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May 12th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

With or without Romney, D.C. a surprising Mormon stronghold

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Alexandria, Virginia (CNN) – A few hundred Mormons filed into a chapel just outside the Washington Beltway one recent Sunday to hear a somewhat unusual presentation: an Obama administration official recounting his conversion to Mormonism.

“I have never in my life had a more powerful experience than that spiritual moment when the spirit of Christ testified to me that the Book of Mormon is true,” Larry Echo Hawk told the audience, which stretched back through the spacious sanctuary and into a gymnasium in the rear.

Echo Hawk’s tear-stained testimonial stands out for a couple of reasons: The White House normally doesn’t dispatch senior staff to bare their souls, and Mormons hew heavily Republican. It’s not every day a top Democrat speaks from a pulpit owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And yet the presentation by Echo Hawk, then head of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, is also a perfect symbol of a phenomenon that could culminate in Mitt Romney’s arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next year: The nation’s capital has become a Mormon stronghold, with Latter-day Saints playing a big and growing role in the Washington establishment.

The well-dressed crowd gathered for Echo Hawk’s speech was dotted with examples of inside-the-beltway Mormon power.

In one pew sits a Mormon stake president – a regional Mormon leader – who came to Washington to write speeches for Ronald Reagan and now runs a lobbying firm downtown.

Behind him in the elegant but plain sanctuary – Mormon chapels are designed with an eye toward functionality and economy – is a retired executive secretary of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A few pews further back, the special assistant to the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan sits next to a local Mormon bishop who came to Washington to work for Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and now leads a congressionally chartered foundation.

Mitt Romney, who would be the first Mormon president if elected, is the son of a Cabinet secretary under Richard Nixon.

“In a Republican administration, there will be even more Mormons here,” whispers the bishop, Lewis Larsen, pointing out prominent Washingtonians around the chapel. “Every Republican administration just loads up with them.”

Regardless of which party controls the White House, Mormonism in Washington has been growing for decades.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

When Larsen arrived in Washington in the early ’80s, there were a just handful of Mormon meetinghouses in northern Virginia, where he lives. Today, there are more than 25, each housing three separate congregations, or wards, as they’re known in the LDS Church.

“There’s been an absolute explosion in Mormon growth inside the beltway,” Larsen says before slipping out of the pew to crank the air conditioning for the swelling crowd.

The LDS Church says there are 13,000 active members within a 10-mile radius of Washington, though the area’s Mormon temple serves a much larger population – 148,000 Latter-day Saints, stretching from parts of South Carolina to New Jersey.

Signs of the local Mormon population boom transcend the walls of the temple and meetinghouses.

Crystal City, a Virginia neighborhood just across the Potomac River from Washington, has become so popular with young Mormons that it’s known as “Little Provo,” after the Utah city that’s home to church-owned Brigham Young University.

Congress now counts 15 Mormon members, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. That means the 2% of the country that’s Mormon is slightly overrepresented on Capitol Hill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, is the highest-placed elected Mormon in Washington.

Even many Latter-day Saints joke about Washington’s “Mormon mafia” – referring to the number of well-placed LDS Church members across town – though they cringe at the thought of being seen as part of some cabal. (Echo Hawk, for his part, left the Obama administration a few weeks after his chapel presentation for a job in the LDS Church hierarchy).

“No one talks about Washington being an Episcopalian stronghold or a Jewish stronghold,” says Richard Bushman, a Mormon scholar at Columbia University. Talk of “Mormon Washington,” he says, “represents a kind of surprise that people who were thought of as provincial have turned up in sophisticated power positions.”

Bushman and other experts note that, despite Mormons’ growing political power, the official church mostly steers clear of politics. It’s hard to point to federal legislation or a White House initiative that bears distinctly Mormon fingerprints, while it’s easy to do the same for other faiths.

For example, the White House’s recent “compromise” on a rule that would have required religious groups to fund contraception for employees was mostly a reaction to pressure from Roman Catholic bishops.

Nonetheless, Mormon success in Washington is a testament to distinctly Mormon values, shedding light into the heart of one of America’s fastest-growing religions.

And though the official church is mostly apolitical, most rank-and-file Mormons have linked arms with the GOP. Romney’s own political evolution mirrors that trend.

Such forces help explain why Mormons’ beltway power is poised to grow even stronger in coming years, whether or not Romney wins the White House.

‘A ton of Mormon contacts’

For many Washington Mormons, religion plays a key role in explaining why they’re here.

Larsen, who sports a brown comb-over and tortoise shell glasses, arrived in Washington in the early 1980s as an intern for Hatch, also a Mormon.

He landed the internship courtesy of Brigham Young University, his alma mater. The Mormon school owns a four-story dorm on Pennsylvania Avenue, not too far from the White House, which houses 120 student interns each year. It’s the school’s largest such program in the nation.

“Part of our church’s tradition is to be connected with civic life, to make our communities better,” says BYU’s Scott Dunaway, who helps place students on Capitol Hill, at the Smithsonian and other Washington institutions. “We don’t believe in being reclusive.”

It’s a perfect characterization of Larsen. He grew up in Provo, in the shadow of BYU, and wanted to prove he could make it outside of Utah.

“Kids growing up in the LDS Church have been told, ‘Go ye out in the world and preach the gospel of Christ - don’t be afraid to be an example,’ ” Larsen said, sitting in the glass-doored conference room of the foundation he runs on K Street.

“So we are on our missions, converting people to Christianity,” he continued. “And coming to Washington, for me and probably for a lot of people, came out of that interest. We see it as our career, but also we’re going out to preach the word of Christ.”

For Larsen, that usually means correcting misinformation about Mormonism or explaining Mormon beliefs and practices – you really don’t drink coffee, ever? – over lunch with co-workers or at business functions, rather than on-the-job proselytizing.

He learned about integrating work and faith from Hatch. He was initially shocked to discover that the senator prays in his office each morning. Larsen and Hatch developed what the bishop calls a “father-son” relationship, with the intern rising up through the ranks to become Hatch’s chief Washington fundraiser.

“We would go on trips, and I’d quiz him on the plane: Why did the church do this? Why didn’t the church do this?” Larsen said. “He was like a tutor to me.”

Now, as the head of a foundation that educates teachers about the U.S. Constitution, the bishop helps other young Mormons with job leads and introductions. Larsen was appointed to the role by Hatch and the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Much of Washington’s Mormon professional network is still anchored by BYU, which operates a handful of big, well-connected alumni groups with major Washington chapters. The most prominent is BYU’s Management Society, a global organization whose biggest chapter is in Washington.

At the chapter’s recent alumni dinner, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was the guest of honor. She has strong ties to the Mormon community and has hired Mormons as top aides. Says Larsen: “Condi’s got a ton of Mormon contacts.”

