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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. tjbeck1973

    As a former active Mormon who's voting for Obama, I have to say, most of these posts are inaccurate. Interesting that it gets such a rise out of people. Mormon's ARE Christians. Their official name is The Church Of JESUS CHRIST Of Latter Day Saints. I don't agree with all of the doctrine and left for my own person reasons, but holy crap!!! Learn the facts before you post inaccurate BS.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • peter

      The book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ is NOT the word of God.nor is it another testament of jesus christ. The lds ,aka mormons are not part of christendom.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Please Consider This

      Not sure if you know this, but there are major differences in theology between Mormonism and "mainstream" Christianity. Please check out the links below:

      http://www.religionfacts.com/mormonism/comparison.htm

      http://mormoninfo.org/files/tracts/Eng_Differences.pdf

      October 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Ah, my old friend, Peter. And, how are you today?

      October 17, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Peacemaker

      NO....... Mormons are not Christians. Jesus died for me, I do not need my husband to call me forth into heaven!

      October 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • tjbeck1973

      Differences in their beliefs???? GASP!!! So what? Because they believe in another volume of scripture IN ADDITION to the bible they're wrong? This is the problem with Christianity...too many differences in beliefs...Here's an idea...if it bothers you so much don't become a Mormon.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • tjbeck1973

      For something that isn't "right" with you folks...it sure is getting your panties all up in a bunch.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  2. Shawn Irwin

    So what happened, "god" changed his mind so Romney could be elected? This shows you just how superficial all these clowns are. If there were a "god", he'd probablyy be busting a gut laughing at these clowns.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • RKC

      There is a God. He exists whether or not you, Romney, and Graham agree to the details. He created each of you and loves you all equally.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  3. TheMagusNYC

    The crucial distinction between Christianity and Mormonism concerns the latters rejection of Christ as eternally divine and equal with the Father. For Mormons, Christ is a created spirit being, as is Satan. As a first born "son" of God, he plays a speciall, but limited role in our salvation, the deficit needing to be made up with temple rituals and service. Attempts to portray our president as non-Christian serves primarily to ease Christians' guilt about voting against their faith, that is, for a follower of Joseph Smith who rejects the Trinity.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Pure baloney! Why don't you say something worth printing?

      October 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  4. Eugene

    You wonder what theological basis BGEA used to argue for Mormonism's removal from their site as a cult. Well, really, BGEA does not really need a theological basis for that action; a political motive is enough. And. of course, this news keeps the old man's name in the news. And with the organization making one last attempt to boost the bank account with a Billy Graham TV show, things can't really be better.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  5. Jeremy

    I guess we see peoples true colors. So, it is only a cult until the Republican candidate for president is one. Way to stick to your Christian beliefs.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  6. Journey

    Republikkkans and Evangellikkkals need to move on to the sunset...your time has passed in America...everything you touched broke.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Travisty

      Journey, your comment actually shows how close-minded and bigoted the left actually is. If everything the religious and conservative right touches breaks, then why has liberal controlled states like California, Illinois, Michigan, ect..have dying economies, high unemployment, super high taxes? The more these states struggle, the MORE liberal they lean thinking, "it has to work this time!" There has to be a connection to liberalism, anti-religious agenda, and the death of society. Funny how you liberals preach understanding and tolerance, yet you only want those things practiced on your beliefs. Anything else you want squashed. You're a hypocrit.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • wo

      Amen. Halleyah !!!!!!!!! Remember to go out and vote for the compassionate President. Economy is recovery slower than we all want but we will get there by and by together, and hope the cults and former cults will shape up and join us on the journey.
      So let us vote.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  7. STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    hindu christianity is an off shoot of hinduism, denial of truth absolute, a hind, crimie against humanity and truth absolute GOD.

    Teddy- Tallahassee
    HINDU KALI – GODDESS OF VIOLENCE/TERRORISM

    A recent report by United Press trust of India (UPI) stated that during the past three years more than 2,500 young boys and girls were sacrificed to goddess Kali in India. Another of AFP's recent reports say: hundreds of young boys and virgin girls are sacrificed every month for the deity Kali. In one case Rama Sewak hacked his eight year old son to death in broad daylight in Delhi because goddess Kali had told him he would come back to life and bring him good fortune. Bloodthirsty Kali is worshipped openly the length and breadth of India. Kali's statue stands naked astride the inanimate body of the Hindu deity Shiva, tongue stuck out with blood dripping from fang-like teeth. She holds a noose, a skull-topped staff, a blood-encrusted sword and a severed head. She is also known as Durga, Devi, Shaktima, Uma and Parvathi in other manifestations. The priest of Delhi, Kali Bari, says that a child sacrificed to Kali ensures a man the birth of a son. Human sacrifices are also made to these gods or goddesses, either to appease them or to ask favours of them.

    maria
    Disgusting. Where are the human right people??????

