By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story ran last year, as part of a series about the faith lives of the leading Republican presidential candidates. With the exception of an August interview done by CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger for her documentary “Romney Revealed: Family, Faith and the Road to Power,” which airs Sunday, October 28, and Saturday, November 3, at 8 p.m. ET on CNN, all other interviews were conducted in the fall of 2011. CNN has also profiled President Obama’s faith life during his time in the White House.
(CNN) – A cop arrived at the roadside wreckage of a June 1968 head-on collision in southern France, took one quick look at the Citroën’s unresponsive driver and scrawled into the young man’s American passport, “Il est mort” - “He is dead.”
The man at the Citroën’s wheel was Mitt Romney, who may have appeared dead but was very much alive – as is his hope to become the next president of the United States.
Romney was serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the LDS Church, when tragedy struck. It was a time of turmoil both in France and in the United States. Protests against the Vietnam War raged on, as did French disdain for Americans. Robert Kennedy had recently been assassinated, as had Martin Luther King Jr. a couple months earlier. France was still reeling from a May marked by riots, student demonstrations and crippling worker strikes.
There were six people in the car Romney was driving when friends say an oncoming speeding Mercedes, driven by a Catholic priest, veered into his lane. Among the passengers was mission president Duane Anderson – Romney was serving as his assistant – and Anderson’s wife. Anderson was injured, and Leola Anderson, 57, was killed. Like her husband, she’d been a parent figure to the approximate 180 Mormon missionaries in the field - their surrogate mother away from home. Now, she was gone.
“I don’t think [Romney] went around blaming himself, but in talking about it he’d shed some tears,” remembered Dane McBride, a fellow missionary and Romney friend ever since. “It was a very heavy experience for a 21-year-old.”
The mission president left France for six weeks to bury his wife and heal. A gloom spread over the mission field. Conversions in the country dropped, along with Latter-day Saint spirits.
These young men and women, who were already deep in a trying spiritual rite of passage, had to grow up and prove themselves in new ways.
In spite of his grief and a broken arm, Romney and a missionary companion – they always work in pairs – took charge. They traveled around the country visiting the others. Romney lifted up deflated missionaries with silly made-up songs. He taught them to visualize all they could accomplish and challenged them to raise their expectations, McBride said.
Romney increased the conversion goal for the year by 40%, believing France’s Mormon missionaries could and would recharge. In the end they surpassed Romney’s goal of baptizing 200 new members into the church.
It wasn’t such a stretch, though, for Romney to distinguish himself. Throughout his life, he’s been rooted in a faith that – whether he talks about it or not – helped shape the man who would president.
‘An American running for president’
Romney hopes the nation is ready to embrace a president who happens to be Mormon.
But he has faced questions about his faith since first getting into politics in 1994, when he ran for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts against Democratic stalwart Ted Kennedy. When Kennedy’s nephew, Joe, attacked Romney’s Mormonism, the insult drew a strong public response from Romney’s father – a former governor of Michigan who’d himself run for president - and failed to gain traction.
Since then Romney, who was elected governor of Massachusetts in 2003, has played down his faith on the campaign trail. But he did address it in a December 2007 speech, hoping to stem voter concerns about his religion and how it might influence him as a president. It was a speech he likened to John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 address, when Kennedy was running to be America’s first Catholic president.
“Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts explained that he was an American running for president, not a Catholic running for president,” Romney said. “Like him, I am an American running for president. I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.”
“No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith,” Romney said, declaring that if he was elected president, he would “serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest.”
“A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States,” he said. “I believe in my Mormon faith, and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them and to my beliefs. Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it.”
Whether Romney’s confession of faith helped sink him is a subject of debate. He hoped to deflect the focus on his religion while not speaking to Mormon doctrine or specific beliefs. In the whole speech, he mentioned the word Mormon only once.
This time around, Romney decided to forego a speech on his faith, but that doesn’t mean he was immune to pesky background noise about it. After introducing Texas Gov. Rick Perry at a Values Voter Summit last fall, Pastor Robert Jeffress said Republicans shouldn’t vote for Romney because Mormonism is a “cult.”
And only after a sit-down meeting earlier this month with the Rev. Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham, did the cult reference to Mormonism get scrubbed from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s website.
It’s hard to know how much Romney’s faith matters to the public, but recent polls suggest that at least to the majority of voters, it makes little or no difference.
A survey released in late July by the Pew Research Center showed that 60% of voters knew that he was Mormon, and of those who knew 8-out-of-10 were either comfortable with his faith or didn’t really care.
Another survey by Pew showed that only 16% of voters wished they knew more about Romney’s religious beliefs. Far more hungered for further details about his tax returns and his records as governor and at Bain Capital.
But in a tight election, if even a small minority of Americans withhold their votes from Romney because of his religion, it could cost him the White House.
For months, Romney’s campaign made it clear that it didn’t want to discuss his beliefs. Repeated attempts last fall to speak with the candidate, his wife, his children, his siblings - and, really, just anyone – about Romney’s faith journey were denied by campaign headquarters.
Even the reins it had on those outside the inner circle appeared tight. A local LDS Church leader in Michigan, contacted in hopes of finding childhood friends, forwarded CNN’s inquiry to campaign headquarters - prompting yet another slap down.
“What makes no sense to me is how you continue to push forward in writing about Gov. Romney’s faith journey when we’ve made it clear in every way possible that this is not a story we want to participate in,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul wrote in an email.
But Romney has been somewhat more open about his religion since then. He and his wife, Ann, sat down separately with CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger for her documentary, “Romney Revealed: Family, Faith and the Road to Power,” which first aired just before the Republican National Convention.
