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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. Harry

    Considering that the mormon reason for black people is that they remained nuetral in the war against lucifer I would say they got a lot of explaining to do indeed.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • epicjourney

      huh?? I never heard that one before.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Harry

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3BqLZ8UoZk&w=640&h=360]

      November 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  2. Nat

    There are so many comments on this article that make me so mad. The problem is not the LDS church, but rather all the people making assumptions about the LDS church that are not true. SO, for clarification:
    1. All the people saying Mormons are racist, take a look at your own United States. Yes, we were at one time cruel and horrible to people of other races, so does that make our whole country racist now? No. It doesn't.
    2. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is no longer polygamist. At the time that it was, only 5% of members were.
    3. Mormon is just a nickname, so all you people calling Mormons "morons", eat your own words.
    4. Only 12% of the church lives in Utah.
    And finally, if you want the actual FACTS about this religion and not just some pathetic lies that people came up with or assumed, go to the church's actual WEBSITE, lds.org or mormon.org, not Google.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • mikeb

      What about the magic underwear?

      November 2, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • hello

      Can I order some of the "Jesus Jammies" from the website?

      November 2, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Leroy McMath

      1. OK, so we're supposed to be surprised that the biggest mission oriented church in the US only has about 12% of its membership in Utah?

      2. So we're supposed to go to the LDS website to get the "truth"? Riiiiiight. I'm sure they were excited to disclose the fraudulent history. How they've worked hard to legitimize a cult.

      3. So because there were racist people in the world and your church was racist too, we should ignore it? I don't think many people have a problem with your racist, polygamist past. It's more about you changing your own own beliefs when you realize that it makes you look stupid or no longer fits the agenda.

      Can't believe you believe this nonsense. You must have gone to the LDS website for your info.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • BK

      @Nat, those points are nothing compared to the deeper more defining proof that mormonsim was fabricated by Joseph Smith and his pals. Good news is, Jesus is free my friend. Free.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  3. Leroy McMath

    I hope all of these minorities they are targeting know that according the the book of mormon, black people weren't even allowed to get into heaven until the late 70's.

    Who can take a religion serious that:

    A. believed that to begin with
    B. Just changed their "sacred" book when they realized that it was racist and ridiculous.

    The history of the LDS church is a joke. You have to be a complete brainwashed idiot to believe any of that nonsense. Joseph Smith was a polygamist and a fraud – nothing more. He started a cult that has since tried to make itself legitimate. How can any of you people with a brain not see this? Do you even bother studying the history of your own church?

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

      Bingo.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • epicjourney

      The church never said blacks could not get into heaven, only that they could not hold the priesthood. Quit putting your own prejudiced words in other peoples' mouths.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • BIll

      Again somebody trying to make this seem unique to mormons.

      The old testament says the following is good:

      1. stoning your kid to death if they talk back to you
      2. lists the exact dollar value of people, females < males!
      3. tossing your virgin daughters to rampaging crowds to save angels
      4. bears slaughtering kids for teasing prophets about their bald head

      Even the new testament tells slaves to not revolt.

      pick a religion.. .they're jacked up.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  4. Facelessdrone2005

    The religion is based on tablets allegedly given to by an angel to a man who had been convicted of fraud (Joseph Smith) and which were then allegedly taken back by the same angel, conveniently leaving no proof even though this was only 200 years ago. Members of the religion wear magic underwear, hold proxy marriages for the dead, do not accept Jesus as Savior, and strive to become co-equals of God. The head of the church receives messages from God, which come at convenient times, such as the message to get rid of polygamy which came precisely when Utah wanted to be a state, and allowed non-whites in to the church in 1978 (when their membership was down and their discrimination became widely known). The Mormons I know are good people, but this religion is just whack. Don't believe me? Ask a Mormon about his "sacred undergarment"? And ask them how many non-whites have ever served in the celestial level of the church.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • BIll

      I find it cute that you try to make it sound like these crazy beliefs are somehow unique to Mormons. Miraculous conception, floods wiping out all but 7 white people that magically reproduce into blacks, asians, and native americans that have never seen a white person before, Popes switching sides on AIDS and gays and purgatory, raping little boys, preaching hate...

