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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. Dan Combs

    If you love God, and love your Neighbor, these are two great commandments in the law. Here is a good start for those who believe the Bible. This is what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or the Mormons/Christians, Catholicts, Jews, and Many other religions believe. Chew on that for a waile.

    November 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Jerry

      And don't forget the laws about sacrificing a goat and burning it every sunday. God will be mad if you don't.

      Jesus says the laws of the OT still apply, so get that goat and keep that knife sharp.

      Christianity is one bloody evil religion, fo sho.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • Jerry

      Chew on that for a wail...

      November 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • scott

      @Jerry: Just remember you must never ever cook a baby goat in it’s mothers milk (#10 from the 2nd set of 10 commandments) Exodus 23:19, Exodus 34:26, Deuteronomy 14:21

      November 2, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
  2. Chaps

    I live in Florida and have visited many different churches in connection with my job. I realized that there wasn't much diversity in Utah, where I grew up so I expected to see much more here. I was actually surprised when the first church I visited (and it was a big one) was almost all white. I have been to others that are almost all black. Yet, I don't hear anybody making much fuss about them. In those cases it is mostly because of location or style of worship that it turns out that way. That makes up part of the reason for the seeming lack of diversity in the mormon church. Many who grow up in Utah may never have a black or other minority in their ward because there just arent many around. My ward here in Florida is about 70% white, but is similar to many of the other churches I have seen in the area. It is true that here in the United states the Mormon church is mostly white, but that is not all that surprising when you consider that it was pretty much born among whites and stayed quite isolated in the Rocky Mountains for decades. That is all changing now as American mormons are actually in the minority now in the Mormon church. The LDS church is really in a transition period where there is huge influx from diverse backgrounds. That diversity is begining to be represented in the central leadership (though this is a little slower,I think simply because of language and communications issues). Rather than resenting the change, the LDS church seems to be welcoming it. Mormons may not be the poster religion for diversity, but they are making the transition more smoothly and/or are actually farther along than some other "mainstream" religions.

    November 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
  3. INNOCENT EKHADAPELE OGWAH

    WHAT MAKES YOU BELIEVE THAT THE WOMAN YOU WOKE UP ONE MORNING AND SAW BY YOUR SIDE IS YOU MUM? IS IT BECAUSE SHE TOLD YOU OR BECAUSE YOU SAW THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE OR MAYBE SOME THING IN THE DEEPEST PART OF YOUR HEART TOLD YOU SO? YOU SAW THE WOMAN JUST AS I SAW THE BOOK OF MORMON, SHE TOLD YOU THAT SHE IS YOUR MUM JUST AS PEOPLE WHO TESTIFIED THAT THE BOOK OF MORMON IS TRUE,AND THE BIBLE SAID, WHAT TWO OR THREE STAND TO AGREE ON IS AGREED IN HEAVEN, THEY GAVE YOU YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE JUST AS I WAS GIVEN THE BOOK OF MORMON TO READ AND SEE FOR MYSELF THE TRUTH, SOMETHING IN THE DEEPEST PART OF YOU TOLD YOU THAT SHE IS YOUR MUM, JUST AS MY CONSCIENCE WHICH IS THE SPIRIT OF GOD IN MY TOLD ME THAT THE BOOK OF MORMON IS TRUE. I AM A MORMON....(NOTE) NOT JUST A MORMON BUT A SUPERB MORMON.

    November 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • muucavwon

      You definitely sound like a superb Mormon.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  4. D. Carl

    More than three hundred believing Mormon scholars and scientists - all of them, according to some here, insane and dysfunctional racists who know nothing about Mormon history - write about their faith at

    http://mormonscholarstestify.org/

    http://mormonscholarstestify.org/category/testimonies

    November 2, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Jerry

      Nice linkspam.

      November 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  5. Dan Combs

    Can you name one thing nice about anyone? Is there always a negative view about everyone, everything? Some people spend their whole lives complaining and may realize one day, or never, that they walk a very lonely road of contention, anger, bitterness, and hate, but hopefully discover that true love had been near their side all along. A mother once said "if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anyting at all."

    November 2, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  6. Josephus

    The Mormons I have met seem to be nice people. They seem to be good neighbors, even if they are a bit too helpful to the point of being annoying when there is some major natural disaster.

