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

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

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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. Kristie

    As a former member, I can tell you that I was not accepted well into my area for being Native American. I was told by a high priest in the ward that the reason I had dark skin was because I was not righteous and pure enough in the pre-existence. Nice, huh?

    November 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Eric Smith

      As a lifelong mormon, and one who has served a 2 year responsibility in Africa, I don't believe what your leader told you, and I don't know a single mormon who does ( I know lots of them too). Sorry you had that experience, he never should have said that.

      November 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Abinadi

      I accept you too, Kristie. I am white and attend a Latino branch because I love the children of Lehi and know them as the tribe of Manasseh. My two daughters married Latinos and I am just thrilled with my three beautiful grandchildren.

      November 4, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • tapirrider

      @Eric Smith
      You might not know a single Mormon who believes that but a previous Mormon prophet Joseph Fielding Smith believed it and taught it. Many of us had to deal with that idea because of his writings.

      @Abinidi
      Manasseh is a subordinate tribe, having lost the birthright to Ephraim. America's indigenous people are second class to whites with these silly patriarchal blessings.

      November 4, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Kev

      Krisitie, I feel very sorry and even ashamed that you were ever told something like that. Something that is absolutely not true. Your story also reminded me of a scripture in the Book of Mormon about what Jesus said concerning the remnant of Jacob (Native Americans) and us Gentiles after we have settled in this promised land.

      "Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bringvforth unto the Gentiles, and shall give him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.

      And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea , in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver." (Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 21:11-12)

      November 5, 2011 at 1:47 am |
  2. George

    For all you nea sayers, the time shall come when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ. and as is revealed in the parable of the Ten Virgins, The lord will say to you that will come to him in that time when he comes again to claim his own and to address you of those on his left (The Tares), "Depart Hense, I Never Knew Ye!" Only those who repent by having a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and follow Him by truly striving to be Obedient To His Commandments for the rest of their lives, shall be found on His Right Hand and shall not be destroyed at his coming! I pray for those of you that do not hear, to Hear! those who do not see, to See! and those who do not feel, to Feel! that you my be counted amoung the righteous and Live, and have Joy!

    November 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Snow

      Wow.. God is truly great.. so here is what he did..

      – he creates man and gives him freewill to do whatever he wants.
      – then he demands that the man should praise him and suck upto him.. or the man will burn for eternity

      Good god!

      Besides, why should I bend my knee in front of a god who brings out so much calamity to my home (earth, if you are slow today)? Earthquakes and typhoons and disasters are all gifts from the dear god given out of love? oh please..

      November 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Dave

      Hmmm.... you're joking, right?

      November 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  3. Kathleen Waters

    If Mormons were allowed to develop/use critical thinking, instead of believing that when the leaders have spoken, the thinking has been done, they would realize that the Book of Mormon can't possibly be a true history, inspired by God, and given to Joseph Smith for the benefit of humanity. Here's why: If Joseph Smith were an actual recipient of words from God, he would not have needed to bury his face in a hat containing a magic rock. This charismatic leader had the gall to claim that God was also correcting the New Testament through him because it was translated incorrectly. This new translation, the Joseph Smith version of the Bible would be the words that we would find in the many passages of the King James bible which we find in the Book of Mormon. Instead, "God" apparently made the same errors that scribes did in translating the Bible, including spurious passages which are now acknowledged by biblical scholars to be inserted by copyists. Why don't Mormons use the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible. They claim it was not accepted by the Gentiles (anyone other than a Mormon) for missionary work. However, the Mormons do not use the Joseph Smith bible anywhere, ever, because it demonstrates that Mormons do not respect the scriptures which the rest of Christianity treasures. AND – after declaring that God himself stated that every Protestant religion was an "abomination" to him, it would have brought more persecution upon them if people new they really did not respect the Bible. They call the Book of Mormon the most perfect book ever written, yet the Book of Mormon roundly condemns polygamy, which Joseph Smith claimed was a law of God after he was caught committing adultery. No wonder they forbid members to go to unbiased sources for historical information. Moving even closer to the old "imprimatur" labeling of approved books, Mormons now disavow their own sacred historical history and urge members not to read the Journal of Discourses or any of the other voluminous church-authored records of Mormon struggles against the American culture.

    November 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • pharrell

      Have you ever read the Book of Mormon? Just curious....

      November 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Eric Smith

      I find the Book of Mormon to be in perfect harmony with the Bible. And despite what some say, Joseph Smith was actually a way cool, and way smart guy. There's plenty of good written about him, some people are just drawn to negativity.

