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Related to the presidential candidate by blood and religion; each traveling separate roads.

On a sultry day in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in July 1846, 496 Mormon men, accompanied by many wives, children, and at least 18 laundresses, set off on a long march for San Diego to do battle with Mexico on behalf of the United States of America. When they finally arrived here in January 1847, the so-called Mormon Battalion had been worn down to 335 weary soldiers, plus remaining camp followers, and the fighting with Mexico, which never amounted to much in the first place, was over.

Hannah and Miles Romney with their son Leo, in Mexico around 1891. Hannah: “If anything will make a woman’s heart ache, it is for her husband to take another wife."

Hannah and Miles Romney with their son Leo, in Mexico around 1891. Hannah: “If anything will make a woman’s heart ache, it is for her husband to take another wife."

As far as has been recorded, none of Mitt Romney’s ancestors belonged to the weary band that straggled into the dusty Pueblo de San Diego at the end of their long desert trek. The journey had been personally sanctioned by Mormon president Brigham Young, who furnished the volunteers knowing they would be paid by the federal government for their mission into the vast new western spaces, where he counted on them to promulgate the faith of the church, founded just 16 years before in upstate New York.

Clyde Romney (left) campaigning for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in 1986. Clyde had  been a Democrat but switched his registration in 1983, when he became chief of staff to GOP Congressman Ron Packard.

Clyde Romney (left) campaigning for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in 1986. Clyde had been a Democrat but switched his registration in 1983, when he became chief of staff to GOP Congressman Ron Packard.

Having arrived in San Diego, they fanned out from their small base to Orange County and Los Angeles, then north to Monterey and San Francisco. A few ended up at a place called Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento. Other ex-brigadiers headed northeast to San Bernardino, cutting a wagon road through the Cajon Pass and on to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah, where seven-year-old Miles Park Romney, the great-grandfather of Mitt Romney, arrived with his family in 1850, two years after gold was discovered in California.

The Romneys of England produced a famous 18th-century portait painter, George Romney.

The Romneys of England produced a famous 18th-century portait painter, George Romney.

Miles would eventually take five wives, conforming to the practice of polygamy dictated by the edict of church founder Joseph Smith and enforced by Brigham Young, who himself had been “sealed” to 55 brides. “They were trying to build a generation out there in the desert,” Mitt Romney has said, “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.”

Miles Romney, 
the Dancin’ CPA, is the life of the party at Petco Park.

Miles Romney, the Dancin’ CPA, is the life of the party at Petco Park.

Mitt Romney’s great-grandmother, Hannah, Miles’s first wife, apparently agreed. “I used to walk the floor and shed tears of sorrow,” she wrote in a letter quoted by Romney biographers Michael Kranish and Scott Helman in their book The Real Romney. “If anything will make a woman’s heart ache, it is for her husband to take another wife, but I put my trust in my Heavenly Father and prayed and pled with him to give me strength to bear this trial.”

Mitt’s father George W. Romney, eventual governor of Michigan, was born in Mexico 
in 1907.

Mitt’s father George W. Romney, eventual governor of Michigan, was born in Mexico in 1907.

In 1881, another order came down from the church. Miles and his family were instructed to move from Utah to Arizona. A slow and dangerous trip of 400 miles, write Kranish and Helman, landed them in a rough-and-tough town called St. Johns, where a newspaper railed against the Mormon men and their multiple wives. “Hang a few of their polygamist leaders such as . . . [Bishop David] Udall [and Miles] Romney . . . and a stop will be put to it.”

In the 1920s, Orson Douglas Romney and his wife were year-round regulars at the Hotel del Coronado.

In the 1920s, Orson Douglas Romney and his wife were year-round regulars at the Hotel del Coronado.

The newspaper called Romney “a mass of putrid pus and rotten goose pimples; a skunk, with the face of a baboon, the character of a louse, the breath of a buzzard and the record of a perjurer and common drunkard.”

Miles struck back with his own paper, the Orion Era, further inflaming an already volatile situation. One night in 1885, with a federal marshal in close pursuit, Romney headed for the Mexican border. “The marshal had a gun in one hand and handcuffs in the other,” recalled Hannah. “I told him Mr. Romney was not at home. He said he had better give himself up to save the country expense and himself more trouble.”

Matt Romney, Mitt’s son, who currently lives in Rancho Bernardo, takes public credit for calling his part of the Romney clan to San Diego County.

Matt Romney, Mitt’s son, who currently lives in Rancho Bernardo, takes public credit for calling his part of the Romney clan to San Diego County.

