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?”
I am not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Laterday Saints (Morman Church)
But I find it to be hard for Mitt Romney to stand in front of people
presenting himself to be a Morman, without the Blessings of the President of the Church, or the Elders.
And were they to consider doing something like that, which I would personally find to be a strech of faith
after some of the out landish suggestions that he has made.
When it comes to Reliigion, and are Mormans Christians? I think that most are beyond that.
Especial when you drag out Southern Baptists as Christians, who lead, financed and served in the KKK!
Neither a demostation of anything that I could Idenify back to being a Christian?
But his out and out war mongering, insistance on the Defense Budget over everything
tells me where he is at....he's the 3rd reincarnation of GW Bush, with Obama being the 2nd.
I personally didnot like anything that either one of them has done agaist America!
The LDS Church does not approve or disapprove of who runs for different offices of government. The First Presidency of the Church would not have a say in what Mitt Romney does or does not do. That is up to Mit. Are you asking the same thing about Harry Reid? He is LDS, or Orin Hatch? Or the MANY LDS that are in politics?
You have to understand how the Church works to understand they will not influence Mitt's policies or how he governs at all. It is not their place.
Here in the good ol US of A, whenever the election cycle starts up, a letter from LDS headquarters in Salt Lake City is read over the pulpit in each congregation, which says, in effect; the LDS church will not take sides in the political debate. We (church leadership) encourage each person to study the issues and determine which candidate best represents their views. Participation in the political process is encouraged as the USA is a representative form of government. Church buildings are not to be used for political meetings and church membership directories are not to be used either.
Once, when Joseph Smith was asked how he led such a diverse group of people (northerners, people from the South, from England and Europe, etc.), he replied, "We teach them correct principles and they learn to govern themselves."
You have to respect a religion that expects you to study an issue, contemplate upon its ramifications, then act as you feel you should without coercion from others. Think of it; Harry Reed, Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck are all Mormons in good standing! How broad of an tent do you need?
There are rules against religious organizations outright endorsing political candidates. That's how they maintain their tax breaks, that our government gives them.
That's the reason, plain and simple. They just want to keep from paying taxes, like everyone else. They figure if they rant and rave enough about gays and abortion, you'll figure out who they want you to vote for anyway.
I really liked this quote:
"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."
We need a president who won't get us bankrupt!
I agree! We neeeeeeeeeed finanical stability more than ever before!!!
Yes! I agree!
There is a big difference between "financial gain" and financial pain. Would you prefer someone who would sell out his (or our) values in order to make a buck? I guess there are plenty of candidates out there who would satisfy that characteristic.
"He does exist, you're failure to see him hardly proves that he doesn't."
Nor does your dogmatic assertion prove anything.
Muslims claim that the Prophet Mohammad rode a horse to the Moon.
You cannot disprove that claim no matter how hard you try, so you'd better believe it, right ?
A reply to the wrong post. Sorry.
So, you want a president who would, say, take $500B from some country to drop a nuke where they wanted. Gee if we did that 28 times we would have a budget surplus...and we have lots more nukes!
The point...in this extreeme example the consequences would far outweigh short term ecconomic advantage. In many more subtle points of decision, ethical considerations must out weigh dollars.
It is possible that we should seek a candidate with a double strength: The proven capacity to make tons of bucks in complex environments, and the proven ethical strength to bypass some "opportunities" for bucks... 'cause it's not right?
Are you insane?
Mitt Romney made his money at a private equity firm. They bought companies, laid off their employees, and sold off pieces of what was left to turn a profit. (did you ever see the first Wall Street movie? ... that's what he did).
Sorry, but that's not serving others. That's serving yourself. Incidentally, Mitt served himself to the tune of a couple hundred million dollars.
You don't want to be bankrupt at the expense of what??? He clearly has been a fabulous businessman and was doing well enough to be able to turn down opportunities that he felt weren't in the best interests of his company. So we should have a president with no moral values as long as he doesn't bankrupt our nation?? I hate to break it to you but we are pretty much at the point of bankruptcy and it would be nice to see some values in the White House for a change.
Mormons, Christians, and other cultists, read this:
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
–Epicurus (Greek philosopher, BC 341-270
As per the famous contemporary theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx, God (if one exists) is not omniscient. Please read, pause and contemplate the following by Schillebeeckx:
Church: The Human Story of God,
Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover)
"Christians (et al) must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history."
"Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human activity there is possibility of free choices.
