“I do think they should [tell these stories] because it rounds out who he is,” said Rick Wilson, a Florida-based Republican strategist who’s not affiliated with the campaign. “It also shows people that here’s a guy who lives his personal values — he’s not just a politician. The fact that they never made a big deal out of this stuff says something itself.”

Many can’t escape the nagging feeling that it’s a fear of highlighting his Mormonism that keeps these tales out of the political bloodstream.

“I wish Mitt could find a way to just tell the story of his life,” said Richard Bushman, a prominent Mormon academic at Columbia University who has known Romney for years. “He’s a Mormon through and through. We all know that. And he’s lived the Mormon way his whole life.”

Top Romney strategists would not comment for this article, nor would the campaign make Romney available for an interview. But a well-placed source familiar with their thinking said a reluctance of bringing up his religion does indeed factor into why these stories aren’t often told. Also, the source said, the campaign prefers not to engage in an argument over likability against a personally popular president at the expense of fostering Romney’s image as a fix-it man for the economy.