Although the Selective Service Exam radically reduced the chances of college men, especially those with the test-taking skills of most Stanford students, to be conscripted into the Vietnam War, it was no guarantee of long-lasting deferment. There were other, surer, escapes from the Vietnam nightmare. One of the very best was the ministry. In 1966, young men flooded into divinity schools, embarking on careers to be ministers, priests, and rabbis. The Mormons had an even better deal than most religions, because The Church of Latter-Day Saints required each and every one of its young men to become, for at least two years, a “minister of religion.” Thus all Mormon young men could claim deferments as ministers. When the inequity of this arrangement became too blatant, the Selective Service entered into an agreement with the LDS that required the church to specify just one “minister” for each geographical district. Since there were relatively few Mormons in Michigan, and Governor George Romney had considerable influence in the church, Mitt quickly received an official appointment as a Mormon “minister of religion,” consecrated by a draft deferment from the Selective Service. So instead of returning to Stanford, Mitt went off to become a Mormon missionary in France, where he would spend the next two and a half years—while Vietnam became a slaughterhouse for the Vietnamese and many Americans drafted to slaughter them.
So who says that Mitt Romney is inconsistent? After all, what may have been his first recorded public political act was supporting the draft for ordinary Americans, forcing them to participate in a war waged in the interest of his own class.
And here is the one from Salon.
But while telling the truth about his lack of “desire to go off and serve” in 1994, Romney lied again, telling the Boston Herald he didn’t “take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft.” That’s absolutely not true. He got his first deferment while at Stanford University, where in his prep-school prankster phase he counter-protested a Vietnam draft protest. That’s another lie, in a way: While posing as pro-draft and pro-war, he was evading the draft with an “activity in study” deferment. After his freshman year, he got deferment status as “a minister of religion or divinity student,” which he’d keep while working in France as a missionary for his Mormon church.
Yet the AP reveals that other young Mormons were denied that deferment. And since the church itself strongly supported the war, its leaders eventually limited such deferments, but Romney kept his.
After his religious deferment, he got another academic deferment to finish school. By the time he was draft eligible, troop numbers were declining, and his lottery number was never called.