      November 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Kathleen Waters

      Responding to Eric that he finds the Book of Mormon completely in agreement with the Bible. This is a transcript of a conversation between an exmormon, like me, and an online missionary named Malia. Judge for yourself if it's the same.

      Malia: Every Lord’s prayer in the Bible is written a little bit different. They were all written by different prophets. It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t know how to explain himself clearly, but that it is easy for us to misinterpret things in the scriptures.
      Malia: does that help?
      Me: no, because it says the same thing in the book of mormon as it does in the KJV, word for word
      Me: so they weren’t written differently. Jesus said the exact same thing to the nephrites
      Malia: Have you read the Lord’s prayer in the book of Luke? The wording of them is a little bit different.
      Me: but the book of mormon is translated perfectly, right?
      Me: so whatever is in 3 Nephi is exactly what jesus said
      Malia: Yes. The Book of Mormon is correct. But, the JST is not to change what Jesus said, but to help us understand the words that Jesus said. It isn’t changing the words, just making them more understandable to us.
      Me: but that’s like saying jesus didn’t explain himself clearly and joseph smith had to clarify his words. No Christian is going to believe that
      Malia: No, it is not like saying that. It is saying that there are lots of ways to misinterpret the Bible. There are loads of scriptures that are true, but the way they are interpreted can be false.
      Me: but we’re talking about the book of mormon
      Malia: it is just to make things more clear because of man’s error, not Jesus’ error.
      Me: by changing matthew 6:13 he’s also changing 3 nephi 13:13
      Me: because they say the exact same thing
      Me: word for word
      Malia: he is not changing it, he is just explaining it. For example, the scripture found in John 3:5…”born of the Spirit…”
      Malia: we have been taught that refers to the gift of the Holy Ghost. It doesn’t mean we have changed the scripture. We just have had it explained to us.
      Me: this is just crazy. Why would jesus say something twice that he knew would be so confusing that joseph smith would have to clarify it 1400 years later?
      Me: if he knew that it wasn’t clear, why wouldn’t he just say the right thing the first time?
      Me: I can understand what you’re saying about the bible
      Me: that’s no problem. It’s been translated so many times
      Me: but the book of mormon has only been translated once, and that was by a seer
      Me: so it has to be perfect
      Me: so basically you’re saying that in 3 nephi 13:13 jesus said something confusing and waited for joseph smith to clarify it for him?
      Malia: No. Joseph Smith translated it for our benefit. Bottom line we have the Book of Mormon and the Bible together. All scripture is for our benefit. If you have a testimony of the Book of Mormon being true and of Joseph Smith as a prophet, you understand that this church is true. Translations do not change the words, but help us to understand. To be honest, I have wondered why sometimes the scriptures are written in the style they are. It would seem to have been easier to have the scriptures written in plain English. But they aren’t. So we use the Spirit in order to help us understand.
      Me: I already know where this is going, though. She’s going to say that mormons think joseph smith is smarter than jesus, or that he plagiarized the new testament and then changed it later but couldn’t change the book of mormon because the translation was supposed to be perfect.
      Me: “lead us not into temptation” and “suffer us not to be led into temptation” are two completely different phrases
      Me: one is active and one is passive
      Me: in the first god is doing the leading, in the second god is trying to keep us from being led
      Me: how could jesus not know that?

      November 4, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  4. Steven

    As a ex mormon, I can tell you that they are bigoted people, not only about race but religion,economics and the world in general. To believe that these guys would not bring their religion to Washington and use it to make decisions about everything is naive at the least. I lived in utah for several years and everything was great until I pulled away from the religion and then my family and I were shunned, all of our "friends" stopped coming by because we had chose to be heathens. Vote how you wish but be warned.

    November 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • BroDave

      Steven, Sorry you had a bad experience. Hope you find what you are looking for. I have heard that some mormons leave their church but have a hard time leaving it alone.

      November 4, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
  5. Ray

    Jesus told us there would be false prophets. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were two of them.

    November 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Abinadi

      I think it is pretty obvious from the Family Radio incident who the false prophets are. They are protestant ministers who have no authority. Real prophets have the authority and are recognized by God.

      November 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  6. abinadi

    This is a sincere question. You protestants believe in the Nicene Creed, right, that God is without body, parts, and passions, etc. You believe that Jesus and God are the same. Jesus came to earth and had a body, was killed and resurrected with his body again. So, how do you explain that he doesn't have a body now? Did he put it down somewhere and forget where it was? I don't get it.

    November 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The story goes that he ascended bodily to Heaven.
      Baptists believe this will happen to them come the rapture.