Therefore the historical future is not known even to God, otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings.
For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."
i.e. No one, not even God (if one exists) can prophesy since that would violate the human condition of Free Will and Future.
Case reopened (again)?
"Mormons, Christians, and other cultists, read this:"
Atheists constantly ask: "What gives you the right to claim you have the whole truth?" I ask the same of you. How can decide whose a cultist?
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent."
He is able. But if He intervened, there'd be no free will.
"Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent."
God is malevolent for allowing you to have free will? So you WANT to have no choice?
"Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?"
From man, duh. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."
"Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
He is able, he is willing, and he is not malevolent.
Oh look, a contemporary theologian. Just another way 'Christians' can give into the world and still pretend to be serving God.
"Christians (et al) must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history."
Perverse? Has this guy READ the Bible? It may be against his personal beliefs, but that hardly makes it perverse. According to ths definition of perverse, I could say Atheists are perverse entirely because they disagree with me. Fortunately, the word perverse doesn't work like that.
"Therefore the historical future is not known even to God, otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings."
Not really. We DO have choices, God just knows what they're going to be. This is what the Bible means when it says that God is beyond are understanding. Stop trying to define what an almighty God can or cannot do.
"For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."
You know what. I like this guys definition of perverse. I'm going to use it to say he is perverse.
i.e. No one, not even God (if one exists) can prophesy since that would violate the human condition of Free Will and Future.
He does exist, you're failure to see him hardly proves that he doesn't. You know, Atheists have been trying too push that arguement for long time (not the part about seeing, I'm back to the point.). And pretty much always failed. Can't you come up with something new to debate?
What about justice? can a god be Just by binding those who would do wickedly before they act, while letting those who would do good go free?
What about freedom?
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent."
That was the answer of Epicurus's great rival Epictetus, who said that God (Zeus in the Greek language or Deus in Latin) is subject to the laws of the Universe like everyone else.
He is benevolent and He's doing the best he can. He's just not omnipotent.
"...making God the great scapegoat of history. "Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human activity there is possibility of free choices."
This answer is inadequate since it only covers those evils that are a result of human choice.
A child dying of cancer, for example - that has nothing to do with anybody's choices in life. And I doubt very much that the author of this philosophy would accept such a lame excuse from a babysitter who sat idly by while the children in his care consumed poison.
Atheists don't claim to have the whole truth. They just claim that your intricate fairy tale is made up. We claim that, because there isn't a shred of evidence supporting your story. (By the way, a book written two thousand years ago, in a dead language, that got edited three hundred years after its parts were written, and also conflicts with itself, is not evidence ... any more than Spiderman comics are evidence that there exists a man with Spidey senses).
Atheists also don't want you to do stuff because of their ideas. They want you Christians to stop making other people act a certain way because of your unsubstantiated pipe dreams. I'm talking about you trying to control who can get married, whether people can terminate pregnancies, whether we're allowed to use stem cells in research, whether we should attack Islamic nations, just because our Judeo-Christian citizenry is hungry for blood, and whether schools are allowed to teach settled science (evolution) without it being undermined by also teaching non-scientific nonsense (Intelligent Design).
The whole of the Atheist agenda is "stop forcing your religion down everyone else's throats". We're not trying to convert you to our church. We don't have one. We all just go about our lives on Sunday, while you talk to your imaginary friends in pretty buildings with nice stained glass.
The Dingo ayt my post.
I hate it when that happens....!
Who removed my post?
Congrats to Jessica on a well-researched and balanced look at the Man Mitt Romney, who tries extraordinarily hard to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and live a moral life. But the bigger question is, is it the man or his church running for office? I think it's time to look at the person and his stand on the issues that should be in the forefront. Why do people feel so compelled to attack any church or religious organization, unless Satan truly is loose in the world?
This video starts off a little slow, but the first 30 minuets of this video will blow your mind on Mormonism. People who are followers of LDS are wonderful people, but unfortunately are often not aware of their own religion's faults and history.
I thought I'd give this one a shot, but it was waaaaay too long for a quick view. And boring. And long.
As a member of the LDS church, I think I'm quite aware of the history – warts and all. As for faults, we have plenty, but happily, they are the faults of imperfect people – most of whom, from my personal experience, are trying to improve.
As for someone else trying to tell me what my doctrine is, I can tell you that most of these 'expose' books are so full of misrepresentation and one-sided interpretation that they are laughable. What are these people so afraid of?
