Mitt Romney Converted Deceased Father-In-Law

Picture 31Earlier this week, Gawker's John Cook wondered whether Mitt Romney's father-in-law had been converted to Mormonism — posthumously. Wrote Cook:

Edward Davies, Ann Romney's Welsh father, was an engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur who worked on designs for the Gemini space program and helped outfit aircraft carriers. He eventually became the mayor of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He was also a resolute atheist who insisted that his family be raised without participating in an organized religion. "He would say: 'I'm a scientist, show me the proof'," a former co-worker told the Telegraph. Davies thought of religion as "drudgery and hogwash," according to Boston Globe, and his son Roderick told the paper that Davies "considered people who were religious to be weak in the knees."

So it must have broken his heart when, after his only daughter began dating Mormon scion Mitt Romney, she converted to his religion with the help of Mitt's father.

The conversions didn't stop there. Mitt and his father, George, convinced Anne's younger brother to join the church, and then dispatched missionaries to convert her elder brother, who was then attending school in England. The mission was successful. And after Edward died in 1992, his wife — Anne Romney's mother — decided she, too, would become a Latter-Day Saint.

And so Cook asked:

Mormons, of course, are known for their habit of posthumously converting dead souls. They also believe that families are reunited in eternity after death. So the incentive for Ann Romney to convert Edward Davies in death so that they may one day frolic together in the interplanetary afterlife was presumably fairly powerful. Did she posthumously baptize him, despite his belief while he lived that such a baptism and the beliefs that undergird it are pure "hogwash"?

Cook contacted the Romney campaign and the Latter-Day Saints for info. Neither organization would comment, so Cook requested that any Mormon Gawker readers who might have access to the church's baptismal records please contact him. As it turns out:

Edward Davies, Mitt Romney's militantly atheist father-in-law, was indeed posthumously converted to Mormonism by his family.

… Davies was baptized as a Mormon at a "special family meeting" 14 months after his death: "All ordinances except sealing to spouse performed in Salt Lake Temple on 19 Nov 1993 in special family meeting."

That's Mitt Romney. Republican on Earth, totalitarian in eternity.


  1. jeff says

    I have no feelings either way on Romney’s religion, but hat is HOGWASH!! Unlike sexuality, religion IS a choice. He choose to be Atheist because of his beliefs. They can’t change his mind for him. What a bunch of morons.

  2. Jed says

    There is nothing to stop Mitt’s father from rejecting the baptism, but why would he? It’s not easy being a dead atheist.

  3. NoSleep4Sam says

    This is a little inflammatory. We know Mormons practice proxy baptisms, but if you don’t believe in Mormonism, why would anyone care what they say in their church? If it don’t count, it don’t count.

  4. JD says

    The argument is not “Mormons are weird”, the argument is “Mitt Romney does not respect the rights of others to have their own religious beliefs and make their own choices.”

  5. Joel says

    Yes. But still, Mormons are weird. Quite aside from his other positions, I do not want somebody with that kind of weird thinking to be President.

  6. Dearcomrade says

    My parents converted to this silly religion over 20 years ago. It’s really no crazier than other beliefs, particularly Catholic ones. It’s done a great deal of harm between the LDS and Judaism. Posthumously baptizing victims of the Holocaust has really pissed that tribe off.

    I always get a good laugh when I read about this stuff. Thanks for posting it.

  7. mark says

    Really Joe? Must be really slow today if this is the best somebody can come up with today. WHO THE F##K cares? Crazy unemployment numbers, real estate still falling and right wing nuts promoting anti gay family legislation and THIS is news?!?!?…wacky for sure but nothing to make a fuss over..

  8. Caliban says

    Exactly, JD. As an atheist myself I don’t believe that Romney’s FIL was harmed or effected either way but it shows an appalling lack of respect for the religious beliefs and CHOICES others have made and that arrogant, self-righteous belief that YOU KNOW BETTER. (But then that’s a defining characteristic of religion.)

    And frankly I don’t care if my attitude toward Mormons is “bigoted” or not in light of their actions in CA regarding Prop 8 or across the country and in Hawaii in several other POLITICAL initiatives regarding gay rights, blatantly flouting the separation of Church and State. (For which they should lose their tax-exempt status IMO.) Right now they’re looking for understanding and sympathy for their cult in order to get Mitt Romney elected President, when they had NONE to offer the gay community just a few short years ago. To me this just proves that Karma is indeed a b*tch and if Karma needs a boost I’m happy to give it!

