By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – When he campaigns in southern Florida on Monday, Mitt Romney will have an unwelcome traveling partner: a mobile billboard attacking his religion.
The billboard on wheels, sponsored by American Atheists, attacks the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its treatment of African-Americans and gays, though the church says the attacks are inaccurate.
The billboard, which American Atheists says will follow the Romney campaign for seven days, features two messages on Mormonism: “No Blacks Allowed (until 1978)” and “No Gays Allowed (Current).”
The first line is a reference to the church’s practice of denying lay priesthood to black male members until 1978.
Though the church did not allow black male members to be ordained before that year – when the church head says he received a revelation to reverse the policy – it did allow blacks and members of all racial and ethnic groups to be church members. According to The Second Book of Nephi, a part of Mormon doctrine, “Black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God.”
The billboard’s second line refers to what American Atheists President David Silverman says is the religion's “intolerance” and “bigotry” when it comes to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
But the church denies such categorizations. It accepts gay members, though church doctrine condemning homosexuality has not changed and the church strongly opposes same-sex marriage. Some gay rights activists say the church is subtly growing friendlier toward the LGBT community, including voicing support for some gay rights.
"People are surely free to disagree with us on the facts," Dale Jones, a church spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "This group seems not to know that there have been black members of the Church since our earliest history, and there are many faithful gay members of the Church today."
Jones continued: "We would be happy to introduce the (American Atheists president) to any of our millions of members of different ethnicity who would be happy to educate him on our racial diversity."
Silverman denies the billboard, which is costing the group $8,000, is an attack on Romney specifically. A spokeswoman for the Romney campaign said she would not comment on the sign.
“Nobody seems to be talking about the implications of having a very religious Mormon president,” Silverman said. “There are a lot of things about Mormons that people don’t know, including the fact that racism is an important part of their dogma.”
The LDS Church has largely tried to stay out of the politics surrounding the presidential campaign, even though it has received increased attention due to Romney’s candidacy. This billboard, writes Jones, is "obviously" about the "personal politics" of American Atheists.
"We have consistently kept out of the political campaign," Jones wrote. "People can see this (billboard) for what it is."
American Atheists has a long history in using billboards to call out religion and get its message out. During the political conventions in August and September, the group put up billboards attacking Mormonism and Christianity, taking aim at the faith of both presidential candidates.
This mobile billboard, however, is a departure from the standard American Atheist tactic of multiple billboards on multiple religions. According to Silverman, this is because Romney’s faith hasn’t been addressed enough in the 2012 election.
“We all understand the implications of having a Christian president. We do not understand the implications of having a Mormon president,” Silverman said. “We are not taking a position on the election, we are taking a stance on ignorance.”
Thank you atheists for having the courage to speak the truth to a world of sheep !!!!
Hey, at least they don't want to kill me if I don't become one of them, like islam will do !!
islam has killed you?
Atheists should act on the basis of their "faith" and evolve. Their own ad appears to show that Mormons have progressed more than Atheists have since 1978.
You don't understand: atheists do not have faith in myths. They only believe facts. What's on the billboard is fact and the people have the right to know.
How is it attacking if it is the truth? That's like saying that the Christians did the Crusades is an attack upon the poor, persecuted Christians.
Its not true. Thats the whole point. I myself ampart of the lgbtq community and an active member of the mormon church.Again, another hate group filling the world with lies
cgil – You are either blind or outright lying! Do not say you are a member of the LGBTQ community if you are in the closet! Which, you have to be to still be in your church or else your church has broken away from the original LDS church. I know firsthand. If you "come out" while in the LDS church they will first attempt to "repent it out of you" or you will be ousted. That's final. And don't even think about trying to lead ANYTHING, including a study or prayer group. Not gonna happen. So either, stop lying, come out of the closet and face the consequences, or shut up! Defending this cult is so insane!!!!!
Religion is a complex way of hiding the urge to be above all others and therefor functions as a human adaptation on how dogs determine the pecking order.
