By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series of stories looking at the faith of the leading 2012 presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. We also profiled the faith journey of Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign.
(CNN) – A cop arrived at the roadside wreckage of a June 1968 head-on collision in southern France, took one quick look at the Citroën’s unresponsive driver and, according to one of the driver’s friends, scrawled into the young man’s American passport, “Il est mort” - “He is dead.”
The man at the Citroën’s wheel was Mitt Romney, who may have appeared dead but was very much alive – as is his bid today for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Romney was serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the LDS Church, when tragedy struck. It was a time of turmoil both in France and in the United States. Protests against the Vietnam War raged on, as did French disdain for Americans. Robert Kennedy had recently been assassinated, as had Martin Luther King Jr. a couple months earlier. France was still reeling from a May marked by riots, student demonstrations and crippling worker strikes.
There were six people in the car Romney was driving when friends say an oncoming speeding Mercedes, driven by a Catholic priest, veered into his lane. Among the passengers was mission president Duane Anderson – Romney was serving as his assistant – and Anderson’s wife. Anderson was injured, and Leola Anderson, 57, was killed. Like her husband, she’d been a parent figure to the approximate 180 Mormon missionaries in the field - their surrogate mother away from home. Now, she was gone.
“I don’t think [Romney] went around blaming himself, but in talking about it he’d shed some tears,” remembered Dane McBride, a fellow missionary and Romney friend ever since. “It was a very heavy experience for a 21-year-old.”
The mission president left France for six weeks to bury his wife and heal. A gloom spread over the mission field. Conversions dropped along with Latter-day Saint spirits.
These young men and women, who were already deep in a trying spiritual rite of passage, had to grow up and prove themselves in new ways.
In spite of his grief and a broken arm, Romney and a missionary companion – they always work in pairs – took charge. They traveled around the country visiting the others. Romney lifted up deflated missionaries with silly made-up songs. He taught them to visualize all they could accomplish and challenged them to raise their expectations, McBride said.
Romney increased the conversion goal for the year by 40%, believing they could and would recharge. In the end they surpassed Romney’s goal of baptizing 200 new members into the church.
It wasn’t such a stretch, though, for Romney to distinguish himself. Throughout his life, he’s been rooted in a faith that – whether he talks about it or not – helped shape the man and GOP presidential frontrunner he is today.
‘An American running for president’
Romney hopes to get the nod that eluded him four years ago.
Back then, during his first bid for president, he faced opposition from candidates including Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist minister and favorite of evangelical voters who billed himself as the “Christian leader.”
Romney has faced questions about his faith since first getting into politics in 1994, when he ran for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts against Democratic stalwart Ted Kennedy, whose attack on Romney’s Mormonism failed to gain traction.
Since then Romney, who was later elected Massachusetts governor, has played down his faith on the campaign trail. But he addressed it in a December 2007 speech, hoping to stem voter concerns about his faith and how it might influence him as a president. It was a speech he likened to John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech, when Kennedy was in the running to be America’s first Catholic president.
“Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts explained that he was an American running for president, not a Catholic running for president,” Romney said. “Like him, I am an American running for president. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.”
He said, “No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith,” and that if he were to be elected president, he would “serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest.”
“A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States,” he said. “I believe in my Mormon faith, and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them and to my beliefs. Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it.”
Whether Romney’s confession of faith did sink him was a subject of debate. He hoped to deflect the focus on his religion while not speaking to doctrine or specific beliefs. In the whole speech, he only mentioned the word Mormon once.
Just days later, Huckabee would stir the pot.
“Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” Huckabee said to a New York Times reporter. Huckabee later apologized for the remark.
This time around, Romney remains strong in the polls and counts among his backers New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who endorsed Romney shortly after saying he wouldn’t join the race.
But Romney also has been distracted by pesky background noise. After introducing Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the recent Values Voter Summit, Pastor Robert Jeffress said Republicans shouldn’t vote for Romney because Mormonism is a “cult.”
Despite such efforts to instill doubt in voters, a recent CNN/ORC International poll showed that a candidate’s Mormon faith made no difference to 80% of Americans, and that 51% believed Mormonism was a Christian religion.
Beyond condemning Jeffress’s comments and Perry’s association with the pastor, Romney’s campaign has made it adamantly clear that it doesn’t want to discuss his faith. Repeated attempts to speak with the candidate, his wife, his children, his siblings - and, really, just anyone – about Romney’s faith journey were denied by campaign headquarters. Even the reins it has on those outside the inner circle appear tight. A local LDS Church leader in Michigan, contacted in hopes of finding childhood friends, forwarded CNN’s inquiry to campaign headquarters - prompting yet another slap down.
“What makes no sense to me is how you continue to push forward in writing about Gov. Romney’s faith journey when we’ve made it clear in every way possible that this is not a story we want to participate in,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul wrote in an email.
Mitt Romney -- with wife Ann to his left -- hopes to become the first Mormon U.S. president.
Without talking to him, it’s impossible to say exactly what Romney believes. But what Mormons generally believe is this:
They count themselves as Christian because they accept Jesus Christ as the son of God and believe people are saved through his atonement. They believe the Bible is the word of God, and that the Book of Mormon (subtitled “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”) is, too.
