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."
Oh PLEASE!!! To urge people to pray for Mitt is an affront to all people of good will, not to mention that this is insane.
Man, scary stuff. there are a lot of nutjobs out there who believe some of the craziest nonsense. Let's all make sure to vote in November so the crackpots in the religious right don't get any more power than they already have....
Totally agree, Jeremiah Wright has way too much power over Obama.
Irony...those who claim to be the tolerant party, wishing people with different beliefs than theirs starve themselves to death. I think there is name for that...oh yes...hypocrit.
No different from when Palin's pastor, literally a Kenyan "witch-hunter," proclaimed that God would bring Palin the governorship. Palin accepted the notion with a "laying on of hands."
When religion and politics mix, you have an incendiary, delusional result. Until the GOP rejects this "social conservatism" in its platform, it will continue to reap the results.
This is the best thing that the republican partisan can give the 47%ers?? I think its awful just awful and very cheap act. These things when done sincerely, with God do not need to be forced onto any one else. Get religion out of my government i want to be represented not converted!
I predict that at the end, people will say that even prayers did not help Romney. He is a disaster.
Well ,let 'em fast. Let 'em pray. So long as they don't pour more millions of dollars into a campaign that is already criminally overfunded by the corporations and the billionaires who will be expecting a "return" on their investments.
HAHA. Good one
Both parties are overly funded by large corporations and billionaires. Nothing wrong (although I wouldn't do it) with asking your immediate family to pray for someone. This lady didn't expect, let alone want, this immediate family request to go out to the world.
Forget fasting. If Obama wins, you and your family may fast anyway - unless, you can qualify for food stamps
If Mitt "Joseph Smith" Romney wins there want be any food stamps!
Sandra, that's not true. I could call it a lie, but that sounds too harsh, doesn't it. Of course, you might actually believe what you typed. If that's the case, then it is no wonder this country is headed in the wrong direction.
"a day of prayer and fasting"
LOL sorry but I must chuckle. Prayer is as effective as a rain dance...lol
I will join you..We definitely do not want OBAMA. I am a Hindu and I support Mitt. Ihope and Pray that GOD gives him strength and wisdom to bring thid country back to normalcy.
Your Hindu and think that Mormons like you. I guess Fox news lied to you about why Gandhi marched in the 30's to end the salt tax put upon them by people who looked just like Mitt. A mind is a terrible thing to waste and I'm certain that 47% of yours is gone. Wake up! Namaste!!!
Sandra, are you for real? Yes, Mormons like Hindus. Why would you imply otherwise?
What do you mean, they don't put their faith in our faces? They come knocking on doors arguing for their faith all the time. The ones who can't afford missions in other countries do their missions here and can be as persistent as Jehovah's Witnesses.
Gonna take a bit more than missing a few meals and praying for Romney to save this train wreck of a candidacy.
Good Grief. These folks are going to strave to death
Seriously... this is so screwed up. Here comes that magic man again. SO childish these people are.
We are going to see a lot of 'unproductive' and thin Mormons.
I'm part of the 47% that will fast and pray that Mitt and Ryan don't get in the White House!!!
So, Romney is right then. There is nothing Mitt can do to get your vote. Meanwhile the number of folks on foodstamps and welfare continues to increase (not necessarily or directly Obama's fault, although he hasn't turned the trend around) and someone like Mitt has the proven abiliities to help lift everyone up. Forget that he was sucking up to big fat cats (which Obama does all the time) when he wasn't so eloquent in what he said about the 47%. Obama can hob nob with fat cats and tell them what they want to hear, but when Mitt does it, he gets pounced on by a biased media.
You know whats so funny about this?.. The fact that so many people labeled Obama as the messiah for Liberals, and then this article comes out?!.. Are you serious?.. You're going to fast for Romney??.. Which candidate is being treated as a messiah again?.. This is ridiculous... This makes me want President Obama to be re-elected even more.
Why don't you make your prayer simple "thy will be done".
Mormons pray for God to help them find their car keys (and insist he did), but will not pray for starving people in Sudan or most people outside their "group." I'm ex-LDS and was active for decades. I NEVER heard a prayer said for victims of natural disasters, etc. Most LDS prayers are for personal wants/needs. It's one of the reasons I finally left the church. Why don't they pray that god will get Mitt to same something intelligent or give him some concrete ideas?
Great for you to be an independent thinker!
They know that they will benefit most from having one of their own in office, everyone else be damned.
Congratulations on your recovery.
Just wondering while you were a member of the LDS Church did you ever pray for victims of natural disasters, or are you just being a hypocrite? I remembering my local Mormon congregation fasting for a couple months in a row for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. And don't forget the money from fasting is supposed to go the to Church who it turn uses it in its humanitarian program.
Oh this is ridiculous. I'm an active Mormon and I hear prayers all the time for those suffering around the world.
The LDS church and its members donate and volunteer more than pretty much anyone. Look at the statistics. How silly.
These kinds of statements from former members of the LDS church are frustrating to read/hear. My family and I have lived and served in many different countries. In all of my years as a member of the LDS church, and attending church in many different countries, we have always (as a family and a congregation) fasted and prayed for those in need and those directly affected by natural disasters. These kinds of statements from ex-mormons make me wonder. They make it sound like they actually lived the principles espoused by the Church, when it is clear that their own narrow religious experience is no where near what is commonplace. The LDS Church, as a people, has members with faults and shortcomings. I consider myself one of those who falls short. But I and my family always pray for others, and we donate thousand a year to help victims of natural disasters, and I've personally witnessed hundreds who do the same.
May they all starve to death.. why fast for someone who steals peoples retirements, loots companies and stashes the swag offshore.. Praying for Romney is like chickens praying to the farmer! He's NOT your friend!
Bozon for President I love it haha!
Right on they are greedy self centered phoney's.
They're fasting for Romney, not Obama.
Or like sheep praying on their way to the shearing shed. Good grief, what part of "Bain Capital" do people not understand?
God does NOT take side in a political debate....the best man is WINNING right now and that's president Obama and that's who I'm gonna be praying for!!!!
Mitt Robme is NOT GOD!................and our nation is NOT the LDS CHURCH or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!!!
Dont be fooled by RELIGIOUS DOGMA!!!
You're right our nation is not the LDS nation, but the Jeremiah Wright nation as well elected his follower. So don't forget "God damn America" and we deserved the September 11 attacks.
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.