    Charimonov Caminsky
    With such "Dark Age" culture still in existence in India how can the world be healthy and the neighbors prosperous. India poses a grave danger to the world and its deities and leaders set a bad example. Mahatma Gandhi, a pedophile, needs to be exposed and tried posthumously for his child molestation crimes just like the Penn State crowd Sandusky et al. Gandhi's statutes need to be knocked down everywhere they have been put in USA. The hindu deities need to be shattered and trashed. Disgusting figurines of ugly and scary looking characters with demonic personalities. How can hindu children grow up mentally stable looking at such atrocious representations of evil in its most heinous form.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • George Patton

      post anywhre dude, my answer is still the same. Send Kali, the cannibal Goddess to Afghanistan and let HER eat all muslim terrorists.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:21 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, denial of truth absolute GOD was defeated and will be defeated by the truth absolute, have no doubt about it.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  8. Steve

    It's always fun to see one cult call out another cult.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  9. JoeM

    I have very deep respect for Rev Graham and what he has done to win souls for Jesus Christ across the world, when most evangelist of his time went down with scandals, Billy stood the test because of purpose and conviction.
    But To see this change and especially now...... iam totally dissapointed that even Franklin could even advice this to happen unbelievable. "God will never lower his standards to accomondate our standards" His word is eternally settled in heaven " (Quote from Billy Graham)
    What happened this time??.............
    I have never posted on CNN but had to post this one today because people 'of conviction' have shifted their position this season as a facade for something deeper........ Iam Deeeeeeeeply dissapointed at the Grahams they should have stayed out of this completely.
    GOD HELP THIS GREAT NATIOIN

    October 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Maybe Rev Graham finally realized that calling the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a cult is baloney.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Peacemaker

      Billy Graham and his son, are politicians. Nothing reverend about them. They are both hypocrites.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Apostle Joseph

      Uhm maybe they just realized Mormons are real Christians too. Don't fight it, embrace it.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  10. Russ

    Before Constantine, Christians could not have imagined being able to vote for their own Emperor, much less that he'd ever even CLAIM to be Christian.

    Why can't we Christians just admit that neither of these guys epitomizes biblical Christianity & thank God for the privilege of having a vote?

    October 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  11. John Powell

    Once a cult always a cult. Santan is Jesus's brother,correct Mormons?. Didin't everyone know that!

    October 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • RKC

      Mormons believe that Satan and Jesus are brothers in the sense that God is the father of all creation- good and bad alike. It might not be exactly what you believe but it is not as bizarre as you imply. It certainly isn't such a deviation that a shared belief in Christ as the savior of the world should be ignored.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Here is the reference:

      22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
      23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
      24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
      25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
      26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
      27 And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.
      28 And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him. (Pearl of Great Price, Abraham, Chapter 3)

      The Bible also speaks of our pre existent state:

      7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
      8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
      9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (New Testament, Revelation, Chapter 12)

      Why don't you believe the scriptures? You are no better than the people who killed the holy prophets!

      October 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • cobalt

      well if we are heavenly fathers children and jesus is our brother and everything was created by heavenly father through his son why is it so hard to believe he is our brother..just like in people families some chose good and some chose evil...hence the bibical writting he was cast out of heaven...had to be there once to be cast out..

      October 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  12. STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

    Now stop making that funny nose, goon, corruption of Evil angel ist

    October 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Andrew

      Oh my god, that is the best freakin troll name I've ever seen. The run-on is gorgeous!