Opinion: Who says Mormons aren't Christian?
They believe The Church of Jesus Christ, which existed long ago, was restored by a prophet named Joseph Smith, who founded the LDS Church in 1830. Central to their belief system is that God still reveals truth to modern-day LDS Church prophets, as well as to individuals – Mormon or otherwise.
Explain it to me: Mormonism | Video: Mormonism defined
They attend weekly services in chapels, also referred to as “wards” or meetinghouses, while their large temples (accessible only to those deemed sufficiently faithful) are utilized for the most important and sacred ceremonies, including baptisms for the dead and celestial marriages - during which couples are “sealed” for eternity. Mormons with temple privileges wear special undergarments as a reminder of their faith, and those who are devoted abstain from alcohol, tea and coffee.
Through faith, prayer and service to others, they strive to be more like Jesus and get closer to God. Latter-day Saints place great emphasis on families, believing that through them – and not alone – people can find a place in the highest level of heavenly society.
Families, Mormons say, can be united forever.
Growing up while abroad
The 19-year-old Mitt Romney who showed up for missionary training was different than the rest.
“Mitt stood out from everyone else,” said Byron Hansen, who flew with Romney to France in July 1966. “He already spoke French pretty darn good, while the rest of us knew ‘bonjour’ and ‘au revoir.’ He immediately jumped out as a leader.”
Romney, like many of the other young men called by church leaders to serve, had finished a year of college before he got his missionary calling. But he’d gone to prestigious Stanford University and came from a privileged and powerful background.
He was worldly, not intimidated, and he was eager to interact with people of different backgrounds, said Hansen, now a car dealer in Brigham City, Utah. “All the rest of us from no-name Utah had never been more than 500 miles away from home.”
Despite the comforts he’d known growing up, Romney wasn’t spoiled. Some apartments that housed missionaries around France lacked heat and water, but had plenty of fleas. Those sorts of conditions likely made Romney appreciate all the more the luxuries of the mission home, located in the ritziest part of Paris, where he worked and lived during the latter part of his two-and-a-half year mission. He and the others there were fed by a Spanish cook and enjoyed the benefits of maids.
What’s more, said fellow missionary and friend Dane McBride, the young men learned what time of day to peer through windows to watch Brigitte Bardot walk her poodles.
The scenery aside, “it was the nicest office I ever worked in,” said McBride, now an allergist and immunologist in Roanoke, Virginia.
Throughout his mission, Romney was the first to get out of bed each morning, forever focused on his goals and the lessons he’d teach, and he stayed gung-ho even when others faltered, Hansen said.
Romney didn’t shy away from approaching anyone. On Saturdays, a free day for missionaries, he’d be done with his laundry by 9 a.m. and coaxing everyone else out the door for bike rides in the mountains, tours in new places or football games.
“He was never one to sit around,” Hansen said. “You had to run to keep up with Mitt.”
He was both pragmatic and creative when it came to sharing Mormon teachings, McBride said.
“Neither of us cared for knocking on doors much,” said McBride, referring to the typical tact for Mormon proselytizing. “But we did it. We did it a lot.”
However, Romney was a big proponent of what McBride called “creative contacting.” In lieu of going door-to-door, he preferred to encourage conversations by building sidewalk kiosks or inviting French locals to play baseball or attend evening parties with American themes – complete with Western wear and guitar strumming.
Being a missionary in largely secular France deepened Romney’s faith because it forced him to wrestle with challenges, steep himself in study and prayer and face plenty of rejection, McBride said. Like others, Romney was no stranger to doors being slammed in his face or getting his behind kicked while heading down apartment stairwells. These sorts of encounters, his friend said, help a person mature and grow.
Establishing a connection with others in the face of adversity is central to the missionary experience, and it’s a skill Romney carries with him today, McBride said.
“Mitt knows how to find common ground with people,” he said. “You learn that being a missionary. … And it’s how you get things done in politics.”
Religious roots that run deep and strong
The groundwork for Romney’s faith journey was laid long before he put on a suit and, armed with his Book of Mormon, boarded a flight for France.
He comes from a long line of Latter-day Saints. Those who like to highlight what makes him different might point to how one of his great-grandfathers fled to Mexico, about 125 years ago, amid U.S. government crackdowns on what Mormons refer to as “plural marriage.” But many multigenerational Mormon families have polygamists in their family tree.
Plural marriage was introduced by church founder Joseph Smith but was officially banned by the church in 1890. Some 38,000 people aligned with fundamentalist offshoots of the LDS Church still practice polygamy, but they are a far cry and completely separate from the 14 million worldwide members in Romney’s church.
Romney’s late father, George Romney, was from modest means. He was born in Mexico to monogamous U.S.-born parents and left during the Mexican Revolution when he was 5. He went on to be CEO and chairman of the now-defunct American Motors Corporation, governor of Michigan and a presidential candidate himself in 1968.
Mitt Romney with his father, George Romney, who made his own mark as a leader in business, the LDS Church and politics.
Growing up Mormon in Michigan made Mitt Romney a member of a distinct minority. There were fewer than 8,000 Mormons in the state in 1945, two years before he was born, according to the LDS Church. It’s been reported that he was the only Mormon in his high school. While Mormon students in Utah could simply stroll across the street from school to attend early morning seminary before the first bell, longtime friend McBride said Romney didn’t have that easy, built-in outlet to strengthen his faith amid peers.
