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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.

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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. Dan Combs

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe the Bible to be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly. They also believe the Book Of Mormon to be the word of God.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Joseph Smith

      "As long as it is translated correctly" = twisted to mean what I want it to mean. There is NO proof of an early civilization in North America as described by the Book of Mormon. Anyone ever heard of the book "View of the Hebrews"? Check it out...I ripped it off!

      November 2, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Wrong

      Or "as long as it is translated correctly" could mean, that like most credible Biblical scholars, they believe there are some fairly noticeable failed translations and endeavor to know the true translation before preaching it as truth. But hey, haters gonna hate.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Joseph Smith

      Dear Wrong (great name for an LDS follower btw)...I notice you don't dispute there being no evidence about the false claims of the my church or the ripoff I did? Good boy.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  2. Mormon Think

    Sorry...www.mormonthink.com is NOT "anti-mormon" It's pro-science, pro-logic, and pro-Intellect, and pro-education. The information within is fair, balanced, and extremely well researched. Read before you judge.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • TR6

      Well presented and quite interesting too

      November 2, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  3. Magic Mormon Underwear Man

    In 1978, more than 10 years after the Civil Rights Act, the IRS finally threatened to take away the Mormon church's tax-free status if they wouldn't admit people of color.

    Suddenly the "prophet" had a "vi$ion" to allow people of color into the church and priesthood.

    It's simply amazing what the power of money can do in the Mormon church. 😉

    November 2, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • sunnyjsanders

      Get a job

      November 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Wrong

      You have anything to add that isn't completely false?

      November 2, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • muucavwon

      I read about this on mormonthink.com, and it seemed to be a fair approach to the topic of black LDS members and the priesthood.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Adelaide

      Not true. See blackmormons dot org or untoldstoryofblackmormons dot com.

      November 3, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  4. Kayt

    I went to a ward in downtown Salt Lake City, and we had members from all around the world. It was a very diverse group. We had members from dozens of different countries, even Iraq.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  5. Utah guy

    I am a black dude here in utah. An when i was in high school i remember receiving some criticism from a group of white mormon guys because i was dating a white non lds chick. I ish you not i remember them telling her she is making a mistake, and to know what the BOM says about the mark of cain with black people.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Jennifer

      I am sorry to hear about this. I would bet that these guys who said this were going off of developing teen brains and not what we believe in specficially. The article says we (the LDS) believe that all are childrend of God no matter the skin color. I apologize for these boys.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Utah guy

      I appreciate it your apology i really do. But i was 17 at the time. And these boys were 18, they truly believed what they were saying. This is a prime example of bigotry!

      November 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Mark

      Condemning all Mormons for the acts of a couple of stupid teenage boys is like me condemning all blacks (or any other group) based on the actions of a few. You're basically admitting to discrimination.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  6. James S

    From the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:21 – "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."

    That's all I need from the Book of Mormon to know I could never accept it as God's word. Mormons literally believe that God turned people's skin black to curse them for being wicked.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Amber Largent

      If a single verse can solidify your faith, how do you trust the Bible? Or do you? Do you ever look at context?

      If you are a thinking person, and I believe you are, consider this: If a group is punished by banishment in the north and forms another group farther south, and thus closer to the equator, what happens? Do they stay the same? Do they get...tanned? And as wars are fought and they are driven farther south, and even closer to the equator, wouldn't they get darker? And if just darkening the skin is bad – what about when he cursed women with pain at birth? Or killed off an entire city for iniquity? (Or, heck, the whole Earthly population?)

      The other part that you're missing, by only reading one verse, is the multiple occasions where it is pointed out to the Nephites that they are far more evil than the "cursed" Lamanites... and then punished themselves while the Lamanites flourish. I love the part where it's pointed out that part of the reason for the Book of Mormon is to bring the Lamanites back into the fold – you know, God's family that includes them. (Always reminds me of the prodigal son.)

      In full disclosure, I am biracial, LDS, and a Conservative. I am a convert and I'm happy. Are you?