  9. Brad Silverlight says

    It is my belief that this is a question that should not be raised. This is a decision their family made together and is, frankly, no one’s business but theirs. If we are constantly saying that it is wrong to bring personal religious beliefs into politics then how can we possibly do the same thing and think ourselves any better than those we criticize?

  10. says

    The last laugh is with Edward Davies. Once you are dead, you are dead. You can’t be converted to anything or any religion. Davies was an Atheist and wherever he is, he is laughing his head off at the Mormon idiots.

  11. say what says

    yes all religions are weird

    but jews and catholics don’t wear magic underware or baptize the dead like mormons.

    Some religions are a bit more crazy than other crazy religions

  12. Michaelandfred says

    I find the arrogance and disrespect in this practice off the charts. Frankly, as an atheist, it enfuriates me. What they are doing is creating their own post mortem version of someone’s life. Why stop there. Why not create an entire history of the man (or whomever) to fit into these people’s world view. Imagine if you were angry with a relative and wrote “pedophile” on their tombstone out of spite. For however long it stood, that’s what people would assume.

    The thought of living my life according to my own design, only to have some group of crazies wait until I’ve died and then “rewrite” my life creating a lasting memory of me being the exact opposite of what I had held dear and true is frightening. The legacy I leave, the ONLY thing i will leave behind is what i did, thought or created. It should be up to me, for good or bad, not up to some cult to change when I can no longer decide for myself. I find this practice horrific.

  13. George M says

    I don’t care about his religion
    It’s him I can’t stand. Even if he was an atheist I think he’d be anti gay. Bad guy

  14. Brian says

    To those of you who are saying this is a private matter, it’s nobody’s business but the family’s, I think you’re missing the key point. Your religion (or lack thereof) is your business, not your family’s. And just to be clear, you should all expect to be baptized into the Mormon church at some point. I do a fair amount of genealogical research, and neither I nor my family have any connection to the Mormon church. But almost every relative/ancestor I’ve researched going back hundreds of years has been baptized into the Mormon church posthumously due to this bizarre practice. In light of the anti gay bigotry of Mormonism, I think it’s disgusting that I will someday be dragged into its weirdness and there’s nothing I can do about it. Then again, I’ll be dead when it happens, so at least I’ve got that going for me.

  15. ChristopherM says

    @Brad: Why shouldn’t it be raised? His beliefs are disrespectful and offensive. It is really no different than someone basing their bigotry on their religion.

  16. Seattle Mike says

    Jeez. Learn a little more about Mormonism AND use your heads a little. First, what Mormons do (as bizarre as it seems to the rest of us) is a ritual that they believe offers the option to the sould of a dead person to convert to Mormonism in the afterlife. Mormons believe that the offer has to be accepted before the soul becomes Mormon. Yeah, weird, I know.

    If there is no afterlife, who the frack cares?

    This reminds me a little of the uproar about some conservative evangelicals praying for a particular person’s death. If there is a God, there’s no way he/she/it would grant a prayer request like that.

  17. ChristopherM says

    LDS members hope that people will respect their beliefs enough to vote for one of their own, but frankly this shows how little respect they have for the beliefs of others.

  18. RiccoRicco says

    Great point CHRISTOPHERM!!

    Mormons have the retarded notion in their made up religion that only they are imbued with the authority on Earth to offer salvation.

    I remember being in hospital, very-very sick, concerned doctors all around me, in a starnce city and state, got sick when I was driving across the country, and far from offering me salvation the bishop that came to me in hospital said: “I only came to visit you because your brother (my brother was a Mormon) in California called my office and asked me if I would look in on you. I despise everything you stand for!”

    I won’t lie. What he said to me hurt my feelings. But I was not concerned because I knew that Mormonism is not even a Christian religion, but a ridiculous scam that paid off big for Joseph Smith. I know this because in Christianity, salvation comes solely through Jesus Christ . . . if one believes in that sort of thing at all.

    A certainly do not think that a greedy man like Mitt Romney is someone that Jesus Christ, a champion of the poor and disenfranchised, would ever imbue with that kind of authority, even if he was so inclined.