“Neither of us had benefited from that,” said McBride, who also grew up as a Mormon minority in Iowa and North Carolina. “We had been called on in school to defend our faith many times. … I remember from fifth grade on needing to defend my religion.”
Romney’s family, though, was active in the church. In 1952, his father was named Michigan’s first stake president. A stake is comparable to a diocese and has under its umbrella multiple “wards” or congregations, much as a diocese consists of parishes.
The LDS Church does not rely on professional clergy. Instead, church members are called to serve as volunteer leaders while holding down paid jobs. Church leaders rely on other volunteers as advisers. For instance, a ward bishop has two counselors, while a stake president confers with a high council of 12.
Being Michigan’s sole stake president meant Romney’s father – in addition to his full-time corporate work – oversaw ward operations, was the spiritual guide for the Latter-day Saint community and relayed messages from church headquarters in Salt Lake City.
Like many practicing Mormons, the Romneys enjoyed “family home evening” every Monday, a time reserved to pray, study and sing together, McBride said.
Romney has spoken publicly about how his parents took him and his three siblings on mobile American history lessons, McBride said, loading up the family Rambler for cross-country tours to national parks, with stops at places like Mount Rushmore, Valley Forge and Williamsburg.
But McBride said the family also likely visited LDS historical sites, including points along the path westward traveled by Mormon pioneers who followed the call of Joseph Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, and trekked through treacherous conditions to arrive in 1847 in what is now Utah.
While Romney’s parents made sure their children were deeply connected to their country and their faith, Romney didn’t reside in a Mormon bubble. He was part of a bigger and more diverse world.
Ann Davies, the woman he fell for and now calls his wife, was Episcopalian when he met her during high school, and he knew she was the one for him.
After he left for college and then his mission, she began studying Mormonism, attended church with Romney’s parents and converted. He returned from France and proposed to her immediately. After a civil ceremony in Michigan, the two were married and “sealed” for eternity in 1969 during a sacred ceremony in the Salt Lake Temple.
The couple returned to college and began a family at church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, before moving to Boston, where Romney earned law and business degrees at Harvard.
Serving his LDS community
Romney rose in local church leadership while making his corporate mark. Along the way he applied many of the skills he’d displayed earlier, including his knack as a young missionary for turning challenges into possibilities.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, he served as a ward bishop – or part-time pastor – and stake president for the Boston area.
Romney delivered sermons, counseled couples, and made middle-of-the-night hospital runs. He monitored budgets, weighed welfare needs of immigrants and others, and drove outreach to different faith communities. He showed up at the homes of Latter-day Saints in need of help, taking on tasks such as removing bees’ nests.
Philip Barlow, now the chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University, served as a one of two counselors to Bishop Romney in the early 1980s.
Each Saturday, the counselors would meet with Romney in his home in Belmont, a suburb northwest of Boston. And while the work was serious, it didn’t mean Romney always was. Barlow recalled the time Romney busted out with a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and did a formidable moonwalk across the floor.
“The media is always reporting that he can come across as too polished,” Barlow said. “But there’s a real person there.”
Romney also was the kind of leader who built bridges with those suspicious of Mormons. When a chapel under construction in Belmont burned to the ground amid ongoing anti-Mormon sentiment, he turned the perceived arson attack into opportunity.
Non-Mormon churches offered their buildings to accommodate the needs of the displaced Latter-day Saints during the chapel’s reconstruction. While it would have been easier to pick one place to call a temporary home for services, classes and meetings, Romney accepted every viable offer he received – thereby forcing a rotation of interaction with different faith communities.
“It was an inspired move,” said Grant Bennett, who at one time served as a counselor to Romney when he was a bishop and later served on the Boston stake’s high council under Romney when he was president.
Experiencing the kindness of strangers offered relief to Mormons who had been feeling “a little under siege,” said Bennett, who first got to know Romney through church in 1978 and worked with him for five years at Bain & Company, a global consulting firm that Romney eventually led as CEO.
“In a religious context, Mormons are very good at serving each other and are often hesitant to accept help,” he said. “I think Mitt had the fundamental insight … that we’d be better off and [the other churches would] be blessed by helping us.”
It was the sort of decision perhaps born of being in the minority in Michigan and learning early to honor religious pluralism, said Bennett, now president of CPS Technologies, a high-tech manufacturing firm in the Boston area.
On the campaign trail and with media, Romney hopes to focus on matters other than faith.
In his religious roles, Romney had to delegate and call others to serve. Sometimes he believed in people more than they believed in themselves.
Andy Anderson, a retired researcher and writer in Kaysville, Utah, first got to know Romney amid tragedy. It was Anderson’s mother who was killed in the 1968 car wreck in France, and when his father returned to Paris, Anderson, his wife and children went along.
When Romney later moved to Anderson’s neighborhood in Massachusetts, Anderson said he helped Romney and his family settle in.
In 1989, Anderson said he was minding his own research business when Romney, then the Boston stake president, called him for a meeting. A group of new converts Anderson described as “Cambodian boat people” – united formally as a “branch,” which is smaller and less developed than a ward - had suddenly lost its president without warning.
