Not all Romneys are as enamored of Mormonism as Mitt. Take Park Romney, Mitt's cousin. He used to be a Mormon high priest, but finally left the religion. "I became convinced that it's a fraud," he tells the BBC. He doubts many aspects of the religion, such as founder Joseph Smith's prophecies, including those based on Smith's translation of an Egyptian scroll he said he purchased from a traveling mummy exhibit. The translation, which became part of the Mormon book of Abraham, has been discredited by Egyptologists. "There's compelling evidence that the Mormon Church leaders knowingly and willfully misrepresent the historical truth of their origins and of the church for the purpose of deceiving their members into a state of mind that renders them exploitable," says Park Romney, 56.
Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon, doesn't discuss his religion on the stump, and it's generally not considered kosher to challenge him on it, according to Professor Robert Putnam of the Harvard Kennedy School. "Whenever the issue of Romney's Mormonism has come to the surface, there's been lots of condemnation across the political spectrum for raising the issue of his religion," Putnam tells the BBC. "I'm not saying it's not relevant, but it's not talked about in polite company." Park Romney says he's been the victim of the Mormon practice of "shunning" for criticizing the religion. "I'm alienated from my family," he says.