Romney: Voters will accept his Mormonism

/ Source: The Associated Press

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he also is troubled by the Mormon church’s past practice of polygamy, but that he can overcome voter concern about his religion.

“What’s at the heart of my faith is a belief that there’s a creator, that were all children of the same God and that fundamentally the relationship you have with your spouse is important and eternal,” he said Sunday on CBS’ “60 minutes.”

But the former Massachusetts governor acknowledged that “there’s part of the history of the church’s past that I understand is troubling to people.”

“Look, the polygamy, which was outlawed in our church in the 1800s, that’s troubling to me,” he said. “I have a great-great grandfather. They were trying to build a generation out there in the desert. And so he took additional wives as he was told to do. And I must admit, I can’t imagine anything more awful than polygamy.”

Romney, who has five sons with his wife of 38 years, says he was worried he might lose her to somebody else when he left his Michigan high school sweetheart behind in college while he did two years of missionary work in France.

She had converted from Episcopal to Mormon and attended Brigham Young University in Utah.

“You get all these Mormons out there with strict prohibition against premarital sex, and they’re young and they’re attractive, the hormones work very well and people decide it’s time to get married,” he said.

But she waited for him and they were married three months after Romney joined her in college in 1969.

“No, I’m sorry, we don’t get into those things,” Romney said when asked if the couple had premarital sex. “The answer is no.”

Romney also said voters are clearly upset over President Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq but that, for now, people should give the troop increase in Iraq a chance to work.

“I think the administration made a number of errors,” he said. “I don’t think we were adequately prepared for what occurred. I don’t think we had done enough planning. I don’t think we’d considered the various downsides and risks.”

Regarding the current strategy, he said, “I think we’re gonna know in a matter of months if it’s working or it’s not working.”