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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. MIT

    At least he isn't Muslim like Obama

    October 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Original

      LOL. Wow, I never heard that one before. Did you come up with that by yourself?

      October 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  2. Mark

    Proving once again that the only thing stronger than one's religious convictions is his political affiliation. Sad.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  3. Mike

    It's really pretty easy to understand the biggest difference between Mormonism and mainstream Christianity:

    Mormons believe that Jesus is A son of God, but is NOT God. Thus, to Mormons, Jesus is NOT a member of the trinity (another concept they do not even believe in) and, thus, is NOT a deity.

    Mainstream Christians and Catholics believe that Jesus is the ONLY son of God, that He IS a member of the trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and, thus, IS a deity.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Athy

      And I don't believe in either option.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • jsmith

      another idiot that does not know what hes talking about

      October 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Mark

      Mormons also believe that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers. In their religion, Jesus was preferred to Lucifer because Jesus wanted man to sin so that they could appreciate God more. Lucifer didn't want man to sin so God cursed him. Let that sink in for a while....

      October 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Mormons are at an awkward stage in which they haven't really decided what they believe. Embarrassing stuff from their origins still clings to them. But they know they're Americans by Jingo.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • fred

      Mark
      Thank you for that. It gave me a taste of what ahteists must think when I tell them about Cain and Able.
      Tell me now is there any truth to what you are saying because the LDS web site does not address this.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Mark

      Fred:

      If you have a book of Mormon, look up 2 Nephi 2:22-25. I have a copy given to me by a Mormon missionary that visited me. Or you can just google it. For your convenience, I'll copy it here:

      2 Nephi 2:22-25
      22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

      23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

      24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

      25 Adam fell that men might be; and men care, that they might have joy.

      According to my studies of Mormonism (and the Mormon missionaries that have visited me), the LDS church teaches that it was this plan, described in part in 2 Nephi, that lucifer didn't support which lead to him being cursed...according to mormons. They actually believe that if Adam hadn't of sinned we wouldn't have any joy (see the above text in 2 Nephi)! But if you want my opinion, this is contrary to Biblical teaching. It was Lucifer that wanted us to sin...not God....not Jesus.

      Also according to them, Jesus is a created being and a brother of Lucifer...though they do not view them as equals obviously. The Bible teaches that Jesus is not a created being but is God and has always been but allowed Himself to be made flesh so that we could be saved.

      Mormons are wonderful people, but Mormonism is a cult. It is a shame and a tragedy that Christians are changing their opinion of the Mormon religion just because the current Republican candidate is a Mormon.

      October 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • fred

      Mark,
      If Mitt gets elected I will read the Book of Mormon and some of the LDS current interpretations of the Bible in the last 10 years. If he does not get elected I will not have time to read because I will need to work extra hours to cover my extra taxes, heath insurance and cost of energy.
      Not sure which evil is more beneficial for me. According to 2 Nephi 2:22-25 I need to suffer through 4 more years of Obama to experience real joy in the next election.
      Thanks for the verse !

      October 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  4. Jeff

    Hey, the Mormons decided that blacks weren't evil and could be allowed priesthood back in 1978. Now Billy Graham scrubs them from cult status. Do you think he believes that Jesus was hanging out in New York after he was resurrected?

    October 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  5. army61w

    Remember 4 years ago when all of you were talking about how terrible it would be to have a non-Christian President?

    October 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Republican Bob

      We selectively forget everything before this present presidency. Because before it was guy The Shrub, who sorta kinda ran the deficit way up and started two pointless wars and wrecked the economy and little stuff like that, which people seem to think means that we Republicans can't select a decent candidate for the life of us.

      Yeah. I have no clear recollection of four years ago. I think four years ago is just a libtard commie myth that never happened, and you can't prove it didn't

      October 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  6. BH

    What a lying, conniving shriveled up old fossil. I always thought he was just another old "snake-oil" salesman. Now it's true. Just a washed up old con-artist. Sick!!!

    October 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • army61w

      Yeah, admitting you're wrong and overcoming ignorance suck.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Billy lost the ability to recognize himself several years-ago. Sad, but a normal stage of life.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • BH

      He lost the ability to recognize honesty and integrity a log time ago.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  8. jsmith

    You Have a Mormon President//you fools don't know your scriptures and if you read them you do not understand them...no more partying in white house..get over it

    October 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  9. calin

    They're is a lot of bigotry against Mormons on here. Do any of you think Mormons care what you un-christ like people think about their religion? No they don't. Sorry.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • army61w

      I think it's just generally true that nobody cares what Bible thumpers are going on about.