Patrice Pederson also knows how to work a Rolodex. A lifelong political activist, she moved from Utah to Washington last year and soon tapped into BYU’s local network.

Pederson served as the U.S.-based campaign manager for Yeah Samake, a Mormon running for president in the West African nation of Mali.

Samake traveled frequently to the U.S. to raise money and build political support, so Pederson enlisted the help of BYU’s Management Society and other groups to host events for the candidate.

Both in Washington and across the U.S., many Mormons are watching his candidacy.

“Members of the church on Capital Hill were anxious to introduce the candidate to other members of Congress,” says Pederson, sipping an herbal tea (Mormons eschew black leaf teas) in a strip mall Starbucks near her apartment in Alexandria, Virginia.

“It’s cool to have a member of the church running for president in Africa.”

Beyond making connections, many Washington Mormons say the LDS Church provides an ideal proving ground for careers here.

Unlike most churches, it has no professional clergy; from the bishop to the organist, each role is filled by everyday Mormons, most of whom have other day jobs. As a result, Mormons take church leadership roles at an early age, speaking publicly at Sunday services almost as soon they learn to talk.

“My kids grew up in the church, and we get together for three hours on Sundays, and each member needs to get up and speak,” says U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. “By the time they graduate, they have all these speaking assignments that other teenagers just don’t have.

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, says Mormonism provides ideal training for aspiring politicians.

“For those who grow up in the Mormon church, they are taught skills that allow them to be successful in a tough city like Washington,” says Chaffetz, who converted to Mormonism shortly after college.

Young Mormons also hone leadership skills by serving missions away from home. The missions last from one and half to two years and happen when Mormons are in their late teens and early 20s and often include intensive foreign language training.

“Young Mormons are more formidable in public settings and international settings than others,” says Terryl Givens, a Mormon scholar at the University of Richmond. “Normally you would have to acquire more age and work experience before you feel comfortable and useful at NGOs and think tanks.”

Chaffetz, whose son is serving a mission in Ghana, says the experience is the perfect preparation for political careers.

“They learn rejection early on,” he says. “If you’re going to be in politics, that’s a pretty good attribute.”

Christina Tomlinson served her mission in nonexotic Fresno, California. But working with the Laotian community there, she acquired the foreign language skills that landed her first internship at the U.S. State Department.

“I look back at that and it’s nothing but divine providence,” Tomlinson says one night at an office building-turned-chapel in Crystal City, after a weekly discussion about Mormon teachings. “I would have never made those choices.”

When she arrived at her foreign service orientation in the late 1990s, Tomlinson was surprised to find that a half-dozen of her State Department colleagues were also Mormon. The thriving LDS community at State even runs its own e-mail list server so Latter-day Saints can find each other wherever in the world they’re stationed.

Like former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, who used the Mandarin language skills acquired through a Mormon mission to Taiwan to help secure his job as President Barack Obama’s previous ambassador to China, Tomlinson leveraged her mission to get ahead at State, where she now serves as special assistant to the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“I’m basically the chief of staff for the president’s representative charged with implementing U.S. foreign policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan,” she e-mailed on a recent plane ride back from the region.

Language skills acquired on a Mormon mission helped Christina Tomlinson get her start at the State Department.

At the point of a bayonet

Like many Mormons, Tomlinson says her professional life is driven by a faith-based patriotism that sounds old-fashioned to modern ears: “I just really wanted to serve my country.”

But that distinctly Mormon patriotism was hard-won. From their very beginning, Mormons had tried to forge a special relationship with Washington. And for decades, they failed.

Joseph Smith, who founded Mormonism in the 1830s, petitioned the U.S. government to protect his fledgling religious community from the violent persecution it was experiencing, even meeting repeatedly with President Martin Van Buren.

But Washington refused, provoking Smith – who Mormons consider their founding prophet – to run for president himself in 1844. He was assassinated by an anti-Mormon mob in Illinois well before Election Day.

In the face of such attacks, Mormons fled west, to the territory that’s now Utah. But they continued to seek ties with Washington, dispatching representatives to the capital to lobby for statehood.

Congress refused to grant it. Instead, Uncle Sam disincorporated the LDS Church and sent the U.S. Army to police Mormon territory.

In the eyes of Washington, Latter-day Saints were flouting federal law by practicing polygamy. The feds saw the LDS Church as an undemocratic rival government that threatened Washington’s power.

Joseph Smith, Mormonism’s founding prophet, ran for president in 1844 but was killed before Election Day.

Mormons would eventually ban polygamy, paving the way for Utah statehood in 1896. But Congress nonetheless refused to seat the new state’s Mormon senator, who also served as a top church official.

For four years, the U.S. Senate held hearings to grill U.S. Sen. Reed Smoot and other church leaders, alleging that Mormons continued to practice polygamy despite promises to the contrary.

“The political trial was as much a galvanizing cultural moment as was Watergate,” says Kathleen Flake, a scholar of Mormonism at Vanderbilt University in Tenneessee.

When Smoot was eventually seated – after the LDS Church took further steps to stamp out polygamy – he managed to become a Washington powerbroker. He would chair the Senate Finance Committee and act as a presidential adviser.

“He was Mr. Republican,” says Flake. “For a while there, he was the Republican Party.”

Smoot’s unflagging pursuit of legitimacy in Washington, despite the city’s bias against him and his faith, symbolizes what many call a uniquely Mormon appreciation for American civic life. It helps explain the Mormon fascination with Washington to this day.

It may seen counterintuitive, but Mormons’ early exposure to persecution at the hands of other Americans – aided, Mormons say, by the U.S. government – wound up strengthening their patriotic streak.

In the face of attacks, Mormons clung to the U.S. Constitution and its unprecedented guarantee of religious freedom. They distinguished between the document and those charged with implementing it.

Mormon scripture goes so far as to describe the U.S. Constitution as divinely inspired, establishing a unique environment in which Mormonism could emerge.

“Mormons are superpatriots,” says Columbia University’s Bushman. “Joseph Smith said that if the government was doing its job as laid out in the Constitution, it would protect Mormons from their enemies.”

Mormons began to shed their Utah-only siege mentality and fanned out in the early part of the 20th century. Their patriotic streak, which translated into military enlistments and applications for government jobs, led many to Washington.

That wave included J. Willard Marriott, the hotel chain founder, who launched his business career by opening an A&W root beer stand here. He would go on to forge the kind of deep political connections that would help make Willard “Mitt” Romney his namesake.

Washington’s Mormon community got another boost in the 1950s when President Dwight Eisenhower appointed a top church official, Ezra Taft Benson, as his agriculture secretary.

