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Mitt's Mormon Army: How It Works
BuzzFeed ^ | February 3, 2012 | McKay Coppins

Posted on 02/04/2012 6:53:17 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

Very, very good e-mail lists — and an internal debate over whether to use them. “I'm getting really tired of the ads for Romney campaign trips coming from this list serve,” writes one young Mormon.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- At Mitt Romney’s first rally here earlier this week, there were plenty of hints that the enthusiastic crowd of 1,000 was stacked with Mormons. Kids walked around in BYU sweatshirts, moms chatted about LDS youth groups, and at least one supporter was overheard talking about making phone calls for the candidate as part of "family home evening" -- a weekly family night the church encourages its members to hold.

But while it's no secret that Romney's coreligionists have swelled the ranks at campaign stops from Des Moines to Reno, one question about the Mormon vote has gone largely unanswered this primary season: How, exactly, have they gotten so organized?

"We heard about it from some friends in our [LDS] ward," said one woman standing outside a rally held in a Las Vegas hotel supply warehouse. "We're so glad we could make it." Another Mormon standing nearby chimed in, "Everyone we know is voting for Mitt!"

The secret to the grassroots success lies, in part, in the unique national structure and scrupulous record-keeping of the Utah-headquartered Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While the church itself is politically neutral, it contains the structural groundwork for one of the most organized and effective voting blocs in the country—something Romney is poised to capitalize on.

Here’s how it works

In contrast with most other religions in the country, the Mormon Church is nationally organized in a strict, top-down fashion, like a corporation. Every congregation in the U.S. reports back to church headquarters in Salt Lake. Whenever an individual is baptized -- either as a child or as a convert -- local ministers take down the person’s name, address, phone number, and e-mail address, and feed the information into a national database maintained by officials in Salt Lake (and only accessible to certain church leaders).

From there, the individuals are assigned to geographically-determined congregations -- or “wards” -- of about 200-300, which they attend on Sundays. Their contact information is filtered into a local “ward list,” which is distributed to all local congregants for planning purposes--from coordinating Sunday school, to working out the logistics for church barbeques.

For decades, these ward lists were printed out and distributed after Sunday services, but in recent years the system has migrated online to LDS.org, where Mormons create logins to access the contact information for every fellow believer in the area.

For active Mormons, wards often become the center of their social universe: it’s not uncommon for members to visit their local chapels three or four times a week for various activities and meetings. Additionally, Mormons participate in “home and visiting teaching” programs, which require them to visit certain ward members on a monthly basis. In this context, ward lists become invaluable tools for Mormons’ daily life—inevitably finding their way into Google groups, listservs, and cell phones.

They also frequently become political tools.

Working the wards

The church expressly forbids using these directories for non-religious purposes, but that doesn’t deter many politically active Mormons from working their ward lists to get out the vote. Reports abound of members blasting out congregational e-mails soliciting support for partisan causes and candidates. One Southern California ward received several e-mails urging congregants to vote for an LDS politician running for local office. And in nastier example of the practice, ward lists in Alpine, Utah were used to spread an anonymous smear campaign against a candidate on the eve of a local election.

Several Mormons told BuzzFeed that as the 2012 primaries heated up, they started to see their fellow congregants use ward lists to organize local efforts for Romney.

Here in Nevada, Ryan Erwin, a consultant for the Romney campaign, acknowledged that the candidate has benefitted from grassroots efforts by Latter-day Saints, and said the campaign is proud of their support. But he also thinks the Mormon factor has been overstated.

“Mormons make up seven percent of the population here,” Erwin said. “If you read some of the reports in the media, you’d think it was 90 percent… it’s a little aggravating when you’ve worked for months to build up an organization and then they say, ‘Well, he just won it because he’s a Mormon.’”

That said, exit polls in 2008 showed that about 25 percent of Nevada caucus-goers self-identified as Mormon -- and Romney won that primary handily. This time around, polling indicates that he’s headed for a similarly dominant victory, and if it happens, local Latter-day Saints will no doubt deserve a chunk of the credit.

Much like how Iowa’s Christian home-school vote advanced its own grassroots efforts for Mike Huckabee largely independently of his campaign, there’s no evidence that Team Romney is officially coordinating with Mormon congregations. But anecdotal evidence suggests that a highly motivated base of Mormon supporters has effectively taken advantage of the LDS infrastructure to help Romney.

The Colonial First Ward listserv

One of the most illustrative examples is the Colonial First Ward listserv, which consists of more than 3,500 D.C.-area Mormons, many of them young and single.

E-mails obtained by BuzzFeed show the listserv being used frequently as a recruiting tool for Romney supporters -- gathering signatures to get the candidate on the Delaware ballot, requesting volunteers to aid the campaign’s Illinois operation, and organizing a get-out-the-vote trip to South Carolina on the weekend of the primary.

The fruits of that last effort were obvious on the ground in Columbia, S.C., where dozens of young Mormon students from Virginia and D.C. were found rallying for Romney at various campaign stops.

But not everyone on the listserv has looked kindly upon efforts to transform the network into a booster club for Romney, and a number of members have e-mailed complaints.