Once into Mexico, Romney continued south 90 miles to the Piedras Verdes River valley, where he had been instructed by church leaders to help found a polygamist colony, which became known as Colonia Juárez. There polygamy would thrive beyond the authoritarian reach of the United States government and its intolerant citizenry. Mitt Romney’s father, George, the future governor of Michigan, was born there in 1907 to Gaskell Romney, one of Miles’s sons by his first wife Hannah.

Craig Romney, Mitt’s youngest son, was a California delegate for his father at the Republican Convention in Tampa Bay.

Craig Romney, Mitt’s youngest son, was a California delegate for his father at the Republican Convention in Tampa Bay.

Doug

On a calm, sweltering fall day in 2012, the phone rings in a Palm Springs condo; it is answered by the genial-sounding voice of Douglas Wayne Romney, age 67.

His grandfather was Orin Romney, Sr., a son of Miles Park Romney and half-brother of Gaskell Romney, which makes Douglas a relatively distant cousin to Mitt (but still family, which counts for a lot among Romneys). Gaskell’s mother was Miles Park Romney’s first wife Hannah Hood Hill; Orin was born to Miles Park Romney’s fourth wife, Alice Marie “Annie” Woodbury, a school teacher.

Douglas, or Doug as he is known, is well acquainted with the family’s history in Mexico, how the Romneys prospered there for many years, cultivating vast tracts of idyllic farmland. Then, in July 1912, Mexican revolutionaries besieged the colony, causing Gaskell and his family, including his only wife and five-year-old son George, to hastily pack their bags and flee north across the border to El Paso. They would never return.

Doug’s clan remained in their Mexico colony throughout the most violent days of the revolution, later passing down stories of collecting the bullets left by marauding revolutionaries. Many Romneys are still there, though Doug’s father and grandfather and their families eventually returned to the United States.

“My father came out of Mexico a year or two before World War II,” Doug recalls. His parents, who met in Mexico, were married in the Salt Lake Temple in May 1941. It is a sacred place, which, to nonbelievers (known as “gentiles” by church members) is strictly off limits. His mother went to the University of Utah, was a missionary in New York for two years, and was a member of the church’s General Board of the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association.

Doug was born in the hospital at Hill Air Force Base, Hillfield, Utah, in 1945, and grew up in the Salt Lake City and Bountiful, Utah, of the 1950s.

In 1961, the family moved to Orange County, where his father and mother owned and operated 116 apartment units in several buildings near Disneyland. He graduated from Anaheim High School in 1963 and went on to get a degree from Cal State Fullerton. He was a high-school teacher of English, German, and Latin, as well as drama, technical theater, and video production before retiring. (Doug’s great grandfather, Miles Park Romney, also had a flair for drama, and was at one time president of the St. George Dramatic Association. It has been reported that he performed in plays at the St George Social Hall, a converted wine cellar.)

Besides Palm Springs, Doug has lived in San Diego — “I go to San Diego to get away from the desert heat” — owning a unit at 3200 Sixth Avenue, the iconic mid-century condominium complex across the street from Balboa Park. The four-story building was designed in 1959 by noted architect Henry H. Hester and was built by Colonel Irving Salomon, the father of former city councilwoman Abbe Wolfsheimer.

Doug says he’s never met his cousin Mitt, but as a child was introduced to Mitt’s father George when he was head of American Motors in the 1950s. Doug’s family went to pick up a new Rambler from the factory, where George Romney, chairman and president of the company, personally handed them the keys.

One other thing: Doug Romney is gay.

“If I sound bitter, I don’t mean to,” he says, not sounding bitter. “I left the church about 35 years ago, and I don’t have much contact with my family.” He goes on to explain that he is no longer a practicing Mormon because he doesn’t see much point in hiding his sexual identity in order to attend a church that has long condemned homosexuality.

His decision was reinforced, he says, by the campaign for Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in California. The Mormon Church was a key proponent of the ban, leaning heavily on its members to furnish cash for the multimillion-dollar TV-advertising campaign and waging its own fierce public-relations battle on the measure’s behalf.

“Proposition Hate,” says Doug Romney, who once sang in the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus during his time here. He sounds slightly bitter at the first mention of the measure, the legality of which is likely to be ultimately considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. The church’s hardline position has been repeatedly endorsed by Mitt Romney, who this year has made opposition to gay marriage a key plank of the Republican Party’s presidential platform.

“I personally am outraged that the Mormon Church, headquartered in Salt Lake City, spent millions of dollars to defeat marriage equality in this state.”

