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Billy Graham site removes Mormon 'cult' reference after Romney meeting
Mitt Romney meets Thursday with the Rev. Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham.
October 16th, 2012
02:53 PM ET

Billy Graham site removes Mormon 'cult' reference after Romney meeting

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Shortly after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney enjoyed cookies and soft drinks with the Rev.  Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham on Thursday at the elder Graham's mountaintop retreat, a reference to Mormonism as a cult was scrubbed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

In a section of the website called Billy Graham's My Answer there had been the question "What is a cult?"

Answer: "A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith."

"Some of these groups are Jehovah's Witnesess, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spritualists, Scientologists, and others," the site continued.

No longer. On Tuesday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed that page has recently been removed from the site.

“Our primary focus at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Ken Barun, chief of staff for the association, told CNN in a statement. "We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign."

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Romney is a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, members of which are known as Mormons.

The information about cults can be found on cached sections of the website on Archive.org from June 5, 2010.

The theological question of where Mormons fit on the religious spectrum has drawn more attention because of Romney's candidacy. Mormons consider themselves to be strong Christians. Many traditional Christian denominations disagree, though rank-and-file members have their own views on the matter.

The removal of the post from the Graham group's website was first noted by the New Civil Rights Movement website and then later by the Asheville Citizen-Times, which reported that the information on cults was accessed as recently as Thursday afternoon.

Last week's meeting between Romney and Graham was their first.

After the 30 minute sit-down in Montreat, North Carolina, just outside Asheville, Romney campaign spokesman Rick Gorka told reporters that Billy Graham led a prayer for the Romneys, saying "I'll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that."

The evangelist who has been called America's pastor and has prayed with every American president since Harry Truman said in a statement following the meeting that "It was a privilege to pray with Gov. Romney — for his family and our country."

Graham met with President Barack Obama in 2010 and with Sen. John McCain when he was the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in 2008.

"I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads," Graham's statement continued. "I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms."

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When asked about Graham's beliefs about Mormonism, Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross said in a statement that "Through an inclusive evangelistic ministry spanning more than 60 years, Mr. Graham was called to preach the transformative message of the Gospel to the whole world, regardless of one’s religious background, affiliation or none. As such, he never proselytized, targeted or labeled specific people, groups, faiths or denominations.

"Neither did Mr. Graham attempt to divide his audience before he had opportunity to preach to them. He has a genuine love for all people, and faithfully proclaimed the love of God to everyone, providing opportunity for them to respond by making a faith commitment.

"Mr. Graham’s calling is not to pass judgment, but to proclaim the biblical truth that Jesus is the only way to heaven, allowing every individual and group to fall along that plumb line," the statement went on.

"He further stressed that salvation is the work of Almighty God, and that only He knows what is in each human heart," the statement said.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, lists the LDS Church as a theological cult.  The Catholic Church also does not recognize Mormon baptisms as being theologically compatible with its own.

The LDS Church has long bristled at being called a cult.  Mormons note the many similarities and overlap between their teachings and that of other churches but point to their belief in other scriptures like the Book of Mormon as the reason they split with other churches.

In the 2012 campaign Romney has been generally quiet about his church, though his role as a lay church leader was prominently featured in the Republican National Convention, and his campaign has allowed members of the press pool accompanying Romney to film him attending services.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Billy Graham • Christianity

soundoff (4,065 Responses)
  1. Ben

    Huh. So I guess it DOESN'T take one to know one any longer.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      Ya, hindu devil has a family now.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  2. Cecil Nixxon

    If not for Governor Kit Bond rescinding the Missouri Executive Order 44 in 1976, we could still legally run them out of Missouri. Now we're stuck with the "Lying for the Lord" bunch. Yes, it's OK to lie if you're doing God's work. Right? There were compelling reasons behind the extermination order. Read your history books. Missouri stepped up to these apostates of hell.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      Same they did to create Christianity, end justifies the mean's.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Nancy Kozlowski

      You are sooo way off base about the LDS faith. I feel sorry for your ignorance, and will pray, as a Mormon, to the very same Jesus Christ that every Christian prays to, for your enlightenment. The one thing that Mormons DON'T do is to threaten others of other faiths as you are choosing to do here. We believe that everyone has a right to choose their faith, and that no one is better than anyone else. If you find that you are better than others, then maybe you need to return to the scriptures for enlightenment.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • urouttolunch

      Yo, STOP MURDER, etc.: Do you speak English? If so, please start using it in your postings. If not, find a place where people speak your language.

      October 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  3. Jack Be Humble

    I've never had a problem with Governor Romney's religion. As President of the United States (our Supreme Executive Authority), a person must be able to act without being directly influenced by another individual. While the LDS Church recognizes their Church President as a "Living Prophet" whose words come directly from God, I believe that Governor Romney would be able to set aside any conflicts of opinion and be the POTUS. And I'm not voting for the man.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Sailor101

      While he was gov. he did not turn his state into a Mormon Mecca so I highly doubt he will let his religion influence his decissions as President.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  4. Answer To Answer

    No I wasn't going to miss the flight to Kolob.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Answer

      Well good for you. If you can find your home planet that is.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  5. E1G1

    such is the "Christian Right" in 2012...any flip-flop or reversal is OK as long as it is intended to defeat Obama.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  6. dave

