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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. Truth

    If it was possible to reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  2. Erik

    Reverend Sea Bass
    You are telling me to grow up and you are going around calling people f tards? lol this is hillarious and if I grew up in the middle east I would still be a Christian, the gospel message is preached there as well and it makes the most sense, especially when I have experienced God's supernatural power for myself!

    October 16, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Answer

      LOL.

      What a joke.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Truth

      Wow. You truly are a fvcking tard. If you grew up in the middle east you would be forced into Islam, much like your parents forced christianity on you.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Brampt

      Erick, you say you have experience Gods supernatural power...LOL! if you dont believe in what is really taught by Christ and dont follow the God he preached about, how could you experience the power of someone you dont really know??

      October 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  3. Erik

    I am planning a faith-based book burning in which all science books will be destroyed. Religion is awesome.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Fool. YOU go to the doctor when you get sick. Not just pray. YOU take antibiotics when you get sick. Not just pray. YOU go to the hospital, not just pray. YOU call 911 when you have chest pain. Not just pray. YOU would use DNA, (which proves Evolution), if you were in prison, to get out. Not just pray.
      To sum up, YOU at one hell of a gigantic LIAR, full of false pride, and arrogance.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Erik thinks he is smarter than all the National Academy of Science.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Erik

      God is science I would never destroy science. However, I would destroy any literature that preaches evolution that occurs without God. Oh and by the way, the other genius who is posing as me talking about burnign science books is not the real Erik, I am. Nice try though.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who cares? You're both brain-dead cretins.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      God is not testable. You don't even know what science means.

      October 16, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Well, you're never going to get the chance to burn books. So drop it.

      October 16, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Erik

      Brampt, you make no sense. i do believe in what Christ taught and just because I do not follow it all the time does not make me a non believer, it makes me a sinner saved by grace and a imperfect human being, that is why we all have to die, because we are all born in sin and shaped in iniquity. NEXT!

      October 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Good luck finding a publisher, Erik the Dim.

      October 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Erik is so slow he can't figure out how to reply to another poster. I guess his mommy still has to help him tie his shoes...

      October 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  4. Chick-a-dee

    So? All this means is that Graham, or at least his endorsement, can be bought.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  5. Erik

    Sorry again buddy Saul stood nothing to gain from preaching but getting killed like he did. he gained nothing from preaching salvation through Jesus Christ. he went from being a rich Jew by the name of Saul who had the land and people at his feet to an outcast who was hated and eventually persecuted for his faith, any questions? i didn't think so.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  6. Reverend Sea Bass

    All religions are cults. The only difference is population and political clout. There is no evidence Christianity is more legitimate than Mormonism or any other religion. These are facts.

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

      You are a liar and have no facts, you are going on your on mind, which is full of ignorant cluelessness.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Reverend Sea Bass

      Erik–Grow up fvcktard. You are only religious because you are told to be, like a complacent sheep. If you were born in the middle east, your fanatic personality would have you blowing up children. Wake up.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Erik, did that post of yours make sense when you typed it?

      October 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  7. Broadcasting

    "When one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion." – Robert Pirsig

    October 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Erik

      And another idiot, I am sure you aren't looking forward to death lol what a loser.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Are you looking forward to death, Erik?

      How fvcking stupid ARE you?

      October 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  8. Journey

    All religious arguments aside...President Obama and company created an environment in this Nation where people (1.) shouldn't have moral convictions, and (2.) have to whatever it takes to pay the rent. Billy Graham is only as strong as his leaders, no different than the rest of us.

    Vote Strength...Vote Romney/Ryan 2012.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Journey

      correction: have to DO whatever it takes to pay the rent...

      Romney/Ryan 2012...no mistake there.

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

      Yah go and vote for the magic underwear guy. LOL

      October 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Correction: The founding fathers created an environment in this Nation where anyone can have any "moral conviction" he want based on any anything or nothing at all. They wanted to protect the protestant reformation and gave us moral relativism because according to the const.itution nothing at all is objectively true and no one has to believe anything at all. The problem is systemic and has been fostered by generations of protestant politi.tions. Just because atheists twist this ammendment to shove non-belief down everyone's throat don't try to blame it on the current executive administration.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Bush tanked the economy. Now we HAVE to do whatever it takes to pay the rent...and R&R will give themselves & their fat cat buddies all the rest and relaxation they can handle while the rest of us struggle along with lower wages, higher costs, more bills, no benefits and no pensions. No thanks.

      October 16, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  9. fritz

    When the sealed Nixon tapes went public, I vividly recall an audio tape of Billiy Graham talking with Nixon. Nixon declared to Graham that "Something has to be done about the Jews," in this country. Graham whole heartedly agreed and they began discussing the matter of how to 'deal' with the Jewish problem. I never thought much about Billy Graham except that he was a high profile preacher. But after that, I knew what he was. I don't know if he hates other religions but his own, but he certainly hates Jews. And if he claims otherwise, he is a liar. I heard the tape.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  10. just wondering

    So much for MORALITY and POLITIC'S

    October 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  11. plainjame

    Am I missing something? Graham wants a candidate who will "defend our RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS," yet "support the BIBLICAL definition of marriage." Well...WHICH IS IT?

    October 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Yes Biblical marriage. Man + woman + women"s slave + concubines. Yup. We're all for that. Yes indeedy.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  12. Dan

    Could everyone grow up and stop this absurd, magical, religious nonsense? It makes you all sound so foolish.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Everyone disappears

      Can you go somewhere to discuss things you don't find objectionable? Or are you here specifically to stir the pot and create trouble?

