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Keeping the faith, daring to be different
February 5th, 2012
05:33 PM ET

Crossing the plains and kicking up dirt, a new Mormon pioneer

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

San Diego (CNN) – At a 1950s-style house nestled in a peaceful neighborhood nicknamed “Hanukkah Hill,” a smiling Buddha on the porch greets visitors – his arms raised as if to say all are welcome.

Affixed to the doorpost is a mezuzah, a decorative case holding blessings for a Jewish home. Inside, on the family’s refrigerator, hangs a magnet from the Feminist Mormon Housewives blog that says, “Jesus loves us. Who cares what you think?”

In the kitchen stands Joanna Brooks, an accidental, unofficial and admittedly unauthorized source for all things Mormon. She’s making “funeral potatoes,” a classic Mormon casserole, and heaped on the counter are the ingredients: a not-so-healthy dose of cheese, butter, sour cream, hash browns and chicken soup. Her Jewish husband strolls by, takes a look at what’s cooking, and grimaces. Bespectacled and freckled 6-year-old Rosa, standing atop a chair, proudly announces, “I’m Jewish and Mormon!”

The home and life Brooks has created is the product of a complicated journey.

She cannot separate The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from her identity any more than she can leave cheese out of funeral potatoes. But like her persecuted ancestors who braved the unforgiving plains to reach the promised land of what is now Utah, Brooks, 40, fights for her faith.

The battle has, at times, left her feeling beaten.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

As a young feminist activist, she saw her beloved church excommunicate her intellectual heroes. She’s felt outrage and soul-crushing grief while watching her church mobilize against same-sex marriages. For about 10 years, she walked away.

But today a vintage postcard of a Mormon missionary boarding a plane sits on her desk to inspire. It reads, in part, “Dare to be different.”

She believes there’s room in the LDS Church for loving criticism and candid talk, that Latter-day Saints like her can not just belong but also serve – without fear of being cast out into the wilderness.

She’s staking her claim to Mormonism, writing about it for Religion Dispatches, debunking myths in national papers, speaking up on podcasts, radio shows and from stages, and offering advice in her column and blog, Ask Mormon Girl. She recently self-published her memoir, “The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American Faith” and writes regularly for Feminist Mormon Housewives. Politico has named her, or specifically her Twitter account, one of the “50 Politicos to Watch.” All this while being an award-winning scholar, a published poet and, oh yeah, a department chair and professor of English and comparative literature at San Diego State University.

Click the audio player for a Q&A with Joanna Brooks from CNN Radio's John Lisk



Amid Mitt Romney’s presidential bid, the “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign and the smash-hit Broadway musical “Book of Mormon,”  this Obama supporter has emerged as a refreshing voice for media, hungry for frank discussion about her faith.

Her goal? To be her authentic self and humanize a tradition and people she couldn't love more.

“I just refuse to be ashamed of being Mormon,” she says. “Don’t talk about us like we’re not in the room.”

Embracing her difference

Growing up in California's Orange County, she often was the only Mormon in a room.  She was, she likes to say, “a root beer among the Cokes,” a reference to the caffeine-free drink that her faith permits.

She fantasized about her ancestors on the other side of the veil. Her father, a longtime LDS Church bishop – a volunteer pastor – said they knew her name and that her spirit would join them when she died.

She sang pioneer hymns in church on Sundays with other root beers. She kneeled and prayed to God each night before bed. By the time she was baptized at 8, she’d read cover-to-cover the Book of Mormon, the sacred text Latter-day Saints view as “another testament of Jesus Christ” and study in addition to the Bible.

Brooks, center, and her sisters learned early to be proud of and show off their Mormon pioneer heritage.

She learned to relish being different, even when born-again classmates, taught by their pastors to believe she was in a cult, scrawled warnings in her yearbook. When Marie Osmond, a visible Mormon to the non-Mormon world, winked into the TV camera on Friday nights, Brooks was sure the gesture was meant for her.

Along the way, there were glimpses of the woman she would become. Asked one year in grade school to write two term papers, she chose as her subjects the Equal Rights Amendment and Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church.

“I’m not making this up,” she says, laughing at what some may see as irony. “This is who I am.”

But in her traditional - what she calls “orthodox” - Mormon home, she was only exposed to pamphlets on women’s rights penned by Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative stalwart who railed against the ERA push.

At LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, the only college she ever considered attending, Brooks imagined the warm embrace of being among her people. Looking at those around her, at first she worried she was too different. But during orientation, an English professor quoted a verse from the Book of Mormon that she'd carry with her.

He denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

“I felt the knot of panic in my belly loosen and disappear,” she writes in her memoir. “Deep inside my chest, a door opened. Light and oxygen flooded the room.”

She gravitated to professors who shined the light on possibilities, devouring the words of Mormon poets and feminist historians.

All are alike unto God.

In the Student Review, an alternative and unofficial school paper, Brooks poked fun at university policies, interviewed polygamists, wrote about gay issues and simply didn’t shy away from matters most people were afraid to talk about.

While getting ready for church on Sundays, she blared Public Enemy.

Outside her circle of like-minded friends were people like John Dehlin, a staunchly conservative Mormon student who watched her from afar. Whether it was hot-button issues in the paper, pro-choice demonstrations at the state Capitol or night vigils and marches for rape victims, he says, Brooks was always involved.

“She didn't know me, but I knew her. I was torn between being uncomfortable and seeing her as dangerous, and respecting her for her courage and convictions.”

Brooks was riding an optimistic wave of change at BYU, when the tide suddenly shifted.

The early 1990s brought a LDS Church crackdown on intellectuals, feminists and activists who were perceived as being threats.

Professors at BYU lost their jobs. Others walked away in solidarity. In September 1993, six prominent Mormon scholars were excommunicated or disfellowshipped – stripped of certain religious rights, including access to LDS Church temples.

The day Brooks received her diploma, she handed it back in protest.

Wrestling with God

The still-warm funeral potatoes take their place on a picnic table crowded with treats in a La Jolla  park. Milling about are those who've gathered for a monthly meeting, a support group of sorts, under the auspices of an organization called Mormon Stories.

Some, like Brooks, are faithful churchgoing members. Others no longer attend services but long for cultural connections. For at least two of these Californians (one says she is a distant relative of Mitt Romney's), the day church leaders called on Mormons to support Proposition 8 – a 2008 ballot measure to prevent same-sex marriages – was the last time they sat in the pews. One first-time visitor shows up, her crisis of faith new and raw.

“I believed everything until two weeks ago,” she says, her expression one-part grief, the other anger.

Brooks understands those in painful transition. God knows she's been there.

After graduating from BYU, Brooks headed to Los Angeles to get her doctorate in English at UCLA. For about five years, she says she regularly went to church but was still reeling from “the purge” of so many mentors.

She wrestled internally. Each time the LDS Church galvanized its members behind the Defense of Marriage Act or supported initiatives that predated Prop 8, she felt like a cinderblock had been dropped on her heart. If her bishop asked how she was doing, she burst into tears.

