Mormon supporters of Mitt Romney are promoting a day of mass fasting and prayer to seek divine help for the Republican candidate in the debates.
The plan — which is not endorsed by the politically neutral Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — is laid out in an email inviting like-minded Mormons to fast on September 30th with the purpose of bringing God's blessings to Romney as he heads into the presidential debates.
The name of the original author of the e-mail was redacted in both versions sent to BuzzFeed, but sources who have received it said it has reached Latter-day Saints in Utah, California, Nevada, and Colorado at least.
"I am asking you to join me and my family on Sunday Sept. 30 by fasting and praying for Mitt Romney," the author writes. "That he will be blessed in the debates, which will be held starting Oct. 3rd. I know that seems like such a small thing, but I believe 'from small things, great things can come about.'"
In Mormonism, believers often participate in fasts — which consist of 24 hours without food or water — to show gratitude, and ask God for special blessings, though they generally aren't political. The Church also encourages congregants to donate the money they would have spent on food during their fasts to a fund for the needy.
Some of the people forwarding the e-mail have done so politely, with a recognition that not everyone in their faith supports Romney.
For example, one wrote, "As I said, this is just an idea. You can do this or not and you can send this to others or not."
But others were more forceful. One Mormon wrote, "This is from one of our Sister Service Missionaries in our ward. I have been concerned that Obama, with his fast talking and lies, will appear to be better in the debates. It is true, his only redeeming quality seems to be his ability to confound those who would speak the truth."
The e-mail is both a reflection of Romney's wide and intense support within the Mormon faith, and an illustration of the church's challenge in demonstrating its partisan neutrality to the public. While church officials in Salt Lake City have gone to great lengths this year to show they're not meddling in the presidential race, many individual Mormons are excited by the prospect of seeing one of their own in the White House — and disappointed that he's currently trailing in the polls.
But if there's one virtue Mormons hold tightly to, it's faith. As one person who forwarded the e-mail wrote: "May we have the faith to fast and pray for the help we so desperately need throughout this great nation at this time."
Here's the full e-mail:
----- Original Message ----- > Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2012 07:52:22 -0600Subject: Fw: Fwd: Sept. 30thTo:A friend sent us this suggestion.......
Dear friends and family, I have been extremely frustrated with how things are going in our country. A lot of my frustration is because I don't know what to do to really make a change. Well, this time I do. I am asking you to join me and my family on Sunday Sept. 30 by fasting and praying for Mitt Romney. That he will be blessed inthe debates, which will be held starting Oct. 3rd. I know that seems like such a small thing but I believe "from small things, great things can come about". I know that fasting and praying brings about miracles. I also know of no power greater than our Father in Heaven.
He loves this land and has blessed it many times before. . . with all our fasting and prayers there will be a great power and protection upon us and this great nation. May we have the faith to fast and pray for the help we so desperately need throughout this great nation at this time.
McKay Coppins is a senior writer for the BuzzFeed News politics team, and the author of The Wilderness, about the battle over the future of the Republican Party.
Contact McKay Coppins at email@example.com.
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