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What would a Mormon president mean?

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - We put that question to a noted LDS history scholar and to Mormons on Temple Square.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - In just six months, Americans will decide whether a Mormon shall lead our country.

This represents a remarkable turn of events for a religion which once knew persecution and prosecution.

ABC 4 recently sat down with noted author and journalist, Ken Verdoia.

Verdoia is such an acclaimed scholar of LDS history, he  was one of the stars of the PBS documentary, “The Mormons.”

Verdoia feels the nation is missing a big story when it comes to Mitt Romney.

He says,

"The nature of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the turn of the 20th century was deeply embattled, at odds with the American government."

The story Verdoia feels is being missed is how the LDS Church has gone from persecution to the
doorstep of the presidency.

Also, how Mitt Romney could soon occupy the same office where other presidents once condemned his faith.

Verdoia told us,

"It shows just how far, not only has the Church evolved in terms of its contribution to American society, but also how far this nation has evolved in putting away past prejudices."

On Temple Square, Mormons we talked to also expressed a sense of wonder and pride.

Mark Arrington told ABC 4,

"It'd be cool to say, yeah, that's my president."

In fact, we asked several LDS Members the same question we asked Verdoia:
"What would a Mormon American president mean to you?"

Many, like Brittney Hosking, said it would mean a great deal,

"They’re just so many great qualities if you live the standards of being LDS that would make him a great president."

Six years ago, Mitt Romney himself told me he would be judged on his ability to lead and not on his religion:

We asked,

"Can a Mormon be elected president?”

To which Romney replied,

“They'll judge the person on character, capability, vision, leadership. Those are the things that will make the difference and they'll either measure up or they won't."

And if voters decide Romney measures up, we wondered what early Church leaders would make of the long trail from outsiders to the Oval Office.

Verdoia had this answer,

"Brigham Young fought for the survival of the Church. Not only has it survived but they're running a strong candidate for president. He would be giddy in only the way Brigham Young could be."

But Young wouldn't be the only Church leader who might smile.

Here's what Elder James E. Faust said not long before his death when I asked him if America was ready for an LDS president.

Elder Faust said

"Everybody was quick to say that a Catholic will never be elected President of the United States but that day came and I expect that day will come for a Mormon."

This is what Verdoia believes is the real story of this election,

"This is an extraordinary expression of what is best about America. That those who have fallen or suffered can one day find the path to lead."




FOLLOW CHRIS VANOCUR ON TWITTER: @cvan4
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