      November 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Ray

      so for mormons, god, who was once a man lives on planet kolob with his many wives and good mormons will be gods with their own planets someday.....hmmmm.....

      November 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Brad

      Just to be sure, are we talking about Christ
      "Who, being in very nature God,
      did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
      but made himself nothing,
      taking the very nature of a servant,
      being made in human likeness.
      And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself
      and became obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!
      Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
      and gave him the name that is above every name,
      that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
      and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father. "

      November 4, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Yes, Brad. That is who I am talking about. You seem sincere. There aren't too many of those here. So, can you explain that to me?

      November 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Abinadi

      So, Brad, do you believe that Jesus and God are the same person or separate persons? Do they have bodies? If God does not have a body, then how could Christ be his begotten son? If God has no body, parts, or passions, then how could Jesus be his son and be in his image?

      November 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Brad

      John 17 is particularly poignant: " I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." Here Christ, the incarnate second person of the Trinity, anticipates returning to the state of glory he had eternally with the Father before the incarnation. Does this mean he is no longer incarnate? Hebrews 13:8 is sometimes taken to say otherwise: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Also, as Christ established the sacrament of the Lord's Supper he said "I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom”. This suggest that he is man and we will meet him as such – or would we drink and eat together in spirit bodies? And too, the body of Christ is central to the sacrament and must therefore exist: Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” So, though co-eternal with God and glorified together with Him, Jesus Christ is man.

      In Hebrews 1:8 God is quoted: "But about the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.'" God calls the Son God and says that he will reign as such forever. Now, there is but one God and he is quoted in Isaiah: “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior." Christ, who is God is not separable from God.

      In sum, Christ is a distinct person from God,incarnate as man, but also inseparable from the one living God.

      November 4, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Brad, I read your post several times trying to see your point of view, but to me those verses just support the Mormon point of view that Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost are separate beings with bodies. When Christ spoke to the Father, was he speaking to himself? "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." to me says that Christ had a body when he was on earth, so does this scripture say that he had a body before and after he came to earth? I think I can see what's happening here, the Nicene council was at least as diverse as the people on this forum and they were presided over by an uninspired, rank, pagan, who worshipped idols and tried to hammer out an agreement that everyone could agree on – which was almost impossible. So, they took some viewpoints here and some there and when they got done, they saddled you poor people with an unintelligible mass of giberish that no one could understand, which helped everyone accept it because no one understood it. Now you have to try and find scriptures that support it, and there aren't any, so you have to take some and stretch them almost to the breaking point and try and make them fit. The Bible is very plain and straightforward. When John baptized Jesus, the Fathers voice came from heaven, and the Holy Ghost descended like a dove. There were three distinct and separate personages there. Frankly, I find the creed a mass of confusion. But, thanks for trying, anyway.

      November 4, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • Brad

      In a sense God was speaking to himself when he said "Your throne, O God, will last forever" – how can God address an independent being as God when he is the one God of which he said (of himself) "Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me". God is one and God cannot be divided into separate gods. Yet there are three persons in the Trinity – this part I believe you do confess: "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost". So the problem lies in whether you can accept that God is one. Jesus Christ said of all God's commandments “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

      November 5, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  7. piggymama

    I saw one of those "I'm a Morman" bill boards the other day. I just glanced over. I thought it said "I'm a moron"!

    November 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  8. Brad

    Basically, the creeds Christians know and confess were deemed necessary to address various heresies, Arianism and Anomoeanism for example. They are meaningful and useful today as concise statements of what Christians confess to be true. Perhaps Mormons have a concise statement of what they believe. Hopefully we can hear all of it. All of it.

    November 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Sterling

      Brad, there is a "Mormon Creed" called "The Articles of Faith".

      http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,106-1-2-1,FF.html

      That's probably the simplest breakdown of LDS beliefs you can get. There are more complex doctrinal things (like temples and whatnot), but if you're looking for a "creed", that's the best explanation of Mormonism there is.

      November 4, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Brad

      Hi Sterling
      I am digesting the articles of faith. On this point: "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" – the Book of Mormon is accepted as the word of God in the sense that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness"?

      November 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Brad

      On this point: "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost" – do you consider Christ to be co-eternal with the Father as when Paul says "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together", or John, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—"?

      November 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Brad

      On this point: " 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." The Office of the Keys as I understand it was conferred on Peter: Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." How was (or is) this office conferred upon people among Mormons deemed to be in authority?

