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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. STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    thecollegeadmissionsguru
    hinduism, racism is hinduism, denial of truth absolute and Sanskrit is hinduism, corruption of Latin, language of truth absolute, La, truth absolute, constant is essence of existence, truth absolute existed before hinduism, corruption of truth absolute made to be hinduism absurdity called Sanskrit. by addition of 10 letter's and displacement of units of word's to justify hinduism, racism by hindu sanatan's filthy goon's, such as Plato. Latin was restored in form of Hebrew and later as Arabic.
    hinduism paganism is an import from north Africa and enforced by force in subcontinent and has not more than 3000 year's history in the area.

    October 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Shut The Fvk Up

      camel banger

      October 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      hindu's hind hurts, shafted with truth about his hinduism, absurdity.

      October 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  2. Dzerres

    When it comes to a choice between a black Christian and a white cult member the right wing tea bagging hate mongering "christians" go with the cult. Who would have guessed? Turn out everybody!

    October 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • reality check

      Mormons believe that Jesus is their Savior...that makes them Christian.

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

      It's sad that so few "Christians" understand what that word really means. Christ is Lord. Christ is God. The Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three facets of the same being. Jesus was not merely a creation or a child of God, but was the manifestation of God Himself upon the Earth. That's why we are called Christians. Because we worship Jesus, who is both our Savior AND our Lord. This has been the foundational definition of "Christian" for nearly 2000 years, and every major Christian religion, from the Baptists to the Catholics, believe it (albeit with some squabbling about the details).

      Mormons don't believe that. Mormons believe (like the Muslims, Hebrews, and other non-Christian Abrahamic faiths), that God is God and that everything else is a creation of God...including Jesus, who became a God himself. The Mormons do have a version of the Trinity called the Godhead, but it is made up of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, which are THREE INDEPENDENT Gods. Mormons are, by definition, polytheists (they believe in multiple gods). They are, by definition, not Christian. You can ONLY call Mormons Christian if you rewrite the 2000 year old definition of the word itself.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • ManicZ

      @BH

      The problem with Christianity is that it uses the Trinitarian belief as a basis on which to judge what is Christian and what isn't. THE TRINITY DID NOT EXIST WHEN CHRIST WAS HERE. It did not exist in the church he originally established. The whole idea of a Trinity was made up centuries after the original apostles were no longer around to challenge it. It is the result of a church drenched in apostasy. The Trinity has NOTHING to do with true Christianity!

      October 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • namwob

      Manicz, the gospels are full of references to the concept of "trinity". Jesus frequently refers to the "Father" and further states, "I and the Father are one". Also, prior to his ascension, he tells the disciples (quoting in essence), "I am going away, but in my place I will send a Comforter - the Spirit of truth, Who will guide you into all truth." No, the term "trinity" is not found in the gospels or the epistles, but the concept of "trinity" is frequently encountered.

      October 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  3. CaesarXIII

    Organized religion is the biggest cults in existence.

    October 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Guest

      It blatantly obvious, that you do have have a clue of what a cult is, by that comment!

      October 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  4. jdmdetroit

    Wait... UNITARIANS are a cult? What a hateful old fool!

    October 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  5. back when Billy was getting around a bit more . . .

    October 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Ronda in Houston, TX

      You have a sense of humor. Thank you..this made me laugh out loud in my meeting.....

      October 16, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  6. joekenya

    I gues cookies and soft drinks makes you a Christian in the eyes of the Father & Son Billy and ole Frankie

    October 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  7. RCH

    ....and why is this News???

    October 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Amhlair

      Umm, because it's in the Belief Blog and many believers are interested. Aren't you?

      October 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  8. bbqmasterofdisaster

    They are all cults for the weak minded. Kids, it's ok to be smarter than your parents and not buy into the lies.

    October 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  9. ME II

    "...he never proselytized, targeted or labeled specific people, groups, faiths or denominations."

    Other than calling "specific people, groups, faiths or denominations" cults, that is:
    "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,"

    October 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  10. J. Davis in Knoxville, TN

    Billy Graham needs to get out of politics, as do other ministers. Remember, there is supposed to be separation of church and state in America per our founding fathers who were very wise.
    I don't think any minister should tell their people how to vote. Let people weigh the issues and decide for themselves.
    Personally, I think the Mormon Church is a cult, especially those types like Warren Jeffs. I don't believe any of that stuff Joseph Smith most likely just made up as he went.

    October 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • RCH

      Mr. Davis I am with YOU!!!

      October 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • mythoughts

      Gentlemen, Mr Jeffs is NOT a mormon. Your statements are misguided. Agreed, there should be a separation of religion and politics. I think Mr Romney has done a great job of being honest about his personal faith and keeping his focus on what he will do if elected President. Two separate issues.