    But, even they they may be good and decent neighbors and citizens, their belief system has some kooky stuff in it. They believe American Indians are descended from Hebrews/Jews who left Israel after the destruction of. The first temple in 586 BCE. Genetic, linguistic and archaeological evidence all prove that native peoples of north American came from Asia.

    They also believe and. Practice the baptism of dead people. Thaey used to collect genealogies of Jews and baptize them even though they were dead.

    The great thing about America is that anyone can practice any silly, kooky religion they want,

    Decent neighbors have a right to have stupid beliefs and people who believe stupid things can be good neighbors.

    November 2, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • hippypoet

      religions will be the demise of this country i hope the goverment starts burning all bibles

      November 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  7. Cindy

    "Colin

    Cindy, if you were truly a Mormon, which I doubt, you either suffered from some mental issues or have some reason to dislike them."

    Wow Colin, in your first sentence you called me a liar and claimed I suffer from mental issues or hate Mormons. A little defensive-much?

    Perhaps your personal attack is why many, many people dislike Mormons as a whole group, because personally attacking someone you don't even know and making harsh judgments about a person is a typical reaction from a Mormon. I didn't personally attack YOU, in fact, I said "many Mormons were hardworking and trying their darnest to follow what they had been taught."

    For the record, I was born and raised Mormon – born under the covenant, married in the Temple, held high callings in church (well...as high as a woman is allowed to hold) and probably know far more about your religion than most Mormons ever will, since my research is not limited to what is "church approved". I've been to the temple – many times. I went through the motions of slitting my throat and disembowling myself if I ever told their secrets before they removed those little cultish acts in the late 1990s. I carried my suitcase into the temple that was filled with my temple dress, my sash, my veil and my green fig apron. I know the secret handshakes, the chantings, the garments (aka underwear), I know the pressure put on each member to spend their life, energy, and money to "build up the kingdom of heaven" which is really a billion dollar corporation. I took groups of teenagers to the temple to do baptizing for the dead, participated in ward temple nights where I took a name of a dead person, went through the washing and annointings, the endowment session and sat in the "Celestial" room. Still think I've never been a Mormon? I've sat in Stake and Ward Auxilliary Meetings, attended Stake baptisms, ward baptisms, spoke in Sacrament Meetings, Stake Conferences, bore my testimony on Fast Sunday, did my visiting teaching teaching, taught in Relief Society, Young Womens and Primary, and was in all 3 Presidencies. Still think I was never a Mormon? I volunteered at Homemaking Night, sang in the Ward Choir, and helped organize ward Christmas parties and summer parties, primary activities, sharing time and cub scouts, held Family Home Evening on Monday nights and watch General Conference each April and October. Still think I was never a Mormon?

    Obviously you aren't interested in hearing anything you don't think you already know, so you can go right on and think that anyone who dare speak out against your church has a mental issue or is filled with hate. You can continue defending and attacking to heart's desire, and showing just how a real Mormon treats one of their "sisters". I won't stop you or discourage you from showing by example how a Mormon REALLY treats people who aren't Mormons or will become a Mormon.

    Have a fabulous night. I know I will. 🙂

    November 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • Josephus

      What you just shared confirms what many people have always suspected and that is, that Joseph Smith borrowed mor from Freemasonry than from achrosianity when he invented the Mormon reliign. Some of the things you revels led are secrets ffrom the Masonic ritual. In fact. One of Joseph smoth's wives was the widow of Morgan. Like I said, everyone has the right to believe what they want, but, Mormonism is borrows so much from freemasonry that it is clear and obvious to anyone who has studied such things that it is plain silly.

      November 2, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  8. hippypoet

    not sure if these were posted earlier or not but for all that may care, these are the articles of faith – basic foundations of mormonism

    We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
    2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.
    3. We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
    4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
    6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
    7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
    8. 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.
    9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
    10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisaical glory.
    11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
    12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
    13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul–We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Augh

      Wow... I'm blinded by the lack of Christianity!