“Whenever I went to church, I'd just cry,” she says. “So I just stopped. It was my way of saying 'uncle.' It was too much. I clearly needed time.”

Brooks retreated not just from church, but also from her liberal Mormon peers. She guarded her tongue and emotions around family.

Meantime, her life moved forward in other beautiful ways. She'd fallen hard for David Kamper, then a doctoral student in anthropology, “a sweet and soulful Jewish man from my California hometown: a man who saw no enmity in me, a man who would never put me on trial, a man who would never audit my heart for heresy,” she says in her memoir.

They met at a union party for teaching assistants. About two months into their relationship, she turned to him and said, “You know we're going to get married.”

When they did, some years later, she couldn't have a temple marriage, which allows two Mormons to be sealed for eternity in a sacred ceremony – a rite considered necessary to reach the highest level in heaven. Instead, their unconventional wedding blended their religious backgrounds.

When Kamper stomped on a glass, which marks the end of a Jewish wedding ceremony, Brooks knew she was in some way breaking her parents' hearts.

The oldest of four siblings, all dedicated Mormons, she still attended family events in the LDS Church during those years in self-imposed exile. Each visit made her ache with longing. She tried other Christian denominations, but none felt like home.

It was the birth of her daughters Ella and Rosa, now 8 and 6, that would eventually help bring her back. When she rocked them to sleep, she mindlessly sang a Mormon pioneer hymn, a reminder of those who walked before her.

Her faith journey was shaped, in part, by the birth of daughters Ella -- walking ahead with the family dog -- and Rosa.

She realized she had to be true to her spiritual needs and her legacy, not just for herself, but for her little girls. She began writing the book that would become her memoir, to help her heal and so they would someday understand their mother.

“I am an unorthodox Mormon woman with a fierce and hungry faith,” she writes. “Sometimes even in my own tradition I feel a long way from home. But I will keep on crossing as many plains as this life puts in front of me. I drag along my Jewish husband, my two daughters, and a trunk of difficult questions.”

Finding her way home

Slowly, in 2008, she dipped her cold feet back in the LDS Church waters.

Three months later, like a tsunami, came the push for Proposition 8.

“So I took another few months off. To shake my fist at God,” she wrote in a recent Ask Mormon Girl column. “That's what I did until the vote was over. And then I went back. Again.”

That wasn’t all she did, though. Once, during this hiatus from church, she returned to her childhood congregation for a new nephew’s naming and blessing. She squirmed in her seat as each talk and prayer mentioned the need to protect marriage, she recalls in her memoir.

Using Rosa, then 2, as an excuse, she went for a walk. On a hallway table she spotted clipboards holding data for “Yes on 8” voters, canvassing materials culled through hours and hours of work.

“My heart pounds. I look around. The hallways are clear,” she writes. Brooks snatched those papers and shoved them in her flowered diaper bag. She rushed outside, her heels clicking on pavement. Shielded by cars and with Rosa on her hip, she forced the papers down a metal sidewalk grate. “Still, I feel the weight of the cinderblock on my heart.”

When she could guard her tongue no longer, she decided to speak publicly at a rally opposing Prop 8. She held her breath as she sent her speech to her parents.

The next morning, she opened her e-mail to see this from her father: “ ‘We want you to know we love you. You have wanted a more just and loving world since you were a little girl,’ ” she recounts in her memoir. She then describes her reaction: “Tears drop on my keyboard. My chest heaves.”

Now her father is dying of ALS, an experience that’s made their differences irrelevant.

“My parents are very devoted Mormons, and they didn’t always know what to do with me,” she says. “But there’s nothing like a terminal illness to put things in perspective.”

In late 2009, she began writing about her Mormonism for others. Her first published piece was about raising interfaith children.

Brooks hopes that through her writing and speaking out she can help humanize Mormons, who are often misunderstood.

Perhaps no one was more relieved to see her name than John Dehlin, the BYU student who'd once watched her from afar.

He'd gone through his own faith crisis years after they graduated, and searched online for Brooks. He couldn't find her anywhere. When he saw her byline, he reached out immediately.

“Where have you been?” he asked. “We need you. We've always needed you.”

Dehlin created Mormon Stories in 2005, first as a podcast offering open conversations for those grasping for reasons to stay in the LDS Church, which he has. Now the group also runs conferences and online communities, as well as support groups, which are sprouting up across the globe.

Brooks didn't need Mormon Stories to get back to church. She'd worked through her struggle in her own way and own time. But realizing there were others like her out there – even if they weren't sitting next to her in church – gave her comfort. There's a kinship among those who want and need to speak freely.

The way Mormons show up for one another, she says, is part of what she loves most about her faith tradition. And while her “calling” may not be conventional or church-sanctioned, she's fulfilling a mandate to serve.

By being there for folks who are lost and looking to be found or are desperate to say things they don't feel safe uttering at church or to their families, she attends to those in need.

“Is there space for difference? People are feeling it out,” she says. “No one wants to start a new church. No one wants a schism.”

Some of her friends, especially those not in the LDS Church, have wondered why she didn't just walk away.

That might have been easier, and it's what most of her BYU friends did do. But she's shed tears and worked so hard to maintain her identity, faith and community because, like those who came before her, that's what Mormon pioneers do.

“I know who I am”

Scampering out of the garage, Mosi leads the way. The family dog - her name means "cat" in Navajo – tugs Brooks through the neighborhood on a walk that doubles as thinking time for this busy mother, professor and author.

On this afternoon, she talks about how carefully she must toe a line - one that allows her to be faithful, respectful and gently critical. She's emboldened knowing she doesn't walk alone. There are dozens and dozens like her who - thanks to blogs and social media - are also weighing in.

Brooks speaks on stages and radio programs. She also has been interviewed for documentaries, including one about Mormons in politics.

Not afraid to discuss touchy issues of race, polygamy, or same-sex marriages, Brooks says she's gotten plenty of mail from LDS Church members begging her to stop. They say she's not a spokesperson for the church, and she agrees – she isn't. She's not trying to be.

She believes this cautiousness of fellow Latter-day Saints, this fear of individually speaking up, isn't serving Mormons well. Instead of relying on church officials to read from scripts that sound likes scripts, she says, “People need to see us as human beings.”

The sacrifices of Mormons who’ve spoken out before her also help prod Brooks along. She has to trust that times are changing – that what happened to women like feminist Margaret Toscano won’t happen to her.

Toscano, 62, was excommunicated in 2000 – seven years after her husband. She recalls how the late 1970s Mormon supporters of the ERA were driven underground. She was among those who re-emerged in the late 1980s, only to face a slapdown. She says she personally knows hundreds who’ve walked away from the church over women’s issues.

She watches Brooks and others like her with hope, but not complete optimism. The ability of activists to do what they do while in the church, Toscano says, comes and goes at the whim of whoever is in charge.

Others who watch Brooks may be concerned about the company she keeps.