In shock, he listened as Romney said, “Guess who’s the next branch president?”
Anderson said he’d been raised to accept church callings. But between the language barrier, the cultural differences, the poverty and the responsibility, this one seemed too much. He begged and pleaded with Romney. He told him he was unqualified, that he’d “never been president of anything.” He said, “It sounds like a really bad fit, Mitt.” But Romney wasn’t swayed.
“Andy, you know where this comes from,” Romney answered, referring to the Mormon belief that God can reveal truths to individuals. “It’s not me. You go talk to Him and tell me when you’re ready.”
For the next three years Anderson said he oversaw the poorest people in the Boston stake. The overwhelming task “nearly killed me,” he said. But along the way he not only fell in love with the community, he learned to believe in himself and see that he could be a leader.
“I count Mitt as a friend, and it has been a real pleasure to work under him,” he said. “If he was a real pain to work for, I’d know it. I’ve worked for people in the church I couldn’t stand.”
Women’s view of Romney
The Romney reviews from Latter-day Saint women in the Boston area were more mixed.
In the early 1970s, as the feminist movement gained steam, a group of Mormon women began gathering in Cambridge to explore the history of women in their church. They were looking for role models, stories that would inspire them.
With the help of LDS Church historians, they learned about their female ancestors and wrote a book, “Mormon Sisters: Women in Early Utah.” They discovered that a women’s newspaper, Women’s Exponent, was published in the late-19th and early-20th centuries and featured women’s writings that Judy Dushku described as “very feminist in their views.”
“We were reading about women we’d never heard of before,” said Dushku, a Suffolk University professor of government with an interest in gender. She and other “founding mothers” were moved to start a new publication, now a quarterly magazine: Exponent II.
That decision, however, was not received well by the LDS Church, Dushku said. She said the fact that it was independent and had no stamp of approval from church higher-ups, all of them men, rubbed some - including Romney - the wrong way.
Dushku said Romney encouraged friends to tell their wives not to participate. He made it clear he didn’t want the women behind the publication holding meetings on church property. Dushku and the others suspected it was under his direction that copies of the magazine displayed in congregations got dumped in wastebaskets.
The LDS Church is patriarchal in nature. Only men can serve as bishops, stake presidents and in higher leadership roles, including the combined post of church president and prophet. Only men are welcome in the priesthood, which in Mormon circles means having the authority, for example, to perform baptisms and offer sacramental blessings.
Dushku decided she could live with this and remains a faithful Mormon. She said she and the others simply wanted an outlet for women to discuss issues unique to them. And while what they created may have seemed “radical” back then, she says there are Mormon women bloggers today who push boundaries much more than Exponent II ever did.
What got to Dushku about Romney was less his reaction to the magazine and more how she saw him treat women he was in a position to comfort and support as a local church leader.
Dushku has told the story of a woman, a mother of four, who was pressured by then-Bishop Romney to go forward with a pregnancy despite advice from doctors that a medical complication made it too dangerous.
She also recalled the story of a meeting between Romney and a woman whose ex-husband had been excommunicated from the church because of numerous affairs he’d had while serving as a bishop.
The woman asked Dushku to accompany her to the meeting, where Romney encouraged the woman to forgive her philandering ex so he could be re-baptized into the church and marry another woman.
The problem, Dushku said, is that the husband had never bothered to apologize to the wife he’d hurt, a fact she said Romney didn’t seem to care much about.
Since speaking out to media recently, Dushku said she’s been flooded with responses from Facebook friends. Most of the reactions are positive, thanking her for her courage.
But some friends have suggested she back off.
“How can you blame someone who has so many responsibilities?” one friend wrote. “He was young,” said another. “People change.”
Dushku said she affords Romney the possibility he may have changed, that he might handle such situations differently today.
“But compassion is a character quality,” she said. “I doubt he’s much different now.”
Her take on Romney, though, doesn’t jibe with that of Helen Claire Sievers, executive director of Harvard’s WorldTeach program, which brings volunteer teachers to developing countries.
Sievers, who’s been involved with Exponent II on and off since its inception, was the Boston stake activity director when Romney was stake president. She recalled being at a meeting in Dushku’s house in Watertown, outside of Boston, when women began wondering aloud about how their local church might better empower women.
“Often leadership in the Mormon church tends to pull far to the right, to out-orthodox the orthodox,” said Sievers, who later proposed to Romney that he should meet with the Boston LDS women to hear their frustrations and suggestions. Romney was willing to have such a meeting, even though it bucked the comfort level of church headquarters.
“I was really impressed that Mitt felt strongly that even if he could get in trouble with the hierarchy, he really wanted to hear what the women that were under his stewardship had to say so that they would feel as comfortable as possible in church,” Sievers said.
As a result of the meeting, which drew more than 150 participants, Sievers said adjustments were made, including allowing women to say opening prayers at church meetings. Romney didn’t have the power to change church doctrine, but Sievers said he could and did bend the norm to make women feel heard and more respected.
“Many Mormon men wouldn’t make that choice,” she said.
Serving outside the stake and ward
In his fulltime work life, Romney showed that his commitment to serving others extended beyond those in his ward or stake. His religious values came through in business decisions – sometimes trumping opportunities for financial gain.