In the documentary, Romney shared how his mission in France fortified his faith and how church leadership roles in Boston would later strengthen his beliefs further.
He invited reporters to attend church with him in August, allowing the unremarkable typical Sunday service to speak for itself. People who’ve known him through the LDS Church took center stage at the convention, speaking to his character.
In August, Romney invited members of the press to join him for Sunday LDS Church services.
But Romney generally moved through the campaign guarding details about his Mormonism. He spoke about religion in broad strokes. He continued to avoid details and doctrine.
Explain it to me: Mormonism | Video: Mormonism defined
During a May commencement address at Liberty University, the Christian school founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, he didn’t utter the M-word. Under the watchful eyes of millions as he accepted the Republican nomination for president in August, he said it once.
Growing up while abroad
The 19-year-old Mitt Romney who showed up for missionary training was different than the rest.
“Mitt stood out from everyone else,” said Byron Hansen, who flew with Romney to France in July 1966. “He already spoke French pretty darn good, while the rest of us knew ‘bonjour’ and ‘au revoir.’ He immediately jumped out as a leader.”
Romney, like many of the other young men called by church leaders to serve, had finished a year of college before he got his missionary calling. But he’d gone to prestigious Stanford University and came from a privileged and powerful background.
He was worldly, not intimidated, and he was eager to interact with people of different backgrounds, said Hansen, who owns a car dealership in Brigham City, Utah. “All the rest of us from no-name Utah had never been more than 500 miles away from home.”
Despite the comforts he’d known growing up, Romney wasn’t spoiled. Some apartments that housed missionaries around France lacked heat and water, but had plenty of fleas. Those sorts of conditions likely made Romney appreciate all the more the luxuries of the mission home, located in the ritziest part of Paris, where he worked and lived during the latter part of his two-and-a-half year mission. He and the others there were fed by a Spanish cook and enjoyed the benefits of maids.
What’s more, said fellow missionary and friend Dane McBride, the young men learned what time of day to peer through windows to watch Brigitte Bardot walk her poodles.
The scenery aside, “it was the nicest office I ever worked in,” said McBride, now an allergist and immunologist in Roanoke, Virginia.
Throughout his mission, Romney was the first to get out of bed each morning, forever focused on his goals and the lessons he’d teach, and he stayed gung-ho even when others faltered, Hansen said.
Romney didn’t shy away from approaching anyone. On Saturdays, a free day for missionaries, he’d be done with his laundry by 9 a.m. and coaxing everyone else out the door for bike rides in the mountains, tours in new places or football games.
“He was never one to sit around,” Hansen said. “You had to run to keep up with Mitt.”
He was both pragmatic and creative when it came to sharing Mormon teachings, McBride said.
“Neither of us cared for knocking on doors much,” said McBride, referring to the typical tact for Mormon proselytizing. “But we did it. We did it a lot.”
However, Romney was a big proponent of what McBride called “creative contacting.” In lieu of going door-to-door, he preferred to encourage conversations by building sidewalk kiosks or inviting French locals to play baseball or attend evening parties with American themes – complete with Western wear and guitar strumming.
Being a missionary in largely secular France deepened Romney’s faith because it forced him to wrestle with challenges, steep himself in study and prayer and face plenty of rejection, McBride said. Like others, Romney was no stranger to doors being slammed in his face or getting his behind kicked while heading down apartment stairwells.
“When you’re off in a foreign place and you only talk to your parents once or twice a year by phone – that’s all that’s allowed – and you’re out speaking to people day in and day out about your faith and your religion and differences between your faith and other faiths…you say, ‘OK, what’s important here? What do I believe? What’s truth? Is there a God? Is Jesus Christ the son of God?’” Romney said to Borger in August.
“These questions are no longer academic. They’re critical because you’re talking about that day in and day out. And so I read the Scripture with much more interest and concern and sought to draw closer to God through my own prayer,” he said. “And these things drew me closer to the eternal and convinced me that in fact there is a God. Jesus Christ is the son of God and my savior, and these are things that continue to be important in my life, of course.”
Religious roots that run deep and strong
The groundwork for Romney’s faith journey was laid long before he put on a suit and, armed with his Book of Mormon, boarded a flight for France.
He comes from a long line of Latter-day Saints. Those who like to highlight what makes him different might point to how one of his great-grandfathers fled to Mexico, about 125 years ago, amid U.S. government crackdowns on what Mormons refer to as “plural marriage.” But many multigenerational Mormon families have polygamists in their family tree.
Plural marriage was introduced by church founder Joseph Smith but was officially banned by the church in 1890. Some 38,000 people aligned with fundamentalist offshoots of the LDS Church still practice polygamy, but they are a far cry and completely separate from the 14 million worldwide members in Romney’s church.
Romney’s late father, George Romney, was from modest means. He was born in Mexico to monogamous U.S.-born parents and left during the Mexican Revolution when he was 5. He went on to be CEO and chairman of the now-defunct American Motors Corporation, governor of Michigan and a presidential candidate in 1968.
Mitt Romney with his father, George Romney, who made his own mark as a leader in business, the LDS Church and politics.
Growing up Mormon in Michigan made Mitt Romney a member of a distinct minority. There were fewer than 8,000 Mormons in the state in 1945, two years before he was born, according to the LDS Church. It’s been reported that he was the only Mormon in his high school. While Mormon students in Utah could simply stroll across the street from school to attend early morning seminary before the first bell, longtime friend McBride said Romney didn’t have that easy, built-in outlet to strengthen his faith amid peers.
