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.
Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter
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.
CNN's Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
“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.”
If your religion is important to you (even if its not) can you still vote for someone who really believes this?:
The American Indians are descended from Jews who sailed to America in 600BC
-God is a flesh and blood man and had physical relations with Mary to create Jesus
-Jesus and Satan are brothers
-Mormon men can become gods and live on their own planet
-Joseph Smith met God and Jesus in person, and God told him all other Christian faiths were an "abomination"
-Joseph Smith used magic glasses and his magic treasure seeking hat to create the Book of Mormon
Romney actually believes all of that is true. It makes me wonder about how rational his thought process must be to believe in such nonsense.
Sorry, can't let your statements go.
The American Indians are descended from Jews who sailed to America in 600BC
– Book of Mormon includes writings from several groups of inhabitants who settled in ancient America, but that doesn't mean that there were not any other groups. DNA evidence currently says they were not primary ancestors. I think Mormons in the past assumed that they were the primary ancestors, but the doctrine of the church does not depend on it (it is interesting, but irrelevant).
God is a flesh and blood man and had physical relations with Mary to create Jesus
– Mormons believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. It is very offensive to say that Mormons believe in "physical relations". Mormons do believe that God is an immortal physical being.
Jesus and Satan are brothers
– True, but a very misleading statement. Mormons believe that all men and women are spirit children of God, and therefore brothers and sisters. Satan rebelled from God and will never receive a physical body. Jesus and Satan, although both spirit children of God, could not be more different. One doing absolute good, the other evil.
Mormon men can become gods and live on their own planet
– Partially true, but misleading. Mormons believe that all men and women may progress to become more like God. Just as we want to see our children grow and succeed, so does God. The whole "get your own planet" statement is not LDS doctrine. Mormons believe that all men and women, through the grace of Christ, will be resurrected as immortal physical beings. It makes sense that we have to live and exist somewhere, but there is no LDS doctrine that explains where exactly. Personally, I doubt we could understand the science of it with our current limited understanding (interesting to speculate, but irrelevant to doctrine).
Joseph Smith met God and Jesus in person, and God told him all other Christian faiths were an "abomination"
– Joseph was told that some fundamental christian doctrines were lost in the centuries after Christ's death, and that he was called to restore the church to it's original state. As such, Mormons do not consider themselves protestant, but rather a restoration of the original christian church. Today, Mormons are taught to avoid disparaging other faiths, because all have good and good people. Mormons believe that all men and women are loved by God and will be "saved" whether they are Mormon, Christian, Jew, or otherwise.
Joseph Smith used magic glasses and his magic treasure seeking hat to create the Book of Mormon
– Urim and Thummim were devices provided to help translate the ancient writings, but they are not as you describe.
Sorry Rich, but I can't let this one go. Everything that was written, before you "corrected" it was very accurate. Your "corrections" are inaccurate, by a LONG shot! Everything you just stated is wrong. God had no reason tell Joseph Smith to restore His church, because if that had been the case, then God wouldn't be God. Joseph Smith was a liar and a con-man! Mormon's are brainwashed into believing this idiot. They take EVERYTHING out of context!
I can only speak from personal experience. I have great respect for Mormons. I worked at a company with people of all faiths and the people that i could count on when I asked for help were Mormons. People of great integrity loyal and always hospitible. I also believe faith is important to making decisions, that test a president. I don't believe in all the teachings myself. Of most religions. What I like is this hard working governor deserves a shot at the presidency more than anyone else. I also believe if he is successful as a nation we all will benifit.
harpie15, I would love to believe that but just can't. He's overtly and covertly said he doesn't like a huge population of Americans. Neither do I, but I don't have money as my criteria. And he isn't a businessman in terms of creating. Bain Capital is more vulture than business. Waiting for businesses to flounder and fail, buy it for cheap, piece meal it out and make a killing. No thanks. We need to come together as Americans- not create a class war by denying the poor any assistance at all.
Our servant Mittens RMoney might win this thing after all and soon we will take over Earth as our interplanetary comfort station and deposit our waste on it. No more soiling our Magic Underwear on the long route to sunshine holidays on Venus.