Robert Gay, who was once a managing partner at Bain Capital, the venture capital firm Romney founded, recalled how Romney refused to put investment dollars into a deal with Artisan Entertainment because he didn’t want to profit from R-rated films.
But of greater note to Gay - who once served on the Boston stake’s high council with Romney - was something Romney did for him in 1996.
After Gay’s 14-year-old daughter went missing for three days in New York, Romney shut down Bain Capital in Boston and flew about 50 employees to New York to help find her.
The girl, who lived with her family in Connecticut, disappeared after going to a concert in Manhattan. Romney and the other Bain Capital executives put their “$1 billion investment firm” on hold, created a “war room” at a hotel, paid to print 200,000 fliers, set up a toll free hotline number and enlisted the help of a private investigator, the Boston Globe reported at the time.
They canvassed streets and talked to runaways. The girl was found in a New Jersey home, “dazed from a disorienting dose of a drug,” the Globe reported.
It’s not a story Gay likes to retell, though he did record a video testimonial about it during Romney’s 2008 presidential bid. Today, Gay would rather offer other insights, including the time another Bain Capital partner suddenly fell very ill and was hospitalized. Romney was the first person to show up for a visit at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Gay now lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, and manages an equity fund with Jon Huntsman Sr., father of another GOP Mormon presidential hopeful. Gay called Romney “a devout Christian,” someone who has always been committed to “leading a good and purposeful life.”
What faith means for future
Romney, like the other prospective candidates for president, will remain under the microscope in the months ahead.
His past will be combed, his policies scrutinized, his record examined.
How much his Mormon faith plays into his political journey remains to be seen. But whether he likes it, whether his campaign can control it, the fact that he may be on track to become the first Mormon president in U.S. history will garner attention.
It’s a reality that Romney friends like McBride acknowledge, even if it disappoints them.
“The issues of his church are not the issues of this country. Those are personal issues,” he said. “I hate to see further articles [about his faith], but, on the other hand, what do you do?”
STOP AND READ CAREFULLY !!! --------------–
Romney believes that the horn-blowing angel Moroni appeared to the con artist Joe Smith. Not good for someone who wants to be president of any group !!! Obama "mouths" that he is Christian i.e. believes in gay Gabriel and war-mongering Michael the Archangel and Satan. BO's support of abortion however vitiates his Christianity as he is the leader of the Immoral Majority who are now the largest voting block in the country. Immoral Majority you ask??
The 78 million voting "mothers and fathers" of aborted womb babies !!! (2012 -1973 Rowe vs. Wade = 39 years.
39 x 2 million = 78 million.
Abortion rate in the USA as per the CDC is one million/yr.
And the presidential popular vote in 2008? 69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM. The population of the Immoral Majority in 2008? ~ 70 million !!!!!!
Millions of people believe that Moses and Elias appeared to Jesus, Peter, James and John on the mount. Explain to me how Moroni, appearing to Joseph Smith is different or stranger.
I'm wondering what exit poll from the 2008 general election did did you get those results from. Those are very high and specific numbers for a randomly selected poll.
The passages describing the Transfiguration have been analyzed by most contemporary NT scholars. Many find said story to be non-historical i.e. more Christian mumbo jumbo just like the myth of Moroni and Smith.
e.g. See Professor Gerd Ludemann's conclusions in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 61 and http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=184_Transfiguration_of_Jesus
No exit poll required. See http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/fe2008/2008presgeresults.pdf for the complete results of said election.
@ Reality "Many find said story to be non-historical". Really, as opposed to all who say that said story is non-historical. So, we have conflicting views between scholars. That helps establish reality how?
@Reality, I checked the results on that web site you listed. I didn't see any official stats regarding abortion views. It was dealing with specific election reults from 2008 that were actually on the ballot. There was no measure on any ballot listed regarding abortion.
STOP WRITING, SERIOUSLY !!! ----––
@Reality.. The basic f ing premise of Christianity is that a ruddy angel came down to impre.gnate a chick so she could give birth to the "savior". How in the world is that any worse from an angel with a horn appearing to some dude..
Abject observer would say, both the statements above are logically similar and would either be true together or false together..
Statistics beyond the popular vote for president in 2008
FIRST-YEAR CON-TRACEPTIVE FAILURE RATES- from the Guttmacher Insti-tute
"Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)
Pill (combined) 8.7
Tubal sterilization 0.7
Male condom 17.4
Periodic abstinence 25.3
Ovulation Method 3.0
No method 85.0"
More facts about contraceptives from
"CON-TRACEPTIVE METHOD CHOICE
Cont-raceptive method use among U.S. women who practice con-traception, 2002
Method No. of users (in 000s) % of users
Pill 11,661 30.6
Male condom 6,841 18.0 "
The pill fails to protect women 8.7% during the first year of use (from the same reference previously shown).
i.e. 0.087 (failure rate)
x 62 million (# child bearing women)
x 0.62 ( % of these women using contraception )
x 0.306 ( % of these using the pill) =
1,020,000 unplanned pregnancies
during the first year of pill use.
For male condoms (failure rate of 17.4 and 18% use level)
1,200,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of male condom use.