“Neither of us had benefited from that,” said McBride, who also grew up as a Mormon minority, in Iowa and North Carolina. “We had been called on in school to defend our faith many times. … I remember from fifth grade on needing to defend my religion.”
But Romney, in his Republican nomination acceptance speech, shared a different take on growing up in the Mormon minority: “That might have seemed unusual or out of place, but I really don’t remember it that way. My friends cared more about what sports teams we followed than what church we went to.”
Romney’s family, though, was active in the church. In 1952, his father was named Michigan’s first stake president. A stake is comparable to a diocese and has under its umbrella multiple “wards” or congregations, much as a diocese consists of parishes.
The LDS Church does not rely on professional clergy. Instead, church members are called to serve as volunteer leaders while holding down paid jobs. Church leaders rely on other volunteers as advisers. For instance, a ward bishop has two counselors, while a stake president confers with a high council of 12.
Being Michigan’s sole stake president meant Romney’s father – in addition to his full-time corporate work – oversaw ward operations, was the spiritual guide for the Latter-day Saint community and relayed messages from church headquarters in Salt Lake City.
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Like many practicing Mormons, the Romneys enjoyed “family home evening” every Monday, a time reserved to pray, study and sing together, McBride said.
Romney has spoken publicly about how his parents took him and his three siblings on mobile American history lessons, McBride said, loading up the family Rambler for cross-country tours to national parks, with stops at places like Mount Rushmore, Valley Forge and Williamsburg.
But McBride said the family also likely visited LDS historical sites, including points along the path westward traveled by Mormon pioneers who followed the call of Joseph Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, and trekked through treacherous conditions to arrive in 1847 in what is now Utah.
While Romney’s parents made sure their children were deeply connected to their country and their faith, Romney didn’t reside in a Mormon bubble. He was part of a bigger and more diverse world.
Ann Davies, the woman he fell for and now calls his wife, was Episcopalian when he met her during high school, and he knew she was the one for him.
After he left for college and then his mission, she began studying Mormonism, attended church with Romney’s parents and converted. Romney returned from France and proposed to her immediately. After a civil ceremony in Michigan, the two were married and “sealed” for eternity in 1969 during a sacred ceremony in the Salt Lake Temple.
The couple returned to college and began a family at church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, before moving to Boston, where Romney earned law and business degrees at Harvard.
Serving his LDS community
Romney rose in local church leadership while making his corporate mark. Along the way he applied many of the skills he’d displayed earlier, including his knack as a young missionary for turning challenges into possibilities.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, he served as a ward bishop – or part-time pastor – and stake president for the Boston area.
Romney delivered sermons, counseled couples, and made middle-of-the-night hospital runs. He monitored budgets, weighed welfare needs of immigrants and others, and drove outreach to different faith communities. He showed up at the homes of Latter-day Saints in need of help, taking on tasks such as removing bees’ nests.
“There’s… no one who is full-time with the church to care for the sick and visit the poor,” Romney told Borger. “And so the church comes and says, ‘We’d like you to do that, Mitt.’ … Talk about a growing-up experience and a learning experience.”
Philip Barlow, a professor of Mormon history and culture and the director of the religious studies program at Utah State University, served as a one of two counselors to Bishop Romney in the early 1980s.
Each Saturday, the counselors would meet with Romney in his home in Belmont, a suburb northwest of Boston. And while the work was serious, it didn’t mean Romney always was. Barlow recalled the time Romney busted out with a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and did a formidable moonwalk across the floor.
“The media is always reporting that he can come across as too polished,” Barlow said. “But there’s a real person there.”
Romney also was the kind of leader who built bridges with those suspicious of Mormons. When a chapel under construction in Belmont burned to the ground amid ongoing anti-Mormon sentiment, he turned the perceived arson attack into opportunity.
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“It was an inspired move,” said Grant Bennett, who at one time served as a counselor to Romney when he was a bishop and later served on the Boston stake’s high council under Romney when he was president.
Non-Mormon houses of worship offered their buildings to accommodate the needs of the displaced Latter-day Saints during the chapel’s reconstruction. While it would have been easier to pick one place to call a temporary home for services, classes and meetings, Romney accepted every viable offer he received – thereby forcing a rotation of interaction with different faith communities.
Experiencing the kindness of strangers offered relief to Mormons who had been feeling “a little under siege,” said Bennett, who first got to know Romney through church in 1978 and worked with him for five years at Bain & Company, the global consulting firm that Romney eventually led as CEO.
“In a religious context, Mormons are very good at serving each other and are often hesitant to accept help,” he said. “I think Mitt had the fundamental insight … that we’d be better off and [the other churches would] be blessed by helping us.”
It was the sort of decision perhaps born of being in the minority in Michigan and learning early to honor religious pluralism, said Bennett, now president and CEO of CPS Technologies, a high-tech manufacturing firm in the Boston area.
On the campaign trail and with media, Romney has tried to focus on matters other than faith.
In his religious roles, Romney had to delegate and call others to serve. Sometimes he believed in people more than they believed in themselves.
Andy Anderson, a retired researcher and writer in Kaysville, Utah, first got to know Romney amid tragedy. It was Anderson’s mother who was killed in the 1968 car wreck in France, and when his father returned to Paris, Anderson, his wife and children went along.
When Romney later moved to Anderson’s neighborhood in Massachusetts, Anderson said he helped Romney and his family settle in.
In 1989, Anderson said he was minding his own research business when Romney, then the Boston stake president, called him for a meeting. A group of new converts Anderson described as “Cambodian boat people” – united formally as a “branch,” which is smaller and less developed than a ward - had suddenly lost its president without warning.
In shock, he listened as Romney said, “Guess who’s the next branch president?”
