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With 'I'm a Mormon' campaign, church counters lily-white image
Ruth Williams passes out bulletins at the Third Ward in Washington, D.C., a diverse Mormon church.
November 2nd, 2011
11:32 AM ET

With 'I'm a Mormon' campaign, church counters lily-white image

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - The scene at a Mormon congregation here on a recent Sunday would surprise Americans who think of Mormons as young white missionaries in stiff white shirts, black ties and name tags.

Yes, there are white missionaries handing out bulletins at Washington’s Third Ward - what Mormons call their congregations - but there's also Ruth Williams, an elderly African-American woman, decked out in her Sunday best, doing the same.

White, black, Asian and Hispanic Mormons mingle before the service begins. As it gets under way, an African-American tween plays a video game on his smartphone in one pew as a 30-something white woman across the aisle taps away on her iPad.

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On this Sunday, the Sacrament - what Mormons call the remembrance of the Last Supper and what other Christians call Communion - is said in French, a nod to the area's burgeoning West African population.

It is not a special multicultural celebration Sunday. For this growing Mormon congregation in northeast Washington, it's just another weekend.

“It’s 30% Caucasian, 30% African-American, and the rest is a combination of first-generation immigrants from around the world,” says Bishop Robert Nelson, the lay leader of this congregation.

A diverse group of congregants from the Third Ward listens to a sermon.

Washington's Third Ward is a near mirror image of the diverse neighborhood it serves, jarring with the Mormon Church's image as a faith-based club for upper-class whites.

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And the Mormon Church, officially called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says the ward represents the diverse face of modern Mormonism, a message it has been trying to spread as part of a yearlong nationwide push to counter its lily-white image.

Since January, the LDS Church has spent millions on an "I'm a Mormon" advertising campaign that features television commercials, billboards and bus signs with Mormons from African-American, Asian, Latino and other ethnic backgrounds. Just last month, the campaign entered 11 new major media markets in Texas, Indiana, Nebraska, Washington, Georgia and Arizona, hitting cities like Atlanta, Denver and Phoenix.

(You won't be seeing the ads in Iowa, South Carolina or Florida. With Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, both Mormon, competing in the Republican presidential primaries, the church says it wants to steer clear of politics.)

The Mormon Church even used the ad campaign to launch a shot across the bow of the hit Broadway musical "The Book of Mormon," buying a digital "I'm a Mormon" billboard just down the street from the theater where the show is playing.

The musical satire, co-produced by the creators of the television show "South Park," shows earnest white American Mormon missionaries and their misadventures in proselytization in Africa.

But the billboard shows a very different face of Mormons. There is an African-American couple playing Frisbee on the beach, a Latino grandfather and granddaughter, a goateed motorcycle sculptor.

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An official church website, Mormon.org, lets those interested in the church search for Mormons from diverse ethnic backgrounds and features videos from the likes of black soul singer Gladys Knight and Brandon Flowers, frontman for the rock band The Killers.

"It's to say, 'We're like you,' " said Kathleen Flake, a religious scholar from Vanderbilt Divinity School. "It's an attempt to combat stereotypes so that absolutely people are more open to see the normalcy of Mormonism."

The LDS Church says its attempt at an image makeover is as much a reflection of demographic reality as it is a PR effort. While young white missionaries may still be Mormonism's public face in the United States, they are no longer fully representative of the Salt Lake City-based church.

“Our doctrine is we’re all sons and daughters of God," says Stephen Allen, managing director of the LDS Church's missionary department. "Skin color or anything else is not a significant issue to us.”

Video: Defining Mormonism

As head of global missions, Allen supervises the 52,000 19- to 25-year-old missionaries knocking on doors around the world.

He's also executive director of the “I’m a Mormon” campaign, which began in nine markets this year.

“In terms of targeting, we’re not specifically targeting or avoiding any particular group," Allen says. "We send our missionaries all over the world to anywhere people will listen.”

As the church’s efforts to win converts has expanded internationally, “following the American flag around the world,” as Flake puts it, the LDS Church has grown more diverse.