The Gut-tmacher Inst-itute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate
(35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).
o Conclusion: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the pill or condoms properly and/or use other methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs
With respect to the holy spirit/ghost's impregnation of a young peasant girl aka Mary:
The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
@Reality.. I totally agree with your reasoning.. I think that what you said is most likely what happened in the history (even though I am sure a number of devout believers will disagree with us on that.. )
But did you notice that you just disproved the existence of two of the three strong pillers on which the entire religion exists (the holy trinity).. Since Christ was conceived in human way, the existence of holy spirit, and it being the cause for mary's conception is false. Since Christ is just a human teacher.. he is not a son of god..
Now, if two of the holy trinity are proven to be false, why should the third be true? i.e., why should the existence of God be true?
Almost all the other christian presidents believed that God spoke to Moses through a burning bush. I don't find it weird that an angel may have spoken to someone. Whether it is true or not I don't find either it strange. I just wish everyone could understand that different beliefs and backgrounds are enculturating and wonderful.
A 21st Century Update for presidents, candidates and the rest of humanit:
origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.
New Torah For Modern Minds
“Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.
Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.
The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."
Oh, haha. I love it when Christians poke at Mormons. Do they not see the irony? Are they SO blind as to not see that others could see the Christian masses in the same way?
From the looks of some of the comments I've read Mitt Romney is the prophet of the Mormon church.... wow... what kind of idiots post that kind of stuff
Wow... there is a ton of hatred towards the Mormons... I thought that we were much more tolerant... and besides Mitt Romney doesn't represent his religion any more than any other candidate.... They aligned themselves with what they thought was the best path for them.... I don't understand... this article was meant to help people understand him and how his religion formed him... not how his religion is bad... focus on the topic people
As if anyone of religious faith is truly tolerant of anyone else.
Would you object to a Mosque being built on your child's public school campus? ;)
If you grow up in Idaho, Utah, or parts of Arizona you will be subjected to Mormon influence right on your public high school campus:
1) The Mormon seminary is on or adjacent to the public school campus (in my case it was on, and I mean ON, campus).
2) Taxpayers pay for parking lots, cross walks, crossing lights, etc for the Mormon seminaries.
3) Mormon students are given credit for seminary courses. In the old days they were allowed to skip American History (So they wouldn't learn the truth about Mormon militia insurrections?)
Needless to say non-Mormons often feel intimidation, fear, and religious pressures in these PUBLIC schools.
Mitt Romney supports this kind of blurring of church and state – at least for his own religion.
Ask Mitt if he will support Mosques and Buddhist temples on those same public campuses. ;)
We didn't get credit, we got release time. But we could get suspended from school if they found out you were skipping seminary. It's convenient and makes it so kids don't have to get up terribly early to go to seminary. I enjoyed it, and no one forced me to go it was my own choice, and I doubt it did you any harm. Sorry you had a bad experience.
Did you feel left out for not going to seminary... All is welcome for release time:) or are you pouting?
you're wrong actually, the church pays for the land, the church thus the parking lot is paid. and I'm sure he wouldn't care about your buddhist temples being built, everyone has freedom and he probably believes in that.
Considering that Mitt Romney has been a governor of state that is definitely not predigiously Latter-Day-Saint (LDS), how strong has his pushing of LDS influence been compared to other governors of MA who were of different faiths? It seems rather odd to me especially concerning the flip-flopping of certain political issues that Mitt Romney has taken.
Who recalls ever specifically studying about studying Mormon militia insurrections while takng American History in High School?
When the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints builds a Seminary building for education of Mormons in grades 9-12, it builds on its own land, NOT on land belonging to the school district. Released time to allow public school students to attend religious education at a church-owned building was specifically confirmed by the US Supreme Court as consistent with the First Amendment decades ago. People who are upset by Mormons having a building near a public school need to recognize that public schools only control their own land. They do not control businesses, or privbate homes, or churches, or clubs that are on their OWN private property. Mormons do NOT sponsor clubs on school grounds after school, like some Christian groups, or like gay and lesbian advocacy groups. Mormons do not run religious schools that take public aid from the state, such as secular textbooks, though that is a practice approved by the Supreme Court in states with substantial numbers of parochial schools. In some communities, other Christian churches have built their own religious education buildings to allow students belonging to their churches to use released time for religious education. For example, near the public high school in Utah that my wife attended, there was a Catholic religious education building. These are examples of religious freedom and diversity.
He would support other religions because he believes in the 11th Article of Faith
"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."
I got that from the LDS website. http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,106-1-2-1,FF.html
Catholics also get out of school early in some areas for Ash Wednesdays.
I don't care what other people say about Romney,I believe he is the right person fit to be the president of USA.I am a chinese i have adifferent culture compare to american people.If Mitt is the coosen one to lead America...then so beit...
Did you know that YOU wouldn't have been allowed to go on a mission or enter the priesthood prior to 1978? ;)
The Mormon church was forced by the IRS to allow people of color or lose their tax-free status. (Any people of color – not just blacks.)
Google "Black People Mormon Church 1978"
actually i think it was exclusively black people.
@ Please do not...You're off stop misleading people.