      If you're religious, you're nuts. end of story.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  5. Colin

    Amazing to see the level of bigotry that exists in these comments. Say what you will against them, but Mormons do not criticize other religions. They give 10% of everything they make to serve the charitable and welfare efforts of the church. Any disaster that strikes in the world receives tons of food, clothing and help from the LDS church. Why? Because they believe in doing their best to follow the example of Jesus Christ. They don't just ask What Would Jesus Do. They try to do it. Obviously, no one can be as perfect as Christ was, or even come close. But they can strive to follow his example. That's what Mormons do.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      So do I, and I am not a brain-washed weird-o. What is your point Colin?

      November 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Laura

      I'm not a brain washed weirdo and I'm a member of the LDS church. What's YOUR point Allen?

      November 2, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • BIll

      I'm sorry, who funded prop 8 in California again? How exactly do gays getting married affect the Mormon church? And yet they feel the need to spend millions of dollars to ensure gays can't live their lives with EQUAL PROTECTION under the law?

      Mormons are no better than Muslims or Christians or any other religion that preaches hate, but DENIES it. Fess up bigot. Your god hates everybody that is not a straight white male. Otherwise you'd have gay black female bishops. But you don't, bigot.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Laura
      "I'm a Mormon" and "I'm not a brain-washed weird-o" can't be used in the same sentence. Sorry.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Jason

      The point is not that you do GOOD through your church. There are plenty of people who do GOOD for various reasons. The point is, how or why do you believe all that wacky sh!t ??? Critical thinking, that is the path to the future. We all learned it in school, but somehow forget what it means....

      November 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Colin

      @Alien, you illustrated my point exactly. You are calling me a weirdo simply because you don't like my religion, all the while ignoring the good this religion does.

      @Bill- it's not hate. Mormons are against adultery as well as gay marriage, because the Bible declares they are sins. If any Christian church changed their position, you would accuse them of pandering to get members. I feel for the situation the gay community finds itself in. I have both a friend and a family member who are gay. Both of me say they've wished a thousand times they were not, yet there is no recourse for them. Treatments for those who want to change have been abandoned in the name of political correctness. It makes no sense. On one hand, they say it is not a choice and many wish they weren't, but if you suggest looking for medical solutions for them, you are a bigot.

      Bottom line, most Christian religions are opposed to gay marriage, so don't single out the Mormon church for standing up for their beliefs.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  6. Jack Mihov

    They decided to accept blacks because according to the Book of Mormon their descendants will turn white if they remain in the church.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • DeeNYC

      Is that really true? I don't mean they'll actually turn white but does it really say that in the mormon bible or whatever it is they read.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • anamericanonearth

      that. is. facinating.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Colin

      Dee, it does not say this. Mormons have always accepted blacks in their church (unlike a lot of southern churches that made them go to church in seperate buildings). In fact, Mormons were driven from Missouri for being anti-slavery. No where does it say in the Book of Mormon, or any church doctrine, that they believe they will turn white.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Julie

      No, that is not true. Pick up a book of mormon and find the reference. Not there.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Eric

      Don't believe everything you read. The "white" means pure.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      No! don't pick up the book! The "White" might rub off on you!

      November 2, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Miguel

      That comment makes no sense at all...

      November 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Laura

      Um, nope. Try again. And next time, make it a better guess please. Thanks.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Wes

      There are records of Blacks being baptized prior to 1830, by Brigham Young. There was even a black president of a branch of the LDS church in 1842... Joseph Ball. Ball was the Boston Branch president from October 1844 to March 1845 – the largest LDS congregation outside of the Nauvoo area. He was ordained a High Priest by William Smith (the first African American HP) and was sent to Nauvoo by Parley P. Pratt in the spring of 1845 to work on the temple

      People do your research. Most everyone in every religion had their opinion about race in that time in history, in every church. The mormons love and Accept everyone and anyone, blacks, gays, hispanics, whites.

      find out the truth on mormon.org

      November 2, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  7. sastee

    The LDS have really amplified their advertising since Mitt Romney has become a GOP leader. Coincidence? Not for a second. They drool at the thought of having a Mormon President.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Ya think?