“We’re in most of the free world right now,” Allen says. "We have a presence in Russia and Ukraine and the Baltic countries. We have a growing presence in Africa ... Nigeria, Kenya … then we have, Japan, Korea, Taiwan. There are small congregations in India, and the church is growing in those places.”

The church's membership has doubled since 1988, to 14.1 million Mormons worldwide.  Six million Mormons live in the United States. Many of the church's members live in the American West and Northwest, in some of the whitest states in the country.

But like many other churches, there has been explosive growth in the LDS Church in Latin America. There are more than a million Mormons in both Mexico and Brazil. There are nearly a million Mormons in Asia and 300,000 in Africa, according to church statistics.

“This attempt to emphasize diversity and to emphasize a wide range of people who are Mormon does reflect, in a lot of ways, what’s been going on in reality for a while,” says Matthew Bowman, an editor at a Mormon studies journal called Dialogue.

Even in the United States, the perception of who Mormons are has changed.

“We’ve done a lot of research to see what people think of us and what their perception is,” Allen says. “Twenty-five or 30 years ago, if you said, ‘When you think of the word Mormon, what comes to mind?’ the answer would have been Mormon Tabernacle choir, polygamists, racists, the Osmonds [singers Donny and Marie].”

While that's less the case today, Allen says many people still don't know what a Mormon looks like - or don't know that there are Mormons from minority backgrounds.

A spokesman for the church said it doesn't keep statistics on members' race or ethnicity.

But “it’s no longer just a predominantly white church,” Allen says. “In our early history, you know, it was founded in upstate New York in the United States and was very much a white congregation, but today it’s very diverse.”

The complexion of the average Mormon ward reflects the neighborhood where the building resides. “Mormon wards are not self-selecting,” says Richard Bushman, a visiting professor at the School of Religion of Claremont Graduate University. “In Mormon congregations, they are just geographical boundaries, and wherever you live, you go to church.”

There is no church shopping. Congregants can’t go to another ward if they don’t like the music or the doughnuts at the social hour, as in many other faith traditions.

In Washington's Third Ward, two new converts who had recently been baptized were welcomed into the church on a recent Sunday. Both women were young African-Americans. The men who formed a circle around them and prayed over them were all white.

Unlike the ward, the church's global leadership in Salt Lake City is mostly white.

It was not until 1978 that African-Americans could serve in priesthood positions in the church, a prohibition that extended back to Mormon leader Brigham Young in the 1850s.

"When you see in that ad campaign Mormons, including African-Americans, they are trying to  communicate against that stereotype that Mormons are racist, there's no question about this," says Vanderbilt's Flake. "They are trying to say, 'That's not fair. That is not who we are. Even if we were, we are not now.' "

Allen says the "I'm a Mormon" campaign was designed to assist the small army of young Mormon missionaries out knocking on doors.

"Our feeling was anything we could do to help them was really important," he says. "And helping them means softening people’s hearts.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Jon Huntsman • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics • United States

soundoff (2,530 Responses)
  1. Ex-Mormon here

    All well and good...but what is their doctrine on mixed race marriages? On organ donation? On cremation? On children born out of wedlock?

    November 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Dayley

      Mixed Race marriages – OK
      Organ Donation – OK
      Cremation – culturally frowned upon, but won't keep you out of heaven
      Children Born out of Wedlock – Parents might need to repent, the kids are great no matter who had them.
      BTW Peoples opinions and Doctrinal fact are two different things.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Michael

      The LDS church has no "doctrine" regarding any of the things you mentioned. I'm sure there have been members of the church over the years that have had "opinions" regarding the things but not the church. There may have been policies in the past that were changed but that is not the same as doctrine. The policies or practices of the church have changed over the past, close to 200 years, but not the doctrines. That is an important distinction.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Ben

      Here are the church's stance on some policies. http://lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/selected-church-policies?lang=eng#214

      November 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Amber

      To the extent that I understand it, the same as any other Christian religion.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  2. Punkinpi

    So...I saw this billboard a few days ago, and mentioned to my friend that I thought it was funny that the Church was pushing diversity in it's advertisement, considering its racist, and exclusive history. I was a bit skeptical that their intentions were honorable. I suppose they might think they can fool some of the new, and more godly, generation of minority categories into joining up. I tend to think they probably wasted some of their advertising dollars. Funny...you wouldn't think a church would have to advertise to get people to attend. Are the handsomely dressed, glareingly clean, bike riding, missionary guys not showing up for their door to door work?