People outside the cult might be less inclined to misunderstand your cult, if it were not for the fact that your cult was so secretive.
Whose fault is that?
Put your cult meetings on C-SPAN and people will understand your cult better.
From p. 45:
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 !!!!!!
Looks like the crazies are out early today.
Crazy guy who likes numbers,
Your entire nonsensical rant is based on the supposition that it is immoral to abort a fetus. Obviously (not to your pea-brain, but to a higher primate it would be), that supposition is questioned by roughly half the country. A fetus can feel no pain, is not viable outside its host mother's womb, and does not have brain activity that even surpasses the medical threshold of "brain dead" until about 6 months. So, sorry, but to me, aborting a fetus is no more immoral that cutting your hair or fingernails. It's not an individual person yet, based on any criterion other than religious dogma.
By the way, just to dissect your pathetic attempt at making an argument by mere numerical coincidence. Some of the people who've had abortions have died prior to the 2008 election, and only about half of the country votes. So, half of the people who've gotten abortions likely didn't vote for anybody. Also, some people have gotten multiple abortions.
Your insinuation that all of the Obama voters were people who've themselves gotten abortions is pretty easily dissected. But then again, that's religion for you.
People may believe that Mormon is "Christian" simply because they may be ignorantly non-resistant to the mormon mental suggestion that it is the ONLY Christian church and for the fact that most folks don't know what the amazing Jesus taught and stood for. Christianity and churchianity are not the same. The latter is a subtle, supremist dogmatic domineering movement dressed in religious garb while the amazing former is the recognition and practice of Spirit, Love, heavenliness, harmony, Principle, human rights and the positive healing reform of finite human nature and its suffering experience by establishing the fact that "now are we the sons of God."
I invite Stubbycat to worship together with Latter-Day Saints. I wish he/she could be a fly on the wall listening to spirit-inspired counsel from a bishop to one of the ward members (though that of course would be confidential between the two). Being taught by the spirit, teaching one another how to draw more fully in healing our souls with the atoning power of Jesus Christ, lifting one another in love and service: these define LDS worship and relationships. Mortal frailties are also present, but Stubbycat would be hard-pressed to expalin after such an experience why LDS worship does not fit the Christianily definition he gave. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has fed my soul for many years.
"People may believe that Mormon is "Christian" simply because they may be ignorantly non-resistant to the mormon mental suggestion that it is the ONLY Christian church "
You have it wrong. We do not believe we are the ONLY Christian church as you say.. We KNOW there are MANY MANY Christian Churches.. We know that MANY people follow Jesus Christ that are not even members of any Church. They are all Christians!
We do believe that we are the only Christian Church that has had ALL of the Priesthood keys returned to it and that we have the full Gospel with continued Modern Day Revelation. That does not mean the other Christian Churches are not Christian, because they are IF they follow Jesus Christ.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It really saddens me to see people harden their hearts and not want to know what our Father in Heaven, the one who created us, wants us to know and do. He loves us so very much and wants us to return and live with him. We need to have faith and pray to know he is there.
I know that if we read the Book of Mormon with sincerity and pray with real intent and ask if it is true, HE WILL answer us, if we really want to know. What is there to lose? It is so easy to do and yet even when the serpents came in Moses' time, it was too easy for them to look at the serpent Moses raised up and that they would choose to die rather than do this easy and simple task. Why is it so hard to do the simple things?
I believe that Satan is having a hay day with our families and loved ones in these last days. He lies to fool us just as he did to Eve. He tries to beguile all of us and imprison us. He wants us to be unhappy because he is. He doesn't even care what will happen to us. In the beginning, Satan's plan was to make sure we all made it. Can you imagine what would have happened if he made us choose the right? We ALL would have rebelled because we didn't have our free agency.
It is easy for us to give up than to endure and fight to know God and to work hard to return to him. Jesus Christ created this earth and it trembles with earthquakes. There are so many more hurricanes, tornados, famine, simonies, floods, and so on which are increasing continually and with more intensity. The Lord sent the plagues during Moses' time and I believe we are just begining to see it again. Christ is coming and there will be a division among the faithful and unrighteous. I fear for all my fellowman, including some of my children and siblings and wish they would just do the simple thing – read the Book of Mormon with real intent, wanting to know if it is true or not. I did when I was 14 and the Holy Ghost witnessed to me that it was true and I shall never forget the feeling and knowledge which came to me. Our religion centers completely around Christ and has all the ordinances, temples, prophets, apostles, and so forth that existed in Christ's church when He was on the earth. I have been blinded by Satan before but then repented and opened my eyes and ears in order to be able to hear and know what God wants for me. It has made me very happy.
