As strange as this may sound, Romney's faith gives him an edge over other Republican contenders and Obama when it comes to the economy. It is a well known fact that LDS people generally make good business leaders. The reason is because the LDS Church provides its members with opportunities in missionary work and in ecclesiastical positions that are ideal to learning important skills that are essential in both the private and public sector, especially when it comes to business and governance.
It is well known that Mormons who serve a mission learn valuable skills that help them to become successful in business, politics, law and medicine. Watch below as CNBC provides a glimpse into how being an LDS missionary helps Mormons become successful in business:
LDS men and women are not required to serve missions. Its a personal decision. Some people decide to go proselyte for the Church while others don't.
Mitt Romney volunteered to serve as a missionary for the LDS Church in France:
France was a troubled place when Romney arrived there and provided some unnerving experiences for a young American man. There were riots, disrupted communication, and a government near collapse. Romney, who faced the hardship of trying to teach religion in a country filled with chaos, prepared later in his mission for a new challenge as assistant to his mission president. Even then he was consistently a leader. He worked hard and got results. He was ready for leadership.Things were not perfect on his mission, however. As Romney was driving the mission president, the mission president’s wife, and Romney’s missionary companion to an appointment, another car came speeding around a curve, missed a turn and swerved into their lane, hitting them. Romney was pronounced dead by police. Though he did survive, Romney had to overcome some injuries, not the least of which were pyschological and emotional: the mission president’s wife did die. Romney’s grief was intense.However, despite grief and the physical pains of the accident, Romney was not allowed much time to recover. His mission president left for a time to take his wife’s body home. Romney, who was only 21 years old, and his companion found themselves in charge of an entire mission, a task normally assigned only to much older men. They were responsible for overseeing 200 missionaries and assist in serving 3,000 church members. Another mission president, assigned to Geneva, was sent in to provide emergency training and support, but he quickly found the young men knew what to do, so he returned to his own mission. He said they were quite capable. Romney pushed aside his grief and pain and focused on the task in front of him. He was excited by the opportunity to learn to do something extremely difficult under difficult circumstances.The expectation was that Romney and his companion would do the minimum required to keep things functioning, a tremendous task in itself. However, Romney was not then—as he is not nowcontent with doing the minimum. He decided that although they’d only baptized 70 people the first half of the year, they’d baptize a total of 200 for the entire year. He went around the mission, speaking to the young missionaries and getting them excited about this new goal. He learned to speak to large audiences, a skill which has benefited him greatly in his secular life.
Being a missionary wasn't the only voluntary service he rendered for the Mormon Church. He later served as an LDS Bishop in Belmont, Massachusetts. Sometime thereafter, he was promoted to be a Stake President in the Boston area.
The reason why Mormons tend to be successful in business, law, and politics is because they're taught to be leaders and assume responsibiliites at a young age:
Mormon boys enter the priesthood at age 12, taking the title of deacon. At 14 they become a “teacher”, then a full priest at 16. Each title, and each progression, comes with new responsibilities, and at each stage a smaller number become leaders among their own age-group.
That progression of leadership and responsibilities continues on into adulthood and doesn't end when you become a certain age. LDS members continue to serve in various positions even as they retire from their profession.
Its worth noting that serving in various positions in the LDS Church, including serving a mission, has helped many Mormon women in many areas of employment. There are a lot of successful LDS women in business and many of them are apart of the LDS Business Women's Association (LDSBWA). For a lively discussion about women who have served a mission and become successful in the business field, Mormon Feminist Housewives has an blog on the same subject.
The reason why I believe Romney's faith will be an asset rather than a liability is because people are looking for a leader who has experience in creating jobs and knows how the economy works both on a national and international level.
Leadership, like almost everything else, is a skill that can be learned and applied to many areas of life both personally and professionally. By accepting these positions in the LDS Church at an early age, he began to learn valuable leadership skills. These early life lessons, followed by decades of service in the LDS Church as well in the private and public made him the successful leader he is today.
A candidate's religion is just one factor out of many things a voter uses to determine whither or not that candidate will get the voters support. Its important to note a candidate's values and not the theology of his religion, is what matters the most when deciding who to vote for in the upcoming elections. Its also important to consider how the candidate's religion has influenced his personal and professional life.
Tune in tomorrow as we look at how Mitt Romney became successful in the business world.