    So, while I think Edward Davies was betrayed by his wife, daughter, and son baptizing him into this fake faith, that his rich, a**hole son in-law disrespected him, in the end, because the Mormon faith is a fake religion no real harm was done.

  19. Brad Silverlight says

    Christopherm. . If it had come up for discussion in reference to the overall religion I would agree it is a viable subject, but it came up only because this man is running for office. A presidential candidate should not be judged by his religion, but by his political history… what he has said and done in office. I can find much better reasons than this practice, or his Mormon beliefs to vote against Mitt Romney. Most of those reasons are the same ones that make me not want to vote for any of the Republican candidates.

  20. ChristopherM says

    Brad, I agree. He had many many reasons to oppose him. But I think this demonstrates his basic lack of respect for others who disagree with him, and that is definitely worth raising.

  21. justinw says

    Anyone that is engaged in such irrational and superstitious behavior is not someone that I want to be exerting power as President of the United States. The high-handed, I-know-best paternalism of the LDS church and of many of that cult’s members – particularly Romney – has no useful place in our society.

  22. say what says

    Brad silverlight

    it is a viable subject for no other reason than many mormons are hoping that a mormon president i.e. romney can finally give them some validity as a religion as vs as being seen as quacks and a cult

    mormons crave acceptance from the rest of america and are tired of being considered a cult. a mormon president is the best bit of propaganda they can hope for so it is a valid issue

    besides the fact that a man that wears and believes in magic underware could end up with his finger on the nuke button

  23. Timzilla says

    Aside from being disturbingly creepy and disrespectful, the fact that Romney would do this knowing it was against the wishes of his father-in-law is telling. Make no mistake, this is clear evidence that as president, Romney will never respect your individual freedom of religion or choice to believe as you wish. For this reason alone, he is unworthy to lead our nation of many differing creeds and beliefs.

  24. Kyle in Madison says

    1) RiccoRicco, that is the most blatant and poorly-crafted lie I have ever stumbled across. No Mormon bishop, no matter what part of the country or the timeframe, would say that.

    2) Mr. Thorp, you need to do research on topics before you post things that make you look silly. Maybe your credibility is worth less to you than a scandalous sounding headline, but this article calls your integrity into question.

    3) Proxy baptisms aren’t anything new and if you you look for real information instead of believing boogey-man stories, you see that its nothing like whats portrayed in this post. Mormons believe that what they are doing is basically like giving someone a sweater for christmas: you have the option to wear the sweater or not to wear the sweater. No one claims you are violating their ethical rights if you give them an ugly sweater for christmas, they appreciate the gift for being genuine and simply don’t wear it. Exact same concept.

    4) Remember Rev. Jeremiah Wright? The one that Obama just loves so much? Yeah… if you wanna talk about scary religious beliefs that influence presidents, pretty sure that one trumps Mormonism.

  25. say what says


    like a sweater

    Oh yeah, lets do a walk through of it

    One enters the temple, one goes to a locker and strips naked, one puts on a shroud that covers both front and back but wide open on the sides, one enters a cubicle with a same sex temple worker, the temple worker anoints body parts with both water and oil for blessings with the loins and breast being part of it….think drity oldsters fondling people, one makes oaths to let themselves be killed sliced ear to ear then down the gut with their entrails dragged out if they reveal any temple secrets, one dresses in temple priestly garments, one goes and gets baptized in the name of the dead person

    Not exactly like giving a sweater

    I have kimballs in my family and a direct cousin of Spencer Woolley Kimball 12th president of the Mormon church

    Mormonism is nutz

  26. Calvin Smith says

    Romney needs to be asked: “How many young gay men did you participate in excommunicating from the LDS Church, in your capacity as Bishop?” This man must not be allowed to occupy the Oval Office; he is apathetic.

  27. Calvin Smith says

    Mormonism has not been around for hundreds of years. Joseph Smith’s visions of the Church were a 19th Century phenomenon.

    Finally, does the LDS Church convert all entries in its genealogy from anywhere in the world to Mormonism, posthumously? I’ve heard they do, in a hocus pocus ceremony where hundreds become Mormons, “en masse”, without their knowledge, or the knowledge of their families.

    Romney’s Mormonism WILL creep into his decisions as the country’s Chief Executive. Don’t be fooled, and don’t elect him.