She knows there are those who fear her association with “apostates,” but she shrugs this off. “It’s not a concern for me. I know who I am.”

Who she is and what she believes rankles Ralph Hancock, a political science professor at BYU who’s taken her on in an LDS blog review called The Bulwark. Simply put, he says in an e-mail, “Joanna thinks or assumes that Mormonism is compatible with (or intrinsically drawn toward?) a contemporary liberal-progressive agenda – and I think not.”

But not all conservatives are bothered by her work.

At the helm of the Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (FAIR), an organization that defends the LDS Church from detractors, is president Scott Gordon. He may not agree with many of her positions, but he’s glad she’s out there.

She shows the “plurality of thought within Mormonism,” he says, and has taken on characterizations of Mormons in the press in a way that’s made him want to cheer.

LDS Church officials have never contacted Brooks directly, she says. And they wouldn’t comment directly on her or her work for this story.

While Brooks will speak openly about the church she loves, warts and all, she has limits. She refuses to feed the uninformed, broad-brush sensationalism so many use to paint her often misunderstood faith. That's why she graciously turned down a recent request from a History Channel producer who, among other things, hoped Brooks could show how she uses a “seer stone” – a prophetic tool used by LDS Church founder Joseph Smith.

“Are you kidding me!” Brooks says, remembering what went through her head but never came out of her mouth. “That's like asking David [her Jewish husband] if he knows how to sacrifice animals.”

Back from the walk, she rounds up the family to head out to dinner.

Over pizzas at a long table in the Blind Lady Ale House, her husband joins friends in sharing tastes of microbrews. Brooks didn't always follow the Mormon rules to abstain from coffee, tea and alcohol. But with her renewed commitment to the church, she does now.

Among her friends here are two women with whom she leads a Girl Scout troop. Giggling at the far end of the table are their daughters, members of what they like to call “the rogue Brownie troop.”

More important to them than competitive cookie peddling are missions these moms can get behind: a tour of an organic farm, an environmental cleanup activity and a food drive for AIDS patients.

Leaving the other adults to their beers, Brooks heads outside with the four girls. Soon the little ones are marching up and down the sidewalk, arms linked, shouting something that leaves passersby smiling.

“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight! Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”

Brooks has spontaneously taught them the intro to the television classic “Laverne & Shirley.”

She hooks her arms with them as they scream, “Again! Again!” She coaches their footwork and matches their youthful enthusiasm. She wonders, as an afterthought, if she’s got that “hasenpfeffer” word right.

Reaching into a pocket, Brooks pulls out her smartphone and says with a sheepish grin, “Let me check my seer stone.”

On white people, lipstick and the sacrament

It's a Sunday morning, and the family is getting ready for church. Kamper serves up pancakes before racing off to change. Ella and Rosa look over their visitor to make sure she's dressed appropriately. Modest skirt and sleeves? Check.

“Church is a good place,” Rosa says. She bounds past a globe of the world and a child-sized drum set to grab a book from the playroom shelf.

“Read this,” she orders, handing over “How Does the Holy Ghost Make Me Feel?” “This'll teach you about church.”

Rosa shows off their food storage, recommended by the LDS Church in case of disasters.

In the kitchen, Brooks holds up the New York Times Sunday Review and rails against Lee Siegel's Mitt Romney-related opinion piece, “What's Race Got to Do With It?

“ 'Mormonism is still imagined by its adherents as a religion founded by whites, for whites, rooted in a millenarian vision of an America destined to fulfill a white God's plan for earth,' ” she reads aloud. And then, swatting the paper with the back of her hand, she asks, “Is there fact checking involved?”

She knows of the millions of LDS Church members dotting the globe in Africa, Asia and Latin America. And the Japanese-American, Filipino-American, black and Hispanic members in her own ward, or congregation. Later that night, she'll write her response. In this moment, Ella turns her attention to the diversity of American Girl dolls.

Scattered across a sofa are Rebecca, a Russian-Jewish girl from New York; Kaya, a Native American from the Nez Perce tribe; and Kirsten, who wears a bonnet.

“Mommy,” Ella screams, racing out of the room, “Did you know Kirsten's a pioneer girl?”

With her daughters loaded in the Prius, Brooks takes the wheel and tunes in Bob Marley. The girls start rifling through her purse in the backseat. They gob on her lipstick.

“Great,” she says, peering in the rearview mirror. “They're getting tarted up for church.”

Lipstick wiped off, they stroll inside. Brooks takes a seat in the back, and the girls dart up the aisle to sit with friends.

Who Brooks is outside of church is of no consequence. If anyone does follow her work, she says, “No one is up in my grill.” When she's here, she's here for spiritual sustenance – to pray, take the sacrament, and connect with and serve her community.

Bags crowding her feet hold the coffee cake she'll take to the Sunday school class she'll teach later, the Jeopardy-style game she's devised for today's lesson, and reading materials and toys to keep kids occupied.

The LDS Church's children's magazine features a story about Mormons in Tonga. Brooks spots her visitor reading it and whispers, “See how focused we are on white people?”

A little boy scoots a toy car along the floor. Stacked on a chair above him, next to hymnals, are “Curious George” books in Spanish.

Her husband sits down beside her, his arm around her shoulder. Kamper shows up because who she is, what she needs for herself and their kids, matters to him. Her acceptance of his Judaism, the fact that she's never suggested he convert, has helped him get over what the couple jokingly refer to as his “Jesus allergy.” He doesn't take the sacrament when it's offered and admits he sometimes passes on saying “amen” to church prayers.

“They don't know what the hell to make of me,” he says. But ever since he fell in love with Brooks, this trained ethnographer has been a close observer of Mormons. He feels embraced by her parents now, but that took time. Her father once challenged Kamper to read the Book of Mormon and accept the missionary lessons, visits from LDS teachers. Kamper figured it was the least he could do, but it didn't lead him into a baptismal font.

Unable to play an official role during Mormon family ceremonies, like baby namings, he accepts his job as the designated microphone holder. Someday he'll tell his nephews, “If you get busted and go to jail, call Uncle David.”

Here in church, his role is supportive husband. Kamper strokes Brooks' back when she weeps. Tears fall when her eyes close in prayer.

In a small classroom afterward, she meets with four high school students, three of whom are heading to BYU in the fall. When she meets with them, she says she sees herself at their age.

The Book of Mormon, the introduction of an additional scripture, “was a bold claim,” she tells them. “I think that's why Mormons are bold. We're OK being different.”

Trusting God’s plan

The girls plop down at the kitchen table, feasting on leftover funeral potatoes. They start humming the “Muppet Show” theme song and then, after rattling off some of their favorite Simon and Garfunkel titles, bust into the chorus of “Mrs. Robinson.”

And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson,
Jesus loves you more than you will know,
Wo, wo, wo.
God bless you, please, Mrs. Robinson,
Heaven holds a place for those who pray,
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.