Its much stranger than that:
You're a religious bigot.
KILLING SOMEONE in a Car Wreck like Romney and Laura Bush did must be the TICKET to join Satan's Select
You must not read to well. A CATHOLIC PRIEST caused the accident and killed the woman.
You really are an idiot. If you know the story, a Catholic Priest drove into them. Keep your bigotry to yourself in your cave.
All you know is Romney was in an accident that killed someone. He claimed the priest died and gave a false name of the priest. It appears, the Bishop IS ALIVE. There were also claims the priest was drunk. By Romney. It sounds like a really rich kid who got out of trouble by a very rich man who was running for PRESIDENT AT THE TIME. That is more plausible than stories about a priest who was killed, that was never killed. Seems like a big detail for Mitt Romney to miss.
What this article fails to mention is besides being "patriarchal" the mormon church still believes in polygamy. This is found in their policy books which only bishops on upwards have access to: they decide who gets to see the content. The 1880 Manifesto just claimed they would not "actively TEACH" it.
In addition, the Proclamation to the Family makes clear that fathers "preside" in the home (look up the dictionary definition: this means they have the final authority). It's a whole system which leads to dysfunction, disillusion, and disempowerment.
My guess is there are still racial discriminations in their policies too. Women are seen as servants and wombs, not as having respectable and worthwhile contributions except in their own "domains" (women's church meetings, children).
You nailed it Sophia. YOU ARE GUESSING. You know absolutely nothing about his church, so maybe you should educate yourself before making a fool of yourself. The LDS Church had one of the first women's organizations in the U.S., the Relief Society. While the father presides, it in no way makes the mother subservient. LDS Scripture discusses "unrighteous dominion," a principle that disallows a man from using any authority he possesses in an unrighteous way.
No other church I know emphasizes education for both men and women alike, nor expects the level of love and respect for their spouses, it its doctrine does. Your mention of racism is unfounded and just what you said, a guess. I will simply add an erroneous guess.
Sophia, you do realize that Obama's father was a polygamist, right? And that his father was still married when he married Obama's mother, and divorced his first wife later, then dad and Obama's mother divorced and he remarried several more times. As for polygamy as a mormon practice, not so much...there are crazy "Christians" who twist the religion to meet their twisted ways also.
I'm only "guessing" on the racial issue, not the gender one
...and JB, good thing it works for you. You must be a male. If you are an enlightened male, you will have clarity that power games between two humans are instrinsically dysfunctional and disempowering. A religion which espouses and encourages half their population to be leaders and half to be followers speaks volumes about how they value women's voices. Romney is being beat up in the media by women for good reason. Wake up.
So by default, men dominate. OK that is pretty standard for most religions although in the past 40 years most women have moved out of that.
But who determines what is "unrighteous" domination? Wives, by their own determination?
We as a Priestholder , preside in a diferent way; let me explain: If your couselor are not agree in one subjet, we must forget it and think in another idea, the same in marriage, if your wife or childrens are not agree, we as a President od the family can not puch them. Racist ? , come on , Iam a latinamerican. WE as a man can not perfor the most importan ceremonies in Temples alone, we need women !
It amazes me that a country borm from religious freedom gets so jaded and hateful when it comes to the mormons. they LOVE harry reid's faith (mormon) but despise romeny's faith (mormon). but those same people would welcome to open arms other faiths (muslims) – hypocrits.
I will address this ingenuous lie:
It amazes me that a country borm from religious freedom gets so jaded and hateful when it comes to the mormons.
– I'll agree. Hatred of Mormons go way back. It stemmed from polygamy and the fact that when Mormons moved into a town the worked to take over the political structures, so they kept getting driven out.
they LOVE harry reid's faith (mormon) but despise romeny's faith (mormon).
– That makes zero sense. It's the same faith. That means, some people like Harry Reid better than Mitt Romney. And vise verse.
but those same people would welcome to open arms other faiths (muslims) – hypocrits.