      November 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  9. qantog

    I spent 43 years of my life as a Mormon, rising to the level of stake high councilman. Claims here that Mormons are good people certainly resonate with my experience. But these claims suggest that people of other religions are somehow not as good. LDS Church doctrine specifically teaches that all other religions are an abomination before God. And that it is only through Mormonism that a man can see his family in the afterlife. The Church has an Army of 50,000 missionaries whose very purpose is to lure people away from these inferior religions and into Mormonism. Mormons perform proxy baptisms for the dead to capture still more, including Jewish Holocaust victims. Are they kind? That was certainly my experience. I like to think I was kind as a Mormon. But their superficial kindness does not rob the religion of its sinister nature at all. They may be nice to you but don't think for a second that they respect you or that they believe you are as righteous as they are or as worthy of God's love.

    November 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • 100% Mormon

      @first of all, it sounds to me that your time as a mormon was well spent... Unfortuantely, you have gone rouge and in my opinion, iots due to the fact you have entered into some unholy practices. Your opinions and the suggestions that the mormon church "TEACHES" that if you are not a mormon, you are an abomination... You have misquoted the scriptures and quite frankly, you have been spirtually blinded by whatever has affected your visdion... It is obvious that your seed has falling on the rocks... remember that analogy? Hope you get back your testimony and clear your spiritual-eye-glasses...

      November 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  10. seriously?no...seriously?

    I swear, black people are PIT- I- FUL. Who in their right minds would join and organization/religion, where they believe you are less than human? Animal, with no soul? Black people can be so needy, pitiful, and quite frankly, just plain stupid.

    And I don’t want to hear about any changes, and how they don’t believe or follow that doctrine any longer. If so, then you are not a true Mormon, because this is part and parcel of that belief, and what was taught. If you are now going to say “we see the error of our former ways”, well then, you really aren’t following your faith/belief then are you? It just invalidates that religion, shows it for what it, and all religions are, man made fallacies. You can’t puick and choose what you wish to follow or accept as genuine when it comes to religion. You either believe, or you don’t.
    Are you going to say God felt this way about blacks when He created them, then had a change of heart? So, then God makes mistakes? He created these people without “souls”, told Joseph Smith that, had him preach it, then as time passes and people become more informed and aware of this crap, you say “uh-oh, can’t preach or teach that any longer”. Seriously? No….seriously?

    November 4, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Paul

      "Seriously, no, seriously," for being an avid defender of African-Americans, you sure do insult them a lot in your post. Makes me wonder who the real racist here is.

      It's never been preached in the LDS Church, even a hundred years ago, that blacks didn't have souls. It's a blatant distortion of doctrine. Never happened.

      The great part about the LDS Church is we believe that revelation from God is continuing. It's not that He makes mistakes, He reveals to the world truths little by little, depending on how prepared we are to receive them.

      While it is sad that the priesthood was not granted to worthy male black members in the past, I'm so happy that it's available to all worthy men today. The fact that Africans and African-Americans are joining our Church today in droves is a testament to the beauty of this Church and the truth found in it, not to mention the happiness that one receives from it. Categorizing someone as stupid for finding this happiness is very disingenuous.

      November 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  11. tenisha

    DC 3rd is the best

    November 4, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  12. Bart

    Lily white image indeed:

    3 Nephi 2:15
    " And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;"

    Mormon Rule #89, Be White
    Afterallwecando.com

    November 4, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • James

      Bart:

      Not all lamanites become white like the Nephites, only those who had mixed lineage. The Nephites didn't quite understand how genetics worked in those centuries.

      But we do know that the black lamanites became more righteous than the white Nephites and that God approved of them and loved them just as much as the Nephites.

      We also learn from the Book of Mormon that it is "after all we can do TO REPENT" that we are saved. You forgot the "TO REPENT" part.

      Mormonism does not claim that you can "get into" heaven by "works alone" or "actions alone" – the Book of Mormon is clear that it is ONLY through the atonement of Jesus Christ that anyone can be saved.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints recently spent BILLIONS of dollars buying up shopping malls in Salt Lake City. Those malls cost several times more than the total amount of money the LDS has spent on charity over the last two decades.
    Good to know what the church does with your ti.the money, eh?
    And yea the angel Moroni did sayeth to all mankind that there would be brand name goods at discount prices, so shoppeth ye till thee droppeth.

    November 4, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • James

      Doc:

      When you overstate one figure and understate another for the sole purpose to deceive – you're just a liar. It is no secret that the LDS Church is a valued partner in revitalizing and developing the downtown area as a show of good will and help to the many businesses downtown.

      But those dollars pail in comparison to the billions that the Mormon Church has spent on charity and continues to spend on charity.