Anderson said he’d been raised to accept church callings. But between the language barrier with the Cambodians, the cultural differences, the poverty and the responsibility, this one seemed too much. He begged and pleaded with Romney. He told him he was unqualified, that he’d “never been president of anything.” He said, “It sounds like a really bad fit, Mitt.” But Romney wasn’t swayed.
“Andy, you know where this comes from,” Romney answered, referring to the Mormon belief that God can reveal truths to individuals. “It’s not me. You go talk to Him and tell me when you’re ready.”
For the next three years Anderson said he oversaw the poorest people in the Boston stake. The overwhelming task “nearly killed me,” he said. But along the way he not only fell in love with the community, he learned to believe in himself and see that he could be a leader.
“I count Mitt as a friend, and it has been a real pleasure to work under him,” he said. “If he was a real pain to work for, I’d know it. I’ve worked for people in the church I couldn’t stand.”
Women’s view of Romney
The Romney reviews from Latter-day Saint women in the Boston area were more mixed.
In the early 1970s, as the feminist movement gained steam, a group of Mormon women began gathering in Cambridge to explore the history of women in their church. They were looking for role models, stories that would inspire them.
With the help of LDS Church historians, they learned about their female ancestors and wrote a book, “Mormon Sisters: Women in Early Utah.” They discovered that a women’s newspaper, Women’s Exponent, was published in the late-19th and early-20th centuries and featured women’s writings that Judy Dushku described as “very feminist in their views.”
“We were reading about women we’d never heard of before,” said Dushku, a Suffolk University professor of government with an interest in gender and comparative politics. She and other “founding mothers” were moved to start a new publication, now a quarterly magazine: Exponent II.
That decision, however, was not received well by the LDS Church, Dushku said. She said the fact that it was independent and had no stamp of approval from church higher-ups, all of them men, rubbed some - including Romney - the wrong way.
Dushku said Romney encouraged friends to tell their wives not to participate. He made it clear he didn’t want the women behind the publication holding meetings on church property. Dushku and the others suspected it was under his direction that copies of the magazine displayed in congregations got dumped in wastebaskets.
The LDS Church is patriarchal in nature. Only men can serve as bishops, stake presidents and in higher leadership roles, including the combined post of church president and prophet. Only men are welcome in the priesthood, which in Mormon circles means having the authority, for example, to perform baptisms and offer sacramental blessings.
Dushku decided she could live with this and remains a faithful Mormon. She said she and the others simply wanted an outlet for women to discuss issues unique to them. And while what they created may have seemed “radical” back then, she says there are Mormon women bloggers today who push boundaries much more than Exponent II ever did.
What got to Dushku about Romney was less his reaction to the magazine and more how she saw him treat women he was in a position to comfort and support as a local church leader.
Dushku has told the story of a woman, a mother of four, who was pressured by then-Bishop Romney to go forward with a pregnancy despite advice from doctors that a medical complication made it too dangerous.
She also recalled the story of a meeting between Romney and a woman whose ex-husband had been excommunicated from the church because of numerous affairs he’d had while serving as a bishop.
The woman asked Dushku to accompany her to the meeting, where Romney encouraged the woman to forgive her philandering ex so he could be re-baptized into the church and marry another woman.
The problem, Dushku said, is that the husband had never bothered to apologize to the wife he’d hurt, a fact she said Romney didn’t seem to care much about.
When she began speaking out to media, Dushku said she was flooded with responses from Facebook friends. Most of the reactions were positive, thanking her for her courage.
But some friends suggested she back off.
“How can you blame someone who has so many responsibilities?” one friend wrote. “He was young,” said another. “People change.”
Dushku said she affords Romney the possibility he may have changed, that he might handle such situations differently today.
“But compassion is a character quality,” she said. “I doubt he’s much different now.”
Her take on Romney, though, doesn’t jibe with that of Helen Claire Sievers, executive director of Harvard’s WorldTeach program, which brings volunteer teachers to developing countries.
Sievers, who’s been involved with Exponent II on and off since its inception, was the Boston stake activity director when Romney was stake president. She recalled being at a meeting in Dushku’s house in Watertown, outside of Boston, when women began wondering aloud about how their local church might better empower women.
“Often leadership in the Mormon church tends to pull far to the right, to out-orthodox the orthodox,” said Sievers, who later proposed to Romney that he should meet with the Boston LDS women to hear their frustrations and suggestions. Romney was willing to have such a meeting, even though it bucked the comfort level of church headquarters.
“I was really impressed that Mitt felt strongly that even if he could get in trouble with the hierarchy, he really wanted to hear what the women that were under his stewardship had to say so that they would feel as comfortable as possible in church,” Sievers said.
As a result of the meeting, which drew more than 150 participants, Sievers said adjustments were made, including allowing women to say opening prayers at church meetings. Romney didn’t have the power to change church doctrine, but Sievers said he could and did bend the norm to make women feel heard and more respected.
“Many Mormon men wouldn’t make that choice,” she said.
Serving outside the stake and ward
In his fulltime work life, Romney showed that his commitment to serving others extended beyond those in his ward or stake. His religious values came through in business decisions – sometimes trumping opportunities for financial gain.
Robert Gay, who was once a managing partner at Bain Capital, the venture capital firm Romney founded, recalled how Romney refused to put investment dollars into a deal with Artisan Entertainment because he didn’t want to profit from R-rated films.
But of greater note to Gay - who once served on the Boston stake’s high council with Romney - was something Romney did for him in 1996.
After Gay’s 14-year-old daughter went missing for three days in New York, Romney shut down Bain Capital in Boston and flew about 50 employees to New York to help find her.
