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."
Everyone make sure to wash their Magic Underwear tonight,it's gonna be along fasting.
Who would vote for Romney when I get a free Obamaphone paid for by tax payers! Woohoo!
I know! I came in this country illegally and now I can stay for free, have all the babies I want, food stamps, healthcare and my obamaphone... and I dont pay for anything!! THANKS OBAMA! You got my vote!
Obama is ghetto fab! I got new nikes with my gov't check! Thanks obama! I have no idea what you do, but you make it easy for me and my homies!
Who care about national security when I get a fat check n dun even hav to work! I'll just buy an AK with my government cheese if we get attacked! Cut military spending and give me my CHEESE!
ROMNEY GO TO HELL
I know Jose!! If Romney was to win, you actually might have to work for a living! Wow, think about that.
I'm praying for Obama. He doesn't need any help with winning this election, but he can add my prayers to his political capital.
This is exactly the problem. She thinks she did her part for the world and now she won't do anything to really help anyone, ever. Because she thinks this was all that was needed. We need people to act on real things, not make believe.
"And for Williams, who works as an aide to special needs kids..." Sounds to me like she's doing something. I may not agree with her notion that God should favor her political candidate, but don't be so quick to dismiss people.
So if God has a hand in voting for President and this woman is not voting for Obama. Does that mean God was wrong 4 years ago?
No America faces the judgement of God in poor and ineffective leadership.
Actually, God saw Palin on the ticket in 2008 and made the right call.
be told – it is disconcerting that people might actually think that.
obviously whichever candidate wins was chosen by god.
Poor leadership is Gods curse on a nation.
God created hanging Chads.
The LAST thing this country needs is a "Dear Leader".
I agree, and yet we have Americans placing the face of President Obama on American flags...its unstable ground we walk on.
Jesus is getting ready to come on down from the planet Kolob to whip some right-wing butt.
I'm not a right winger; I received this email to pray for Romney from a high school friend I have not seen in 55 years; she is not a Mormon; I'm Catholic, I forwarded it to every Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic, Jew, 7th Day Adventist, and all other Christians and some who do not have a religion who I know will pray every hour of the day that we get that good for nothing socialist who is destroying American out of office!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Prayers do come true. God is all around us, and he's certainly watching you and your actions.
"I cannot tell you how scared I am for the future of our country."
Great. If you are so scared about the future of the country and believe in the power of prayer, why have you not been praying all along for a better future, for the economy to strengthen, for more jobs, for a better infrastructure, for less partisanship and political deadlock in Washington,...? Why not pray for Obama? I guess you've never been interested in him or his success, right? Your powers of prayer only work when it comes to helping another Mormon become president.
Isn't religion a wonderful thing?
You are spot on
Where are the Jeremiah Wright headlines and Obama's association with him and his church's teachings??
I dont know, let's ask him.
On Faux news along with his birth certificate.
the church of christ?
Wright's got nothing on the bull that comes out of the Temple in SLC. I'll take Wright!
LOL, forget prayer, a miracle is about all that can help Mitt in his spiraling nosedive into oblivion. If his message was true, he wouldn't need prayer now would he?
I think what people may say is that Obama is a better politician. So perhaps Romney does need a miracle to become president. Because we don't need a good politician right now. We need a strong (moral) leader. So why not pray for this miracle? If God intends for this to happen, then it will.
If they fast...they'll starve.
we can but hope.
Actually, on election day, instead of voting, I am going to invoke the power of prayer and spend the day praying as I know that this will get more people out to the polls to vote for Mitt Romney. I would encourage all Christians to do the same.
LOL, you make it too easy. I would suggest praying for a miracle. Mind you, if Mitt needs prayers to win, then he was not a very good choice in the first place was he?
Good luck with that, by the way Mitt is about as much of a Christian as a Muslim.
For Informed: "if he needs prayers to win" ... I had two brain operations in 1986 with abscess and brain fungus. If you know anything about the brain illness, you know that that is very very very serious. I was near death; I started to go into a coma and was immediately operated upon at midnight. So so so so so many people all over this nation prayed for me. My neurosurgeons even thought I would not live. My entire family flew to California to see me for what they thought was the "last time" I was in IC for almost 3 months. I went on to drive, go back to work, retire, travel to all 50 states and about 30 foreign nations. Prayers certainly helped me. God is real and I am go grateful to be able to pray in 2012 for Romney to be elected to save this nation.
I will tell you this, if Obama is re-elected, for sure God does not like this country.
which god are you referring?
God blesses Obama, he did not let us get attacked like under Bush the fake 12 step Christian.
Sorry, John. According to my disciples, you have not fasted yet. I cannot grant your wish until you fast for at least 24 hours.
