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Survey: U.S. Mormons feel discrimination, hope
The Mormon temple at church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.
January 12th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Survey: U.S. Mormons feel discrimination, hope

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – Nearly half of American Mormons say they face a lot of discrimination in the United States, though most also say that acceptance of their religion is on the rise, according to a major survey released Thursday.

The survey also found that a large majority of American Mormons think their countrymen are uninformed about their religion and don’t see Mormons as part of mainstream society, even as most Mormons also say the country is ready for a Mormon president.

“The survey creates a mixed picture for how Mormons see themselves,” said Greg Smith, senior researcher with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, which conducted the study. “On the one hand, many tell us they’re misunderstood and often discriminated against, recognizing the challenges of acceptance.

“But Mormons also seem to think that things are changing, that more Americans are coming to see Mormonism as mainstream,” he said.

The survey comes amid what has been called a “Mormon moment.”

Two of the Republican presidential candidates – Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman – attend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The religion has also cropped up in big ways in popular culture, from the hit Broadway play “Book of Mormon” to the recent HBO series “Big Love,” about a fundamentalist Mormon family.

Mormons constitute about 2% of the American population.

The Pew survey found that 46% of American Mormons say they face a lot of discrimination in the U.S. today, while six in 10 say their fellow Americans as a whole are uninformed about the LDS Church.

Two-thirds of Mormons say their fellow citizens do not view Mormonism as part of mainstream American society.

At the same time, 63% of Mormons say Americans are “becoming more likely to see Mormonism as part of mainstream society,” in the words of the survey report, while 56% say the country is ready for a Mormon president.

There are some surprising parallels between how Mormons feel about their place in American society and how Muslims do, according to an earlier Pew survey.

"We do see a remarkable degree of similarity about what it's like to be a minority in society," Smith said. "They are under no illusions" about how the broader public currently feels about them, and know their religions are not widely understood, but they remain optimistic at heart, he said.

They recognize the challenges, "but both groups are relentlessly positive about their future in the United States," said Luis Lugo, the director of the Pew Forum.

As Romney’s and Huntsman’s ability to win evangelical votes in the approaching South Carolina presidential primary has become a major question in the presidential campaign, the Pew survey finds that half of Mormons believe that evangelical Christians are unfriendly toward them.

In fact, Mormon and evangelical political opinions match closely on almost everything except immigration, the survey found. (Mormons are much more likely than evangelicals or the U.S. population overall to see immigrants as making a positive contribution to society, said David Campbell of the University of Notre Dame, who helped advise the Pew Forum on the survey.)

Mormons also subscribe to key tenets of mainstream Christianity, despite the sense many evangelicals have that Mormons are not Christians. Previous Pew surveys show that about half of white evangelicals say Mormonism is not a Christian faith.

"Nearly all Mormons say they believe Jesus rose from the dead and that Mormonism is a Christian religion," Smith said.

But the Mormon-evangelical divide is not simply one of theology, a leading evangelical said.

"Evangelicals are - famously or infamously, depending on your perspective - very evangelistic," said Richard Land  of the Southern Baptist Convention. "And so Mormons are out there going door-to-door trying to convince folks  to become Mormons, and evangelicals are out there going door-to-door trying to convince people to become evangelicals."

By comparison, most Mormons said that Americans who are not religious are either neutral or friendly toward them.

Mormons and evangelicals are politically similar, the survey found, with three-quarters of Mormons saying they identify with or lean toward the Republican Party.

And the survey showed that Mormons are more devout in their faith than evangelicals, who are more devout that the public at large.

Three-quarters of Mormons report attending religious services at least weekly, while eight in 10 pray daily and give 10% of their income to their church.

The Pew Forum says the nationwide survey, conducted in October and November, constitutes the biggest survey of American Mormons conducted by an organization that’s not connected to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Pew surveyed 1,019 self-identified Mormons for the project.