      November 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • hippypoet

      i am not a believer in anyway, i just wanted those who wish to know to have the ablity to know at ease. Oh and they claim that these are in perfect similarity to the old testement, well – they are not... but whatever. i am not here to argue this crap, just to inform.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • hippypoet

      so just people can compare

      the nicene creed:

      We believe in one God,
      the Father, the Almighty,
      maker of heaven and earth,
      of all that is, seen and unseen.
      We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
      the only Son of God,
      eternally begotten of the Father,
      God from God, light from light,
      true God from true God,
      begotten, not made,
      of one Being with the Father;
      through him all things were made.
      For us and for our salvation
      he came down from heaven,
      was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
      and became truly human.
      For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
      he suffered death and was buried.
      On the third day he rose again
      in accordance with the Scriptures;
      he ascended into heaven
      and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
      He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
      and his kingdom will have no end.

      We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
      who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
      who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
      who has spoken through the prophets.
      We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
      We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
      We look for the resurrection of the dead,
      and the life of the world to come. Amen.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • hippypoet

      now i have to do a quick bit on islam... i am fair! next will be judaism – the only one of the 3 main abrahamic beliefs i have respect for.

      the basic foundations and meaning of islam :

      Islam is the religion of truth. It is the embodiment of the code of life, which Allaah, the Creator and Lord of the Universe, has revealed for the guidance of mankind.

      The Meaning of Islam:

      Islam is an Arabic word which denotes submission, surrender and obedience. As a religion, Islam stands for complete submission and obedience to Allaah – that is why it is called Islam. The other literal meaning of the word Islam is “peace” and this signifies that one can achieve real peace of body and mind only through submission and obedience to Allaah. Such a life of obedience brings peace of the heart and establishes real peace in society.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • hippypoet

      Principles of Judaism
      Rambam's thirteen principles of faith is the most widely-accepted list of Jewish beliefs.

      1. God exists.
      2. God is one and unique.
      3. God is incorporeal.
      4. God is eternal.
      5. Prayer is to be directed to God alone.
      6. The words of the prophets are true.
      7. Moses was the greatest prophet, and his prophecies are true.
      8. The Torah was given to Moses.
      9. There will be no other Torah.
      10. God knows the thoughts and deeds of men.
      11. God will reward the good and punish the wicked.
      12. The Messiah will come.
      13. The dead will be resurrected.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  9. CommonSense

    Hey! Wonderful. But, they aren't EVEN stone tablets! But, are just re-hashed old simplistic moral statements from previous religions, mostly Egyptian (which was prominent all through the middle East for 2500 years).

    "Clearly things that God forbids others to see means they don't exist. "
    Yes. Clearly, myths written by primitive people are MYTHS. They don't exist.

    Now you are getting it!!

    November 2, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  10. CommonSense

    "Oh, the Tablets????" " Why should I show you those??? Uhhhhhh....let's see...... I lost them!!!! Yeah, that's it. But I'm still a prophet!
    Oh, Americans. Too many of you are such unsophisticated people. Just, simple-minded, and often sadistic fools who give up their freedom to a massive Con-Game based on their own fear and self-loathing. Poor, dumb people.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • Wrong

      Yeah, because God never forbade the Israelites from seeing things. For example, the Ark of the Covenant and the Stone Tablets supposedly placed within. Clearly things that God forbids others to see means they don't exist. Yay! Screw the 10 Commandments, I've never seen the Stone Tablets anyhow!

      November 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  11. Book of Mormon is real history??

    We all remember growing up and being taught about the Mayans and the Romans, right? It was taught in our history classes. How come we never learned of the Nephites, Lamanites, and Jordanites, the great civilizations depicted in the Book of Mormon? According to the Book of Mormon they were millions strong and lived right here in America.

    How come you can't read about them here?

    http://ancientweb.org/explore

    Oh wait, they never existed. LOL

    November 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Josh

      A Book of Mormon is as real as Bible. They were both written by men and are full of contradictions.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Wrong

      Not that I care, but you do realize we know very little about most of the cultures in the Americas the further back we go and the Book of Mormon times purport to be before 4-500 AD? And the ones we know most about are the ones that were mostly intact or barely gone at the time of the Spanish Conquests.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  12. Josh

    Amen, brother. They only think that there is one correct version of Christianity. Those high school dropped out, cousin marrying, toothless southerners.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  13. Dan Combs

    A broken heart and a contrite Spirit is required to enter the Kindgom of God, many people never reach that in this life but for those who do, they will find true joy and true happiness.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  14. hawaiiduude

    all dark skinned people are a result of a curse from God. This is straight from the TempleSquare SLC. Take the tour, ask the question of how come the indians of today have dark skin?

