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. GrowUp

    Are you kidding me? "Gods" living on other planets, magic underwear. HAHAHAHAHA!

    October 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Lord Golob from Kolob

      Surely you jest.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Mary

      What do you expect after Romneys bows & panders to Graham?

      October 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Primewonk

      But the talking snake, talking donkey, woman made from a rib bone, man living in a fish belly for 3 days, and 30 feet of rain an hour – each and every hour – for 40 days, that's all still real, right?

      October 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  2. Please Consider This

    I would like to post these links once more.

    This is a site containing an easy to understand chart listing major differences between Mormonism and Christianity:

    This is a site that goes into a little more detail:

    Someone else listed out very extensively the beliefs of Mormons, and in some cases they seem to be similar to Christian beliefs, but the differences are very important, probably even moreso.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  3. buzz

    Religion does not justify anything, nor does it make any person better than the other, it's man made. The word "Christian" has been abused and has been redifined to satisfy how it should fit ones comfort level. Having Faith in God, believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for all of your sins (personal relationship) is what matters to our Heavanly Father, not all of this other man made unjustifiable nonsense. Read the Bible for yourself for the fact, just like politics read the facts and the truth will set you free. Billy Grahm is not the Mesiah and neither is that evil twisted son of his (false prophets).

    October 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  4. buzz

    Religion does not justify anything, nor does it make any person better than the other, it's man made. The word "Christiani" has been abused and has redifined by to satisfy how it should fit ones comfort level. Having Faith in God, believe in your heard that Jesus Christ died for all of your sins is what matters to our Heavanly Father, not all of this other man made unjustifiable nonsense. Read the Bible for yourself for the fact, just like politics read the facts and the truth will set you free.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:44 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 pagan Christianity is nothing else but hindu Mithra ism, pagan savior ism, hinduism, absurdity of hind, dark ages to promote hinduism, racism, a crime against truth absolute GOD and consti tution of America.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Horus

      Amazing.....according to you all religious texts were man made EXCEPT the bible.....go figure. By the way, "facts" are based on reality, not belief.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      buzz: the concept of sin is man made. the bible is man made

      October 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  5. Ryan

    Who really cares what Billy Graham thinks of anything. Yawn.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  6. gregg

    Anyone who considers Satan and Christ to be "spirit brothers " ie : "equals " and believes in "Plurality of gods " ie : more than one God, millions of gods ruling over their own planets, veneration of Joseph Smith, look up his history, cannot be defined as Christian. A. "Perfect " book (of mormon) that has been re written over 4,000 times due to a plethora of errors. Look up the planet. "Kolob". Please do your own research and decide for yourself.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • ;p;

      Hmm...ever wonder which one puts it in?

      October 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      It's not any more ridiculous of a history than the talking snakes, winged men, mudmen, ribwomen, no-dinosaur-age, locusts with human heads, talking donkeys, zombie resurrection and demon-possessed pigs of the Old and New Testaments. Some people are just sour that another religion is borrowing their demigod.
      I guess it's like if Marvel comics wrote a Batman story.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • ME

      I did. Extensively. That's why I an now LDS.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  7. GrowUp

    Tom and Billy will fly off to Xenon with a stop on Kobalt. Billy gets to wear his new Magic Underwear too! Woo-hoo!

    October 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  8. kd

    politics mad for strange bedfellows.

    Graham and his people haven't changed their opinion. They HATED Romney until he got the GOP nomination. They'll return to hating him if he loses.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  9. Dismayed

    How could South Park get mormonism correctly, but Billy Graham and his son after decades of supposedly studying the Bible, get it so wrong?

    October 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  10. Christian

    Please, America, do NOT vote for Romney.

    If you're an unbeliever, please don't vote for more of what Bush did to destroy this great nation! We just cannot afford to have yet another Republican president who swears he's against raising the deficit only to go ahead and quadruple it with unpaid-for wars and tax cuts for the wealthy, etc., etc., etc..!

    If you're a believer, please, recognize that this man's 'religion' is NOT, as they falsely claim, a Christian religion. Amongst many many other satanical beliefs, these people believe that God lives on planet Kolob! And that when they die they will, in succession, supplant God and become gods themselves! They believe that Christ and Satan are brothers!!!! All of their 'beliefs' are an abomination and pure blasphemy!

    October 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • steelerguin

      This election is truly a condundrum for the Christian. I agree Mormonism is a cult, but I don't believe Obama and his policies reflect a Christian view point either. I do not that Obama has failed miserably with increasing the debt and another four years of his presidency would be disastrous.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  11. Ryan

    Mormonism = still a cult.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Horus

      You have an error in your equation....

      Here is the correct format: Religion = Cult

      October 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  12. veggiedude

    One cult calling the other a cult. Nice.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  13. southernwonder

    this only means christianity is bunk.
    when is tom cruise meeting with billy boy?

    October 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • ;p;

      Tom gonna come jump on his couch, all his couches.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  14. CJ

    I do not like the idea of calling any Religion a cult in the land of Religious Freedom. The only problem I have is when a Religion does not allow someone to keep in contact with their family of orgin and keeps them in community housing to the point where they can not attend functions outside of the church. Not allowing someone to go to their mother's funeral because your mother is not in your religion is another example of over-reaching by some churches.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Evolutionism is a politically correct cult. They have VAST resources,too.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • ;p;

      @Anybody – shut your hole, troll

      October 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  15. GrowUp

    News flash to all you sanctimonious religious nuts: you do not have to believe in imaginary Gods living on other planets to be a good, kind, compaasionate and moral upstanding person. In fact, if you don't live in a make believe world, you are better equipped to be a good person.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      If you say so, grown up god.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • GrowUp

      @anybody–calm down child. Here's your bankie.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • ;p;

      @Anybody – uh, do YOU know how to read??

      October 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  16. AL


    October 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  17. pat

    There's that guy that got the pledge changed to fit his religious belief. Because of him, I refuse to say the pledge. Too bad.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Why would you say the pledge in the first place? It was fostered by a flag sellin' socialist disguised as a Christian. Wouldn't it make more sense for the PUblic Servants to pledge their allegiance to the Masters? Now they are unfaithful in all kinds of matters.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • GrowUp

      @anybody–take your meds and rest your head against that nice padded wall. There there.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Gwow, you've worked at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp too long and your debriefing didn't take.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  18. WillH85

    I guess that's how desperate the right wing is. Christians and non-Christians alike tend to regard Mormonism as a cult but I guess they need conservative votes worse.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  19. Ran

    I contend that they are all cults.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  20. T Diemer

    If Billu Graham is so nonjudgemental, the how come the LDS Church of put on the cult list, or Jehavah's Witnesses for that matter?

    October 17, 2012 at 2:33 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.