It is a way of purporting to speak for god
Former Mormon James Martin wrote:
Romney wants to be President to fulfill a cult prophecy (White Horse). When Mitt Romney received his patriarchal blessing as a Michigan teenager, he was told that the Lord expected great things from him. All young Mormon men — the “worthy males” of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as it is officially known — receive such a blessing as they embark on their requisite journeys as religious missionaries. But at 19 years of age, the youngest son of the most prominent Mormon in American politics — a seventh-generation direct descendant of one of the faith’s founding 12 apostles—Mitt Romney had been singled out as a destined leader. The Cougar Club — the all male, all white social club at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Salt Lake City (blacks were excluded from full membership in the Mormon church until 1978) — was humming with talk that its president, Mitt Romney, would become the first Mormon President of the United States. “If not Mitt, then who?” was the ubiquitous slogan within the elite organization. The pious world of BYU was expected to spawn the man who would lead the Mormons into the White House and fulfill the prophecies (specifically the White Horse prophecy) of the church’s founder, Joseph Smith Jr., which Romney has avidly sought to realize.
That's interesting. But what's more is that mormons want to avenge on the United States because of what happened to John Smith, the charlatan.
"Blacks" were with the Mormons from the very beginning of the cult. They were their SLAVES.
Former Mormon James Martin wrote:
Back when I was a youth in the church, we were taught that black people were descendants of Cain, and that the dark skin was the curse God put on him for killing Abel. Black people were to be shunned at all cost. We weren’t to be rude about it, but we weren’t to associate with them. This racist “teaching” is no longer part of Sunday school, because a few black people threatened to sue the church for racism and discrimination because they were not allowed to join. *Suddenly the church elders had another supposed “vision” that blacks had paid their penance (still indicating they’d done something wrong) and they’re now allowed to join. But they were not allowed to hold church offices, so the threat to sue was renewed and lo and behold another “vision” comes down the pike and blacks are now allowed full membership. I used to go to church with people like Donny & Marie Osmond and their family. I KNOW they were raised to be racist. In my opinion, to be raised racist and suddenly have your church tell you that you must do a full 180 and love and embrace black people is a total mind-f__k. (Excuse the one word, but nothing else seems to convey the gravity of the situation).
*In the late 1970s
@chini: you know i was taught the samething about cane/able in southern baptist church back in the 80's. lmfao ironic and i thought the baptists were the only crazies to believe that.
This is nutso! My MIL was taught the same thing, unbeknownst to me. Imagine my surprise when we had a dinner guest over (a CHILD, mind you) and she completely ignored that person and made everyone very uncomfortable. I never knew why until this same explanation was told to me.
Sooooo we're supposed to shun dark skin (talk about holding a grudge), and forget that all people were apparently born of incest (there were only Adam, Eve, Cain, and any brother / sisters he had, right?)...now I'm confused.
I know many African Americans who are members of the Mormon church. This church is one of the most diverse churches, with members of all races, from all backgrounds, and in most of the countries of the world. The thing we all have in common is a love for our Savior Jesus Christ and the desire to serve others. We believe in being "anxiously engaged in a a good cause." You will find Mormons around the world helping others, teaching others, and bringing more joy into the world.
"This church is one of the most diverse churches"
Unless you are gay.
Heather I know so many people who get excommunicated for simple things, including being gay. Your religion is a lie from Joseph Smith.
Imagine wanting to be the President of YOU GUYS. You are all crazy. You are only EVER going to be given CRAZY people to vote for because you would have to be CRAZY to put your hand up for the job. I will be stoked the day I see a fat, ugly, Hispanic gay, Mormon woman running for President of the United States. Then you will be onto something.
Romney's favorite novel: "Battlefield Earth" by L Ron Hubbard (founder of Scientology).
OK – the novel itself doesn't directly contain Hubbard's ideology (apart from naming the evil guys "Psychlos", reminiscient of "Psychiatrists", Hubbard's enemy number 1).
