Missionary Reposition

From The Telegraph:

It was a rare reflection by Mitt Romney on his life as a young Mormon, offered as proof to struggling Americans that despite being born into privilege and amassing a $250 million fortune, he too had known hard times.

A day after being labelled “out of touch” for casually offering a $10,000 bet to a rival candidate, Mr Romney told supporters he had experienced austerity as a missionary in France, using a bucket for a lavatory and a hose for a shower. “You’re not living high on the hog at that kind of level,” he said.

But the Republican presidential hopeful spent a significant portion of his 30-month mission in a Paris mansion described by fellow American missionaries to The Daily Telegraph as “palace”. It featured stained glass windows, chandeliers, and an extensive art collection. It was staffed by two servants – a Spanish chef and a houseboy.

LouisXIVbyRigaud2Original painting (Louis XIV by Rigaud. 1701)

Although he spent time in other French cities, for most of 1968, Mr Romney lived in the Mission Home, a 19th century neoclassical building in the French capital’s chic 16th arrondissement. “It was a house built by and for rich people,” said Richard Anderson, the son of the mission president at the time of Mr Romney’s stay. “I would describe it as a palace”.

Tearful as he described the house, Mr Anderson, 70, of Kaysville, Utah, said Romney aides had asked him not to speak publicly about their time together there.


Mr Romney moved into the building following a stay in Bordeaux, after being promoted to assistant to the president, Duane Anderson. He arrived in the spring of 1968, weeks before Paris erupted into riots, and returned to the US that December. He was given a room on the third floor.


In his remarks this week, Mr Romney said of his French lodgings: “I don’t recall any of them having a refrigerator. We shopped before every meal”. Mr Anderson said that as well as a refrigerator, the mansion had “a Spanish chef called Pardo and a house boy, who prepared lunch and supper five days a week”.

It was “well equipped” with all modern conveniences, including a combination washer-dryer machine, Mr Anderson said. “I never saw anything like it in another private home at that time.”

Mr Romney added in his comments that “most of the apartments I lived in had no shower or bathtub”. He said: “If we were lucky, we actually bought a hose and we stuck it on the sink.” He said he was forced to use a hole in the ground and a bucket for a lavatory.

Jean Caussé, a 72-year-old Mormon who met Mr Romney in Bordeaux, said he “would be astonished” if that had been the case. “I never knew missionaries who had to do that,” he said. “I don’t see why he would have lived in conditions like that for two years when it was far from the general case”.

The mission home in Paris was fully plumbed and central heated. “All of the missionary rooms had something like a bath or a shower attached to it,” said Mr Anderson. “The home had several”.

This was in stark contrast to lodgings in working class areas given to other missionaries in Paris at the same time. “It was much better than the other places,” said one, Alan Eastman. “Most of us stayed in rented apartments quite a way from luxurious”.


Regarding spending money, Mr Romney “would have been on the same amount of money as the rest of us, about $125 per month,” said Mr Eastman – about $813 (£524) per month in today’s money.

But Mr Anderson said that while “we made a contribution for the common meals, I remember feeling that financially it was somewhat easier to be in the mission home”. Mr Romney said this week: “I lived in a way that people of lower middle income in France lived, and said to myself, ‘Wow, I sure am lucky to have been born in the United States of America’.”

One of the mansion’s details stood out to several of the young Mormon men, whose faith banned them from courtship, among other perceived vices such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.

“It had beautiful stained glass windows, including a woman with bare breasts, which raised some eyebrows,” said Mr Eastman. “The windows depicted the four seasons,” said Mr Anderson. “Summer was lightly dressed, let’s put it that way”.


Filed under France, humor, Mitt Romney, Mormons, Painting, parody, politics, Republicans, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

38 responses to “Missionary Reposition

  1. jay

    I love the details… 😀

  2. Love it, Nonnie! Who’s that above Joseph Smith? In fairness to Romney, you can’t be a Republican without a houseboy at some point along the way. 😆

    • i made it for you,m’liss, because i know you love fine art. (you missed the last one, by the way.)

      above joseph smith is brigham young, and if you look behind mittsie, you’ll see the angel moroni in bas relief. not sure who that is in stained glass behind mittsie’s head though. 😉

      • Krugman was pretty disgusted with Willard in Thursday’s debate. Here’s what he wrote about it yesterday.

        “Romney has surely already established some kind of new record: with all the bad things that have happened in American politics over the centuries, I can’t think of any candidate who has lied so freely, with so little compunction.”

        Of course, Bachmann is a bigger liar, but she’s less of a threat.

  3. nonnie, it scares the living crap out of me to see how much Mittens looks like dubya when in Roi Soleil guise. no wonder then the Des Moines Register when, just as it was poised to endorse Herman Cain’s Penis, suddenly reversed itself, and tipped its editorial chapeau to Mittens.

