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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.

    To learn hinduism, corruption of truth absolute called hindu, pagan Christianity visit limitisthetruth.com

    October 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • GAW

      Your posts shows you need to get back on your meds.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  2. Journey

    This only reiterates that even the most basic moral values that American's have held have collapsed under the weight of Obama/Biden Administration. They have ruined our economy so much even our elders have to grovel and sell out for money.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Erik

      Your shameless rhetoric is not working.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Journey

      Shameless rhetoric?...the truth hurts.

      Romney/Ryan 2012

      October 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Jesus is dead.

      Utter crap. Correlation is not causation.
      By that logic, the fact the sun came up this morning, caused all the murders today to happen.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Francois

      I've always thought it was a metaphor but its true – folks like you DO live in a bubble.

      Stinking, f*****g rich Billy Graham "grovelling for money", indeed!

      October 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Veritas

      Your evidence for that?

      October 16, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Journey, you're dumb as a bag of hair and far less interesting.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  3. Erik

    I can not believe he has lived 90 years and now this and for all you jokesters making fun, need to quit. Mormonism is a cult founded by a religious pervert nut by the name of Joseph Smith who was a huge racist! yeah buddy I am real sure God gave you the book of mormon and you were a racist evil man with many wives! NOT! Look Joseph Smith up and you will discover eho he was, God doesn't speak to people like that!

    October 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Reverend Sea Bass

      How does god communicate with people? Telepathy? Via email? Or exclusively through burning bushes? Either way this is an exact science.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Cpt Kirk

      And God still needs a starship.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Jesus is dead.

      Yup. Just like Saul of Tarsus started my cult. Christianity.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Erik

      Are you questioning God? God is the master of Science, he communicates with people through divine intervention and the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus came, he spoke to people directly, you know he is God, how can you question the one who is the master of all and can do all? One thing I do know is he did not speak the that racist Joseph Smith, which makes the entire Mormon religion a big cult lie, I am ashamed of Billy Graham!

      October 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Bones

      You just don't ask the Almighty for his ID

      October 16, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Francois

      Is it any more ridiculous than believing in an invisible man in the sky?

      October 16, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Too bad there is no god to question. Try harder.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  4. BWood

    It saddens me, first LU and now Billy Graham have sold their souls to the "devil". Jesus wept......

    October 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • GAW

      And don't forget the new Mormon style lingerie. "Rise Up oh Man of God Brand"

      October 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • GAW

      Oops this was for another post.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  5. Reverend Sea Bass

    Reportedly Mittens disrobed and showed Billy his magic underwear.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  6. Brampt

    Bill Graham forgot to put his religion on the so called cult group... what his religion teaches in non biblical...things like, Jesus is GOD, hellfire, participating in politics, life after death...ALL NON BIBLICAL TEACHING! But poor guy, hes 90 years old...!

    October 16, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Erik

      Sorry Buddy the Bible does say Jesus is God, try studying it and you will see that, until then please sit down. Read John 1, which states that Jesus and God are the same, also read where Jesus states that if you have ssen him you have seen there Father and also where he says He and His Father are one, which are in the Bible as well, since you are such a smarty I will let you find that one yourself. Also HELL IS VERY REAL MY FRIEND AND THE BIBLE CLEARLY TALKS ABOUT THAT TO. The Bible says there will be weeping and knashing of teeth in hell etc. You clearly do not know the Bible just like you are clearly wrong about Christianity being a cult, I revuke you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. You have been rebuked, no need to respond! lol You lose!

      October 16, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      The bible saying anything proves nothing. The words in the bible were written by believers about what they believed. It the definition of circular. There were many "sons" of god. You need a biblical education.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Brampt

      27 For [God] “subjected all things under his ( Jesus ) feet.” But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected,’ it is evident that it is with the exception of the one ( God ) who subjected all things to him .28 But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone. (1 Corth 15:27,28) Jesus is not God.

      And to Adam he said: “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and took to eating from the tree concerning which I gave you this command, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground on your account. In pain you will eat its produce all the days of your life.18 And thorns and thistles it will grow for you, and you must eat the vegetation of the field.19 In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3 – God didnt send Adam to a hellfire.

      Erick.... Can you explain these passages to me?

      October 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Brampt

      “I make request, not concerning these only, but also concerning those putting faith in me through their word;21in order that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union with us, in order that the world may believe that you sent me forth.
      John 17. So if Jesus is the same as the father the ones putting faith in him have to be all one, then God, Christ and christ followers all all GOd??!

      October 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Cheyenne

      finally, someone with a brain in their skull! thank you Jesus! you're the only one who knows their bible here

      October 16, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Brampt

      LOL, Erick, you rebuked me in the name of Jesus??? LOL, You dont even believe in what he taught how could you rebuke in the name of JEsus?? LOL!!

