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Colorado shooting: A rare glimpse into Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith

Some are urging Mitt Romney to be more open about his Mormon faith as a way of humanizing a man who can seem stiff. In his comments about the Colorado shooting rampage, Romney may have taken a step in that direction.

By Staff writer / July 21, 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks about the shootings in Colorado at an event in Bow, N.H., Friday.

Evan Vucci/AP

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In his response to the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., Mitt Romney offered a rare glimpse into his Mormon religion – one of those public moments for the man who would be the nation’s political leader but who so far has been very private about his personal faith.

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“Today we feel not only a sense of grief, but perhaps also of helplessness,” Mr. Romney said. “But there is something we can do. We can offer comfort to someone near us who is suffering or heavy-laden. And we can mourn with those who mourn in Colorado.”

Peggy Fletcher Stack, who writes on religion for the Salt Lake Tribune, notes that “the latter sentence seems straight out of Mosiah 18:8-9 in the Book of Mormon.” The full passage from Mosiah reads:

“As ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life.”

IN PICTURES: On the Campaign Trail with Mitt Romney

Romney’s brief homily and the comment it has elicited comes at a time when many are urging him to be more public about his faith – to confront head-on any persistent bias against Mormons but also to humanize a man who can seem stiff or inauthentic in his personality.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, columnist Michael Kinsley urges Romney to be more forthcoming about his faith at a time when “the deepest reaches of any candidate's psyche are considered fair game for commentary and analysis.”

“He shouldn't be pushing his Mormonism into a corner and hoping people will forget about it,” Mr. Kinsley writes. “He should be making it a central part of his campaign. It's far and away the best thing I know about him.”

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian organization, met with Romney this past week.

Mr. Perkins says he told Romney to be more open about his faith, particularly the values he shares with evangelical Christians.

"I think he's growing more comfortable and today's speech is further evidence of that, talking about his faith in the public arena," Perkins told CNN, referring to Romney’s comments about the Colorado shootings.

Many who follow the Romney campaign have noted the cover story in this week’s New Republic magazine, “Confessions of an Ex-Mormon” by Walter Kirn.

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