Thursday, May 24, 2012

George Romney Part 2

   At the age of 19, George Romney was sent by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to win converts in Glasgow, Scotland. When he arrived in that city, a mere 250 Mormons lived there, and his mission was not an easy one. The church's history of polygamy did not sit well with the local population, nor did their insistence that believers refrain from alcohol. although he did not did not convert many people to his faith, Romney did learn something about relating to people, a skill that would serve him well later in life.
   When Romney returned to the United States, he took up where he had left off in a burgeoning relationship with a beautiful young woman named, Lenore Lafount. The Lafount family had moved to Washington DC in Romney's absence, and he followed suit to be near Lenore. On July 2, 1931, the couple was married at the Salt Lake Temple. After trying his hand at several different careers, George Romney began as a salesman for aluminum company, Alcoa. His career with Alcoa began in 1930, and by 1931 Romney was promoted to a position as a lobbyist for the company in their Washington office.  During this period he also continued his education by attending night school at George Washington University. Romney also lobbied for a trade group called, the Aluminum Wares Association, and through this organization he met Pyke Johnson, a businessman who served as president of the Automobile Manufacturers Association. At this point, Romney had been with Alcoa for nine years and was ready for a more challenging position, Pyke Johnson helped him get a job in the Detroit office of the Automobile Manufacturers Association and the young Romney family moved to that city in 1939. 

An Interesting Article

Mitt, I am your father: The real George Romney

Friday, May 4, 2012

George Romney Part 1

  As Mitt Romney has continually reminded us, his father, George Romney was not born into a privileged family. He was born born on July 8, 1907, in Mexico although he was an American because his parents were citizens. When the Romney's were forced out of Mexico they went first to El Paso, Texas where Mormon refugees were provided with assistance. The family soon moved to California, where Gaskell Romney found work. In 1913, the family relocated again to Idaho where they began to farm. Potato farming provided a meager living to the family until 1916 when the price of potatoes fell. Again, the Romneys moved, this time to the Zion of their faith, Salt Lake City, Utah. 
  The Romney's still had no money and in 1917 they returned to Idaho. This time, Gaskell Romney began to have some financial success in construction. Young George began to work as a laborer while still in high school. He was an enterprising and intelligent young man who succeeded at school and helped his father with his construction business. George learned from his parents that life could be capricious, as when the Great Depression hit in 1929 and once more cast the Romney family into poverty. Despite the hardships his family experienced, George Romney continued to do well in school and in his faith. After attending junior college, George Romney became an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and began his missionary work. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Baptism of the Dead

  Recently, when respected Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel discovered that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was still posthumously baptizing Jews, he turned to Mitt Ronmey's campaign for help. The church had come under fire for this practice before, and had agreed to stop its posthumous baptisms of Holocaust victims. However, whether due to a bureaucratic mix-up or simply ignoring the previous agreement, the Mormons have continued the practice.
  Baptism of the dead is an unusual practice in most Christian denominations, yet it is a very important tenant of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When the early Saints were converted to Joseph Smith's new religion, they were reasonably concerned about their ancestors who did not have the chance to read the book of Mormon or learn about the faith. Smith's doctrine of baptism of the dead allayed their fears, by allowing people to ensure that their family members could still be admitted to the Celestial Kingdom posthumously. However, the practice soon expanded to many others who were not related to members of the faith, hence baptism of people from other religious traditions.
  Interestingly, the beautiful baptismal fonts that are found inside Mormon temples are used exclusively for posthumous baptism. New members of the Church are baptized in their local church house, but posthumous baptisms are performed in beautiful fonts such as this one:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Anna Amelia Pratt and Gaskell Romney

Anna Amelia Pratt was the daughter of Helaman Pratt and his wife Anna Wilcken. Born in 1876 in Mexico, Pratt married a young man from St. George, Utah in 1895. Her husband, Gaskell Romney was a staunch Latter Day Saint just like his new wife's family. Interestingly, although Anna Amelia Pratt's family had practiced the doctrine of Plural Marriage, and Romney's mother was the first of her husband's five wives, Gaskell Romney and his wife chose to have a monogamous marriage. 

Gaskell Romney and Anna Amelia Pratt Romney were forced to leave their home in Colonia Dubl├ín, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico when the Mexican revolution broke out. The young family were not able to take any of their property with them when they left the country. Ultimately, the couple had five sons: Maurice, Douglas, Miles, George, Lawrence and Charles. George Romney was five years old when his family returned to the United States. Twenty-six years after their departure from Mexico, Gaskell Romney sued the Mexican government for the loss of his personal property and was awarded a settlement in the amount of $9,163. 

Gaskell Romney was a Republican candidate for County Commissioner 1931. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Helaman Pratt

Helaman Pratt was born in 1846 to Parley P. Pratt and his fourth wife Mary Wood Pratt. Mary went into labor with her son while in a wagon that was proceeding down the Mormon trail. Helaman Pratt was born in the back of the wagon, and then the party continued down the trail toward Utah. When Helaman Pratt was sixteen months old,  his family reached Salt Lake City, where he grew up. As a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Helaman Pratt served as a bishop and as a missionary like his father. In 1875, Helaman Pratt began to make sojourns to Mexico, where he became a missionary to the Mormon colonies in Chihuahua. Helaman Pratt eventually moved his family to Dublan, Mexico permanently. Pratt had three wives, Emaline Victoria Billingsley who he married in 1868, Anna Johanna Dorothy Wilcken married in 1874, and Bertha Christine Wilcken (sister of his second wife) in 1898. Interestingly, the "manifesto" that was ordered by Church President Wilford Woodruff to end Polygamy was issued eight years before Helaman Pratt married his final wife. Between the three wives, Helaman Pratt had 21 children.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Romney Family

  To understand Mitt Romney's Latter Day Saint heritage, it is a good idea to start with Parley P. Pratt, Mitt Romney's great-great grandfather and Apostle of the church. Parley P. Pratt was born in in Burlington, New York in the year 1807. Pratt was converted to the faith when he came upon a copy of the Book of Mormon and was baptized into the church in 1830. Pratt quickly became a great missionary for the church when he was commissioned by Joseph Smith to spread the faith. Pratt worked as a missionary in Canada, the United States and England and he was responsible for the conversion of many well-known Latter Day Saints. Pratt was well loved by his fellow church members and was given the honor of being one of the original members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. 
   Parley P. Pratt practiced the doctrine of plural marriage and had a total of 12 wives. As part of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, Pratt was encouraged by Joseph Smith himself to take additional wives. Unfortunately for Pratt, one of his marriages would lead to his demise. When Pratt met Eleanor McLean in San Francisco, he converted her to the faith, but her husband Hector McLean was not interested in becoming a Mormon. Eleanor McLean took her children, left her husband, and ultimately became the twelfth wife of Apostle Pratt on November 14, 1855. However, Eleanor McLean had never divorced her previous husband and Hector McLean sued the Apostle, claiming that he had stolen McLean's children. Pratt was tried and acquitted of the charges and released. Shortly after the trial, on May 13, 1857 Hector McLean hunted Parley Pratt down and shot and stabbed the Apostle to death.