Oct. 8 - The birthplace of Mitt Romney's Mormonism lies not in the United States but in grimy disease-ridden 19th century England. The Republican presidential candidate's ancestors converted to the faith in Preston before setting sail to America setting off a chain of events that now sees Romney challenge Obama for the most powerful job in the world. Georgina Cooper reports.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NO ACCESS USA/CNN/AOL/YAHOO/WIRELESS**~ This rain-soaked square in Preston, northwest England, is the spot where the Mormon roots of Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney lie. 175 years ago, his great great grandparents, Miles and Elizbabeth Romney stopped to listen to Mormon missionaries and they liked what they heard, according to historian Elizabeth Basquill. SOUNDBITE: ELIZABETH BASQUILL, LOCAL HISTORIAN, SAYING (English): "They used to have Mormon missionaries come to for a visit to their house on a Sunday, so they obviously got very involved in that short period of time with the Mormon Church." This is the exact spot on Preston's River Ribble where in 1837 the first Mormon baptisms took place, and as historian Aidan Turner Bishop explains it became the birthplace of Mormonism in Europe. SOUNDBITE: LOCAL HISTORIAN AIDAN TURNER-BISHOP, SAYING (English): "That is where it all began. That is the River Jordan of European Mormonism." The Preston area is now home to Europe's largest Mormon community, many of whom worship at this temple. There are detailed family records, documenting the lives of the British Romney's both before and after they emigrated. The congregation is proud to have such a high-profile believer who could one day be in the White House. SOUNDBITE: BISHOP MICHAEL TURNER, SAYING (English): "I think it's an exciting time for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. To have a candidate who is a member of the church is fascinating, it's interesting for us." But for Mitt Romney, his faith and English roots remain a sensitive issue, partly because his Mormon religion is still regarded with suspicion by some voters.