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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. lance corporal

    off the website but mormons will always be a cult in his heart

    besides it is a cult, but then so are evangelicals

    wait till romney loses.....it'll be back

    October 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  2. Hot sauce, Human look out, dirty mouse, capt beefheart, God loves football

    There I created my own nonsensical name to being attention to myself just like the other guy.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Hot sauce, Human look out, dirty mouse, capt beefheart, God loves football

      Not you try it folks. It's fun!

      October 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  3. John Stockton

    Billy Who? Whatever. I'm sure he won't be missed when he dies–which will be soon by the looks of the angry, old ignoramus–but not soon enough. Even his sannyasins will only miss him for about a week at best. So he meets Rmoney and changes his mind about the mormon cult because they had some good 'bama bashin' banter... angry little ignorant boys all grown up now with way too much money. Remember kids, neocons are either rich (like these guys) or suckers (like you).

    October 17, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  4. Reality

    Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals like the Grahams and atonement theology..............................................................

    October 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  5. Calin

    Thank goodness. Mormons all over the world are so relieved! I'm sure all of them are so concerned about certain ignorant bigots who view them as a cult ::rolls eyes::

    October 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  6. Gotcha!!!!!

    Its real simple Mormonism & DNA What does it say ? Billy Graham put yourself on That list

    October 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  7. GAW

    This guy is really, really weird. And he has a lot of time on his hands.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  8. STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    Billy graham preacher of hindu Mithraism, pagan savior ism, based not on truth absolute, but hinduism, racism is a hindu, denier of truth absolute GOD and a traitor to American consti tution founded not on hinduism, corruption of truth absolute religion's, but truth absolute GOD, deserving not of any precognition as a person of nobility, but a hindu, criminal, anti America.
    "Diests" mean's nothing else but believer of truth absolute as GOD, none other , founding fathers rejected hinduism, corruption of truth absolute, religion's and obeyed truth absolute GOD, and made truth absolute God, foundation of American consti tution. Period.
    there is big time misunderstand of word Secular, Atheist Jew or hindu, self center ism by fundamentals of language, they are not noun's but an adjective, an act of a person in a given state, Human can never be in state of hinduism, denial of truth absolute in a permanent state. So to claim to be a hindu, Jew, Atheist or a secular in permanent state is hinduism, denial of truth absolute, Truth absolute is GOD, foundation of American consti tution and essence of existence for every one thing, and matter. As it is quoted by
    Rainer Braendlein
    America needs the divine wisdom of the genuine American Benjamin Franklin again.

    Benjamin Franklin, the First American, about the faith (this is from his Autobiography which is even available online):

    I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian; and tho' some of the dogmas of that persuasion, such as the eternal decrees of God, election, reprobation, etc., appeared to me unintelligible, others doubtful, and I early absented myself from the public assemblies of the sect, Sunday being my studying day, I never was without some religious principles. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity; that he made the world, and govern'd it by his Providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter. These I esteem'd the essentials of every religion; and, being to be found in all the religions we had in our country, I respected them all, tho' with different degrees of respect, as I found them more or less mix'd with other articles,

    which, without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, served principally to divide us, and make us unfriendly to one another. Fouding father's were perfectly right to reject hinduism, denial of truth absolute GOD, because religion's were created by hindu's, criminals by hinduism, corruption of truth absolute GOD.
    To see what founding father's of America were in realization and reason they rejected religion's as part of American consti tution please visit, limitisthetruth.com. .

    October 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Religion is unhealthy for children and all living things

      .....This message brought to you by psycho-boy, who is solely responsible for the blathering contained therein.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  9. joseph smith

    This takes the cake,really. Billy used to say, may the Lord bless you, real good. Now the Mormons are off the cult list.
    People, check your history. The founder was a fake. The Book of Mormon narrative was plagerized from the New Testament
    in form if not in content. The founder was martyred ( always good for a new religion) and the early Mormons got to make babies with many wives! And Billy took them off the cult list. It's amazing what soda and some cookies will do. By the way, I thought religion was going to stay out of politics?

    October 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • CMH

      It's the old white guys club endorsement. Obama is a Christian but not completely white. So a white Mormon gets the nod. Sad.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  10. mrkeno

    dont mormons think they came form the planet kobar or something like that
    and dont they wear some kind of "magic" underwear
    yeah their a cult

    October 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  11. ER

    It still amazes me that with how far we have come as a human race, religion is still somehow deemed a reasonable practice. Hahaha. Poor people.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  12. NBA

    w(R)ong
    f(O)r
    wo(M)en
    a(N)d
    m(E)n
    b(Y)e

    October 17, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  13. M. Chen

    If Belief is some priciples that one goes by, then what has been displyed here? A bunch of hypocrites!!!!!

    October 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  14. sandalista

    If you believe in magic underwear, seer stones and golden plates; if you believe the word of a convicted and jailed con-artist and make it your religion, and after you stated that you will not separate your religious beliefs from political decision making, then you should not even run for mayor, let alone for the position of the most powerful man in the World.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Kenneth

      Yes, Mormons are gullible mor0ns, even more than Christians, which is pretty hard to do.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • John Stockton

      Yeah, you know racism is alive and well when half of my countrymen would rather have this creepy lying liar cult member for president than Obama, who has actually been mildly successful thus far in his endeavors to right the wrongs of the Bush/Cheney regime. Remember kids, neocons are either rich (like Rmoney) or suckers (like you).