Although no longer a Mormon, Romney says he still adheres to some of the church’s moral and ethical values. “I have tried to live my life with honesty and integrity, values that I was taught there.” He adds, “As a teenager, I went into the basement of the temple and was baptized for the dead dozens of times. I also know that I am sealed to my parents to be reunited in the afterlife.”

Notes Romney, “I have heard that archaeological research has revealed no conflict with the events described in the Book of Mormon.”

Clyde

In October 1986, Clyde Romney was running for a seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

A Los Angeles Times reporter wrote: “Romney, a burly man with a receding hairline and a disarming smile, is described by those who know him well as a man of integrity, high morals, compassion and honesty.”

His political foes weren’t as charitable. “A snake-oil salesman who will say anything to anybody at any time to get a vote,” one told the Times writer. “He’s a nice guy; he’s got a beautiful family, but you can be a nice guy and have a beautiful family and still be a political snake-in-the-grass.”

Some of the antagonism was laid to the fact that Romney was new to the North County’s fifth district, having moved in from just across the line immediately before he declared his candidacy. Republican opponents complained that he was also a newcomer to their party. He’d been a lifelong Democrat but switched his registration in 1983, when he became chief of staff to GOP Congressman Ron Packard, a fellow Mormon whose popularity was not easily transferred to Romney, despite Packard’s repeated endorsements.

A dentist who attended Brigham Young University, Packard had pulled off a remarkable 1982 congressional upset as a write-in candidate, soundly beating fellow Republican Johnnie Crean, a high-living, well-financed mobile-home scion from Corona. In the June primary, Crean edged Packard by 92 votes.

Many credited Packard’s victory to the legions of smiling Mormons who flooded the district, armed with apparently inexhaustible supplies of door hangers and golf pencils to remind voters to write Packard’s name in on the ballot. It was only the third time in American history that a congressional seat had thus been won.

Roy “Pat” Archer, the Democrat in the contest, claimed dirty tricks were employed against him, asserting: “There were more than 1600 felonies committed in this race.” That December, the Palomar College political-science professor told an Associated Press reporter, “there were about 1500 defacements (of voting booklets) and another 100 or so other things, like poll workers [who were] soliciting people to vote for Packard not taking pencils out of voting booths that had ‘Write-in Ron Packard’ on them, and allowing Packard supporters to campaign within 50 feet of polling booths.” But the Democrat’s complaints came to naught.

Romney, who served almost five years as bishop of the church’s Palomar Ward, Escondido South Stake — a position of high trust and honor also held by Mitt Romney in his own home ward of Boston — often bragged that his drive and organization of the county’s Saints had made the difference for Packard. His boasting stirred resentment among other members of the congressman’s inner circle. One anonymous critic told the Times that Romney was “pushy and domineering,” adding, “The first thing I saw of him, he was taking over a meeting when in fact he was a stranger.”

“My impression is that he is running for office to be elected on the coattails of Ron Packard’s following,” Al Diederich, manager of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce, said to the Times reporter. “I have a high regard for Congressman Packard. I don’t know that Mr. Romney has paid his dues to the community. I think you ought to have a little record of some time of community service that more than scratches the surface.”

Oceanside City Councilman John MacDonald, Romney’s opponent, sent a mailer to voters pointing out that Romney had been: “Elected to a local school board — quit after one year of a four-year term. Appointed as aide and campaign manager to a congressman in Washington — quit in midterm to return to North County to run for office.”

Romney attempted to counter this characterization in a 1986 interview with the Los Angeles Times: “John MacDonald resembles North County’s [incumbent] elected officials. He is very much a product of the Establishment in the coastal communities. Clyde Romney, on the other hand, is considerably younger and more representative of the types of families that have been moving into North County for the last decade or more.”

It was Romney’s campaign theme, the new replacing the old, but like his cousin Mitt, Clyde remained deeply rooted in his church, its rituals and values, no matter how mysterious and controversial they might seem to outsiders. Mitt and Clyde shared a great-great-grandfather, Miles A. Romney, the Mormon convert who as a young man sailed from Liverpool, England, to America in 1841 with his wife and small family, thus launching the Romney dynasty.

Mitt was descended from Miles A. Romney’s son, Miles Park Romney, who was sent by the church to establish Colonia Juárez in Mexico, where Mitt’s father George, the future governor of Michigan, was born. Clyde was descended from another of Miles A. Romney’s sons, George, who was born in England six years before the family came to America. He was the namesake of a famous painter.

