As Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s voluminous tax returns sink into the American psyche, some line items stand out for sheer size, most notably his contributions to the Mormon church.

According to his 2010 tax returns and 2011 estimate, the former Massachusetts governor donated a total of $4.13 million to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over those years.

Tithing at a 10 percent level of income is required of observant Mormons. Church founder Joseph Smith wrote that members of the faith “shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.”

A slew of poll results over the past year, from Gallup and the Pew Center to CNN and ABC, have all shown that Americans’ attitudes toward Mr. Romney’s Mormon faith may play a decisive role in his campaign.

Now that the strength of his religious conviction has a dollar sign attached to it, the question arises: Will his tithing invigorate the uneasiness that many Americans, including evangelicals and some other Protestants, have toward the Mormon church and its adherents?

Continue Reading on