New Book Talks of Romney's Faith, 'Stunning Influence' of 'Mormon Machine'

A new book explains why Mormons—including Mitt Romney—have become so influential.

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After tackling the faiths of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, conservative Evangelical writer Stephen Mansfield has moved on to a new subject: Mormonism.

Whispers obtained a preview copy of Mansfield's "The Mormonizing of America," out June 26, which refers to powerful Mormons like Glenn Beck, Harry Reid and yes, Mitt Romney, as part of the "Mormon Machine."

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Mansfield spends much of the book explaining why Mormons have achieved the "stunning level of influence" they have today. In many ways, he writes, Mormons' success in adulthood is tied to the two-year mission expected of them when they are young.

"The lonely, difficult, even dangerous experience has fashioned some of the most successful leaders," he writes.

One of those leaders: GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

During Romney's mission to France, the 21-year-old faced a number of trials, including a near-fatal car crash. Romney was driving in Bernos-Beaulac in 1968 when he was hit head on, according to a New York Times account of the incident. Police assumed Romney dead when they arrived on the scene, but he recovered. One of the passengers died.

In addition to the required mission, Mansfield belives Mormons are so successful because the religion's values are a recipe for the "perfect capitalist lifestyle."

"You don't have drugs or alcohol. You believe you should have an impact on the world. And you save your money for trying times," he told Whispers in an interview. "Even if you don't care about material success, you will end up having it because of what the religion requires of you."

And while Romney has repeatedly appeared to play down his faith, Mansfield believes that as a former Mormon bishop, Romney is still "very connected" in the church.

"In terms of money and position, Romney is right in the interior," Mansfield said. "People say he's [like] an Easter Christian, but that's just not true."

Several requests for comment from the Romney campaign were not returned.

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at eflock@usnews.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.