      The Mormon Church is the ONLY world-wide Christian Church that has a volunteer clergy.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @James
      In 2006, the Church PR department (Deseret News Publishing Company) 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.
      They bought the mall in SLC for $3 BILLION (once you factor in the cost of renovations).
      Do the math and then tell me again that I'm a liar.

      November 4, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Steve-in-MA

      Thank you, Doc Vestibule. We need to continue to refute the propaganda of these people with facts.

      November 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  14. JiminTX

    Oh boy, Mormons are a diverse group! They are still a cult and not Christians.

    November 4, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Christina

      Jim:

      I became more of a Christian as a Mormon than I ever was as a Methodist or Baptist. I'm not saying that I wasn't a Christian when I practiced those faiths but I can tell you that I follow Christ's teachings more closely now than I ever did then. There is truth to be found in all Religions. In addition, couldn't it be said that at some point all Religions could be classified as a cult?

      Baptists: The Baptists trace their origins to John Smyth and the Separatist Movement beginning in England in 1608.

      Methodists: The movement traces its roots to John Wesley.

      Presbyterians: Roost lie in the European Reformation of the 16th century, with the example of John Calvin.

      So as you can see.....every religion as started with some form of reformation. Catholic's believe that the authority of Christ was passed down through the Apostle Paul and if that stands to be true than every other religion has broken away from Christ's Church to follow someone else (Cult-like).

      If you are a true Christian then bashing other Children of God is not a way of showing your Christian faith or what they Savior would have you do. We are to become as He is and not to judge or try and cause harm or hurt to others.

      You will never see a Mormon church with a sign out front that says "Come and listen to our Message on the Cult....today's Sermon on Baptists, Methodists, and other mainstream religions". When I lived in Texas it was an ever week occurance. Sad.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • James

      Mormons are Christians in word and deed. They revere and follow the New Testament just as much as any other Christian denomination. However, Mormons are NOT Christians in the following ways:

      * Mormons do not believe in the Catholic creeds of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries.

      But then again, those creeds are not "biblical" in the literal sense.

      If the Bible is the sole authority of the word of God for Christians, then why do other Christians call them a "cult" for rejecting extra-biblical material (Creeds)?

      Christianity: Following Jesus in Word and Deed
      http: // newsroom.lds.org/article/christianity-following-jesus-in-word-and-deed

      November 4, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Lil

      Because it is "extra-biblical material"

      November 4, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • James

      Lil:

      This is the great paradox for traditional Christians. They claim that Mormons are a "cult" for having "extra-biblical" material and not accepting the Catholic creeds (specifically the Nicene and Chalcedonian formulation) but the very standard that they judge Mormons is EXTRA-biblical!

      This is the worst circular reasoning anyone has ever devised. How could it be accurate? When you boil it down, the "claim" that Mormons are a cult is more like "bigotry" than Biblical teaching.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Lil

      Religion and Cult do have this strange tendency to share definitions. I'm just saying.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • hippypoet

      here silly ninnies – compare for youself if you think mornomism isn't a FORM of christianity –
      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.

      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 | Report abuse |

      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 | Report abuse |

      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

      Jews learn from the Torah how to act, think and even feel about life and death. The stories in the Torah teach about God's relationship with the Jewish People. In addition, the Torah contains 613 commandments from God (mitzvot). The Ten Commandments are considered the most important commandments of the Torah.

      The Ten Commandments

      1. I am the Lord your God
      2. You shall not recognize the gods of others in My presence
      3. You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain
      4. Remember the day of shabbat to keep it holy
      5. Honor your father and your mother
      6. You shall not murder
      7. You shall not commit adultery
      8. You shall not steal
      9. Do not give false testimony against your neighbor
      10. You shall not covet your fellow's possessions

      now compare all this and see how true to anything mormonism truly is!

      November 4, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Phil Ollero

      We are just like you, a cult member. Do you Jesus Christ? If you do, then you are one of us.

      November 4, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Brad

      I'm always moved when I hear or read the Nicene creed. By what interpretation do Mormons confess that Jesus Christ was eternally begotten of the Father? That he is of one Being with the Father? Or that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son?

      I would like to add the Athanasian creed to your list:

      Athanasian Creed

      Whoever wants to be saved should above all cling to the catholic faith.

      Whoever does not guard it whole and inviolable will doubtless perish eternally.

      Now this is the catholic faith: We worship one God in trinity and the Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the divine being.

      For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Spirit is still another.

      But the deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory, coeternal in majesty.