Each night at dinner, the girls lead the family in prayer. Sometimes their words are inspired by their Mormonism; other times they honor the Jewish side of themselves.

They're being raised to be part of both religious traditions. They celebrate Christmas, Easter and Pioneer Day, which marks the day in 1847 when Mormon pioneers first entered now-Utah. The family also observes Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover. Because Kamper likes to host a big Passover seder each year, Brooks decided the family would also host a Mormon seder on Pioneer Day, featuring her favorite recipes, including her “Green Goddess” Jell-o salad.

One month the girls attend Sunday school at church; the next they can be found in Hebrew school.

“It can be challenging because I have to learn one thing and then another thing,” Ella says. “But it can be fun, too, because I know I'm special.”

Brooks doesn't worry about their kids. All she can do is be responsible for her own choices and give them a rich spiritual life, she says. They'll be free to decide what path they want to travel. “God has a plan for everyone, and everything is going to work out,” she says. “I'm not afraid for them.”

Nor is Kamper, though he admits he's starting to realize some rabbis might balk if the girls want bat mitzvahs.

Ella describes how she feels in church.

“I feel comfortable because I'm in God's house. And I also feel comfortable because I know lots of people love me,” she says.

Her parents smile at each other. They want to know if she feels like she's in God's house at synagogue.

“No, but I feel like God's watching over me,” she answers.

Ella then offers to share a typical prayer she and Rosa might recite.

“We fold our arms and close our eyes,” she instructs. “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this food and this family. Please bless those who are sick... And if I was going to sleep,” she decides to add, “Please help me so I won't have nightmares. And if I do, send the Holy Ghost down to comfort me. I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.”

Seconds later, she and her younger sister switch gears.

“Shema, Yisrael. Adonai Eloheinu. Adonai echad,” they sing, the translation being, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.”

Across the kitchen, their mother’s voice rises in perfect Hebrew, too.

It's a Jewish prayer sung by a faithful Mormon who believes “all are alike unto God.” And she sings it with every bit of her pioneer spirit.


soundoff (1,778 Responses)
  1. MARK JESSUP

    MORMONS WITH THE HELP OF AMERICAN MORMON MONEY ARE KILLING GAY ACTIVISTS IN UGANDA AND I HAVE 100% PROOF OF THIS...

    February 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Abinadi

      How ridiculous!

      February 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Jack the Mormon

      Mark, you're insistence here makes me have to ask the question. Are you a gay activist out of Africa? If so, perhaps I can forward your address to some Mormon's I know and if you disappear, we will all know you are correct. ;-)

      February 6, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • CaptainObvious

      This is beyond silly. Honestly, the mentally-insane and delusional should be forbidden from posting on these forums. First, Mormons believe that, "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." The emphasis I would like to make in response to the foregoing and rediculous commentary is "AND ALLOW ALL MEN THE SAME PRIVLEGE, LET THEM WORSHIP HOW, WHERE, OR WHAT THEY MAY."

      Second, Mormons believe that all men and women everywhere are children of God and in the Bible that the first commandment is to love the lord thy God with all thy heary, mind and strength and the second is like unto it, to love thy neighbor as thyself. King Benjamin, a prophet in the Book of Mormon taught that "When you are in the service of your fellow-beings, you are only in the service of your God." Modern prophets have reitterated what Christ taught that even your enemy and those who despise you are your "neighbor."

      Third, one of the tenants of Mormon Christianity that differentiates from other forms of Christianity is that Mormonism believes that faith without works is dead (See James 2). In other words, Mormons belive that the Atonement of Jesus Christ cannot apply to them in their lives by merely paying lip service to God - i.e., faith for Mormons means more than just mere belief but both requires and inspires positive action, good works, and repenting of one's sins. A truley devout Mormon would never take another human life (unless if commanded to in times of war to protect his life and liberty and those of his countrymen). Like other Christian, Mormons believe that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ applies to all men and to all sins, including the taking of another human life. However, while a person is technically able to receive forgiveness through Christ 0for taking a human life, fully repenting of such a sin would be VERY difficult for a Mormon. There is no death-bed repentance in Mormonism and merely accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior without individual works of service evidencing that faith is insufficient to be called "faith." In other words, you practice what you preach in serving your neighbor and keeping all of God's commandments to the best of your imperfect ability, or no deal.

      Serioulsy,the above types of commentary have no purpose other than to breed irrational fear and hate of a now world-wide religion which brings help, hope, healing and even the basic necessities of life to tens of millions every year. Look, you don't have to believe in Mormonism, but spreding false rumors about the LDS when they are clearly a source of good in the world is just not cool. I know they make easy targets because of their passivism and their belief against anger and non-violence, but this is just silly.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Josh

      hahaha we got a conspiracy theorist!

      February 6, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  2. Self induced jig saw

    Please people- don't make life more complicated and stomp on your own heart. Sounds masochistic.
    Just be an artist and live peacefully in your own universe and at peace with your neighboring planets.
    Too many control freaks.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  3. Elizabeth

    Thank you for reminding us that most religions in our country were originally based around love and acceptance rather than judgement and hatred. As a young, religious feminist I am sad to see the ways religion is playing into politics and the media these days. It is refreshing to see articles such as this.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Look into the early history of most religions, including Mormonism. Nothing to do with love and acceptance there.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Really

      Look into your comment, nothing to do with love and acceptance there.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Really: really?

      I have no problem with love and acceptance. I have a problem with people washing their churches in blood, then claiming to be religions of love and tolerance. Do yourself a favor and actually research how the Mormon (or Catholic, or Anglican, or fill-in-the-blank) church started.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Really

      Well versed in my history already thanks, still doesn't change the fact that your comment exhudes hypocrisy. Thanks for playing.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Really,

      I'd love some more specificity from you. How am I being hypocritical in saying that if you look at almost any major religion, you'll find that it wasn't founded in love and tolerance? And please note that in order to be hypocritical, I'd have to be saying that and practicing something contrary to it.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Really Really

      iamdeadlyserious, you need to learn more about religious history and not just pretend to know what you think you know. Religion still remains the greatest force for good in the world. It is a scary though indeed would be a world where The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints did not exists nor its mutiple charitable arms, funds, including but not limited to operating the single largest charitable food bank in the world as well as the largest charitable thrift distribution center in the western hemisphere. The Mormon Church comes second only to the Red Cross when as far as non-governmental world-wide disaster aid relief is concerned. Speak all you want, but the truth is that thousands more would have died in Katrina as well as in other disasters world-wide had it not been for the Mormons.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Oh, I finally get it.