Yeah, the MagicUnderwear guy is just trying to get others to hate Mormons. He'll say anything, and in this case he makes up lies about the Chinese and the priesthood. Smart people see through this and dismiss it, while not-so-smart people fall victim to it and even enlist in the attacks sometimes. Christ would never say things like this about others, which makes me think that these attackers are not Christian, but atheists or a false Christian.
From 1849 to 1978, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) had a policy against ordaining black men of African descent to the priesthood.
Proof that the mormon church is filth and garbage:
The Mormon Church teaches that black people are descendents of Cain, and that dark skin is a curse, and was the sign that God placed upon Cain.
Joseph Fielding Smith said, "There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we had an estate before we came here, and were obedient; more or less, to the laws that were given us there." This is quoted from the Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 1.
And to get back to our friend Brigham Young, listen to what he had to say on the subject: "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." Journal of Discourses Vol.10.
"Any man having one drop of the seed of Cain in him cannot receive the priesthood." Quoted in "That Ye May Not Be Deceived", on page 3)
...and from 1849 to 1978 members of your "Christian" faith were lynching those black people.
It amazes me how many black people are of a "Christian" faith after what their owners did to them. At least Mormons didn't EVER have slaves, even between those years you mentioned. As for the membership in the church, the black community has always been welcomed as members, and Joseph Smith gave his own donkey to a black man so it could be sold to keep the man's family alive. Joseph wasn't racist, and your attempts to make him and Mormons racist is as credible as that anti-mormon link you posted.
Very informative article. Thanks.
Matt, meet Mitt.
(I'm sorry, I just couldn't help it.)
Who cares? Since when did faith and religion have anything to do with a being President? Everyone of these guys says exactly what they think you want to hear, faith being the biggest lie and then shortly thereafter, seem to get caught with their hand in some congressional assistant. Wake up!
Anyone who studies the new testament to try to understand the context of events of the Savior's ministry will learn that he was labeled a criminal by the Pharisees and Sadducees (who were the religious leaders that part of the world during that time) because they felt threatened by Jesus. You MUST have an agenda not to believe him, and so did they. They didn't want to loose power over their religious followers. Now... why is every single evangelical, protestant, episcopal leader of a congregation is attacking Mormonism through Mitt Romney? Could it be for the fact that the life of the American president gets a lot of attention, and irrevocably, many people would learn more about Mormonism just because of the way a Mormon president would conduct himself, thus sparking a desire in many people to learn about Mormonism? Would the same thing that is happening to Mormonism happen to a Jewish candidate? Jehovah Witness? Muslim? Buddhist? Atheist? Many, many, many of those preachers are directly involved in politics, and those two aspects of life should not be mixed! Our country needs the most competent person to be president, regardless of their belief. Fear makes so many people do or say sooo many ignorant things... what are we really that afraid Romney as an man could be the best person for the job right now?
Belief is a demonstration of incompetence.
Yes, if we exclude a candidate based on his religion, we are actually promoting a state sponsored religion since only those of certain religions can run.
Tonia said "Belief is a demonstration of incompetence?"
Well, Romney has shown he is competent in many areas: Harvard law degree, Harvard business degree, successful husband, successful father and grandfather, successful bishop, successful business man, successful turnaround CEO for the Olympics, successful governor, successful debater, successful 59 point plan on turning around our failing economy (no other candidates even attack his plan let alone debunk it).
No other candidate has that much competence, and all candidates (and the president himself) believe in a bible that teaches us about animals magically loading onto an ark, a donkey that talks, a man living in a whale, parting seas, magical plagues, people rising from the dead, and so on. While those may seem "incompetent" to some, when taken in context, the lessons they provide are the basics for what teach men to actually be competent and have morals and values. To not believe in books like the bible, is to lack competence and be morally void or confused as to one's direction in this life and the life to come.
John – I know that you are a thief, a racist, a devil worshiper, BRAINWASHED. ...There, now that I've said it, it must be FACT !
Go grow a brain!
Here you go John. This is the current list of general authorities for the church.
Thank you for the link to the prophet, 12 apostles and quorum of the 70. Here are some more good links:
Joshua called 12 men: http://lds.org/scriptures/ot/josh/4.4?lang=eng#3 (Joshua 4:40
Jesus called 12 men: http://lds.org/scriptures/nt/luke/6.13?lang=eng#12 (Numbers 11:16)
Moses called 70 men: http://lds.org/scriptures/ot/num/11.16?lang=eng#15 (Luke 6:13)
Jesus called 70 men: http://lds.org/scriptures/nt/luke/10.1?lang=eng#primary (Luke 10:1)
The Church of Jesus Christ today has a prophet like Moses, 12 apostles who represent the 12 tribes, and 70 men who also serve the people, just as in the Old and New Testament. No other church claims on earth today claims to be called directly from God or has the same organization structure found in both the Old and New Testaments. There is Another Testament on earth today, called the Book of Mormon (like the books in the bible it is a collection of ancient prophets speaking about their day and prophesying about our day). God's reason for this Testament is to fix the problem of one bible, yet hundreds of Christian churches on earth teaching their own version of that one bible. "For God is not the author of confusion..." (1 Cor. 14:33)
To read the Book of Mormon click here:
Joe boy smith was a scam artist. He made a living trying to find treasures using a seer stone. He owned two of them. A couple guys got together and made up some metal tablets and buried them. Joe boy found them and "translated" them. It was later found to be a hoax. Joe boy was proven to be a scam artist. Same thing goes for his "translation" of some Egyptian papers he'd purchased. Old joe boy was proven once again to be a liar. And the gold books? lol Ever seen the writing? It's obviously made up. mormons are living a lie based on the work of a scam artist that got shot multiple times in a jail. People saw him for what he was and rightfully exterminated him.
