's Mormonism affects his campaign and how it likely would affect a (God forbid!) Romney presidency.
Oh, all right, let me get this out of the way right now: Yes, I really was an "active" Mormon: I graduated from BYU, served a mission in France, got married in a Mormon temple. I really did vote for Reagan both times (sorry, sorry, I know). I switched to the Democratic party only because we ended up living in Pittsburgh after we got married, and given the Dem to Repub ratio there (8:1), we discovered that everything local was decided in the primaries. Ergo, wanting some kind of voice, we switched. (Thus began a psychological and intellectual evolution from which we could not escape....)
It's been about 11 years now since I last regularly attended and served in the Mormon church. (I have gone when visiting my devout sibs and parents, but only when I haven't been able to find a way to travel on Sunday.) Nevertheless, I have kept up with Mormon news (I read the Salt Lake Tribune every day, and occasionally the Provo Herald and St. George Spectrum). A very mainstream Mormon book I wrote is still in print, and some of my essays on Mormon feminism (no, really, it's not as oxymoronic as you think!) are still circulating on the internet. And even after 11 years, there are precious few Mormons who know Mormon scripture (including the Bible) better than I do. I still know most of the hymns by heart. Such are my bona fides.
For the record, I signed the petition asking BYU not to have Cheney speak at commencement, even though I knew perfectly well that it wouldn't have mattered even had the entire student body and faculty signed. Given that the chair of BYU's Board of Trustees is church president Gordon Hinckley, reneging on the invitation would have been tantamount to the Mormon church admitting it had made a mistake, and (here is Lesson One:) The Mormon Church Does Not Make Mistakes.
I hope to post about Mitt-related Mormonism a couple of times a week, depending on my work schedule. I invite your questions about Mormonism (doctrine, lifestyle, etc.) and will devote at least part of a diary every so often to answering questions I receive. In fact, the attached poll lists a few questions that non-Mormons usually have about Mormonism, and will answer the one(s) with the most votes first.
Coming next: The qualitative difference between Romney's Mormonism and Kennedy's Catholicism.