      You don't actually have any evidence against my claims. You just have anecdotal support about how religion is also a force for good in the world today. Excellent. You manage to completely ignore my actual argument while simultaneously making a bunch of unrelated and irrelevant points.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  4. TIMOTHY SMITH

    it's interesting how we are taught to take everything differently, I am glad to see she is teaching both ways to the girls. I really don't think any one is wrong but we do get to carried away with so many ideas on how it should be. I am gay and know that god has had a plan for each and every one of us and he blesses me everyday with many things. There is something for everyone and we are not the one to say which is correct, it is what works for you and as long as you are a good person and care and love that is great.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Kenny Fichts

      18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. - Yes sir he does have a plan for you, you're an abomination. (To him. :) )

      February 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Funny Kenny, you are an abomination to so many other people and the god that I believe in. Of course the mormon god isn't equal to the Christian one because he gets to compete with you and your fellow retards that believe you're actually going to become a god when you die. Talk about total insanity and meglomania!

      February 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Spanikopita

      Kenny Fichts is what is wrong with America, don't sweat the hate. Take solace knowing some people in this country can think for themselves.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  5. Imbecile

    So now we're going to see a massive, concerted effort to normalize Mormonism because Mitt Romney might be the Republican nominee?

    There's a reason it hasn't been normalized yet. It's not normal.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Shelly

      That should be said about ALL religions, not just Mormonism.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Really

      Have you seen normal? Who wants to be normal, when normal is egotistical, narcissistic, self-serving, self-important and overflowing with hate and disdain for all else?

      February 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • JackMormon

      Imbecile.... pretty much says it all!
      Mormons are probably "more" normal than you could know. Yes we are conservative, but our faith and values are simple and honest. Perhaps like any religious organization our leaders don't follow the path that others would want it to, but who's does? Whether or not you agree with this story it speaks to the simple fact that Mormons are capable of thinking for themselves.
      Heres to ya Sister Joanna!

      February 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  6. pastmorm

    This article also fails to mention her secret temple name, the blood oath mormons take when they go through their temple rituals to marry and baptize people for the dead (look it up). This is not a church. It's not even a cult. It's a strange organization of crazy people that come together believing that in the end they will become gods of their own worlds. Serioulsy, I can't make this stuff up. Look it up.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • DAVE

      I GOT TWO MORMONS IN THE SACK AT THE SAME TIME. I'M TIRED

      February 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      You may want to do a little research before you start going off on conspiracy-theory tangents:

      1) She probably hasn't received a temple endowment, since she wasn't married in the temple. So no spirit name.

      2) The blood oath was removed back in the 20s. It was horrifying that it was in that long, but it's been gone for a while.

      The Mormon religion isn't any crazier or more/less dangerous than any other faith-based religion. It's just less popular at the moment.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Margeaux

      pastmormon, You are right about everything. I wrote about the same things below and some mormons came on and said that I was incorrect. You used to be one, I take it from your user name, and I worked in Southern Alberta for years and came to know the "religion" well. The problem is a couple of things. What we are saying, even though it is true (converting people after death etc), it just sounds so outlandish that regular people don't believe it. If they did their homework, they would see that it is really true. They try and present this clean cut image, but behind the scenes, things are quite different. The other problem is that they try and blow us off with bible/ bom quotes and not address our facts directly. Also, when you quote from either the bible or the bom there is an assumption there that somehow they are credible and therefore, it should shut me up. Well, since I don't believe either to be credible, I need more supports than that. Keep getting the word out.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Really

      Actually, I have Mormon friends and know you did make some of that up or it is not relevant in modern times. And it's apparent you've taken your facts straight out of last Sunday's anti-Mormon sermon (not to be confused with sermons that actually preach the Gospel of Christ). Your own Bible and doctrines state that humans are the children of God, that man was made in the image of God and that we are to be like Him, we are to receive all that He has and that "ye are gods." Also Paul makes mention of the idea of baptizing the dead. You really need to check out that Bible sometime, you'll find the basis for most of the crazy "Mormon" doctrines in there. You'll also find that a lot of your ridiculous beliefs, such as the Nicene Trinity idea of God are thoroughly debunked by your own Bible.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Bad news to "Imdeadlyserious"

      She still knows what a temple name is because her church wrote this. The article is another fictional piece of propaganda.

      The blood oath was NOT taken out of the temple ceremony (is that what they're telling you to tell people now?) because I took it myself in the Provo temple before my mission.

      And Margeaux, keep the good work up! There are more of us out there! I am a 7th generation mormon (x by choice and that wasn't easy with the mormon mafia) my ancestor Shadrach Roundy is mentioned in the D&C. We need more people like you to keep researching things and talking to your friends. Thank you for your kind support!

      February 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Margeaux

      You will note that mormons will say, oh that is what it used to be like. One things I love about a living prophet, they can change the rules whenever they want. (Please don't comment that other religions. I don't support them either) I would hate to envision what the living prophet might want to change once Romney is in office. Oh, wait, that is never going to happen. Phew.......

      February 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      pastmorm,

      I'm not Mormon. At all.

      However, I do make sure to be educated on many things, including religion. The author of this piece (I'm not sure why you think the church wrote it, but let's ignore that for a moment) has probably not received her temple endowments. That means she doesn't know her "spirit name". Period. There are multiple websites and books that detail the endowment ceremony, which is where Mormons would have taken the blood oaths (not during baptisms for the dead, which can be performed without endowments). All of these books and sites are run by apostates from the church, who are generally quite thorough about the changes made to the ceremony over the years. The blood oaths (where Mormons once swore revenge on those who took the lives of the saints) were eliminated in the 20s after the oaths were made public in newspapers around the country.

      Please, do everyone a favor. If you're going to bash a religion, use genuine problems. Why not try attacking the church for its ridiculously backward stances on human rights? Or its willingness to cover up its past? There's no need to make things up to attack.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      P.S. You seem to be a troll, not an actual apostate from the church, because you have one blatant factual lie in your last post. You could not have taken the blood oath in the Provo temple prior to leaving for your mission, even if it was still part of the ceremony. Endowments aren't given until you return from a mission.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  7. SM

    From a Mormon youth's point of view:
    All these terrible comments make my heart sink. People just don't truly understand what the LDS church truly believes.

    I believe without a shadow of a doubt that this is a true church. I am so grateful for the gospel in my life. It protects me. Our "strange" rules aren't restrictions on my life, they bless it. I'm protected from making stupid decisions. I'm not a brain washed child who never had a choice, I know for myself. My parents don't want me to go to church just because they do, they have taught me and encouraged me to find the answers and sincerely pray about it.

    I respect every other religion, why can't people respect mine?

    We believe in God, His son Jesus Christ, and in the holy ghost. We believe that all mankind may be saved by the Atonement of Christ. We know the Bible and Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.
    Is there anything strange about that?