      November 2, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  7. HZ

    all religions are cult. all religion believers are mentally ill and should be put away for the sake of society.
    you religious zealots should use your brain for once and learn some knowledge of the universe and not believe a mysterious being in the sky. come on, it's 21th century not medieval age

    November 2, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  8. Smarkysmark

    I am ashamed to say that my church is using a slick PR campaign and spending millions of dollars on an Orwellian campaign to basically communicate this is who we are as Mormons, this is how we think and act as Mormons, and it has never been differently. How we appear on the outside is so much different then what is taught inside the walls of the ward houses that dot the landscape. And if you ever bring up any of these uncomfortable issues within the walls of these "houses of the Lord," you are shut down, labeled as faithless and anti-mormon, and ultimately shunned for not fully participating in Groupthink.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • sunnyjsanders

      Hahahahah troll

      November 2, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • TR6

      Sounds like my experiance when I was a crhistain

      November 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  9. Smarkysmark

    I was also taught that my reward for righteousness and remaining true to the church throughout my life would be exaltation in the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom (the only place where God dwells) and that I would be able to eternally progress through my spiritual offspring that I would create through a myriad of wives. When I grew up, polygamy was, is, and has always been God's higher law.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  10. Smarkysmark

    As a 45 year old lifetime Mormon, I honestly have to recognize the duplicity of this campaign and its message that "my" church is propagating. The Mormon church revers contemporary prophets both living and dead as the direct mouthpieces for God. These prophets have taught and prophesied some of the most hateful, racist, and damning messages imaginable. However, the church would like to pretend that these comments were never taught as the "Word of God" and that we have never believed in them. However, I grew up being directly taught in Sunday School, Priesthood, and from the Pulpit that blacks were inferior because they were descendants of Cain and were cursed because they were "fence-sitters" in the "Pre-existance." That all the Indians of the South and North American continents as well as the isles of the sea were direct descendants of Book of Mormon prophet Lehi and that the offspring of the two oldest sons Laman and Lamuel were cursed with skins of darkness because of their evil and wicked choices. Only when they turned back to the Lord would there skins be turned from flint to that which was "Fair and Delightsome." This was one of Spencer W. Kimball's initiatives during his tenure as prophet in the 70's, to reclaim the Lamanites (Indians) and turn their skin white (I am not making this stuff up).

    November 2, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • John Richardson

      That pretty much says it all. While it would be a good thing for the Mormons to renounce these racist tenets, I guess I wonder what the point is in clinging to a Mormon affiliation and identi-ty once these once central tenets are renounced. It is so liberating to just pack up and leave christianity and its shady history and metaphysical nonsense.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Collin

      Funny how your experience with the mormon church is exactly opposite mine. And your "experience" is exactly what protestant ministers say about mormons. Maybe you have more experience in a protestant church than a mormon one?

      November 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  11. D. Carl

    For statements about their faith from a diverse group of more than three hundred believing Mormon scholars and scientists, see

    http://mormonscholarstestify.org/

    http://mormonscholarstestify.org/category/testimonies

    November 2, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • muucavwon

      Another website containing the opinions of many of these men, is mormonthink.com. It is the most fair website I have found regarding LDS topics.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  12. Smarkysmark

    My post doesn't seem to appear...this is a test.

    November 2, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  13. Ginger Grant

    I find the picture of the Third Ward interesting since as far as I know, picture taking is not allowed in the chapel, so it is a publicity photo. As a matter of fact, you can't take pictures of any of their ordinances, ie baptism etc unlike many other faiths. More importantly, while this article tries to convince people that the LDS faith is a faith of many races, just having non-whites in your ward/congregation doesn't tell the whole story of LDS...LDS wards have leaders who make up the bishopric and usually are 99% white and are imported from other areas if need be. So don't let the picture fool you.

