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."
Pray for Mitt so he can Prey on the rest of us. It would be better if they held their breath until the election.
You are suggesting mass genocide? There was a place for people who thought like you.. it was around 1940 under a man named Hitler.
Now that I think about it, Romney could be the anti-Christ. Mormons teach a perverted gospel of Jesus (Jesus and Satan are brothers, men can become gods which is the biggest blasphemy in the Bible and the root of all sin according to Genesis and the first commandment, polygamy is acceptable when Paul said that each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband, and more) and Romney fits the description of the man whom the people believe is a good man, but who is responsible for closing down U.S. companies and sending jobs overseas, having off-shore bank accounts to avoid paying taxes, etc.
Even the NY Times the most liberal of News Papers admitted that all that shipping jobs overseas was NONSENSE you schmuck!
Oh, he did not ship *all* jobs, sorry Joe. And I will refrain from name-calling since it's juvenile. I hope you can do the same. ;)
Nothing more Christian than attacking someone else's beliefs, eh pastmorm?
Thankfully, I'm not a christian Steven, and as a mormon, neither are you.
Perfect. Keep reminding the electorate of his weirdo religion.
Curious ... why don't Mormons fast and prey for the sitting president? It seems that would be in their best interests, you know, for any sitting president to be guided by the Mormon God who resides on the planet Kolob.
Nope, juts goes for Mormons fasting for Mormons, that exclusionary form of religion.
Because we Mormons are a Theocracy. We don't believe in Democracy. Our Prophet tells us that the day will come that our church will take over the country and restore it to a Theocracy with the current Prophet at it's head. Originally, it's what Joseph Smith tried to do...Look it up!
I Think they are "preying" on the President.
so what makes you think Mormons don't pray (not prey) for Obama? I personally like him a lot and think he is a good man. Mitt Romney's choice of a running mate, his past business dealings, etc. make me wonder about him. All Mormons are not going to vote for Romney.
Look I am a Catholic and most Mormons I have ever met are the nicest people. So instead of constantly insulting people of different religions maybe you should educate yourself. If Mormon missionary's ever come by your home, try talking to them and maybe you can learn not to be so crass. They are good people.
I think that you spelled Moron with one M too many.
Mormons aren't the only ones praying. There is a nationwide call for 40 days of prayer as our country needs Gods help like never before. The haters will have God to answer to and we pray for them too.
Which God? The Mormon God from the planet Kolob. The God of Islam? The God of Judaism? The Christian God?
As a Pastafarian, I'll have spaghetti tonight in support of Obama!
I will supply the meatballs.
Pray for the country, Romney or Obama God could lead this country where it need to be!!!!!!
You know you're in trouble when you're counting on a miracle (when God makes the impossible possible) to win a debate.
Religious Fasting = less poop in the rivers. Go for it.
Right after Yom Kippur? Really? Hey....does this job creator wanna shut down the whole American food industry, or what? It's enough to drive a man to eatin' bacon and drinkin' caffeine. Eat a Mallomar, people, and save a job at Nabisco.
I'm not sure what to think about a tax-exempt Mormon Church that opens a 90-store mega-shopping mall in Salt Lake City, Utah. All those tax-deductible donations used to create a corporate empire rather than funding humanitarian causes. Just bizarre.
I am quite sure you haven't done your research about the humanitarian efforts of the Mormon church. Even people who don't like them in other ways have to admit they give amazing first-response efforts worldwide. And they kept a lot of Europe from starving even back to WWII recovery.
Mormons dont do humanitarian work? Check your facts bud, The LDS church is the quickest orginazation to respond to places that need help. Want to know who the quickest was to hurricane Katrina? The LDS church, they helped clean it up, they had members from states all around come in and help. Oh and all those stupid 19 year olds that dont know anything that are missionaries, yeah they pulled them all to that relief effort too.
If he wins, it will be by Gods doing because they fasted, if he loses, what then. Religion is to funny. Oh well, to each their own. If nothing else, hope faith brings you comfort.
The catch-all for when things don't go as hoped is "God works in mysterious ways."
The Mittster doesn't stand a prayer. I'll pray for him though to have a safe trip home after he loses the elecion.
Which home? He owns so many in so many different countries, staffed by his underpaid staff...I can't imagine how any loss would be bad for him. He would just be finished with his 15 minutes of fame...FINALLY!
God, who was not born in a space ship or another planet and who only wrote 10 commandments, gave us FREE WILL. Please, please understand, he's not involved in politics, baseball games, football games, basketeball games or any other games, understand.
You can chose whomever you want to and vote for whoever you want, however, don't use GOD like that. GOD don't play that!
God is a Notre Dame fan. Everyone knows that. Go Irish!
