The outsider view is that Mormons are good people with strange beliefs. But what sets them apart in their own minds is their story. As with the Jews, it's the narrative of the people that bulks largest in their collective sense of self. And that's why the estimable Joanna Brooks is disappointed with her most famous co-religionist's presentation of his faith to the American people:
Prominent Mormons may be celebrating Romney for leading the charge on changing public opinion on the faith. But really, Romney has done very, very little to make our Mormon story better known to the American public.
Just as it was virtually missing from his campaign biography, there was, for example, no mention at the convention of what is probably the defining story of Mormon peoplehood—the exodus of Mormon pioneers (Romney’s ancestors among them), so readily translatable into an American story about the importance of common dreams, sacrifice, and the desire to start fresh.
It's interesting to note that, in his JFK-like speech on religion back in 2007, Romney did gesture in that direction, in what fwas by far the speech's most interesting paragraph :
Today's generations of Americans have always known religious liberty. Perhaps we forget the long and arduous path our nation's forbearers took to achieve it. They came here from England to seek freedom of religion. But upon finding it for themselves, they at first denied it to others. Because of their diverse beliefs, Ann Hutchinson was exiled from Massachusetts Bay, a banished Roger Williams founded Rhode Island, and two centuries later, Brigham Young set out for the West. Americans were unable to accommodate their commitment to their own faith with an appreciation for the convictions of others to different faiths. In this, they were very much like those of the European nations they had left.
How great it would have been had Romney recycled that paragraph for this election cycle, and even used it to stand up for the religious rights of those religious Americans most subject to hostility today--Muslims. But a lot has happened since 2007.
Then, we had a president who had made it his business not to let his War on Terror be construed as a War on Islam. Then, the Republican Party had not seized upon Islamophobia as a political wedge issue. Then, Romney was not afraid to allude to the sufferings of his own people at the hands of, yes, the American people.