“Mormons took it as a sign of maybe, just maybe, we’re being accepted,” says Flake. “It signified a cultural acceptance of Mormonism. People thought Mormons believed weird things, but also that they were self-reliant, moral and good neighbors.”

As Mormons became more accepted, they became more upwardly mobile, landing in parts of the country that could sustain careers in commerce, academia and government - another reason Washington was a big draw.

By the time there were enough Mormons in the eastern U.S. to justify the construction of the first Mormon temple east of the Mississippi River, the church chose a site just outside Washington.

The temple opened in 1974, shortly after another high-profile Mormon – George Romney, Mitt’s father – left his post as Richard Nixon’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

“The Washington temple served as a symbol of the triumphant return of Mormonism to the east,” says Givens, the University of Richmond professor. “Mormons left from the point of a bayonet in the 1800s and the temple is this gigantic symbol that says ‘We’re back – and we’re back in the nation’s capital.’ ”

The Mormon temple outside Washington was the first such temple built east of the Mississippi River.

Unlike Mormon meetinghouses, where members meet for Sunday worship, temples are grander buildings reserved for certain rites, such as proxy baptisms for the dead.

To this day, the first monument many Washington visitors see isn’t a federal landmark. It’s the massive Mormon temple, its Georgian marble towers and gold-leafed spires looming above the trees on the Washington Beltway like an otherworldly castle.

The temple houses a J. Willard Marriott-financed mural of Jesus Christ’s second coming, which features a picture of the Washington temple itself in the background.

“Are you implying that the millennium will begin in Washington?” a temple visitor once asked Marriott, referring to Jesus’ return.

Replied Marriott: “What better place is there?”

Good at organizing

These days, the Mormon impulse toward Washington is often as much political as patriotic.

Patrice Pederson - the campaign manager for the Mormon running for president in Mali - made her first foray into politics at 15, hopping the bus from her home in the suburbs of Salt Lake City into town to intern with a Republican candidate for the U.S. House.

“I remember that when Bill Clinton was elected, I wore all black to school that day,” says Pederson, who was in junior high at the time. “I was mourning the death of liberty.”

When then-Vice President Al Gore visited Utah, Pederson protested his speech with a homemade poster that said “Blood, Guts & Gore – Healthcare’94.” (She can’t recall the poster’s exact meaning).

Pederson’s activism as a “total hardcore right-winger” continued into her 20s. She put off college at BYU to start a “pro-family” advocacy group aimed at lobbying foreign governments and the United Nations. The work brought her to Washington so frequently that she decided to relocate last year: “I had more friends here than in Utah.”

Pederson’s path to D.C. speaks to the growing Mormon/Republican alliance since the 1960s, driven largely by the emergence of social issues such as abortion and gay marriage and the rise of the Christian Right.

“In the 1950s and ’60s, Utah became Republican,” says Bushman. “It’s partly about being anti-communist, but it’s also a response to the 1960s and the decay of old-fashioned moral virtues. It’s an anti-1960s movement, and the Republicans seemed to be the party of old-fashioned virtues.”

Pederson’s roommate, Kodie Ruzicka, grew up squarely in that movement, with her mom heading the Utah chapter of Eagle Forum, a conservative Christian group founded by rightwing icon Phyllis Schlafly.

In the 1970s, when the Catholic Schlafly led a successful grassroots campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have made gender-based discrimination unconstitutional, she enlisted the help of Mormons.

To its opponents, including the LDS Church, the ERA was the work of radical feminists who wanted to upend traditional gender roles.

Much of Schlafly’s organizing was among evangelicals, and “given the sometimes hostile evangelical line on Mormons, [Schlafly’s] Mormon outreach was kind of revolutionary,” says Ruzicka, who now works at the Justice Department. “But we’re good at organizing, and we have a lot of useful structures for it, so that was useful to her.”

Today, Mormons head Eagle Forum chapters across the West, including California, Arizona and Nevada, as well as Utah.

Bridge-building between Mormons and the conservative movement helps explain the Reagan administration’s push to hire many Mormons into the White House - which further cemented the alliance. That bond continues to lure Mormons to D.C.

Ruzicka, for one, continued in the political footsteps of her mother, arriving in Washington in her mid-20s to lead a nonprofit that promotes safe haven laws, which allow young mothers to legally abandon young children at fire stations.

Beyond hot-button social issues, U.S. Rep. Chaffetz says the Mormon faith engenders support for limited government.

“The church is very adamant about personal responsibility, and for people to voluntarily participate in service,” the Utah Republican says. “There’s this feeling that service is not something that should be mandated by government.”

The LDS Church, for its part, insists it is politically neutral and that it avoids pressuring Mormon elected officials to tow a church line. “The church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians,” the church’s website says.

Mormon experts say the church’s support for a relatively strict separation of church and state is born of the U.S. government’s refusal to help Mormons in the face of early persecution.

And after being accused of setting up a rival government around the turn of the last century, the church is loath to be seen giving marching orders to LDS politicians.

The church did, however, play a leading role in passing Prop 8, California’s gay marriage ban, in 2008. Church officials called it a moral cause, not a political one.

Plenty of critics disagree. But neither Mormon bishops nor church officials are known to lead the kind of church-based legislative lobbying efforts that Catholic bishops or evangelical leaders do.

Mitt Romney himself embodies the reluctance of Mormon politicians to connect their religion and their public policy positions, in contrast to politicians of other faiths.

That reluctance also appears to be born of anxiety over Americans’ lingering questions and doubts about Mormonism. When Pew asked Americans last year what word they associated with the Mormon faith, the most common response was “cult.”

In recent weeks, Romney’s newfound position as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has produced a mix of excitement and worry among Mormons. That’s especially true in Washington, where politically savvy Latter-day Saints send out frequent e-mail round-ups of Mormon media coverage to their LDS networks.

“A lot of us know it’s ultimately a good thing, but it’s hard to feel like it’s a good thing because so much of the publicity is about things you wouldn’t talk about in polite company, like my underwear,” says Pederson, referring to the enduring fascination with Mormon undergarments.

Like many conservatives, Pederson is suspicious of Romney.

“I don’t like his waffling, to put it gently, on life and family issues,” she says. “But if it comes down to Romney versus Obama, hand me the pom-poms. I’ll be president of the Romney-Is-the-Best-We-Can-Come-Up-With-for-President Club.”

For now, Pederson is working with the National Right to Life Committee’s political action committee to raise money for the Romney effort, even as she makes up her mind about how actively she wants to promote his candidacy.

Some of her calculus is about weighing political reality against her conservative idealism. And some of it is about her next professional move. It’s a very Washington place to be.