      What the Father is, the Son is, and so is the Holy Spirit.

      Uncreated is the Father; uncreated is the Son; uncreated is the Spirit.

      The Father is infinite; the Son is infinite; the Holy Spirit is infinite.

      Eternal is the Father; eternal is the Son; eternal is the Spirit: And yet there are not three eternal beings, but one who is eternal; as there are not three uncreated and unlimited beings, but one who is uncreated and unlimited.

      Almighty is the Father; almighty is the Son; almighty is the Spirit: And yet there are not three almighty beings, but one who is almighty.

      Thus the Father is God; the Son is God; the Holy Spirit is God: And yet there are not three gods, but one God.

      Thus the Father is Lord; the Son is Lord; the Holy Spirit is Lord: And yet there are not three lords, but one Lord.

      As Christian truth compels us to acknowledge each distinct person as God and Lord, so catholic religion forbids us to say that there are three gods or lords.

      The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten; the Son was neither made nor created, but was alone begotten of the Father; the Spirit was neither made nor created, but is proceeding from the Father and the Son.

      Thus there is one Father, not three fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three spirits.

      And in this Trinity, no one is before or after, greater or less than the other; but all three persons are in themselves, coeternal and coequal; and so we must worship the Trinity in unity and the one God in three persons.

      Whoever wants to be saved should think thus about the Trinity.

      It is necessary for eternal salvation that one also faithfully believe that our Lord Jesus Christ became flesh.

      For this is the true faith that we believe and confess: That our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son, is both God and man.

      He is God, begotten before all worlds from the being of the Father, and he is man, born in the world from the being of his mother - existing fully as God, and fully as man with a rational soul and a human body; equal to the Father in divinity, subordinate to the Father in humanity.

      Although he is God and man, he is not divided, but is one Christ.

      He is united because God has taken humanity into himself; he does not transform deity into humanity.

      He is completely one in the unity of his person, without confusing his natures.

      For as the rational soul and body are one person, so the one Christ is God and man.

      He suffered death for our salvation. He descended into hell and rose again from the dead.

      He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

      He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

      At his coming all people shall rise bodily to give an account of their own deeds.

      Those who have done good will enter eternal life, those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.

      This is the catholic faith.

      One cannot be saved without believing this firmly and faithfully.

      November 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  15. Reality

    From p. 37:

    Putting the final kibosh on religion to include Mormonism in less than 300 words: Priceless!!!

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    A quick Google, Bing or Yahoo search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves religions.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    November 4, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • James

      Oh Reality....

      It might seem "today" that the evidence is not as strong as we'd like it to be to PROVE the existence of Abraham and Moses. However, you're wrong about Mormonism.

      Joseph Smith is not the only witness to the resurrected being called Moroni. In total, 5 people saw him as a real tangible being. Furthermore, recently archeological evidence was found for the Book of Mormon as an ancient narrative recorded by real people traveling in 600 BC. We don't have evidence for EVERYTHING in the Book of Mormon yet, but we don't need it based on the compilation of the translation.

      The Book of Mormon has proven itself over millions of times in the changed lives of men, women, and children from hundreds of countries across all cultures in the world.

      So, reality... try again. You haven't done your homework – at the very least – your theory is seriously outdated.

      November 4, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      This alternate reality posts nothing but bull sh it.Not worth reading or dealing with.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • Blake Garten

      James, all the BOM has proven is that con men can capture–in a fictional narrative playing with the then popular theory that Native Americans were from Israel–a bit of the spirit of Methodist camp revivals in the 1820s, during the tmes of the Burnt Over District and the Second Great Awakening in post-colonial Americawhen many people were swooning with religious fervor and fascination in the northeastern US. The anachronisms in the BOM are legion and DNA studies have proven that Native Americans came to north America tens of thousands of years before "Lehi" and people in wooden submarines supposedly came to N. America from the Middleeast.

      Plus, if conversion to the BOM proves anything it is that people can be fooled and too trusting, just like people who follow any other oddball writings. Every denomination and religion has its special texts or interpretations or commentaries too–are they all proven true now?

      November 4, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • Reality

      James,

      Like many, you are a victim of the infamous angel con:

      To wit:

      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.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      "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.

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."

      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      November 4, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  16. A friend

    I agree completely. As someone who was Mormon I know. How can you base something off a feeling? I could have a feeling that some ridiculous cult is true, and it is no different. The spirit is conjured up solely in your head. Since when should someone base their life off a feeling? Letting a feeling rule your life is no different than letting any other type of feeling (which are usually considered sins, like lust) rule your life. I swear to you and bear my testimony that the church is not true, it is a deceiptful life that cripples society and personal progress. If you want to find happiness, look in yourself. Although you will shrug this off as "anti mormon" because thats what your taught to, don't. If not, just read some church history and that will change your mind.