CNN's Richard Allen Greene and Emma Lacey-Bordeaux contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Mormonism • Politics • Polls

soundoff (1,639 Responses)
  1. Abinadi

    Why was it necessary for Joseph Smith to restore the true church of Jesus Christ to the earth when the Lord had already established it ? The earth was not ready for the church during the Roman Occupation. The world was a brutal place and began killing the early Christians and the apostles. Paul was a prophet and knew that the true gospel would be lost for a time. In 2 Thessalonians 2 he said, “1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
    2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
    3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”

    The early apostles also knew, however, that the church would be restored in the latter days and in anticipation of that great day they spoke directly to you and me in Acts 3, "19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
    20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
    21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of rest itution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
    Can a thing be restored that has not been lost? We are indeed greatful to the great reformers for their sacrifices and work to prepare the way for the true gospel of Jesus Christ to be restored to the earth. They were like John the Baptist, who prepared the way for our Lord Jesus Christ. But, just like John the Baptist had to diminish while the Lord increased, so the protestant churches also need to diminish and give place to the true church. They have done their work and must end. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and I know that Thomas S. Monson is a true and living prophet on the earth today. We invite you to visit mormon.org for more information.

    January 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Give it a rest Abi! I know how hard it is to undo all the brainwashing that you've undergone since you were born. It can be difficult to accept that you've been lied to all those years. But you MUST take the first step and shake of the chains that bind your feeble mind!

      January 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Why, thank-you G for your concern. You are almost a Christian! I believe you are the one that has been brainwashed by those awful atheists, but I think you are coming around!

      January 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • FormerMormon

      @Abinadi: can you please address the subjects of polygamy being actively promoted by the church after its infamous Manifesto in order to qualify for statehood, the Mountain Meadows Massacre and the Blood Atonement doctrines? Or why the church operated vineyards for the production of wine? Or why the first two Mormon presidents loved their alcohol? Or why it deserves tax exemption privileges after having obviously been active in politically opposing the ERA and California's Proposition 8?

      January 15, 2012 at 1:40 am |
  2. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    The only Cult worth listening to is the one led by Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy!

    January 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  3. Rev. Scott Foresman

    I generally like CNN, but I must say, your piece at about 12 Noon Central about Mormonism was pure fluff. There are VERY significant diffeences between Mormonism and Traditional Christianity that were NOT EVEN DISCUSSED. Mormonism is NOT in the "Christian family" (as the professor from Emory claimed), but is outside the bounds of Christian orthodoxy. IT IS POLYTHEISTIC, for one. It also claims that God the Father was God the Son were CREATED and not eternal. THey also claim that faithful adherents can themselves become a 'god', ruling over their own planets! Sorry CNN, but you TOTALLY blew it this afternoon with that fluff piece.

    January 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Abinadi

      So, you protestants all agree perfectly? What exactly is the point where someone crosses the line? Why do you single out the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Who gave you the right to define what is a Christian?

      January 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Get Real

      Abinadi: "Who gave you the right to define what is a Christian?"

      I dunno. It could be the same sort of folks who gave you the right to declare FLDS to be not "true" Mormons.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Get Real

      Rev. Scott Foresman:

      There is just as much evidence that the LDS supernatural scenario is true as there is for yours - that is, ZERO.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Excuse me, but your remark is ignorant, rude, crude, and unrefined; Something I might expect from a borish, uneducated atheist, but from a reverend? Very unchristian!

      January 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Brad

      Protestants do tend to agree on some things. In fact, we agree with Catholics on many things. We diverge from Mormons on some critical issues. You are not trinitarian (one deity/three persons), for example.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Bob

      Excuse me Abinadi, but your discriminatory religion is rude, crude, absurd, and just plain silly. Your comment is something I might expect from a boorish Mormon ignorant of the modern world. Very Christian in its arrogance too, so you are in good company claiming your religion is Christian. Now go launder your dirty magic underwear for your 37 kids.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      For that matter, who gave early Christians (before they even knew themselves as "Christians") to decide that they had the right to co-opt Judaism and start a new religion?

      January 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      For that matter, who gave ancient Jews the right to co-opt ideas from Greece (such as Hades), or maybe they stole the idea from Zoroaster (Persia)? Who gave them the right to steal the story of Gilgamesh from Babylon and call the main character Noah?

      January 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Maybe I should agree with you on one thing, Rev and Brad. Mormons are regular, traditional Christians. We are SUPER Christians. There is nothing that you do in your protestant church that you can't do even better as a Mormon. You can take all your Christian teachings learned from the New Testament and combine them with our true doctrine, abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, family values, non-paid priesthood service, and temple worship and become an even better Christian. You can bring all the good things you have been taught in your church and become perfected in Christ.

      January 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • CLD

      Thank you Rev. Scott Foresman thank you...