Video by CNN photojournalist Jeremy Moorhead

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • DC • Jon Huntsman • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

soundoff (3,419 Responses)
  1. gop usa

    Everyone knows Joesoph Smith was a con man. Why worship his teachings,would you go to a prision and listen to the ramblings of a felon in jail who was arrested for being a con? Why would you believe anything Joesoph Smith says then and why would you say it is the word of god or gods teachings?

    May 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Why?

      Almost all ancient prophets were persecuted, arrested, beaten, and tortured. And many were even murdered in cold blood, just like Joseph Smith.

      You want to know why someone would believe Joseph Smith? I'll tell you why. Because when you read the Book of Mormon, with real intent, you will experience something of the divine. Does it sound crazy? Yes. But it is real. It is God's tool to convince people that He still talks with prophets, just as the bible says he does.

      Why do so many intelligent, hard-working, decent, patriotic people believe in the Book of Mormon? Because each and every one of them have experienced God's influence directly concerning the book. So don't preach your ignorance of the Book of Mormon without going to the source. Read the book for yourself. Pray about it yourself. Ask God, not your biased preacher, about the Book of Mormon.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • intel

      And your explanation of planet Kolob? Can't seem to find that in my Bible.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Why?

      Why do people believe so strongly that the Bible is the only book God ever influenced. The bible is simply a collection of writings from prophets. If God called a prophet today, and commanded him to publish additional scripture, would you listen? No one is asking you to blindly accept anything. You need to learn for yourself if that modern-day prophet was a true prophet?

      Oh, wait. God did call a prophet in modern times. His name is Joseph Smith. He did publish additional scripture. It's called The Book of Mormon. Now the ball is in your court. Will you simply dismiss it because the word Kolob does not appear in ancient scripture?

      Find out for yourself.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Orwell seen it before

      Does kolob have Disney land? Or is more conservative like knotts berry farm?

      May 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Orwell seen it before

      Kolob? In the bible? Try a klingon dictionary.

      May 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  2. Jeff klein

    I am also a republican who is takes his faith very seriously and I cannot vote this election because the gop gave us BISHOP ROMNEY. As a christian I cannot sell out my faith and vote for him,he is a cultist and I cannot support him in any way. I will also sit this one out along with many people at my church,this has been a major discussion at many christian churches and the people that take their religion seriously will sit this out. Santorum was our only chance at a christian candidate and now we have nothing,too bad i guess.I guess I will have to wait till 2016 to vote as long as the gop dont sell out on a cultist again.

    May 16, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • MormonMom

      So change your name to ObamaSupporter because that's what you will be sitting it out. Being able to vote in a democracy is a profound privilege. Look at what is happening in other countries and the suffering of those people. Sitting on your couch on election day with your arms folded like a 5-year old refusing to go to school just because neither of the presidential candidates goes to your church is an embarrassment to what our country stands for.. What are you so afraid of, what is it that will so greatly impact your day-to-day life with Romney in office, that you would vote for Obama by omission?

      May 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Santorum was our only chance at a christian"

      That's why he made the list in 2005 and 2006 as one of the most corrupt Senators. LOL!

      May 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • intel

      We will stay home because this a christian country. Mormons are not christians. They are cult members. And we will not have a cult member in the White House. Average Americans are starting to learn about the Mormon church and their bizarre practices. And that will spell the end of the world's largest cult.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • MormonMom

      Okay, but you still didn't answer my question. P.S. I think that the reason Santorum lost is because just as many people think he was a whacked out extremist that would treat the Presidency as license to impose his extremist religious beliefs on the rest of the nation–you know, the one that is founded on the principle of religious freedom? It was going to be like Sharia law imposed in a Muslim country, we'd be Extreme Evangelical U.S. We could all start thowing away our birth control, women could leave the work force and go home, maybe even a morning radio address with the latest doctrine that every family was forced to listen to, we could start practicing how to be prideful, arrogant, and shun all those who are different And, best of all, we could focus all our attention on what people are doing in their bedrooms led by the expert of experts, rather than focus on the economy and business growth (I mean really, what does that have to do with anythin?) Sounds awesome. I can see why you'd want to stay home in protest after realizing this vision would not be realized.

      May 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Orwell seen it before

      Jeff, suck it up. Vote republican, vote Romney. It does not matter if romney is the anti Christ, or is Jesus' ally on the cross.

      You will obey.
      it is not about religion. It is about doing righteousness, God given righteousness, by getting Obama out of the white house.
      You must understand Mormons, and evangelicals, and catholic opus dei are united at all costs, payable to Satan if needed to get Obama out. Do it for the gipper, man up, vote Romney. When you re dead, being baptized Mormon will not hurt and you will not notice. Just like a gang, once you are republican, you don't get out. Romney 2012, just do it, we will be watching.

      May 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  3. By their fruits ye shall know them

    The bible warns of false prophets; wolves in sheep's clothing. In other words, be very careful who and what you believe. But it also says, "by their fruits ye shall know them."

    Look at the fruits of the LDS church:
    They teach that Jesus is the Christ. No one can be saved except through His sacrifice.
    They put more effort into spreading Christianity than any other Christian religion.
    They do not pay the vast majority of their leaders (in other words, the leaders are not in it for the money; it's not a career).
    They donate more man-hours of disaster relief service than any other group.
    And this article proves one more thing: Mormons are patriotic.
    They serve their country.
    They stand by their beliefs.
    They are good people.

    Some see their beliefs as strange, but the same can be said when Christ was preaching. And Paul. And Isaiah. And every other prophet that was sent to preach God's word.

    May 16, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Jeff klein

      I see you have put on the magical underwear and are forever possesed and brainwashed by your cult. I bet your one of the Bishops alter boys that they like playing hide the sauseage with.

      May 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  4. NoBama

    Wow CNN will you please get rid of this hatred discussion about religion? Isn't there another place where they can all discuss their hatred towards each other?

    I'd rather VOTE for Pres. Romney than Gay Obama. That's the bottom line.

    May 16, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Jeff klein

      Yeah voting for a cultist non christian and selling out your faith is the answer right? Its better to not vote than to sell out your faith and support a cult leader.If Romney gets elected he will appoint hundreds of cultists to top teir positions in the government making laws favoring the cult morman church allowing them more power than ever,do you want that? Look at the big picture before selling out your faith,Romney will give his church more power than ever making it impossible to undue the damage done and the cultists will forever be a part of the top teirs of gov.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Orwell seen it before

      Well you and me are going to cancel out.

      My vote and money to Obama 2012.

      Considering the current GOP leadership is against stopping nuclear proliferation, I will be voting anti-Republican for years to come. Good luck on the Mormon takeover of the GOP, those neo-confederate Christian evangelicals need to become Mormons, it would be an improvement, maybe.

      May 16, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • MormonMom

      Jeff Klein – are you off your meds? You sound like a crazy man.

