“Barbara” alerted me to the story of Mitt Romney being involved in an automobile accident in France. Romney was in France in 1968 doing his missionary work when he was driving a car with 6 passengers, including Mr. and Mrs. Leola Anderson. Ms. Anderson was the 6th person in a car with only 5 seatbelts. Mrs. Anderson was killed but all the other passengers survived. Romney was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken arm. Daily Kos has written a detailed narrative about the cover-up of the accident. Obviously the accident occurred long ago, and there is no suggestion that Romney was under the influence or drunk when the accident occurred. The point of the story is that Romney may have been negligent in driving, that he may have caused the accident, and that there may have been a cover-up of the story to preserve his father’s good name. Romney’s father suggested that the priest driving the other vehicle was drunk, and crossed into the oncoming traffic, and thus, was responsible for the accident.
Why is this important? Does this story, even if true, have any bearing on the Presidential Race in 2012? The answer is yes! It’s not the automobile accident that is frightening. It is the dishonesty that is troublesome. Even more distressing is the fact that as a Mormon, Romney may have been taught to lie because he would be”Lying for the Lord.” “Lying for the Lord” is not only condoned, but part of the Mormon faith. We have all told “white lies”. If a friend asks if she looks fat, we lie and say “of course not. ” When your four year old child confronts you with a tear running down his cheek and asks where the pacifier is, you may not admit that you know it is in the trashcan because you put it there. However there is a need for the American people to believe that our President is telling us the truth, even if we know that politicians notoriously stretch the truth. If the President is to have any credibility with foreign leaders, or the American people, we must trust him/her to tell the truth. Mitt Romney is unable to instill that much needed confidence, because of his past, and because of his faith.
Why is it that Romney’s faith gives rise to distrust? It isn’t because his faith is different than mine. It isn’t that his faith is different than the majority of Americans. The problem is that “Lying for the Lord” is a teaching of the Mormon church. Lying for the Lord is such a well known concept that there is a Wikipedia page devoted to the practice. Here a just a few of the troubling quotes:
“ …lying is justified. For the Mormon, loyalty and the welfare of the church are more important than the principle of honesty, and plausible denials and deception by omission are warranted (as in failing to provide tax returns) by an opportunity to have the Mormon organization seen in the best possible light.
“We really aren’t obligated to answer everyone’s questions.” He goes on to say, “We never provide meat when milk will do”, and, “We seek to answer any serious question by finding the most direct route to the Sacred Grove.” 
On page 50 of the current missionary manual, Preach My Gospel, the section on The Fall reads:
“When first teaching this doctrine, do not teach everything you know about it. Explain very simply that God chose two of His children, Adam and Eve, to become the first parents on earth. After their transgression they were subject to both sin and death. By themselves they could not return to live with Heavenly Father. The Lord spoke to Adam and taught him the plan of salvation and redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ. By following that plan, Adam and his family could have joy in this life and return to live with God (See Alma 18:36; 22:12-14).”
Missionaries are in essence encouraged not to disclose that Mormons believe that The Fall is a wonderful and fortunate event, that the curses that followed are considered blessings, and that the action that Adam and Even committed is considered righteous, intelligent, and worth imitating.
Without question Romney is a devout Mormon. If there are things about the Mormon church that are offensive to mainstream America, and Mitt Romney explains that he doesn’t personally agree, how can we know if he is telling the truth, or “Lying for the Lord?” If Mitt Romney believes that it would be good for the Mormon Church to have one of its members elected President of the United States, then he can justify any lie he might want to tell. His own church teaches that it would be not only acceptable, but encourages him, to lie, if he perceived that it was helpful to the church.
Virtually every major religion in the world places great value and importance on the being truthful. Consider these references in these various religions:
1. Judaism and Christianity. Proverbs 12.22
2. Taoism. Tract of the Quiet Way
3. Judaism. Talmud, Baba Metzia 49
4. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Maru Solahe, M.3, p. 1062
5. Islam. Qur’an 61.2-3
Cf. Matthew 23.2-3, p. 810; Analects 2.13, p. 810; Dhammapada 51-52, p. 811; James 1.22-24, p. 811.
6. Judaism and Christianity. Psalm 101.7
7. Buddhism. Dhammapada 306
8. African Traditional Religions. Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria)
9. Jainism. Upasakadasanga Sutra
10. Christianity. Matthew 12.34-37
11. Buddhism. Dhammapada 176
12. Hinduism. Laws of Manu 4.256
13. Islam. Hadith of Muslim
14. Confucianism. Analects 2.22
15. Buddhism. Majjhima Nikaya i.414, Ambalatthika-Rahulovada Sutta
16. Buddhism. Maharatnakuta Sutra 27, Bodhisattva Surata’s Discourse
17. Judaism and Christianity. Isaiah 5.20
18. Buddhism. Dhammapada 316-18
Even atheists value truth. ”Truth” may be a religious concept, but more importantly it’s a value, a character trait, a matter of morality. I don’t care what your religion is, or if you are religious, but I do care if I can’t trust you to tell me the truth.
Romney has been labeled a flip-flopper.
Perhaps he isn’t flip flopping, maybe he is just “Lying for the Lord?”Perhaps voters will be unwilling to vote for Mitt Romney, not because their religion is different than his, but because of the difference we place on the importance of telling the truth.