    Just because he knows where Libya is! As if that was important for a king!
    ~ LL

    • latte, is that you?

      mittsie does have that chimpy kinda smirk on his face. i guess that’s the look of entitlement. they both share the feeling that they deserve what they want just because they want it. i think that’s called being a spoiled brat.

  4. Isn’t it iteresting that the first thing considered important on the new religion agenda was providong the founders with, as scripture would say, the fleshpots of Eygpt! Those portraits show the faces of men that need to “get ‘sum” in a bad way. And a lot of it. That means there aren’t enough women to go around for us normal men. And then you claim 11 and 12 year old girls “who has not lain with a man” as choosen brides. I ab-whore everything they stand for.

    • i know it’s not nice to disparage anyone’s chosen religion, but the whole mormon thing is creepy. yes, there are creepy things in all religions, but magic underwear? and all the secrecy? creepy.

  5. “Le Oops”???

    Is it presidential to misremember things?

  6. Snoring Dog Studio

    Why, why, why, why do these people LIE???!! The truth is right around the friggin’ corner, for crying out loud! I know Mormons who spent their missions in Guatemala and Africa and came back with permanent intestinal parasites. Romney is a special, anointed Mormon, who ate off Limoge china and rested on fluffy featherbeds. What a jerk.

    • maybe he figured the secrecy of the mormon church would protect him, and none of his fellow missionaries would tell on him. i guess there were some huntsman supporters in the mix. 😆

  7. Ah yes….A missionary positioned in France. Bet Mitt learned a lot about assterity over there. That’s were we’ll all be taking it if this clown survives the preliminaries. 🙂

  8. Pjevs

    Pinocchio on the stained glass is a very fine detail.Hasn’t Romney’s nose grown a bit lately?

  9. Yes, that looks about right, given that the Republican candidates in general are wealthy. Although I doubt that the real Romney has such toned legs.

  10. Jeb

    Even if he only heard about someone crapping in a hole and bathing with a hose, or just imagined it, it’s something he’s had to endure the thought of. I for one applaud his fortitude and his ability to rise above that.

  11. John Erickson

    Try peeing or pooping with NO bucket, toilet, or anything except trees and plants that ALL look like poison ivy. And forget about showers – eat, sleep, and mostly SWEAT in the same wool uniform for several days at a time.
    A roof (other than canvas) over your head and a hole in the floor start to look DANG luxurious! 🙂

    • it’s not so much the pooping and the peeing in that case, it’s about the wiping.

      can you see any of the chickenhawks going to war? they wouldn’t last 5 minutes without toilets and sinks and refrigerators, but they’re more than willing to send other people’s kids.

  12. The point is, even if he hadn’t lied about it, what difference does it make? So the privileged boy goes on a mission and gets to spend a couple months “roughing it”. It’s not the same thing to experience that kind of existence with the knowledge that you will soon be returning to your comfy mansion.

    Oh, and the illustration is PERFECT. Although it’s sad that we live in a society with an aristocracy again…

    • exactly, bratty. why does mittsie keep trying to convince people that he’s just like the average joe? he isn’t. period! the story of his i loved the most was how he didn’t take any of the money his parents left. instead, he divided it between his kids and charity. so what? if his father hadn’t been rich, he would never have gotten the education he did, and he wouldn’t have had all the ‘ins’ that he did. his father’s money came in pretty handy, even if he didn’t wind up needing it later on.

    • Sedate Me

      It’s almost enough to make you wish the Bolsheviks were still around, so they could storm the palaces and shred everyone with their cutlasses.

      Not that I dream about doing that every night or anything.

      • Don’t forget that after the Bolsheviks are done hacking everybody up, they may turn into a communist aristocracy themselves 😉 But I do sympathize with the shredding dreams…

  13. distributorcap

    let them eat cake – but in mitts case he would just serve the masses dog food – the food he saved by tying his dog to the roof of his car

  14. Tapas? Chef! Ou sont mes foie gras? Crepe Suzette Au Revior!

  15. Sedate Me

    Tabernac! Monsieur De Romney, il est un grande piece du merde.

    In fairness to the French Duke, I was horrified by a few -uh- , “minimalist” public bathrooms I found in parts of Europe decades later. I can only imagine what it was like in the 60’s. So, It’s quite possible he did take a dump or two under some dubious circumstances and is spinning the entire trip into a story of sacrifice.

    This was almost certainly Romney’s version of George Bush’s National Guard service. He was required to do it for public consumption, but it was a pampered, VIP, half-assed “service” that was probably little more than a vacation.

    It does make me wonder about the financial background of all the candidates and how many other French Dukes are in the race.

  16. Nice work Nonnie. I think it shows Mitt at his best. Have you seen the Broadway musical, “Book of Mormon?” If you haven’t, beg, borrow, or steal to get tickets to do so. Funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life and there is a great song about the magic underwear, as well as wanting mission assignments in France and Orlando but ending up in Uganda where the men have maggots in their scrodums. Happy Chanukah!