The spaghetti monster awakens...
Given the choices... poor leadership is Gods curse on a nation. When either one wins it will be a loss for America.
So God is selective now? Woooow...
I will tell you this; god doesn't exist. Go peddle your crazy elsewhere.
be told – the whole god thing aside, you are right about poor choices.
You need to watch Mormonism Temple of Doom – God said suffer not a witch to live.
My hope more than anything is that our country be led by a good person of sound moral principle. This goes well beyond party lines.
I disagree my God says vote Obama, and don;t trust Romney..............
Another point. This story highlights one of the most remarkable pieces of our American framework, for people to worship as they see fit. I am a Mormon who has read the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Qu'ran, and other holy books. I am grateful for a land that lets people lead their lives without fear from harm for what they believe in. This woman is being led by her heart to do what she believes, and its not illegal. Sure there are the critics too, but they have THEIR right to believe too. God Bless America.
I call B.S. If you had read even one of those books you would be an atheist.
I live by the concept of right or wrong. There are those that believe that God does not exist, that religion is the opiate of the masses, etc. I respect that..but also what if there IS a God? I like the idea that there is something bigger out there for each of us.
I appreciate your opinion Crisis. Thank you for sharing.
Too true. If ANYONE reads one of those books cover to cover with an objective mind, they would realize it's all nonsense.
You have just ignored the posters neutral point of view in order to spew your cr@pola. Good Job.
If you take WERE to take God out of the picture, these books profess human decency and concern for their fellow man. My opinion stands.
"I know I'm part of something greater than myself
Don't know the meaning of it but I hope that matters less
I don't know anything when I'm factored out of scale
I know I'm part of something greater than myself
We're all engaging in a game of attrition
Maybe god is just a chemical fiction
I'm a monkey with a madding affliction
With fact checking for a mental condition"
– Dr. Greg Graffin (Bad Religion)
I hope to read the Bhagavad Gita next!
Don't forget the Tanakh, Talmud, Midrash, New Testament, Quran, Sunnah, Nahjul Balagha, Avesta, Vedas, Upanisahds, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, Tantras, Sutras, Vachanas, Adi Granth, Purvas, Samayasara, Niyamasara, Pravacanasara, and Pancastikaya; Anupreksa; Samadhishataka of Pujyapada; Tattvarthasutra of Umasvati, Tattvarthasutra, Pali Tripitaka, Jataka,, Visuddimagga, Tripitaka, Lotus Sutra, Garland Sutra, Analects; the Great Learning; the Doctrine of the Mean; the Mencius, Tao Te Ching, Chuang-tzu, Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, K-oki, Ofudesaki, Mikagura-uta, Michi-no-Shiori, Johrei, Goseigen, Netarean Shower of Holy Doctrines, Chun Boo Kyung, Kitab-i-Iqan, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Book of Mormon, Dianetics, or Revelation X!
Sorry to break this to you my loyal followers but I no longer accept fasting as one of the means of communicating directly to me. Haven't you heard of Facebook or Twitter? Get with the program! You all are frankly starting to annoy me with your incessant whining for whatever! Starting today, everyone is going straight to HELL!!
“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.”
So where is Romney's heart? Is it in the socially moderate govenor or the right-wing conservative presidential candidate? Why pray for Romney to win anyways? Just pray for the better leader to win and when the dust settles we'll see who god picked, just don't complain if you disagree with his choice...
Bill, it isn't the Lord who votes, rather it is "we the people". When my wife and I pray, we ask Him to bless the candidate of our choice, if it be His will. We all have agency to act for ourselves. So go ahead and vote as you see best. Nobody can justly blame diety for what we choose.
Vous athées croient aux mensonges du Talmud. Quand allez-vous croire à la vérité, qui nous est donnée par Dieu à son don pour nous la Sainte Bible? Mon camel-toe avalé la remorque voisins. Il est temps pour vous de commencer votre marche avec Jésus ou brûler brûler brûler.
In essense: he/she is saying that athiests believe the lies of the Talmud and asks when will they believe the truth, which is the gift given by god, the holy bible. Not sure what the next line is exactly, some sort of slang for a middle-easterner/arab, translation is roughly a camel-toe swallowing their neighbors. Um, ick. Last line says that if they don't start to follow Jesus, they'll burn burn burn.
so much for the separation of church and state!
Look, these are individuals applying their faith, praying that God will allow the right candidate to win. There is no connection between religion and our government. Don't jump on the bandwagon for no reason.
The idea of praying to God for one man to "win" over another man in a debate, is like praying for a sports team to win.
It is selfish, self centered and beneath contempt.... Absolutely not what god is worried about....
How does this intrude upon separation of church and state?
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.