    November 2, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Amber Largent

      @Ginger Grant – that's not entirely true. You can't take pictures of the actual baptism – that is true, but as a ward missionary I take a picture of every new convert (multiple really) in our church building for their memory books. We also put notes from everyone present... Also, you CAN take pictures in the chapel, but not of the sacred ordinances – just like you can take a picture of the temple before it is consecrated and designated a holy place. Bishops aren't "usually" imported – that would go against everything the church stands for since it's supposed to be a local leader, but there are exceptions. I have had multiple non-white bishops. Out of the US this is FAR more common. The reason they are mostly white in the US is that the church is still mostly white in the US. They wouldn't skip over a minority because of his skin color – we have a black second councilor in our bishopric. Lastly, our church is not perfect in it's people because people are human. But the doctrine is flawless. Our doctrine is not now, nor has it ever been racist. Even the Nephi quotes others have listed are taken out of context – partially. When some one is cursed with darkened skin as a marker it is not that they suddenly become black – they are banished from the society to form another society further south... when you get closer to the equator, you get darker because of adaptations in our body chemistry (tanning). But that same book points out that often the darker skinned, Laminates, were holier and better servants of the Lord. When that happened they were fully restored. That's the whole point of the gospel. Also, Joseph Smith himself ordained a black man into the Quorum of the 70's (Abel was his name), and his sons followed after him. Joseph Smith ran on an abolitionist platform when he ran for public office – Utah was among the first to grant voting rights to women, too. It's easy to blame an organization for it's past but if we do that then there will be a lot of dirt covering every church – and wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the atonement and our Saviors sacrifice? I'm just hoping people of faith will quit tarring and feathering the LDS when they themselves are also sinners.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  14. mormon.org... um, no.

    Sure, you want official church dogma that conveniently ignores their past, visit mormon.org. You want something well-researched by Mormons themselves who began to question the historical accuracy of the Book of Mormon, visit http://www.mormonthink.com

    November 2, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • sunnyjsanders

      Ya, if I want to know about something i never go to the source...only to someone who opposes the organization...uh huh. Very wise information.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Highside

      Those anti-mormon websites are always stretching the truth or telling flat out lies, we all know it. Its like finding some random website that hates facebook, they will tell you all the "scandals" involved in facebook, how they steal from ppl, and give away all their information...just tabloid trash....

      November 2, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Christina

      It is better than going to mormon.org. Do you really believe that you are getting information that hasn't been tweaked to produce a better image for the church? Do you really think it isn't biased?

      November 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • muucavwon

      mormonthink.com is far from anti-Mormon. It has information from many leading LDS scholars on why they feel their faith is justified.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • TR6

      @Sunnyjsanders: “Ya, if I want to know about something i never go to the source...only to someone who opposes the organization...uh huh. Very wise information.”

      Like the mormons, if I want true information about the totalitarian rulers of North Korea the last place to look is the official publications of the North Korean government

      November 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  15. Christina

    Mormonism like all other religions is a cult.

    November 2, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Amber Largent

      If that's true, then we're in good company. If having faith puts you in a cult because you are group that believes certain dogma, wouldn't being atheist (a sect of society that studiously does NOT believe in dogma, which is itself a kind of dogma) be a similitude to being a "faith" in that it's a non-faith and thus itself a cult? And if such were true, wouldn't the label be unnecessary? I'm just curious.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  16. Bookworm

    There are a lot of people claiming to know about what Mormons believe in on this comment thread. If you are really wanting to know the truth about what they believe in visit their website. You can request your own FREE copy of The Book of Mormon to find out for yourself what is in there. Read it for yourself and find out what is in there. There are so many misconceptions and/or flat out lies about who Mormons are and what Mormons teach or believe in. And in case, you are wondering, yes, I am one, but I did not grow up Mormon. I converted. I choose to be a member. No one forced me to be one and if I wanted to stop going no one would force me to stay. WE believe in freedom of choice, what we call God-given agency. Cults are not like that. If you try to leave they force you to stay or they kill you. Someone mentioned Jim Jones. He made people commit suicide. We do not advocate, nor do we believe in such actions.

    If you read and really understood the Bible, you would know that what we teach is from there. Christ said, "Ye are gods." (John 10:34). John also wrote about how "we SHALL BE LIKE HIM (see: 1st John 3:1,2)." What loving earthly father would not want what he has for his children. Is not God's love greater than man's love?

