Of course, to avoid sounding primitive, modern believers (not just Mormons) have rebranded “spells” with the more acceptable-sounding “religious practices.”
But a rose is a rose. The Mormons’ spell of choice for helping out Romney, reported in the Salt Lake Tribune by Peggy Fletcher Stack, is fasting combined with prayer. Mormons teach that backing up prayer with fasting—for them, skipping two meals—makes God more likely to hear and act.
The concept of self-denial to obtain divine approbation is not unique to Mormons. Consider Lenten pledges, self-flagellation and other religiously motivated forms of self-denial or torture. At these, however, the irony lost on them, Mormons tend to scoff.
Mormons who fast for Mitt are acting on their own. The Mormon Church has a policy against endorsing political candidates. The church learned the hard way in its early years that endorsing candidates wasn’t smart. For one thing, Mormon voting blocs added to the angst their presence invoked in their neighbors, which angst their neighbors oft expressed by driving them out of the state. For another, Mormon founder Joseph Smith was more than once duped by smooth talking candidates who, once elected, betrayed him. Funny how God could be troubled to tell Smith not to drink booze or coffee (Smith continued drinking them anyway), but not to warn him about forked-tongued politicians.
Anyway. If in the next few weeks you happen to note your Mormon friends staring longingly at your dining table, you’ll know why.