      May 17, 2012 at 3:26 am |
  5. POPPY

    I think most of these posts here that are negetive about mormons are spot on.The mormon religion is based on lies and a con artist Joesoph Smith. I completely understand how christians could be offended by the Morman religion and agree they should not be considered christians. Mormons are a cult and I hope one day the people who worship the faith realise this too. Its not to late for them to find and worship God,christ,the way it was meant to be worshiped in a non cult way.

    May 16, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

      Poor poppy – ignorance is not a great replacement for knowledge. Wow – might be a good idea not to post things of which you so apparently know nothing about. Might want to get some facts straight before you jump in bed with the Bigots on this blog.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • peter

      notsuprisedbybigots–all of christendom says to you,"we don't believe your book is the word of God nor do we believe the claims of your prophet" and you say,'get your facts straight"–The facts are the facts-it's not that we don't know who you are–we know who you are–the fact is you believe that the book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ is the word of God-we flat out reject that as a bold face lie-you get the facts straight

      May 16, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  6. nikki21

    Take your magical skidmarked underwear back to planet kolob where you so called god is,we do not want you here with your silly beliefs that distort christian teachings and makes a mockery out of them.You mormons offend christians by distorting and slandering the bible,you bring shame to it and its quite offencive.To take our holy book and practice your cult worship with it then tie it in with your planet kolob,or magical underwear,or Joesoph Smith the crook is making a mockery out of our christian religion and ang how can you not understand that you offend millions of christians by doing this.You can play victim all you want but the truth is if you try to twist or distort our religion people will fight back,people will be angry ,people will say no to this madness.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

      Nice to see the Nikkster back Cutting and Pasting her hatred towards the LDS religion. Good morning!!! Glad to see your ignorance in full bloom this morning – makes my day reading your funny posts. Thanks!

      May 16, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Really?

      You're a bigot.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  7. joe

    Why on earth would anyone worship a cult? How can these people not see they Worship a criminal,molester,murderer.The book of mormon was made by a con man. Why on earth call it holy scripture? This is very troubling and puzzles me,the mormans altered the teaching of christianity and turned it into a perverted cult that uses its scriptures to control women and children.Why on earth would anyone worship Joesoph smith or anything that crook said lol. Wake up people you are being conned!

    May 16, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Sean

      Because you are wrong and have NO idea what you are talking about. NONE of what you said has any validity or truth.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • James

      Please visit : http://www.josephsmith.net. Joseph Smith kept detailed journals, as we as his family members and friends. Read their own writings and history. Why listen to and believe others? If I kept a journal and told people about my life experiences, I would hope that they would listen and believe me.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

      Poor Joey – another ill-informed Bigot. Dude, you look like a complete fool posting your hatred. Might want to get your facts straight before everyone thinks you need to get back to your padded little room.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • peter

      Sean the book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ is not the word of God, written by your cursed prophet joeseph smith. Cursed is your prophet and his jesus christ

      May 16, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

      I see little Pete is back as well this morning. Love reading about your hate filled life – especially towards the LDS church. Peter, Peter, Peter...... what causes you so much anger in your life? I am thinking some major abuse as a child. Interesting to see such ill-informed comments on here but I guess if you hate people so much, this is a good place to get it all out, eh?

      May 16, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Sean

      @peter. Cursed by who??? You?

      May 16, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • peter

      Sean–anyone who writes a book and claims it is the word of God,another testament of jesus christ is cursed–Joespeh smith was an anti-christ-If i wrote the book of seedom,another testament of jesus christ and told people that it is the word of God and these are the words of jesus–it's called blaspemy
      Yes, I am telling you that joeseph smith is cursed in hell forever and ever–look at the damage his life even does to this day. Ron hubbard started a false religion but he never said,"there are the words of jesus christ,another testament" –Your religion of mormonism is darkness and slavery

      May 16, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Book of Mormon

      If God told you to read the Book of Mormon, and your preacher told you to stay away from it, who would you obey?

      May 16, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • josejump

      Peter, You wrote "anyone who writes a book and claims it is the word of God" I just wanted to clairfy... were you assuming that God sat down and wrote the Bible from Genesis to Revelation on a laptop, all by himself? Seems to me that there is a little disconnect between you and reality.

      The bible was never written as "The Bible"... Biblia literally means "Library, or collection of books". That means all the prophets and or commentators that have books in the Bible wrote them separate from each other. By your definition, there should be a curse on every single person that has contributed to the Bible... Not sure what you are trying to do here, but I am pretty sure you are doing it all wrong.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Orwell seen it before

      "If God told you to read the Book of Mormon, and your preacher told you to stay away from it, who would you obey?"

      What is behind door #3?

      I don't get door #1.
      Why would God tell you to read it? He could just put it into your brain when he is talking to you. Seems like that would save God and you some time. Then you could start missionary work quicker. Could be the devil telling you to read it, so to slow you down.

      Not clear on door #2,
      What if the preacher is a Mormon or ex Mormon, what does that mean?

      Tell me what to do. It is too complicated, I just don't get it.

      May 16, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  8. intel

    Will a Mormon that appears on this board answer this question. Joseph Smith was arrested on numerous occasions for committing fraud. He travelled the country claiming to have magic stones that could locate buried treasure. He took people's money, but never found buried treasure. Thus, he was jailed. this is historical fact. Will you acknowledge the fact that Joseph Smith had a criminal record?

    May 16, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

      Dude, do you realized that Gov. Boggs issued an "extermination order" against ALL Mormons..... get it?.... the Governor of Missouri issued a KILL ALL MORMONS order. Do you not think that there were trumped up charges against Joseph Smith? Hmmmm.... no miranda rights yet? No due process at that time in our history. Wake up, little intel..... your hatred of the Mormons is very apparent. What do YOU believe in? C'mon – I dare you to write it all out – what religion do you espouse? Are you ashamed of YOURS? Total Bigot......