Our Saviour bled from every pour as he knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane to take upon him the sins and infirmities that are afflicting all of us who have and will live. Have you ever imagined the pain he had to go through in order to sit but bleed at EVERY pore? He was whipped, thorns pushed on his head, spit at, ridiculed, betrayed, flat nails were hammered into his hands, feet and wrist where all the nerves are. He was perfect and had not done anything wrong. He loved us so much that he suffered more than any of us can ever imagine and even asked his Father to take the cup from him, but said thy will be done. Do we say to him, thy will be done? He did all of it for us, shouldn't we find him and honor him? What will we say when we see him in the next life? How will we feel? What will we regret?
I believe hell is a state of mind, not a physical place. The knowledge of what we've done to others, and haven't repented for, will be revealed to us and we will feel the pain we have inflicted on others and we won't be able to reationalize out of it at all.
I pray for all my fellowmen to think about what Christ has done for us and to just do one simple thing that Satan does NOT want you to do and that is to really read and desire to know if the Book of Mormon is true. It is about Christ and it is a second witness that he lived and he came to the American Continent to see those people as well. Two witnesses to his existence.l He loves ALL of us and wants us to know him.
"He tries to beguile all of us and imprison us. He wants us to be unhappy because he is. "
Is this a brainwashed christian thing? Why do people that believe in fairy land think that those that don't are unhappy. This arrogance of Christians is what is so wrong with your religion. The I am better off and happier than you because I believe in invisible fairies. What a crock! Here's a frightening thought for you, we are really happy, we have loving families, we love our communities and help out when needed. Stop believing that we are miserable for not believing in your cult because we are NOT!
I believe ignorance is a state of mind. You Mormons chose to be ignorant, usually because your parents told you so, and their parents told them so.
There's no major community in the US that's so devoid of healthy intellectual dissent than the Mormon community.
When you guys decide you'd like to stop drinking the Kool Aid, a wonderful world of reality awaits you.
In accordance with Jefferson's Statutes (Va.) Let's keep religion completely OUT OF POLITICS. Throughout history..religion has been one of the main sources of corruption and wars. Believe what you want to believe but don't try to convince me..I can read and I can reason on my own. Following is the first part of Jefferson's Statutes on Religious Freedom.
"Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds; that Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments, or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to extend it by its influence on reason alone; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time."
I am a proud mormon. None of you can argue what Joseph Smith did for all of us. I will become a god. Where will you be?
Wow, such confidence considering that a Latter-Day-Saint really wouldn't make such declaration prior to their final judgement before God.
We don't believe in that..."burning". I doubt highly you are a Mormon because we would never say such a thing. We know all of us who live on this Earth will inherit a Degree of Glory as stated in I Corinthians, as long as they do not deny the Holy Ghost. We know the lowest level of these glories is said to be more beautiful than this Earth.
You are proud alright, but not Mormon.
Yeah, Sheik, that may not be the best way to win people's interest in the church:). Maybe not threatening that everyone else will be burning would be a good start. And I'm a member, by the way.
A true Mormon would not talk like that. We do not believe that ANYONE will be "burning" other than Sons of Perdition. EVERYONE else will have Glory that is above and beyond anything we have here on Earth now.
This person must be a fake. Come talk to a REAL LDS member and find out the truth.
When I'm dead, I'll be dirt. Just like you will.
It's too bad you're letting your life pass waiting for this ridiculous "I'm going to be a god" prophecy to unfold.
Hundreds of thousands are leaving the LDS church every year due to the wave of information now available which the church tries, very successfully, to hide. Defectors include ex-bishops, ex stake presidents, and even an ex temple president.
True, people are leaving, but nothing compared to those joining. I heard about Judas. Just because he came from a high place doesn't mean he's going to high places.
I'm a Mormon–a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. God is a merciful being, and he wants to save all of his children–the whole family of mankind. God has established his church and doctrine throughout the ages by calling prophets who have authority from God, called the priesthood. The church is an organization to bring great blessings to God's children. The rejection or departure from God's doctrine results in a loss of some promised blessings is called an apostasy.