      October 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  15. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism

    Only by Christianity absurdity of a Christian, hindu and pagan. Filthy Christian Captain Crunch dog. Filthy pagan hindu pig dog. Filthy Randy Jackson dog. Filthy hebrew national beef dog. Filthy Ron Jeremy foot-long dog. NO DOGS!! Who let them be out? Quran means nothing else but path of triple abdullah absolute quantified. please visit ahmadinebinpaid.com/blog.html and click on word Choice to open file. But turn virus protection off before.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      goon of ALLAH, AL, The, LA, Limited, H or T, truth, ID thief, absurd, get your own ID skunk ignorant.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      hinduism, absurdity of a hindu crook, to confuse people about hinduism, denial of truth absolute GOD, visit truthisthelimit.com to learn hinduism, illegality of hindu's, crook's.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      limitisthetruth.com

      October 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      truthisthelimit.com

      October 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • niknak

      Hey look, it's the board's villiage idiot, back to spew more unintelligible rantings about hindus.
      You know they have meds that can help you.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  16. moving1

    Hey! Billy and the fake son, i am sure Mitt willnow put you on the donation list. i am looking for those cancelled checks my old grandmother sent you to ask for her $$ back during the scheme you were running.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  17. thoughts with accent

    I could be wrong but it seems to me that Graham didn't deny Momonisim is a cult, he just agreed to put that issue out of the website to avoid political controversies. Mormonism is a cult (see here: http://tiny.cc/voteForAMormon), but we are voting for president of the United States, not for a pope or for a pastor, so, what does it matter anyway?

    October 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      And the mob has Reid, too.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • icanhazcheezeburger

      yes. would you want marshall applewhite as your president?

      mormons have some very demeaning and hurtful practices. some ex-mormons end up committing suicide as a direct result of these practices.

      the rank and file members simply don't see it, so they go along with the manipluative church leaders and bishops such as romney who KNOW they're feeding others a load of malarkey.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • icanhazcheezeburger

      not from nevada, don't particularly care for harry reid.

      being all too familiar with the culture within groups like this, i'd go for reid over romney every day. romney's mannerisms and his ability to lie with a straight face at the drop of a hat is everything someone familiar with this sort of thing would expect out of the manipulative church leadership

      October 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • slk

      Have you hear of the" White Horse Phropecy"
      that they believe in?..........seems mitt thinks he is the one that was sent from Heaven to Earth to save us all. Yep,......they believe this. Then because he will "save us" Jesus will be able to come to Earth. Yep......all because of mitt..........so they say.
      Did you know that the founder tried to run for Pres.,take over the gov. put it all under the Morman religion?
      Did you know that the Morman religion is resopsible for the deaths of hundreds of Native Americans:see Black Hawk Wars,then in 1997 the Morman church forcefully removed 12,000 Dineh'(Navajo) off their ancestral lands to that Peabody coal could get the land. All this =$$$$$$$$$$$. The Dineh'were put on a toxic dump,2nd only to Chernanobal.....so what would this have to do with electing a Pres.......well what a person values says what they would do......mitt=$$$$$$$$....that is his value system. Morman=$$$$$$$$$$$$. Check the coffers.....wait.....they won't let anyone know...why not? oh ,oh......
      how they treat people: just look at the history I mentioned.........
      he would care about folks? no. His reply behind locked doors.......47% says it all.

      October 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • thoughts with accent

      Test

      October 18, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • thoughts with accent

      Slk, I understand your concern about the White Horse prophecy. However, i personally believe that as a Christian, i am to vote for the candidate that most likely will defend moral issues such abortion, marriage and and religious freedom (for any religion). On those three, I conclude based on the evidence of record and plans, that Romney is more likely to, if not work for, at least not attach those, as opposed to Obama. Also, as a citizen, i believe to have the obligation to vote for the candidate that most likely will work to benefit the country as a whole, again, my conclusion based on record and plans, is Romney.
      If I was to take seriously the WHP (which I personally don't as it is not validated by The Bible), i would also have to be intellectually honest and consider other alleged 'legends' and theories such as the ones summarized in 2016; that Obama wants to make USA a socialist country and so on. How possible is for Romney to make USA a Mormon country? How possible is for Obama to make of USA a communist country? (and atheist by definition may I add) I dont know!! that is kind of a long term wild guess. What i do know for sure is that babies are being killed now, family and religion freedoms attacked now, and the country's economy is headed in the wrong direction. As a Christian and citizen, i have the obligation to make a wise and informed choice. No vote is a vote for the worse.

      October 18, 2012 at 2:38 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.

    there is big time misunderstand of word E L L A or A L L A H, Christians, Atheists, Jews or hindus, call ELLAH or ALLAH, self center ism by fundamentals of Persian language, they are not noun's but an adjective, an act of a divine person in a delusional given state, Human call ELLAH or ALLAH can never be in state of delusional, denial of truth absolute in a permanent state. So to claim to be an Isla mic a secular in permanent state is re'tarded ism, denial of truth absolute, Truth absolute is not GOD but GAWD, foundation of American consti pation and essence of existence for every trouble in middle east, and matter.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Explain to me how Hindus, who are polytheists, are also somehow atheists....

      October 17, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      open your Rusty Blue mind, goon, ignorant, denier of truth absolute GAWD.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      hinduism, absurdity of a hindu, ignorant.

      October 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  19. jon stewart

    'He must hate Obama more than he loves Jesus'

    October 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Jojo Kavi

      Exactly!!! Thanks Jon. ~Jojo

      October 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  20. T Swanson

    how interesting that the archive.org site to access the original statement from 2005 on the Grahamn site is down.

    October 17, 2012 at 3:09 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.