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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.

Explain it to me: What's Mormonism?

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.

Opinion: Who says Mormons aren't Christian?

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. Tom

    I feel like it is up to a religion to prove that it is true, not up to me to pray and pretend I hear voices and get warm feelings.

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

      Then I can see you haven't read the bible. The first principle of the gospel is FAITH. Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things, if you have faith, you hope for things which you can't see, but really are true.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • LuisWu

      All religions are just ancient mythology. Written thousands of years ago members of a primitive culture. It boggles my mind that so many people still cling to that nonsense.

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

      I don't believe in the bible. So no I don't need faith. Faith is an excuse religion gives you to not be rational and logical.

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

      Oh wow.. so here is your logic..

      Believe that this is a book written by god and true.. now.. since this book is written by god, everything in it is true..

      Just.. wow.. do you really, really believe that? really, really?

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

      Ben, what you're describing sounds a lot like insanity. Oh, and for the record, I've read the Bible.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  2. Lisa

    99% of what's been written in these comments is absolutely false. Go to lds.org if you want to learn about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It seems like there are a lot of angry and misinformed people out there. Good luck.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • G the Man

      we are the 99%. #occupy internet

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

      This is probably the most rational comment on this entire message board.

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

      Lisa, I'm a Mormon, and not everything that is true about the LDS Church is listed on lds.org. We do have some "black eyes" in our past–most are not talked about by the modern Church, but they are there. Yes, many of the comments made on this forum are lies or gross misrepresentation of our actual history, but some of the comments are true (altough a very small number).

      November 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Blake Garten

      Look, the church isn't true. Okay? It's all bogus and everyone knows it. DNA–the American Indians aren't from Israel. They are genetically from Siberia. Golden plates buried in the ground? Visits from John the Baptist? Confusion about visits from Elias or Elijah in the temple? Oaths in the temple about giving your life if need be to the church? And on dear, the Book of Abraham is a demonstrable fraud. Most Americans would be appalled if they had a full education on Mormonism un-colored by the church. The Mormons have to put on a big happy face because they are standing on a big pile of crap, especially their history. Brigham Young was a racist and Joseph Smith was a womanizer. Oh, and the plates could never be recovered of course. If you want to be run ragged doing stuff for the church, then become a Mormon. They have a ton of things to do to be perfect b/c they are works based faith. The grace of Christ doesn't really come into play for them until "after ALL [they] can do." “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). I've been a Mormon. Being a Mormon sucks. It's all about guilt and fear. That's why they are so nice. They are freaked out that they are never good enough. It's a burden, and it's against Christianity where Jesus says "My burden is light." The Mormon burden is not light. They say "man is that he might have joy." But the only joy is to repent of some lame, lightweight sin, and then feeling all better for all of five minutes until you think of all the other things you do that make you fall short of perfection. I haven't even talked about the inter-generational compulsory belief that Mormons live with. Go to any ex-Mormon recovery site and you can read stories of families destroyed because one spouse decided that the church wasn't for him or her. That's not right. Families shouldn't be held hostage by religion. Sorry to my Mormon friends, but you'd really be happier just being regular Christians saved by grace just for accepting Christ. That's an easy yoke. And b/c it's easy you are grateful. And b/c you are grateful, you do good works. That's how it's supposed to work.

      In Jan. 2006, from the Church PR department, (Deseret News Publishing Company): Edgley said, “that
      since 1984, the LDS Church has donated nearly $750 million in cash and goods to people in need in
      more than 150 countries.” That averages to 37.5 million per year or about $3-$4 per Mormon member
      went to the poor. The total of $750 million in 22 years spent in cash in goods to people in need is less than HALF what the church has spent on buying and renovating shopping malls in Salt Lake City in the last five years.

      A corporation church. Nauseating.

      November 4, 2011 at 4:43 am |
    • Summer

      Better yet, try the MormonThink website for a more rounded picture.
      http://mormonthink.com/
      Wives of Joseph Smith is also good:
      http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/

      November 4, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  3. Steve

    The founder of the Mormon church (LDS), their prophet Joesph Smith, had more than 35 wives. How does this fit into Christian beliefs?

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

      Joseph Smith is not the founder of the LDS Church. Christ founds his own church.

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

      Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement who is regarded by his followers as a prophet.

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

      This is a funny comment – I think polygamy is wrong, but I am assuming you believe in the Bible, including the Old Testament? Some of the most beloved Old Testament profits had multiple, sometimes hundreds of, wives (Noah, Moses, etc.)