      May 16, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • peter

      notspurisedbigots–she told you she is a christian-no one is ashamed of that-cursed is your book of mormon and your cursed prophet who was shot like the excrement that he is as is your religion.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Sean

      Again... "LACK OF" preceding the "intel" is needed here. Arrested yes. Convicted no. BIG DIFFERENCE. HUGE!!! It is what religious haters do. Look at another example. There was this guy named Jesus, who went around performing miracles and teaching people. But because the "predominate" religion thought he was "weird" and a "cult leader" they called him evil and other names. Then they arrested him on false charges and killed him. Did it STOP his religion??? Nope. Why not? Because what he taught was true. If it wasn't it would simply fade away. But it didn't and it hasn't and it won't. Just like the L.D.S. faith. If it is wrong and evil then leave it alone and God himself will eventually take care of it and it will be gone. But if it IS true. And if it IS Christ's church restored in the latter days... Then don't fight against it and put yourself on the wrong side of God.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • peter

      Sean–you are right about one thing–the book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ is either the word of God or it is not-–Someone is going to be very disappointed

      May 16, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

      So, Peter..... she is a "CHRISTIAN"??? What does that mean? Does she worship that "Jesus" that was arrested multiple times? Does she believe in that silly story of some "prophet" named Moses that opened up the Red Sea? How about that funny one where you got your "commandments" from a BURNING BUSH? That's a great story...... Get real, Pete. You don't know a thing about the LDS church. Not sure why you hate Mormons so much but it's pretty sad. You don't have a clue what CHRIST TAUGHT do you? Your hatred of anyone tells all of us that you do NOT follow the Savior, Jesus Christ.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  9. Mormon magical underwear

    Mormons are a bunch of phoney cult con wackjobs.They believe in MORMON MAGICAL UNDERWEAR that protects you from evil that only the most devout shall never take off.They believe in the MOLESTER,RAPIST,CON ARTIST,MURDERER JOESOPH SMITH AS THEIR MESSIAH,They believe in the BOOK OF MORMON the teachings of the molester Joespoh Smith. They believe thier god lives on PLANET KOLOB is he an alien or what? They believe in sisterwives and that women and children should be submissive and follow the rule of man allowing women and children to be BEATEN AND MOLESTED.FORCED PRE ARRANGED MARRIAGES sometimes with children that are 12 years old.Tell me folks that the MORMONS are not a sicko cult. Mormons brainwash their people then use violence to keep them in line.NONE of these things I listed SOUND VERY CHRISTIAN TO ME DOES IT? I am a republican but will not vote for a cultist bishop Romney,how can we have anyone in charge that is wacko enough to believe this garbage religion.SORRY MORMONS TAKE YOUR MAGICAL SKIDMARKED UNDERWEAR BACK TO PLANET KOLOB,YOU ARE NOT CHRISTIANS YOU ARE SICKO MOLESTER CULTISTS, LOL YOU PEOPLE ARE THE BIGGEST JOKE OF A RELIGION.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

      Poor little man – still just cutting and pasting since yesterday. Do you have anything that resembles intelligence you can write on this blog or just cut and paste, cut and paste your sad, sad bigotry towards others.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  10. .

    Peter is a liar, a cheat, and a thief. You can't trust anything he says!

    May 16, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Mormon magical underwear

      NO Peter is telling the Truth unlike you Mormons.I find it funny that you folks are trying to spin spin spin ,whats wrong are you ashamed of the wacko beliefs? I found only 1 or 2 honest Mormons on these forums that admitted the magical underwear,and admitted that you believe god lives on planet kolob.If you are so proud of you beliefs why spin it? why lie? why sugarcoat it? You people believe in the Joespoh and his perverted book he made upc as holy scriptures,you believe your magical underwear protects you from evil and only the most devout never takes them off,you believe in god living at planet kolob.Why hide from it,its well known and if you are ashamed and have to lie then this should tell you something about your religion. I would never worship a religion I have to be secretive about or lie or spin,because this means something dishonest is happening that your chuurch does not want the public to know.Mormans do yourselves a favor and run as far away as you can fron your cult,you will find yourselves happier with the real teachings of god that is open to the world.You will not have to fear your church,you will be able to be proud of your religion and not worship a molester con man and his teachings.Just think about it for a second.......you revere a molester,a rapist,a can man,a murderer,as a holey man,messiah, and his scriptures.....see anything wrong with this picture?

      May 16, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • gop usa

      haha go wear your morman magical panties like a good mormon alter boy who likes getting molested lol

      May 16, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  11. Orwell seen it before

    Over the last few days I have been checking out stories about Mormons like their anti science positions.
    http://exmormon.org/d6/drupal/Letter-to-Elder-Holland-Book-of-Mormon

    Or the mountain meadows Massacre http://1857massacre.com/index.htm

    Got a lot of weird mojo going on in Mormon history.
    I thought Catholics and Muslims held the monopoly on weird & powerful.
    Like they say Mormonism is a fast growing religion, in a lot of weird ways.
    The more I dig into it the stranger it becomes, with no end in sight.

    May 16, 2012 at 6:10 am |
    • David

      It looks like you're getting your history from websites which are opposed to the church. You might want to get some viewpoints from pro-lds sources just to be fair. Try reading the Book of Mormon. That's the best introduction there is.

      May 16, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Orwell seen it before

      David, I did read the book of Mormon thirty+ years ago, have the LDS prophets changed it?
      I hear the mark of Cain is no longer a problem.

      Read the book and met your missionaries many times. I know and have worked with Mormons, hard working people who I do not have a problem with. The religion is weird, and has a lot of baggage.

      On the religion scale, far better than Scientology. Maybe Mormonism will be like wine, better the older it gets or become vinegar. Has L. Ron Hubbard been given a baptism of the dead? That would be poetic, him and Joseph Smith sharing kolob for eternity; kolob better have a sea, L. Ron loves his boat.

      May 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  12. NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/394360/august-10-2011/yaweh-or-no-way--mormons-god-s-poll-numbers

    May 16, 2012 at 3:25 am |
    • Orwell seen it before

      The national election code words are weird and restore.

      Restore Obama and Weird Romney, works or me.

      May 16, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • Cassandra

      The mormon websight is garbage.They of course will not tell the truth about the religion,they spin it to make you folks look sweet as pie when you guys are cult worshipers.So many horror stories about the mormon church and its cult teachings out there,they cant all be wrong,I think there is a reason so many people are saying the same thing.The mormon church spends so much time and money hiding what the religion is really about that should be a wake up call for all you mormons.I guess you cannot tell the brainwashed anything because you will not listen.And of course you all fear that if the truth came out there would be many arrests due to molestation and the beating of women and children and the deceptive tactics the church uses.Go anywhere else for info about the mormon religion but never go to the mormon sight they will just lie and spin.

      May 16, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

      Poor little cassandra – you just don't get it. Your hatred and bigotry is amazing. What do YOU believe in? C'mon, tell us on here? Tell us the history of your religion..... can you? Do you even have a clue what YOU believe? Pretty strange to come out of your padded cell and start trashing others – of which you obviously know nothing about..... What happened to you as a child to cause you so much hatred in your life? Abuse? Molestation? might want to see a shrink soon to get this all out in the open. Good luck with your "hate" issues.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Jesus

      WOW notsuprisedbyyourself....you're the hate filled one. You call people little, you taunt them and make fun of their beliefs expecting people to believe only yours. You indeed are a PERFECT example of a mormon!

