Inside his mansion nestled in the heart of the Salt Lake Valley, devout Mormon Mitt Romney has been deep in prayer with his wife Ann while mulling over a third run for the White House.
During his failed campaigns in 2008 and 2012, Romney was urged by his team to play down his faith out of fear that voters would be turned off by what might be seen as a presidential candidate proselytizing about their religion, according to The Washington Post
But Tagg Romney, the eldest of the couple's five sons, says that this time around the former Massachusetts governor is determined to make his devotion to his church, as well as his country, a major part of a possible 2016 campaign.
"He has been reluctant to speak too openly on the campaign trail about his faith out of a concern that people would believe his motivation for running was based on an attempt to convert others to his faith," Tagg, of Belmont, Massachusetts, told the Post.
"If he were to run again, I believe he would be much more willing to open up and share who he is — not by asking others to learn the doctrines of his faith, but by speaking of the values of love and service that it has taught him."
In the wake of his devastating defeat to President Barack Obama in 2012, Romney sold his condo in the Boston area and moved into a sprawling sanctuary he had built near friends and family along the foothills of the spectacular Wasatch Range.
Complete with a "secret door" to a safe room and an outdoor spa connected to the master bedroom, the luxurious retreat in the Salt Lake City suburb of Holladay has given him plenty of time to contemplate his electoral failures and whether he and Ann are ready to face another grueling campaign battle.
"He feels very at home here," said John Miller, a close friend in Utah who has been having discussions with Romney about another bid for the Oval Office. "This is a very prayerful thing. In the end, it’s really a decision between he and Ann and their belief system, their God. That’s the authentic Mitt."
The Romneys, who also bought a sprawling ski chalet in nearby Park City with another family, also own a lakefront estate in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, and a beach home in San Diego, which is being updated to include a car elevator. But the Holladay mansion is now their main residence.
"He was Utah’s favorite adopted son, and now he’s a Utahan," said Thomas Wright, a former state GOP chairman. "People here know Mitt, they trust Mitt, they respect Mitt and they still want to call him President Romney."
The Post says that Romney lost the last general election because Obama’s campaign persuaded voters that his extensive wealth left him out of touch with an average American.
But this time friends and family – and Romney himself — are convinced that he can turn things around by embracing his faith
"He just didn’t talk enough about how he, as a man, was able to do so much to help those in need," said GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who also is a Mormon.
Hatch added that being a volunteer bishop, as Romney once was, is "a high calling" in the Mormon church. "You spend most of your time helping people with their problems — everything from financial problems to work problems to marital problems to sexual problems."
If he runs again, Romney is planning to extend his work as a Mormon with the less fortunate to the entire country, making income inequality a major theme of a possible campaign, the newspaper reported.
"In spite of the comments about the '47 percent,' he now talks about lifting the poor," said friend Fraser Bullock, referring to Romney’s ill-timed remarks in 2012 about people who depend on government handouts.
"That’s something he’s done his whole life, but he’s done it quietly, ministering his faith and helping people who are struggling with this issue or that issue. That was all hidden last time."
Mark DeMoss, an evangelical Christian who has advised Romney on faith politics for years, also told the Post that Mormonism is "a tremendously important part of (Romney’s) narrative."
DeMoss added, "He ought to share his life’s narrative the way he wants to and not according to some political calculus of campaign consultants."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.