Top 10 States with Largest Mormon Population

Top 10 States with Largest Mormon Population

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be found all over the United States, as well as, in many different countries of the world. When most people think of Mormons, they envision that Utah, where the Salt Lake Temple and Church office buildings are located, has a higher percentage of Latter-day Saints than any other state, and they are correct.

The table below lists the top 10 states with the highest Mormon population (as a percentage of the overall population). It should be noted that all data is based on numbers from the Pew Research Center and Mormon Newsroom. It should also be noted that Colorado; Washington, D.C.; Maine; New Mexico; Virginia and West Virginia all claim 2 percent of their total populations as LDS, whereas all other states have LDS populations of less than 2 percent.

 

State Percent LDS Membership Missions Congregations Temples Dedicated Temples Under Construction
Utah 55 2,00,554 10 4,971 16 1
Idaho 19 430,757 4 1,117 4 0
Wyoming 9 67,199 1 157 0 1
Arizona 5 416,192 6 844 5 0
Alaska 5 33,375 1 86 1 0
Nevada 4 182,072 3 330 2 0
Oregon 4 153,226 3 306 2 0
Montana 4 48,968 1 123 1 0
Hawaii 3 73,660 1 138 2 0
Washington 3 282,356 7 549 3 0
Study Finds That Mormon Families Are America’s Largest

Study Finds That Mormon Families Are America’s Largest

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are a family-oriented people. They understand the value and importance of home and family life, and believe that families are forever. The valuable life lessons that are learned in a loving home, for example, help to prepare youth to more easily transition into the real world where they will be faced with day-to day challenges. It is also within the family that each member of the family learns to love others as Heavenly Father loves each of us.

Research Shows Mormons Have Larger Families

A Mormon family, mom, dad and four childrenThe 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study reported that Latter-day Saints marry more than those in any other American faith. According to the report, 66 percent of LDS adults are married as compared to 60 percent for Hindis, and 56 percent for Jews. The study also found that Mormons have the largest families.

The Pew Research Center interviewed more than 35,000 Americans allowing for a margin of error of plus or minus 0.6 percent. The new study revealed that for Mormons between the ages of 40 and 59, the average number of children born to them is 3.4. According to an article from Deseret News, “The idea behind looking at that age group is to capture what the researchers called “completed fertility.”” The average for LDS births was well above other groups such as historically Black Protestant churches where the average number of births is 2.5, and for Catholics and Evangelicals, the average is 2.3.

The study further revealed that the Christian population, in particular among the mainline Protestants and Catholics, in the U.S. has declined from 78.4 percent in 2007 to 70.6 percent in 2014. However, as the study showed, LDS Church members have held steady with 1.6 percent of the rising U.S. population in 2014, as compared to 1.7 percent in 2007. David Campbell, co-author of “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us” commented, “It’s also striking, and you see this in other national studies, that the percentage of Mormons doesn’t really change, and that’s interesting.”

The Central Role of Marriage and Family in the Church

A happy Mormon FamilyThe findings of the report align with the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ as Latter-day Saints believe parents are co-creators with God, and that families are central to God’s plan. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught, “The home is the center core of the LDS Church, and the most sacred relationships in the church are in the family.” During the 185th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held in April 2015, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

God ordained that men and women should marry and give birth to children, thereby creating, in partnership with God, the physical bodies that are key to the test of mortality and essential to eternal glory with Him.

The percentage of Mormons who are married has decreased since 2007 when the percentage of those married was 71 percent, and the percentage of Mormons who have never married has increased from 12 percent in 2007 to 19 percent in 2014. However, the Mormons who were surveyed, stated that they are raising more children than members of any other religious groups. On the average, Mormon adults of all ages also reported that they lived with 1.1 children as parents or guardians.

Mormon Retention Rates Attributed to Family Life

An LDS family at home togetherRetention rates are also attributed to healthy family lives. The study showed that historically Black Protestant churches retain 70 percent of its childhood members, whereas Evangelicals retain 65 percent, and Mormons retain 64 percent. However, those who leave the Black Protestant churches or the Evangelical churches often become affiliated with another religion, whereas those who were raised in The Church of Jesus Christ, often do not become members of a different religion if they leave the Church.