The Romneys of England already had a long and storied history, note biographers Kranish and Helman. “They came from the quiet village of Lower Penwortham, near Liverpool, England. For years Romneys had been moving out and on; one named George Romney had gone to London and become a celebrated eighteenth-century portrait painter. But most were of modest means.” The George Romney who came to America would become a prosperous merchant and Mormon bishop, ultimately taking three brides and fathering 33 children before dying in 1920 at 89 in Salt Lake City.

However modern and progressive a candidate as Clyde tried to portray himself during the 1986 campaign, he would ultimately trip himself up. With a little more than two weeks until election day, he sent a telegram to the federal Immigration and Naturalization Service. In the wire, he called North County a “combat zone” infested by “huge gangs of illegal aliens that line our streets, shake down our schoolchildren, spread diseases like malaria, and roam our neighborhoods, looking for work or homes to rob.”

Latino political groups, infuriated by the statement, went on the attack, and, despite the best door-hanging efforts of the now-familiar smiling Mormon legions, MacDonald beat Romney by a wide margin. “I regretted the play that issue got,” Romney told a Los Angeles Times reporter in an interview the following summer. “When that story broke it put me in a defensive position when I was trying to come up with an affirmative solution to a serious problem. People who knew me knew I was deeply hurt to be labeled a racist.”

He had subsequently apologized to his Latino critics, he said.

“I very deliberately waited until after the race to make a public apology, because I wanted no ulterior motives attached to it,” he said. “It was your basic mea culpa statement.”

Romney attempted a comeback by running for Palomar College’s board of trustees in 1988, but placed at the back of the pack. A lawyer, he continued to practice. He set up a lobbying business with his former boss Ron Packard, known as Packard Government Affairs, when the Republican retired from Congress. Romney’s already sizable role in local Mormon affairs grew even broader when he became San Diego Regional Public Affairs director for the church.

Reporters often asked him about the matter of the Saints’ dictum against homosexuality. Interviewed for a lengthy September 1993 San Diego Union-Tribune piece about how local churches were dealing with the AIDS epidemic with outreach programs and charity, Romney said that Mormonism is “very specific in its condemnation of homosexual lifestyle and practices.” There were no outreach programs. Mormons, he said, advised gays to “bring their lives into conformity with the teachings of the church.”

In 1992, he proudly led curious reporters through the construction site of the faith’s new $24 million San Diego temple as it was rising above Interstate 5 in University City. It would be crowned by a gleaming, gold-gilded statue of the trumpet-wielding Angel Moroni, who, Mormons believe, materialized in a New York forest in 1823 to give church founder Joseph Smith a set of golden plates containing tenets of the new faith. These would later be set down by Smith in the Book of Mormon.

Among other roles in the local church hierarchy, Romney was a chief fundraiser for the new temple. He was also chairman of its grand opening and sanctification festivities, a way of introducing nonbelievers, all regarded by the Mormons as potential converts, to the church. “When completed, it will be as widely identified with San Diego as the Coronado Bay Bridge and the Convention Center,” Romney predicted. Added an aide, “We believe families exist into eternity, and the function of the temple is to see that their marriages are sealed for eternity.”

One sunny Saturday in late August 2006, two decades after his failed race for supervisor, Clyde Romney collapsed and died while working in his garden. He was 63. He left his wife, Deborah Dedekind Romney, and six children, one of whom was named Miles.

Miles

It was May 2009, three years after his father Clyde’s passing, and Miles Romney, 32, a great-great-grandson of George Romney — brother of the original Miles Romney, who brought the family name to America — was playing a familiar role as Petco Park’s life of the party.

“Wearing a Padres cap and a Padres jersey with the number ‘1040’ on his back, Romney is a favorite to friends and other Padres fans who cheer his antics,” said a news release from the University of San Diego, a Catholic school known for its ties to the local business establishment.

“On this night — and each time he attends a Padres game — Romney was ‘transformed’ into his alter ego, the Dancin’ CPA. He was out of his seat and dancing around to celebrate key moments in the game — such as Scott Hairston’s three-run home run to give the Padres a 6–5 lead in the fifth inning.

“‘I love it,’ exclaimed Romney, who has been a Padres fan since 1987.”

Miles, the release went on to say, “is a 2005 graduate of the master’s program in accounting. At USD, Romney teaches Accounting 202: Principles of Managerial Accounting. Married to Amy Romney, a 2003 USD graduate, Miles is active in USD’s Accounting Society, which made up 50 of USD’s contingent at Monday’s game.”