      October 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Erik,
      I rebuke you in the name of The Lord Jesus Christ. Stand ye therefore, rebuked. Judge not lest ye be judged.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  7. Jesus H. Christian

    My religion is truthier than your religion!

    October 16, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Moron i Believer

      Is not! Mine is truthiest of all!

      October 16, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Jesus H. Christian

      Your religion is the phony invention of some old nutty huckster.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Moron i Believer

      So was yours! Your religion only looks better because it is older, and it's harder to see what the people involved really were.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Jesus H. Christian

      If people could see what Joseph Smith was actually doing, they would know him for the obvious fraud he is.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Moron i Believer

      Yeah, like if they were in Jerusalem when Jesus was doing his miracles, they would do a lot of NOT seeing, like not seeing Jesus walk on water or resurrect or turn water into wine.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  8. bubba's cousin

    REAL Mormons DON"T drink Sodas, Soft Drinks...

    October 16, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • GAW

      How about Hawaiian Punch?

      October 16, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • sparky

      A nice Hawaiian Punch? May be too violent. . .

      October 16, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Rinsewind

      More precisely, they don't drink caffeinated beverages, including colas. Uncaffeinated sodas are just fine.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Francois

      That's 'cause REAL Mormons drink splooge.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  9. Journey

    Man...people even have to sell their souls in this economy to pay the rent. The Obama Administration has destroyed this Nation.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Hortense

      Y'know, you can always read about what life was like for people back in the thirties before whining about "how bad" it is now. And, of course, it's "Obama's fault."

      Enjoy the next four years under the Dems.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • PepCap

      800,000 lost jobs a month, 2 unfunded unwanted wars one illegal to the world. Financials shot down. The stock market more than doubled in the past 4 years, and u wanna go back to failed policies?? Please.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • PepCap

      yes lets bring back the policies that got us there!!!

      October 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • chestnut brown canary

      a journey that sees no further than the end of his political leaning has not traveled no further than the end of his driveway
      I'm like Buddha, brother, get enlightened
      go to a dirt road
      laugh
      live
      love

      October 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Whaddaya call two nuts on a chin?

      chestnut, that's f*****g deep, man.

      I gotta go beat-off

      October 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  10. Gahanna branding

    The site very exclusive. i am happy to know about the site. because it is helpful for me. thanks.

    Gahanna branding
    http://www.theaspiregroup.org

    October 16, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  11. JMorcan

    Mormonism – a false religion founded by a false prophet. Biilly Graham has merely sold his faith again. No one should be surprised.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • chestnut brown canary

      Let's predict the distant earth. 20 years on. I see nothing.
      All it takes and this is what is going to happen. The earth shifts on it axis.
      Everything and everyone, above or below ground is either crushed or will wish they had been.
      One place is not touched.
      Eden. Where it always has been.
      South of your dreams

      October 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • OneTruth

      Did you spend too long in the coal mine?

      October 16, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  12. GAW

    Well Jesus must be rolling in his ossuary as we speak. Oops where did that come from?

    October 16, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  13. PS

    Is there no one who realizes that Mitt Romney's cultish Mormon religion is the single most important issue in this election? The Book of Mormon? The Golden Plates the huckster Joseph Smith "found"?
    Too bad L.Ron Hubbard isn't around–Scientology and Mormonism are on a par, both "founded" by snake oil salesmen. Amazing.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • churchill's cousin

      Mormonism has been replaced as the fastest growing religion – it has been replaced by Atheism
      Figure that one out ...

      October 16, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  14. carola erickson

    I wonder how much of a "love offering" Mr. Billy & Co. got from this crook

    October 16, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  15. GAW

    Franklin is pulling the strings. I think most of us know that already.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  16. buzz

    Sold his soul.....

    October 16, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • harvester

      ... to Rock 'n Roll ?

      October 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    I just wrote off Billy Graham as a loser and a liar. If he believed it the 1st 90 years of his life, how much was he paid to change his mind.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Why are you so

      slow? Seriously. You JUST wrote him off? He's always been terrible.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:10 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.

    To learn hinduism, corruption of truth absolute called Christianity visit limitisthetruth.com

    October 16, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  19. Snow

    I guess it only takes money and promise of power for billy to reinterpret the message of god for his sheeple.. is it surprising? are people gonna continue letting themselves be duped by these kind of people? when do they learn to think for themselves?

    October 16, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  20. CS Madison

    Wonder what kind of "47%" line Mitt fed Billy to get him to take down the cult references?

    October 16, 2012 at 8:59 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.