Campbell, also the co-author of “Seeking the Promised Land: Mormons and American Politics,” commented that he expects to see the number of Mormons as a percentage of the U.S. population rise based on church growth data. He also noted that it might be a sign of a potential issue with convert retention, stating that, “It’s significant it’s not dropping, but it’s not growing anywhere near the extent that you might think.” In the footnotes of Elder Quentin L. Cook’s April 2015 General Conference address he notes, “Over the last 25 years, the actual number of members leaving the church has decreased and the church has almost doubled in size. The percentage leaving is greatly reduced.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints exists to help families to obtain eternal blessings, the greatest of which is the ability to one day return home to Heaven to live with Heavenly Father and their families.

 

Mia Love, Black Mormons, and the Black Mormon Moment

Mia Love, Black Mormons, and the Black Mormon Moment

The phrase “Mormon Moment” is not new to many of us. Anyone who followed the 2012 presidential elections became very familiar with this catchphrase. With the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, being a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many people became keenly interested in Mormonism, a religion that beforehand had been somewhat of a mystery to many people.

However, it should be carefully noted that a Mormon running for the office of President of the United States was not the only reason that interest in Mormonism had suddenly escalated. The critically acclaimed satirical musical “The Book of Mormon” — the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent to a remote village in northern Uganda where a brutal warlord threatens the local population — opened on Broadway in March 2011, and it achieved immense popularity in a relatively short amount of time. The show set records in ticket sales for the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. It was also awarded nine Tony Awards, one of which was for Best Musical, and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

These two major events sparked the interest of the masses, and the phrase “Mormon Moment” soon became the buzzword of the day in both local and social media coverage. However, now that Mitt Romney is no longer running for President of the United States, and “The Book of Mormon” musical is no longer winning awards, it would almost appear that the spotlight of the “Mormon Moment” has suddenly faded. But, is that really the case?

Black Mormons and the “Black Mormon Moment”

Two years after Mitt Romney was defeated in the presidential elections by Barack Obama, Mia Love, the former mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, became the first black female Republican ever elected to Congress.

According to the 17 November 2014 online edition of Deseret News, the 38-year-old Love commented in her victory speech, “Many of the naysayers out there said that Utah would never elect a black Republican LDS woman to Congress. Not only did we do it, we were the first to do it.” With her victory, an astute focus has once again been turned to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the “Mormon Moment” seems to have been revitalized, but this time, it is black members of The Church of Jesus Christ who are at the forefront.

Jabari Parker MormonLove is not the only black Mormon who has gained national interest. On the same night that she was giving her victory speech, 19-year-old Milwaukee Bucks’ rookie forward, Jabari Parker, became the first teenager in NBA history to get two double-doubles in his first three games.

Parker is also the seventh teenager in the last 30 years to have one double-double in his first three league outings. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ may recall that President Thomas S. Monson quoted Parker during General Conference this year citing the advice that he had been given by his father: “Just be the same person you are in the dark that you are in the light.”

Ezekiel "Ziggy" AnsahAnother prominent black Mormon is 25-year-old Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah from Accra, Ghana. As a boy in his native country, Ziggy played soccer and basketball and had absolutely no knowledge of American football. After converting to the Mormon faith, and being baptized at the age of 18 on 12 January 2008 in Madina, Ghana, he later came to the United States and attended school at Brigham Young University. It was there that Ziggy got his first taste of American football. After two and a half seasons, he was picked No. 5 overall in the NFL draft. He was also voted the Mel Farr Rookie of the Year by the Detroit Lions. Of particular interest is that the school motto of the Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School, Legon, where Ziggy attended in Ghana, is “In Lumine Tuo Videbimus Lumen” (In Thy Light We Shall See Light). He is indeed a living witness and testimony of that school motto as he has embraced the Light – the Gospel of Jesus Christ – and has allowed the Light within him to radiate throughout the world.

Gladys Knight MormonThe spotlight is also shared by world renowned entertainer Gladys Knight who became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1997.  She celebrates the success of being on the charts for her Top Gospel Albums. Her latest project, titled “Where My Heart Belongs,” released by the Mormon-label, Shadow Mountain, is a testimony of her life. The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought great peace and joy into her life – a peace that passes all understanding – that is evidenced as people notice the new radiance about her.

The Contribution of Black Mormons and the Growth of the Church

Latter-day Saints comprise less than 2 percent of the U.S. population with the exact number of black Latter-day Saints being unknown. However, in the state of Utah, where 60 percent of the population is Mormon, blacks make up less than 2 percent. Nevertheless, whether the current “moment” is dubbed as the “Black Mormon Moment” or not, the fact remains that the number of high achievers within The Church of Jesus Christ who are black is on the increase.

