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Evangelical leader: Mormonism will become a bigger issue for Romney
Mitt Romney campaigning on Wednesday.
April 11th, 2012
03:34 PM ET

Evangelical leader: Mormonism will become a bigger issue for Romney

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - A top evangelical leader who is close to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign says the candidate’s Mormon faith will be even more of an issue in the general election than it has been in the primary, predicting that the focus on Romney’s faith will present a challenge to Romney.

Richard Land is the public policy chief for the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest evangelical denomination.  He said Wednesday that he expects that the news media will make Mormonism more of an issue in an attempt to get independent voters to support President Barack Obama.

“The 40% of electorate that’s independent, most of them have no idea what Mormons believe,” Land said. But they will all know what Mormons believe by the general election because the electronic national media by and large is the in the tank for Mr. Obama.”

The Southern Baptist leader predicted there would soon be television specials about Mormonism, since Romney appears to be the inevitable Republican nominee for president following Rick Santorum’s suspension of his campaign.

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The news media “are going to go into startling detail in specials about what will be considered by many independents the rather exotic beliefs of Mormonism, like baptism for the dead, in hopes they can turn off independents who say ‘I don’t want to vote for a guy that believes that,’” said Land.

Speaking to a group of CNN journalists in Washington, Land said that most evangelicals are familiar with the tenets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the official church of Mormonism, because the two groups are competing for converts.

Most evangelicals already “know what Mormonism believes and most of them are prepared to vote for Mitt Romney in a general election against Barack Obama in spite of his Mormonism,” Land said.

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Land does not endorse candidates but has been close to Republican administrations like George W. Bush’s and has met with Romney on more than one occasion.

Asked about Land's prediction about Romney's Mormonism becoming a bigger issue in the general election, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said that "most people don't care if you go to a different church."

"What matters for the vast majority of voters is shared values," she said in an e-mail message. "In Mitt Romney they have a candidate who believes in faith, patriotism, hard work, and sacrifice. All they have to do is look at his family and how he lives his life."

At a dinner with Romney several months ago, Land said he warned the candidate – who he said didn’t think Mormonism would be much of an issue – against answering the news media’s question about his religion.

Land told the candidate that “If the media persists in trying to get you to defend … some of the more exotic beliefs of Mormonism, you turn it around on them and pummel them around the head and shoulders with the Constitution and say there is no religious test for office and for you to inject my religious beliefs into this campaign is un-American.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • Politics

soundoff (2,069 Responses)
  1. ビルケンシュトック クロッグ

    It is in point of fact a great and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  2. Terry

    You may worship Jesus Christ, but you do not worship the same Jesus Christ that is in the Bible. In the Bible, the true spoken word of God, Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. He is not one of 3 spirit children of God. And He is not Lucifer's brother.
    In the Bible we will also find that God says He is and always has been invisible. He has never been of a physical body and no man has seen Him.
    God clearly states in the Bible- "Not that any man has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father."
    Yet, Joseph Smith states: "When the light rested upon me, I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defined all description, standing above me in the air.  One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other, 'this is my beloved Son. Hear him!'
    LDS, view is that God once lived on a planet with His own higher god.
    Again, the Bible does not support this.
    "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides me' (Isaiah 44:6).
    Christians and the LDS do not serve the same God nor worship the same same Jesus Christ.
    Belonging to a church, doing good deeds and believing in a "god" doesn't make you a Christian.
    Being a Christian means believing in the one true God and HIS salvation and the true Christ as the only begotten Son of God.
    Last, because Jesus Christ of LDS is not the same Jesus Christ in the Bible, you cannot be saved through him.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  3. Elisa

    In Christianity God, through the Holy Spirit, dtbirtsuies his gifts as to His sovereign will; First Corinthians 12:4-7. In the false religious system of Mormonism, prophets become prophets through church politics. These guys work their way up through the system until they make it to the top of the pile. It really doesn't matter how they get there because it's all a man-made system and the hierarchy is based on some form of earned merit. In the old days it also helped to have a fruitful imagination and a lot of confidence. These Mormon prophets didn't let the Bible get in the way of their creativity. In fact, the stage for deception was set in Mormonism when Smith declared the Bible to be unreliable. From then on it was Katty bar the door because Smith and the rest of the false prophets didn't have to submit themselves to any form of standard. They'd just declare something new and the faithful ate it up. Man what a free ticket these dudes had and have. They can flip and flop and change course in mid-step and the TBMs just jump up and declare a holiday. In order to be a good Mormon, a person just accepts whatever comes flowing out of the sewer pipe in LDS headquarters in Salt Lake City and repeat the well worn phrases; When the prophet speaks, the thinking is over. and Follow the leaders, they'll never lead you astray. Blind leading the blind!

    May 19, 2012 at 5:58 am |
  4. Marko

    Why is it that Richard Land and the Southern Baptist Convention taking such great strides attempting to conceal and defer Mitt's Mormon "exotic" beliefs? Why does the SBC feel compelled to make a presidential endorsement anyway? Perhaps, the SBC would be better off developing a side-by-side factoid comparison of Mormon church doctrines/beliefs vs. Traditional Christian doctrines/beliefs least it lose current members or potential converts to cults and other fake christian groups, enticed and deceived by wolves in sheep's clothing, regretably, aided and abetted with the assistance of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  5. halfbakedlunatic

    Gotta admire any religion who's motto is "I don't care how many you bring, just Bring 'em Young!"

    April 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  6. Nii

    I don't doubt that Mormons worship JC as Lord and Saviour. Christians worship Him as God the Son. Big Difference! U can read Christian Christology from Wikipedia. Then u can also read Isaiah carefully where he even calls Christ the Eternal Father and Mighty God Himself.

    April 25, 2012 at 2:45 am |
  7. Holly in CA

    The only reason Mormonism will be a problem for Romney is because of ignorance that prevails in America. Those who actually know Mormons know that we believe in and worship Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We study the Bible. We live the commandments and strive to be good citizens. Many members serve in the US Congress, Senate, and various high-level government positions. The politics of Mormons is as varied as Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch, two prominent US Mormon Senators on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

    April 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • red

      A follower of Christ would not be involved on politics. That would be a waste of time. Jesus did not waste his time with politics.

      April 26, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • halfbakedlunatic

      You know why you always take two mormons with you when you go fishing? Cause if you only take one, he'll drink all your beer.

      April 29, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.