A 2001 graduate of Brigham Young University, Romney worked for Deloitte & Touche before continuing his schooling in San Diego and becoming a professor. But even with graduate-level financial training, like many Americans, he was caught short by the country’s hard economic times. In March 2011, Wells Fargo Bank filed a Notice of Default regarding the mortgage on a house he owned in San Marcos; the notice said that $15,461.91 was overdue. The debt went unpaid, and a Notice of Trustees Sale was recorded June 28. The next day, records show, the house was sold and the mortgage paid off.

“That was about the home losing about 40 percent of its value and me deciding to go back to school,” Romney said last week during a telephone interview.

Last year, he taught his final class at USD and moved to Lansing, Michigan, the state the late George Romney, Mitt’s father, once governed, to pursue a PhD in accounting at Michigan State. That May, he was invited by the USD faculty to give the school’s annual “last lecture,” an honor bestowed on departing faculty members deemed especially worthy.

The student newspaper reported: “Romney began by satirically describing who he was and what his history at USD had been. Romney then continued to break down his lecture into three main themes, including the quest for excellence, ‘you can’t take it with you,’ and ‘life is short.’

“The lecture took a more serious turn when Romney shared the story of the three major losses he had experienced through the deaths of his father, his son Matthew at two weeks old, and his mother-in-law.

“‘You never know how much time we are going to have,’ Romney said. ‘Why waste it doing stupid stuff?’”

Melbourne, Jr.

Being a Romney in Salt Lake City has long meant money, influence, and freedom to venture far beyond the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Brother Orson Douglas Romney was blessed with all three. One of 35 children fathered by Bishop George Romney (brother of the original Miles A. Romney), Orson, according to an early biographical sketch, had “holdings in the Co-operative Furniture Company, in which he is a director; the Oregon Lumber Company; and in the Amalgamated Sugar Company, in which he is a heavy stockholder.”

In the 1920s and ’30s, Orson and his wife, Emma Phillips Romney, became year-round regulars at the Hotel del Coronado. No less an authority on San Diego history than Burl Stiff, the late society columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, wrote in April 2006 that the Romneys “maintained a two-bedroom suite at the hotel, traveling between Utah and California by train.”

Orson died at 81 in 1941 in Salt Lake City, but his family often returned to Coronado.

“Their youngest son, Melbourne Romney, and his wife, LaRue Peterson Romney, spent their wedding anniversaries there, sunning on the beach and dancing in the hotel’s ballroom,” wrote Stiff.

“After World War II,” he continued, “Melbourne Romney Jr. brought his bride, Janice McCune Romney, to the Hotel Del for their honeymoon. (The Romneys had given up their suite during the war, so Melbourne and his wife had a room ‘above the kitchen.’ The suite was off the hotel’s courtyard, in the northwest corner.)”

The occasion for Stiff’s take was a small wedding reception held at the Del’s beachfront restaurant for Orson’s great-great-granddaughter, Ashley Ann Romney Farr and her husband, Jesse Farnsworth Woodcox.

“Ashley Ann’s grandmother and grandfather, Janice and Melbourne Romney Jr., were there — they have retired to The Shores in Coronado — and so were her mother and father, Paula and Hal Johnson Farr, and her brother, Taylor Romney Farr. They live in Salt Lake City.”

“‘We were here for our honeymoon,’ Jan Romney recalled. ‘We took the ferry and came over. He had given me a little black Studebaker as a wedding gift. We only spent two nights here — it was too expensive!’

“Her husband added: ‘I paid cash for the Studebaker. It was brand-new, and it cost $1700.’”

According to its company website, the Romney Lumber Company today owns strip malls in Phoenix, Salt Lake, and Lancaster, and a Burger King and billboards in Orange, California, among other investments.

Mitt’s Kids

Three of Mitt Romney’s five sons are well familiar with San Diego County and its real estate. In September 2007, the North County Times caught up with Matt, then 35, as his father was making his first bid for the presidency: “All of us are canvassing the country,’ he said outside a Mira Mesa office where volunteers made fundraising phone calls. He mentioned that his brothers were campaigning in Alaska and Florida. ‘We really try to get around and represent my dad as best we can.’...

“Matt Romney said campaigning has not been easy as a working father with a pregnant wife,” the story continued. “‘We really wouldn’t be doing this if he wasn’t a good person,’ he said. ‘I mean you can only get your kids to do so much. It’s a labor of love.’

“A father of three children, [Matt Romney] moved his family to Rancho Bernardo two years ago and jumped into real estate full time. He is vice president of Excel Realty Holdings, a San Diego real estate firm. ‘It’s a little depressing up there (in Seattle),’ he said smiling. ‘And I started to get into real estate…I tried to figure out, ‘Where do I want to be?’ And San Diego was just the absolute perfect spot.’”