    November 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  3. Lisa

    I have never commented on any news article, blogged or whatever it's called...now I know why. Everybody thinks they know everything. What a joke! Get a job. Be a good person. Be kind to your fellow man. It would be so much better that way.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Steve

      You sound hot! What are you wearing?

      November 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Dr. Zeuss

      Oh, come on Steve. You should know better by now. Lisa weighs 300lbs., she's really a he, and her real name is Bubba.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  4. Pedro

    Oh, how about the Mormon attempt to posthumously baptize every single person on record into the LDS? How much BS is that!!!

    November 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • slcpunk

      exactly. Where in the hell do you assume some dead person wants to be part of this cult. I hate this religion and EVERYthing they stand for, which is all a joke

      November 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Christi

      Pedro,

      I can understand why it would be confusing. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we believe that there are certain ordinances that must be completed for all of us to enter into Eternal Salvation. Because we know that you must have a body, we perform these ordinances on behalf of those who have passed on. After that, they have the choice of whether to accept them or not. We believe that it is not pushed on anyone, they have the option to accept it or not.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • jsg

      Pedro, I don't think there is an LDS church in heaven. Heaven is just heaven, and Mormons believe that a person needs to be baptized to get into heaven. I believe other christian religions believe this as well. Mormons also believe that if you perform a baptism in behalf of a dead ancestor, then they have the option to accept it and get into heaven. It is actually pretty straightforward.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Pedro

      So what you're saying is that NO ONE got into heaven before Joseph Smith created the church? Come on now.

      Also, it isn't that simple. It was also clearly an attempt at having our historical records show that everyone was a mormon.

      Silly, silly, people.

      November 2, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
  5. Suedehead

    There's a clear reason why it has the image it has. Look at history. The fact that this church held a belief that blacks were inferior to whites up until 1978, tells you all you need to know. So it's clear why they're now, in 2011, trying to just pretend that their history of racism never happened. Smart strategy from a propaganda perspective.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • jsg

      The vast majority of Mormons were sympathetic to blacks prior to 1978, and welcomed them into their church. Ending the priesthood ban on blacks in 1978 was celebrated by all except the fringes. That should also tell you something...

      November 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  6. Austin

    Warren Jeffs is a Mormon and a child rapist. He may be a fundamentalist but he is a mormon. This is a cult and should have to pay taxes like any other illegal organization.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Amber

      What an ignorant comment – check your facts.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Bookworm

      Warren Jeffs is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If he was he would have been excommunicated a long time ago for his multiple wives. It is not the same church. If you think it is then maybe you should call all Protestant churches Catholics?

      November 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • David

      Warren Jeffs is not a mormon. You are either intentionally trying to deceive people into thinking he is mormon or you are too lazy to learn the truth. And yes he is a child rapist.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Scott

      Austin, what other illegal organizations pay taxes?

      November 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  7. Michael, mormon.org is biased

    Please visit http://www.mormonthink.com for something unbiased.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • rebecca weisler

      Biased? What an odd thing to say. If you are trying to learn the french language, would you travel to Spain? I have nothing but respect for these people "the mormons". The ones I have met have been the nicest and most christ like people I know. Their doctrines must be teaching them something right.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • TR6

      @rebecca weisler: “Biased? What an odd thing to say. If you are trying to learn the french language, would you travel to Spain”. No; but, if I was trying to find out the truth about personal freedom in North Korea I wouldn’t put much faith in the official North Korean publications

      November 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • TR6

      http://www.mormonthink.com I took a look at it and it’s a good site. Thanks Rebecca, I wouldn’t have checked it out if you hadn’t made that negative comment

      November 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  8. kinglywarrior

    cult

    November 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Tati

      LDS- mormons is not a cult....all the negative replies shows a sign of ignorance and insecurity. Don't judge.. find out it for yourself.. I did... Im joining the LDS faith soon. We need more people to be aware on how LDS stands. I love the MORMONS.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Tati

      MORMONS.... are the coolest people in the world. Better than those who think they know the church.. Well... just like I said Im joining the church.. The more people say bad things about the LDS and its faith.. the more they will be dismayed..