    We love our families and know families can be together forever. Why would God make families only to take them away from us in Heaven? This is why we do the work we do in the Temples. All the work we do for a person by proxy is not forced on that person. They have to ACCEPT the work done for them. They have that right. Again, it comes down to agency. Plural marriage was practiced in the Bible. Abraham had two wives, Jacob had four and they were called the friends of God. No where in the Bible does it say Christ rejects this idea. As a matter of fact, he mentioned it when teaching a parable about the 10 virgins and the bridegroom. Why would he use this as an example if he did not accept this teaching? There was only one bridegroom. (see Matthew 25). Always he says "THE BRIDEGROOM" and it is only one man and his 10 fiances, but 5 were not ready to be married. So, Christ did except this marriage, but it is a higher law. With that said, The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints no longer performs or accepts these marriages. If anyone is found in this marriage they are excommunicated.

    I could go on and on about the stuff people are posting on here that is false or misunderstood. We believe in God, the Eternal Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ and In the Holy Ghost. We know and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. We love Him. We know He rose again. If you want to learn more visit lds.org or mormon.org. If not, you can just believe what an x-mormon, or non-mormon tells you about our faith. It is your choice.

    November 2, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Dr. Zeuss

      Produce the golden tablets or stop bothering us.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man

      The church-assigned Mormon trolls will begin pasting huge wads of Mormon hogwash to obfuscate these boards.

      The onslaught is just beginning. At least they're not as nasty as the inmates the GOP's Koch brothers hire to flood CNN's boards. 😉

      November 2, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • nympha

      There is no male or female, no marrying, no giving in marriage in heaven. This is specifically stated in the New Testament.
      In addition...
      Jesus in this passage is not speaking to pantheists (who believe that God is everything and everything is God) or polytheists (who believe in many gods). Rather, He is addressing strict Jewish monotheists who believe that only the Creator of the universe is God. So, His statement should not be wrenched out of this monotheistic context and given a pantheistic or polytheistic twist.

      Second, in context Jesus is alluding to Psalm 82 where human judges are called "gods," and His reasoning communicates the following idea: "If God even called human judges 'gods' (with a small 'g'), then how much more is it appropriate that I call myself the Son of God." Keep in mind that Christ had just pronounced Himself one with the Father saying, "I and My Father are one" (10:30). The Jews wanted to stone Him because they thought Christ was blaspheming, making Himself out to be equal with God (vv. 3133). Jesus responded by quoting Psalm 82:6 (a verse dealing with human judges) which says, "I said, you are gods." So, Jesus reasoned, if human judges could be called "gods" (with a small 'g'), then why can't the Son of God be called "God."

      Third, these judges were "gods" in the sense that they stood in God place, judging over life and death matters. They were not called "gods" because they were actually divine beings. Indeed, the text Jesus cites (Ps. 82) also goes on to say that these judges were "mere men" and would "die" (v. 7).

      Fourth, it is possible, as many scholars believe, that when the psalmist Asaph said "You are gods" of the unjust judges in Psalm 82, he was speaking in irony. He indicated to these judges (who had apparently become unjust in their dealings with men), "I have called you 'gods,' but in fact you will die like the men that you really are." If this is so, then when Jesus alluded to this psalm in John 10, He was saying that what the Israelite judges were called in irony and in judgment, He is in reality.

      In any event, it is clear that Jesus in this passage was giving a defense for His own deity, not for the deification of man.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Deborah Woolley

      I have been a convert for 7 years now. I've NEVER felt so close to Heavenly Father! I would never want to read my scriptures before and I've never had completeness that I have now! It was THE BEST thing I've ever done in my life. I've never been judged
      for my "life" before which is kinda good because it wasn't a life I was proud of to say the least! If I was offered a billion dollars to go back to my way of life before, I'd turn it down cold. Heavenly Father has made such a profound change in my life in such a short time and with the help I needed that I'll never, ever go back. I love my church and I thank God for the missionaries!