      January 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • FormerMormon

      @Abinadi: Why does g*d even care if you drink alcohol (or even Coca-cola for that matter)? Was Jesus a tee-totaler? Wasn't one of his miracles turning water into wine? Joseph Smith was a drinker. So was Brigham Young. So was Porter Rockwell.

      For that matter, so were Jesus and Moses. And Abraham.

      You consume alcohol every time you use mouthwash; or consume liquid cold medicine; or eat cheese fondue or French onion soup.

      January 15, 2012 at 1:48 am |
  4. Abinadi

    I would like to just say that I may seem a bit harsh, plain and direct in my posts, but I feel no ill will towards anyone. I am usually responding to what I perceive as attacks on me and my religion which I love so much. My son and his family were travelling across Nebraska when their old car broke down. Local people found him and offered help. They were afraid to accept, because they were strangers, but they said, "This is not New York (My son lived in New York at the time) and we take care of each other here." They towed him to a garage which fixed his car for a reasonable price and took care of his family while he waited. I am certain they were evangelicals and I will be forever grateful for their kind, Christian acts. Thank-you so much and God bless you!

    January 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Bob

      Abinadi: Did the Christians invite your family members to view their goat sacrifice afterward?

      Their bible says they need to do that, and their new testament confirms that hideous law still applies. Maybe in return you could supply them some used magic Mormon underwear to help fuel the fire at the sacrifice altar.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • government spy

      I am not offended by anything you've posted. And I don't mean to be insulting either. I do not believe that a religion determines a persons "goodness." I am not a Christian, nor am I an atheist. I do believe we are taught right and wrong by the words and actions of others, that we learn morality with our eyes and ears, not as given to us by a higher power. I do not believe that a higher power has the time, interest, or concern to teach every singe one of us morality, nor should one be necessary. You and I are responsible for our own actions. Nothing more and nothing less.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  5. JRaider

    Everyone's crazy; no one's special.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Mike

      Not even Jesus?

      January 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  6. Abinadi

    The Nicene Creed is nowhere in the Bible. It was totally fabricated by Constantine and his council of pagans, Gnostics, Arians, Greek mystics and others who had an agenda. Constantine didn't know any doctrine. He just wanted peace in his empire from all the factions who were fighting over doctrine. He just settled for the first thing that the majority could agree with. The sad thing is that there were probably people there who knew the truth, but couldn't prevail over all the other factions – doctrine by committee! Paul would not have approved of the mess christianity is in. He said, "5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism," (Ephesians 4) Obviously, there can not be more than one true church or more than one true doctrine. The question is, which one? We invite all to visit mormon.org for the answer. Christ taught the true doctrine of the Godhead when he suffered himself to be baptized by John. In Luke 3:21,22 we read, "21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
    22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."

    This is the true doctrine of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost which was taught by the Bible – that the Father and Son are two separate beings and which Joseph Smith, the prophet, was able to comprehend better than all the false teachers were able to for 2000 years.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Oh sure....so it only took 19 centuries for the REAL STORY to come out? If that's what "god" had in mind when "he" sent his "son" down here, that's not a very convincing plan! Screw everyone that ever lived in between the lifetime of Jeebus and the lifetime of Joe Smith. They're all doomed to hell because ONLY Joe Smith will reveal the truth!

      January 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Not to mention how utterly absurd it is to consider that "god" was playing a terribly devious game of hide & seek! Just think for yourself for a second here.... If "god"'s plan was to send Jeebus down to some $h|+hole in the Middle Eastern desert at a time when there was no technology for mass marketing the seemingly all-important message on how to be "saved"....at a time when Middle Eastern folks had NO IDEA that what would become "the Americas" existed....at a time when "Native Americans" likewise had no technology that they could use to mass market this message.....you see where I'm going here? You mean to tell me that you earnestly believe the story of Joe Smith?! Sure....almighty, all-knowing god sends his "son" to Israel, but then plants some golden plates in "America" so that no one will discover them until many, many, many valuable centuries later, while everyone else in the meantime can just d@mn well go to h&|| because the only story they'll get to hear is some corrupted BS that I, as god, will allow, because that is my entirely ingenious, divine plan for saving my beloved creation, mankind! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!! USA! USA! USA!

      January 13, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Get Real

      G. Zeus Kreiszchte,

      If I may, I'm going to print out your overview and use it as hand-out literature for my next Mormon door-knockers 🙂
      Aw, heck, JWs are gonna get a copy too...