      Check out the LDS... you will be suprised that your initial impression is dead wrong. Infact, it gives you peace. Ask GOD in all sincerity having faith that he will manifest it back to you. 🙂 Im joining and thats final.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Wade

      An expert on cults are you?

      November 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • low

      Kinglywarrior you belong to a cult? How come you know so much about cult and its practice.. maybe you need to switch sides.

      Observer you mentioned that should be drug taking, drunk, sleazy adulteress, wife swappers, and wh*res that actually represent "main stream" American values.– Maybe its you who represents this.. Are you a drunk, wife swappers don't deny you actually like that do you?

      November 2, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  9. Truth

    Mormons don't us magic underwear. just as the pope or a priest has clothing as clergy, so do Mormons. So does the Pope's robe make him a wizard?

    November 2, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Austin

      Mormon leaders and catholic leaders molest children too. You're right, they have a lot in common. Warren Jeffs is a mormon and the mormon cult will never escape this.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Truth

      Warren Jeffs is not a Mormon of the LDS Chruch, just as many on here have proclaimed (falsely) that Mormons aren't Christians.

      People aren't perfect you're right, in any religion.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • mbella1224

      Priests, clergy folk, and even the Pope only wear their attire during mass or other religious event. Lay (ordinary) people don't. Also, they don't have to wear those UNDER their actual underwear.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • TR6

      I will agree that the catholic religious ware is silly; but, the majic underware takes it to a whole new level

      November 2, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  10. Roger

    I'd love to see an ad in which they say exactly what they BELIEVE. Then people would see that they are NOT just like the rest of us.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • TommyD

      That's what they said about Jesus! Where would you have been then?

      November 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Amelia

      The ads point to mormon.org which explains all of the mormon beliefs; just click on "our faith"

      November 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • c

      Yeah- I would love to hear Romney explain the Morman concept of"external progression" , baptism of the dead or the angel Moroni telling Joseph Smtih to dig up the Book of Morman in upstate , New York.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Wade

      Any mormon would be happy to tell you what they believe, so why don't you just ask one instead of just making things up or listening to those are are not Mormons and know even less than you do?

      November 2, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  11. Gary

    The Church of Latter Day Saints or Mormomism is a cult. The LDS believe Lucifer is a brother of Jesus. They don't believe in a Redeemer and Savior.

    Joseph Smith is a False Prophet in sheep's clothing and now the LDS is spreading their lies. Many souls will be mislead and the eternal ramnifications are forever. Only the true Lord and Savior Jesus Christ lives. All of the cults have one leader who said that he's the prophet.

    Remember Jim Jones at Guyana in 1975, David Koresh at Waco, Texas. These monsters were liars and abusers. Even worse nowadays is the Reverend Syung Yong Moon, who profess that he is God.

    All cults start with a man who will twist the Bible to his liking and understanding.

    Only Jesus, our Lord and Redeemer who was born of the virgin and died on the cross for all sinners is truly God manifest.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • BK

      @Gary, True. More emphasis needs to be put on the fact that the LDS church is a theological cult though.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Truth

      the "Mormon" savior and redeemer is the same as yours. Jesus Christ, a God manifest in the flesh who died on the cross and through his atonement paid for the sins of the world.

      mormon.org

      November 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • JustMe

      Major bigotry going on in just about every one of these comments. Hypocrites.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • nympha

      Truth, that is not what your own Book of Mormon says.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Austin