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

      I guess you're suggesting some Prophets within the bible are not Christian as they had multiple wives as well?

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

    The should refer to this cult's newest PR stunt as the "I'm a moron" campaign.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  5. jj

    Ever been to Salt Lake City? Ugh – it's like Stepford Wives! I don't mind the billboards much, but they obviously are there to soften up the country ahead of Romney's run. Make them look less kooky and 'cut-like'. (and all religious are cults. It's just something the bigger ones call the smaller ones, to make themselves feel more superior)

    November 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  6. BL

    It's a horrendous, bigoted, bizarre, disgusting, sick, pedophile enabling, pagan CULT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  7. Brad

    I did find this statement on mormon.org

    "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God."

    Is the Word of God mutable. Does it change or is it translated more correctly in different iterations?

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

      Do you believe that the bible is always translated correctly? I heard of one translation that omitted the word "not" in one of the ten commandments, so that it read "Thou Shalt Commit Adultery."

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

      There are many translations of the Bible, some more correct than others. Some translations are so far off that significant fundamentals of the Bible are different. Mormons use the King James version of the Bible, which has been in use since the 1600's.

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

      Brad, you need to do some research on how the Bible came to be.

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

      I agree with Ben – you would do well to read up on the Council of Carthage and the Council of Nicea.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  8. Mike

    I guess the story that Christ walked around the Americas is just as believable as him walking around the Middle East...

    November 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  9. Andrew

    Hey, I'm holding a rock up to my forehead and I see your future. No White House.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  10. Christine

    Living in Utah as a non-mormon all my life of 47 years, they are some of the biggest bigots I have ever met. The mormon children constantly bullied my children for not being a "member." Mormon business men only do business with other mormons.
    There are truly wicked people of this church.

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

      Christine, I'm a non-mormon and live in Utah and your statement couldn't be farther from the truth. Unlike you, I have lived in other states, and hands down, Utah is the best state I have ever lived in; not just because of the scenery, but yes, the people too. Oh, I have no doubt that you may have had a run in with some folks, we all do in all places of the world, but your umbrella statement is really biased and untrue. Here’s an idea… move.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Amber

      I too am a non-Mormon living in Salt Lake City, and I am also a professional. I should also mention that I am a minority. My children and I have never experienced any of the things that you speak of, but have instead experienced the opposite – kindness, compassion, and charity from our Mormon neighbors. And no, we have not been pressured to become Mormon. Nor have I experienced any form of discrimination in my professional career here In Salt Lake City. Sounds like have just experienced crappy human behavior – blame the people, not their religion. It is always dangerous to generalized based on your experience with certain individuals.

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

      Yes, I'm going to have to disagree as well. Having been in the military and lived all over, I now work as a contractor on HAFB; Utah is great! This is where I want to retire. If you've decided to stay here for 47 years, then obviously it's not as bad as you claim.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  11. Snow

    You say when Joe smith made the mormonism, he wanted to support racist agenda and child marriages and all those extreme views.. but later views changed those..

    My question is, how do you justify the change in the basics of your belief? if you think what smith said was the word of god, it should remain so for ever.. why change it?

    If you consider that his words were wrong and changes were needed, how can you be sure that what you have now is the word of god? it could be wrong too.. why follow any of those then?

    BTW.. the same applies to every denomination of christianity, islam, heck, every darn religion in the world as well..

    November 2, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Truth Hurts

      Got you there.

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

      oops.. I forgot .. god hates logic..

      November 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Steve

      judaism.. the Law of Moses is essentially identical to Sharia.. and to the public that has been abandoned.

      When a religion abandons the teaching of their founder/prophet, they are abandoning that religion. They no longer exist.

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

      First of all, if you read on the history of Joseph Smith, he was anti-slavery and paid for the freedom of several slaves from pro-slavery states like Missouri. Within the church, there is a lot of uncertainty as to why blacks couldn't hold the priesthood, but it didn't mean that they couldn't be active in the church and be part of the organization. They could be baptized and confirmed members of the church and actively participate.

      I don't fully understand the reasons for the priesthood not being given to blacks, but I can tell you from day to day interaction with members of all skin colors that we are united in our beliefs.

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

      In terms of Christianity, how is your question any different from the laws of the old testament going away with the new testament? Did God change his mind there?

      November 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Snow

      @Ben.. that is what I ment by the last sentence.. your comment is my question to christians here as well..