      January 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Blah123

      @ Zeus What would have happened if God had tried to restore his church during the middle ages? Do you think the Catholics would have said... "you know what? I am so glad that someone is correcting us. Lets all join the new movement!"
      Not a chance that would have been the outcome. I find it interesting that as soon as the first stable society to allow religious freedom emerged, God set out to restore the church. Just food for thought

      January 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Get Real

      Blah : "What would have happened if God had tried to restore his church during the middle ages?"

      If your "God" wanted something done, it would be done - No questions or misinterpretations. The "God" you present is a bumbling idiot... or a sadistic game-player.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Mike

      I think you meant the cappadocians were the ones responsible for the Trinitarian Creed.

      But no, there were genuinely Christian people who developed the doctrine. It was meant, not to define faith as absolutely one thing, but as absolutely not another. That "other" would include Mormonism.

      January 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • mfg

      Mormons don't believe that all non-Mormons go to hell, but that they get a chance to accept Mormonism in the next life and be saved. I think that's a huge improvement over mainstream Christianity.

      January 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • FormerMormon

      @Abinadi: Nicene Creed nowhere in the bible? Guess what - neither was the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants or the Pearl of Great Price.

      You need to re-think this apologist strategy.

      January 15, 2012 at 1:51 am |
  7. KarenWalker

    They're right, I am uninformed on the Mormon religion because I don't answer the door for them when they come to try and convert me once a month.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Real America

      They are as nice as they can be. It's strange, though. They never come by my house and I could walk to their church if I wanted to.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • FormerMormon

      But they ruthlessly hunt me down every time I move; fairly recently they arrived at my home without an invite at 9 to 9:30 at night. I was in pajamas and the rest of my family was in bed. They couldn't comprehend why I would not invite them into my home unannounced at that hour in my pajamas. Unreal.

      Oh, and my little girl was friends from kindergarten with a local little Mormon girl. Suddenly, little local Mormon girl refused to associate with my child. I'm fairly certain that somebody found out I'm on the inactive list and that made my child an outcast. Seriously uncool.

      January 15, 2012 at 1:57 am |
  8. Moroni

    Abinadi, produce the tablets.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Real America

      Or at least a good text on Reformed Egyptian by a recognized linguist.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Moroni

      Ask Warren Jeffs about the dishes you can get.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Real America

      Dishes? I'd like one with a picture of Joseph Smith on it, please.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  9. Mormon

    Yea being Mormon has its ups and downs... paying 10% of each pay check, 3 hours of church on Sundays and tons of meetings all week long, but there are alot of really great people in the Mormon religion. I go there for the social aspect i'm not saying i believe everything they teach. People are kind and understanding, unlike most of the world today.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Curious

      Do they have good covered dish suppers? I've been looking for that.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Moroni

      Ask Warren Jeffs about the "dishes" you can get.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • government spy

      Thanks for reminding me what a scam Mormonism is. I completely forgot about the %10 thing. What a crock, "get into heaven, but only if you pay us."

      January 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      That's not too dissimilar from the Catholic Cult's practice of SELLING indulgences to reduce sentences in "purgatory". Get to heaven faster...but only if you pay us!

      Ain't it funny how god loves money, and yet the love of money is the root of all evil?

      January 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • RobertC

      The Catholic Church has not sold indulgences for over 500 years. Your information is a little out of date.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Bob

      Now the catholic church just sells protection for priests.

      January 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  10. Martin

    A simple review of the homepage for the Mormon Church would have shown this reporter that Mormons do not, in fact, ascribe to several key claims of the Christian faith. For example, Mormonism expressly rejects Trinitarianism, a foundational claim of Christianity since the Nicene Creed was formulated almost 2,000 years ago.

    I have nothing against Mormons, and view them, as I view Muslims, more as allies than enemies of Christianity. However, I am always disappointed when the press whitewash over important differences, as it does little to clear up the misconceptions that this article is at least in part addressing. Let us not create false similarities in the name of creating consensus. Christians and Mormons can be friends and even allies without washing over our key differences.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Decision Time

      It's awkward when your ally is damned and you are not.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Hans

      I wanted to respond to your comment about the difference of beliefs. You state that Mormons don't believe in "Trinitariasm". I just wanted to state that we do believe in God the Father, Jesus his Son as the Savior of the World, and the Holy Ghost, however we don't believe they are the same actual being although certainly united in cause. We as Mormons believe that is a misconception that modern Christianity created and continues to promote but is not accurate. Therefore we conclude that it is not truly a Christina belief because it is false. Sincerely,

      January 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  11. government spy

    I guess it's the arrogance of Mormonism that offends me so much. It isn't enough that Christians constantly proclaim that America is a Christian Nation, Mormons had to invent a cameo by Jesus here in America, and claim that Eden was originally in Louisiana.