      The FLDS and the LDS are the same thing. A fundamentalist Christian is a Christian just like a FLDS is a LDS. Warren Jeffs is a perfect representation of the the Mormon Cult and it's activities.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • BK

      @truth. thats not true. The LDS Jesus is vastly different than the biblical Jesus. Gotta study up and read it all. Let the chips fall where they may and you will see the TRUTH.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Amber

      Check your facts – go to http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,90-1-10-1,00.html. I am assuming you are not Christian, given the hateful tenor of your comments.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Alan

      You could have saved everyone a lot of time and just said:

      Hi, my name is Gary, and I'm a dummy.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Bookworm

      Members of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints do believe in the Jesus Christ, born of Mary, who at the time was a virgin, ministered among the Jews, performed many miracles, atoned for our sins, died on the cross and on the 3rd day rose again. We testify that he is our Savior. We worship Him and His Father, Our Heavenly Father and yours. I think you are being fed wrong information. You should go to the source. mormon.org. Would you go to a Buddist website to learn about Catholics too?

      November 2, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Chris

      One problem with your theory the LDS church has been around since the 1830's and they are one of the fastest growing churches on the planet. Normally nut cases and crazy people fizzle out as well as their following.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • TommyD

      Way to go Gary. Don't let facts stand in your way!
      And where do you believe Lucifer came from? If God is the creator of all!

      November 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Taylor

      And what is to say that your religion is correct? There is no proof, there is only belief. Don't shove your opinions on the matter down everyone's throat, keep them to yourself.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • David

      @nympha
      The book of mormon doesn't teach about Jesus Christ as the savior?? Clearly you haven't read any of it.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • nympha

      I have read it. Your belief in Jesus is thus: he is brother's with Satan, son of God but not God. That he is part of a "family" of gods who earned a place of their own to play god just as you will earn sometday. Your faith is works based. Eternity is a whole other story. The dead can be baptized, etc, etc, etc...None of which are the doctrine's of Jesus Christ.
      Bible's Jesus: He is God! Absolutely fundamental to the belief of Christianity. It is the very start, the core, the basis. It is faith based and salvation based. There are no other gods, no brothers, no wives, no husbands. The differences are astronimical and the only ones who don't know their own religion are the Mormons.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • TR6

      You were makeing sence untill that silly bit at the end

      November 2, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Rethink

      nympha,

      23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
      . . .
      26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
      – Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:23,26

      Mormons also believe that, as children of God, all people have the potential to become like God someday, just as any offspring of any living thing would have the potential to become like that thing someday. It's straightforward.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • David

      @nympha
      And yet in the beginning God said 'let US make man in OUR own image'....I wonder who he is talking to there? I don't have a problem with your Bible interpretation of Jesus but would prefer it if you would stop presenting your opinion as fact. Curiously my interpretation also comes from the Bible but is different from yours.

      Mormons believe salvation is through faith and grace. You should recall that from your reading of the Book of Mormon since it is very prevalent. Of course many people are determined to say that salvation for Mormons comes through works....which is not true. And yes I do understand my religion. There is no work/ordinance/ritual/prayer etc....that can be accomplished that will save a man outside of the atonement of Christ. That is what Mormons teach and believe. Without Christ no one is saved....regardless of their obedience, piety etc... Let me say this again, without faith and grace you cannot be saved. Show up at judgment without either of those and you are in trouble.

      November 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  12. Magnetman

    How do magnets work?

    November 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • jsg

      If it weren't for good Mormons throughout the world, magnets WOULDN'T work. Now are you understanding?

      November 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Magnetman

      Oh, I understand how magnets work perfectly. Thus, the name. But how do mormons applied the physics of magnets? Regardless of your comment, How do magnets work?

      November 2, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  13. guestinfinity

    i live in Canada ,if you look like a minority , they will approach you ! If you have 20 caucasians , one black and a latino waiting for a bus , the black or latino will be preached to ....perhaps they think minorities need help , last time one try to talk to me , i said that i did not believe in a man made religion ..

