By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
(CNN) – A Utah woman unwittingly started a grassroots campaign when an e-mail she sent to her five children and a handful of friends urging a day of prayer and fasting for Mitt Romney started making the Mormon rounds.
Mona Williams, a Price, Utah, member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wrote last Sunday evening to tell people closest to her how frustrated she is with the state of the country.
“A lot of my frustration is because I feel I don’t know what to do to really make a change. Well, this time I do,” she wrote. “I am asking you to join me and my family on Sunday Sept. 30 by fasting and praying for Mitt Romney. That he will be blessed in the debates,” the first of which is next Wednesday.
“I know that seems like such a small thing, but I believe ‘from small things, great things can come about,’” she continued. “I know that fasting and praying brings about miracles.”
The message that was intended for a group of about 10 people has since cropped up in Mormon inboxes around the country, including in Colorado, California and Nevada, BuzzFeed reported.
The attention that has followed has left Williams both floored and uncomfortable. When she was contacted by CNN affiliate KTVX on Wednesday, she said, “You could have pushed me over with a feather.”
“Can we just pretend this didn’t happen,” she asked with a laugh when CNN reached her Thursday night. She spoke to fears about those who dismiss people of faith, or take what she and others consider sacred and make it ugly.
“I’m simply a woman with faith,” she told CNN. “I am just a woman who believes that God loves this country and his hand is in whatever happens.”
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It's common for faithful Mormons to fast for a day each month while offering prayers for a particular purpose.
And for Williams, who works as an aide to special needs kids, it’s prayers – not money – that she has to give to her candidate of choice.
But she also sees that she has struck a chord with those who are like her.
“We’re very silent. We’re not very in your face. I’m not going to go stand up and march … And I’m not going to chew on someone’s backside,” Williams said. “But I can use my faith. It’s a very personal, passionate thing.”
The e-mail was not sanctioned or cleared by Mormon church officials. In fact, the church “is strictly politically neutral and does not endorse political candidates,” LDS Church spokesman Michael Purdy told CNN in a written statement.
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The Student Review, a student-run paper at LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University posted Williams' message – or at least a version of her message that was forwarded - online, and the responses reveal a community rich with a variety of perspectives.
“I cannot tell you how scared I am for the future of our country,” wrote an unnamed student who is heading toward graduation. “What I do know is that Mitt Romney is a worthy priesthood-holding leader who has the potential to do a lot of good for our country. I know the Lord takes worthy men and makes them qualified for miraculous experiences.”
While another student answered that Romney’s name should be added to the “Temple Prayer List,” others fired back, calling such rhetoric “completely ridiculous” and “embarrassing.”
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“You assume that if we fast then God will bless Mitt Romney to win,” wrote Ryan. “Who are you to say that it’s God’s will that Mitt Romney wins? I’ve been an active member my entire life and I can’t support Mitt Romney with a good conscience. Just because he is a member of our church does not mean all of his policies are correct or even moral.”
Added Jay: “The Lord DOES care about who leads our country, He just doesn’t care what party they are from. Only we look at party, whereas the Lord looks on the heart.”
It's precisely with her heart that Williams will fast and pray this Sunday, because that, she said, is what she can do.
"Whatever happens in this country," she says, "at least I've done my part."
If Romney loses the elections, as most people think, what does that mean about God's view of the elction?
Yeah, lets pray for Romney...
...God knows life has wronged him...
I am mormon, born , raised, traceable roots. NO ONE in my family and circle of friends are voting for Mitt. We all have never seen so much HATE, Hostility, LIES, ect......Mitt is the worst possible representation of a mormon we have ever seen. I dont
know anyone like him. In 54 years in the LDS church, I have never even met anyone like him or his family.
Mitt needs to repent and ask forgiveness for the lying, deceit, judging, ect.......
Mitt- its not to late to redeem yourself to God. He knows the truth.
why is he allowed to be a Pastor
Why are you a Mormon?
I think you need to take a little of your own advice. I am sure you know all of the truth and you are not judging him at all.
i was suprised to see so many religious bigots writing on this page ...
Any of you all wanna get high?
Why would we really pray for Romney to be president when he has already written off almost 50% of Americans, his country men simply because they are less fortunate than himself?
We need to pray that he become more compassionate to the needy and the illegal people in this country, pray that he will change his view about them self-deporting.
Pray that the christian community respect his cult even though they don't accept it. Pray that Romney will never become president..we know he will gut the welfare program which benefited the lower class and gut health care thus causing many to die since they couldn't afford to pay for it.
Pray that Obama will be re-elected big time.
Is this the same "neutral" religion that pushed their hate agenda against the gays in California? The same religion that denies the right of loving couples to to get married but forces young girls (as young as 13) into enslaved marriages? God save us from such neutrality.
I think you need to do a bit more research and believe hearsay. Your "Facts" are way wrong.
Not sympathizing with any side here, just pointing out that those that marry off 13-year-olds into arranged, polygamous marriages belong to completely different churches all of which are denounced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
This will not endear Romney with the Tea Party crowd....
To say he can't worry about a large percentage of the country bothers me, as well as it should bother any other American. As president, how do you expect the 47% to act towards a leader that clearly doesn't care about them?
Romney is done, fasting wont help. Maybe if he lived as if he had morals and beliefs in something, he would be appealing.
Several things are wrought by prayer even in this day and age with all these statistics, technology and science you will be surprised to see how the sincere prayers were heard.
What, just one day? Why not make it a hunger strike until Mitt wins? Be bold.
Good Idea!!! I say do it guys.... you Romney supporters are soooo hateful!!! Stop eating today, then if he wins, EAT.
How about I just eat a big, fat juicy burger really fast?
Yeah I'm not voting for the Mormon. Even though money is more important to Mit then his religion I just think he will bring crazy Mormon ideas into the mix. Republicans making an exception this one time on religion is crazy.
There seems to be a typo in the link to the story on the home page. The headline says "Mormons Fast for Romney." It should say "Morons Fast for Romney."
The God I serve frown on riches and believes in helping the oppressed, including the 47%. Enough said and will be praying that God's will be done to help the less fortunate.
I can't believe this story made national news. I'm sure you have preachers praying for Obama from their pulpits, so why is this such a big story? Oh, because it makes oversimplifies the Mormon faith and keeps Romney's religion in the spotlight. If only the media were as curious about Obama's religion. We're not supposed to talk about that....
The funny thing is.... he isn't fasting for you!
There seems to be a typo in the link to the story on the home page. The headline says "Mormons Fast for Romney." It should be "Morons Fast for Romney."
Eat for Obama?
Secret indeed. So secret you are not allowed to worship in their congregation nor walk in the door. I cannot think of any action more un Christ like. Jesus did not need a temple to preach in nor did he push people away. Jesus gave all of his blood for all , not for a select few.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:17 "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved".
If you wish to fast and pray for a billionaire to match wits with the President that is certainly your prerogative.
You are always welcome to worship with Mormons. Every Sunday for 3 hours. Pick any local meetinghouse. As for the temple, there is no point going there unless you are willing to make more commitments. Commitments that we take so seriously that we feel if you make them in the temple and then can't keep them it is detrimental to your soul. So... baby steps. Start with the weekly meetings. If you just want to see inside a temple out of curiosity, catch one after it is built or newly remodeled when open houses are held.
Read mormon org or talk to a neighbor or coworker who is Mormon to see what you have in common.
I made the commitments in the temple, and then broke them. My soul is happier now. You're not missing out on anything
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.