But Scientology, his very own totalitarian organization is behind the biggest government infiltration in U.S. history.
"Operation Snow White". Google it – but put some cushioning under your chin as it will doubtlessly drop at some point.
This happened 12 years before Battlefield Earth was even published, but Scientology still attained and maintains tax-exempt status as a "bona-fide religion" lol.
Wouldn't a presidential candidate have to be a little more sensitive as to what his "favorite novel" is –
not even talking about how the book is really cheap pulp sci-fi.
It's a little as if he would be fond of Hitler's oil paintings or Kim Yong Il;s films.
Why is nobody taking THAT on as a story.
Its a novel...its fiction...i enjoy reading Alice in Wonderland....so what? There are people who understand the difference between fiction and reality...im not out looking for the cheshire cat....geez!
Because it's a non-story. So what if he likes Battlefield Earth? Lot of other people, non-scientologists and non-Mormons, did too. It was a national bestseller. I thought it was a fun, action-filled, sci-fi page-turner and I'm definitely not a scientologist.
My gosh, all these conspiracy theories regarding the Church of LDS and Mitt Romney are just silly.
There are plenty of reasons not to vote for Romney besides him being a Mormon (which is why I'm voting for Barak Obama). His personal religion is no more relevant than Obama's (although the right and American Atheists have even tried to make Obama's religion an issue as well). If anything, I consider Romney's Mormon upbringing a plus, because I know many Mormons and consider them good, moral, people (and I'm a Democrat). That said, again, I will not be voting for him at all for many other reasons.
I mean, think about it. Did JFK take order from the Vatican? How is it that Catholics like Joe Biden and John Kerry support abortion, which is explicitly against the Catholic Church's teaching? Same thing.
WRT the whole silly guilt by association via novel argument, what about people who like Wagner? One of the greatest romantic composers, his Ring Cycle was praised by Adolph Hitler. Hitler also admired Wagner because he was an outspoken anti-semetic. Due to all of this, I don't think Wagner has ever been performed in Israel.
And yet, everywhere else in the world, his music is performed and enjoyed.
So, does that make everyone who loves Wagner a Nazi?
I don't think so.
Troubling Quotes from the Second Prophet (leader) of the Mormon Church: What Mormons REALLY believe.
Brigham Young said your own blood must atone for some sins.
"There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it . . . " (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 247; see also, vol. 4, p. 53-54, 219-220).
Brigham Young said you must confess Joseph Smith as a prophet of God in order to be saved.
"...and he that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fullness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is Antichrist," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p. 312).
Brigham Young said his discourses are as good as Scripture.
"I say now, when they [his discourses] are copied and approved by me they are as good Scripture as is couched in this Bible . . . " (Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 264; see also p. 95).
Brigham Young said he had never given any counsel that was wrong.
"I am here to answer. I shall be on hand to answer when I am called upon, for all the counsel and for all the instruction that I have given to this people. If there is an Elder here, or any member of this Church, called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who can bring up the first idea, the first sentence that I have delivered to the people as counsel that is wrong, I really wish they would do it; but they cannot do it, for the simple reason that I have never given counsel that is wrong; this is the reason." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, p. 161).
Brigham Young compared his sermons with scripture.
"I know just as well what to teach this people and just what to say to them and what to do in order to bring them into the celestial kingdom...I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture. Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon, and it is as good Scripture as they deserve. The people have the oracles of God continually." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 95).
Brigham Young said you are damned if you deny polygamy.
"Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266). Also, "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269).
Brigham Young said you can't get to the highest heaven without Joseph Smith's consent.
"...no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 289).
Brigham Young boasted.
"What man or woman on earth, what spirit in the spirit-world can say truthfully that I ever gave a wrong word of counsel, or a word of advice that could not be sanctioned by the heavens? The success which has attended me in my presidency is owing to the blessings and mercy of the Almighty . . . " (Journal of Discourses, vol. 12, p. 127).
Brigham Young said Jesus' birth was as natural as ours.
