Friday Afternoon Hypothetical President Poll

Everyone has been talking lately about whether or not President Obama is a Muslim or a Christian, or at least talking about what other people think he is. While his beliefs may influence his actions behind the scenes, it’s my understanding that President Obama doesn’t regularly attend church anyway, on the grounds that to do so would be disruptive. This seems like a pretty good reason to me, and I understand that President Reagan didn’t attend church during his terms either.[1]

My question is, what would a hypothetical President Romney do? Wouldn’t it be pretty disruptive if he did attend a DC ward?

[1] President Bush worshiped Satan, so he might have attended meetings in an underground lair–I’m not sure.


  1. I heard from some senior missionaries in Salt Lake (and therefore it must be true) that President Hinckley, when in town, attended a ward sacrament meeting that was closed to the public and whose time and location were not published on the website or otherwise publicly knowable. I am sure this is just a faith promoting rumor and someone here can correct my misinformation.

  2. The logistical considerations for the President of the Church are significantly different than for the President of the United States. For one thing, I bet the President of the Church can fit his entourage into one Suburban, if he wants to.

  3. I don’t think President Bush was actually a Satanist. I think he was more of a Reformed Crowleyite.

  4. The real question is whether the Romneys would opt out of home/visiting teaching.

  5. I think he would attend when he could, and not necessarily every Sunday. I would hope he gets input from the members of the ward he would consider frequenting if they would mind or not the disruption of having the president of the United States present.

  6. Mitt reminds me of the Energizer bunny and is a good multitasker. I think he could be president and also teach early morning seminary (with on-the-sly attempts at converting the Secret Service guys), move people in and out of his ward, and go on splits with the missionaries (maybe only the later discussions for serious investigators in order to cut down on no-shows). Of course in order to protect him from moving “accidents”, such as pianos coming down staircases, they secret service guys would have to help with the heavy parts of the moves, which would make them popular in whichever ward Mitt would end up attending. Mitt could also contribute to the Stake and Regional PR efforts in a major way.

    Does anyone know if it is against the law to use White House dining staff for HP group parties?

  7. We believe God is no respecter of persons. Mitt should attend and hold a calling. Nursery leader would be great.

  8. Beeblebrox says:

    I’m also thinking about the Secret Service checks for those preparing the sacrament. Or whether they’d have enough endowed Secret Service agents to accompany him in the temple.

    Oh heck, let him be done with it and just move the whole shebang into the replica Oval Office in the DC Temple.

  9. Between his gutlessness on immigration (despite his yard being kept beautiful by a contractor most of whose employees were undocumented immigrants) and his inexcusable position on the mosque in lower Manhattan (despite being from Belmont, Mass–does the man have no memory?), I’m hoping he’ll go inactive.

  10. Daniel,
    Willingness of members to host CiC = f(#high councilors speaking)?

  11. As a member of wards with sitting and past public officials (mayors and governors), I find that most people can separate. But a president with a security detail might be different. Still, I vote attend. Maybe there will be a rash of Secret Service baptisms. Then they can start their own branch and the problem is solved.

  12. I covered President Hinckley’s ward as a missionary. Of course, we covered like 15 other wards too, so we only attended there once in 3 months. But that one time, there he was sitting on the stand. There was a baby blessing that day. Men came forward to form the circle. After a moment, President Hinckley stood up and approached the circle tentatively, and was admitted to assist in the ordinance. Nice surprise for the family.

  13. DavidH, I can cheerfully correct the rumor you were fed. President Hinckley was a member of my stake (the Ensign stake), and frequently attended meetings in his home ward (the 18th Ward) which meets in one of the chapels in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (formerly the Hotel Utah). That ward is made up chiefly of senior missionaries assigned to projects at the Church Office Building or Family History Library, as well as a number of generally very elderly, usually widowed, members living in downtown apartments. President Hinckley always sat quietly on the stand, acknowledged as presiding by his bishop, but otherwise taking the part of an ordinary member.

    The meeting times and his membership were never kept secret, and in fact tourists at the Conference Center often asked, and were told, of the time and location. (Maybe they had been told *not* to tell that, but they did anyway; I can’t speak to what they were told to do or not to do.)

    I know from personal experience that during Fast and Testimony meetings the bishop announced that the time was reserved for ward members, not for visitors. Yet time after time, despite that request, tourist after tourist rose and started testimonies with some variation of “I would be remiss if I did not stand today and tell President Hinckley how much I sustain him as a prophet.” (Apparently not enough, though, to follow the request to leave the time to the local members!) President Hinckley’s expression never changed.

