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Romneys go to church, media in tow

Mitt Romney read Scripture from his iPad as he juggled his 2-year-old grandson on his lap.

He made sure to accept the bread and water representing the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, from a member of the priesthood who looked like he was about to accidentally pass him by. And with a knowing nod, he encouraged his wife to leave the pew and join the women’s choir in a rendition of “Because I Have Been Given Much.” (She did.)

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On one level, it was a typical Sunday morning for Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and a devoted churchgoer. But on another level, his Sunday observance was an unusual moment for a candidate who zealously protects his privacy and rarely talks about his Mormon faith.

On Sunday, for the first time since Romney became a candidate for president, his aides invited members of the news media to accompany him to church services near his lake house in Wolfeboro, N.H., giving the public a look into one of the most intimate corners of his life

After a year of studiously avoiding all but the most oblique references to Romney’s faith on the campaign trail, his advisers said they believe it is time for him to publicly embrace it. They believe that his religious devotion, as well as his leadership within the church, convey qualities that voters will warm to — and outweigh any squeamishness among those unfamiliar with Mormonism.

The Romneys arrived at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wolfeboro with their oldest son, Tagg; his wife, Jennifer; and their six children.

On their way in, the family was greeted in the parking lot by an older couple. “Welcome back,” a woman said. Mitt and Ann Romney sang along to hymns and took turns holding their grandchildren during the service, which was attended by about 100 people.

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