      November 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Wrong

      So.. take the Bible literally, except when you don't like what the implications are... Got it.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • TR6

      “If you are really wanting to know the truth about what they believe in visit their website.” Wrong. That web site contains what he mormon leaders want you to know about what they believe, and what is there is probably true; but, it will be full if lies by omission. It won’t be everything, because they believe in a lot of embarrassing stuff. They are like old school scientology

      November 2, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
  17. CommonSense

    No, there isn't one true Jesus Christ. There are many versions, or perhaps adaptations of the ridiculous fake story, and more are still being invented. It's a myth and it's childish to believe otherwise.
    I love when the religious myth peddlers open their statements with a false, premise. There is no historical proof and certainly no archaeological proof that the Jesus of Nazareth character ever existed. No one true Jesus.
    The Christian rubbish is The biggest Con-Game in the history of mankind. But Islam is running a close second!!

    November 2, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Bookworm

      He is in history books and there are lots of depictions of him in early artwork from 100BC. You can choose not to believe in him. There really is only one man who lived and was the Son of God. He is Jesus Christ, born of Mary in a stable, lived for mankind, died for mankind and rose again so man can live again too. It's your choice to believe as you wish. I know what I believe in and will continue to believe it because my Spirit testifies to me it is true.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • TR6

      @Bookworm: Why don’t you tell us about his brother while you’re at it

      November 2, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  18. Puck

    Sounds like hog wash to me.

    November 2, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  19. 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 northern 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 campus).
    2) Taxpayers pay for parking lots, cross walks, crossing lights to benefit the Mormon seminaries.
    3) Mormon students are given credit for seminary courses, in certain public school districts.

    Non-Mormon children often feel intimidation, fear and religious pressure 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 on those same public campuses. 😉

    November 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • TJohnson

      Flat out lies or misinformation.

      1) There is NO public school in the State of Utah that has a seminary building on school property. They are always on private Church owned property withing walking distance.

      2)Taxpayers pay for NO parking lot on seminary property. They do pay for crosswalks and lights that may benefit the students, being they are the children of Utah taxpayers, ummm DUH!

      3) There is NO public school in Utah that gives High School credit for attending Seminary. They do allow the kids to attend during the school day, but there is no credit given for completing the class. It is simply a lie. The State has had the same standards in place since the 80's on this. Individual School Districts do not have the right to implement their own policy on this. It is State mandated. I graduated High School in Utah in 1988 and I have a daughter graduating this year from a private school in Utah this year. Even she can't get credit for seminary. The State sets the graduation requirements and credit standards.

      Just for the record the State of Utah and ALL public schools there allow every NON LDS student the same 1 hour release for religious instruction if they wish. So try actually researching your information before you make your claims.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man

      At my high school the Mormon seminary was between the gym and the science building. Um, I guess the church owned a little parcel between them.

      It's still a very perverse religious influence IN A PUBLIC UNITED STATES SCHOOL!!

      November 2, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man

      You're lying about the school credit too. That must have been changed in recent years too.

      Heck, the Mormon church is always morphing and evolving like some kind of time-share operation. How materialistic!!

      November 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Davey

      TJohnson, it may not be the case in Utah, but it IS the case in Arizona. The LDS church bought school property and placed their seminary either within or right next to the campus. Visit ASU or MCC sometime. So no, the comment was not flat out lies.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Ozymandias71

      Wow, I didn't know about this. The name of the program you're describing is 'Release-Time Mormon Seminary Program' – I did a Google search on it and the issue of LDS 'Seminaries' being promptly built nearby (or even adjacent to) public school property has certainly raised some concerns.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • sunnyjsanders

      Underwear face..get a grip. When your arguments are based on untruth they fall flat. You look like a hateful fool.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • sunnyjsanders

      Those campus' are NOT on school property. They are nearby. Get over it.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Amber Largent

      Actually, I wish that all faiths represented in the community had faith instruction like unto ours... I think it's what's missing from our society. I think that they should be able to use a classroom if needed – but an outside building they can walk to is even better (it could be better personalized). I have no problem with a Mosque or a Synagogue or any other faith teaching their children faith... why would I? (Don't Jewish kids have a similar program of religious education? Hebrew school or something?)

      November 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  20. Iarere

    My posts don't seem to be working...This is a test.

    November 2, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
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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.