    November 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • James

      The missionaries target uneducated folks.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • jeff faul

      well shame on all of you, while just this afternoon Rick perry and Ann coulter both
      announced they were Moron , according to the CBC ( Canadian Broadcasting Corporation )
      as well as the Toronto Star. Also Mitt Romney is due to announce tomorrow that
      he is African American. Why can't we put aside our differences and just live together
      as Canadians ? Jeff in Toronto

      November 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  14. kenny

    mormons trying to make mormonism seem normal... that's and oxyMORMON.... LOL....

    November 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  15. BK

    Black people, polygamy, Joey Smith, no golden plates, my own planet, magic underwear, ect its always the same argument. What about the only one that matters. Who do you say that I AM? Mark 8:29 The LDS's do not believe in the real Jesus/GOD. Period. They lose this argument everytime and it is that singlular point of contention that can NEVER be maginalized by the LDS. No matter how many billboards and youtube/social media btiltz they try. Why not take those millions of dollars and feed our cold homeless and hungry here in the USA. And I'm a Christian.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • nympha

      Yep, that's what it comes down to.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Just Don't Get It Do Ya

      Actually, they do spend millions yearly donating to worthy causes, such as feeding the hungry and administering disaster belief (apart from the volunteer hours put in). And the LDS answer I've heard to that question is: Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and the Redeemer, the only one through which man may be saved. They believe in and follow the teachings of Jesus. I would dare say they know the REAL Jesus better than you and are not just Christian in name only.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Austin

      Don't forget Warren Jeffs, the most famous mormon of them all.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • waner

      And you have the "right" Jesus? Sorry, but whatever Jesus you claim to believe in, is the same one every Christian religion claims too. Get off your high horse.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • James

      The Mormon church spends about the same percentage of its budget on humanitarian aid as any other corporation donates to charity. Most of the church budget goes to real estate investments, church buildings, and multimillion dollar temples. Not to mention, their actual budget is kept secret from the public and from lay church members. I wonder why...

      November 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • BK

      @waner, no high horse here bud. Just a sinner in need of a savior. The truth stands on its own merit. I dont have to add anything. and the truth is the LDS Jesus is not the same as the biblical Jesus. Comapre the facts and do the research.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • David

      @BK
      do the research and the mormon jesus is not the same as the biblical jesus?

      You sound like many evangelical christians who believe they have unlocked the mystery of God and are the sole proprietors of all truth. If you are sooooo right I would ask why there are so many christian denominations? If the Bible is sooooo clear I doubt there would be so much infighting and bickering amongst self proclaimed christians. Perhaps it is you that needs to do some more research.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • BK

      @David. I have. and here it is. Jesus is free. I don't care about denominations and "infighting". It's Him and I. Don't need a restored priesthood. His grace is sufficient.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Wade

      Your hateful speech doesn't sound very Christian to me. If you think Mormons doin't believe in Christ, then you just aren't trying very hard to know what they believe.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • BK

      @wade, i have tried so hard to understand what LDS believe, that I know what they believe. How is telling the truth anything but love? Whats hateful in my words? Perhaps the spirit in which I communicate is flawed. However, we are on a meassage board. I think im doing pretty good compared to some of the rude comments of others. Toughen up bud.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • David

      @BK
      If the secret boils down to 'Jesus is free..it's just Him and I'.....doesn't that make the Bible overkill? I mean really, why bother with any priesthood authority, organization (12 apostles, seventy), why both with ordinances, why bother with commandments or doctrine. Yet the bible goes to great lengths to explain the importance of these things. To what end? For show? Your version of things could fit on a post it note. I think you should examine your research. Seems a little underwhelming.

      November 2, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  16. Observer

    That's right, Mormon's should be drug taking, drunk, sleazy adulteress, wife swappers, and wh*res that actually represent "main stream" American values.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  17. Magic Mormon Underwear Man

    Would you object to a Mosque being built on your child's public school campus?