GOD to a dyslexic is a springer spaniel.
God loves The Dallas Cowboys.
Just ask Jerry Jones.
Mormons and bloc voting have been going on since the days of Joseph Smith. In fact, Mormon prophecies from Joseph Smith predict a Mormon will be President one day, hence why the strong support for Mitt Romney.
That actually isn't the prediction. And many of my LDS friends are not voting for Romney.
That isn't a profecy, that is a given. Given enough time, anyone of a given faith can eventually become president. They will use this however to further faith, pretty sad. I prophecy that one day I will get rained on.....
Megan, it's call the "White Horse Prophecy" if you don't believe me.
I'm perfectly familiar with the prophecy you're referring to, it's just that it doesn't say that.
Better get used to fasting if Romney is elected.
Hmm..Fasting.. Didn't know Mormons followed Hindu priciples ... Interesting :)
baaaaa ha-ha-ha...good one Papabear!
The Morms are right about God sending us a great leader!
Prayer changes things .
I've tried to pray away my gay and it's not worked at all!
Creepy thrashing nags.
I bet you it doesn't – Romney doesn't even have a that...
if he does not win, will you agree Atheism is the right way??!!!!
Prayer only changes things in your mind. Its called the Placebo Effect...ie: if you think its true, even if its not, you may get a benefit.
Prove it! Pray for me to get chocolate pudding for dinner...
I can prove praying doesnt work.
I have been praying ever since you started posting this garbage,
that you would be struck by lightning.
You are still here annoying the crap out of everybody.
The Mormons imagine Romney is like their King Benjamin from the Book of Mormon.
Not all Mormons are looking to Mitt Romney to be their King Benjamin. As a Mormon, I find President Obama's philosophy about helping those in need much more in line with my beliefs. He'll be getting my vote. Be careful when lumping people into groups and I'll try to do the same as I read these comments.
JKing, thanks for the comment. You are right, there are a few Mormons who tend to defy the stereotype. However, as a resident in Idaho, I've come across only a very few who do not seem to march in lockstep with the Republican party.
BTW, my teenage son is just now finding out why a lot of people view them as a cult. His Mormon friends are now getting told through their seminary classes and parents that being friends with non-Mormons isn't a very good situation. When I first moved here, I experienced the same thing with the Mormon men. We could be great work friends, but going golfing, or to sporting events, together was out since I wasn't a Mormon.
Boisepoet – What exactly (word for word) was it that the seminaries and parents are suggesting LDS youth tell their non-Mormons friends? I have never heard what you suggest. The church does suggest being careful about getting serious (dating) with someone from a different faith. That is only logical in that there can be, or usually are, problems in a marriage when each belongs, and are ardent adhearers, to different churches. Beyond that, neither the church or the semaries teaches to avoid being firends with non-Mormons, and in fact they emphasize and encourage the opposite.
The choice is clear. Moroni or Mau Mau. Romney/Ryan 2012
Moroni is a pizza topping. That's the only thing old Joe saw in the future. Mormons are nothing but a cult.
I really should know better than to actually real the CNN comment section. It's all a bunch of disgusting and uncalled for vitriol.
ewwww megan, vitriol, a BIG word for a mormon. You don't even have a museum in SLC and you're using such big words! Why don't you go chat on FOX NEWS Then? Oh, I forgot, they don't allow anybody to comment on their online news...BIG freedom sign there don't you think?
What Fox does or does not do does not take away from the fact that the majority of the comments here are hateful. Also, I'm not sure what a museum has to do with anything, but okay? And "vitriol" is not a big word, just an accurate one.
No museum in SLC? Put your pot down and actually do some research. A quick google search shows over twenty. Mormons have always pushed the importance of education and learning. Something you obviously should take to heart. Rather than spitting your "vitriol".
You don't have museums in UTAH, such as ART or NATURAL HISTORY, because you mormons want to keep your people in the dark about REAL history. That has a BIG deal to do with the danger your religion poses.
Ok...I just noticed that all the museums are owned by the Mormon church or some mom and pop org. My bad! I know, I'm an ignorant mormon...I can't help it.
We actually do have museums of natural history and art. I've visited them, actually. And you're saying that the greatest indication of whether a state values "real" history is how many museums they have? That's relatively absurd, you know.
Wow. Thats interesting that you would have to post under my name to try and get your point across. You are pathetic and have no basis in fact. The Natural history museum is located next to Rio Tinto stadium, and which arts museum should I drag your ignorant self to? The Contemporary art museum on West Temple? The Museum of Fine Arts near the University? The Leonardo Arts museum on 5th south. You are an ignorant troll who resorts to the basest places to try and prove your false statements.
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.