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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. NERO!!!!

    That old fart aint dead yet????

    October 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  2. Billy Graham

    Every religion is a cult. Learn from my mistakes, return to an Atheistic point of view. Grow up people, there are no sky fairies... that's just an excuse I and others like me like to throw around to get money.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  3. Nanker Phelge

    Face it – they're all cults! One is just a lot older.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Pablo Pablum

      Mormonism is a much better deal than Christianity because you get your own planet and loads of wives when you die.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Pablo Pablum

      " Mormonism is a much better deal than Christianity because you get your own planet and (loads of wives) when you die. " 8O

      Peace...

      October 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  4. God believer

    Do people know that even Anne's parents were excluded from Romney and her wedding that took place in a temple? Anne's parents were excluded because they were not Mormons. Romney will take care of this own first and foremost. Mr. Graham, sorry you and I are not included with the rest of the non-Mormons. The irony is that even Islam has its mosque doors open to all. But not Romney and the Mormon church.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Lucy

      There are many religions that don't allow you to participate if you have not agreed to their covenants. That is all apart of the faith. Not all Mormons are allowed in a wedding ceremony that takes place in a temple. All are welcome to the church buildings, but Mormons take their convenents very seriously. It's a blessing and a promise you make with God in order to enter their celestial wedding room. ANYONE can agree to these promises and enter if they chose.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  5. just bob

    I wonder how large a donation Romney had to make to Graham's "church" to change his point of view.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Baptist Minister

      About the same amount I charge to save your soul.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  6. 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 truth about my ELLAH or ALLAH, foundation of Islamic goon ism, cult ism by Mohammad please visit limitofthetruth.com,

    October 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • AdvBergism source of filthyRainerBraendleinism

      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 6:31 pm |
  7. Keith124C41+

    ALL religions are "Cults"... Those that claim to be "The Only True Religion" (That is, almost all of them) like to use that term to describe all the others.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  8. Darw1n

    The real question here is – who's lies are better?

    October 17, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Apostle Joseph

      Mormons. We have better bennies in the afterlife.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  9. Don Camp

    What is a cult and what is orthodox is a matter of perspective; it is answered relative to your position. I am an evangelical Christian. From my perspective Mormonism is a cult because it adds certain religious works as necessary for salvation (to the third heaven). It is also non-orthodox because it regards both God and Jesus as created beings in some stage of progress toward godness. (Mormons consider evangelicals as a cult because we reject Joseph Smith as a prophet and the Book of Mormon as inspired scripture.)

    However, the fact that Romney belongs to a cult does not disqualify him from serving as president. Religion is not a condition.

    BTW I consider Obama as coming from a Christian fringe group because of his association with his pastor, who teaches a variation of a liberation theology.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • peter

      Don–well vote for the mormon–I am not voting for either one- i suspect i won't be the only republican

      October 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • WachetAuf

      So, by what standards do you judge Mr. Romney's qualifications for office?

      October 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • good one

      Religion is not a condition for POTUS?It's the only condition.In order to become President you MUST believe ,with un-founded faith alone,that there is a higher being,and you will have eternal life.It's all mad.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      ***cult***
      Noun:
      A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.
      A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.
      Synonyms:
      worship – religion – adoration

      This definition would pretty much fit all forms of Christianity... and pretty much all religions for that matter.

      Peace...

      October 17, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  10. WachetAuf

    I spent much of my life attempting to reconcile the teachings of the Bible with the teachings and practices of organized religion. I came to three conclusions. First, paganism and Darwin instinct have infected "Christianity". Paganism and Darwinian instincts play the predominant role in the life of organized religion today. Second, politics has infected "Christianity". Politics and "Christianity are inseparable among some, probably all, groups. Third, Jesus separated himself from the herd. He directed his message against the herd. The herd murdered him.