    So many people want equality in life and then discriminate against Mormons, I just don't understand that.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • GodIsTheWay

      You do not maintain and apostolic tradition. The true Church (Orthodox) maintains the correct tradition. The mormons are another dlctrine in error against God.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Kenny Fichts

      That's peculiar, because there are a sect of people living in the Middle East who declare that THEIR book is the one true book, and that THEIR God is the one true God. And while you may be willing to die for yours, they're willing to KILL for theirs. I also know of another religion that espouses -every last thing you have said- and I have to wonder: do you really think a God who has a penchant for genocide (including infants, children, women and the elderly) suddenly allows all to exist so that we can shop them as if we're at some bazaar? What makes my heart sink is that you do not have even a rudimentary grasp of the contents of even the -observable- universe, let alone the portion hidden from our imperfect view.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • pastmorm

      oh S&M, do you need to use a chat board to bear your testimony? Save it for fast and testimony meeting when you can go up and bawl your eyes out in front of a bunch of people that get caught up in the same hypnotic mass hysteria. Who cares if you believe in the church? This article is nothing but Romney propaganda. If he makes it as a front runner, there are enough xmormons like myself that won't rest till the world knows every single secret in your mormon temples and history. Then the world will truly be disgusted with what hides behind your programmed responses and smiles.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @GodIsTheWay

      You know it's funny. There are many other religions that say the same thing as you about your religion. It doesn't even really matter what your religion is, they all say the same thing about eachother. Any argument that you try to use to defend your religion, they will use it or already have.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      You "respect" every other religion? Really?

      Tell me: are Buddhists going to heaven? I don't mean Buddhists whose families later convert and perform baptisms for the dead. I mean Buddhists. Are they going to heaven? If your idea of respect means telling everyone else that their life is empty without the joy of your (emphasis on the "your") truth, then you need to learn what respect actually means.

      That said, your church's rules don't keep you from making "stupid" decisions. They keep you from engaging in any behaviors the church arbitrarily defines as immoral.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Josh

      SM I respect you for coming here and telling people, that are mostly against you, what you believe no matter what they think of you. I think we all could learn something from what you had to say. Don't let these rude replies to your comment let you down. Keep doing what you are doing.

      February 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  8. Leeroy

    That was a very long article, but sadly, it didn't once mention how we know our Church is true. She never mentioned feeling the Spirit of the Holy Ghost testifying to her very souls to let her know that we are in fact led by a living Prophet today. She didn't mention that we know it's true . . . every bit of it . . . and that everyone can know this through personal revelation after earnestly reading The Book of Mormon and earnestly and sincerely praying about it in the name of Jesus Christ. Maybe there will be a sequal? :)

    February 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Leeroy

      Soul. One soul. Oops. :)

      February 6, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Ugh. I've read the BOM and most of it's taken from the Old Testament. The rest is about mass destruction of all the people that god hates in the "new world." By the way, did everyone on here know that mormons believe that Native Americans are actually Jews? Yes! They came from the Middle East way back when in boats with no windows and god guided them here and cursed them with dark skin, calling them Lamenites. Craaaaazzzzzzy.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Leeroy

      pastmormon, you've brought up some true facts about our religion. Very good. You know, there are a lot of people who believe in The Book of Mormon and The Bible and believe things like crossing the ocean in ships and . . . even . . . crossing the red sea on dry ground and rain that fell for 40 days and 40 nights that flooded the earth. Yeah, wild stuff, but there is only one way to know if it's true. And I outlined it. Maybe you should try reading it again with an open mind and open heart this time. :) I triple dog dare you. :)

      February 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Yes, heaven forbid that someone talk about their faith without trying to convince everyone else that they should convert.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • I Don't Get It

      Leeroy,

      I have seen at least 5 people on here the past few days testify with all their hearts that *their* 'revelation' from the "Holy Spirit" was the one and only true one. They don't agree with you... or with each other. What's up with that?

      February 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • umm

      "I have seen at least 5 people on here the past few days testify with all their hearts that *their* 'revelation' from the "Holy Spirit" was the one and only true one. They don't agree with you... or with each other. What's up with that?"

      It's called a chemical reaction in their brain, and there are studies that prove it.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Sam

      I have done this and received an overwhelming answer that it is NOT the true church. How does that fit in?

      February 6, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Leeroy

      Well, we also believe, as you probably know, the 11th Article of Faith states: "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." If you're not familiar with The Thirteen Articles of Faith, you can find them prety easily on our sites. So, according to the 11th, you can believe what you like. :) And I have been blessed to KNOW what I KNOW about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And I can not deny it. :) Good night. :)

      February 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Leeroy,

      Do you genuinely not see the inherent condescension in saying "You're welcome to believe whatever you like. But I'm right, and you're wrong. You won't go to heaven and I will. Your life is sad and empty without my belief system. But I respect your beliefs."? Really?

      February 7, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Leeroy

      iamdeadlyserious, those are your words, not mine. I simple stated I know what I know . . . for me. I know there are a lot of really great people in the world who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know there are a lot of people who are not Mormon who are going to make it to Heaven just fine . . . and there are a lot of us members who are not. I do not understand how someone with an open heart and Spirit can earnestly read the Book of Mormon and decide to spend their life bashing it . . . just as I don't understand people reading the Koran or Torah, or any other book others consider to be scripture, and bashing them. And I don't understand how you've read my words and interpretted what I've said to mean the things you've suggested. But, you are welcome to be upset with me if you like. It's your choice.

      February 7, 2012 at 6:01 am |
  9. Kenny Fichts

    Mormonism is trying to ride the "tolerate everything!!1!" wave that struck America. You know the one. Where terms like: "Don't be a hater", and, "it's just my opinion!" arose. The religion is silly, like most religions. Get over it, accept it, stop bringing attention to yourself. The reason religions are by and large restricted to certain parts of the world is because you are born into it, it is inherited and only lost by outside influence.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  10. Rb

    So fascinating how people can intellectualize a fairy tale to such a great extent. Which of the "one true religions" in her house do her kids subscribe to? They can't both be right (unless they're both wrong). Very strange.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  11. MARK JESSUP

    TO BAD SHE DOESNT BRING UP HOW SHE AND HER CHURCH ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS OF GAY ACTIVISTS IN UGANDA..HOW COME SHE DOESNT WRITE ABOUT THAT? THATS GOES FOR MITT ROMNEY TOO SINCE HIS MONEY IS FUNDING GAY HATE AND MURDER IN AFRICA TOO

    February 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • urafkntool

      If you care about Africa so much, go fkn live there. Get a-s-s-r-a-p-e-d every day and get diseases.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • brian

      check your facts buddy

      February 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Jack the Mormon

      wow, you're for real, I thought you were just a joker. How twisted can you get. Go ahead and post and let everyone know your heart

      February 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  12. women are evil

    Wom-en are evil and man-ipul-ati-ve by nature. It's well within their personal being to lie, steal, and to try to control everything around them, including men. It's also well within their natural psyche to ditch men due to money or unwillingness to obey her. When a man stands up for himself, he is called "s-e-x-ist," or, even worse, with those manipulative turn on and off tears, "a mean man."

    February 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • End Feminism

      You are so right in every word you have written.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  13. John

    Haha, I never wrote that the Mormon Church is the only true Church I was just pointing out the wrong points you were making. Besides, if you already knew these things why were you writing the wrong information. For example, if you already knew about polygamy and baptism for the dead, why would you say that God wouldn't be Ok with it, when He was, or why would you say the Bible never mentions baptism for the dead when it does?