      November 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  12. Magic Mormon Underwear Man

    Will the Mormons on these boards call him "Bishop Romney" or "President Romney" after he's elected?

    Therein lies the problem. We shouldn't have ANY religious Bishop as our President? 😉

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

      I'm Mormon and will NOT vote for Romney or Hunstman. I'm voting for Ron Paul. Please don't believe Mormons will just vote one of their own in. Some will out of ignorance I'm sure, but not any different than some blacks just voting for Obama because he was black as well.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  13. Abinadi

    The purpose of the church is to share a message of peace and joy. The I'm a mormon campaign is to show that members of the church are regular people like everyone else, like the article said we don't track ethnicity. If you have questions about church history, rumors, or beliefs check out our website order a free book of mormon and we'll send missionaries to answer any questions. Most of the problems people have with our church are rumors or misunderstandings I hope that if you're really searching for truth you would investigate it from the actual source.

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

      I have problems with the doctrine, not rumors or misunderstandings as you suggest.

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

      I think folks should also check out books written by people who've left the Mormon Church. It's good to hear both sides of the story. Personally, I have a real problem with the lack of status for women. For example, when a Mormon couple marries, the husband is given his wife's "secret name" that he calls when the resurrection happens. In a nutshell, the husband controls his wife's eternal life. I think that's unfair and frankly, silly.

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

      I have found the website mormonthink.org also very helpful in my understanding of LDS teachings.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • G the Man

      what you say sounds great. Ive know enough mormons to conclude it is a guise. Cult like is an apt term to describe what mormons really are.

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

      But they are NOT regular people just like everyone else-these people claim to be in communication with unseen, unproven, unfalsifiable deities that control their futures and actions and intervene in their affairs. This is about as self-centered and narcissistic as it gets-to say nothing of absurd!

      November 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  14. JustMe

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

    November 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man

      Kind of like how the Mormon church excluded black people until 1978. LOL

      Google: "Mormon 1978 black people" 🙂 🙂

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

      It's not bigotry to not like the precepts of a particular faith. It's called exercising my First Amendment rights to believe as I wish.

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

      Someone needs to look in the mirror to figure out the definition of bigotry. How is your church with gays?

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

      I love how people generalize an entire group of people based on the actions of some. Placing a universal quantifier before a statement is horrible. You may as well say "all Catholics are child molesters".

      Being a Mormon myself, I agree that some of the church members are complete jerks, and that's completely hypocritical of Christ's teachings. I have many gay friends, and I believe they have the right to live as they choose and be treated equally. I've been to other LDS churches and met some of the nicest, most accepting people I've ever met in my life.

      EVERY religion has bad people. Not all Mormons are like some of the ones you people talk about, and it's sad that the ones that are, are a representation of the religion.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Summer

      Umm, Prop 8, hello?

      November 4, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  15. WOT

    I read about Mormons, years ago and they said Black did not have a Soul! Now how can I as a Black give a Mormon my vote, no way!

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

      They meant gingers

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

      I'm sorry someone wrote such a terrible, false thing about Mormon's beliefs. Mormon's most certainly do not believe that. If you would like accurate information, you could look on lds.org or mormon.org.

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

      You can also look at mormonthink.org.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Dayley

      http://www.blacklds.org/

      November 2, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Blake Garten

      Yes, by all means. Just read what the LDS have to say for themselves. The Book of Mormon says your skin will change to white as you are more righteous, and that unrighteous people have darker skin. 2 Nephi 5:21 still says:

      "And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, and they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."

      3 Nephi 2:12-15 continues to teach that dark-skinned Lamanites who converted unto the Lord had their curse "taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites."

      November 4, 2011 at 4:17 am |
  16. Joseph

    There is a few passages from the book of Mormon which I think clarify some of this issue. Of course these are passages wrote by Joseph Smith and believed early on until the 1970's when prophet Kimble repealed the curse on colored skin to avoid a discrimination lawsuit.

    This begs the question that if "God's word" or the founding prophet's word can be repealed then it either means God was wrong, Joseph Smith was wrong or current Mormons are wrong for believing they can change God or Joseph. Either way by logic, one of the three has to be wrong. But regardless of any three being wrong or all three it proves the religion to have a serious issue.

    Now to the book of Mormon passages:

    3 Nephi 2:14, 15 “And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites; And their curse was taken from them, and their SKIN became WHITE like unto the Nephites.”