    November 4, 2011 at 6:29 am |
    • James

      Dear friend:

      Mormonism does NOT declare that one should base their testimony of the Book of Mormon solely on a "feeling." Every human thought is a "feeling." Therefore, your opinions and beliefs and convictions are all based on "feelings."

      The Book of Mormon calls upon people to "repent" or change their lives and "LIVE" in a particular way and PROMISES EFFECTS from the changes in behavior. As a Mormon who has studied many traditions, faiths, and philosophies, AND SCIENCE, the effects of reading and living the principles in the Book of Mormon are MEASURABLE and OBSERVABLE.

      Happiness is a state of mind. The Book of Mormon states that in order to avoid self-deception, you have to align your convictions and your habits with ETERNAL principles, not moral relativism which is popular today.

      The Book of Mormon is a standard for truth for ALL TIMES, past, present, and the future – not just the fad culture of the moment.

      November 4, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • Christina

      For Heaven's Sake....don't get married! That might be based on a feeling! Everything starts with a feeling and then you have to weigh things out and make a conscious decision.

      I'm pretty sure that all through the Bible things are based on feelings. How many times does it speak of your heart burning within you. I just think the whole bashing Mormonism is ridiculous. Why do people even care? If someone is a good and honest person, caring and compassionate what does it matter what their faith is?

      November 4, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Lil

      It matters when Romney comes looking for votes!

      November 4, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  17. tapirrider

    This is an interesting article. There was no mention about the American Indian in the United States. It mentions White, black, Asian, Hispanic, African-American, Caucasian, first-generation immigrants, Latino, other ethnic backgrounds, but no specific mention of American Indian.

    The Book of Mormon claims to be a history of the people in ancient America. It claims to be written for the American Indian. Another LDS scripture, the Doctrine and Covenants (section 28) includes a commandment to take the Book of Mormon to the American Indian. The early LDS leaders did just that beginning in New York with the Seneca and ending in what is today Kansas with the Delaware people.

    The Doctrine and Covenants section 57 verse 4 was about the western edge of the U.S. (Missouri). "...the line running directly between Jew and Gentile..." Those words are in canonized LDS scripture. Do today's LDS realize that it is supposed to be the Lord's words, calling the American Indian west of Missouri "Jew"?

    This article about countering the "lily-white" image of Mormonism neglects to mention at all the specific people that the Book of Mormon is supposed to be about. There was no mention that in the October 1960 General Conference, Spencer W. Kimball claimed from the pulpit of the tabernacle building that the American Indian children who were living in white Mormon homes were becoming white. Kimball declared that the skin color change to white was a fulfillment of Book of Mormon prophecy.

    The article does not mention how less than three years ago the meeting house was closed up and locked on the Pine Ridge, leaving mostly women who still believed with no place to go, no means to attend their church, while at the same time in Rapid City a 3 million dollar meeting house was built for the mostly white Mormons.

    It is best that this article did not mention the American Indian. The BofM tramples on their self-respect and self-esteem. It disparages their cultures. It minimizes their role as actors in their own history. The Book of Mormon usurps the real contributions of America's indigenous people to the development of world civilizations, and falsely gives credit to fictional people from the Middle East.

    November 4, 2011 at 5:35 am |
    • James

      You're wrong about the Book of Mormon. It clearly states:

      "All are alike unto God... black, white, bond, free..."

      It also records that people of color, once they were converted to the gospel, were more faithful than the traditional "white" people. The Book of Mormon is a witness that regardless of "color" or station, ALL have an equal chance at being on the right hand of God.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Christina

      Darn! They didn't catch them all. They didn't mention Bi-racial either but then again they didn't mention all sorts of ethnicities but we have them in our congreations. We are all children of our Heavenly Father. Yes....their are American Indians in the church....my best friend is one. 🙂

      November 4, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • tapirrider

      @ Christina
      The Book of Mormon preface was allegedly translated from the gold plates. It says "Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile". It is allegedly about the ancestors of the American Indians. You are only trying to dilute my point by bringing up other people. The fact is that the very people who the BofM is supposed to be about and who it is for are being ignored.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • tapirrider

      @James

      Perhaps it was Spencer W. Kimball who was wrong? Please don't talk about equality. Patriarchal blessings give lineages to LDS members. Whites are given Ephraim, American Indian are given Manasseh. The American Indian is subordinated with a Biblical tribe who lost their birthright.

