Wilmington Mormon leader, SC voters discuss Romney and LDS faith

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Nearly 50 years after our country wrestled with the idea of a Catholic serving in the White House, a new question arises: can a Mormon?

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s wins in Iowa and New Hampshire have certainly put him on the fast track, but does his faith really matter? Many voters question his Mormon beliefs that have been under a microscope for quite some time. We spoke with a local Mormon leader as well as South Carolina voters to get their input.

“I’m OK with his faith,” said Kenneth Smondrowski, a South Carolina voter. “I think a man’s faith is his choice and his family’s choice and it shouldn’t factor into our decision for a presidential candidate.”

To some, a presidential candidate’s religious preference is not a top concern, but Romney’s ties to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a few suspicious of his Mormon faith.

“They may not quite understand who we are as a church, and they might not understand our beliefs,” said David Glew, the Wilmington LDS Stake President.

Glew says the church does not endorse any candidate, regardless of their beliefs.

“We don’t support any particular party or candidate,” he said. “We don’t endorse candidates. We don’t tell our members how to vote.”

Romney’s faith is questioned by some evangelicals. Glew says one misconception of the LDS church is that Mormons are not Christians.

“We probably have more in common with Christian faiths than most people understand,” Glew said. “Jesus Christ is the cornerstone and the central member of our faith. We believe he’s our savior and our redeemer.”

South Carolina voters we spoke with didn’t seem to care about candidates’ beliefs.

“When it comes to faith, that’s not one thing I look at,” said Martin Goter, a South Carolina voter. “I look at actual policies they push for and what they want the government to do.”

Former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, also Mormon, suspended his campaign Monday and endorsed Romney.

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