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

      good calin

      October 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • onestarman

      MORMONS don't care about ANY of US 'Lesser Beings' – They have been told that if they perform all the RITUALS they will become GODS (Just like Jesus and his Brother LUCIFER) and their Own Planet – so who cares about EARTH – and all Non-Mormons can ONLY aspire to be 'Ministering Angel' SERVANTS of the Mormon GODS.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  10. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Think of all the thousands who heeded the altar-call to come to the Jesus Billy preached. Looks like Billy's off that now. Would that the thousands could get free of the delusion Billy probably never shared.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  11. NoTags

    As I did, many Christians gave up on Billy Graham years ago when he accepted 'New Age Religion' theology.

    Billy Graham no longer accepts that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life as written in John 14:6. Billy Graham's 'change' should be a great example to Christians of just how powerful Satan's influence is on the world.

    Paul stated is his epistle to the Christians of Galatia; "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!" Galatians 1:8 (KJV)

    Billy Graham is now preaching that contrary gospel, and has been since he converted to the 'New Age Religion' theology.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Timmy saves up his lawn mowing money and buys a Kalashnikov

      So you prefer "Old Age Christianity" instead?

      October 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  12. Journey

    The only religion in any American's heart is politics and keeping up with the Jones. This is probably the most honest sermon BG ever gave his flock.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Timmy saves up his lawn mowing money and buys a Kalashnikov

      Why would anyone want to keep up with Brian Jones?

      October 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  13. Sally

    Who cares either way. Mitt Romney will be a much better leader than the current "lead from behind" President Obama, because Gov. Romney has proven he can get things done, even in a heavily Democratic state. He can get our country back on solid financial ground and, when the economy is growing, everyone benefits. Incomes rise, tax revenues rise, win-win. Simple common sense. I hope people will vote with their heads. It's important to think for yourself and do your own research before choosing. It shouldn't be a popularity contest.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Journey

      Uh...last I checked all elections were "popularity contests"...just food for thought Sally.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • The Renaissance of Racism

      For someone asking people to think with their heads, you apparently haven't researched Romney's record in Mass much.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  14. wanda

    Raised in the Baptist Church and was taught all of my life that being a Morman was being in a cult!! Shame on you Billy Graham and son(Probably who is behind this) for going back on what you believe for a election!! Just for the record, really don't care if is is a Morman or not, but would like him to tell the truth!! I guess it is anothere one of those it's OK, because it is justified for the cause!

    October 16, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Ting

      Raised in the Baptist Church and was taught all of my life that being a Morman was being in a cult!!

      It's okay. Not everyone has good parents. It's never too late to seek help.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  15. us_1776

    Billy Graham does not speak for Christians.

    Billy Graham speaks for Billy Graham.

    .

    October 16, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I think in this case it is Franklin Graham who is speaking for Billy Graham.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, I don't think Billy is really with it anymore.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      All arranged by Mark DeMoss – accolyte of Jerry Falwell, Franklin's PR guy for 21 years and Mittens' evangelical outreach ambassador.

      If Mittens wins the White House, Mark DeMoss will be recognized as the new Karl Rove.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Franklin sure does love the Franklins, and the Grants, and the Jacksons and the Hamiltons.

      The Koch Bros have lots of these that Mitt's SuperPACs could easily donate to Franklin's next crusade.

      October 16, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  16. Texico

    ATTN KMART SHOPPERS....it's now offical. Billy Graham is now a FRAUD!!!! I always thought that out of all the Bible thumpers he was the most sincere....well there goes that!!!! BILLY GRAHAM YOU SIR ARE A FRAUD!!!!

    October 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  17. jsmith

    Get over it fools ..you have a mormon president..ff fools

    October 16, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  18. army61w

    Haha. They didn't say it wasn't a cult, they just removed it from the website. Classy.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  19. jc30436

    So....... After YEARS of almost every baptist, holiness, church of god, and other denominations teaching that mormonism is a cult, all of a sudden, they're WRONG? Well...... in that case, WHAT OTHER LIES HAVE YOU BEEN TEACHING? WHAT ELSE ARE YOU WRONG ABOUT?

    October 16, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  20. Bill

    Billy graham is a racist and on his way to H.e.l.l.

    October 16, 2012 at 7:34 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.