    I suspect that a US President Romney (perish the thought) could attend a local ward, with his security detail, without much disruption after an initial shake-down time. No doubt tourists of all stripes would follow him there but they could be handled. Other recent presidents managed to attend local church services more or less regularly.

  14. Well, I no longer want to be President. I just wanted a good reason for not attending Church. I guess I will go with apostacy instead.

  15. I’m pretty sure Cheney is Satan, so Bush didn’t have to go far.

  16. I voted he should go inactive. If we be believe in a saparation of Church and State, then that would be best for all. Let him go to the National Cathral

  17. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but he could go to Jimmy Carter for advice.

  18. !17: Sorry, submitted too soon. He should attend the National cathedral.

  19. Latter-day Guy says:

    Yet time after time, despite that request, tourist after tourist rose and started testimonies with some variation of “I would be remiss if I did not stand today and tell President Hinckley how much I sustain him as a prophet.”

    I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

  20. Thanks Ardis for providing correct information. I am disillusioned to learn that the senior missionaries at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building misled us that weekend. We were staying in a hotel (now torn down) a block or so from the Memorial building and wanted to attend Sacrament meeting. The senior missionaries told us there was a ward (or two) that met in the Memorial building, but the wards (including the one Pres. Hinckley attended) were open only to the missionaries and not to the public and that we would have to find another building to attend church. They seemed apologetic (or was it smug). This occurred in 2004. All I can say is, if you can’t trust senior missionaries, who can you trust? Of course, it may be they had misinformation or maybe the policy was different in 2004. Or maybe they thought we looked potentially disruptive or worse that we might be democrats.

  21. Ray,

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but he could go to Jimmy Carter for advice.

    Why can’t you believe you’re saying it? Jimmy Carter was a very religious man whilst in office (and out of office of course). Probably the most truly religious president we’ve ever had.

  22. Bruce Rogers says:

    Once, in a ward I visited, a “dignitary” was to visit, so they set up the back two rows for his group. The Bishop announced his presence and welcomed him. At the end, the audience was asked to remain seated while his group left. It was very appropriate and did not disrupt the spirituality of the meeting.
    Pres OBama attends church sometime, but the amount of security required is difficult to fit into his small church without disruption.
    It is “rumored” that there are many Mormons in the Secret Service, but, of course, because of security, that cannot be officially verified. But it is still a “rumor” that I would be pleased to learn if it is true.

  23. Latter-day Guy says:

    I don’t know about the Secret Service, but I do know that LDSaints are disproportionately well-represented in the ranks of the FBI and CIA.

  24. #21 – good Christian man – not so good President.

  25. living in zion says:

    If having a famous Anybody in my ward would help the lame talks in Sacrament Meeting, I say bring on the chaos. The side show would at least make the time go faster.

  26. Attending Romney’s ward would be a nightmare. Wouldn’t the security stuff turn a three hour block into a four hour block?

  27. symphonyofdissent says:

    My bishop (Roger Porter) In the University Ward in Boston frequently speaks about his time in the George Bush Sr white house. Apparently George Bush was extremely religious and never missed services. Even when traveling in Europe etc he always found a church to attend. It seems to me that a President can and should continue to be an active church attender though also more open than the typical Mormon to attending services of other churches and denominations as well as other religions perhaps. Obama has a sedder at the white house each year and also attended a ceremony for the start of Ramadan.

  28. When I was a kid, I was in a boy choir that toured America. On our trip to Washington D.C., we sang during the sunday services of the church President Clinton sometimes attended. (This was around 1997, I think.) Even though they never knew which sundays he would show up, they always had metal detectors and heavy guarded entries. It took about ten minutes to actually make it in the chapel. About halfway through the service, there was a big commotion as Clinton arrived, and everything basically stalled while he and an army of secret service men filled a few pews in the middle of the room. Then, as soon as the service ended, everyone had to remain seated as they rushed him out again.

    It sure seemed like a lot of work for twenty minutes of worship.

  29. “Obama … attended a ceremony for the start of Ramadan.”

    Well, naturally.

  30. Eric Chambers says:

    This really doesn’t speak to the heart of this thread but for those who are curious both President Hinckley and President Faust (before they passed away) attended the ward in whose boundaries they resided (when they were not traveling). It is my understanding that they only attended Sacrament meeting. The ward met in the Joseph Smith Memorial building chapel and was open to all who wished to attend. There were often many, many visitors attending each week.