      October 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  13. Mark H

    Learn about Christianity vs Mormonism. For a religion that is fundamentally about what you believe, you should know how and why Mormons are not Christians. Don't vote a cult into the Whitehouse!

    http://www.ExposeRomney.com

    October 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Ross

      Hi Mark. A cult would be a group that worships Man rather than God. Think about that... A cult would be a group of people whose mission is to lead people away from God or a cause other than God e.g. secularism, hedonism etc...
      In the Bible, people followed Peter because God's power was manifest in Peter. The power and miracles that Peter performed were used to help bring people to God. Today like ancient prophets, we have religious leaders that try to lead others back to God to worship God.
      A church that teaches the only way to God is in and through Jesus Christ and whose leaders teach others to worship God not Man is a not a cult any more than any church or congregation that believes in Prophets and Apostles and Scripture is a cult.
      Be careful in your zealousness to influence that you use your energy to bring people of faith together rather than divide with derisive and exclusionary comments. We are all children of God and should work together to promote faith, tolerance and understanding. By their fruits shall ye know them.... Let us all plant and harvest good fruits and work together to promote faith in God and Jesus Christ and not give strength to groups that want to mock and dismiss any outreach of faith.
      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints worships God and believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ who we also believe is the Savior of all Mankind. In addition to the books in the canonized Bible, The Book of Mormon is additional scripture from ancient prophets on the American Continent. The book is an additional testament of Jesus Christ and confirms Christ teachings in the Bible and helps to show that God loves all of his children.

      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/25.26?lang=eng#25

      October 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  14. Sam Yaza

    Christian definition
    "A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith"
    as in every one who is not us

    anthropological definition
    A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.
    as in Christ, Crucifix, or Saint

    normal definition
    A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.
    as in Mormon, Scientology, and Satanism

    October 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      my definition a group of people who worships a human or a Demi-God

      October 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Ross

      A cult would be a group that worships Man rather than God. Think about that... A cult would be a group of people whose mission is to lead people away from God or a cause other than God e.g. secularism, hedonism etc...
      In the Bible, people followed Peter because God's power was manifest in Peter. The power and miracles that Peter performed were used to help bring people to God. Today like ancient prophets, we have religious leaders that try to lead others back to God to worship God.
      A church that teaches the only way to God is in and through Jesus Christ and whose leaders teach others to worship God not Man is a not a cult any more than any church or congregation that believes in Prophets and Apostles and Scripture is a cult.
      Be careful in your zealousness to influence that you use your energy to bring people of faith together rather than divide with derisive and exclusionary comments. We are all children of God and should work together to promote faith, tolerance and understanding. By their fruits shall ye know them.... Let us all plant and harvest good fruits and work together to promote faith in God and Jesus Christ and not give strength to groups that want to mock and dismiss any outreach of faith.
      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints worships God and believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ who we also believe is the Savior of all Mankind. In addition to the books in the canonized Bible, The Book of Mormon is additional scripture from ancient prophets on the American Continent. The book is an additional testament of Jesus Christ and confirms Christ teachings in the Bible and helps to show that God loves all of his children.

      http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/25.26?lang=eng#25

      October 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Ross Jesus is a man up a full human nothing more, so you are in a cult, even not the bible says hes a demi god, so your in a cult

      October 18, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  15. selfevolved

    If nothing proves that politics trumps God & religion, this sure does.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  16. ;p;

    It's almost like watching bums fight

    October 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • == o ==

      Like.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  17. Your god blows donkeys

    Maybe Graham met God's wife.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  18. nancy

    These right wingers would vote for Satan himself as long as he was white. Billy Graham just proved it.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Robert

      Mormonism isn't a cult. It's not a religion, either. It's a business – one that enjoys many ridiculous tax exemptions.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • mowan

      billy,
      i am jehova witness, church of this and that and is still labelled as a cult. Can you also change my status? If you can't see the print, can you ask franky to read this to you? I am also white like that mormon.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  19. Kevin

    This really smells bad. It's just one damn thing after another! To All You People who see how corrupt this system is on the far right – Please Vote ! To all the people calling for taxation on these "religions/cults, or post cults", More Power To Ya !

    October 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  20. Dave

    Billy Graham has been a man I have always admired, until now.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Trust

      Billy Graham is a Politician, this is not a surprise that overnight he changed his mind and theology from Labelling Mormons as a cult before meeting Mitt Romney to changing his theology to embrace Mitt and Mormonism after their political table talk. We're witnessing the decline of true christianity from the popular evangelist. Can two walk together unless they agree? I hope thinking evangelicals will not be fooled by this sudden change of theology by Billy Graham a long time Politician.

      October 17, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • RKC

      The following is a Mormon hymn that asks if you have done any good in the world today. May I humbly suggest if you can't answer "yes" that you spend more time worrying about that than disparaging someone else's religion.

      Have I done any good in the world today?
      Have I helped anyone in need?
      Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
      If not, I have failed indeed.
      Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
      Because I was willing to share?
      Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
      When they needed my help was I there?

      October 17, 2012 at 6:23 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.