Matt Larsen, a member of the listserv, wrote last October: “I know I’m probably going to make enemies here, but I’m getting really tired of the ads for Romney campaign trips coming from this list serve. The disclaimer at the bottom of every list serve email states very clearly: ‘Items that will not be posted/that will be removed include: promoting your business, promoting political ideologies, and inflammatory comments and rhetoric.’”

The protests appear to have been ignored though, with members continuing to send out e-mails as recently as last month that requested volunteer help for Romney.

“The Colonial First Ward listserv seems to be a miraculous pro-Romney organizing tool,” grumbled one D.C.-area Mormon, who is a Democrat. “Whenever you get the contact information for 3,540 young Mormons in one place, I guess it has to be.”


TOPICS: Current Events; General Discusssion; Other Christian; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: bow2romney; inman; lockstep4romney; mittsmormons; mormonism; mormons; nevada; obeytherino; romney; romney4king; romneyfakecrowds; romneyfakepolls; romneyslegion
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1 posted on 02/04/2012 6:53:23 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Romney may have a lot of bad points, but you gotta admit.. he's got some snazzy underpants.


2 posted on 02/04/2012 6:55:25 AM PST by humblegunner
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To: Reaganite Republican
According to NPR via NYT
NEWT leads Mitt 39-32
when FL vote divided per RNC rules!

Pass the word!


Click to Donate to Newt Gingrich

CONTACT FOR RNC: website@nrcc.org

310 First Street
Washington DC 20003

Encourage them to do the RIGHT thing, end the FL fiasco NOW, Play by the rules!

3 posted on 02/04/2012 6:56:57 AM PST by hoosiermama (FR Unite... Get active contacting MSM, RNC. etc... freepmail : Mountain Mary.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

There were always a lot of blacks in Obama’s audiences also.

Come to think of it there also were a lot of Jews in Senator Lieberman’s audiences when he was running on the VP ticket.

And Catholics were massively in JFK’s audiences...

We need to stop that association of candidates with people that share the same backgrounds, beliefs, and thoughts.


4 posted on 02/04/2012 6:58:23 AM PST by HD1200
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: onyx; STARWISE; maggief; Mountain Mary; MinuteGal; Jim Robinson; LucyT
Is it legal to use church entity in political efforts....Separation of Church and State issue???? Is there anyone on FR that knows or cares?
6 posted on 02/04/2012 7:02:27 AM PST by hoosiermama (FR Unite... Get active contacting MSM, RNC. etc... freepmail : Mountain Mary.)
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To: HD1200

>> We need to stop that association of candidates with people that share the same backgrounds, beliefs, and thoughts.

We do? We need to turn a blind eye to blatant facts?

Says who?

Why?


7 posted on 02/04/2012 7:03:00 AM PST by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
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To: HD1200
We need to stop that association of candidates with people that share the same backgrounds, beliefs, and thoughts.

Why?

Romney is who he is BECAUSE of mormonISM not in spite of it. To know Romney's core you must know mormonISM.

Your other points about other people would be brilliant if this post were about comparisons but its not, it's about Romney and SLC lds.

8 posted on 02/04/2012 7:06:04 AM PST by svcw (For the new year: you better toughen up, if you are going to continue to be stupid.)
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: hoosiermama

Only in the sense that they could lose their tax exempt status, if someone reports them.


10 posted on 02/04/2012 7:10:38 AM PST by svcw (For the new year: you better toughen up, if you are going to continue to be stupid.)
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To: Colofornian; Elsie; FastCoyote; svcw; Zakeet; SkyPilot; rightazrain; Tennessee Nana; ...

Ping


11 posted on 02/04/2012 7:16:37 AM PST by greyfoxx39 (Romney seems like a creature put on Earth to blend in with the humans and report back what he finds.)
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To: svcw; Mountain Mary

Seems to me some freepers should report them....Get the contact information and/or form and frmail it to me or Mountain Mary.


12 posted on 02/04/2012 7:22:44 AM PST by hoosiermama (FR Unite... Get active contacting MSM, RNC. etc... freepmail : Mountain Mary.)
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To: greyfoxx39

The church expressly forbids using these directories for non-religious purposes, but that doesn’t deter many politically active Mormons from working their ward lists to get out the vote
________________________________________

Shouldnt they be ex-communicated for disobeying the profit ???


13 posted on 02/04/2012 7:26:56 AM PST by Tennessee Nana (Romney I like firing people......and I’m not concerned about the very poor.)
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To: svcw

Another person who doesn’t see a facetious satirical post when he reads it....


14 posted on 02/04/2012 7:29:27 AM PST by HD1200
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

But not everyone on the listserv has looked kindly upon efforts to transform the network into a booster club for Romney, and a number of members have e-mailed complaints.
________________________________________________

Oh noez

Not everything is good in kolob...


15 posted on 02/04/2012 7:30:40 AM PST by Tennessee Nana (Romney I like firing people......and I’m not concerned about the very poor.)
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To: HD1200

Was it your intention to show how many freepers just can’t see sarcasm when the subject is on our hate list? I hope so.