Christ came to Jerusalem in a time when the Jews had fallen into apostasy. He came to restore his church and doctrine once again and to suffer and die for salvation of all mankind. All people who live will be restored again to life after death–a gift called the resurrection. He prayed that his disciples would be one as he and the Father are one–one in doctrine, in baptism, and church. However, the martyrdom of the apostles and the departure from the gospel that Christ established resulted in the apostasy prophecied of in the New Testament. We rightly call this period the dark ages.
Many of the writings of the prophets and apostles were collected together and compiled into the Holy Bible, and by the efforts and great sacrifice of the early european reformers, these scriptures became available to the masses. These reformers recognized a lack of authority on the Earth, but desired to reform the doctrines which had become corrupt over the centuries.
These men were inspired of God in their work, and were instrumental in preparing for the restoration of the church in the latter days–the time in which we now live. God called Joseph Smith as a prophet to do this great work, just as he had called Moses to deliver the people of Israel out of bondage. It was prophecied in Jeremiah 16 that a greater work than that of Moses would occur–that of gathering of the house of Israel–and one fulfillment of that prophecy is the establishment and missionary effort of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
God also commanded Joseph Smith to translate a record of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas, written by prophets who believed and taught the Savior Jesus Christ established his church under his direction. These were among the "other sheep" of whom Jesus spoke to his disciples in Jerusalem. He visited the Americas soon after his resurrection from the dead, and many of his words are also written in the Book of Mormon (starting in 3 Nephi 11).
The last prophet of the Book of Mormon issues an invitation to all the world–to read the book, ponder, and ask God if it is not true. This invitation comes with a promise–that you will receive a witness of its truth through the power of the Holy Ghost. This book does not detract from the Bible or its doctrines, but rather clarifies and compliments them, and stands as a second witness of Christ and his role as our savior.
"Hundreds of thousands... every year"??? You have no idea what you are saying or you are just a plain liar. Maybe a brother of Satan even, who knows!
GARBAGE ALERT – click the report abuse link to get rid of this sick TROLL!
In 1960, Catholic candidate John F. Kennedy appeared before an assemblage of Evangelical leaders in Houston. He had to insure them that his faith would pose no danger to "their" country. (When people say the US is a Christian country, they mean it is a Protestant country – hopefully white, with a little wealth to prove you have God's approval.) Now, we have Romney, the Mormon, the "cult" member. Evangelicals, who spoke the following words? "By their fruits you will know them." Clue: try a Catholic Bible. I'll take a Mormon any day. They consistently live up to Christian ideals.
I agree with almost everything you said about this country.. only your last statement.. I would rather have someone who can think for themselves, rather than rely on the writings of a 2000yr old goat herders to decide the future of the country
One last thought for all you Mormons who cannot understand why so many of us non-Mormons will not vote for someone to closely connected to the LDS. In all honesty, would you vote for a man that was a former imam of a mosque that advocates converting everyone to Islam, and teaches that all adherents should do anything, including lie, to advance the aims of creating a global kingdom for Allah on earth? Would you believe his assertions that despite living and breathing his faith, indoctrinating others in e faith and being a warrior for the cause, he could all of a sudden let it all go in order to govern in the interest of everyone? Would you buy that he would not turn to his closest allies and religious advisors in difficult times? Would you believe that his fundamentalist Muslim teachings wouldn't influence decisions, such as whether to use military action in the Israel/Palestine conflict? In short, I think the book of Mormon is fundamentally not credible, but so what?! The problem is not the BOM. The problem is Romney's deep and abiding connection to the LDS. Since I categorically reject the notions of the LDS, I cannot tolerate the notion of my President relying on those teachings and precepts to govern.
Ah.. I see you take things in the past and applying them to the present..
so let me ask.. how is it different from voting for a man who follows a church that used to support inquisition (Do you want to believe in my god or die?) or the one that puts people in jail for publishing experimental proof that earth is not the center of universe (Galileo).
How about voting for a man who thinks their leader has a direct communication with god (pope).
Would you vote for a man who believes their teachings urge killing a child that is disobedient or that when a girl is ra.pe.d, you should kill both the man who did it and the woman so the sin is abolished? Agh.. I can keep on going.. but I am sure even you can see where I am going..
So what you're saying, you aren't voting for Romney because he believes in something different than what you were taught growing up. We get it. It you were raised in the LDS church your voting preferences may change. It is sad that you cannot vote based on the candidates background (education and experience), but based on what church you were born into.
