The making of a (Mormon) president -- not

I'm going to look at an opinion column, which is strange. I know that. However, I thought this was worth a review by GetReligion because it was written by the executive editor for Washington at Bloomberg News. It's not terribly insightful, as far as columns go. It's about what the various GOP presidential candidates might do if their bids for office are unsuccessful. So here's what Albert R. Hunt theorizes is in the cards for one Mitt Romney:

MITT ROMNEY: If the former Massachusetts governor doesn't win the presidency he'll be a political outcast in his own party, which already is suspicious of him. The once hugely successful buyout specialist may go back to making money.

Ultimately, it isn't hard to see Romney, whose fervor for the Mormon faith runs deep, becoming president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When he was in his 30s, Romney was bishop of his congregation and president of the Boston-area church. He would be the most visible leader of the fast-growing and controversial denomination since Brigham Young.

Age wouldn't be a barrier for the 64-year-old; the current president is 84, and it's not uncommon for Mormon presidents to be in their 90s. The prohibition against smoking, drinking and other transgressions leads to a longer lifespan, it would seem.

Ignore the clunky political analysis. That's not the howler here.

My oh my, what Mr. Hunt doesn't get about Mormon leadership! Now, it's true that Romney held leadership positions in the church. Much like probably tens of thousands (or more) other men in this country.

But that's not how one becomes president.

The president is the longest-serving (not the oldest) member of the Quorum of the Twelve. This group is assembled out of the Quorum of the Seventy. The length of time it takes to be named to that group, then elevated to the 12 and then to serve long enough to be named president means that Hunt's speculation is near-comical.

Or as the ace religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack wrote in the Salt Lake Tribune:

Too bad Hunt didn’t know that’s not really how it works in the Utah-based faith: The Mormon presidency is not an elected nor appointed position.

The LDS president, considered by the faithful to be a “prophet, seer and revelator,” is always the senior member of the church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles.

If his campaign falls short, though, Romney could be tapped as a Mormon mission president, an apostle or other high-ranking official. Or Romney could serve again on a local level as an LDS stake president, overseeing a regional group of churches.

One reader who submitted the story said that it's not completely outside the realm of possibility that the Quorum of the Twelve could call Romney directly to the position after current LDS prophet Thomas Monson died. It's just bizarre, completely without precedent and contrary to the practices of the religion.

Thus, one suspects Hunt doesn't even know what he was talking about. He doesn't get it.

Or as the reader wrote:

It's the same problem with Bloom's op-ed too. Romney was one out of thousands of Bishops and Stake Presidents, making him far from an "inner circle" of LDS authorities. These are cases of not knowing how the LDS faith works or even trying to understand.

When you realize this is how little a Washington editor knows about Romney's religion, it makes you a bit more suspect about what else he doesn't know.

Please respect our Commenting Policy