    November 2, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Bookworm

      I'm dark skinned and my ancestors were natives. I was treated differently because of my skin color. So, yeah, I could say it was a curse to me at times. Do I hate my color? No, not now, but at one time I did because when I was little I was treated like it was a curse to be me. So, your point is?? If you ask anyone of color who is willing to think about it with an open and honest look at what it was like for them they will probably state the same. Ask someone who grew up in America in the 1980s (and before this time) if it was not like being cursed to be treated differently because of the color of one's skin. Thankfully, those growing up in this country from the 90s going forward will not have to endure this type of treatment. At least, one can continue to hope.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Samantha

      It is understandable for one to see that in a bad light. If what the Book of Mormon says is true than, than the next question is why? If you do a little research you can better understand something than just judging something at a glace. If you know biblical history
      It was not very acceptable to marry another person of a different faith. As in Genesis 24:1-3 Abraham desires for his son Isaac to not marry a Canaanite, but a woman from his own country. It was a matter of avoiding interfaith marriages and that is one example of many in the Bible. God in the Book of Mormon cursed the skin of the seed of Laman, who at the time were rebellious against God, so that the seed of Nephi would not marry with them.

      Alma 3:6-8 " 6.And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a acurse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.

      7 And their brethren sought to destroy them, therefore they were cursed; and the Lord God set a amark upon them, yea, upon Laman and Lemuel, and also the sons of Ishmael, and Ishmaelitish women.

      8 And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preserve his people, that they might not amix and believe in incorrect btraditions which would prove their destruction."

      I hope this better helps you understand the short answer you received at temple square. You may still wish to be critical of it , but that is the reason it was done as recorded in the Book of Mormon. I personally believe the book of Mormon to be true, because I have never read a book with more power and truth than this. It brings me a lot of joy in my life as I read it. If you really read and study it you might gain a more compete picture of what we believe.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  15. Jim Massey

    After reading many of the comments, I came to the conclusion that no one is more hateful, ignorant and intolerant than an evangelical Christian.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Josh

      Amen, brother. They only think that there is one correct version of Christianity. Those high school dropped out, cousin marrying, toothless southerners.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  16. I made a mistake!

    I'm Mormon, and ever since kindergarten I've been friends with a person who is black. We are now in our twenties, in college together, and just had lunch a few hours ago. After reading these comments, I've come to the conclusion that I SHOULD BE a racist. I just called him to tell him I no longer want to be friends and that he is horrible for being born black.

    Thanks internet for telling me how to live my life!

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

      LOL, I love it

      November 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  17. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    I would love to debate more about religion and beliefs, but this chat is too specific of a focus, mormons are just too easy to pick apart. No fun at all.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Collin

      Maybe try understanding first. I bet you have not encountered their strongest arguments. http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Reason-Scholarly-Evidences-Supporting/dp/1599552310/ref=pd_ybh_2?pf_rd_p=280800601&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=1501&pf_rd_i=ybh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0D99XD0ZRZTPT5Y32DV6

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

      Someone hasn't debated a Mormon who actually knows what they're talking about. Some Mormons are harder to pick apart than a Baptist Minister.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  18. Nanson Hwa

    Labels without substance and action is a waste of time.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  19. John T.

    This "church" illegally used its tax status to funnel over $70 million dollars to shell organizations it created to eliminate minority rights in the 2008 election. Regardless of your feelings on the marriage equality issue, they have a ridiculous amount of power and a historical bias against minorities of every variety. Now, they're inclusive? Right.

    November 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Candyce

      Illegally? Ok, can you tell me how and who got arrested?

      November 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Mark

      If your claims are true, then why doesn't Harry Reid, a proud Mormon supporter of minority rights object to it? Your claims are baseless.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  20. Reality

    The bulletin that should be passed out at all churches, mosques, temples and synagogues !

    WARNING- Don't Become Victims of the Infamous Angelic Con:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    November 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • sunnyjsanders

      You people have never heard of the ancient Americans like the Maya, the Anasazi, the Pueblo. Your ignorance is astounding.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:56 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.