Matt, who lives in North City’s 4S Ranch, has been senior vice president of capital markets at Excel, based in Rancho Bernardo, since 2009, according to the company website.

“We focus on outdoor shopping centers,” he told the North County Times in a February 2012 interview. “My role is capital markets, so capital markets and investor relations. I deal with investment bankers and raising money.”

Matt’s brother Craig works in another company in the same building, the North County Times noted in the February interview. Craig is also in the real-estate business, and was a California delegate for his father at the Republican Convention in Tampa Bay.

Mitt’s oldest son, Tagg, is a partner in Solamere Capital, a Boston-based private-equity outfit bankrolled by John Miller, a native of Hyrum, Utah, who started out in the family’s small slaughterhouse and ended up assembling a national meat-packing empire worth billions of dollars. Miller is Mitt’s next-door neighbor in La Jolla’s exclusive Barber Tract, where Miller has purchased late actor Cliff Robertson’s sprawling oceanfront estate, which he is extensively remodeling.

But it is Matt Romney who takes public credit for calling his part of the Romney clan to San Diego County. “My wife and I looked at a map, and we were looking at areas where my family lived, and we wanted to be near family,” Matt told the North County Times. “But not knowing where they’d end up, we decided that we’d pick a nice place where we could attract them to come. My goal — and they know it — is to get as many family members as we can living near us as possible. My brother (Craig) just moved out here a year and a half ago, and my folks ended up buying a place here. They’re here, but not as much as we’d like. They’re kind of busy right now.”

In reality, those familiar with the local Mormon community say that San Diego’s suburban North County — both its high-end neighborhoods such as Rancho Santa Fe, and middle-class cities, including Escondido — has been a historic bastion of strength, culturally, financially, and politically, for the Saints. That is what has drawn so many Romneys here. There are at least several hundred in the county, of different generations, lifestyles, and economic position.

Excel’s chairman and chief executive officer is Gary Sabin, a graduate of Brigham Young University and himself a prominent leader in San Diego County’s Mormon community. In 2000, Sabin told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he had contributed $50,000 to Proposition 22, an early measure to ban same-sex marriage in California that was heavily backed by the Saints.

“I’m obviously pleased [with the outcome],” the paper quoted Sabin. “I just have a strong belief in the family.”

Since the beginning of this year, Sabin has donated $52,500 to Mitt Romney’s campaign, and to a joint fundraising committee called the Romney Victory Fund.

This August, Sabin wrote an angry letter to the San Diego Business Journal berating Bloomberg Business Week for a cover story it ran under the headline “Inside the Mormon Empire.” The piece was accompanied by an illustration, which, according to the church-owned Deseret News of Salt Lake City, portrayed “John the Baptist telling [Joseph] Smith and [fellow church leader Oliver] Cowdery to ‘build a shopping mall, own stock in Burger King, and open a Polynesian theme park in Hawaii that shall be largely exempt from the frustrations of tax,’ to which Joseph responds: ‘Hallelujah.’”

“It’s perhaps unsurprising that Mormonism, an indigenous American religion, would also adopt the country’s secular faith in money,” said the Bloomberg story. “What is remarkable is how varied the church’s business interests are and that so little is known about its financial interests.”

The story continued: “Although a former Mormon bishop is about to receive the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and despite a recent public-relations campaign aimed at combating the perception that it is ‘secretive,’ the LDS Church remains tight-lipped about its holdings. It offers little financial transparency even to its members, who are required to tithe ten percent of their income to gain access to Mormon temples.”

Sabin’s letter to the editor countered that “The bulk of the Church’s holdings consist of thousands of meeting houses, welfare farms, missions, and temples throughout the world, which are capital-consuming, not capital-generating.”

Sabin wrote, “Those who attempt to define the Church as an institution devoted to amassing monetary wealth miss the entire point. The key to understanding the Church is to see it not as a worldwide corporation, but as millions of faithful members in thousands of congregations across the world following Christ and caring for each other and their neighbors.”

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Comments

MillyStrodtman Oct. 24, 2012 @ 11 p.m.