– As a President? Islam gets all sorts of international and domestic scruteny, much of it justified. Mormons, no. Why shouldn't Mormonism be questioned? Why shouldn't Mitt Romney be
It is what is done with their faith that I find important, not just having faith.
II will be voting for Mitt Romney because of his business experience not because he is a Mormon.
Really, your mean this "business experience"?
Here is what Ronald Reagan's budget director,David Stockman, has to say about Romney's so called "business experience" that will "save america":
"Except Mitt Romney was not a businessman; he was a master financial speculator who bought, sold, flipped, and stripped businesses. He did not build enterprises the old-fashioned way—out of inspiration, perspiration, and a long slog in the free market fostering a new product, service, or process of production. Instead, he spent his 15 years raising debt in prodigious amounts on Wall Street so that Bain could purchase the pots and pans and castoffs of corporate America, leverage them to the hilt, gussy them up as reborn “roll-ups,” and then deliver them back to Wall Street for resale—the faster the better."
Is that the kind of "business experience" America needs? Stripping companies of cash is nor how you run the economy
40% of the startup money for Bain came from Central American families tied to the Death Squads. Most people would not take money from mass murderers.
I don't see much true christianity in mr. romney. His policies don't promote the basic tenants of christianity.
Secondly, a man so desperate to hide and run from his position in the church and the church in general makes me queasy. Why all the secrecy? why did romney stay in a church that would not allow blacks to participate? I find that distasteful – and the source of his obvious feelings that some are not as equal as others. He has missed the message on humility – then again, maybe that's not important in the mormon "church" – which after doing some research seems to be more of a business enterprise than charitable organization.
I think a cult is more like it!!!
I find your choice of user name Ironic, since it is Obama who is the one constantly trying to distract us from his record with silly speaches about saving bigbird and binders. Meanwhile he is lying to us about terrorist attacks and continuing to do nothing about our now 16.2 trillion in debt.
I challenge you to find a more charitable humanitarian organization than the LDS Church. I also challenge you to find an organization/church this is strictly volunteer and no paid clergy. Now you know who the real saints are.
Rhino soon we will unload our surplus bio waste from our Magic Underwear on our new comfort station Earth and you will have no more debt worries when our servant Rmoney takes over your United Flakes.You will be deep in "resources" then.
Just forget that Bush Dubya created the debt. Stupid as he was, our message did not get through to him.
I would have to agree. I live in a Mormon Community. I am the minority. Many Mormons will only help Mormons and that is it. I am careful to say many and not all. I have been lucky to meet a few great people that still look at everyone as equals. However, the majority in my experience do not see all of us as equals. They have an enormous food storage that members of the church can go to when in need. How many times a year do I hear our local food bank is in desperate need of food for our local families. Why isn't the church donating to the food banks.
If and when they do want to help, you can count on them later to judge you for something and trying to convert you. If you don't like the judging or you don't convert the help disappears. I am only only giving personal experiences. I see many aspects of every religion, including the Mormon religion. The majority of people I have run into have not treated me equally and I do not see Mitt Romney in the future treating everyone equal. I constantly hear him put down people that are lower and middle class. Individuals that are on welfare – the majority of people on welfare are physically ill, mentally ill or suffer from developmental disabilities.
What JOURNEY? He was born into a Mor(m)on family and, SURPRISE! SURPRISE! He still adheres to the fairy tale that has been force fed to him since birth! Sounds more like a dead end than a journey!
It should be called the LSD church!!! not on word on here about what the Mormons believe in? Go ahead folks Google it.
We too will use the google when Rmoney takes over the United Flakes and we sit on our new Earth comfort stations there. Finally we can drop our Magic Underwear pre-Venus and be relieved.
I am a democrat that still believes in the JFK democratic party. Obviously very little of that exist in today's democratic party.
What I find amazing is the media, left or right put that aside for a moment, To both left and right it is so OBVIOUS how biased the overall media is in this race.