America is in the greatest financial mess in its history (see usdebtclock.org). Every family in the US owes over $600,000 and rising quickly. You vote for your Christian Obama or Bush who got us into this mess, or vote for one of the other Christian candidates, but in the end, none of them come close to having the experience needed to secure America's financial freedom.
If you think I'm wrong please post your presidential pick and explain why.
Now you see why we don't understand because that's not what Mormon's believe. You're views are so extreme... have you paid attention to any of the debates or anything about Romney. He is not like that, neither are the Mormons. Your views are completely off and misguided...
Mormons are the same as muslims. All their followers do is make excuses for the HUGE faults in their religions.
True Chili.. Every denomination of Christianity is the same.. Heck every religion is the same way.. maybe not Hinduism.. coz they really don't care what you think/believe or try convert others into their religion..
As I recall, unlike Romney, JFK’s ggg grandfather was not one of the founders of Catholicism. He was never listed as a catholic minister and never spent 2 years being a catholic minister or getting a military deferment to go on a ministry to France. Unlike Romney, he was not a high ranking official in the church. Also when you compare the foolish beliefs of the catholic church to the foolish beliefs of the Mormon church, the Mormon beliefs are several magnitudes more foolish than the Catholics.
Nobody? Not even one person?
Common people, I saw that my comment upset you enough to reply to me, but not one of you could share a candidate that you prefer, or structure an argument as to why they have more experience than Romney to pull our country out of this mess?
Instead you guys go off about Mormons and issues that have nothing to do with America. You people are the idiots that vote sub-par leaders into office to make our choices for us. YOU, yes you, the person reading this, who is about to post some dumb reply out of your uncontrolled emotion. Why can't you post me why your candidate is the best to save this country? And please don't say "because my candidate is Christian" like we know you're thinking.
I'm a convert to this faith. I received information regarding this religion from everyone who was not a Mormon. For example, The Book of Mormon is not of God, it is from Satan "the angel of light", etc... I am not sure what you are being told about they are told to lie. I have in the 10 years as a member been never approached by anyone to lie to someone about what we believe. On the contrary, when I was at (I won't name it) a Bible College and we were discussing how to be a missionary. Someone asked the question about what we should do if someone asks us if their relative who just died is in hell. "Don't go there. Turn the conversation around. Don't tell the the truth about them being in hell. It will only make the mad." This did not sit well with me and this is why I eventually left the religion of my family.
When learning about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was told to pray about it and ask God. Not this is true because I said so and you must believe it. They bore their testimony of it, yes, but they told me to find out for myself. They answered all my questions about what people say regarding the faith. I made them prove what they said by showing me scriptures in the Bible. Everything they taught me had to be supported by the Bible King James Version.
I know you don't have to believe it or not, but I know it is true. I prayed, fasted and found out for myself. If you don't want to vote for Romney because he is LDS then that is your choice. I am voting for him because he is LDS. I guess we are going to cancel each other out then, lol.
Well, I'm glad we have a self-thinker in the group. Thanks bookworm for you conversion story. I too converted the LDS religion at the age of 22 (11 years ago) and I can relate to your experience of intellectual freedom. Shortly after receiving the priesthood I was called to teach in Rome (plus surrounding cities); I taught many Catholics, Muslims, Evangelicals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and even a couple Jewish men.
Almost all of the Catholic natives in my area were family oriented, and very friendly to us, but always seemed to say the same thing, "my dad was catholic, his dad was Catholic, and his dad before him was Catholic, and I will die Catholic." It was almost impossible to teach them because they didn't claim to understand the bible, and in most cases didn't even have a desire to learn.
The Muslims were great, until we got to the story of Isaac and Ishmael, then we had to part ways, which was understandable. Unfortunately they couldn't take our Book of Mormon because I guess it was against the rules of their religion (very closed minded I though since I had read their Qur'an).
Same went for the Jehovah's Witnesses; they couldn't take the Book of Mormon either, however at least they understood their bible very well (I however took their New-World Translation, mostly to see what changes they had made to the bible, and there were quite a few).
The Evangelicals living in Rome knew the bible too, and sometimes took the Book of Mormon to see what it had to say. I was impressed by that, since it showed me that some people aren't intellectually oppressed and are not afraid to look elsewhere for answers that they haven't found in their current church (as did Bookworm). Some Evangelicals I taught were baptized LDS, and others weren't, but at least most of them had an open mind and were willing to look beyond the world they were born into.