      May 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  13. NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

    I would love to ask CNN why they allow and condone the hatred to continue on this blog? If these bigots were trashing the Jewish faith, Gay people, and African Americans..... they would shut it off. I guess to CNN, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is "Fair Game" and the BIGOTRY and HATRED that is on this blog is just fine by them..... C'mon, moderators.. I would love to hear of your justification of why you allow this to take place? Such a double standard you have, CNN.... wow.

    May 16, 2012 at 3:14 am |
    • Orwell seen it before

      Try pushing the "Report Abuse" button to flag the post.

      If it is really bad, note its time in your post so others can check it out and flag it also.

      May 16, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • Cassandra

      This is campletely different,this is not about civil rights,this is about a cult religion pretending to be christian.Mormons need to understand that maybe its not everyone else thats bad ever wonder maybe its you and your twisted beliefs that makes peole act and feel this way toward your cult? Im sorry but your beliefs are as anti christian as it gets and you cannot expect christians to accept it when you folks distort the sacred teachings of the bible and christianity.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Cassandra

      People like you and your religion are why i refuse to vote for Romney, I will sit this election out like the rest of my church,we will not support a cultist president,because if Romney gets elected he will appoints 100s of other cultists to fill positions,no thanks lol.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

      That's good to know, Cassi – that you are voting for OBAMA! What an idiotic statement... "I'm sitting this election out" – Too bad your bigotry is getting the best of you – Thanks for supporting "bama!

      May 16, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • peter

      notsuprisedbybigots–what casadra is saying,what i am saying and what many republicans across the country are saying is that we will be sitting out the gen election–That means not voting at all-i would of loved to vote for any of the republicans–santorum was my guy–I don't vote for mormons–for your future reference online–when people say,"i will be sitting out this gen election" It simply means what it says–not voting

      May 16, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

      I'm not sure how dumb you people are to say you are "sitting this election out and not voting" – apparently you don't understand much about math, stats, etc...... by sitting this one "out" – you ARE VOTING FOR OBAMA. I thought your posts were pretty idiotic against the Mormon church – this confirms that you lack basic common sense as well. So I guess your buddy, Santorum will vote for the Cultist, Romney? Give it a rest, dude!

      May 16, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • peter

      notsuprisedbybigots-You are correct that since i am a republican who never votes for dems –maybe a conservative one–but it is true that since i always vote republican by me sitting out you could argue that is somewhat like voting for obama-Listen, the republican establishment wanted a mormon–thats their problem not mine–mormonism is a mental illness and i will not vote for one–btw, santorum will never vote for that mormon and if he says he did he is lying for political reasons-But anyway,your little mormon cost us the white house in my opinion-

      May 16, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Orwell seen it before

      @Mormon Bigot

      You are correct, Obama 2012!

      I am going to donate to, and vote for, someone far better than Willard Mitt Romney.

      Besides Romney is unqualified to be POTUS in my criteria, and unredeemable.

      Maybe Massachusetts wants him back, or he can move to Texas and be Rick Perry's lap dog.

      May 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  14. Bob

    http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1

    May 16, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  15. intel

    Another reason there is a growing backlash against the Mormon church in America. Until recently, the average American had no idea what the LDS believes in. As they find out more, they are realizing that Mormons aren't Christians with a few quirky practices. They aren't christian at all. And Mormons knew this was coming. That is why they made all the commercials proclaiming Mormons as "normal" I believe Romney will lose, and the Mormon church will start to decline.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • peter

      i suspect he will–I am a republican who will be sitting out the gen election and i won't be the only one in the country.

      May 16, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

      I guess you will just cast a vote for Obama, eh? What an idiot!

      May 16, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • peter

      notsuprisedbybigots-like i told you before sitting out the gen election means not voting at all

      May 16, 2012 at 3:26 am |
    • Orwell seen it before

      Forget Mormon weirdness, which strikes me as being pretty weird at its core. But it is hard to find any religion that does not have some bizzare beliefs in its closet.

      Regardless, I will vote for Obama because he is doing better for America than what the Republicans offer or believe in, which is to say the GOP has become a very weird "conservative" religious political party.

      The fact that Romney is a Bishop or some high religious official, automatically means that candidate regardless of their political party or religion, will never get my vote for POTUS. Jesse Jackson, Sharpton, Robertson, Huckabee to name a few, will not get my vote for POTUS; other positions maybe, POTUS not going to happen.

      May 16, 2012 at 6:31 am |
  16. karn

    I am sure there are Mormons who are good hardworking people but you gotta scratch your head a little.

    What does a mormon believe?
    He believes that Jesus Christ is Satan's brother.
    He believes that God lives near a planet called "Kolob."
    He believes in baptizing dead people.
    He believes that Jesus is married to a goddess wife.
    He believes that The Garden of Eden was in Missouri.
    He believes that it was impossible for African Americans to go to Heaven before 1978.
    He believes that Jesus has children from his wife or wives.
    He believes that he is going to become a god.
    He believes he will own his own personal planet after he dies.
    He believes the real Christian God is not eternal but rather that He was once a man on some other planet besides Earth!
    He believes he needs to wear magical underwear created by Mormons and he is never to take it off unless he is bathing.
    He believes it is a sin to drink anything containing caffeine.

    I think all religions have at least a few quirky beliefs but I just cannot take these people seriously!

    May 16, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Brad

      I am a "Mormon" and I would be happy to tell anyone what I believe if he is honestly asking. This list of beliefs are distortions or simply inaccurate. Either "karn" is poorly informed or is not honestly asking. I view myself as Christian. My definition of a Christian is one who believes in and follows Christs teachings. We share much in common with other Christian denominations, but we definitely have differences that we do not wish to overlook. As for the list I will try to be brief:
      -We believe that we all lived as spirits with our Father–God before the world was. There was a struggle between two opposing plans for our futures. The good plan was championed by the Firstborn Son of God the Father, another of our brothers rebelled and desired to enslave us for his own glory. He was Satan and he was cast out of God's presence.
      -We believe God has a physical real perfect glorious body, so He must live somewhere.
      -We believe in baptizing live people in the name of dead people who then have the choice to accept or reject the baptism.
      -I have never heard anyone teach that Christ was married, though I don't have anything against the possibility.
      -Again, if there was a Garden of Eden it must have been somewhere.
      -I was 17 in 1978 and remember asking a lot of questions about African Americans not having the priesthood. I never heard nor believed that they were ineligible for "Heaven". I and everyone I have talked to was happy when we learned that the priesthood was now available to people of African descent.
      -I have never heard anyone teach that Christ had children, but I have heard that He loved them.
      -I sincerely believe that I am a child of God and have the potential to inherit all that He has sometime in the future. It is a beautiful doctrine of supreme hope. God is perfectly good, and I want to be like my Father.
      -I have been taught that "in my Father's house are many mansions" and Christ went to prepare a place for me. I don't know the specifics.
      -I have been taught and I believe that my Heavenly Father has experienced and understands the trials and temptations that I experience. He overcame all and that gives me hope that I can too. I don't know any details of his experience.
      -I believe that God makes covenants with His children. My temple garments are not "magical" but do remind me of my covenants.
      -I believe that God gives direction to His children through prophets ancient and modern. Some of that direction is to avoid certain substances like tobacco, alcohol, coffee, harmful drugs, etc. These things have in common that they are addictive and maybe enslaving. I hope this is helpful.