The girl, who lived with her family in Connecticut, disappeared after going to a concert in Manhattan. Romney and the other Bain Capital executives put their “$1 billion investment firm” on hold, created a “war room” at a hotel, paid to print 200,000 fliers, set up a toll free hotline number and enlisted the help of a private investigator, the Boston Globe reported at the time.
They canvassed streets and talked to runaways. The girl was found in a New Jersey home, “dazed from a disorienting dose of a drug,” the Globe reported.
It’s not a story Gay likes to retell, though he did record a video testimonial for a campaign ad about it during Romney’s 2008 presidential bid and the story resurfaced in ads this election season, too. But Gay would rather offer other insights, including the time another Bain Capital partner suddenly fell very ill and was hospitalized. Romney was the first person to show up for a visit at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Gay managed an equity fund with Jon Huntsman Sr., father of another former GOP Mormon presidential, but is now serving the LDS Church. Gay called Romney “a devout Christian,” someone who has always been committed to “leading a good and purposeful life.”
Whether Romney’s next purpose will have him sitting in America’s highest political office is now up to voters.
And when they cast their ballots on November 6, friends like McBride said where Romney prays on Sundays should make no difference.
“The issues of his church are not the issues of this country,” he said. “Those are personal issues.”
Get ready Willard the planet kolob awaits you.
Wow! A misogynistic racist cult that encourages lying that some guy pulled out of his bupkus 150 years ago - with weird underwear!
Sign me up!
If there is a god – please deliver us from Mittens the Antichrist - who would've ever suspected - a guy named Mittens! Lawdy!
welcome back pastnorm.
and take Harry Reid with you.
i don't understand the hostility towards the faith of others. why do people feel the need to criticize others on account of their faith? and then some of these people profess to be Christians? would Jesus behave that way? i don't think so. do they think that Romney will let his faith run his presidency? or are they picking on him because he's a republican? do they realize that there are democrats who are mormons also? did they know that his church takes a position of being apolitical? yes, many mormons are conservative but that is because their beliefs reflect more traditional values. but there are democratic mormons too, like Harry Reid. as far as their "secret" rituals; why does that matter? every religion has different viewpoints on how to worship. who are these people to judge? are they scholars? i doubt it. Romney if a good man but he certainly has flaws, but i feel he has a better plan than Obama does. this nation can't afford 4 more years of the community organizer!
We just have to remember that many people in America spout off because they can. It is easier to tear things down when you have nothing to stand on yourself. Not sure where people come to their "facts". Harry Reid, Democratic Senator fron Nevada is also a Mormon, but is a Democrat. Religion does not drive one's political stance as most people seem to thint it does.
The weird rituals and other oddities of religions do matter for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that they are indications that the person holding the beliefs and following the rituals is not being rational in their decision-making. It is very clear that the Mormon beliefs about Kolob and so on as assembled in Joseph Smith's many fabrications are particularly bizarre and unsupportable in evidence.
It does not reflect well on a presidential candidate when such beliefs are held in the face of modern science, and are held with a lack of evidence to support them.
Flounder, what religion has a basis in science? If I read you comment right, you did not vote for either Romney or Obama. Both are faith believing men.
pastmorm sounds like he got his feelings hurt once. Somebody give her a hug.
I'll give him a hug, then I'll take him back home to the insane asylum he escaped from.
gotta give pastnorm credit though, he was valiant in his effort, eventhough his ax did not get any sharper.
Would never vote for Romney no matter what religion he is
Castro and Chavez would vote for Obama, what does that tell you.
Dang, you canceled out my vote.
@MaryN, Thank, thatmade me smile...everyone is taking things too seriously for some stupid forum that isn't going to influence anyone's vote and I'm glad someone can see the funny.
agree with MCR. Some of the garbage, errrrr comentary posted is quite funny.
Mormons came to my door when I was living in my country of origin when I was 14 years old. After listening to them for about half an hour I was convinced they were about as delusional a couple of people that I had ever met, As I said I was 14 then and after almost half a century I still feel the same way. Anyone who believes this nonsense will never get any vote of mine.
Agree, could not vote for Obama eith. He is a Christian too.
You are about as un-Christlike as it gets. I would vote for Romney if he was any religion as long as he still had the character that he does. Don't go judging people for what they believe. In my eyes, you are as delusional as it gets. You are slow to understand and learn and you are super selfish. Believe what you want, but don't go around saying that you wouldn't like a person because they commit the horrific crime of worshipping God.
Looks like pastnorm is todays winner for clown of the day. Please claim your prize at http://www.hogwash.org
(had to be like him and do a little name calling)
Funny how PASTMORM is so proud of being a past mormon that he won't even us his real name. Go ahead and keep attacking religion like your buddy Obama, we will see in the end what GOD has to say about that.
Who should control the Public Square?
So far it's being dominated by a National interest group that believes that it should reign superior to any local culture.
Let's reclaim our local Public Square so that we can celebrate our cultural diversities and mutual respect.
Would rather vote for a Mormon with high standards than a moron...
I agree, but George W Bush is not running against Mitt Romney in this election.
Sounds like there is a lot of anti religious and Humanistic views out there. What ever you believe I hope that you believe in treating your neighbor and fellow citizens with tolerance and respect. There are many misconstrued ideas and false statements made regarding the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints (Mormons). Many churches teach false and misleading things about other churches in an effort to ratify and substantiate their theology. I have long maintained the philosophy that if you want to know the truth about something then go to the source. I think that a devout Catholic would be the best to explain his religious tenets, as a Baptist or Atheist or Communist would be the ones to describe what they believe. I am sure that the commentary here,with a few exceptions, is not gathered largely from original sources or first hand observation, but merely a recitation of demeaning and slanderous word of others. You want to know more about what a Mormon really believes? Ask one. There are so many quotes here that are taken out of context and adapted to the purposes of the writer that it certainly presents a warped and twisted view of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day Saints. As the name states They're Christian.
too much logic there. Way over the head of today's crowd.