There is a MAJOR story with regard to the handling of Libya and the death of 4 good Americans, and obvious cover up. No matter what was said in the "rose garden" Many of us with crystal clear clarity heard President Obama, blame a "You Tube" video!?
Something does not add up, this is bad as bad gets.
Americans are still dying in the mid east, None of the networks give much attention to how many Americans died in Afghan this week alone.
Broken promises, and escalating debt, the radical attention to how far left has gone, is as bad as the far right.
This is one of a host of many reasons, why this democrat is Voting NO OBAMA, good bye Obama! Many of us dreaming of a day, when the two parties can work together again, that will NEVER happen with Obama
Okay, vote for whomever. But do not claim to be that which you obviously are not.
You hit those talking points just as good as Mitt does. But we know they are all distractions from the discussion of how a member of the craziest set of religious fanatics could possibly by President. How quickly we forget my democratic brother the Bush administration and the mess they left Obama.
One of the interesting facts about the LDS 'cult' is whenever writings of their "prophet', i.e. Joseph Smith is found to be an outright lie, or just incorrect, they change his writing. If Smith was truly a prophet of God, his writings and prophecies would not need to be corrected.
Joseph Smith was a proven shyster, and liar who founded a 'cult' strictly for his own benefit. I remain amazed as to how members of the LDS 'cult' can continue to accept Smith and his writings as being a 'prophet'.
"changed the writings" -you mean, just like they do in that other cult, Christianity...
Your best statement was "proven." By whom? Joseph Smith was arrested and tried several times and was ALWAYS ACQUITTED. No one has ever successfully proven he swindled or deceived anyone. Save your rhetoric for MSNBC or FOXNews.
Very well stated!
@Gladdis-You OBVIOUSLY don't know the difference between Christianity and a cult, because there's a HUGE difference. Before spouting ignorant comments like you just did, go and research it, before you continue to make yourself look like an idiot!
A look at Mitt Romney's faith journey...... He was born mormon, and he stayed mormon. What a journey.
Only for the new members of this blog:L
Putting the kibosh on religion to include Mormonism:
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.
• There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.
• There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.
• There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.
• Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.
• Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.
Added details available upon written request.
A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.
"The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.
Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
USELESS REPEAT COPY PASTE BULL SH IT
Dear Messrs. Romney and Obama, -->>>
The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
(references used are available upon request)
Of course Romney has a faith mission. LDS is committed to converting people and a US President will not only help with that internationally, it will help make Romney a God....one of their beliefs. Google Mormonism and learn the truth.
Being completely non-religious myself, I can tell you most religions have the same goal – Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, etc. Just look back in (fairly) recent history, we've had Catholic and various flavors of protestant presidents who's religion have some sort of "Great Commission" who did not use the office of the President to try to convert the whole nation to their faith (or at least to a level that was obvious). With that said, Presidents who state that they use their faith to guide their decisions do run a larger risk of weakening the wall of separation of church and state (not to mention make horrible decisions – cue the Bush jokes), but we have other branches that are supposed to check and balance any one particular nut-job president. I still don't know why we are making such a big deal about faith and religion in the election as it seems to be the only item that the candidates can be specific about and gets the most air time – and it is completely irrelevant. We need more focus and real discussion about policy, but unfortunately the public is attracted to talk about faith like bugs to a light-zapper.
9 in 10 intelligent persons prefer http://www.lds.org !
Curious what role Christ plays in salvation of women, who must be "called" by their husbands into Celestial Paradise. Just what can be the role of a created spirit being in the salvation of mankind?
Husbands need their wife and through Christ they are sealed together forever. For more facts on what Mormons believe, go to Mormon.org
Why? Don't you know the particulars?
Who gets into Celestial Paradise and under what conditions? Is it open to non-Mormon Christians? How? Where do non-Mormon Christians go in the afterlife?
The GOP strategy is to paint our president as musl#m, thus relieving guilt among Christ%ns for voting against their faith.
The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).
There is a natural body and a spiritual body (1 Cor. 15:44).