      May 16, 2012 at 4:07 am |
    • peter

      brad-you are a mormon that part is true–the book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ written by your cursed prophet joeseph smith in the 1830 isn't true nor it is the word of God. You sir are not part of christendom or a christian–cursed is your christ and your prophet.

      May 16, 2012 at 6:30 am |
    • NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

      This pete fellow or woman (you never know on these blogs...) has a real liking for the word, "cursed" – kind of strange... like it was some word that was used around his / her house whilst growing up..... Something to do with some deep down resentment of the LDS religion or some sort of hatred of religion in general? Cursed? interesting word to use over and over and over.... might be a good case study.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Here is the truth

      What does a Mormon REALLY believe?
      He believes that Jesus Christ and Satan and everyone else in existence are all God's children hence we are all borthers and
      sisters.
      He believes that God lives near a planet called "Kolob." Is that so bad? Big deal. If God told you that, would you use it as an
      excuse to disbelieve everything else He said?
      He believes in baptizing living people on behalf of those who have not had the opportunity in this life, rather than condemning
      them to Hell because they never heard of Christ.
      He DOES NOT believes that Jesus is married to a goddess wife. Not part of our doctrine.
      He believes that The Garden of Eden was in Missouri. Again, is that a big deal?
      He DOES NOT believe that it was impossible for African Americans to go to Heaven before 1978.
      He DOES NOT believe that Jesus has children from his wife or wives. Not part of our doctrine.
      He believes that he has the potential of becoming like his Father in Heaven. God made man in His own image. God commands
      men to be perfect, even as He is perfect. Why wouldn't our Father in Heaven not want us to reach our full potential?
      He DOES NOT believe he will own his own personal planet after he dies. Not part of our doctrine.
      He believes the real Christian God IS eternal, just as we are. Parenthood in this life is patterned after His divine parenthood.
      Just as we can become like God, God was once like us. To me, that makes Him so much more approachable and
      understanding.
      He believes wearing sacred clothing as a reminder of covenants he has made with God. Please don't make fun of the things
      we hold sacred.
      He believes it is a sin to eat or drink foods that strongly influence the way your mind works. How many people do you know
      that are addicted to coffee? Or drugs? or alcohol? Who can't function properly without it?

      I think all religions have at least a few quirky beliefs, but if I choose not to take these people seriously because of a few things I consider strange, and they happen to really be directed by God, did I just loose a chance to become closer to God over a few quirks?

      May 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  17. Sandlewood7656

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bup4ydQ7jFQ&w=640&h=390]

    May 16, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  18. intel

    I am amazed by the Mormon posts here accusing people of hatred. Christian bibles warn of false prophets. Rational, unbiased people see Joseph Smith as a charlatan. Why? The fact that he was jailed on fraud charges numerous times before he invented the Mormon church. That is a fact. Christian bibles also warn that people that alter the words of the bible are committing blasphemy. That is a fact. And the book of Mormon certainly does that. So what is the argument here? Christians are merely defending their faith against false prophets and blasphemers. It ain't rocket science.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • peter

      You can't be nice with them–why should we even? Everything you said is right intel–it's not theological differences like they claim it is–it is flat out blasphemy

      May 16, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • NotSuprisedbyBIGOTS

      Poor Intel..... hope that isn't supposed to stand for intelligence... that would be pretty funny! I love the fact that you think you can tell God what he can and cannot do. Wow – what power you seem to possess. You don't have a clue what the scriptures teach.... if you did, you would understand that God can do what he wants, when he wants, choose prophets in ANY dispensation HE CHOOSES. You think the Bible is the only scripture on earth? I guess you believe in the Catholic Church since they gave it to you. What a crock you try to pass out on this blog – it's good to see so many normal people not even batting an eye at your ignorance and arrogance. Time to get a little educated in the scriptures, dude. You are a complete fool.

      May 16, 2012 at 3:22 am |
    • intel

      The truth hurts, doesn't it? You brainwashed lunatic

      May 16, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Sean

      Saying the Book of Mormon, "ALTERS" the Bible is like saying the New Testament alters the Old Testament. It doesn't. They are separate books written by separate people with a similar topic. That is it. No altering.
      The fact is, Intel... You really should place the words, "LACK OF" in front of your name. Your "insight" is simply opinion and has no fact and is wrong. Plain and simple... You are wrong.

      May 16, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • peter

      sean–the fact is the book of mormon is a fabrication written by joeseph smith in 1830-just as much as if john drake the prophet wrote the book of seedom,another testament of jesus christ in 1930-Both books are not the word of God
      Fact is sean the jesus christ that joeseph smith wrote about is cursed as is your religion–The spirit that guided the hand of joeseph smith is the evil one-Cursed is your christ and cursed is your prophet

      May 16, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  19. Saddened

    These blogs don't seem to fit CNN's comment welcoming "courteous" discussion. I'm sad blogging appears to bring out the worst in people. Would you say this stuff in person? Whether you believe Mormons or not, what's the point of vicious attacks? The CNN article just expressed a point of view. The world has enough hatred. Are you part of the problem, . . . Or the solution?

    May 16, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Equallysaddened

      When news was first "invented" it was considered taboo to not have two sides to a story. Journalism was blind and we all had the opportunity to read an article and think for ourselves. Now, with articles like this, that go so far to not only give a VERY in-depth history of the mormon churhc (in a positive light ONLY) but includes lovely pictures and a sweet little video. THOSE reasons my friend...those are the reasons that people are getting so angry with these Mormon articles that keep popping up on CNN. If it were put under OPINION, it would be different. But this is stated as news and it's not news. It's propaganda.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • intel

      Again, this is not rocket science. For me to accept the Mormon church, I would have to turn my back on my own faith. The faith that I have had for 50 years. Do you really expect me to disavow my beliefs so you feel better about yourself?

      May 16, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  20. Kat

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYDaoCSCoJg&w=640&h=390]

    May 16, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Orwell seen it before

      This LDS stake president turned in his resignation two weeks ago because LDS is fundamentally opposed to science.
      http://exmormon.org/d6/drupal/Letter-to-Elder-Holland-Book-of-Mormon

      May 16, 2012 at 5:55 am |
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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.