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Part-time Faithful

Romney dials back his Mormon side

By D.P. Sorensen
Posted // May 18,2011 -

“I’m a very spiritual person and proud of my Mormon roots.” [Asked if he were still a Mormon, Huntsman replied], “That’s a tough question. There are varying degrees.”

—Jon Huntsman Jr. in Time magazine interview, May 12, 2011.

In the wake of Jon Huntsman Jr.’s waffle on his status as a Mormon, the other Mormon in the Republican presidential race, Mit Romney, has moved quickly to clarify his own Mormon bona fides.

“I’ve gathered you all here today,” said Mr. Romney in a hastily called news conference on the grounds of his sprawling beach hideaway in California, “to announce that religion, like health care, should be left up to individual states. Mormonism, like Obamacare, is not a one-size-fits-all plan. So just as my medical plan is OK for Massachusetts but not the country, my religion is OK for Utah but not the country. From now on, I will be a Mormon only when I am in Utah.

“From now on, when I am outside the borders of Utah, I won’t wear my garments, I won’t pay tithing, I won’t sustain the General Authorities, and I won’t answer any gotcha questions about plural marriage, secret handshakes or second anointings. Let me just say this. It really ticks me off that Brother Huntsman Jr. says he is a very spiritual person and proud of his Mormon roots. Hey, I’m also proud as heck of my Mormon roots, but I’m the least spiritual person I know.”

Mr. Romney, who has dispensed with neckties along with the second “t” in his first name, all in the name of making himself over into a regular guy, stared out at the astounded media folks with a look of triumph.

“So you won’t have Mormon Mit to kick around anymore. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go for a swim in the ocean. No more questions today, but I will be available for a shirtless photo opportunity.” With that, Mr. Romney stripped off his shirt, carefully folded it and, after handing it to a clean-cut assistant, jogged off at a brisk pace toward the crashing waves, ignoring shouted questions about whether he still waxes his pectorals or ropes his dog Seamus to the top of his station wagon for family car trips across Canada.

In the days since Mr. Romney’s announcement, pundits have weighed in on his decision to un-Mormon himself beyond the borders of Utah. Veteran political observer Aldeni Ensernos, adjunct professor of government and eschatology at Idaho State Community College, is uncertain of the longtime ramifications of Mr. Romney’s stunning decision.

“Clearly, Romney is frustrated by Huntsman Jr.’s finesse with regard to his Mormonism. You can see the look in his piercing eyes. ‘Why can’t I catch a break on the Mormon business? Why is Junior able to pull a Clinton and say it depends on how you define Mormon?’”

Dr. Ensernos went on to point out that the savior of the Winter Olympics is forever being one-upped by the suave and well-groomed former ambassador. “To quote my colleague Karl Malone, ‘we see what happen’ with regard to this latest flip-flop. One day Romney is in favor of gun control, the next, he’s against it. One day he’s pro-choice, the next day, he’s pro-life. One day he’s a supporter of gay rights, the next, he’s against them. One day he’s passing health care in Massachusetts, and the next day, he’s slamming it. One day he’s a Mormon, the next day, he’s not. Go figure.”

Friends and associates of Mr. Romney are divulging off the record that the High Melchizedek Priest and former bishop is a new man on the campaign trail. He has let his hair go gray and lounges around the campaign bus in flip-flops and tank tops. Like John McCain, he knocks back nightcaps with reporters, pouring generous portions of Jack Daniels for himself and the guys (and a few gals). When fussbudget campaign aides complain about the stogies he likes to puff in the back of the bus, Mr. Romney blows smoke in their faces and says, “Listen, hoss, if you can’t stand the smoke, get off the bus!”

A few of the reporters are getting tired of Mr. Romney’s dirty jokes and wish he would stick to ones involving Mormons and beer on fishing trips, though they’ve heard them a million times.
In related news, Mr. Romney has now flip-flopped Mit to Tim. “Might as well, I’ve flip-flopped everything else,” he said, blowing a perfect smoke ring.
 
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