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."
Every day is a day of prayer from me for President Obama for guidance and wisdom in leading this nation.
I think I've lined up a few people who will self-immolate to demonstrate their support for Romney. Should this be done in Salt Lake City or in one of the swing states?
Hi Kids – its time for Ramittdan. So fast for Ramittdan for one day on Sunday.
God plays favorites now?
Apparently the LD$ think so.
Why don't you quit trying to spin the story or do you just not understand when it reads the LDS stays neutral in politics. They can't help what a member does outside the church
How about we call a day of fasting and prayer for Barack Obama to win. So which pray will God answer. Peolple play religion with politics!! God looks at the heart. Think about it, will God say to his donor: "47% of American are nobodys. They don't want to work but munch on free stuff" Think about that, it the heart. Pray and fast for 40 days and night, if the heart is in a wrong place, it a waste!!!!
How do you know that god looks into the hearts of people? Have you spoken to him recently? Personally? Do you know that could be considered schizophrenia?
I used to work for a company that was pretty much run by Mormons. It is interesting to watch Romney lie and mislead people because that is the same thing that the Mormons at this company would do. They would often hire new employees based on if they were Mormon or not, and employees that were not Mormon were never chosen for higher level positions. It's like they used lying and misleading people as a business tactic. Romney needs all the prayers he can get, or just have someone tell him in his faith that liying is frowned upon,
People of all faiths lie don't act like people of all faiths haven't lied. Oh and Obama hasn't lied? What a joke.
John, please don't paint with such a broad strok. I'm LDS, and I know plenty of LDS with whom I would never do business. Not becuase they are LDS, but because as a person they are not as ethical as I feel they should be. It is not surprising that a Mormon owned business would favor other Mormon's - although they shouldn't. Your experience was negative, but that doesn't mean every Mormon owned business acts that way. I believe Romney's employees, for the most part, thought of him as equitable, honest, and fair. I still don't understand how Romeny is any less honest than Obama. Mainstream media have painted Romeny as dishonest (whether true or not), but Obama seems to get a pass.
John, as an LDS member, I have often found myself defending my religion because a lot of people where I live in AZ think the only way to get a job or promotion is to be a Mormon. Hogwash. In all of my working life, I have never been asked what my religion is during an interview, and I have actually never worked under a fellow Mormon as a company owner, boss, manager. Never. Maybe they attend the same church, so they feel they know and can trust the person? In your circles, would you not hire someone you felt you knew over someone you didn't? That said, I'm a Mormon voting for Obama. Thanks.
Wow religious people are wacko.
Like their God's care about what they put down their mouth?
I wonder if God cares about what cow's eat. "Hey cow – no more clover or Iran will attack. Stick to grass".
Do Mormons get those 79 Virgins when they arrive in heaven?
And what kind of food do they serve in heaven? Is their pork? Or strictly vegetarian?
LD$ get their own planets to rule when they die.
They can have all the wives they want.
DD, but at least it's a planet they will have created themselves. It' s not a handout or merit based reward program. And when you'er awesome enough that you can create worlds, the chicks flock to you. Can't be helped, so deal.
Honey he's gonna need alot more than prayer to win,it would take a miracle, and him not inserting his foot in his mouth anymore untill the election
That may be true especially when the so called media is doing all they can to make sure Obama wins.
You missed one thing Art, the word AND does not belong there - it would be a miracle IF Mitt Romney failed to stick his foot in his mouth again between now and November 6th.
Good, let em all starve to death. Who the hell needs anti-gay, women-hating Mormons, anyway.
Don't be a hater
Wow! You are a jerk.
I say, why stop at a day – why not fast and pray until the election, Mormons? Keep it going – don't wimp out. Be strong!
Perfectly appropriate that they fast. Let them have some idea what the youngsters whose meals come from food stamps and free school meals will be facing if Mitt is elected.
Part of fasting in the LDS church is they donate whatever they would have spent on those meals to charity to feed the hungry. It's called a Fast Offering.
Oh, I forgot to mention that the museums in UT are only owned by the church or simply mom and pop owned. My bad.
Change the headline to, "BIacks Firmly behind Obama"
Well they sure wouldn't be behind Romney...we mormons believe that Blacks were the cursed of Cain and they don't even really deserve the priesthood, but we had to give it to them for public relations.
Chongno I find it hard to believe you are a Mormon. I am sure you are trying to act like one but you don't sound like any Mormon I have ever met.
Wow, just when I thought the truth no longer existed. Watch "Bishop E.W. Jackson Message" on YouTube. FREE AT LAST – Pass it on.
Fascinating... errr, what's the emoticon for sarcasm?
Yeah, fasting and praying so that health care can be denied sick children, so that taxes can be lowered on the rich and raised on struggling middle-class families...praying that education loan programs be gutted and that social services for people in need get eliminated. Amazing that such people can live with themselves.
If Romney wins - in itself this would be evidence that there is no God.
Keep believing the propaganda the media keeps feeding you!
neverquit – None of what you claim is true. It's a distortion. None of what you claim is what the conservatives want. Let's be a bit more mature about these things. The right and left both want what is best for all, but clearly differ on policy. It could very well be that as part of eliminating this country's debt that there will need to be less spending all around, while at the same time more in tax revenue is needed. There are many ways to obtain more in tax revenue, but taxing the rich alone will do very little to reduce the debt burden being passed on to our children. But do you really believe that open-ended spending is the answer? That's what got us into this mess, and it was facilitated by both parties, and mainly by whoever was/is in power at the congressional level.
No one knows what happens when we die and anyone claiming such knowledge is a liar who probably wants your money.
To set the record straight. Jews fast on Yom Kippur for a different reason, not to win a debate:
"The fast is a way to purify us, to ritually cleanse, and also to remind us what we're supposed to be doing for the day - which is seeking repentance from God and our fellow human beings,"
Don't even try to explain anything to many of these people. If you don't think like them they just turn nasty and start calling you names.
Give me a break!!!!!!! Scare tactics-this is sick
I am LDS and I live in Utah and will not be voting for Mitt Romney. I am extremely unhappy that anyone would publicly encourage others to fast and pray for a political candidate. The LDS Church is trying to remain neutral. The pubic request to fast and pray for Mitt Romney is not helpful and is wrong.
Yeah, right. And I'm Latoya Jackson!
Didn't you read the article? She sent this out to people that were close to her. She didn't know it would go public.
Karen slow down a little. You're forgetting this was intended for her kids, who passed it along to those who passed it along. Today's technology allows private things to become public things. Plus, all of this was reported through the news with only the perspective of the reporter and how the reporter decided to present it. Of course you're welcome to have an opinion on this in either case, but I don't believe she was trying to create a 'grassroots' anything beyond an appeal to her family.
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.