"The birth of the Savior was as natural as the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood–was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115).
Brigham Young said that God the Father and Mary 'do it.'
"When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, p. 218). "The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood - was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115). Note: the late Bruce McConkie who was a member of the First Council of the Seventy stated "There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events..." (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, p. 742).
Brigham Young said that Jesus was not begotten by the Holy Spirit.
"I have given you a few leading items upon this subject, but a great deal more remains to be told. Now, remember from this time forth, and for ever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 51).
Brigham Young taught that Adam was God.
"Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken - He is our Father, and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 50).
Brigham Young made a false prophecy?
"In the days of Joseph [Smith] it was considered a great privilege to be permitted to speak to a member of Congress, but twenty-six years will not pass away before the Elders of this Church will be as much thought of as the kings on their thrones," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, p. 40).
Blah blah blah...Journal of Discourses...blah blah blah...Journal of Discourses...blah blah blah I have to be grasping at straws to use Journal of Discourses because it's not actual LDS doctrine...blah blah blah...
Kev, do you have a problem with the English language? It seems like all you can say are silly, useless things to discount things you disagree with...instead of coming up with an educated argument.
People can look up the Journal of Discourses and see that your church does indeed hold them in high esteem. Just because you have to constantly change your scriptures to hide more and more embarrassments as science and history prove how daft your Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery really were doesn't mean that you don't believe in them.
You seem to pop up randomly to see who you can attack and then you run when people put forth facts that you cannot combat. The funny thing is you're only proving how ridiculous you and your church really are. Thanks for that!
Who cares? Really. I'm more concerned with the actions and words of today's Mormons, than BY. My Mormon wife, in-laws, nieces and nephews are wonderful, kind, and loving people and that's all that really matters to me.
If those excerpts from the Journal of Discourses you listed were held in such high esteem, why are they not considered scripture like the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants? Why are they not taught in LDS churches? You are free to attend any LDS church services to find what we are actually taught.
Kev, are you the singular spokesperson for the Mormon Church? Should we be believing every word you say just because you say so? I mean, just because YOU say the JOD aren't LDS scripture doesn't mean that you are right. What a megalomaniac you are for assuming that we should ALL listen to you and not doubt a single word you say. Amazing.
Like I said, you are free to attend any LDS church services to find out for yourself if you really want to know. You can also check the official or actual LDS commentary on the Journal of Discourses on the Web, if you care to actually look at both sides of the coin. It may take some actual effort but you can find out for yourself.
What a megalomaniac you are for assuming that we should ALL listen to you and not doubt a single word you say. Amazing."
Kev just implied you didn't have to take his word for it, that you could go to a Mormon church, or, heck, ask a missionary. If he assumed that everyone should listen to him, why would he say that?
And he doesn't sound like a meglomaniac at all to me. He just sounds like a guy who is sick at bigots ripping on his faith
I'm sick of people insulting other religions, whether it be Mormonism, Islam, or whatever. A five minute Google search doesn't make you an expert!
- Non-Mormon gay person.
Alain, why are you reading the "Belief" section of CNN if you're sick of people disagreeing with other peoples religions? You're a bit of a hypocrite...
Religious beliefs are a part of the marketplace of ideas and as such are, and should be open to criticism. If you don't like it...too bad.
And I am sick of religions trying to force their beliefs on others! If churches and religions don't want their beliefs criticized then let them keep their beliefs WITHIN their religions. America has no laws on the books against religions or churches, but maybe it's about time we did! If religions have the right to condemn others for how they live then we have the right to condemn their religions. Learn to keep Religious matters within the church.
Alain, I also am tired of these hate filled behaviors towards religions and people.Why not use your energies to fill the world with kindness and goodwill. So tired of these people performing hate filled acts towards other! How about these groups evolve a little unlike what the billboard says the mormon church has! Obviously, your godless world leaves you very hateful and mean spirited.Maybe its time you find that god of kindness for mankind. Its not the Mormon church attacking you on billboards for your godless belief!
