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Romneys speak to single LDS adults about life's journeys, lessons learned

Mitt Romney, left, and Kem C. Gardner listen attend an event at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015.
Mitt Romney, left, and Kem C. Gardner listen attend an event at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015.
Ravell Call, Deseret News

DRAPER — Mitt and Ann Romney spoke to a beyond-capacity crowd of mid-single members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday about lessons learned through their life's journeys.

Through jokes and stories, the former presidential candidate encouraged those present to develop testimonies of the LDS Church and make decisions about the things that are most important.

"I’m going to live in a way that’s consistent with my values. And if I miss and I fall, I’m going to try again," he told listeners to tell themselves.

The devotional came after Mitt Romney spent a weekend with donors at his annual political summit. He sat for an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Saturday, where he mentioned that his heart was breaking for the Republican party because of the divisions he sees in it.

Ann Romney was the first to address the gathering. She said she was grateful that her husband was willing to stand up for what he saw as right, even if it was unpopular to do so.

"Right is right," she said. "Good is good. God is always the same. It just is wonderful to know that I’m married to a person who will stand for what is right."

Along the campaign trail people would tell her that they were praying for her and her family, she said.

"People are still believing," she said, calling America "a beacon of light. A beacon of hope and a beacon of goodness."

She added that what brings the most happiness to her life is that her children are all active members of the LDS Church and are raising their children in the faith.

"Our hearts are full," she said. "We’re so grateful and especially grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ."

In the world of politics, people quickly go from "who's who to who's that?" she said. But being members of the LDS Church gives their family balance and helps them focus on their priorities.

"The gospel grounds us," she said.

Mitt Romney then shared lessons he has learned through his life's journeys.

Beware the hooks and barbs

The barb at the end of a fishing hook is what makes it difficult for a fish to escape, he said. Similarly, temptations can become like barbs in people's lives.

"There are men who are fishing for people and they have hooks that they disguise," he said.

The barbs can include drug abuse, both illegal and prescription, and pornography, which he said can interfere with a good marriage.

"I'm convinced that Jesus saw that when he said this about the latter days: 'And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.'

“Stay away from lures that are disguising hooks," he added.

Be prepared

While Romney was hiking with his wife and grandkids in the Subway in Zion National Park a couple of years back, the group reached a 20-foot rappel area where their means of exiting the slot canyon had washed out. It was beginning to rain, making it more urgent for them to exit the canyon. Luckily, their guide had brought a rope and cord to help them rappel down.

Similarly, he urged those in attendance to be prepared for what could happen in their lives.

Romney said he had never rappelled before getting to the Subway, but he and his family faced their fears and made it down safely. Life, he said is about "learning how to do things that you didn’t think you could do."

Follow the signs

Romney and his wife also took their grandkids to Havasupai falls, where there are four waterfalls. Near one of the waterfalls, Mooney Falls, the family saw a handmade sign reading, "Don't get too close to the falls."

Although the water and waterfall looked fun and innocent, Romney said the current underwater had the power to pull people under and hold them there.

Members of the LDS Church, he said, are led by prophets and leaders who can give signs to help them spot danger.

Appreciate people who keep you from falling

On the 1,000-foot climb out of Havasupi, at the end of an eight-hour hike, his wife Ann began to fall backward. She would have kept falling, he said, but he was standing behind her and able to stop her fall.

Likewise, each person has parents, siblings, colleagues and home teachers who can help them avoid falling, and who may need help in return.

He encouraged those present to watch out for people around them who might be falling, who might be getting bullied or who may need help.

Keep perspective

Romney never planned on running for president, he said, adding, "I was a business guy."

He joked that he was similar to Walter Mondale, who, after losing in the 1984 presidential election said, "I wanted to run for president in the worst way, and that’s just what I did."

"Me, too," Romney quipped.

While he was campaigning, Romney said he felt out of place among people who had much more experience debating than he did.

Before at least one debate, he wrote "Dad" on a blank piece of paper to remind him of his father, George Romney, whom he described as being "without guile." He also drew a picture of a sun to remind him of the scripture, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." These reminders helped give him perspective during that challenging period of time.

Everyone will face times of stress or pressure, he said.

"At times like that, perspective is a very powerful friend."

Members of the church can bring unimaginable blessings to each other

During his 2008 run for president, Romney held his first event in New Hampshire, where he and Ann had a summer home. As he prepared to walk out on stage, he could hear the crowd outside. When he stepped out, many people in the venue turned out to be members of the branch near where his home was located.

"I pretended like I didn’t know any of them," he said. "The media was impressed."

In prayer, we can speak with God every day

While staying in Israel during his campaign, Romney said their suite contained a large leather guest book where dignitaries had signed their names, including both of the Bush presidents, Tony Blair, Madonna and Bono.

Later, Ann and one of their sons visited what is believed by many to be the tomb where Jesus was placed after his crucifixion. Even though there was not a guest book there, it was an important place to be, he said.

"Jesus was the foundation of that entire city," he said. From this, Romney gleaned that no matter what is important to many, each person has the chance to "speak with God every day" through prayer.

Email: wevans@deseretnews.com

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