A Different God? Mitt Romney, the Religious Right, and the Mormon Question


by Craig L. Foster

“As can be expected from a book published by Greg Kofford, Craig L. Foster’s A Different God? is well researched and engaging.”BYU Studies

Available in ebook for KindleNookApple, and Kobo eReader as Mitt Romney and the Mormon Political Challenge.

Book Description:

Might, Right, and Mitt.
     In the contested terrain of American politics, nowhere is the conflict more intense, even brutal, than in the territory of public life also claimed by religion. Mitt Romney’s 2007–08 presidential campaign is a textbook example.
     Religious historian (and ardent Republican) Craig L. Foster revisits that campaign with an astute focus on the never-quite-contained hostility that Romney triggered among America’s religious right. Although no political campaign is known for its sweetness and light, the back-stabbing, mean-spirited attacks, eruptions of irrationalism, and downright lies exploded into one chapters of recent American political history.
     Foster readjusts rosy views of America as the tolerant, pluralistic society against the context of its lengthy, colorful, and bruising history of religious discrimination and oppression against many religious groups, among them Mormonism. Mormons are now respected and admired--although the image hasn’t tilted enough to work for Romney instead of against him. Their turbulent past of suspicion, marginalization, physical violence, and being deprived of voting rights has sometimes made them, in turn, suspicious, hostile, and politically naive. How much of this pattern of mutual name-calling stems from theology and how much from theocratic ideals?
     Foster appraises Romney’s success and strengths—and also places where he stumbled, analyzing an intriguing pattern of “what-ifs?” of policy, personality, and positioning. But perhaps even more intriguing is the anti-Romney campaign launched by a divided and fragmenting religious right who pulled together in a rare show of unity to chill a Mormon’s presidential aspirations. What does Romney’s campaign and the resistance of the religious right mean for America in the twenty-first century?
     In this meticulously researched, comprehensively documented, and passionately argued analysis of a still-ongoing campaign, Craig Foster poses questions that go beyond both Romney and the religious right to engage the soul of American politics.

Comprehensive Table of Contents:



Chapter 1. Rise of the Religious Right

Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements
The Scopes Trial
The Southernization of American Culture and Religion
The Religious Right’s Political Rise
The Moral Majority
The Christian Coalition

Chapter 2. The Power of the Religious Right

An Anti-Religious-Right Bias and Shifting Trends
Problems between the Religious Right and the Republican Party

Chapter 3. A Political History of the Latter-day Saints

Chapter 4. Mitt Romney: From Mormon Missionary to Man with a Mission

A Heritage of Faith and Service
Early Years, Mission, Marriage, and Schooling
Business Career
A Political Family
The 1994 Senatorial Campaign
The 2002 Winter Olympics
The 2002 Gubernatorial Race
The 2008 Presidential Campaign
Romney’s Competition
Romney’s Strategy

Chapter 5. The Mormon Question: Left Hook

The Mormon Question
The LDS Church Responds
Media Bias

Chapter 6. The Mormon Question: Right Cross

The Religious Right
Christian or Not Christian
The Fear of Legitimizing Mormonism
Sheep Stealing and Poaching Converts
The Christian Right vs. Latter-day Saints
Conspiracy Theories: The Mormon Plot for Political Domination

Chapter 7. The Mormon Question: Low Blow

Campaign Dirty Tricks
Mitt Romney and the Mormon Question
The Speech


Appendix A. “Faith in America”
Appendix B. Ten Mormon Candidates


Praise for A Different God:

“Foster encapsulates an impressive amount of Romney coverage, which makes the book worth reading for anyone interested in public and media perceptions of Mormonism during Romney’s run. His account also gives readers an idea of what they might expect from pundits, politicians and journalists in the coming election should Romney announce his candidacy.” — Blair Hodges, Life on Gold Plates

“As can be expected from a book published by Greg Kofford, Craig L. Foster’s A Different God? is well researched and engaging.” — Roger Terry, BYU Studies

About the Author:

Craig L. Foster earned a MA and MLIS at Brigham Young University. He is also an accredited genealogist and works as a research consultant at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. He has published articles about different aspects of Mormon history. He is also on the editorial board of the John Whitmer Historical Association Journal.

More Information:

Pages: 262
ISBN:978-1-58 958-117-3 (Paperback)
Published July 2008

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