Mitt Romney, former U.S. presidential candidate and governor of Massachusetts, spoke today at a special forum address on the campus of Brigham Young University.
The crowd which had gathered in the Marriott Center greeted Governor Romney and his wife Ann with thunderous applause as they were announced at the beginning of the forum.
Romney was very frank and personal in his remarks, giving spiritual advice, anecdotes, and humor as he addressed the crowd of students from his Alma Mater.
Romney majored in English at BYU, and the self-help books he read at the time said he was doomed, because he did not have a goal in mind for his career. “Nothing I’ve done was planned in advance,” said Romney. “I could hardly have predicted I would go into politics.”
He referred frequently to his 2012 Presidential campaign, which he reflected on as not having lost but having “won the silver medal”. He came out of the campaign not discouraged but much more optimistic about the future of the United States of America because of the many ordinary people he met on the campaign, whom he described as his heroes.
Romney’s defeat in the election reinforced his opinion about how God works. “God does not always intervene in the affairs of men to make things work the way we want them to,” he said, contrasting this to the notion that some people think God is guaranteed to prosper them in all of their endeavors.
As to what God does guarantee, Romney quoted Doctrine and Covenants 90: 24: “Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another.”
Romney referred to an incident on his campaign where the Secret Service informed him that his emails were being monitored by the government of a foreign country. He was reminded of the line from hymn 237 that reads “angels above us are silent notes taking.” Romney said that our words and deeds are recorded in heaven, down to the internet pages we browse. “Every day you’re writing your autobiography,” he said.
Romney told his audience that he had learned firsthand that there was a demand in the world for American leadership, and gave counsel on why strong leadership is important. One person, he said, can make a difference, and it is important to consider with care how we act, what we say, and to what we devote our lives. He encouraged his listeners to find ways to keep their own lives in perspective and to never dishonor or discredit the things they hold most dear.
During your life, you will encounter circumstances that make you sweat…At moments like these, perspective is a powerful friend. You may welcome it through preparatory prayer.
Romney kept perspective during the presidential debates by writing the word “Dad” and drawing a picture of the sun on a sheet of paper he kept tacked on his podium. The “Dad” was to remind him of his own father’s fearlessness in defending the faith, and the sun was to help him remember to be a light to the world.
You don’t need to be larger than life, just larger than yourself.
He told BYU students to remember that it is not secular measures that define us but the knowledge that we are children of Heavenly Father. “That knowledge,” says Romney, “has informed who I am and to what I have been devoted.”
You can watch the full forum address on the BYUtv website.