  28. says

    There are many other reasons why sane gay people won’t be voting for Mitt Romney, but since Romney donates huge $ to the Mormon Church ($ that work directly against our civil/secular rights) and supports its teachings and mission, it is a fair point to bring up.

    It’s irrelevant that it’s only a crazy Mormon ritual, or a ritual that obviously won’t affect a dead atheist, but there is an onerous principle at work in Mormonism, and that is a belief that converting people against their will–in life or death–is an appropriate thing to do. It isn’t. It would be as offensive as sprinkling straight Mormon graves with fairy dust and making them posthumously gay without their permission.

    Stupid, yes, but philosophically stuff like this matters, and–even if Romney didn’t have a long list of other detriments–I don’t want a president whose religion and religious philosophy messes in the lives of non-Mormons.

  29. Bill Kilpatrick says

    The Mormon practice of baptism for the dead has been misrepresented here, though I’m not sure if the libel was out of ignorance or malice or both.

    For centuries, Christians – Catholic and Protestant – have taught that anyone who does not have the right set of beliefs will cook, broil or fry in Hell – for eternity.

    As with many other stupid beliefs, Mormons rejected tradition and came up with a solution of their own. Believing that centuries of Christian practice – including the Crusades, the Inquisition and the forced conversions of the Spanish Conquest – suggested that the original beliefs and teachings of Jesus had been lost, Mormons claimed that, in their case, God had “restored” Christianity – in truth and authority.

    Of course, that raised a question: What about all those other people who lived and died before such a “restoration”?

    The Mormon reply was that all who were unable to find their truth – in this life – will be offered it in the next. If so, such people will want access to a baptism. To that end, Mormons started baptizing each other for and in behalf of those who had died. Doing so didn’t make all such individuals Mormons; it was simply an act of grace, offered up by Mormons, for anybody who might want it.

    Baptism for the dead isn’t a rape. There’s no coercion whatsoever. Mormons simply compile names and then perform a baptism for every person who has ever lived. They keep a record of all such baptisms, but the names are not added to the membership records of the LDS Church.

    This is much ado about nothing.

  30. Haitiana4Obama says

    If we’re going by fact: RMoney evidently participated in a religious rite which violated the wishes and beliefs of his deceased father-in-law in accordance to RMoney’s own personal beliefs? Usually I would say religion is private. But I must ask myself can such a man with those beliefs truly value the rights and choices of others enough to objectively run this country and it’s military? Will the USA embark on a MISSION to save souls across the globe dead or alive? Will the deceased service members suffer the indignities of a secret-baptism? These are valid questions as this man is seeking to be the LEADER of the USA and has stated he will govern in accordance with his religious beliefs.

  31. Brian says

    I just don’t think the Mormon apologists here get why this is so disturbing. Your responses all start out saying we know nothing about the ritual, we should do our homework etc before attacking it. But we’ve done our homework, we don’t like what we find, and we want no part of it. Your next response is we can reject it in heaven, so in that sense we’re not mandatorily drafted into mormonism. Well, since I don’t believe in heaven, that option doesn’t do much for me. I don’t want any part of being baptized into a religion I abhor, but I know that if someone looks me up a hundred years from now in any google search, one of the first tidbits they’ll learn about me is the date I was “sealed” into the mormon church by some stranger or extremely distant relative. For those of us who live in this world and couldn’t care less about the afterlife, this is what’s so disturbing.

  32. NY2.0 says

    This practice of baptistism for dead individuals who had nothing to do with mormonism and in all likely instances still would want nothing to do with Mormonism is abhorrent and disrespectful.
    Romney has yet to utter a word about his beliefs and It’s quite obvious he wants this topic to go away so he can slither his way into the White House.

  33. TJ says

    Baptism of the dead – it gives the living peace of mind. If this is all hoodoo, it has no real effect on the dead. If its all hoodoo, no real harm done, because those who think it is hoodoo know that the reputation remains intact. At best, it’s worth a shake of the head and a “tsk tsk.”