16 posted on 02/04/2012 7:34:15 AM PST by wtc911 (Amigo - you've been had.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

No surprise here. Mormons are Mormon cultists first, leftists second and Americans last.

They care only about their Joey Smith cult and “prophecy”, which, as a lot of us are aware of what they believe, can not be allowed to go unchecked.

People who whine that we shouldn’t bring up Willard’s Mormonism or that we should be “tolerant” need to wise up.

Willard is who he is because of Mormonism. Mormons will go out of their way to put their cult, people and candidates above everyone else, even if that means further ruination of America.


17 posted on 02/04/2012 7:35:45 AM PST by madmaximus (Anyone But Robamney.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"From there, the individuals are assigned to geographically-determined congregations -- or “wards” -- of about 200-300, which they attend on Sundays. Their contact information is filtered into a local “ward list,” which is distributed to all local congregants for planning purposes--from coordinating Sunday school, to working out the logistics for church barbeques. "

Almost all churches have "congregational lists" like this, especially evangelical churches...however they are usually understood to be "not for political or commercial purposes."

18 posted on 02/04/2012 7:39:39 AM PST by cookcounty (Newt 2012: ---> Because he got it DONE.)
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To: HD1200
.


The Anti-Christ Liberal Main-Stream-Media wants to FORCE "Christians" to accept the BLASPHEMY of Mormonism and Islam ....


=====================================


There's a BIG difference between "Protestant vs. Catholic" theology ...

versus "Christian vs. Mormon" theology ...




Mormonism is really just a COMBINATION of Islam and Scientology ... they BOTH believe ...


1) Abraham and Christ "just good 'ol boys" ...


2) Multiple Wives are OK (wink, wink, fellas !)


3) We all just "Celestial Gods" in waiting ... for that "special" M-Class planet that "god" (whoever the heck is) has reserved for us ...


4) Drum Roll ....

4-A) Christ is just a "good guy" ... Christ DID NOT resuurect from the dead, and he is NOT the Sacrificial Lamb of God, who sits Perfect, Righteous and the right hand of God the Father ...
Mormons and Scientolgists and Islamics DO NOT believe that ...
"There is No Other name under heaven whereby men can be saved, except Jesus Christ"

4-B) Christ, whose shed blood on Calvary's cross was the (Old Testament) atonement for Mankind's sins and transgressions ... against a holy eternal YAHWEH who is the "Uncreated Creator" ...


Myself, Billy Graham, James Dobson, Martin Luther, St. Augustine, Newt Gingich, Chuck Swindoll, Rick Santorum, Mother Theresa ... all believe 4-B ... hence we are "Christians" ...


Mormon "Archbishop Willard Romney" believes 4-A ... hence he is NOT (NEVER) a "Christian" ...

Any more than Buddah, Socrates, Neistche, Mohammed, L. Ron Hubbard ... or that fraud "prophet" Joseph Smith ... who sits today ... burning in Hell's Eternal Fire ...

Period.


=====================================

Again ... the Anti-Christ Liberal Main-Stream-Media wants to FORCE "Christians" to accept the BLASPHEMY of Mormonism and Islam ....

=====================================



Would you vote for a (practicing) "Islamic" to U.S. President ?

"No" ... you reply ...


Would you vote for a (practicing) "Scientologist" to U.S. President ?

"No" ... you reply ...


THEN WHY ... would you vote for a (practicing) "Mormon" to U.S. President ?



=====================================

We live in America ... and every U.S. Citizen of every RELIGIOUS FAITH ....

has the Constritutional Right to vote for WHOEVER they please ...

be they Atheists, Pagans, Wiccans, Baptists, Catholics, Buddists, Mormons ... whatever ...

=====================================

However ... I REFUSE TO ACCEPT the Nazi-Style Propaganda that "Mormon Archbishop Willard Romney" is a Christian ... under ANY circumstances !

What say "you" ?????

Who will stand with me, as I stand with Christ ... today ?

=====================================




.
19 posted on 02/04/2012 7:42:48 AM PST by Patton@Bastogne (Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin in 2012 !)
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To: HD1200

We need to stop that association of candidates with people that share the same backgrounds, beliefs, and thoughts.


Someone’s background; his associations, beliefs and thoughts influence his civic character in office. Political correctness is not all it’s cracked up to be. Libertarianism’s world view of amoral materialism is shallow and uninformed.

Obama’s association with radical Muslims, leftists like Bill Ayers and radical black racists like Rev. Wright, were very important in forcasting what he would do with power and how he would view the constitution and America.

Mitten’s sub-culture of Mormonism is important to understand because it will influence civic decisions and how he views the equality and rights of those outside the cult and his small circle of associations. His inability and refusal to reach out to conservative voters (40% of the electorate) is telling on how much he’s internalized Mormonism’s “us versus them” way of life and thinking.

He has a difficult time relating to the American mainstream and is drawn to the isolated fringes important to elitists and so he is out of touch and rejecting of most people. We dont’ need another President who views mainstream Americans as his enemy to be shut out and ordered around with the top-down power of a paranoid, small and isolated man.


20 posted on 02/04/2012 7:43:19 AM PST by SaraJohnson
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