      The Book of Mormon is nothing but a pseudohistory. Just because 14 million people have been taught it does not change the fact that it is a Eurocentric 19th century work of fiction, derogatory to 48 million indigenous Americans.

      Even Mormon children are taught that the American Indian was not righteous and deserved to lose their lands. Children sing it in the "Book of Mormon Stories" song. "Given this land, if they live, righteously".

      People should throw away the Book of Mormon and read Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  18. DrPepper

    One thing that isn't brought up often is that in the LDS temple, mormons pledge solemn vows to 'build the kingdom of God on earth' [i.e. the LDS church], AND there are vows to, if called upon, to sacrifice any time, energy, and resources to do so. The prophet or president of the LDS church will be running the country by proxy if Mitt gets elected. All it would take is a 'gentle reminder' of church policy from a church leader to Mitt for him to obey their commands. The LDS church founder, Joseph Smith, required such devotion of his followers and used spiritual manipulation, much like Warren Jeffs did, to get people to believe and follow him. There is so much evidence that the LDS church is not true that I'm amazed it hasn't completely collapsed by now.

    November 4, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • James

      No DrPepper, that's not Mormon doctrine that "LDS Church" will be running the country. There are prior articles of faith within Mormonism that are in place that all Mormons acknowledge and believe. Here they are:

      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.

      (See all articles here....http: // lds.org/library/display/0,4945,106-1-2-1,FF.html)

      So, just as Romney "governed" as an American in Massachusetts, honoring all laws regardless of his opinion or faith, he would govern as President.

      There are many Mormons in the US congress and through out state governments who govern according to the laws of the land. This is one of the great legacies of good Mormon men and women.

      November 4, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  19. Ben Neb

    I also think that the comments are interesting. Here is a scripture from the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 11): "30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away."
    I like the discussion, but hope that none of us are stirred up to anger. Whether we believe the Book of Mormon to be the words of Christ or not I think we can agree that he would want us to love each other and build each other up.

    I hope we can all unite in our faith in Christ to bring service and joy to people's lives and bring hope to those who need it. And for those who don't yet believe in Christ I wish the same also.

    November 4, 2011 at 2:10 am |
  20. Dennis

    The Book of Mormon has changed my life. I read it, prayed, and God confirmed its truth to me. I don't care about any of the anti-Mormon trash. Nothing can take away the spirit that I felt. God bless!

    November 4, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Mirosal

      Dennis, you need help. If you think a "god" can help you, just ask those who prayed to Zeus and Apollo, and those who trekked to the Oracle at Delphi ... Didn't seem to help them so much, and just WHERE are those "gods" now? Same place yours is .. in the realm of mythology.

      November 4, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • James

      Dennis,

      Isn't it amazing how quick people make equivocation errors to avoid having to confront your evidence? They say they are open minded or even empirically minded, but they are flippantly dismissive of ANY evidence contrary to their opinion.

      But Mirosal fails to grasp the width and depth of the evidence for the Book of Mormon that completely eliminates it as a "myth." Neither Zeus or Apollo have commanded a single soul to do anything on earth and have left no measurable relics of their "philosophy" that can change lives and improve them. There is no success in Zeus-ism or Apollo-ism.

      But, there is measurable and observable success following the eternal principles of Mormonism – because they work.

      November 4, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Lil

      If you ask me, nothing is worth believing if you cannot apply it to at least one country from all six continents. (I would say seven, but there are no countries in Antarctica.)

      November 4, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Christina

      Dennis: You are so right! Once you've had that spiritual witness there is nothing that can change that. It is written forever on your heart! I joined the church at age 22 and it was the best decision I could have ever made in my life. When I met with the Missionaries I would always make them show me in the Bible. It is all right there if people would take time to truly study and read their bible. . .at least The King James Version. Has life been perfect and easy for me? No. It's not meant to be. Anything that has gone wrong in my life as been due to my own choices or those of someone else. That's the beauty of this life....we are here to be tried and tested and to one day report on our faithfulness and because I am human and flawed the Savior atoned for my shortcomings and after all I can do to make it right he will cover my debt.

      Many Christians today seem to want to omit the Old Testament as if it was no longer relevant. There is a lot to be learned there for sure. They skip past Isaiah because it's hard to read and full of symbolism but a wealth of knowledge.

      November 4, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Brad

      Dennis, I encourage you to stay close to Christ and learn everything you can about him. Perhaps we should all emulate Paul: "And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."

      November 4, 2011 at 12:50 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.