The LDS Temple and National Security: A Romney-Related Hypothetical

Romney’s politics are irrelevant for this post, as the same hypothetical would apply if Harry Reid were running for President.

How does an LDS President attend a Temple session? Can enough LDS secret service personnel be found to accompany him through a session? Does the Temple have a strict no-gun policy? Would he just not attend for 4 years? Would the DC Temple become a security concern, or a potential terrorist target. Would it be swept for bugs? Would Temple Recommends be heavily scrutinized to prevent someone from faking their way in to get at the President?

Has Romney or anyone else asked these questions?

23 Comments

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23 responses to “The LDS Temple and National Security: A Romney-Related Hypothetical

  1. Julie M. Smith

    My guess is that it wouldn’t be that hard to track down 2-3 LDS Secret Service guys, and that you could schedule Romney for a private session to keep the riff-raff out.

    A tougher issue, I think, is how awkward it will be when those 2 or 3 SS guys have to squish on the same couch as Romney and his companion when he goes home teaching. And you could probably get an entire movie-length comedy about him fulfilling his nursery calling. :)

  2. A member of my ward is in the SS. We discussed this issue a few months back. Basically, anyone in the temple would need to go through a metal detector (including the blue haired sisters working in the temple). SS agents would be posted at any possible entry point to the building. There are enough SS agents that security could also be providing within the temple.

    And, to add to what Julie said, when Romney’s home teachers bring the Christmas cookie platter, chances are it won’t ever be tasted by the First Family.

  3. Matt W.

    I just imagined a whimsical Bishop assigning Harry Reid to Home Teach Romeny…

  4. California Condor

    This is a cool post. I agree with Julie M. Smith– they’d shut down the temple so only Romney and his wife, and maybe some of his sons and daughters-in-law could do a session. The few Mormons in the Secret Service would do the session with Romney. A legion of non-Mormon Secret Service agents would secure the perimeter of the temple. Kensington, Maryland would be a no-fly zone during the session.

    Matt W., actually, I think Senators from both sides of the aisle laugh it up together when they are off-duty. So Harry Reid would not at all be awkward home teaching Romney.

    The real question is: Would Romney just have his own private sacrament meeting in the White House on Sundays, or would he actually go to an LDS Chapel?

  5. Would Romney just have his own private sacrament meeting in the White House on Sundays, or would he actually go to an LDS Chapel?

    Bill Clinton went to public church.

  6. Julie M. Smith

    “Bill Clinton went to public church.”

    I would feel awful for the ward members of the ward he attends–they’d have to put up with security, lots of “visitors,” media, etc., etc. It would be very hard to be a normal ward under those circumstances.

  7. Matt W.

    When I went to Church in DC(as a vistor), from what I recall the building is Tiny and just down the way from the capital.

    As a threadjack, does anyone know why there isn’t an LDS day for services in the National Cathedral?

  8. It would do a lot for the Evangelical side of the electorate if Romney and family attended the local megachurch once a month. As for the temple question … how about a Camp David Temple? It doesn’t have to be very big.

  9. Interesting question – I’m sure arrangements could be made. Julie has it right – they could find some Secret Service people who happen to also be LDS temple recommend holders.

    Let’s see if he actually wins the Republican nomination first. I think he will … but there’s still time for all kinds of things to happen.

  10. Dave’s got one plausible idea — there’s a long history of temporary temple sites, like the Endowment House, etc. Couldn’t there be a special temple tent with a flat-screen TV for the ceremony? If Romney’s temple visits require effectively shutting down the DC temple, my guess is he doesn’t make the once-a-month standard.

    (Of course, this is super-hypothetical; I’d love to have someone explain to me how Romney can win the nomination when he’s got little to no chance in the New York, California, Texas, Florida, or Ohio primaries…)

  11. “Would he just not attend for 4 years?”

    He’d have secret service detail for the rest of his life, not only while president.

  12. A source of mine informs me that there are lots of LDS Secret Service agents. I wonder how flexible the First Presidency would be in authorizing a mini-temple site/occasion for Romney?

  13. CW

    I wondered about this same question a while back. My guess is that he wouldn’t be attending the temple very often just because of the extra security and hassles that the temple staff would have to deal with.

    On Easter Sunday I was visiting my daughter and son-in-law in their Boston area ward where Mitt and his wife and their son and family belong. It was fun to sit a few rows back from the Romneys and see Mitt play around with his young grandchildren as they climbed around on the pews. Pretty typical grandpa stuff. I bet they’ll attend a regular ward in the unlikely chance that he gets the job.

  14. A member of my ward is in the SS.

    I don’t doubt it. I’ve been to a ward in northern Idaho and seen some of these guys. Very scary.

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  16. I could be wrong, but can’t someone with SS protection shake it off once in a while (maybe I’ve seen too many movies)? I realize that is not as fun as some of the other suggestions….

  17. Jon in Austin

    On a semi-related tangent, why has there been little to no blogging of the change to temple recommends? Has the announcement not trickled down to every ward yet about the change to recommends with barcodes?

  18. Jim

    He’d have secret service detail for the rest of his life, not only while president.

    Nope. Starting with Dubya, outgoing presidents only get SS protection for the first ten years after they’ve left office.

  19. Jacob

    Julie – I’d see that comedy, particularly if it’s combined with Matt W.’s idea of having him home teach his political nemisis. And having all the temple worker ladies setting off metal detectors with their pacemakers would make for some good chuckles.

  20. Rldds

    Ah, At last the real inspiration for the new Bar Coded recommends has been discovered! :)

  21. Emily

    I meet in the same building as Romney but in another ward. A security car came to church when he was governor, so something similar would happen. Also, it may be easier if it wasn’t announced when Romney went to the temple, just as an on-the-side thing with the temple president knowing and some LDS SS guys.

  22. Daylan

    Potential thread jack:

    If a Mormon became president would foreign temples, meetings houses, and missionaries (especially American missionaries) become targets of terrorists?

    If the Mormon president used American resources to protect (or restore/rebuild) these things would he be mixing church and state?

  23. a random John

    The Church Office Building was eventually evacuated on 9-11.