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      Romney's Uncovered Mormon Roots

      This article appeared at The Huffington Post on August 22, 2012.

      The Republican inquisition into Barack Obama's family roots is in total contrast to the avoidance of Mitt Romney's Mexican Mormon past. As recently as 2009, 72-year-old Meredith Romney, a relative of the Republican nominee, was kidnapped by Mexican gunmen in a strange vendetta involving drug cartels, land disputes and private militias.

      Some Romney relatives, like Meredith, still reside today in a 1,600-member community where they "live in a level of luxury in stark contrast to the farmers and laborers around them," according to an investigation by the crime reporter Jerry Langton. (Langton, Jerry. Gangland. Wiley, 2012, pp. 152-155)

      Romney's great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, established a polygamous enclave in Mexico in 1885 to escape federal prosecutors in Utah who were denying polygamists the rights to vote, sit on juries, or run for office. According to Andrea Mitchell, "The Romneys that came back from Mexico to the United States... crossed the border illegally." (January 22, 2012)

      Though polygamy in Mexico was illegal as well, according to a 1902 Mormon history by William Alexander Linn, the Romney enclave at Colonia LeBaron, in the Sierra Madre foothills, survived and prospered down to present times. Mitt's father, former Michigan governor George Romney, was born in Chihuahua in 1907.

      In 1974, one of the leaders of the colonia, Ervil LeBaron, was accused of ordering several murders, including that of his own brother, which were considered revenge-related. Ervil was extradited to a Utah prison for one of the murders, where he died in the 1980s. While this involved the colonia that the Romney patriarch had founded, the homicides and trials were not directly connected to the Romney family.

      In 2009, Meredith Romney was one of two colonia leaders who was kidnapped and held in a cave for ransom, which was paid for his release. The other kidnapping victim, Eric LeBaron, a grandson of Joel LeBaron, was held for a $1 million ransom. Eric's brother was the founder of a militia known as SOS (Sociedad Organizada Segura), an independent armed neighborhood watch group. When Eric was kidnapped, the locals sprang into action and lobbied successfully for the Mexican army to intervene, which they did, resulting in Eric's release.

      Then on July 7, masked men broke into the home of Eric's brother, Benji LeBaron, the founder of the militia, dragging away Benji and a brother-in-law. Their bodies were found the next day; they had been shot to death. The Juarez cartel draped a banner accusing Benji of being an informant who earlier caused the arrest of 25 cartel members in Madera. Interestingly, the banner blamed Benji for being a gangster, and said in Spanish, "Ask yourself, where did all his properties come from?" referring to the landholdings. Mexican prosecutors blamed everything on La Linea, a secret enforcement unit of ex-police officers trained by the U.S.-supported Drug War bureaucracy.

      In conclusion: A Romney relative, the head of the Mormon temple in Chihuahua, was kidnapped along with another Mormon in probable retaliation for 1970s murders carried out by a son of the founder of Colonia LeBaron, the polygamous enclave that gave rise to George, and now Mitt, Romney.

      More investigation is needed. Who knows, the Romney campaign might spin all this, if forced, as a heroic tale of immigrant pioneers fighting off the bad guys. But it is easy to understand why the Romney team wants to divert attention from such a tangled story. It is about polygamy, running from the law, illegal immigration (twice) and present-day involvement by Romney relatives in an armed voluntary militia.

      By comparison, investigative reporters and opposition researchers have scoured the earth for evidence of President Obama's birth, life abroad and possible involvement with Muslims, communists, terrorists, or relatives or associations with any of these disqualifying categories of people, past or present. So far they have airbrushed Romney's colorful Mormon past and present, which resembles the life of the character Roman Grant played by Harry Dean Stanton in the HBO series Big Love.

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      Reader Comments (3)

      Interesting. Too bad the usual media doesn't put out this info.

      August 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDorisV

      Wow! This crazy news about Romney should get more media attention! (sadly what happens in Mexico never gets much media attention) This news further illustrates the fact that Mormonism is far and away from mainstream Christianity in the USA and Catholicism in the USA. Meanwhile pastors and priests are advising people in those pews to ignore Romney's faith and vote for him because a vote for Obama is a vote for abortion. And as a bumpersticker I saw today screamed: "It is impossible to be Christian and Pro Choice". Nevermind that Jesus never said anything about abortion! (or much about gays for that matter). Most churches in the USA have now been corrupted from spiritual sanctuaries into political machines by inserting STOP ABORTION AND STOP GAYS into the Sermon on the Mount. These churches as political machines wish to destroy the separation of church and state, a destruction which will, of course, in the end destroy the churches themselves. Nevermind the fact government has not been able to stop abortion even when it was illegal. These churches are on a death march to destroy themselves in an effort to outlaw abortion. Nevermind the fact that loving relationships are the only proven abortion prevention. These churches have more faith in government than love. These churches, who will be voting for Romney, embrace government control more typical of fascist or communist countries, not democracy. The nomination of Mormon Romney could only be made by a Republican party which has moved far and away to the RIGHT with so many churches in an anti abortion fever.
      So many Christians will now tell you that ignoring Romney's faith is actual admirable tolerance. But is real tolerance admirable ignorance and denial? I have been told I am intolerant when I question Romney's faith. I have been told I should remember when people didn't want to vote for Kennedy because he was Catholic. I don't remember because I am not old enough. My question is, who didn't want to vote for Kennedy? The very protestants who now embrace Romney's faith without question? Kennedy proved that a not very serious Catholic can make a fine president. What does Romney prove? Romney proves that the Republican Right wants power more and more influence than the power and influence of Matthew, Mark, Luke , and John.

      September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarina Tootle

      They don't put this out on the Media because it is biased, leaning only to one side, completely wrong, and lacking foundations. I'm a Mexican, and not related to them in any way, I am a school teacher where these people were kidnapped and killed. I know these people, and I know the story firsthand. If they are landowners they are so because of hard work. They didn't only flee to Mexico because of poligamy but because the American government was massacring them. Why is that not exposed also, look into the books of history. Look at what happened in Nauvoo Ill, why did they have to leave that land? Romney was not a Polygamist, and he was not a member of the same religion that Benji Lebaron was. Neither the killing or the kidnapping were a retaliation for 1970 killings, this was just for ransom. Benji was able to get his brother Erick back, the gangs retaliated for this reason only. It is better not to write anything if you don't know the details. It is hard to deal with haters that present apparently acceptable evidence and research. But things look a lot different in person. Moreover, this doesn't have to do anything with Mitt Romney, Neither Mitt nor Meredith chose to be related. The Romney's in Mexico are not responsible for the actions of their relatives in the US and vicecersa.

      October 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEBH

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