The short list of those who are high achievers includes, but is not limited to, Harvard-educated Kenyan-American Shaka M. Kariuki, who runs the investment firm Kuramo Capital; Yeah Samake, the Malian mayor who has run for president of Mali twice; Cathy Stokes, the former Illinois public health administrator who became a prominent Utah community leader; and Alex Boyé “whose cover of a popular Disney tune garnered more views on YouTube (54 million) than Coldplay’s latest hit,” according to the Deseret News article.

One person who commented on the Deseret News article stated:

I am incredibly pleased to note that there are so many examples of people in the LDS church who would formerly have been shunned or somehow excluded by some other members of the church but are excelling and, presumably, feeling accepted as fellow children of the same Heavenly parents. I hope it continues in and out of the church for people of African descent and everyone else.

I grew up in a part of Salt Lake that was as racially integrated as it could be in a city that was overwhelmingly Caucasian. It wasn’t until I was about 11 that I had any idea that racial discrimination even existed. I have been yearning for the day it no longer does every day since. It’s great to see these examples of steps toward that dream.

The fact is that black Latter-day Saints, whether famous or not, are contributing in monumental ways to the faith, all the while impacting the world for good. Even in light of perhaps not so favorable Church history dating from 1848 until June 1978 when men of African lineage were not allowed to hold the Priesthood, black membership in the Church has continued to grow. The Deseret News article points out:

The institutional church — despite withholding the priesthood from blacks until 1978 — is embracing the spirit of its founder, Joseph Smith, who ran for president on an abolitionist platform and ordained black men to the priesthood. The church recently released new materials written by scholars and church leaders directly disavowing “the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor … or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”

There may be some differences between members of the Church because of heritage, culture, and background, but the reality is that we are all children of the same Heavenly Father, and therefore, we are brothers and sisters. We are all working towards the same goal of one day returning to live in His presence for all eternity. Therefore, whether the “moment” is simply dubbed the “Mormon Moment,” the “Black Mormon Moment,” or whatever the title that is chosen, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we all share in the “moment” because we don’t allow our differences to divide us, but rather we stand united as one big family.

Glen A. Larson – The Genius of His Productions

Glen A. Larson – The Genius of His Productions

Glen Albert Larson, the highly-acclaimed television writer-producer best known as the creator of such 70s and 80s television series as Battlestar Galactica, Quincy, M.E., The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, B. J. and the Bear, The Fall Guy, Magnum, P.I., It Takes A Thief, McCloud, and Knight Rider, passed away on 14 November 2014 at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California from esophageal cancer at the age of 77.

According to the 15 November 2014 The Hollywood Reporter article:

Other shows Larson created included Alias Smith & Jones, B.J. and The Bear, Switch (another series with Wagner), Manimal and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo. He spent his early career at Universal Studios, inventing new shows and reworking others, before moving to 20th Century Fox in 1980 with a multi-series, multimillion-dollar deal.

With Lou Shaw, Larson conceived Quincy M.E., which starred Jack Klugman — coming off his stint on The Odd Couple — as a murder-solving Los Angeles medical examiner. A forerunner to such “forensic” dramas as CSI, the series ran for 148 episodes over eight seasons on NBC from 1976-83.

In a 2009 interview with the Archive of American Television, Larson commented that he was able to stay atop such a staggering workload because, “I tried to stay with things until I thought they were on their feet and they learned to walk and talk. If you believe in something, you must will it through, because everything gets in the way. Everyone tries to steer the ship off course.”

A Successful Career

Glen Albert Larson MormonGlen Albert Larson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was born on 3 January 1937, and began his successful career in the entertainment industry as part of a pop vocal group known as The Four Preps in 1956 and as an NBC page. During his time with the group, they appeared in one of the Gidget films, had a guest shot on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand. Larson also wrote and composed three gold records for Capitol – “26 Miles (Santa Catalina)”, “Big Man”, and “Down by the Station.” He later collaborated with David Somerville, also a member of the group, and Grail Jensen, a session singer that he knew, to write and compose “The Unknown Stuntman” which became the theme song for the series The Fall Guy, and sung by lead Lee Majors.

Larson earned his first writing credit while working on the Quinn Martin production The Fugitive. He left Quinn Martin and signed a production deal with Universal Studios where he gained notoriety with his first hit series, Alias Smith and Jones, a Western which described the activities of Hannibal Heyes and Jedediah “Kid” Curry, concentrating on their efforts to go straight.

