Mormons Against Mitt

Mormons Against Mitt

The likability gap of Mitt and the Mormon Church

Gladys Knight is not voting for Mitt Romney - “I would not vote for him just because he is Mormon. I want to know what he is going to do for the people.  I want to see the compassion.”  In a recent interview with BET the famed singer, herself a Mormon, said she wants to see the GOP front-runner “talk about something else besides the money.” Knight’s ambivalence about Romney is shared by at least a handful of her fellow Latter-day Saints.

How does Mitt Romney affect the perception of Mormons in America?  While he may be a very nice person in real life, Mitt comes across as disingenuous and out-of-touch with real Americans.  This likability gap separates him from the very likeable President Obama.  The LDS (Mormon) church, like Romney, seems to also be experiencing a likability gap as well. 

Some members of the Mormon Church, as well as non-Mormons, are coming to issue with some aspects of Mormon history.  Rather it be Joseph Smith’s interest in magic, polygamy, LDS temple ordinances for Jewish holocaust victims, or the recent backing of Proposition 8, the Mormon Church is finding itself at a crossroads. 

Since the backlash after Proposition 8, the Church has been cautious when it comes to hot-button social issues.  The Church has stated that general authorities are forbidden to participate in political partisan campaigns. In attempts to repair some of the likability problems, the new “I’m a Mormon” videos try to return the Church to its missionary roots and to show that it is for all types of people.

Yet, Mitt Romney continues to battle for likability.  Maybe he can take a cue from his own Church and create a campaign meant to include and increase his likeability as opposed to one that further distances himself from Main Street, America.