boston.com your connection to The Boston Globe

Romney says his faith's past is troubling

Calls practice of polygamy 'awful'

BOSTON -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said his Mormon religious faith's history of polygamy could trouble American voters and that he, too, is bothered by it.

The former Massachusetts governor, whose great-grandfather had five wives and whose great-great-grandfather had a dozen, said in an interview to be broadcast tomorrow that the practice banned by the Mormon church in 1890 was "awful."

"That's part of the history of the church's past that I understand is troubling to people," he said, according to comments to be aired on CBS's "60 Minutes."

"I have a great-great grandfather. They were trying to build a generation out there in the desert and so he took additional wives as he was told to do. And I must admit, I can't imagine anything more awful than polygamy," he said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints distances itself from 30,000 to 60,000 breakaway Mormons in Utah and nearby states who practice polygamy illegally, as well as the many excommunicated Mormons in polygamous marriages.

"What's at the heart of my faith is a belief that there's a creator, that we're all children of the same God, and that fundamentally the relationship you have with your spouse is important and eternal," Romney said over the course of two interviews, one of which was taped at his vacation home in Wolfeboro, N.H.

In the interviews, Romney also defended his opposition to gay marriage by citing the Scriptures.

"This isn't just some temporary convenience here on Earth, but we're people that are designed to live together as male and female and we're gonna have families," he told interviewer Mike Wallace, according to an excerpt CBS released yesterday. "And that, there's a great line in the Bible that children are an inheritance of the Lord and happy is he who has or hath his quiver full of them."

Meanwhile, Romney, who made his fortune as a management consultant, is expected to report financial assets of $190 million to $250 million, an adviser said yesterday. Romney's assets have been held in a blind trust that he and his wife set up when he took office in 2002.

The adviser who provided the estimate of his assets cautioned that the number is based on 2005 and 2006 financial activity and could amount to a bigger total once the disclosure report is filed later this year.

The adviser spoke on condition of anonymity because the totals have not been officially released. The deadline for filing financial disclosures is Tuesday, but Romney obtained an extension.

Romney also has a blind trust for his children and grandchildren that is estimated to hold assets of $70 million to $100 million.

Material from the Associated Press was included in this report.

SEARCH THE ARCHIVES