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.
Explain it to me: Mormonism | Video: Mormonism defined
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.”
With or without Romney, D.C. a surprising Mormon stronghold
“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."
39 days until Romney’s conceding speech!
hey CNN, how about some screening on this post. AvdBerg is hemorrhaging.
Who does Jesus refer to in the verses below:
On judgment day many will say to me, 'Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name?' And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me; you evildoers.”
@proud: i would say he is talking about the pediphile priests, the tevangicals building these mega-churches, the racists hiding behind their "holy book", the men that refuse equal rights to all of "god's" creatures.....................seeing god has his hands so full with all his condemning, holier than thou followers i imagine we atheists will just be able to walk right in those pearly gates otherwise god is going to be a very lonely thing again.
He is referring to false prophets that come after him. who do you think he was referring to?
Romney ..... No honesty no integrity
"Not delusional but dishonest; not crazy but craven." -Ron Reagan
Very enlightening post . . let's just agree that everyone can make the following statement, and you'll save yourself a couple of minutes next time:
"The candidate I oppose is dishonest, and the candidate I support is honest."
I'm all in on the fasting thing but is it ok to have beer or wine coolers that day?
Romney and Ryan ....... Laurel and Hardy of the 21st century
Romneyhood ...... Give to the Rich take from the poor
Romney needed federal help when he was governor, he needed federal dollars to fund the Olympics, he took federal guarantees for some of his Bain deals, but he talks about government dependency?
One man's welfare check is another man's lobbied subsidy.
Romney's deadbeats: veterans, disabled, senior citizens, churches, etc.
How does 30% of translate into 50%???
How does 30% of 99% become 50% of the vote???
Fast and Pray for someone who is a liar? Why has the Mormon religion stooped down so low for this inept Presidential candidate? Even Reid questioned Romneys values as a Mormon
Harry Reid is the last person who should question any one on faith or honesty, after all he is a politician. You should vote your conscience for the person you think will lead our country where we need to be.
The Mormon religion has not stooped down. It is an email from one person. It is not representative of the Mormon religion.
Thanks Mona for showing me the light. I will direct my 5 wives to fast and pray for Romney.
Didn't I see you in Ted Mosby, S.ex Architect?
Yawn . . congrats, Lance, on being one the last few people in the civilized world who find Mormon polygamy jokes hilarious. True wit, that.
Does the One Creator God love a people that believe with all their mind, strength, and spirit that it is RIGHT, a RIGHT, to embrace the freedom to worship "any god"?
...Jehovah is the Only God and Christ is the Only True Way of Life....and soon He will rule as the One King.
As soon as Mitt is sworn in, America will begin the process of reclaiming the moral high ground. Romney / Ryan 2012
@john: your bible is a lie built off of the jewish koran with some pagan and norse ceremonies thrown in for good measure. your god will NEVER rule over anything; however your priest does appearently rule over your mind. congrats on that.
Ronald, its the people like you out there that have me seriously concerned for the state of this country.
Kathy its people like you that have me concerned if Guantanamo is large enough. Romney / Ryan 2012
Prayer is personal. Period.
Prayer is an arrogant effort to tell god you don't think he is competent to run the world without your help.
Well, this is one member of the LDS church who will be praying for the President to win. I refuse to vote for Mitt Romney simply because we share the same faith. I do remember the economic downfall. I have heard the cries on the far-right to hamper the growth of the USA simply so that they may take over again. Slow/low/no job growth was to be looked at as a good thing for them, and I think if you've been paying attention you know this. Mitt Romney wants to run on simply not being the President. No, Mitt, you are not Obama. You will never even come close to filling his shoes ... Never.
Amnesia – Do you understand all that Obama has done while in office as well as you appear to know all that Mitt has done in his professional and political career thus far? For example, how do you explain Obama's use of Executive Orders (to the tune of over 900 in 3.5 years) when the next closest is Bush II who issued just over 60 Executive Orders during his 8years. Do you understand what kinds of freedoms have been usurped via these 900+ Executive Orders? Obama may be intelligent and articulate, but has Romney "lied" that much more than Obama has "lied"? I guess we believe what we want to hear, not necessarily what it really is.
@MEII, You LIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fasting changes things.
Makes them skinnier!
God will not answer political prayers.
See how many of us there really are?
So far Obama has the ho mo se x ual pervert atheist vote. The other 99% of the country go 70 % Romney. If all the ho mos and atheists on these blogs with all their "friends" and family voted as a block, they could not elect a dog catcher in the countries smallest precinct. Romney / Ryan 2012
Such an ignorant response.
Its not a response it is a statement of fact. Romney / Ryan 2012
You need to go back to school to study basic mathematics Ronald...
Nice to hear the latest news flash from our local insane asylum.
Ronald – are you for real? Or are you just pretending to be an over-the-top Romney supporter in order to tick off everyone against Romney? I support Romney, but I don't support most comments like yours.
If you are supporting Romney, please cool down your comments.
If you are against Romney, I'm calling your bluff.
Ronnie, old buddy, you are in for one RUDE awakening.
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.