Mormons praise Romney at church service

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann, leave the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after services on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012 in Wofeboro, N.H.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
(CBS News) Mitt Romney attended a service at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Wolfeboro, N.H., on Sunday morning and drew praise from several of its members for shining a positive light on the Mormon religion, according to a media pool report.

"There has never been as much positive attention to the church, thanks to the wonderful campaign of Mitt Romney and his family," J.W. Marriott Jr., the current chairman of the hotel chain Marriott International, Inc., said during a testimony portion of the service.

The Marriott family has deep ties to Romney, dating back to a close friendship between J. Willard Marriott Sr. (founder of the hotel chain) and Mitt Romney's father, George, the former chairman and president of American Motors Corporation and former Michigan governor. In fact, Mitt Romney's proper name - Willard Mitt Romney - was a tribute to the Marriott's founder.

J.W. Marriott Jr. told those at the morning church service that 90 percent of what's been written and said about the Mormon faith during the recent presidential election has been positive, including television programs focusing on the faith by CNN and NBC and several front-page newspaper stories.

"And that's a great tribute to Mitt and Ann and their family for living such an exemplary life," he. said. "A life of love and compassion, a good Latter Day Saint life. A life of leadership, reaching out to others, and touching others, and worshipping the Lord and putting families and the church first."

Others who gave testimony before the congregation offered similar praise for the Republican nominee. One man pointed to the three members of the Mormon church who spoke at the Republican National Convention about Romney's role as a member and leader in the church. "They just represented us so well," he said.

Another man expressed his amazement at watching vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, a devout Catholic, praise Romney's faith during his own convention speech. Ryan called Romney a man who is "prayerful and faithful" and said of the two religions, "our different faiths come together in the same moral creed."

"Never in my life did I think I would ever see, as I'm watching the RNC, I would never see a Catholic get up and say that a Mormon is just as good as any Catholic," said the unidentified man.

Mitt and Ann Romney sat about six rows from the front of the church during the service and showed little visible reaction to the comments, according to the pool report from the reporters who attended. Romney is at his Wolfeboro summer home and taking a couple days off after being officially named his party's nominee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week. He will travel to Vermont this week to prepare for the upcoming fall debates with President Obama.

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