BISHOP’S STOREHOUSE: Since the Great Depression, Mormon leaders have preached self-reliance and selflessness, calling on members to plan for their own future while tending to the needs of others. The goods in this store are free to Mormons in need. Photo by Flickr user More Good Foundation (via Creative Commons license CC BY-NY 2.0)
In February Mitt Romney made two of his more memorable campaign trail gaffes, both regarding wealth. Speaking to CNN about the economy after his important win in the Florida primary, Romney said he was “not concerned about the very poor.” In context, Romney was actually expressing concern about the economic prospects of middle-class Americans “who right now are really struggling”; in the same breath, he admitted being not overly worried about the “very rich,” who are “doing just fine.” But the damage was done. The image of Romney as an out-of-touch multimillionaire was only reinforced later that month when he told a group in Detroit that his wife “drives a couple of Cadillacs.”
Patrick Q. Mason is chair of Mormon studies and associate professor of North American religion at Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of The Mormon Menace: Violence and Anti-Mormonism in the Postbellum South.