    That's the biggest load of s*** I've every read. I grew up and live amongst a rather large amount of Southern Baptists. Not only do they consider Mormonism an abomination and a cult, they think Catholicism is a twisted and strange religion (but will not go as far as they do with Mormonism). These very same people will claim to put God above all else including politics. This is proof positive that is not the case.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      Because they are, what they claim other's to be, hindu' cultist.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  7. ram

    Billy Graham is willing betray the faith he preached for decades for the sake of politics. This goes beyond disappointment. It is truly a sad day for evangelical Christians the world over.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      He never had one, but hinduism,BS for hindu's, ignorant s.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • karl

      You are all cults. Feel bad for yourself cause i do.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • reality check

      Mormons, in the temple, covenant that "every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ." Billy Graham got it right and I am ex-mormon.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Jen L

      He's been betraying his faith for a long time. It's about time you noticed.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  8. Mike

    Why are Baptist obsessed with calling any church that is not Baptist a cult?

    October 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Answer

      They can't afford to lose the money from branding other cults as cults.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      Because they are hindu's, cultist. They like to see their family grow.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Bobbie Anne Smith

      The reason why Baptists say that certain other religions are "cults" is because of these scriptures from the Bible: II John v.10-11.. If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine*, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:11... For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. & Romans 16:17-18...Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine* which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18.. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. *The doctrine of Jesus Christ

      August 12, 2013 at 1:11 am |
  9. Vinci

    Graham was an anti Mormon a couple of months ago. Oh wait, he was supporting Santorum at the time. But now that Romney is the only FakePublican left all a sudden Mormonism is a cool religion. The pastor has more hate for Obama than love for Jesus.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • reality check

      Mormons love Jesus too. Perhaps that's what Billy finally figured out....mutual love for the Savior.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  10. Purple Pimpernel

    Graham needs an REAL definition of a cult. For a scholarly definition of a cult, and an analysis of how the Mormon Church compares to that definition, see http://bit.ly/QRQ8Dm.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • ME II

      Wow, Godwin'd by the third paragraph. Efficient.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  11. Lizzy10

    A cult is any "religion" that does not allow a person to question teachings of that religion, that shuns anyone who deviates from their teachings.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  12. sybaris

    shazaam da badabing. You are no longer a cult

    All religions are cults

    All religionists are gullible

    October 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  13. Majav

    Well, if Billy Graham had already died, he would be rolling over in his grave. This is a cardinal example of the politicization of faith. Fundamentalism can be a cult too. This country is full of people who rely on sound bites and one liners for their news. The good news, the gospel, you'll have to go back to the source. The Bible. It is full of one liners too but it does not mention the Moroni. The Bible does not mention gay marriage either. The 47%? 14% tax rates for bzillionaires?

    What fine bedfellows Graham and the Quorum in Salt Lake City make. It makes me all the more gay.

    Any word on old Ratzinger recognizing the true universal faith (according to Mitt & Ann) of Mormonism? There are plenty of Lutherans and Baptists who think the Pope in Rome is Satan incarnate. Hold on, my phone is ringing...

    Gotta go, it's God. He wants me to vote of Obama. Imagine that... shame. And, I forgot to register to vote. Did you?

    October 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  14. Mark Smith

    Even the elite will be deceived!

    October 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  15. pbernasc

    what politics can do !... transform a cult into a legitimate Christian religion , ... never mind it denies Jesus and says the real Messiah came from a planet far far away ... the GOP is full of BS but most of all, the American people are stupid enough to fall for it

    October 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • ME II

      the GOP? seems like a religious person/organization made this flip-flop.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      "the GOP is full of BS but most of all, the American people are stupid enough to fall for it"

      I second that!

      October 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      I don't believe myself in the book of Morman nor do I think they have it right. That being said, you need to read about them. They believe Jesus is the Son of God and died for their sins. They accept him as their savior. So brace yourself, according to the Bible they will be in Heaven with all the other forgiven sinners like ourselves.

      October 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  16. KevininPHX

    So typical. The religious nutjobs are always going on and on about how their beliefs are rooted in the Bible, so they are unwavering and unchanging, always following "What is Written." Yeah, unless there's a good political opportunity, then it's like, oh whatever.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      They write hinduism, absurdities with their own hand and tell every one, it is from GOD, hindu Magi's, criminal tricksters.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  17. WhereIsPalin

    Hey Billy..........You removed the page from your website? WOW..........What's the deal? Have you been wrong all this time? Or, is it just convenient.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  18. STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    Hindu Billy, filthy Willie, GAWD of pagans, denier of truth absolute, sold his Satan soul, to highest bidder, for per sonal gain, filthy goon.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Answer

      Hey stupid.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Answer To Answer

      Hey Mormon.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Answer

      Hey christard.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Answer To Answer

      Hey underwear.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Answer

      Hey magic underwear.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Answer To Answer

      I gave up.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Answer

      Yea you did christard.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Answer To Answer

      No I wasn't going to miss my flight Mormon. I will catch up with you on Kolob.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Sailor101

      Can you say CooCoo for CoCo Puffs...I knew you could.

      October 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  19. tefera

    Shameful answer. God will ask you one day.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  20. STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    Visit limitisthetruth.com to learn truth about hinduism, denial of truth absolute called Christianity.

    October 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
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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.