He also had a monumental role as an executive producer in developing The Six Million Dollar Man, based on Martin Caidin’s novel Cyborg, into a successful series. However, of all the series that Larson had a part in creating, Battlestar Galactica was perhaps the most personal to him, and the highlight of his genius.

The Insightful Messages of Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica CastLarson began working on the concept of Battlestar Galactica in 1968, and was mentored by Star Trek producer, Gene L. Coon during the early development process. The series, originally intended to be called Adam’s Ark, was one of Larson’s most profound adventures as the show incorporated themes from Mormon theology such as marriage for “time and eternity” and a “council of twelve.” He initially renamed the series Galactica, but wanting to capitalize on the popularity of then recently released Star Wars movies, he decided to add the word “star” in the title, and eventually decided on Battlestar Galactica. He was able to secure a generous budget of $1 million per episode for the series. The series spurred a lawsuit from George Lucas for copyright infringement, however, Lucas lost the battle. Unfortunately, the series only lasted for one season (24 episodes at a cost of over $1 million per episode) on ABC from 1978-79, but its overall impact was phenomenal. Larson would later comment:

I was vested emotionally in Battlestar, I really loved the thematic things. I don’t feel it really got its shot, and I can’t blame anyone else, I was at the center of that,” said Larson, who years earlier had written a sci-fi script, Adam’s Ark, with a theme similar to Battlestar’s and had been mentored by Star Trek’s Gene Coon. “But circumstances weren’t in our favor to be able to make it cheaper or to insist we make two of three two-hour movies [instead of a weekly one-hour series] to get our sea legs.

According to the Wikipedia article about Glen A. Larson:

Even with its generous budget, the series often recycled effects shots; it was canceled after one season. The pilot episode of Galactica, titled “Saga of a Star World” in the program continuity, was edited into a two-hour theatrical film released in North America and Europe (a second theatrical release, titled Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack, was compiled by re-editing other episodes of the series). After the series was canceled, Larson went on to create a relatively low-budget sequel to the series, titled Galactica 1980, which was set many years later, when the Galactica had reached Earth. This series was less successful than the original and was canceled after 10 episodes.

Larson re-used some of the sets, props, costumes, and effects work from Galactica for the light-hearted sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in 1979. Based on the comic-book character created in 1928 by Philip Francis Nowlan, Larson co-developed the series with Leslie Stevens. The feature-length pilot episode was released as a theatrical film in March 1979 and grossed $21 million at the North American box office. The weekly television series began in September 1979, running for two seasons until April 1981.

There were some similarities between the Star Wars saga and Battlestar Galactica, however, as Jim Bennett in his 21 November 2014 Deseret News article states:

Glen Larson, himself a Latter-day Saint, had infused his series mythology with too many Mormon references to ignore. His Twelve Colonies of Man were essentially the Lost Tribes of Israel whose history began at Kobol, an obvious anagram for Kolob, which, in Mormon theology, is the star nearest to the throne of God. The colonies were led by a “Quorum of 12,” and marriages were referred to as “sealings” that extended beyond mortality and “through all the eternities.” The show never shied away from religious themes, and, at one point, the characters encounter a group of angels who paraphrase LDS Church President Lorenzo Snow.

“As you are, we once were,” the angels tell the Galactica crew. “As we are, you may become.”

Battlestar Galactica was remade for the Sci-Fi channel as a miniseries in 2003, and in 2004 it was followed by a series that unlike Larson’s original creation, lasted for multiple seasons and followed the Galacticans to the planet earth. The new series was developed by Ronald D. Moore, and although Larson was not involved in the development of the series, he did receive a screen credit as “Consulting Producer.” Larson’s original series targeted the family as its general audience, whereas the new series was geared for a more mature audience.

According to the Wikipedia article:

The Cylons were now created by humans, and some of them now even looked human; there was more moral duality, complexity, and nuance in both humans and Cylons; the social commentary was more explicit; and the resolution of the “Earth” problem was different.

The series ended in 2009 and was followed by a short-lived prequel series called Caprica in 2010. Larson was not involved in the development of the prequel either, but he was given a screen credit for the creation of certain characters. In February 2009, there was buzz in the media that Larson was in negotiations with Universal Pictures to turn Battlestar Galactica into a full-length feature film possibly based on his original series. The project which was to be produced and co-directed by Bryan Singer was put on hold for some time before being re-announced in 2011 by Singer himself with the film version being a complete remake.

