Republican Mitt Romney, the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major political party, sat in the Wolfeboro Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday as, one by one, members of his congregation credited him for bringing the faith more into the public eye.
"There has never been as much positive publicity about the church ... thanks to the wonderful campaign of Mitt Romney and his family," J.W. 'Bill' Marriott, the chairman of Marriott International, said. Marriott was the first in the congregation to take the podium to offer testimony, examples of his own life experience and how it's affected his faith, a tradition on the first Sunday of every month in the Mormon church.
"Everybody is looking at us and saying, 'Are you as good as the Romneys?'" Marriott said. "Today, we see the church coming out of obscurity, and we see that 90 per cent of what has been written and said ... 90 per cent of it has been favourable," he said. "And that's a great tribute to Mitt and Ann."
Many Americans have long viewed Mormonism sceptically, and the Salt Lake City-based church has fought for decades for recognition and acceptance as a faith.
In the eyes of Mormons gathered here Sunday, Romney winning the nomination has been overwhelmingly positive for their church.
"He's a marvelous ambassador of who we are," said a member of the Archibald family, another large Mormon clan that, like the Marriotts and the Romneys, vacations in Wolfeboro.