As the Vietnam War raged in the 1960s, Mitt Romney received a deferment from the draft as a Mormon “minister of religion” for the duration of his missionary work in France, which lasted two and a half years.
Before and after his missionary deferment, Romney also received nearly three years of deferments for his academic studies. When his deferments ended and he became eligible for military service in 1970, he drew a high number in the annual lottery that determined which young men were drafted. His high number ensured he was not drafted into the military.
The deferments for Mormon missionaries became increasingly controversial in the late 1960s, especially in Utah, leading the Mormon Church and the government to limit the number of church missionaries who could put off their military service. That agreement called for each church ward, or church district, to designate one male every six months to be exempted from potential duty for the duration of his missionary work.
Romney’s home state was Michigan, making his 4-D exemption as a missionary all but automatic because of the relatively small number of Mormon missionaries from that state.
That is a Web exclusive from part one of the Boston Globe’s ambitious seven-part series that began Sunday, “The Making of Mitt Romney.” Part two looks at Romney’s mission in France. So far, Romney’s Mormon faith has caused him a lot of grief as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.
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