-mormon gay man
I'm not so worried about his faith as I am about his flip-flopping.
Ryan is as bad. He "hates" the deficit and national debt yet voted for the majority of the cause: two Bush wars, Bush tax cuts, Bush prescription drugs program in Medicare, and TARP. And him an ardent Ayn Rand follower. Hypocrite!
Yes, Ryan is a known danger. Mitt is just a money-grubbing weasel who hopes that people won't notice he hasn't taken a consistent stand on anything.
You know, I've just spent the evening researching what pastmorm said about the history of our Mormon church and I'm disgusted with so many things I've discovered. No wonder members leave the church! It's the members that stay that are sad and sinful, knowing that what they tell people and what they practice are two different things and that they are raised to be pathological liars! How sick is that?
I'm so sorry I attacked all of the people that were trying to open my eyes and I feel sorry for any Mormon that can't think for themselves and find out the truth about the LDS Church: It's a sick lie! It's based on murder, thieving, lies and hatred. And it's true, Mormons do indeed still practice polygamy by "sealing" dead wives in multiples to one man at a time. So in fact, we are breaking the law here in America! I'm SO sorry!!!!!
This is just a pervert trying to mock The Mockingjay.
Oh come on Mock, you know that I'm not a pervert. I know we've met a few times in that theatre and then just last night we had some seriously naked fun in the bathroom at the Mall, but I'm not perverse....I just love you and I know you love me. Lets leave our wives and make a life together in Vermont.
Other than that, why do you have such conflicting ideas? I thought you loved our LDS church (even though they would hate us if they knew we were really gay). What did you find in your research that changed your mind?
Of course, blacks and gays can participate in the Mormon Church just as they do in other denominations. The Mormons don't have a problem with the color of their congregants' labor or money. It's when those minority congregants want to be accepted as equals and start vying for power that the church limits their upward mobility. And the Church tries to spin this as something positive? The atheist billboard is accurate as far as I'm concerned.
This is pathetic. I've never heard of Athiest.org until now. They say that all publicity is good publicity. I don't think I agree with that, because in this case, they publicised themselves as ignorant bafoons. Look me in the proverbial eye, and tell me that sign isn't graphically designed to mislead. Yes, it says explanations for the bold claims, but when people drive by and see the sign, they're not going to see the fine print. It's like taking someone's quote and manipulating it with ellipses. "I do NOT endorse this," becomes, "I do ... endorse this."
So you would prefer:
NO BLACKS ALLOWED AS MORMON LEADERS TILL 1978!!
NO S.EXUALLY ACTIVE GAY MEMBERS ALLOWED!!
And btw, there is no group that a majority of atheists adhere to or claim membership in. I could start up ilovemormons.org and talk about how I am not a Mormon but I love to have s.ex with mormon women and put up billboards, that would not make me or my website a Mormon affiliate. There are no atheist affiliates. There are just a bunch of people who happen to have the same hobby of not collecting stamps.
Bugtype (conditional text) is not an atheist invention. Look in any magazine. Look at nearly any TV commercial, especially of it is for medication. This type of thing is particularly important on a road sign that needs to be read in a second or 2. Hate the message if you want, but the approach is standard operating procedure in marketing. It's akin to saying "God is a loving god!"*
* unless you do any of the myriad things that piss him off, in which case you will be eternally waterboarded in the lake of fire just beside his underground concentration camp.
Emmm...Drew, the billboard isn't pure lies. Why do you mormons persist in saying that everything that's coming out about your cult is nothing but a lie, WITHOUT explaining WHY you think it's a lie? I mean, you do realize that the billboard can't be put up if it isn't based on fact because then they would be sued wouldn't they?
Mormons lie. Simple and true.
End-Religion, No one gets sent to hell by God. hell is the absence of God. You send yourself there by rejecting him.
for example, If I told you not to play in the street, and you get hit by a car- ..well I didnt hit you with the car. You did it to yourself by rejecting my message.
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.