Bob Filner is our only choice for Mayor of San Diego in 2012. When you live in the Largest Military Town in America, you need experienced leadership. Many in the Military Community do not think Carl DeMaio could do a good enough job running a City like ours San Diego, CA. This City has had ineffective leadership for so many years leaving our City in shambles. Bob Filner has the knowledge and the proven ability to restore San Diego to its former glory. DeMaio has no way to handle this much responsibility at this point in his career. DeMaio says he will stand up to the downtown interest and this is simply not true. DeMaio talks about closing some of our Military Bases which would leave our Nation more vulnerable in the future. Bob Filner will take care of Americas Veteran’s and ensure our Nations Security for many years to come. Bob Filner is our only choice for Mayor of San Diego, 2012.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 25, 2012 @ 8:20 a.m.

Stop spamming the place with your copy and paste propaganda.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 27, 2012 @ 3:43 p.m.

Ouchie-Filner may not recover...I cannot recall what happened with that, but will bet $10K Filkner was never charged.

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Javajoe25 Oct. 25, 2012 @ 8:20 p.m.

Yea, Milly, this is not the way to convince folks to vote for Bob Filner. This is where we get to talk about those crackpot Mormons.

Very wealthy crackpots, but total looney-tunes just the same. The one thing I do like about the Mormon religion is that it got rolling as the result of a conversation Joe Smith had with an angel named Moroni. Check it out-- an Italian angel! Who would have guessed? Anything that gets the Italians top billing is cool with me. And now I understand what the deal was with those plates that Smith and Moroni passed back and forth: Pizza! Had to be.

The other thing I like about Mormons is that they build temples that look like Disneyland. I cannot understand how people who have such incredible architectural ideas, can be so delusional about everything else.

And then there's the polygamy thing. Oh yea. I hear you, brothers. The more the merrier...as long as the girls buy it, I'm down. That never would have flown with the ladies I've known, but hey-- you know what they say: What Moroni wants...

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Burwell Oct. 25, 2012 @ 10:58 p.m.

Carl DeMaio is a corn fed carpetbagger from Dubuque Iowa who came to San Diego to strip the city bare.

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Javajoe25 Oct. 26, 2012 @ 12:30 p.m.

I could not agree more. I just hope a majority of SD citizens see that. DeMaio would be a disaster for SD. He's worse than a Mormon!

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monaghan Oct. 26, 2012 @ 2:37 p.m.

I loved this story. Lotta research. Calm tone and well-written. Illustrates the foundational "core values" of these made-in-America Mormon folks: polygamy, $ucce$$ in material matter$ and homophobia.

And since Milly has forced the issue onto every page of Matt Potter's handiwork, let's all get behind Bob Filner for Mayor.

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Dorian Hargrove Oct. 28, 2012 @ 11:09 a.m.

Mindy, where was "Brother Clyde's" character ever questioned? I'm sure he was a nice man, a great big teddy bear as you say. But this story wasn't about Clyde and his great big heart, but about the Romney's presence in San Diego County. And, if using Clyde's own words makes him look bad, well that was Clyde's fault.

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Dorian Hargrove Oct. 31, 2012 @ 9:23 a.m.

No, you didn't call Clyde a "snake-oil salesman" and neither did the author. And I never called you a hick.

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monaghan Oct. 27, 2012 @ 11:02 a.m.

Gosh, Mindy, I thought the author was remarkably detached and even-handed in describing the history of Romneys out here in SoCal. What was "inaccurate?"

The commenters are another story, of course, as they seem to carry some strong bias about Mormonism, but maybe you, as an insider, can correct any alleged errors that made it into print.

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Javajoe25 Oct. 27, 2012 @ 9:08 p.m.

Mindy, is sounds to me like you are going through a lot of pain over this so I'm not going to get into it too much with you here.

I'm happy for you if you have fond memories of the Romneys and how they brought Christmas trees and presents to your door when you were in need. But you should keep in mind that Mitt Romney became a very wealthy man by shutting down American companies and having the work done overseas, and the thousands of people who lost their jobs as a result did not have anyone show up at their door with Christmas trees or presents. That's the thing with the Mormons; if they think you are worth it, they will help you out. Otherwise, as far as they are concerned, you can go to hell.

If you're a believer, you better pray Romney does not get elected President or we will all see just how little he really cares about this country and the people who live in it.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 28, 2012 @ 12:59 a.m.

But you should keep in mind that Mitt Romney became a very wealthy man by shutting down American companies and having the work done overseas, and the thousands of people who lost their jobs as a result did not have anyone show up at their door with Christmas trees or presents.

I have the same problem with Romney-he sent jobs overseas, now wants to be president-that's why I would not vote for him.

Obama is no better and has been a full on flop. I did not vote for him either-I did a write in protest vote for Hillary Clinton. Could not vote for either main party candidates with a clear and clean conscience.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 28, 2012 @ 1:03 a.m.