      November 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Eric

      I know - it's all a big CONSPIRACY! Let's get paranoid, OK?

      November 2, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      OK

      November 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  8. Larry

    I'm a BLACK MORMON and proud of it. Visit any LDS congregation and you will be welcomed with open arms. We are all brothers and sisters.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • DeeNYC

      stupid comes in all colors and backgrounds

      November 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Eric

      Good comment. I live in a pretty much all-white ward in Idaho and was glad to see last week that we have a new member in our ward - a Brother Smith from New York who happens to be Afro-American. He is really a great guy.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I'm a WHITE NON-MORMON and proud of it. Visit me and you will be welcomed with open arms.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Eric
      Yeah, some of my best friends are black! (racist much Eric?)

      November 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Leroy McMath

      No you're not.

      You are a white LDS member trying to save face.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Eric

      Allen I am not racist, OK. Maybe you need to look inside you.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Eric
      You don't fool me mister!

      November 2, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Colin

      Don't worry about Alien, Eric. He obviously thinks it's fine to be a bigot, since he is ridculing Mormons.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  9. Ed

    Thank you CNN for a balanced and fair review of our church. I hope anyone will openly investigate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and find out for themselves.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Thank you CNN for posting the same SH-IT over and over again so those of us with a brain and too much time on our hands can come in here and make fun of these stupied Morons, er Mormons.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • JRA

      This IS a balanced view, as it should be. The travesty is that people will not research the reality of Mormon history and philosphy. It is a religion of exile from American history, which is sad for its followers. However, the selfish and deceitful teachings of its forefathers intend to maintain control and secrecy. If one takes truth-value as to the reality of your life and eternity, you are falling victim to gross and obvious manipulation. Think for yourself, and learn the workings of the world and your body before honoring a wild tale of magical hats and exclusive, spiritual visits.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  10. James

    "...church says it wants to steer clear of politics" Really? I guess it only wants to meddle in California's politics and prop 8

    November 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Laurence

      the FAMILY is the basic unit of society. Just beause those who opposed PROP 8 did a better job of getting their message across shouldn't make you bitter. Gay unions are not marriages... they're unions. Until, of course, "Death do you part." Enjoy it while you can!

      November 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Lawrence
      I'm bitter

      November 2, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • James

      didn't say I was bitter, and I'm not.... I'm just saying they are hypocrites for say they don't get involved in politics, when clearly they do.....

      November 2, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  11. Cindy

    “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.”

    I guess Stephen Allen forgot about the decades the church refused to allow black members the right to hold the Priesthood because their skin color as a "mark of Cain". Funny how history is ignored so easily by church members and church leaders.

    I was a Mormon for over 30 years. Many are hardworking and try their darnest to follow what they are taught, but the leaders are the biggest problems. They will lie, they will cover-up, they will tell its members that "all truths are not useful" and they will forbid ANY Mormon from reading or learning about Mormonism from anywhere else. They will ostersize you, try to take your children from you and tell your Mormon neighbors and family to stay away from you if you leave the church. I feel pity for my family and friends who are trapped in this cult. They can't choose what to wear, what to eat and drink, who to date and marry, or even play a song at a funeral of a family member that isn't a church song. This cult CONTROLS every minute of your day and every thought from the minute you are born until you die. Don't kid yourself thinking Romney is at all different. This man can't even choose his own underwear – the church chose it for him – his allegiance is to the CULT...not the country.

    Don't buy into the PR...all they are really interested in is your money. 10% of your gross is required, and additional cash donations is expected on a monthly basis. They even make you account to a bishop every year on your finances to make sure you paid what you were "supposed" to pay, and if not, better write a check or be disciplined. But like all dictators, they don't account one penny of how they spend your donation.

    Even if you escaped Mormonism or never entered it, be warned – they will baptize you after you are dead. That's what they are doing in those temples day after day – baptizing by proxy dead people. That's why they are so interested in "family history"...to find new dead people to baptize. Even after you die, they infringe on your FREE AGENCY and make you one of them. That's probably why they are able to claim there membership is increasing – when more people are leaving than ever before!