  31. I attend church in the building that hypothetical Pres. Romney would attend (3 wards meet there – 2 families and 1 YSA – and it’s a little crowded, all said and done). Yes, it would be a nightmare to deal with it due to the number of people who are present any given Sunday, especially the YSA ward (in August the chapel and cultural hall are completely filled with many standing along the stage and back walls – most of them visitors or summer interns who no one actually knows). That being said, Harry Reid occasionally attends church here (with a much smaller retinue, I’m sure). A possible solution would be to attend one of the smaller (also more upscale) wards in suburban MD in the same stake that aren’t much further away.

  32. Elder C. Lamar Jenks says:

    The stake high council would appoint two brethren ( probably employed by the Fed Gov already) to visit the White House on sunday, when Romney was in town, and have a brief sacrement meeting with those of his family who happened to be present and whatever guests should be invited. Next topic.

  33. Always nice when an unknown elder stops by and, without a word of explanation settles all questions.

    I doubt they would be holding a “sacrement” meting, though.

  34. Or even a “sacrement meeting.”

  35. or even sacrament meeting?

  36. I bet Elder C. Lamar Jenks is the MTC internet missionary assigned to BCC.

  37. BCC gets it’s own missionary? Cool. He seems like kind of a slacker though. Why haven’t we heard from him before now? Lunchbag.

  38. He keeps pretty busy with his other assignment, the FIRM foundation.

  39. We have a Lamar Jenkins in our ward…

    Is that you Lamar?

    Would love to see you @ church tomorrow!

  40. Bruce Rogers says:

    To #23: How do you know that? What is your source of information?

  41. #40 : I believe #23 is true. Where you would come up with #s, I don’t know.

  42. #40 – Bruce, fwiw, I’ve read that countless times in multiple places – the most recent of which was only a month or so ago in an article highlighted here in the sidebar. It’s a function of sobriety, loyalty and the ability to speak a foreign language fluently. Hard to beat Mormons on those combined characteristics.

  43. Hodgson-Burnett's Secret Garden says:

    A bit anecdotal, but, IAC, here’s Toby Harnden, Jan 9, 2010, London Telegraph:

    CIA officers have to submit a multi-page electronic form to be signed by three levels of supervisor each time they have contact with a foreigner. Entry background checks last more than a year and many recruits fail if they have foreign relatives or have travelled to places like Cuba or Iran. All CIA officers have to take regular lie-detector tests.The result is that the ideal CIA recruit is a Mormon – clean-living, all-American and perhaps with a language from a year proselytising abroad. Some of the most impressive and courageous citizens the US can produce are in the CIA – and those killed at Khost were of this highest calibre. But these days they are the exceptions.

  44. StillConfused says:

    More importantly, would he get a calling?

    How about a home teaching assignment?

  45. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    I remember being in a temporary government facility that was working on a disaster response. We were told that President Bush was going to make a visit to the facility. Secret service personel had arrived. We were not allowed to leave the building for 30-60 minutes, even to go out to your car to get a personal item. Then, it turned out that his “tour” got cut short, and he never made the planned stop.

    So, President Romney comes to your ward for a visit, don’t plan to head out of Sacrament meeting to visit the Mother’s Room…or even the Men’s room.

  46. I lived in Cambridge when Romney was governor and the word on the street, I mean, in the stake was he opted out of home teaching in his Belmont ward, but I don’t know about a calling. But the BEST part was at stake conference, he was there, sitting three rows in front of us, in the overflow cultural hall with his wife, sitting in the crappy folded chairs just like the rest of us. He wasn’t presiding or anything so they didn’t have him sit up front. As a convert, I found this so reassuring. I don’t know why. He looked uncomfortable but happy to be there, just like we were. And man, is his hair ever NOT gray. It’s really strange up close.

  47. You missed an option in the poll: He’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing and should give up his presidential ambitions entirely.

  48. Does Mitt Romney even regularly attend a ward now? That seems to be an underlying premise in this poll, and not one that I’m so sure to be incredibly accurate.

    Also: If I get famous, do I really get to opt out of home teaching without any guilt?!?!?!?! Excuse me, but I have to go find an agent.

  49. #45: My family would be in trouble. Between my two kids (one of whom is potty training), I think I counted about 5 trips to the drinking fountain and the restroom yesterday.

  50. Bruce Rogers says:

    #42. I am glad to agree with what you say. I was just asking if we have any actual data to support the claim. I know that it is a challenge to get such data. For example, there is an organization sponsored by the BYU Law School that is open to any LDS attorney. I have asked two of the past Deans of Education at BYU about an organization for any LDS educator, but they have said that, while it was a good idea, someone else would need to do it. Again, I liked your comments.

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