    Mr. Graham's message today proves which I have concluded. Mr. Graham is now embracing and endorsing a new form of paganism which will grow like a cancer in the heart and soul of Christianity further separating it from the teachings of the Bible. Mr. Graham is once again pulling his sheep into a political structure which violates Biblical teachings by virtue of its existence. He previously endorsed Nixon. Mr. Graham is not following Jesus who removed himself from the herd. Mr. Graham, instead, chooses to be as close to the center of the herd as he can be. That is where man's power lies. No truth can reach the center of the herd. It is too well defended by Darwinian instincts. Mr. Graham has chosen wrong.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Don Camp

      I am saddened, but I think you are right. There is a political motive that doesn't represent true Christianity.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Think about it

      Finally, an intelligent answer. Thank you for your thoughts.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  11. Cynicrat

    Franklin has taken over already. He worships money just like his dad. And both of them are little better then ho's.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  12. Baptist Minister

    Regardless of what this article asserts, Mormonism is most certainly a cult.
    They believe that Satan was our Lord's BROTHER!! Therefore, it is a church of Satan's. And a cult.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Baptist Minister

      Will preach for MONEY!!!

      October 17, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  13. str8Vision

    Evangelical acceptance will please the citizens of planet Kolob. As indicated by the scrying stones, Mitt's magic underpants will ensure the white horse rides in the White House.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  14. GAW

    I don't know about Romney. I wonder if most Mormon men keep binders full of women.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Abinadi

      No.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Abinadi

      No!

      October 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  15. Abinadi

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is based on the teachings of Christ and the New Testament. Christ founded his church on apostles and prophets. Ephesians 2 states: "19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
    20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;"
    Apostles and prophets are absolutely essential because they hold the keys to the priesthood. If the apostles all die, the authority is lost along with revelation; we no longer know the mind and will of God and Christ is no longer the "chief cornerstone". False teachers and priests arise and we are "carried about with every wind of doctrine". Paul taught in Ephesians 4: "11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
    12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
    13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
    14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"
    Without apostles and prophets we cannot come to a "unity of the faith" nor be perfected in Christ. Without a prophet who speaks authoritatively the will of God, only confusion can reign as people argue what God meant and uninspired men tamper with the holy scriptures!!

    October 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Baptist Minister

      Do NOT fall for these lies. Mormonism is a product of Satan.
      Mormon's say that Satan was Jesus Christ's BROTHER!!
      Mormons say that God lives on planet Kolob (wherever that might be!!)!
      Mormons believe they will become gods!!!
      And the infernal list goes on and on..!

      My fellow Christians Do Not Support Satan. Do Not Vote for Romney!

      October 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • really

      Whoa.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • WachetAuf

      Just as you have stated, Mr. Romney is "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive". He asks us to believe one thing about himself yesterday, another today and tomorrow it will be another. Romney has no foundation. He is a ship without a rudder.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Don Camp

      Mormonism may sound like it is based on the teachings of Jesus, but in very serious ways it rejects his teachings and undermines the foundational truths of the Scripture that salvation is by grace through faith and not by works.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Don Camp

      This is typical Mormon reasoning (not much different from Catholic reasoning). It is: "My man is right, and he is the only one who can tell you what is right." The Reformation was the reasonable Christian response to both. The Scriptures alone are our guide. Sola Scriptura. As Martin Luther said, if you can show me from the Scriptures where I am wrong, I will recant.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • good one

      @ baptist minister.I would like to know where the christian heaven is located.Got any ideas on that one?Maybe Mitt's Kolob is closer,and therefore easier to reach than heaven.Or, maybe all religion is just made up.Ya think?

      October 17, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Lucy

      @ Baptist Minister. Shame on you! You would think being a "man or women of god" you would no you are not one to judge and condem others to hell. First of all, who do you think Satan/Lucifer was? A man who fell away from God and vowed to take us all with him. And if God is our father, and we are all brothers and sisters... then Satan is techinally your brother too. The only church I ever went to that preached hatred on others were the Baptists. I will say a prayer for you Baptist Minister and maybe send a bible your way.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  16. Carrie

    "point to their belief in other scriptures like the Book of Mormon as the reason they split with other churches." would be an incorrect statement. Perhaps we "differ" from other churches, but we never split from any other churches. We believe in the RESTORED GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST (in other words, the same church as existed in Christ's time, but we believe the priesthood authority was taken from the earth for a time and then restored by Christ himself.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • peter

      carrie–if it is true what you claim than all of christendom is fallen and the lds and the book of mormon is the only true 'church"

      The truth is you believe in a cursed christ and a cursed prophet as is your book of mormon is blasphemy

      October 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Carrie: Muslims say similar things about "the prophet Jesus", but they don't claim to be Christian. And that's the rub.