    November 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • 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. Most of what you said is greatly exaggerated or flat out wrong. As for the underwear issue, you can be member of the church and not wear it. Those of who choose to are only doing so as a reminder that we made a committment to obey God's commandements. Regarding the treatment of black members, the church was much more progressive about them than most. They were driven out of Missouri for being anti-slavery, and NEVER segregated them into separate churchs like many others did in this country. Don't forget, this whole country treated black people shamefully until the seventies, so it is not fair to single out the Mormon church just because they didn't have any blacks in their leadership. Finally, Cindy, your comment about baptizing for the dead, did you know the apostles of Christ in the New Testament supported baptizing for the dead. Read I Corinthians 15:29.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Miguel

      @Collin, I agree.

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

      Well said and from someone who was apparently on the inside. I believe all organized religions to be cults, The cult of Jesus, the cult of Mohammed, the cult of Budda, the cult of spiritual essence (Shinto) and so on. However, the Latter Day Saints is the cult of cults as far as I'm concerned....As for being diverse, how many Elders, Apostles, Patriachs, Bishops, Deacons and Prophets (president) have been women, and other minorities? Perhaps a few at the bottom of their 'Leadership Pyramid" , Burt none (that I'm aware of) in the postiions of real power. I applaud the devotion-but with that said this devotion can be dangerous.....

      November 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • ThomasPaine

      Look if your wanting to use the bible scripture try this one " Revelations 18 I testify to everyone who hears the prophetic words of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of this prophetic book, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, written in this book." Now go burn your Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price for blasphamy if your wanting to use scripture. Everyone in every religion is a hypocrite. Deist for life.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Colin

      Uh, Thomas, you do realize that when John wrote that, the Bible didn't exist, don't you? He was talking about the Book of Revelations.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  12. James

    I was raised LDS. It is a CULT. Period! Sure they are good honest people, really people, they think they will be Gods of their own worlds. In addition they think if you play sports GOD will be angry. Ask them about their TOKENS that they receive in the Temple. YOU MUST have these in order to reach heaven. All it is, is hand shakes. ROMENY wants to be president...yet he cant work on Sunday. Messed up

    November 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • JAMES

      I was raised a MORMON and it is NOT a cult. Live it. Love it. Never been happier.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • jerricho

      LOL really? can't play sports? Guess that is news to Steve Young, or to the entire BYU athletic department. Probably should think about what you type before you type it... Come to think of it, Steve Young both played sports and worked on Sunday!!!

      November 2, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Colin

      James, you are so full of it. So the Mormon church has the BYU football and basketball teams, knowing they are angering God by playing sports? Riiiggghhht....

      November 2, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Miguel

      You must have had a bad experience in the church or something..you sound pretty bitter. No sports? Ever heard of BYU or Jimmer Fredette for that matter? How about Steve Young? Danny Ainge? All LDS. Ever heard of Church ball? I am sorry you've had obviously a bad experience but being a member of the church is the best thing I could have ever done in this life.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  13. APOSTLE JOB

    though a sinner do evil an hundred times and his days be prolonged yet surely i know that it shall be well with them that fear GOD which fear before him wisdom is better than weapons of war but one sinner destroyeth much good the words of a wise mans mouth are gracious but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself for all this i considered in my heart to declare all this that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of GOD no mAN KNOWETH EITHER LOVE OR HATRED BY ALL THAT IS BEFORE THEM NOW THERE WAS FOUND IN IT a poor wise man and by his wisdom delivered the city yet no man remembered that same wise man there is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the day of death and there is no discharge in that war neither shall wickedness deliver those are given to it surely the serpent will bite without enchantment and a babbler is no better let us hear the conclusion of thy whole matter FEAR GOD and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favour rather than silver and gold lest i be full and deny thee and say who is the lord or lest i be poor and steal and take the name of my god in vain the lord sent a word into jacob and it hath lighted upon israel for unto us a child is born unto us a son is given and the goverment shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called wonderful counsellor the mighty GOD THE EVERLASTING FATHER THE PRINCE OF PEACE of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end upon the throne of DAVID and upon his kingdom to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever the zeal of thy lord will preform this H20churchnet. Bartlesville okalhoma and job.Bradshaw@live.com facebook look at notes