    I like your posts though, when your false claims are disproved, you just bring something else up. And so what if Joseph Smith saw an angel? Didn't John see angels in the book of Revelation?

    February 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Joseph Smith

      Mor(m)ons = Good, Everything Else = Bad

      February 6, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • brian

      I can't believe how disrespectful this person is writing under the name Joseph Smith. When you write things so contrary to what LDS people believe you have no right to portray yourself as one of them by identifying yourself by the name of their founder. If you knew anything (anything true) about the Mormon's you would know that they would NEVER say anything like that.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  14. Shane

    Jesus said: "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

    If you do this and are sincere, regardless of what religion you're in, I think you'll do fine on judgment day.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  15. the truth

    mormonism is just another mind controlling cult. Religion itself is a setback to a humans true mental potential.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  16. MagickPants

    I dont care how much Mitt Romney loving mormon propaganda cnn shoves down our throat, mormon's are still creepy and i'll never vote for one. The world needs less mormon pioneers. EXCOMMUNICATE THIS! lol

    February 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • brian

      isn't it strange how supposedly progressive and enlightened people somehow think it is ok to openly criticize Mormonism when they would flip at a similar generalization and prejudiced statement toward Buddhism or other religions. It is this sort of closed mindedness that spawns hate and ignorance.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  17. Margeaux

    I worked for many years in a mormon community. I could go on forever about their foolish beliefs but when they talk about spirit bodies that need human bodies (why they have so many kids) and why I can't go and see any mormon get married in their secret temple with their secret rituals, that I probably help fund in some way through my taxes as they are a recognized religion and don't pay taxes (please don't say it is only mormon funds that pay as getting tax advantages puts $$ in the mormon church pockets) and why they are allowed to convert people after death (why they are so into genealogy) without their "permission", it astounds me that anyone could take any of that seriously. I know the mormons are all over this post, despite the fact that they take up so little of the population – can't let too much bad press out.... anyway, this is all true- check it out.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Jack the Mormon

      No it's not. It is partial truths twisted to make it sound like something that only crazies would believe. Sorry, you don't have your facts straight.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • MARK JESSUP

      jackthemormon is probably a child molester or kill gays on orders from the head of the mormon church...it is fact thats mormons are behind the murders in uganda of gay activists

      February 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Lewis Craig

      Margeaux,
      Mormons wouldn't be all over your post if it were accurate. One of the dictums of Mormonism is "God will force no man (or woman) to heaven." That's true in this life and the next. Like other religious organizations, the Church enjoys a tax exemption. We didn't invent it. I have never heard anyone in my church brag about it. If they did, they shouldn't. I am sorry that you had some difficulties with and misunderstanding about the teachings of the Church. I wish we could sit down and talk, not for conversions sake, but just to understand each other better.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Jack the Mormon

      MARK JESSUP too funny.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Margeaux

      Jack the mormon, I am not wrong or you are calling mormons liars. I got this info from them. Tell me why you have so many kids. Tell me about spirit babies,. Tell me why I can't go to a mormon wedding if they get married in the temple. Tell me if someone can convert me to mormanism after death. Don't blow me off. Be specific in your answers please. I worked many years in Southern Alberta and know a lot thank you.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • brian

      if you find their beliefs confusing try an in depth study of the Old Testament. Only those who made specific covenants with God could go into holier rooms of the temple, same as Mormons. Apparently you also never read the part about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with their respective thoughts on children. Study first, criticize later, you will sound better read and not so ignorant.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • CaptainObvious

      Sorry, but Mormons would not be all over these comments if they were, in fact, accurate - which, surprise, they are not. Mormons have 12 Articles of Faith in addition to the 10 commandments which, yes, they revere as very basic scripture and all Mormons are taught from an early age to memorize. The 11th Article states very clearly in its entirety, "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." The emphasis I would like to make in response to the foregoing and rediculous commentary is "AND ALLOW ALL MEN THE SAME PRIVLEGE, LET THEM WORSHIP HOW, WHERE, OR WHAT THEY MAY."

      Really, people, this is an absolute and BASIC tenant of Mormon Christianity which, litterally, any 7 year-old Mormon could tell you. If you want to find out the truth about who Mormons are and what they believe (without any of the twisted BS and hate-filled rhetoric) then you really should try asking a Mormon.

      In the alternative (and if you are undetterred on discovering what Mormons really believe) you need to look no further than the Church websites where you can find all the information and more about what Mormons (or Latter-day Saint as they preferred to be called) really believe. The two websites I would visit are http://www.mormon.org and http://www.lds.org. If you really want to understand more, then I would direct you to actual Mormon missionaries or church members. In the alternative, I think that the New Testament and the Book of Mormon are great reads, even for non-belivers who love learning about world religions. Also, the treatise "Jesus The Christ" written by a Mormon apostle, James E. Talmage, is an excellent insight into what Mormons really believe. But if you expect to find truth on blogs or websites dedicated to the opposition against Mormonism, don't be surprised when all you find are warped, twisted and biased arguments and a distorted version of what Mormons really believe. Thanks.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Margeaux

      Notice how none of the people replying to me address my questions. They just spout verses at me and tell me where I can read up. Period. I don't adhere to any religion so bible verses or whatever you want to quote to distract me won't work. Oh, and suggesting I am ignorant doesn't answer my questions either. If I am so ignorant then please answer my questions and enlighten me and everyone else here.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Silversprite

      Good grief, Margeaux. Maybe this will make you feel better.

      1. I have no kids, and don't plan on having any.
      2. Because some things are private. Mormons aren't the only group who reserve participation in an event to members only; why does this bother you so much?
      3. Nobody can convert you to anything, living or dead. The choice of what you believe is, always has been, and always will be yours and yours alone.

      February 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Margeaux

      Silversprite, so because you don't have kids means everyone else doesn't either???? I am asking about your religion, not you personally. Believe me, mormons have a lot of kids for a reason. You know that. 2. Since when is a wedding ceremony private? And shouldn't you be allowed to invite whomever you want to your wedding? 3. You know mormons can convert people after death. You want to tell my mormon friend who told me he would do it after I died. His words, not mine. You know that is why you keep such good genealogical records.

      Here is what I dislike most – if you want to believe all the crap, fine, but don't lie about it. I would respect you more if you said, yes, that is exactly what we do. But you won't, will you?

      February 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Silversprite

      So unless I post something you agree with, you won't believe me, let alone respect me? That doesn't sound like much of a conversation to me but I'll give it one more stab.

      1. Just as I don't have any kids, many – yes, many, and likely more than you know – of my fellow believers choose not to have large families. If you assume that I and the others I know like me aren't representative of the church as a whole, the logical outcome is that the members you know with large families don't necessarily represent the entire church either.