      Biblical Christianity: trinitarian monotheism – Jesus is God, and we can never be a god like him
      Islam: monotheism – Jesus is not God; Allah is
      Mormonism: henotheism – Jesus is one god among many; and one day you hope to become a god like him

      This is the most essential tenet of a religion: the God you worship.
      We're talking about something mutually exclusive when we say "Jesus" in these 3 DIFFERENT faiths.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • 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 truth about hindu pagan trinity, foundation of hinduism, racism by faith please visit limitisthetruth.com,

      October 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Baptist Minister

      Carrie, Mormonism teaches blasphemous things. It is NOT Christian in any sense of the word. That claim is an ourtrageous fraud!

      Christians, Do Not belive these lies, Do Not fall for Satan's deception!
      Mormonism is a cult of Satan, which believes Satan himself is the brother of Christ our lord!!
      It is an abomination, and it is evil. They are leading millions to Hell.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Baptist Minister

      I don't care at all about your soul. I just want you to send me all your money so I can finish my swimming pool!

      October 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • ryanwin

      @ Peter. This is cursed! That is cursed! ROFLMAO!!!

      October 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  17. rahul

    i like how spokespeople for Graham basically say that "Graham's not a bigot, he just believes in it."

    October 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  18. Peacemaker

    What a hypocrite Billy Graham is! He is endorsing a man, Romney whose 'religion' has demonized mainstream religions! Romney went to France, on a "mission" to convert Catholics to Mormonism, that's what an LDS "mission" is all about!

    Catholics, before you vote for the LDS bishop....... find out what the LDS thinks about Catholics! And how they go on "missions" to Catholic countries to proselytize our kids! The LDS "chuch" does not speak well of the Catholic Church.....do not be fooled by their lies and propaganda!

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

      Are you telling us Catholics never try to convert people from another religion?

      October 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • peter

      The mormons reject christendom

      October 17, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Peacemaker

      I think all the different Christian denominations try to "convert" on one level or another all those that they are not in agreement with.

      Peace...

      October 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Baptist Minister

      Mormos are the apostles of Satan. They believe Satan to be our lord and saviour's brother!
      They are a secretive and wicked cult bent on destroying Christendom and condemning billions to Hell.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Jim

      In the LDS teachings, Jesus is recognized as Satan's brother. I could care less about what Mr. Graham thinks, but in his eyes, if a religion that practices poligamy (where legal) and says that Jesus is Satan's brother is not a "cult", then what is a "cult"? If Mr. Graham has abandoned his lifetime of evangelical beliefs, and now accepts this "new" interpretation of the Bible, then his moral flexibility is astounding, and his entire life's work is a fraud.

      My take is that Mr. Romney pressured him to change his long held beliefs in order for Mr. Romney to gain politically. Despite his advanced age, Mr. Graham will have to live with this "new" interpretation of his evangelical doctrine.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Baptist Minister

      Just send me $20 and I will pray for you!

      October 17, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  19. tjbeck1973

    Good Lord! If you don't like Mormon's then don't get baptized in the Mormon church. If you don't like Gay Marriage, don't get gay married. How is it that common sense has been replaced by idiocy across the board??? 90% of the people posting on here come across as morons.

    October 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • tjbeck1973

      ....except me. I am a genius.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Don Camp

      Except tjbeck. He is a genius. :)

      October 17, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  20. Scott Thomas

    I think it's a disease and Mitt Romney is the carrier. Meet him and you abandon all of your principles.

    October 17, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Cynicrat

      Money only corrupts the corruptible. If you want to join a criminal organization, just pick any religious one. They are all frauds.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:21 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.