    November 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  14. Tana Lindley

    "Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." [Matthew 5:10-12]

    Grateful Believer in Jesus Christ- He is Our ONLY Redeemer-
    I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of The Latter Day Saints...
    And, I am Gratefully and Humbly a Mormon!
    WE Love Jesus Christ- We Believe he Came-He Died For Our Sins, & Rose -To Which He Lives Now- He is Our Truth, Our Only Way To The Heavens- And Christ is Always Our Light- Heavenly Father is the Father To Us All & To His Son, Jesus- Both Father in Heaven & Our Savior Jesus Loves Us All Relentlessly- Both are patient and long suffering to our Mortal Sins. Our Father & Jesus our Savior is Eternal! I am So Grateful To Have Love and to Have lived for both Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus the Christ!
    Happily Married forever

    November 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  15. Steve-O

    There's one too many M's in the word "Mormon".

    November 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • munkittrick

      So....Ormon? All religions create morons, so I have to believe that you're not so dumb as to use the same old tired-a5sed joke.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • anamericanonearth

      right arm, brother.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Eric

      You are SO original - not!

      November 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  16. ahetch

    It wasn't that many years ago that black people were thought by the Mormons to have 'the mark of Cain' on them and weren't allowed to join the church. But when they needed more money, all of a sudden the 'MARK' wasn't important.
    Hypocrites.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Eric

      Get the facts straight, bro. Blacks were always welcome to join the church. They weren't allowed to hold the priesthood, however.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Julie

      Needed more money? I'm not sure that church has ever needed more money. They've always had plenty.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I have friends named MARK. Racist pigs.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • dupree

      It hasn't been stricken from Book of Mormon but they claim they don't believe it any more. Yeah, right!

      November 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Insession2011

      I love that everyone still thinks that blacks could not join the church until 1978. Actually there were blacks in the mormon church in the early part of the 20th century. What blacks could not do, until 1978, was join the priesthood. I can't think of one religion that does not have discriminatory practices in its past. The Methodists didn't allow blacks to attend except on certain holidays and even then they had to sit in the back of the church hence the AME church was founded. As for the underwear, it is a religious symbol, a cross around someone's neck, a head scarf or a man (or woman) who kips in the Jewish faith everyone has somethng that they wear and no LDS members do not believe they are "magic" just like people who wear a cross around their neck, on their socks or on their shirts don't believe that the cross will stop them from getting hit by a car.

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

      Black Africans could always join the Church, just not hold the Priesthood. And even the Priesthood ban wasn't for everyone of color; American Indians, Australian Aboriginals & Polynesians, many as dark skinned as a human can be, were allowed to hold the Priesthood, so it wasn't simply a racist doctrine against people of color. There is much more to this story than people realize, even than most members of the Church realize. God hasn't revealed that whole story... yet.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  17. Jim

    I have known Mormons all my life and liked many of them. But we need to get them to stop telling everybody who can and can't get married and who can and can't join the Boy Scouts. As long as they keep up those practices I will always vote against any Mormon for public office and will do what I can to keep them out of positions of authority.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  18. KentAZ

    “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.”

    Skin color may not be important to some individual LDS, but it is very important in the Church's theology based on the Book Of Mormon. The theology is quite racist.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  19. anamericanonearth

    Really? Well I guess no news is good news...anything else going on in the world...what's up with the Greeks?

    November 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  20. MJ_4FL

    The sad thing is that in todays world to many people go off "hear say" and don't take the time or effort to find out things for themselves. I too agree that Mormons are some of the nicest and most honest people I have ever met and delt with, and they are Christians NOT a cult! Does anyone else see that the word Jesus Christ is in the name of the church or in their teachings? Thanks CNN.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Foolishness

      Its not the people that make it a cult; its the teachings...

      November 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.