    If that doesn't send your BS meter off the scale, I don't know what will.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Abinadi

      You seem pretty arrogant yourself!

      January 13, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      I thought Eden was in Missouri.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • HellBent

      @G,

      You've clearly never been to Missouri.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • government spy

      I stand corrected. Mormons believe Eden was in Missouri. Does that matter? Is Missouri more believable than Louisiana?

      As far as arrogance goes, because I refuse to believe in something completely preposterous, I am arrogant?

      I don't know what God is, if there is a God. Mormons, along with several other organized religions, claim they have it mostly figured out, and what they don't know, I'm supposed to take on faith, obey, and not argue. Not only am I supposed to sit by and watch as someone who believes this crap runs for the most powerful office in the country, I'm supposed to worry about him and his fellow Mormons feeling discriminated against? That's arrogance.

      Assuming that we will take Mormons seriously is arrogant.

      It's bad enough I have to deal with people who believe in the invisible man in the sky and their made-up moral judgments. I won't sit by and let another ludicrous faith tell me what to do.

      If Romney were Muslim or Scientologist, no one would have any problem insulting him and his religion, but because Mormonism is somewhat a Christian faith, we have to let it have legitimacy. I call BS.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • momoya

      Eden wasn't in Louisiana but Missouri, well, that changes everything.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Hans

      Did the idea that God created Eve from one of Adam's ribs or Moses parting the Red Sea or Jesus walking on water send your BS scale off the meter? And yet it is improbable that the Garden of Eden could have been located in the Western Hemisphere? I suggest that your logic of measuring proposed events based on their plausibility is horribly illogical if you do indeed believe the The Bible. I suggest that the only difference in what you believe and what you don't is that you were taught certain things growing up and now have a the mindset that your parents must have known all. Yet you assume that others are the ones who are misguided.... I suggest that it is you that has no real faith and do not believe in a God of Miracles.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • government spy

      In no way shape or form, do I believe in the Christian bible. That's the point. Mormonism is only ridiculously implausible, whereas Christianity is just implausible. Mormonism just doesn't hide how nonsensical it is. Thanks for pointing out that Christianity is also completely BS.

      January 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  12. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    I especially like how in all major religions (particularly those that are adapted from Judaism...and including Judaism) there are always accounts of INDIVIDUALS off by themselves, whether in the mountains or in a cave, but they are ALONE.....and that's when they have their epiphany...when they claim to have "talked to god" or when they claim to have found Golden Tablets...blah blah blah. These kinds of uncorroborated mythical stories are at the heart of all these religions, and of course there was no technology around when they were made up in order to provide video recordings of such events. Of course not! And yet, here we are thousands of years later and mindless lemmings still believe in this CRAP! Why? Because it was ...ooooohhhh.....written down? Oh that's magical and authoritative for sure. That proves it all right! How many more thousands of years will the human race have to put up with this mind rot?! What's it gonna take to wake you idiots up? No "savior" is coming back.....and there is nothing to be "saved" from! Get over it!

    January 13, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Abinadi

      You are exactly right! Usurpers and false prophets are always alone when they have their "visions". That is why the scriptures call for witnesses because the Lord knew that these things would occur. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13, "1 In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." That is why we have witnesses to Jesus Christ's resurrection. That is why there were witnesses to all that Joseph Smith said, "Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. "

      Three men saw an angel and the plates were laid before them!!!! Later, 8 more men saw the plates and handled them. This is the difference between Joseph Smith and the false teachers of the day. JOSEPH SMITH HAD WITNESSES!

      January 13, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Brad

      Pentecost involved quite a few people. But perhaps we should reject it since it was written down.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Abinadi

      You can read these accounts first hand in the introduction page to the Book of Mormon. To get a free copy of the Book of Mormon go to mormon.org.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Abinadi

      That is also why the Father has sent the Holy Ghost to bear witness to us individually, so that we will not be deceived! " 4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."