  34. Brian says

    That’s just not true, TJ. The vast majority of these baptisms are done by very distant relations who never knew the person being baptized, so they don’t derive any peace of mind from the hoodoo. LIkewise, the vast majority of non-mormons know nothing of this practice, so when they look someone up and find they’ve been baptized a mormon, they reasonably assume the person was a mormon. I think that’s incredibly disrespectful to those of us who hate mormonism for all the hate they’ve dished out at us. What if the nazi party went around inducting dead Jews into their party, and publishing their nazi party membership all over the internet? Is that still no real harm done? I think it would rightly be considered a huge slander against the dead person, and that’s how I feel about being branded a mormon for all eternity.

  35. TJ says

    And Brian, I disagree. Nazis could declare dead Jews to be the party faithful; it wouldn’t make it true. If Nazis rewrote history to use specific people’s live as part of the mythology (e.g., my forefathers supported the party), it would be reprehensible, and insulting, and worth disputing. But it wouldn’t make it true.

    It appears that Davies’s point of view and legacy, in the real world, remains intact. He seems to have been an atheist who scorned religion. Nothing has changed. The hoodoo didn’t change who he was to people who don’t believe in hoodoo. And the rest is heresay.

  36. TJ says

    As for people baptizing people they don’t even know. If someone baptizes me after I die, I don’t believe I will know about it, because I don’t believe it will have an effect. Unless someone I know researches such a thing (and I desperately hope that no one I know would waste any precious time in their short life researching whether or not I have been baptized as Mormon), no one I know would know; or even knowing, worry about such an “insult.”

    Ultimately, just because someone says it is, doesn’t make it so. Not for someone who hasn’t signed up, or even for someone who has. I appreciate that it can feel like it’s real. But feelings can lie. Think about it.

    If it has an effect, well, I guess I was wrong, and thanks for saving my soul.

  37. Brian says

    So it looks like you’ve dropped the claim that the batpizers are deriving some sort of benefit from this stupid practice. So we both agree there are no benefits, but disagree about the costs. I guess your point can’t really be argued with, that once your dead it just doesn’t matter. So if people want to say you were a nazi, desecrate your corpse, whatever, it just doesn’t matter. And in a very narrow sense I guess you’re right. But most people really do care about their reputations. As I said in an earlier post, I spend a lot of time researching people as social history, family history whatever. I think for the most part they would have strong feelings about how they want to be remembered in this world. For those of us who are atheists, our offspring and reputations are all that we think will remain after we die.

    I don’t understand your penultimate paragraph at all. First, you”re saying just because people call you something it doesn’t make it true. Again technically true but almost everyone has been the victim of vicious gossip, and the dead can’t defend themselves. If someone goes around saying so and so was a pedophile, sooner or later, for all intents and purposes he will be remembered as a pedophile. And then you say even if I really am a mormon or pedophile, it doesn’t make it true, which I guess is just too deep for me because I don’t get it.

  38. says

    “This is much ado about nothing.”

    Not really, Bill. I think most commentators on this thread would agree that on a list of things not to like about Romney this is simply one of many, probably not a top one, but many of us also find this Mormon practice philosophically repugnant. And when a church engages in practices that meddle in the secular lives and liberties of others (which the Mormon church does in ways much larger than the baptism for the–non-consenting–dead) and Mitt contributes millions and millions of dollars to help make that happen, his Mormonism because an issue. For those of us who never would have voted for him, it doesn’t change much, but one wonders how Mitt’s heavy investment in Mormonism will play in the general election.

  39. TJ says

    BRIAN – I didn’t drop the argument about giving peace; I simply didn’t continue it. For those who baptize the dead, even people they never knew (and who never knew them), I believe that they believe they are doing a good thing. Saving souls to live with their families forever seems a very rewarding thing. For those who do this for family members, I don’t think it would be hard to see how it would give them comfort.

    I was baptized as Catholic. Some would say that that makes me Catholic. I identify as atheist. Call me Catholic all you want, it won’t make me go to Mass this morning. But even if I did go, and always go, and go to confession and clear my soul and receive the Last Rites before I die, all the belief in the world and beyond wont get me into Heaven if such a place doesn’t exist, or if going through a ritual in a specific religion is not the way one gets there. Even if I buy into that particular belief system, it won’t make it happen. It might give family members who still believe in such things comfort to have the Last Rites performed, so I’d be okay with them doing it.

    If Heaven does exist, and God really is an old white man with a beard, and I really do have to accept Jesus as my personal savior, all my believing that it is all a myth won’t keep me from being eternally screwed. But I’m not worried.