      October 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Dan

      Right on! Let's only listen to actors, actresses, athletes, rap stars and other such noble and wise minded people. Those dang ministers don't have the freedom of speech like every other American.

      October 16, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Netscanr

      Yo, My Thought... What do you think of Mitt striving to overturn Roe vs. Wade if he's elected? Perfect example of HIS personal beliefs being FORCED on the American people!

      October 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  11. citizensp

    Mormons are still a cult.

    October 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • RCH

      Just like the the L. Ron Hubbard cult...LOL RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN

      October 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • reality check

      Jesus was a cult member too! Just sayin'

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

      @Reality check-Jesus is NOT a cult member! Don't know where you get your info from!

      October 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Mike

      @Guest..... You are right he was the cult leader

      October 16, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Acdsasf

      Good one Mike.

      October 16, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Matthew

      cult- A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object (dictionary.com). Christianity is a cult.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  12. teej

    This would be hilarious if it weren't so scary.

    October 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  13. joekenya

    I've been waiting for this: God love him but Billy Graham his son and his whole ministry is racist: Its absolutely that he would Endorse someone of the Mormon faith over someone of the Christian Faith such as our president. The Graham's would endorse Jason Thompson who along with the Republican party want's to send 47 percent of the country back to Kenya and Mexico. Its amazing to note also, someone who is supposed to be as biblically sound as the graham's dont recognize that the Muslim faith is closer in line to the Christian faith than tha Mormon Faith ever will be... good ole Billy God love him

    October 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • J. Davis in Knoxville, TN

      Billy Graham apparently doesn't believe that the pro-life issue extends beyond the womb. Supporting George Bush and the wars he got us into is not pro-life in any way in my view. Think of all the Americans no longer with us (mostly young men and women) because of the Republican foreign policy to go to war for no just reason. Graham's and his son's views just turn me off completely, always have.

      October 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  14. luigim

    Oy, Billy, pack your bags for the planet Kolob. Been there, done it, at the Pasadena Stake. It is fake and it is a cult not a religion. They wrap themselves in the cloak of Jesus Christ.

    October 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  15. pitt04

    BTW; Jehovahs Witnesses are NOT A CULT!

    October 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • ME II

      and we know it's true because of the capitalization.

      October 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • JR

      I think they are called freaks.

      October 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Guest

      Actually, you're incorrect. Jehovah's Witnesses most certainly ARE a cult!

      October 16, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Phazon

      Pitt they are not people think they are a cult cause God doesn't want them to celebrate pagan holidays and they don't believe in the non scriptural teaching of life in heaven when you die or a hell when your bad.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:28 am |
    • Tarkin

      No, they are a cult because they do not believe Jesus rose from the dead – they believe he was just a ghost.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  16. Average_Casey

    Everyone who thinks that Mormons aren't Christians, the official name of the church is: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. How could a church that calls itself the church of Jesus Christ not be a Christian church? The answer is that mormons are christians.

    October 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • luigim

      Nope. I joined in the 1960s. They wrap themselves in the "Cloak" of Jesus Christ but they are cultists. Any plans for a trip to the planet Kolob. Read up on their doctorine. Joseph Smith was ....hmmm, 14 years old?

      October 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Maria Carvalho

      Yes? Do Christian believe that the second coming happened and Jesus came back and preached to the Mayas? Do Christians believe that God is married and lives with his familily on another planet? Do Christians believe that we will be given our own planet and we will be GODS in there? Mormomism is not only a cult but a dangerous one. And about missions, they don't really do missionary work, they proselytize and then create closed communities. If your are not a Mormon, don't expect any help.

      October 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • B Superman

      Yeah, right...........

      October 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Dave

      @Average_Casey, have you ever heard of the Church of Satan? I guess your argument would apply too

      October 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • tjkarani

      The Mormons are just as much Christians as a drunken homeless man who starts a religion based on having a piece of toast that looks like Jesus.

      October 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Theo

      Just because I walk into my garage and call myself a car doesn't make it so.

      October 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Amhlair

      Haven't the Mormons given up this dumb argument? Um, the Church of Scientology isn't a church nor is it scientific. But they have those in their NAME, how could they not be? Because they lied. Get the hint?

      October 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Guest

      No, Mormons are not Christians. Why, because they deny the trinity, they deny that Jesus is God. Having Jesus Christ written on the outside of your church, DOES NOT a Christian make! I attend St. Francis and NOWHERE on the outside of my church is the name Jesus Christ listed, so does that mean I'm not a Christian? It doesn't work that way! The name on the outside of the church, has NOTHING to do with being a Christian.