As for the Jewish men, they were great. We played chess and discussed the 12 tribes of Israel. As you know, Mormons believe we are from the tribe of Joseph (coat of many colors) and are brothers of the tribe of Judah (Jews). We only met a couple times and we talked about how the Book of Mormon came from Joseph's son (Ephraim) and was mentioned in the Old Testament. Back then the prophets like Ezekiel wrote on scroll paper that was wrapped around sticks, rather than using book form like the Bible is in today.
We discussed how the Book of Mormon was prophesied in the bible (Ezekiel 37:15-19), and how the prophet writings from Ephraim's tribe (Book of Mormon) would one day be joined with the prophet writings of Judah (bible) and be used to unify both tribes, and eventually used to find all twelve tribes as is prophesied numerous times in the bible. The prophet testimonies in both books/scrolls, are now on earth today; I used them both to teach God's children in Rome, even as Paul did. Paul only needed the teachings of Judah's tribe (Old Testament) and the teachings of Jesus (Judah's tribe) back then. But in our day there are hundreds of churches on earth all using one bible, yet they all teach something slightly different. It is understandable why God would finally bring forth the book of Ephraim that was prophesied in the Old Testament.
To wrap up I'll share my story of Francesca, tne 17 year old Catholic girl in Naples who read the Book of Mormon in one week and was baptized shortly thereafter. She was so smart and willing to be picked-on by her Catholic peers for breaking tradition. I wish that I could say that was common for people all over the world, to break from cultural influence and look for the truth. Sadly they're rare. However, when I hear stories like Bookwork's, about breaking free from teachings like "avoid talking about death/hell and change the subject," it impressed me and gives me hope that others will break free as well and look for answers. I believe all the answers are out there, and it's our job to find them. Thanks Bookwork for your story, and thanks for sharing your candidate, you're still the only one on this mini thread not afraid to do so.
Oh it does not matter what policies he supports.. it does not matter what he has done till now. It does not even matter if he has plans that could do good to the community. He is an f ing mormon.. THAT should be the reason why we should not consider him as presidential candidate! It is the most logical and reasonable approach to the problem.. isn't it..
*for the uninitiated.. Word of the day.. Sarcasm!
After reading these comments I am amazed how many people come out attacking Mormons. This attacking is characteristic of all articles/blogs referencing the LDS faith. Why do people care what Mormons think? Why are Mormons getting so attacked?
As I recall Jesus shared his teachings while he was in the minority. He was attacked because he challenged the ideas of that day. His attackers felt threatened and were compelled to extinguish ideas that opposed their own. Jesus didn't hurt anyone, and Mormons aren't hurting anyone. If you feel the impression to mock and attack Mormon teachings ask yourself why, and ask yourself if you lived in Jerusalem back in the day, would you be one of those attacking the carpenter's son just for sharing ideas that broke traditional thinking. The spirit of our Christ is not to attack, but to love. It's easy to read who has the hate and who has the love in these comments.
Typical self righteous religious sheeple. Any disagreement with you is an attack. Yes there are some real attacks on mormonosity in the posts; but, most just disagree or point out some of the “difficulties” in Mormon theology
That's okay, the people in the time of Jesus would say that they were just pointing out the "difficulties" in Christ's theologies, not attacking him. However, the Christians on this blog would say those people were attacking Jesus as he shared his message. Just depends where you stand I guess.
I stand from the viewpoint that my religion is on trial, while you and others have the luxury of keeping your religions secret. You post "difficulties" about my religion, and claim they're not attacks? Everything that is said on these blogs is viewed as an attack, can you not read? Or can you not see them for what they are because they're just not affecting you from your end?
So keep hiding your religions as you attack the Mormons. It just shows you are cowards. Just like those "Christian" cowards that mobbed the jail with their faces masked and killed our prophet, before they went back to church a few days later. You obviously don't see it from that standpoint, and you obviously cannot feel the "attack" from the trigger end of the gun.
...and if you did post your religion... let me tell you, I could sure point out a lot of "difficulties" about it. Enough that you would start to question if it was even true.
So cast the first stone, call the kettle black, throw the stones at the glass house, just remember, you're the true "sheeple" for you're attacking a religion that is attacked by everyone since it was founded in the early 1800s. Using names like sheeple and self-righteous while claiming that the majority of commenters aren't attacking is quite ironic, said the kettle to the pot.
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.