This could be a problem for Mitt Romney. A new book alleges while he was serving as a Mormon Bishop in the 1980's, he threatened a pregnant single mother with excommunication if she didn't give up her baby for adoption.
The incident may contribute to the confusion and suspicion surrounding Romney's LDS faith. Buzzfeed's McKay Coppins summarizes the situation as excerpted in Vanity Fair.
Peggie Hayes had converted to Mormonism as a teenage along with her family, and told the book’s authors, Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, that for a long time she found comfort in the faith’s teachings. After returning to the congregation as a 23-year-old divorced single mother, she soon got pregnant with a second child. Knowing she was in need of financial assistance, the Romneys arranged for her to do odd jobs for members of the congregation.
But while Hayes considered Romney a friend, he was also her bishop—which meant it was his job to pass along sometimes-harsh church counsel. The tension between the two relationships came to the forefront one day when he came over to her apartment, and encouraged her to turn her son over to the church’s adoption agency when he was born. (The church’s position is that if a happy marriage between parents of a newborn seems unlikely, adoption is preferable to single parenting.)
Hayes was offended by the suggestion, and told Romney she would never give up her son. But, according to Hayes, Romney told her, “Well, this is what the church wants you to do, and if you don’t, then you could be excommunicated for failing to follow the leadership of the church.”
According to the book’s authors, Romney would later deny that he ever threatened excommunication, and a review of the LDS church guidelines shows that the church does not often excommunicate members in situations like this. As bishop, Romney didn’t have unilateral authority to excommunicate Hayes--that decision would have been made by a council of regional lay leaders after discussing the matter with her—and failing to give up a child for adoption is not considered a grave sin.