    If you grow up in Idaho, Utah, or Mesa, 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-Mormon children 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 Synagogues on those same public campuses.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • MIAC

      Now BY GOD theres an idea.. No Mosque in NYC,, put it in SLC, where it oughtta be.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Hey Magic. During your next post, please describe all your weard body pearcings and tatoos.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • nympha

      That is exactly what happened to me! A Mormon church was built right next to our high school and eventually, 50% of our teachers, administrators, office staff were from the Mormon church. It was a complete take over. Needless to say, I started to do a great deal of research and shrugged off their dillusions.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Austin

      Warren Jeffs is a magical underwear man. Ask his children.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      Oh please.. you had to drag the mosque into this eh ? Now that you did I as a muslim strongly feel against the necessity of popping up a masjid at every public school or intersection. If you are interested please take the pain to travel atleast 10 miles, that way you will be a little more serious about taking something home 🙂

      November 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Rethink

      1. Not true. Seminary buildings are all built on private land.
      2. No (private land), yes, yes. The yeses are the same as for any other building in town.
      3. Not true. Seminary classes do not count for any credit. Seminary-attending students must complete the same graduation requirements as all other students.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  18. Christina

    I live in Utah and know many mormons even though I am not one. I am an atheist and to me the debate that mormonism is not a form of christianity is ridiculous. To me it looks exactly like other forms of christianity, and to me it appears to be a cult just as much as any other organized religion.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man

      Except they still believe in polygamy (celestial). Look it up. It's still in the Book of Mormon. 😉

      Magic underwear? Posthumous baptisms? Posthumous marriages (graveyard wife stealing?)?

      November 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Moogle

      Exactly, it looks like it. If you glance at it, sure, they mention Jesus and stuff like that , but look under the surface and it's quite different.

      Some quick examples,
      They believe Jesus and Satan were brothers.
      They believe God was once a man.
      They believe it is possible for you to become god-like with your own planet.

      Does this sound like standard Christianity to you ?

      November 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • nympha

      Yes, I believe that is their (and devils) goal. Make them look 75% like the real Truth so that they are confused enough to miss it altogether and cause others to fall. What a perfect concept of Satan's!

      November 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • muucavwon

      Monogamy is taught in the Book of Mormon. Polygamy is still on the books officially in the Doctrine and Covenants.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Austin

      I'm glad Warren Jeffs wasn't the leader of my religion.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • And?

      So, let me get this straight. Because Mormons practiced polygamy (which was also sanctioned in the Bible), believe in posthumous ordinances (which there is evidence early Christians practiced posthumous proxy baptisms in the Bible), believe God was a man (with the Bible stating man was made in the image of God and Jesus, the Son of God, was born as and lived among man and Jesus was resurrected in a tangible body), believe all people were spirits and are all children of God (which the Old and New Testament also indicates, including that Satan was once an angel of god, which would make him not just Jesus' sibling but everyone's as well) and believe in the ability to become gods (considering Christians believe they're the children of God and children have the potential to become as their parents, it's not a ridiculous idea), they're somehow outside of normal Christianity? Give me a break?

      November 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • c

      This came straight off the official Utah LDS web site. "The Book of Mormon is another witness that Jesus Christ really lived, that He was and is God’s Son. It contains the writings of ancient prophets. One of these, Lehi, lived in Jerusalem around 600 B.C. God commanded Lehi to lead a small group of people to the American continent. There they became a great civilization.

      God continued to call prophets among these people. The Book of Mormon is a collection of the writings of their prophets and record keepers. It is named after Mormon, one of the last of these ancient prophets. Funny this Morman prophet is never mentioned in the Bible.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Christina

      I like how everyone argued against my point of it being christianity but not that it and all other religions are cults. : )

      November 2, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  19. name

    cnn just has to be racist....

    November 2, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Pedro

      really? explain...

      November 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  20. No 2 Mormons

    The first Mormon to stake claim in Utah was Brigham Young. He and his followers killed settlers by the 1000's as they crossed the great plain looking for a new home in the West. They were met by Mormons who'd butcher them rather than see safe passage.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Tom

      lol I love when mormons try to defend this one. "Manifest Destiny!"

      November 2, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
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About this blog

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.