For a religion, I think going to the source is a good idea,but not on its own. No belief organization is going to evenly present both their good and bad points, so you need to get quality sources for both.
I am with you all the way when it comes to treating others with respect. I also agree that a religious person is well placed to inform you about what they believe in their particular case. What I am not convinced of is that the same person can view such beliefs with objectivity. That is due to the problems of indoctrination. As one who was never subjected to any religious teachings as a child but did read the literature (including the book of Mormon) as an adult it is hard for me to impress upon any religious person how nonsensical their beliefs appear to me.
So spencer admitted that mormons believe they can become gods someday. Does that bother or freak anyone out? Isn't that classic megalomania? Do you want a president that believes that? WOW, that's pretty much like the Muslims believe they can have all the women they want when they die. SCARY....
lots of people beliefs freak me out. Some pretty weird stuff out there. Good thing we are not comunists and are not allowed to have our own beliefs.
Actually what is scary are people who believe everything they are told, like Obama supporters like yourself. If you want to know what Mitt Romney really believes go to mormon.org or attend a church meeting. Good luck finding out what Obama believes, he believes what ever will gets him more votes. He was against gay marriage just a few years ago now he acts as if he has been fighting for gays all his life. He says he's christain but is uncomfortable even saying the word GOD.
Mormonism is not Christian. A study of Mormon doctrine will reveal that their beliefs are far out in left field and cannot be Christian. Their beliefs are radically different from Christianity and cannot be Christian. Part of the deception is in the terms that they use. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8. “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:13, 14.
Yes, Mormons "can't be" Christians. I mean the central tenant of their faith is that Jesus Christ is the redeemer of all mankind, and it is only by and through Christ that man can return to live with God. Doesn't sound very Christian to me.
Robert, your initial comment should say: Mormonism is not Christin in the way that some people define Christian. That would be a more accurate statement. People believe in Christ in many different ways. If someone says they believe in christ, I for one will not say they are not Christian just because they believe different than i do.
Have questions about Mitt go to WWW. MITTROMNEY.COM
Have questions about the LDS church go to http://www.MORMON. or http://www.LDS.ORG
Have questions about people that were mormons and know the truth about their beliefs? Ask them in person. Don't go to a website that is obviously one sided....how communistic is that???
Actually, it's probably just better to ask a member of the Church about their beliefs. People who were once Mormon aren't actually still Mormon and probably don't know all of the intimate details by virtue of the fact they don't practice the religion. See how that works.
That reasoning doesn't make sense. It would highly depend on the assumption that those who leave a religion never studied the actual doctrines, which is a demonstrably false assumption.
That reasoning doesn't make sense. It would highly depend on the assumption that those who leave a religion never studied the actual doctrines, which is a demonstrably false assumption
or better stated: That reasoning makes sense. It would highly depend on the assumption that those who leave a religion were offended and have an ax to grind, which is a demonstrably possible assumption
And the statistics do not support your moronic and marginalizing assumption.
I didn't say they didn't study the doctrines, but it is more likely that you will get an accurate description of the doctrines and a person's beliefs by the person actually practicing the religion. Heck I studied lots of religions in school. It doesn't mean I understand them all or could accurately explain all of them. Furthermore, just because someone was Mormon and knows lots of "stuff" about it, doesn't mean they actualy understand it or could accurately explain it.
Really? And there would be no bias to make it sound better, or to gloss over the more ridiculous parts of a doctrine from someone who still believes, rather than someone who used to be within that same doctrine? That just doesn't make sense.
And I agree with Jacob. Alotof ex-Mormons just have an ax to grind. They tend to act ike Mormons are somehow afraid of their beliefs and like they know some great secret. Lastly, could ex-Mormons know more about the Church than actual Mormons, yes. But is is more likely that they don't. There I think we're covered now.
And what is your justification for saying it is more likely that ex-mormons know less about the mormon doctrines than current mormons?
Oh ow that's all just subjective isn't it. (i.e., Whether or not someone is just saying something to make the doctrine sound better or whether or not the doctrine is ridiculous.) I choose to listen to the doctrine from someone who practices the religion and then make my own decisions about whether or not I think it's ridiculous. Have you tried it? Have you ever sat down with a Mormon and just talked to them about their religion. You might just find them to be good-hearted peopole who will open up to you and then listen to your beliefs as well. Heck you might even respect each other in the end even as I honestly respect you even though we may not agree.
I think it's more likely by virtue of the fact they practice the religion on a daily basis.
hawaii guest, And what is your justification for implying you know more than anybody else here? Contrarian people like you are always asking for proof. And the statistics do not support your moronic and marginalizing assumption. Also, 98% of statistics are made up on the spot.
@jabmc, I wouldn't go to ANY candidates website to learn anything about him or her. Gads, thats scary.
Yes I have talked to Mormons. I've invited them in when they came to call at freaking 7AM on a Saturday. I listened, and found their beliefs to be just as absurd as all the other religions beliefs. Not to mention they didn't mention many of the more crazy sounding beliefs when they were at my home, I found that out through independent research.
No where did I claim that I know more than everyone, I merely pointed out that assuming that you'll get better information from someone with a vested interest in conversion and making their beliefs sound good is not a logical assumption.
The last part was mainly for you. Also, asking for proof is not contrarian, it's called reasonable expectations of a truth claim.
