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Following Faith
Peggy Fletcher Stack
Peggy Fletcher Stack has been producing stories for The Salt Lake Tribune's award-winning Faith section for nearly two decades. Writing about contemporary faith, rituals, and spirituality as well as religion's conflicts and cohesion has always been Stack's passion. Follow her at facebook.com/peggy.fletcherstack, Twitter @religiongal

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Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney comes out on stage to greet his wife Ann Romney at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Ann Romney delivers a Mormon moment for Mormon women

Ann Romney, who addressed the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night, was the first person there to mention the word, Mormon.

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"When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in the way of our life together," Romney told the delegates. "I was an Episcopalian. He was a Mormon."

Eventually, she converted to Mormonism and the couple reared their children in the LDS faith.

Romney continued to describe her life as a mother with five rowdy boys, her "real" rather than "storybook" marriage and coping with illness.

Most commenters were struck by her poise under pressure and the sincerity of her delivery, saying she "stole the show" and even outdid New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the keynote speaker.

"The speech, the experts and pundits proclaimed, needed to humanize Mitt Romney," writes Liz Halloran and National Public Radio. "But it really served as a vehicle to humanize her — a woman of great attractiveness and expensive polish — and, by extension, him."

Many Mormons, no matter their political leanings, seemed proud of the GOP's first lady hopeful.

On the Internet, they described Ann Romney as "strong and inspiring" or as "beautiful, successful in her family and marriage, strong-minded, decisive, confident, forceful." Some said the candidate's wife was "relatable, appealing to women by talking about wives and mothers being the glue of the nation."

Many also noted a kind of "LDS General Conference cadence."

Scholar/writer/Mormon blogger Joanna Brooks "nodded," she writes at Religion Dispatches, when Romney "explained to the audience why Mitt Romney doesn’t talk more about his faith, focusing not on the fine points of what Mormons believe, but on the best of what Mormons do: the acts of service performed for one another."

Such hints of Mormonism at a political convention have been a long time coming.

LDS reporter McKay Coppins explains the five-year effort to bring Mitt Romney's Mormon faith into the spotlight.

"The story of his journey to this point is one that shows the candidate's family struggling with the realities of public life as a religious minority," Coppins writes, "as the rest of the country grapples with Mormonism knocking on the door of mainstream U.S. culture."

And it's about to get even more play Thursday.

Word has it that on Thursday night two LDS families will talk about how Mitt Romney helped them when he served as their "home teacher" during time of trouble. Then a longtime friend and former Mormon bishop will introduce the newly minted nominee. Mitt Romney, his aides say, will even mention the M-word himself.

Peggy Fletcher Stack

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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