    1 Nephi 13:15 "And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles and the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were WHITE, and exceedingly FAIR and BEAUTIFUL, like unto my people before they were slain."

    2 Nephi 5:21 "And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were WHITE, and exceedingly FAIR and DELIGHTSOME, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of BLACKNESS to come upon them."

    Jacob 3:8 "O my bretheren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their SKINS will be WHITER than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God."

    This last passage is interesting since it is in direct conflict with the bible itself that says that flesh and bones will not enter the kingdom of God. Which either means the book of Mormon is right and the bible is wrong or vice versa. It should also be noted that Joseph Smith that allegedly translated the book of Mormon from golden tablets using special glasses with peep stones, that he translated from Greek/Hebrew into 1600 Queen's English like the the King James Translation bible was wrote. In his time modern English was the norm. So why use Queen's English unless you were copying the King James verbatim as the book of Mormon does in many passages. Even mistranslated King James passages word for word that were translated wrong in 1611 by King James' translators. Also a metal expert calculated for the book of Mormon golden tablets to exist as described in Mormon literature, at the weight of gold and making pages super thin enough to be inscribed, the golden tablets would be 4.5 feet high and weigh 237 pounds. Much too heavy for one man to tote around easily.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man

      Thanks for posting their racist passages from the Book of Mormon again. 🙂

      Remember folks, this was written just before slavery was abolished 150 years ago. It didn't come from the dark ages. 😉

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

      This is a passage from an ancient text of scripture written well before we had slavery or the problems between "Blacks" and " Whites" If you believe that the Book of Mormon is an ancient text of scripture much like the Bible then the point is moot. If you doubt that and believe that the Book of Mormon is simply written by Joseph Smith then I could see how that might be considered racist, but this is an ancient book written thousands of years ago. The references to white and dark skin likely did not have the same connotation that they do today. If you study the life of Joseph Smith you will see that he was not a racist, in fact quite to the contrary.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man

      LOL – the Book of Mormon only predates slavery by about 10 years. 🙂 🙂

      November 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Ben

      I'm not a mormon but I just have to ask how a metal expert would be able to estimate the dimensions and weight of the golden tablets? Since it was translated, a single symbol could represent an entire sentence in english, so how would the metal expert know how many pages to calculate?

      November 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  17. Dayley

    The best thing about the LDS (Mormon) church is that the church isn't trying to prove to anyone that their doctrine is right. The message is to ask God and find out for yourself. That is my challenge to everyone out there. Get a free copy of The Book of Mormon from mormon.org, read it and ask God if it is true.

    November 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Joan P.

      and will that reply be from "god" or will it just be a. . . voice?

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

      And if he doesn't answer the missionaries will tell you to keep reading and praying until one time you get a good feeling. Ever thought that your brain is capable of subconsciously giving you a good feeling while you are praying?

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

      Ha ha, c mon guys, you know when you get an answer from God, you can talk all you want, but you still haven't taken the challenge. It is so different than choosing a faith because of your parents or because someone proved it to you using the logic of men, or because you used your own intellect, this is from your Father who created you. It's at least worth a try don't you think?

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

      However, if you are already in the LDS Church, your friends and family will try very hard to prove to you that their doctrine is right. Most of the time, if you tell your LDS family and friends that you don't believe LDS doctrine is right, you will be ostracized and marginalized.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  18. MIAC _mormonism is a CULT

    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
    For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book

    Revelation 22:18

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

      Revelation was likely not even the last book written in the Bible, The Bible wasn't even compiled into one volume until hundreds of years after the books were written. That passage pertains only to the Book of Revelation. BTW you can also find basically the same thing in the book of Deuteronomy. There are much better arguments against Mormonism than that (although there are none that haven't been answered), that is an old one that has been disputed many times.

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

      If you take any Religion 101 course at any religiously affilitated college (Catholic, Protestant or otherwise), you will learn that Revelation was not the last book composed in the Bible. This is a perfect example of someone misquoting the Bible for negative purposes.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  19. Hunter

    Mormanism is great, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints donates more than any other Church in the United States.

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

      Not even remotely close to being true.

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

      Neither of you have a source, so it's a war of words. Here are some facts: http://newsroom.lds.org/topic/humanitarian-services

      November 2, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  20. Osito

    The Mormon church lost all credibility to me when they went on a crusade against gays and lesbians.

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

      Them or the Bible or God? All fighting the same battle.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:08 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.