Wow, 7 AM, you must have gung-ho missionaries! They typically don't even leave their apartment until 10AM. They usually study in the mornings, but I'l take your word for it. See now all you had to say was "I don't believe in crazy religion." That would have explained alot. In all fairness to the missionaries, they were probably at your house for an hour or less. I mean, how much can you cover in an hour? We cover the "crazy" stuff in later discussions. :) I do give you props though for letting them in. But instead of continuing to meet with them you decided to do some totally unbiased "indpendant research," or in other words probably read anti-mormon literature, etc. Given that you don't believe in religion, I understand why you would favor that type of information. It supports your view of the universe. You insinuate you can't talk to members of the Church because they will provide you with information that is too favorable to the Church. Instead, you decided to go the complete opposite way where the information is guarenteed to full of half-truths and false and misleading information. I mean it's totally fine you thought the Mormon Church's views were absurd in the one hour presentation, but don't pretend like you were unbiased and tried to understand. You already revealed your true colors.
You're making more assumptions. For one, I read the pamphlets they gave me, and went to the book of mormon for what is written there. Also, they ended up staying for 3 hours (at my insistence) and I was a practicing Catholic at the time, so I didn't go to any anti-religion period sources. Do not just assume that I went to an extreme when it came to information, because I always have valued independent confirmation of things (except when it came to my religion when I was still a believer).
I wonder, why is it that you completely assumed I went to anti-religious sources, or more specifically anti-mormon sources, and then completely ran with that assumption as if it were just fact?
THE GREATEST STATEMENT COMES TO MIND IN LOOKING AT ALL THESE POSTS – "...FATHER FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO..."
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile against you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsey for my sake... Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven...
I am a Mormon, I am proud...
can't wait for pastmorm to post on this one. Better than comedy central.
ROFL! Captianm and little rex....deny the mormon beliefs I've posted...DENY THEM! You can't and yet you still attack me. LOL! You're so afraid of what non-mormons will think if you say, "yes, I will become a god. Yes, god was a man, yes my wife has a secret temple name that I know, but she doesn't have to know mine..."
pastmorm, I cannot deny the mormon things you are saying because I do not know about them. I am just enjoying reading your comebacks.
Pastmorm. Yes, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that exalation means you can return to live with God and be like him. I can't say church doctrine is that God was once a man. Is it something a leader in our church said, yes. Is everything a leader of the Church says Church doctrine no. I don't know what the point of the temple name thing is. Maybe you just feel special that you know so much. Am I ashamed by any of this, no. Why should I be exactly?
Well sam's whatever....you're a mormon loser this morning. How does it feel to have your man and your religion tossed back into the freak closet where it belongs???? LOL!!!! I'm sure you mormons are all scratching your heads, wondering why your fasting and praying didn't work. Guess you're NOT Gods chosen people. Oh BOO HOO!!!!! BYE BYE LOSERS!!!
Like this article isn't a PR piece for Barry. To be fair, in the corresponding article for Barry, talk about his faith...and it isn't Christianity.
Lots of name calling. Makes America great doesn't it! Opinions are like asz holes, we all have them and they all stink.
Ah Alex, how fitting for a communist to say. You're saying that you don't want people to have opinions?
pastmorm, I was not implying that anyone posting here is communist. I value that in America we can all have our own opinions, even if we are trying to be nice or antagonize others. Watching religious and anti religious pundants bicker is pure entertainment.
@ flip-flopper alex. You said opinions stink. How can you retranslate that to "entertainment?"
no retranslation necessary. Watching you expressing your opinions is entertaining. Keep up the faith! It is my opinion that you can save the world.
All Christians believe in the Blessed Trinity..... Mormons do not!!!! I could go on and on.... Mormonism is a CULT!!! Google Joseph Smith and Mormonism it will shock you!!!
Why not speak to an ex-mormon? People leave all religions, all the time, for many reasons. Why only ask a current member? Because you don't want people to ask you about how you'll become a GOD after you reach the Celestial Kingdom?
Because you don't want people to ask about Joseph Smith and his 14 year old wife? He was a peodophile.
Because you don't want people to know about the communistic Law of Consecration?
Because you don't want people to know about the church's "Avenging Angels?"
Because you don't want people to know about your secret (oops, sacred) temple names?
Because you don't want people to know how women will NEVER be equal to men in the mormon church, even down to your belief that GOD has a wife, but she is too sacred to mention...which leads to the belief in polytheism...you're not even a Christian religion.
Because all your commercials and your mormon websites have NOTHING to do with what you really practice in your temples and what your past prophets have said?
Uh huh...just ask a mormon and stay ignorant.
pastnorn, you are so right. If I want to know something about Chevy Trucks, I will go to the Ford dealer. Take your stick to Comedy Central, not here.
Sorry little man robert, I'm a 7th generation, return missionary that saw the light and left the cult...I know exactly what I'm talking about. So why don't you just shut up? You don't know me, but you are afraid of people knowing the truth. You've not denied ANYTHING in my post because you can't. And everything that's in my post points to mormonism NOT being Christian. Just be honest for once.
The two cults/religions are both crazy as sh!t. Talking snakes and donkeys, sticks turning into serpents, zombies walking jerusalem. Please!
so pastnorm, what do not believe as you used to. That is fine with me. What do you see in your new light? I do not know you, so please tell us something you do believe, not just what you do not want to believe. And sine you are an expert on being honest, I eagerly await your reply.
Ask a Mormon. They are honest people and will give you a straight answer. There are no conspiracies here.
