(AFP PHOTO/Jewel SamadJEWEL…)
Politics is at best an imprecise science. Who knows what goes into an election victory? Was it the economy? Was it the advertising? Was it personal magnetism? Was it … the fast?
If Mitt Romney wins the presidency on Nov. 6, consider the last of those. A group of his fellow Mormons is organizing a fast Sunday so "that he will be blessed in the debates" with President Obama, which begin on Wednesday. "I know that fasting and praying brings about miracles," reads an email reportedly sent by a fast organizer. "I also know of no power greater than our Father in Heaven."
Fasting is nothing unusual for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church holds one fast day a month, usually the first Sunday of the month, and asks members to donate the money they would ordinarily spend on food that day to help feed the needy. Mormons often dedicate their fasts to asking God for special blessings. An organized fast for a presidential candidate, however, is more unusual, if not unique.
A spokesman for the LDS Church, Michael Purdy, said the church itself had no role in the fast. "It is well understood that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is strictly politically neutral and does not endorse political candidates," he said.
CNN reported Friday that the fast was started by Mona Williams, a member of the LDS Church from Price, Utah, who said the email message was originally intended for a group of about 10 people, but has since gone viral.
"I'm simply a woman with faith," she told CNN. "I am just a woman who believes that God loves this country and his hand is in whatever happens."
News of the fast was first reported on BuzzFeed, which said Latter-day Saints members in at least Utah, California, Nevada and Colorado had received the emails.
Calls for a miracle may suggest some level of anxiety among Romney supporters, as his standings erode in a number of nationwide polls. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that some fast supporters have also suggested putting Romney's name on the "temple prayer roll," "which is typically reserved for those who are sick."