Criticisms, Awards, and Honors

Glen A. Larson Mormon ProducerDespite his success, the shows produced by Larson were not highly favored by critics. Their overall criticism was aimed at his “perceived general lack of originality arising from the fact that many of his television series are seen as small screen “knock-offs” of feature films.”

In a Variety.com article published following Larson’s death it was reported that Larson credited his success to “having a strong sense of the type of shows that would click with Middle America.” The article further states that Larson told the Archive of American Television in 2009 that his background was defined by shows that were “enjoyable, they had a pretty decent dose of humor and they all struck a chord out there in the mainstream.” He further commented, “What we weren’t going to win … was a shelf full of Emmys. Ours were not the shows that were doing anything more than reaching a core audience. I would like to think that they brought a lot of entertainment into the living room.”

Throughout his career, Larson received numerous awards and honors. In 1973, he won the Edgar Award for Best Episode in a TV Series Teleplay for the McCloud series episode titled “The New Mexico Connection.” In 1974 and 1975, the television series McCloud was nominated for the Emmy Award for limited series. In 1978, his television series Quincy, M.E. was nominated for the Emmy Award for outstanding drama series. In 1979, his series Battlestar Galactica was nominated for the Grammy Award for best album of original score written for a motion picture or television special. That nomination was shared with Stu Phillips, John Andrew Tartaglia, and Sue Collins. And in 1981, he won the Edgar Award for Best Episode in a TV Series Teleplay for the Magnum, P.I. series episode titled “China Doll,” with Donald P. Bellisario.

Larson also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the television industry. And in 2004, he reunited with other members of the Four Preps for a PBS special.

In addition to his brother, Larson is survived by his wife Jeannie; former wives Carol Gourley and Janet Curtis; and nine children.

Mia Love Sets New Precedent – Black, Mormon, Republican Congresswoman

Mia Love Sets New Precedent – Black, Mormon, Republican Congresswoman

Ludmya Bourdeau Love, more commonly known as “Mia,” was born on 6 December 1975 to Mary and Jean Maxine Bourdeau in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents emigrated from Haiti in 1973 leaving their two oldest children behind. Love recalls that her birth occurred prior to the expiration of an immigration law in 1976. After the family moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, her parents brought her older siblings from Haiti.

Love attended Norwalk High School, and graduated from the University of Harvard where she actively participated in the Hartt School’s Music Theatre program, and received a degree in the performing arts. She later worked at Sento Corporation and the Ecopass Corporation. She was also a flight attendant with Continental Airlines.

Her Political Prowess

Mia Love QuoteTo say that Mia Love has a passion for politics is somewhat of an understatement. She served as the community spokesperson in an effort to get the developer of her neighborhood in Saratoga Springs to spray against flies, and in 2003 she became the first female Haitian-American elected official in Utah County, Utah, after winning a seat on the Saratoga Springs City Council. She took office in 2004, and after serving 6 years on the council, she was elected Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, with an 861 to 594 win over her opponent, Jeff Francom. She served as Mayor from January 2010 to December 2013.

In 2012 she was the Republican Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Utah’s 4th congressional district. She was also a speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

On 18 May 2013, Love announced that she would once again run for Congress in 2014, and on 26 April 2014 at the Utah Republican Convention, she won the Republican nomination in the 4th Congressional district. Following the mid-term elections held on 4 November 2014, Love is now the representative-elect for Utah’s 4th Congressional district. Once she is sworn in as a member of the United States Congress, she will be the first Haitian American and first black female Republican ever elected to Congress.

She had previously stated that if she were elected to Congress, she would “join the Congressional Black Caucus and try to take that thing apart from the inside out.” She further described the Democrat-dominated Caucus as being characterized by “…demagoguery. They sit there and ignite emotions and ignite racism when there isn’t. They use their positions to instill fear. Hope and change is turned into fear and blame. Fear that everybody is going to lose everything and blaming Congress for everything instead of taking responsibility.” Now is her opportunity to be the shining light upon the hill and fulfill her promises.

Remaining True to Her Faith

Mia Love FamilyLove had been raised Roman Catholic all of her life. After graduating from college in 1998, she became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her job as a flight attendant afforded her the opportunity to move to Utah where she was able to be closer to the temple and learn more about her new found faith. She was attracted to the Church’s teachings on eternal marriage and respect for women.

