How many voters know that Mitt Romney was a Bishop of the Mormon Church?
I would think not too many. Why not?
Most likely because the media has not bothered to tell them. In an extensive, largely fluff piece in May, Jodi Kantor of the New York Times managed to write about 4,000 words about Romney without mentioning that Romney was a Bishop of the Mormon Church. Instead, he was referred to as a "church official."
Ms. Kantor did not inform her readers that according to the LDS Church News, a Bishop is the presiding high priest and father of the ward. While a Bishop, Romney was also a Stake President, presiding over 10 congregations. (Another fact omitted by the Times.)
Among a Bishop's duties is the duty "to do the business of the church, to sit in judgment upon transgressors upon testimony as it shall be laid before him according to the laws." This includes the power to excommunicate members from the Mormon Church.
Instead, the Times writer recounted this story:
Nearly two decades ago, Randy and Janna Sorensen approached Mr. Romney, then a church official, for help: unable to have a baby on their own, they wanted to adopt but could not do so through the church, which did not facilitate adoptions for mothers who worked outside the home.
Devastated, they told Mr. Romney that the rule was unjust and that they needed two incomes to live in Boston. Mr. Romney helped, but not by challenging church authorities. He took a calculator to the Sorensen household budget and showed how with a few sacrifices, Ms. Sorensen could quit her job. Their children are now grown, and Mr. Sorensen said they were so grateful that they had considered naming a child Mitt. (The church has since relaxed its prohibition on adoption for women who work outside the home.)
The Times, however, chose not to include other stories about Mitt as a Bishop, some of which were included in a February 2012 Vanity Fair article. Mormonism permits abortion in the case of rape, incest, for serious health threats to a woman and when the fetus will not survive.
[A] married woman who, having already borne five children, had found herself some years earlier facing an unplanned sixth pregnancy. . .(Vintage Mitt -- Today he would simply deny he said it.)
the woman’s doctors discovered she had a serious blood clot in her pelvis. She thought initially that would be her way out—of course she would have to get an abortion. But the doctors, she said, ultimately told her that, with some risk to her life, she might be able to deliver a full-term baby, whose chance of survival they put at 50 percent. One day in the hospital, her bishop—later identified as Romney, though she did not name him in the piece—paid her a visit. He told her about his nephew who had Down syndrome and what a blessing it had turned out to be for their family. “As your bishop,” she said he told her, “my concern is with the child.” The woman wrote, “Here I—a baptized, endowed, dedicated worker, and tithe-payer in the church—lay helpless, hurt, and frightened, trying to maintain my psychological equilibrium, and his concern was for the eight-week possibility in my uterus—not for me!”
“Romney would later contend that he couldn’t recall the incident, saying,I don’t have any memory of what she is referring to, although I certainly can’t say it could not have been me.”
Recent polls seem to show that voters who know that Mitt Romney is Mormon are not troubled by his Mormon faith:
of the voters who know that Romney is a Mormon (60 percent), the vast majority say they are either comfortable with his faith (60 percent) or that it doesn’t matter at all (21 percent).I believe these numbers will change when respondents know that Romney was a Bishop. Yes, it's not the same as a Bishop in other religions, but it shows an involvement and power in the Church (e.g., to excommunicate) well beyond most laypersons in most religions.
Finally, I do not think it's "anti-Mormon" to point this out. It is a fact about a candidate that voters deserve to know.