I don't believe in anything little robert. Mormonism does that to people. They tell you all our life, for generations that they are the ONLY true church. That's why you people baptize the dead. I don't have to believe in anything, but if I did, would you attack it? Is that why you're asking? I sure would like to hear you deny any of the beliefs I listed in my original comment. DENY IT!!!!
Spencer, another mormon troll that visits these boards, around the same time each evening.
DENY that you can't become a god. Deny that god has a wife. Deny that you have a secret name. Deny that God was once a human man.
Those things make you a NON-Christian. Instead you're a polytheist. Fascinating.
pastmorm, a little bitter?
Hey pastmorm, This is my first time on these boards actually, Sure I'm a mormon. There is nothing to deny, Sure these are some truths that you speak of. Sure they are more sacred more than secret. I'm not about to denounce you as a liar. You are simply looking at them from a very abusive angle. Why aren't more people excited that there is more to life then death? Why aren't people excited for the fact they can progress and become something more than they are today? Sure I can become a God some day, I'm not be sacrilegious, if this really does turn out to be the truth when we die, are we supposed to be mad that we can enjoy eternity learning and becoming more perfected?
Spencer you've been on these mormon boards for ages. Liar.
Oh I forgot the standard response to TEMPLE rituals. They are sacred, not secret. Deny them spencer. Tell everyone that the beliefs I listed for the mormon church aren't true. Deny your faith!!!
rexless, you're just silly. LOL!
Pastmorm, Anyone can put a bad spin on anything they dislike. I can be horrible and mean to anyone I want to and put them in the most inhumane light I can possibly conjure. Does this make my views correct? Does this create a good atmosphere to learn others points of views? There are things that you are saying that you simply do not have a clue as to what you are talking about. Talking about religion isn't a one size fits all. It HAS to be a personal discovery. If you would like to talk more on this subject please feel free to contact me through email. I will give you my email at your request.
pastmorm...I bet your parents and family members are really proud of you...shame...
And exactly what is factually wrong about his posts? This is the one thing I have not seen. What is factually wrong, and exactly what justification do you have for stating that it is factually wrong?
factually wrong is saying it is a cult. "Cult" is a definition not a thing.
With some definitions, all religions would be labeled as cults. So while the label would apply subjectively based on the person, stating it is factually wrong is also merely a subjective thing.
I didn't say he was factually wrong. Read my post again, I was stating that he was spinning everything to his personal opinion. Most of what is saying is has some truth with small snip-its of opinion. I know a majority of people reading this don't need an explanation. I will add some simple remarks :
Communists? Its like everyone charitably gives to one another. Consecration is sharing, not mandating.
Men and women are equal. I could never be so happy in my life if it weren't for my wife. We share the load of life together, equally and therefore better each other each and every day. This principle is taught monthly in my congregation.
Everything is out there, stop looking for the pessimistic views on what good people are doing.
One thing I'm noticing, you continue to say he's putting a bad spin on things and injecting opinion, yet you do not give any specifics besides the women equal thing, which I also notice that the only example you give is within your marriage. Marriage is a single aspect of life, and says nothing about the treatment of women in other areas.
From a biblical standpoint, women were not equal, and there was no doctrine to provide that. Can you give something from the book of mormon that supports your position that women are completely equal to men in all ways?
Spenser you little loser. How did all that fasting and praying work for you and Romney? NOT AT ALL! LOL! So go back to your freak church and temple and pray harder, but DON'T DOUBT that you have MANY members questioning their faith this morning...if you are the chosen people of God, why didn't you win and fulfill the White Horse Prophesy. Oh, so sad....
BYE, BYE LOSER!!!!!!!
Why no mention of his promise to impose the mormon cult's rules on the women of our republic or the Cult's practice of baptizing dead Jewish heroes and children then claiming them as part of the mormnn cult. Even i the pedophilic side of the Mormon cult does not bother you the anti semetic stand should.
So he believes different than you. Sounds like all denomonations are cults if we go with your opinion.
All denominations and religions are cults.
i'm sure one of his five grandmothers can tell you...
rrp, do you know something that the scientific community is not telling us? current science says we can only have two grandmothers. I guess if you consider step grandmothers as grandmothers, then you could have more. Do you have more than two?
I voted today against the mormon cult follower. Willard go to the planet of kolob or Nauvoo, Illinois.
John the Historian needs to do some history lessons. Grow up man.
and you will go down in history as one who professed knowledge while knowing nothing. What cult doyou belong to?
Oh robert and bruce....the same little return missionaries in their 40's hanging out on the computer to troll after non-mormons because they doubt their own faith so much, they have to cry like big babies if anyone has an opinion that doesn't agree with the mormon cult...you know, the one that tells its members that they can become GODS!
pastnorm, why are you crying like a big baby if someone has an opinion that doesn't agree with your (fill in the blank) cult?
little robert, you're the one that's crying about mormonism being picked on. You started it. In America, unlike the Middle East, I can actually stand up and say NO to religion. That's what this country was BASED on!
Oh, and what about you becoming a GOD after you reach the Celestial Kingdom? Deny it!!!
What I find interesting is that people like Robert and Bruce will continually tell tha people are wrong when they levy criticisms, but do not give specifics or demonstrate how it is wrong.
Well and truthfully said "hawaiiguest!"
I'm not even really expecting Robert or Bruce to respond. It's just SOP. When someone points out the flat assertions, the standard tactic is run, and repost the same to someone else.
Agreed hawaiiguest...spencer showed his face (he's one of the mormon trinity trolls on here) for a second or two and couldn't deny his faith (godhood is evidently very important to all three) either. I just wish America could see mormonism for what it really is before they make a decision today or tonight that could be a HUGE tragic mistake for the country.
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