      5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may aknow the btruth of all things.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Just because something is WRITTEN down doesn't mean it is anywhere close to the truth. Do you realize how easy it is to just WRITE DOWN that there were witnesses? There is no reproducible, impartial account of the alleged event (like a video we can all watch). Same goes for the alleged "hundreds" or whatever it was who "witnessed" the resurrection or ascension of Jeebus. You realize that just because one person WROTE DOWN that there were hundreds is not the same as you personally interviewing those alleged hundreds to hear what their individual stories say? Right? For more information on this topic, just read a few books nowadays...like politically motivated BS on some modern topic like 9/11....pick one by a right-wing author and another by a left-wing author and see if any of the stories match up. Another idea is to think about that game you played (hopefully) in kindergarten where you pass a message around a circle, whispering the message into the next kid's ear, and when it comes back around to you it is inevitably something entirely different than what it started out as.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • HellBent

      Odd, isn't it, how the Holy Ghost seems to give so many different truths to so many different people? Maybe the ghost needs to speak up and enunciate more clearly to get everyone on the same page.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      So because your imagination (the "holy ghost") bears witness to your conscience that what you believe is true, then it is true?!?! HA HA HA!!!!! Self-fulfilling prophecy! DUH!

      January 13, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Abinadi

      I'm sorry for you, G. You wouldn't believe it even if you personally saw an angel. You would just say you won't believe it unless you saw God himself and then you wouldn't believe that! "39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:"

      January 13, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Abinadi

      Here is your sign. Why is it that an adulterer always seeks for a sign? It is one of the mysteries.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      How hard is it for an inventor of a cult to write down such verses that accuse any doubters of being wrong because they demand proof?

      January 13, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Seems to me that if I were going to invent a cult, that's one of the first things I'd think about adding to my book....is how to try to induce fear into my readers that they should believe because to doubt makes you one of the outcast, non-believers, heathen, adulterers, infidels, pagans, whatever the h&|| you wanna call them.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • CLD

      @ Abinadi .... um I'm an Ex-Mormon but I'm sorry to tell you them witnesses never seen the plates or handled them, Joe Smith showed them a box saying the plates where in the box covered by a cloth, so they never seen the gold plates oh yeah and some of them witnesses turned on Joe Smith and if you don't believe me you can go to Salt Lake City, Utah where I'm from and go downtown to the New church history library and look it up for your self it's there.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  13. government spy

    Personally, I feel that Mormonism is an insult to American intelligence.

    It feels to me, that we're supposed to accept Mormonism as a faith, even though it's obviously invented.

    because of Freedom of Religion, you can believe in basically anything you want, from Flying Spaghetti Monster, to the Great White Rabbit, and Mormonism is no different. Except no one from Pastafarianism is running for president (if there were, they'd get my vote).

    Looking at the history of the Religion, it's almost as if Joseph Smith was a snake oil salesmen, except people are still peddling his product.

    January 13, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • HellBent

      I fail to see how the claims of mormonism are any more absurd that any other flavor of christianity. At least they're not practicing cannibalism.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • fred

      HellBent
      It is friday the 13th put on some majic underware just in case a black cat jumps in front of you. I cant hurt but it may just save your life.........................opps pasqal's wager.... just cant help myself.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • government spy

      That's my point. Christianity is ludicrous, but Mormonism just doesn't hide the fact that they're full of crap. It's like they're saying, "Yes we know this is all a lie, but we'll keep pretending anyway, because we make money doing it. It's the /American/ religion!"

      January 13, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  14. Ex-Mormon

    The reason Mormons say their religion is a Christian religion is because most have no idea what they ACTUALLY teach. There is no set in stone doctrine. It changes as their "prophet" changes. No other religion in the world can even claim that! Take a look at what the founders of the religion preached and there will be no doubt in your mind. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and many others claimed that they were NOT Christian and they didn't want to be because Christianity was an abomination. And suddenly they want to put that behind them and try to mainstream? Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • Stew

      Your ignorance is mind-boggling.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Kev

      Well, there are places in the Bible where doctrines change or at least seem to change from time to time. One comes to mind with the laws of Moses, which were given during the time of Moses, even though there were prophets prior to Moses. There is the whole thing about Christ's teachings that fulfilled the laws of Moses as well as the whole thing about no longer requiring animal sacrifices. There was the sudden declaration in the New Testament to teach the Gospel to all the world including the Gentiles. There was even the Apostle Peter's vision where certain animals that were forbidden to eat were then permitted to be eaten.