Very intelligent comeback. Hopefully it didn't take you more than 30 seconds to regurgitate what your pastor has taught you about Mormons. I'm sure your ignorant recitation will impress someone, but I doubt that someone will be God.
Now ask yourself, if you saw a Mormon, a black man, and a jew walking down the road, which would you thump first? Fortunately, Mormons don't hang out in the South with rednecks like you, so your choice just got easier. I'm sure you can handle a 50/50 question, but you still might want to run it through your pastor ... just in case.
LMb, show me proof & I will go away, & again I am sure Jesus is very proud of you for worshiping Joe smith with his many wives & many slaves. can you say BRAINWASHED! My friend you are the idiot who is in this Cult, Yea I said Cult. Facts are Facts, Would yould like to hear the thing your cult said about the men of dark skin, Well you are going to anyway, A racist is a racist!
John really, your arrogant. Don't write lies please... obviously you have serious issues with the LDS church. It's unfortunate because they do a lot of good in the world.
you need to open your eyes and let love in man. Stop trying to reason everything. LET IT BE
The problem with that, Ash, is that if you reason gives us a tool to search for the truth. People who are content with comforting lies are perpetual children waiting for some adult to tell them what to do, and that is a very irresponsible and potentially dangerous position to take. Check out this link if you want to see what happens when you stop trying to reason and just let the love in.
Nobody worships Joseph Smith anymore than we worship Moses who was a murderer.
@ InTheDogHouse - While you are correct that Mormons don't worship Joseph Smith or Moses, we also don't think Moses was a murderer.
Jehovah parted the red sea that killed the Egyptians, so in that sense I guess some would say God is a murderer. But in reality, God is a father who was protecting one set of children to keep His promise to Abraham, while returning the bad Egyptian children back home to Him. God's view is much much larger than our narrow view. What we see as death, God sees as the next stage in a process that never ends, called eternity.
Reading many of these posts it's not hard at all to distinguish between the intelligent people and the complete idiots. Enough said.
Hi, again every lds member knows exactly who I am talking about, yet they are all trained to deny the fact that the top tiers of this cult are run exclusively by 0 minorities, just white racist who handle the biz of raking in the doe & taking advantage of 0 taxes. Its an absolute fact, they need to be non tax exempt for there non minority back door policies that heavily discriminate against those of color! Thanks & GOD BLESS THE USA
It seems like everyone in America is trained to deny the fact that our president (Obama) attended an anti-white church. Please, just because a Black man isn't the prophet, doesn't mean that the church is racist. We have a black man in the Quorum of the Seventy. In no way are we racist, AMERICA IS! Maybe, that's why they let blacks have the preisthood in 1978. Because they had to wait for a time for the world to stop being racist, it was a people issue. If you ask me, we are still a racist nation.
Well said commenter.
no, they're still rasciest
Dale & Holly, put up or shut up! Let me see the members from the Prez on down in your So called religion. White, Whiter & Whitest, yes everyone knows there are black lds members , You know that I am specificly talking about the ones that are the highest ranking, 0, 0, 0
Dale, you know exactly what I am talking about, Highest ranging 0 , 0 , 0 , 0 Prove me wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Holly, so let me get this straight, God called down & said, Let the blacks in the priesthood. Are you really that brainwashed! 1 more time, WHY ARE THERE NO BLACKS IN THE HIGHEST POSITIONS OF THE CHURCH?????? ITS 2012 ALMOST. THE KKK WOULD BE SO PROUD OF YOUR SO CALLED RELIGION! Thanks & God Bless America & Freedom of Speech.
Holly , could you name 1 black in the 12 or even next 70 within the Lds?
Joseph W. Histati- First Quorum of the Seventy
sorry its Sitati not Histati
wow john... she owned u and u just keep talking
Holly, It is a fact that Joseph Smith had many slave & many wives. It is also a fact that there is 0 Elders of color in the 14 million members. Its 2012 almost. Its also a fact that in 1978 the us government made the lds make black members eligble for the priesthood or revoke there tax exempt status. I think its only fair if they force the issue again to this all white , whiter & whitest cult. Thank you for this discussion which is very much needed to cope with racism in our society.
You are either an idiot or a lier. There are 3 black elders in my ward alone. Where do you come up with this crap?
Joseph FREED many slaves. You know it wasn't until Brigham Young was the prophet that we had the ban
What a wonderful story.
Hey Jon, would you like to hear the awful thing said about the dark man from your so called religion, please just ask me.
Hey man, it was a myth, never official doctrine at all. Did you know that if you die before getting baptized (no matter what transgressions you make), then you get to go to the celestial kingdom (because we believe that men must be punished for their own sins and not for Adams trangression i.e. no original sin). So I wonder why a poor malnourished girl in Africa, wouldn't be able to go to the celestial kingdom? If you ask me she was more worthy of going to the celestial kingdom.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.