      October 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  13. If I Only Had a Brain

    The irony is that Billy G isn't going to get to go to Willard's "heaven," i.e., the Celestial Kingdom where God and Jesus walk around. Nope, even the mighty Billy G isn't going to get to meet God and Jesus according to the Mormon theology. Why? Because Billy G isn't Mormon. Only good Mormons, who are married, have been sealed in the Temple, follow the D&C, etc. are going. to the Celestial Kingdom. ONLY MORMONS!! The rest of us will have our souls shipped off to the Telestial Kingdom if we're kinda good - probably where all the Chick-Fil-A folks and Catholics will end out, and then the Terrestial Kingdom will be for the rest of us (probably the Hindus, Jews and Muslims . . . LOL). Ask Williard if you think I'm lying. Ask Willard if billy G is going to get up there with him to the Celestiial Kingdom. Of course, the LDS has that all figured out too . . .and they'll just commandeer your body and perform a ritual for you when you're dead if you're of any importance at all. Yeah they're not a cult all right . . . {rolling eyes}

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

      Where are the mormon apologists / defenders on this post? lol

      October 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  14. popeye

    Amazing! Hypocrisy at its finest. Graham is a senile old man.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  15. Dave

    Faith is a mental illness.

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

      Actually, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

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

      I don't think 'faith' is a mental illness. It is a trait of the lazy or weak mind. 'Critical thought' is the opposite of 'faith'. It is the inclination or propensity to be gullible. My personal definition of 'faith' is the tendancy to believe the spoken or written words of other humans without verification. Faith is easy. It requires nothing to have it. It is much more difficult to be a critical thinker.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  16. Jerry

    I find it funny that right wing religious nut jobs like Billy Graham hate Obama more than they hate cults. It is incredible how hate will cloud your judgement. I think that most right wings religious conservatives would hate Romney and consider him the antichrist if they only had someone other than Obama to vote for. If hatred, lies, and fear can win an election, Romny will win in a landslide!!! God save the republic!

    October 16, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  17. Euna Rugg

    Meg
    Shame on you, all of you that probably claim to be Christian, judging the Rev. Billy Graham. He is a Godly man, and he knows what he is doing. Just because you say or think " Mormonism " is a " cult, " does not make it so. God will be the judge of it, and I know what He will say. You spend your time working out your salvation, and I am sure the " Mormons," will work at theirs.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You "know what He will say" and you're pizzing on others for "judging?"

      October 16, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      How exactly do you know his ambitious son is not using his senile father ?

      October 16, 2012 at 9:36 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, he is a GOWDLY, belly man, pure hindu, pagan, always looking around to fill his GOWD, belly like a hindu, hungry dog.

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

      But does he feed his squirrels ?

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

      There is no god. Your life, your soul, is electric signals in your brain, and when they stop, you are gone.

      Mormonism IS a cult, but then again all religions are, too. Faith is a mental illness akin to schizophrenia.

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

      And we know "memory" is partially dependent on DNA, (genetics). Consciousness is constant inflow of sensory data, referenced to memory, stored ONLY in brain cells.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Answer

      @Dave

      You're better off with schizophrenia than with any religion.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • If I Only Had a Brain

      Hmmmmmmmmm . .. Billy G might be a Godly man, but according to the Mormons, he ain't gonna get to their Heaven. Mormons believe that only Mormons will make it to the "Celestial Kingdom" and that's where God and Jesus walk, aka: heaven. BUT . . .it's only for good Mormons. Let me repeat: ONLY MORMONS.

      Don't believe me, ask Willard. "Hey Willard, is Billy G going to the Celestial Kingdom when he kicks the bucket here on planet Earth?"

      He will tell you, "No."

      Because only those worthy, and by worthy, it's any good (but only) Mormon who has lived up to all the required ordinances and covenants of the Church of JC of LDS that get in!

      October 16, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      But does he get his own planet ?

      October 16, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bucky, squirrels are of the DEVIL!

      October 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Thank goodness. Especially carnal squirrels. I wouldn't have it any other way.

      October 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Me either. How ARE you, anyway, Bucky? Hope all is well.

      October 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  18. Dana

    LOL. As if Billy Graham is not a cult member.

    October 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  19. I Know Everything

    Years ago I went to the Mormon services. They NEVER quoted Bible scriptures.

    The irony is that Billy G isn't going to get to go to Willard's "heaven," i.e., the Celestial Kingdom where God and Jesus walk around. Nope, even the mighty Billy G isn't going to get to meet God and Jesus according to the Mormon theology. Why? Because Billy G isn't Mormon. Only good Mormons, who are married, have been sealed in the Temple, follow the D&C, etc. are going. ONLY MORMONS!! Of course, they'll commandeer your body and perform a ritual for you when you're dead if you're of any importance at all. Of if your dead and dearly departed weren't good Mormons, they make you one on your dead soul. Yeah they're not a cult all right . . . {rolling eyes}

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

      Don't be silly. Every religion makes up foolish things to get people to behave and contribute money.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Euna Rugg

      Meg
      Now here is one who think he or she knows all about," Mormonism," well, there are some lies in the statement. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, ( Mormon) does not teach that they are the only ones that will get into the "celestial " Kingdom. That is a BIG lie. I am sure God knows where the Rev. Billy Graham will go, when he leaves this life. He is a man of God. The last statement you made was a BIG lie also. So know what you are talking about before you spew off.

      October 16, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  20. Anth

    Cave dwellers .. :P

    October 16, 2012 at 9:32 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.