      October 16, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Guest

      Mormons DO NOT allow anyone that is not a Mormon into their temple. ALL Christian churches, including the Catholic Church do NOT turn people away of other religions. Christian churches, openly accept anyone who enters their doors! The Mormon church will NOT allow this unless you are a Mormom. IF they were Christian, they would do as God does and ACCEPT people of all faiths. Christ doesn't turn anyone away, the Mormons do! BIG difference!

      October 16, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Lew

      Casey, please dont try the brainwashing here , that works in the LDS church, where every single first sunday people will say " I know this is the ONLY TRUE CHURCH ' , that came and was taught from Joseph Smith, who had 33 wives , ever wonder why Emma Smith didn't go to Utah ? or why she didn't stop her son Joseph Smith III from starting another church ?

      Casey , was in the church for 36 yrs, do you homework, oh, Elder Cook last week said repent for being on the internet , shame on your Csey for being on the internet

      October 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Sarah

      And Samuel was a boy prophet. Just because someone is young doesn't mean that they can't be called of God. Joseph was a boy when he was sold into slavery, David was a boy when he slew Goliath, Daniel was a boy when he stood up for his morals. Christ was twelve when he was in the temple teaching the doctors. Age means little. As a matter of fact we are told to be as a child, humble, meek, submissive, maybe Joseph Smith was chosen because he was all of those things and he was prepared to recieve the truth bit by bit. Even if you don't believe him, the fact that he was insulted and persecuted by church leaders was wrong. They should have tried to correct him instead of ridicule him.

      October 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • TruBTold

      False... Latter Day Saints believe that Jesus Christ came to America after his crucifiction and preached to the native americans...that would be a second coming...no protestant BELIEVES THAT HOOEY! The Latter Day Saints also believe that there is no Holy Ghost and that Satan is a son of God as is Jesus Christ. There is no christian denomination and no reference in the Bible to any of this.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Todd

      are you people really serious arguing about what religion is right. look at it this way to each his own. im a jack mormon i believe in my church but i smoke and swear i drink coffee but i don't belittle the christen person who do's not do anything like that because thats what he believes in. So in all honesty you people are brow beating on peoples beliefs that has nothing to do with you. It all comes down to this WE ALL BELIEVE IN GOD that's all that matters

      October 17, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Netscanr

      Your simplistic and naive statement demonstrates the simplicity of your beliefs. Furthermore, missionaries in-training literally learn EVERYTHING there is to know about your faith in less than 6 months & are 'elders'. Another observation is that Christian-based religions have many 'mysteries' with no human explanation. Mormons have an answer for EVERYTHING.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  17. Cyp

    Hypocrites

    October 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  18. Mark

    That guy sure folded like a cheap suit. Kind of ironic that he's judging the convictions of other chrisians and then totally disavows his own words at the slightest bit of pressure. Jesus would be proud! lol.

    October 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Ronda in Houston, TX

      Billy Jr. is trying to save his father's legacy. If you think of it, where would Billy Jr. be if not for his father? Oh, one moment...he would be like Romney. After all, Romney is trying to fulfill what his father could not...to be president of the united states. But sometimes, things do repeat themselves for just like his father, Romney will also NOT be POTUS.

      October 16, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Bill

      Billy Graham doesn't like being too confrontational. He was rather weak in condemning some of the craziness of the charismatic movement a few years back. But Billy doesn't really seem to be running things these days. Franklin is the one I am wondering about. Seriously though I don't think Jesus would vote for EITHER of the two major party candidates this election, neither is fit to be president.

      October 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  19. dread

    Mormons are the biggest cult ever. It like saying westboro baptist church isn't a cult.

    October 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • B Superman

      Agreed. Mormons are members of a cult.

      October 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Amhlair

      Anyone who believe this is a cult: "The Roman Catholic, Greek, and Protestant church, is the great corrupt, ecclesiastical power, represented by great Babylon..." This from Mormon ‘apostle’ Orson Hyde. He also said, "And any person who shall be so wicked as to receive a holy ordinance of the gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent of the unholy and impious act."

      President Romney, Christians?

      October 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • reality check

      Moses committed murder and he is still followed as prophet by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.

      Mormon prophets are considered only men and simply because they speak, their words aren't canon even if people think they are as the fact remains they are fallible humans. There is no gospel doctrine that attests to the wordsamhlair. FYI I am ex-mormon and agnostic. I simply detest liars!

      October 16, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  20. Chat Pata

    Change in religious beliefs depending on political needs. LOL

    October 16, 2012 at 3:57 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.