The above article by Jessica Ravitz is misleading as she herself is spiritually blind and her article is a good example how distorted things have become in society with the media as the main culprit. For a better understanding we invite you to read the article ‘The Natural Body vs the Spiritual Body’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
Also, for a better understanding of the role of the media we invite you to read the articles ‘Influence of the Media’ and ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
Jesssica Ravitz's reference and use of the word ‘Christianity’ is also very misleading as so-called Christians are followers of an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8). Please read the article ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’ listed on our website.
Why is there so much division amongst the religions of this world? Please read on.
It is articles like the one above and that are so readily displayed by CNN that is the cause of so much hatred and division. Just take a minute and reflect on some of the entries on this Blog and the hatred and immorality that are being conveyed.
The local media, including CNN, Fox and your local TV stations and newspapers are a very important element of social and political behavior, as society is shaped by what it sees, hears and reads and it is conditioned by the events that influence the mind of every person. You reap what you sow.
To allow anyone to be directed by public opinion is dangerous because most public opinion is the view of the media. If the media does not like something, their bias taints information getting to the public, and this forms public opinion. Public opinion is never based on research and facts. The public uses the media for its sole source of information and for this reason social behavior will continue to deteriorate and wax worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:13).
The media does not provide accurate information on ‘Religion’ as it continues to ignore the truth and the history of deceptions (John 14:17). They only report how they want you to hear things. They have created the big chasm that now exists without offering any solutions.
Consider the truth about Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Judaism, Evangelicals and Christianity and all other religions and ask yourself the following question.
Are so-called Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Israelites and Evangelicals and all those that call themselves ‘Christians’ followers of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God, or do they follow after an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8)?
For a better understanding of the history of Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Christianity, and Judaism and its spread throughout the world, we invite you to read the articles ‘The Mystery Babylon’, ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’, ‘World History and Developments in the Middle East’ and ‘Clash of Civilizations’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
The media also makes references to religion as it relates to political issues without any understanding. For example: Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s faith does not stand in the teachings of Christ but rather in an image of the spirit and the god of this world and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8).
For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and Mitt Romney’s quest for the Presidency of the USA, we invite you to read the articles ‘Mormon Church – Cult and Spiritual Harlot’ and ‘Barack Obama – President of the United States of America’, listed on our website.
All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor 2:15).
Seek, and ye shall find (Matthew 7:7).
Seems like a groundless rejection of other faith traditions, and you apparently, like each of them, claim to know the REAL Christ. Perhaps your rational and defense of your own biases are revealed in your references, but might have better been revealed here. Just what IS you view of Christ's role in our salvation?
I have bookmarked the site, which promotes your book. Rich resource concerning your personal opinions concerning interprestation of Scripture. I just finished reading book by Jeh. Wits, "What does the Bible Really Say," so look forward to another claim to Truth. Muslims also use Scripture to reject claims of Christ's Divine nature. Seems that your view of Scripture being literally true, and your claim to be the one understanding it, is like my sister claiming that those who disagree with her are calling God a liar.
If, God forbid, Romney is elected, will Secret Servicemen be allowed into the Temple with him? Temples are usually off-limits for all but the most devout and line-toeing Mormons.
When Romney wins all the top job holders will be Mormons. Romney / Ryan 2012
Prayer changes things
If prayer changes things we wouldn't have evolved opposing thumbs...
Real humans were created with thumbs, sorry about you.
Prayer changes nothing. Getting off your knees and doing something changes things.
If Romney does not wish to inflict his beliefs on anyone as president then why did he put Ryan on his ticket? If not mormon beliefs it will be Ryan beliefs. No thanks...
Mormons do not drink coffee, President Romney prefers Tea. Restoring America to moral dignity. Romney / Ryan 2012
Strange. I am told by a Mormon friend that CAFFEINE is why Mormons avoid coffee. Tea has caffeine. Does he follow his own beliefs or not? And I like my own morality, thanks. I never bullied anyone as a teen. Funny how many of his classmates say he did. I also do not consider nearly half of the American population to be lazy or riding the public assitance boat because they have nothing better to do. My morality doesn't judge huge numbers of people before I meet them. Just to name a few.
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.