Upon moving to Utah she was able to get an apartment with a Utah woman she had known as a nanny in Connecticut. She was also referred to Jason Love whom she had met briefly when he was serving his mission in Connecticut, to help her move in. They soon began dating, and in December 1988 they were married. They have three children: Alessa, 14; Abigail, 11; and Peyton, 7.

Love is pro-life and has been endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List. She also supports domestic energy exploration, local control of education, Second Amendment rights, and state control of public lands.

In a recent People.com article, Love is quoted as having said in one of her debates with Democrat opponent Doug Owens:

I love the story of David and Goliath, because in that story, David turns toward Goliath … toward a seemingly impossible challenge. That’s the type of confidence we need to have as we take on the Goliaths of our debt, out-of-control spending, Obamacare and that Godzilla we call the federal government.

Love also recently told Newsweek, “I’m perfectly comfortable in my skin. My parents always told me, ‘In order for people to see you as an equal, you need to act as an equal and be an equal.'”

Ann Romney: Crusade for Neurologic Disease Research

Ann Romney: Crusade for Neurologic Disease Research

Ann Romney, wife of former Massachusetts Governor and Republican nominee in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, Mitt Romney, has plans to launch the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases which will encompass research for Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s  (ALS) and brain tumors. The center which is scheduled to open in 2016 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts will have a staff comprised of 200 scientists led by Dr. Howard Weiner and Dr. Dennis Selkoe.

An Invested Interest

Ann Romney - Brigham Women's HospitalAnn has a personal interest invested in this undertaking. The mother of five sons and grandmother of twenty-two grandchildren, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis just before Thanksgiving in 1998 and credits a mixture of mainstream and alternative treatments, as well as activities such as equestrianism, with giving her a lifestyle mostly without limitations.

In a December 2002 news article on bostonherald.com, Mitt described watching his wife fail a series of neurological tests as the worst day of his life. He commented, “I couldn’t operate without Ann. We’re a partnership. We’ve always been a partnership so her being healthy and our being able to be together is essential.” Ann would later state in a news report in The Boston Globe dated 11 August 2004, “I was very sick in 1998 when I was diagnosed. I was pretty desperate, pretty frightened and very, very sick. It was tough at the beginning, just to think, this is how I’m going to feel for the rest of my life.” In an effort to combat the disease, she has employed steroids and medical procedures such as reflexology, acupuncture, and cranial-sacral therapy. Her MS has been in remission for over a decade, and is being managed by a healthy diet and exercise. She is also a board member for the New England chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

A Wake-up Call and a New Mission in Life

During Mitt’s 2012 presidential campaign, Ann’s MS flared up and she had to leave the campaign trail. In a 13 October 2014 today.com article, she stated, “I hit empty. With MS you just run out of fuel. You just stop. You can’t even go on. You can’t even talk. It was a real good warning sign for me. A wake-up call.”

Dr. Howard Weiner is Ann’s doctor at Brigham, and the idea for a new research center came about two years ago after a routine visit. She asked him about his efforts to find a cure for MS and was surprised to discover that not only was a cure within reach, but also that MS research is leading to breakthroughs in a cure for Alzheimer’s. Dr. Weiner will be the co-director of the new center.

Ann Romney with Dr. Howard L. WeinerHer goal is to raise $50 million over the next year to create a new model for necessary research and funding. She and Mitt will be contributing some of their own money as well. According to a news article in The Boston Globe dated 14 October 2014, Ann’s vision is: “Instead of researchers working independently with separate funding, what would happen if they collaborated and pooled their research dollars?” In the today.com article she further stated, “I never would have imagined myself being in a position to have an impact. I don’t think of myself as anyone except just as a little girl that rides her horse. And then grew up and was a mommy. And now all of a sudden, I can have a voice. I want to not even be talking about this [disease] in 20 years. I want this resolved.” Dr. Weiner commented, “We’re going to bring together experts that hadn’t been working together across different fields to bring new treatments and ultimately a cure to these terrible neurologic diseases.”

In his book, “A Mother First,” Joshua Romney, the third oldest of the five Romney boys, concludes his tribute to his mother stating:

Although my father has many trusted advisors who are politically savvy and has many lifetimes’ worth of knowledge about politics and business, he relies on my mother for her wisdom, love, and guidance. I’m proud to say that all of us children feel the same way.

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