      Is becoming a parent a magnificent thing? Of course it is! Looking after your children, helping them as they struggle through life and learn how to master their emotions instead of being subservient to them, even letting them make poor decisions because you know that's the only way they can grow – these are all wonderful, amazing acts of love and I have nothing but admiration for parents who do these things. Are all Mormons driven to or somehow required to have children? Of course not.

      2. I doubt you make a habit of being an uninvited guest at any or every wedding you happen to stumble across. In that sense, every wedding is private to at least some degree. Ceremonies held in the temple contain things that are very specific to church doctrine and, given the varying nature of religious belief, much of it simply wouldn't make any sense at all to anyone who hasn't been a member and actually studied church teachings for a few years. Why would I want to invite people to something that would be at best unenlightening and meaningless for them when they lack the context to enjoy it? I'd much rather have my non-member friends and family take part in something we can all share fully and equally, knowing that we all feel unalloyed joy during the moment.

      3. Honestly, I wish I had some kind of superpower ability to convert people when they're dead – it sounds kinda neat. In all seriousness, though, your friend didn't do a very good job of explaining what it's really about or perhaps you simply misunderstood what he was saying.

      One of the primary beliefs of the church is the concept of eternal progression. In other words, opportunities to learn and grow don't stop with death and that includes opportunities to learn about religion. Baptizing a living person on behalf of someone who has died simply gives the beneficiary the opportunity to progress further in learning about the Mormon faith – exactly the same thing that happens when your neighbor or your cousin or some guy two towns over is baptized into any church. It doesn't mean that the beneficiary is somehow auto-converted although, again, that sounds wicked cool. It just means that the opportunity becomes available if it's needed or wanted. That's where freedom of choice comes in. Don't want it? Ignore it and go on your way.

      February 6, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Margeaux

      Silver, I have gone to weddings where the ceremony was not in English and still understood what was going on! Really, my best friend's kid gets married and I can't go to the ceremony because I am not mormon? Why don't you let me decide if I have enough background info to go. It's a wedding...really what's to understand. When the catholics had their masses in Latin everyone was expected to go. The ONLY reason I can't go is that I am not a mormon. I asked why mormons have a lot of kids. You got sidetracked on that one. You know that there is a ceremony after people die where one can bring their name forward to convert to mormonism. It was even mentioned above in a post and confirmed by a mormon, so nice try on that one too. Stop the lies and stop trying to mislead people.

      February 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Margeaux

      Silver, Since you seem unclear about some aspects of your "religion" here is something to enlighten you:

      Baptism for the Dead
      Those who practice this rite view baptism as an indispensable requirement to enter the Kingdom of God, and thus practice Baptism for the Dead to give those who have died without ever having had the opportunity to receive baptism the opportunity to receive it.

      Ever occur to you that many of us had the "opportunity" and didn't want it. Want to tell me again how your church doesn't practice this? Want to tell me again how you can't do something someone doesn't want? First, I was excluded from weddings, now I am excluded from heaven – oh wait, unless you have me baptized by proxy. Forget it, you don't want me. I question things too much.

      February 6, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,!

    February 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Commenter

      Yup. It changed you from an innocent, open, curious child into a mindless bot.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Prayer brings salvation
      Prayer brings a sound mind
      Prayer brings sanctification
      Prayer changes things

      February 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Nope

      ~~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs."

      February 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • just sayin

      studies are inconclusive
      study God

      February 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Nope

      "studies are inconclusive
      study God"

      Your god is inconclusive since there is NO proof of it.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Zippy

      If prayer actually works, why doesn't it work for amputees? God must hate amputees! Surely there has been one worthy amputee?

      February 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things!

    February 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Nope

      ~~~~~~~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.""""`

      February 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • just sayin

      studies are useless
      study God

      February 6, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Nope

      "studies are useless
      study God"

      Your god is useless because there is NO proof your god exists.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  20. End Feminism

    First of all, Feminism is evil. It exists at the expense of children and men. Its disguised as equality, but its true purpose is the subjugation of men and the murder of innocent children, that a misandrist can live as she chooses.

    Feminism; responsible for the decline of the family unit, along with abortions need to be snuffed out of this society, if we are to move on as decent people.

    Secondly, Atheism is the most self absorbed religion known to man. Where the atheist is their own God, and they preach hate against anybody who opposes their own self absorbed religion. They believe as they think, and therefore do as they please.

    Now I'm not Mormon, but I have no use for a self righteous Atheist – they are what it is wrong with this world.

    February 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Kathy Dunne

      It's abundantly clear that you have no idea of the concept, goal, and PHILOSOPHY behind feminism. Feminism isn't about murdering children and emasculating the poor men. Nor is it about EQUALITY. It's about BALANCE, respect, regard, and recognition. It's morons like you and the mormons/Islamists, who intend to RUN backwards. Why don't you investigate what it's like to be a woman first.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • the one

      It's abundantly clear that you did not understand the post. Womens gender studies teaches women to lie, cheat, and take advantage of the system, men and childeren, in order to put themselves ahead, more than they inherintly do.

      And not only that, they are tought to subjugate men, and murder childeren. Like I said, feminism and its evil tools (abortion, child support industrial complex, Planned Parenthood, Beyonce and Welfare among others) need to be snuffed out of this society if we are to improve, and move on as people.

      Is "BALANCE, respect, regard, and recognition" not equality? see: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/equality

      February 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • A. Wolf

      What does feminism or atheism have to do with this article? There are other more appropriate places on the Internet to draw attention to yourself and your wild opinions about other people's philosophies.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • end feminism

      Even the dictionary was written by a lying female who is taking a job away from a man that is expected to support his family:

      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/feminismhttp://dictionary.reference.com/browse/feminismhttp://dictionary.reference.com/browse/feminismhttp://dictionary.reference.com/browse/feminism

      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/feminism
      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/feminism

      February 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • ecbutler

      Attention we have a nutjob here! "My beliefs and only my beliefs are correct and all other beliefs will be viewed as sin!!!" People like you are whats wrong with this world. You are no better than any Muslim extremest as you show an utter lack of regard for other peoples beliefs.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • mlichti

      Atheism is not a religion. By definition, atheists do not believe in any gods. I've never met an atheist that preached hate, but many Christians and Muslims preach hate against anyone that believe in their gods.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • End Feminism

      A. Wolf,

      Even read the article? Come back after you do please.

      February 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Pibblelover

      Do you understand what you're saying? I don't think anyone else does. Women work because they want to. Every man wasn't put on this earth to support a family. Everyone is different, and chooses to do different things. That's what EQUALITY allows. It doesn't mean that women have to have high-powered positions, it doesn't mean that they have to stay home and watch their children, it means that women and men have the choice to do what makes them happy. My husband and I choose not to have children, because neither one of us wants to take care of them. We both choose to work, because we both want to. We're happy this way. Whatever makes you happy, go right on and do it. No woman can STEAL "your" job. If women are more competent than you, then maybe you should increase your skills so you can get the jobs you want. And what the heck does Beyonce have to do with your little rant??

      February 6, 2012 at 6:35 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.