If I were in Mitt Romney's shoes this morning, this is the speech I'd give.
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming out today. Much has been made about my faith recently. I will attempt to do my best to describe my faith for those who are not familiar with it. We will start with some history, move to some beliefs, and conclude with a statement about my role as a Mormon politician.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was by Joseph Smith, Jr. Joseph Smith was born in 1805. When Joseph was 14, he was confused about the philosophies of the many churches in his area. They all read from the same Bible, but interpreted each passage differently. One day while reading his Bible, he came across a passage in the Epistle of James, Chapter 1 and verse 5, which reads "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God...and it shall be given him. He said that "never had any scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine.... I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know..."
So, Joseph decided to do just that: ask God. He went into the woods near his home in rural New York to pray to God, seeking guidance. While in the woods, he was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ. They informed him that none of the religions was was completely correct.
10 years later, The Church was founded in 1830 in Palmyra, New York, with 6 members. Because of persecutions, the members of the Church were driven from New York to Ohio and Illinois, Where Joseph Smith was killed by an angry mob while he was in prison. After, his death, the Mormons headed west, led by Joseph Smith's successor, Brigham Young. They settled in what is now Salt Lake City, Utah.
We believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost as three distinct beings.
We believe than Man is punished for his own sins, and not for the sins of others.
We believe that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind may be saved, if they are obedient to the commandments of God.
We believe the first principles of the gospel are faith in Jesus Christ and repentance. The first ordinances of the gospel are baptism by immersion and the gift of the Holy Ghost.
We believe that man must be called of God, by those who are in authority, to both preach the gospel, and andminister the ordinances of the gospel.
We believe in the same organization that existed in the Church Christ founded, namely apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists.
We believe that God has bestowed upon His children many gifts, namely tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.
We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is correctly translated. The Bible is the account of God's dealings with Man in the Old World. We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. The Book of Mormon is the account of God's dealings with man in America from about 600 BC to 400 AD. This includes a visit by the resurrected Savior to the American Continent after he visited His Apostles.
We believe all that God has revealed to his Prophets. We believe that He now reveals His will to the Prophet.
We also believe that he will reveal His will for us, to us, as well.
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; We have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.
We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.
We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men.
We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.