If you're a believer, you better pray Romney does not get elected President or we will all see just how little he really cares about this country and the people who live in it.

Obama hasn't done jack to help anyone except gov employees. His work at getting the economic engine running again has been a complete and total failure, and he has broken all promises that he made to get elected. He has taken more Wall Street money than any previous president and not prosecuted a SINGLE Wall Street scammer.

Total failure IMO. Healthcare was a great goal, but at the wrong time.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 28, 2012 @ 12:56 a.m.

You can imagine how well I fit in there.

Hahahahah...Yeah, I have the same problem, I won't let anyone roll me!

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monaghan Oct. 28, 2012 @ 1:23 p.m.

Wow. I'm voting for Obama. And I'm praying for every woman who doesn't have the brain and heart to do the same. And for every student whose school loans will suddenly become unavailable. And for every senior whose Social Security will disappear and whose Medicare will become a voucher plan. And for every mother of a soldier whose child will become more cannon fodder in foreign wars. And for every worker who got a new job after the auto industry was saved from ruin. Obama drew a terrible hand when he got elected in 2008. His record has been solid. I want him back in office to finish the tough job ahead.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 28, 2012 @ 8:16 p.m.

His record has been solid. I want him back in office to finish the tough job ahead.

His "record" has been a disaster. He has only ran the credit card sky high.

Is Romney any better- I doubt it-but two wrongs never make a right. Stop spinning.

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monaghan Oct. 28, 2012 @ 7:49 p.m.

Wow again. I think I'll pass, Mindy: we never hit women. Don't be misled by rich positive-thinking liars: Obama for President. Filner for Mayor.

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Andy Cohen Nov. 2, 2012 @ 11:28 p.m.

I appreciate the way of writing and research done (if its all true). Still personally I don't think this will matter enough for Romney in the 2012 US elections. Romney has only one recent issue when he goes through an aggressive debate during Final Presidential Debate http://sandiegofreepress.org/2012/10/shapeshifting-romney-smacked-around-in-final-presidential-debate/. But this will not be stretched long. (just hoping)

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Letter to the Editor Nov. 4, 2012 @ 12:04 p.m.

As a woman, Icannot bring myself to vote for Romney/Ryan.

I grew up in the '50s-'60s when abortion was illegal. Women died by the thousands across the U.S. Rich women took a cruise or toured Europe & were gone for a year & either had their child & put it up for adoption, brought it home as a fake adoption, or had a safe, though expensive, abortion in Switzerland. Poor women had no birth control other than denying their husbands & suffered through 10- or 20-odd pregnancies (suffering when she has no rest between pregnancies — 3 years between children recommended), died young, trusted a stranger to abort in unsanitary conditions, or did it themselves with a hanger or other device. Husbands simply remarried - they needed someone to care for their children, cook meals, wash, etc.

Planned Parenthood, vilified by those on the far right, had the best birth control class I've ever taken, including college & post-graduate psychology & physiology classes. Employees were warm, succinct, unshockable. (I was a naive 17-year-old, who thought only young & beautiful people had sex). I'll always be grateful to them for helping people (both men & women) on a sliding scale. Those who bombed clinics didn't seem to realize they treated women, their children, & did very well-qualified prenatal & post-natal care.

No one is in favor of abortion, but I refuse to make a 14-year-old girl risk her life to bear a child as a result of rape. Nor would I expect any woman to bear a child that has no brain, & therefore not the slightest chance of survival. Nor do I want to return to the '50s when a woman's only choices for a career were limited to teaching, nursing, or prostitution. I have no desire to return to being thought of as a second class citizen or criticized for taking a job from a man who needs to support his family. I thank God every day I work as a school bus driver for Title IX, without which I wouldn't have that job. Duke didn't want to hire me, though I aced the written & physical tests: we had to lift a 75lb bean bag in/out of a wheelchair & special needs van, because "all women do is stand around & talk".

I understand a man's resentment of the freedom birth control has given women, & truly wish all people remained chaste until marriage, but they don't. I wish our globe wasn't overcrowded & that there were simple solutions to pollution, but there aren't.

The USA is a wonderful country. I feel blessed to live here, but it's not a business & cannot be run like one. We're full of diverse & amazing people who work hard to make things better for their families, but we also need to take care of poor, lazy, incompetent people as well. The churches haven't managed to accomplish that for several centuries now - I don't see it happening tomorrow either.

It's common sense that if we spend money on healthcare for babies, they have a chance to grow up to contribute to, rather than detract from the economy. I don't think that's socialism. Rebecca Kiperts

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