    I absolutely appreciate that in a practical sense, belief is reality. If calling you a pedophile makes others treat you as if you are a pedophile, then that is a wrong that should be righted. Your honor should be defended, and justice should prevail. But in this case, we all know that Romney’s father-in-law was an atheist. No one who isn’t a Mormon believes he now is a Mormon. And for Mormons who believe, they are just repeating what they have been told. They have witnessed no actual transformation.

    And if you read this, and still believe that I am obtuse, so be it. It won’t mean that I don’t have a point. It will just mean that I am unable to articulate it effectively to you.

  40. Mark Twain says

    We should all sue this church, at 10 million $ a clip, for the harm done to us, our parents and ancestors, with their forced conversion and baptism. This is offensive, disturbing and a psychological aggression. Lets bankrupt this gang of crazies……

  41. kodiak says

    The jewish community got upset a few years ago when the mormons started annexing their dead. My question is, what about black people? They weren’t allowed to become mormon until 1978. Are the dead black people predating acceptance into the church being abducted, er, I mean inducted now?

  42. Caliban says

    Just as an aside, this is why the Mormons have one of the most, if not THE most, comprehensive genealogical databases in the world. It was compiled in service of these postmortem conversions. If you’re interested in genealogy you’ll probably have dealings with them at some point. So there has been an upside to this folderol, I suppose.

    As to the question of whether or not this criticism is “unfair,” I didn’t notice any concern for fairness, sympathy, empathy, understanding, or any other generosity on display in Mormon support of Prop 8 and similar actions across the country so my response is “tough titty.” When you fight against a group’s rights using fear and distortion as a motivator what’s unreasonable is to demand it in response. In the immortal words of Winona Ryder in Heathers, “Lick it up.”

    And let’s not forget that it was ONLY in response to a very real threat to their tax-exempt status in the late 1970s that then LDS President, Spencer W. Kimball conveniently decided god had “removed the curse” and black people should be allowed as full members, just as their turnabout on polygamy just so happened to coincide with Utah’s desire to become a state. They only change in response to pressure, when they get something they want out of it.

  43. Jack says

    Mormans have poshumous converting. Catholics have transubstantion. Jews have all the Exodus myths. Protestants have an inerrant bible full of contradictions and errors. Hindus have sacred cows. Muslims have the gift of 70 virgins to martyrs. Edward Davies was right. Religion is HOGWASH!!!

  44. Brian says

    TJ, I get what you’re saying, I really do, it’s just that, at least for me, it doesn’t work. And I think that’s really what matters here. Rationally or irrationally, I absolutely hate the fact that some stranger will some day induct me into the mormon church. You prioritize whatever joy some crazy mormon will derive from baptizing some dead stranger into their church over my peace of mind and my strong desire to not have any association with that hate group. You don’t care, and you’re glad to make the baptizing mormons happy by baptizing you. And that’s fine, but it seems to me there should at least be an opt out system for those, like me, who hate the idea. The only group that has managed to get this so far is holocaust victims, after their descendants pleaded with the mormons for decades to stop the practice. And in the end they just stopped it for a couple of years and then resumed the practice. I’m sure they will take great joy baptizing famous atheists like Christopher HItchens, but to me that’s just like pissing on his corpse. You’ll argue that since he’s dead he won’t care, but the prospect probably disturbed him while he was alive, and will undoubtedly offend his many friends and followers. I understand none of this matters to you, but it really does to many people, and I think our wishes concerning ourselves should trump whatever the mormons plan to do to us when we’re dead.

  45. TJ says

    BRIAN – I never said that I’m happy to let Mormons baptize me. I said that if it made my family happy to have the Last Rites, a Catholic sacrament, performed before I die, I’d be okay with it. I said that I understand why Mormons think they are doing a good thing by baptizing the dead. I said whatever they do once I’m dead and gone won’t matter. I learned a long time go to let go of things that don’t matter to me. I really don’t think that in any meaningful way, someone doing something that I will never know about (nor, likely, anyone who thinks I matter), that won’t change me, is worth worrying about. I have bigger fish to fry.

    I get that this bothers you, and for your peace of mind, I wsh that there was a system as you suggested, to let you, your wishes, and your legacy be respected. Perhaps you’d benefit by looking into how such a system might be created. Empower yourself, take control.