      There have been certain LDS practices that have changed over time, but changes in practices within any church have not gone unprecedented. There have been from time to time revelation given to change or adjust certain practices to meet the needs at the time, which is one of the reasons why there are continuing prophets in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The thing is do those changes really effect the overall Gospell?

      Also, how does the recent ads promoting the church be considered an adjustment to be more "mainstream" when it's simply showing individuals who just happen to be Latter-Day-Saints or "Mormons"?

      January 13, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      The fact that religions keep changing over time is proof that they are all just made up as they go along. I especially like examples from the Catholic Cult, in which recently pope Benedict 16 declared that reckless driving was a sin. Now that is funny! And what about the one where it is now OK for h0mos&xu@ls to use c0ndoms since the idea is that it prevents disease. Heh heh. But of course there was no equivalent consolation for heteros using protection. Just a bunch of improvised CRAP!

      January 13, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  15. HugoCorv

    I call BS. I think this whole "Mormon controversy" is a straw man created by Romney to shield him from legitimate criticism of his consistent flip-flopping. If you express concern about his policies, then you are a bigot. Any other candidate would be criticized for the same thing – why should he get preferential treatment for being a Mormon?

    January 13, 2012 at 5:34 am |
  16. FormerMormon

    Oh, and I'm sorry, did I forget to mention the blood atonement theory (which you can find in the library of any LDS seminary)? Or the Mountain Meadows Massacre? Have some fun reading the testimony in the Reed Smoot case (http://nboman.people.wm.edu/smoot.php). Mormons opposed to alcohol? Then why did they produce it in and around St. George, Utah? Why did the first two Mormon presidents imbibe liquor with liberality? Google the "Mormon September Six." I really could go on and on and on.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • snap

      What is it about the Mormon Church that makes people dedicate their lives to tearing it down? Don't people have anything better to do?

      January 13, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Reality

      With the wide availability of reliable historical facts available on the internet and the fast download speeds, it takes less than five minutes of one's dedication to see the absurdity of religions.

      e.g.

      The results of an internet search that took less than 10 seconds:

      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. "

      January 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • FormerMormon

      @snap: Mostly because they cannot keep their nose out of politics. Because some of us grew up with all this sanctimonious crap. Their doctrine is an ever-moving target and they refuse to recognize this (Blacks and Brown people bad one minute, okay the next; women 2nd class no matter what color).

      January 13, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  17. Reality

    Only for the "newbies":

    Mormonism will slowly fade from society as will contemporary Christianity and Islam because of the obvious problems with the founders of these religions especially their angelic/satanic hallucinations and related prophecies. "Pretty and ugly wingie/horn-blowing thingies" simply do/did not exist.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    January 12, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  18. anon

    @Overheard, those statements about Mormonism are false. I -am- a Mormon. I can't speak for whichever one person said that Catholics are idol-worshippers, but you have no right to base your view of our entire faith on one comment that probably wasn't very well thought-out.

    We do not "follow a false angel named Mormon;" we follow our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Mormon was an ancient prophet who only acted as a messenger from God to Joseph Smith, our first modern prophet.

    Our goal in life is not to "plan to be gods of our own planets;" our goal is to eventually be like our Heavenly Father, to attain perfection, which is only attainable through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection. If we do all that we've been commanded in this life, then yes, we have the opportunity to more literally be as God and gain our own stewardships. That is not our goal, tthough.

    I just hope I've cleared things up for any other readers.

    January 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Reality

      Added clarification using a prayer:

      (only for the "newbies")

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      January 12, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Scott

      The problem is that yes you will have a planet of your own because that's what flesh-and-blood god is living on...je's essentially a super glorified space traveller, like Apollo or Zeus. And that's all right there in all the four scriptures that Mormons have extrapolated from since about 1840.

      January 13, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  19. Overheard often

    I heard a mormon congregation president say that CATHOLICS are IDOL worshippers.
    talk about hypocrites - they follow an false angel named mormon and plan to be gods of their own planet after they die.
    Where is our Lord Jesus, our Heavenly father and the Holy Spirit in all that.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • daburto

      The first Article of Faith of the Mormon Church states "We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." You have a point, sir. I don't see anything there about the Lord Jesus, our Heavenly Father, or the Holy Spirit.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  20. HawaiiGuest

    Oh joy Avd is back with more cut and paste messages promoting a website that espouses hate and discrimination.

    January 12, 2012 at 9:50 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.