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.”
@Mohammad A Dar
You can argue with us if you wish, but you cannot win an argument based on your own ignorance.
Use your own ID, hindu, fake Mohammad A Dar.
No religion, you are in conversation with a hindu fake Mohammad A Dar.
No Religion, my mother was a hook'er, and father was a Taliban goon.
No religion is a religion too !
For those using the word cult: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cult?s=t
1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
3. the object of such devotion.
4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
5. Sociology . a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
It appears any religion could be classified as a cult.
Concerning exaltation that you share: Members of the LDS Church NEVER believe we are going to be equal to God. Glorify Father In Heaven for all He provides to us...
In response to other remarks about Native Americans:
Mitochondria haplogroups A, B, C & D came across the Bering Strait. These haplogroups are found on both sides of the strait (of where it once was located). Mitochondria haplogroup X is not found on both sides of the strait.
Since I DNA tested a year ago, I've read many articles concerning this group. Science has bounced around for the entire year concerning how X came to the United States. Ship, another wave across the Bering Strait early enough not to have come into contact with other civilizations and on and on.
The word cult is synonymous with the word religion. By definition, face, lies, nonsense, bad, wrong.
Why don't you religious clowns ever ask yourselves HONESTLY on "why you actually believe in your god?".
Go ahead and ask yourself.
I already know that you will put a lot of emphasis on your emotions...
You'll "beg" others to understand "this feeling of mine".. and that "other feeling".. but do you have an honest reason?
I get a "feeling" sometimes when I watch Burger King commercials ya'll.
If you are going to Burger King, don't forget to bring a towel!
Religions existed way before you clowns, you're the new circus in town. Bugger off.
All religions will change over time and they will eventually die.
I understand that you want to live in the stone age, but many of us have chosen reality.
@Answer, I am fine with that, you and I will be long gone.
Sure you are.. just look at your pathetic stance while you're living.
It's so great when you're alive isn't it, being challenged on your absurd notions.. just think of that thought as you indoctrinate it to your offspring.
Your little trivial words to your kids are probably like this: "Son when I'm dead – carry onwards my crusade of protecting our religion!" But you see your words ring hollow – because you don't care frankly right now you're delusional. You'll tell your kids that it is important.. but here you are "you're fine when you're dead." It's a huge joke.
It begs the question why would you tell your kids about your delusional religion in the first place.
@Answer – OR, religions may survive longer than you think, they may not remained religious in true sense, but they will survive or emerge as political voting blocks, not just in the US, but everywhere.
Can we count on you Moh .. to not have kids?
You don't care when you're dead that religion will fail right in the future? I like to see why you will indoctrinate your kids if that is the case.
I write what I believe, I did not say but you assumed "I would tell my kids about my delusional religion." My kids are as FREE as millions of American kids, and that's how they are growing up. AND you're a stupid person.
Right.. I'm stupid because I'm a pain to your delusions.
Just the way I like it too. I confront such morons like yourself on such days to just laugh at you clowns.
You're ticked off by the reason and logic. And I'm fine with that. XD
@NR when you proudly declare "No religion = free like me" what extra things do you have in your life?
Life. You get life.
Freedom to explore! Freedom without fear. Freedom without guilt.
Vast freedoms that you can never experience under the shackle of a delusion that taints your reasoning. Taints your trust in humanity. Religions all over taints your life!
Tarkovsky and Bergman
do you mean same-gender, s e x u a l experiments a "Freedom to explore! Freedom without fear. Freedom without guilt."??
Just look at your post Moh... when some simple words are in direct answer to your believe you'll jump to S.E.X.
That tells a lot about you. Get over it. It's not about s.e.x and you can never be the authority over anyone who engages in whatever practice they do in their bedrooms.
Why is pretending mythology is real something "extra" that is needed or to be encouraged?
@Answer, did I touch your raw nerve? All I asked YES or NO question.
Use your own ID, fake Mohammad A Dar, hindu, imposter
"you're the new circus in town. Bugger off."
Look at those fabulous words or one ticked off religious nut.
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.
...to serve the common cause of the people...the belief in freedom of rights & in the freedom to worship any "god".
Mr. Romney is confessing that he will serve the belief of freedom of all "gods".
This is his true way of life. His religion of Christ is just that...a religion and personal faith.
BUT it is clear that there is One Creation and One Creator. It is also written that Christ is Son of this One Creator & that there is Only One True Way.
Christ taught to serve, not the "common" cause, but Only the One True Father and to love the neighbor as per the Goodness Of this One Creator.
It is clear that Mr. Romney's, as well as President Obama's, first true allegiance is to the god of fortresses that believes in serving and magnifying oneself, one's own "self-rights".
...and that their faith is just that...their "religion".
BUT it is Only Christ that will rule.
Get over your god and that delusion.
Religion removes your freedom. Religion is bad. Be free.
True – but it is important to take note when the religion is so crazy that it represents a kind of delusional psychosis.
All religion is crazy. There can be no religion that is not crazy. It is crazy by definition.
@NR, adopt Islam, it's a'bout time we recruit some sane people like you.
It's no more crazy than Obamer's religion.
@RL, which is?
You are correct.
@RL, No, I meant Obamer's religion!! people call him muslim, christian, atheist anti-christ based on their political agendas, who really Obama is? Does it really matter?
He says he's a Christian. I see no reason not to believe him. If he is lying, that's worse. I'd rather an honest Christian than a lying atheist.
The Anamorphic Judeo-Christian god of the bible does not exist.
If you believe in this, you are a really dumb person.
I like god, his beard is soft and he smells like honey.
listen up everyone, we have a smart person talking over here. Please don't forget to thank him/her/it for sparing a few moments out of his/her/its busy schedule at McDonald.
Mohammad A Dar, I am glad you have come to your senses.
@NR, my friend, what made you believe, if someone believes in religion, he is a dumb person? were your dad, granddad atheists too?
I fail to see what my ancestors have to do with the facts surrounding religion. Religion is wrong. If you believe in any religion, you are necessarily dumb. Fact..
are you afraid to admit you're coming from dumb family?
There are dummies in every family. Your family is burdoned with you, for example.
The reason they WANT TO BELIEVE is that they're NOT being honest with themselves.
They need their security blanket.
Only for 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)
Please provide your references.
Where are your references??
When you are finished reading these references, there are twenty-five added ones:
o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
– a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–
30-60 CE Passion Narrative
40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
50-60 1 Thessalonians
50-60 1 Corinthians
50-60 2 Corinthians
50-90 Signs Gospel
50-95 Book of Hebrews
50-140 Gospel of Thomas
50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
65-80 Gospel of Mark
70-100 Epistle of James
70-120 Egerton Gospel
70-160 Gospel of Peter
70-160 Secret Mark
70-200 Fayyum Fragment
70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
80-100 2 Thessalonians
80-100 Gospel of Matthew
80-110 1 Peter
80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
80-130 Gospel of Luke
80-130 Acts of the Apostles
80-140 1 Clement
80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
80-250 Christian Sibyllines
90-95 Apocalypse of John
90-120 Gospel of John
90-120 1 John
90-120 2 John
90-120 3 John
90-120 Epistle of Jude
93 Flavius Josephus
100-150 1 Timothy
100-150 2 Timothy
100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
100-150 Secret Book of James
100-150 Preaching of Peter
100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
100-160 2 Peter
3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
– "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
Anyone who is religious is necessarily ignorant. You cannot be religious and claim at the same time you are intelligent. This is not possible.
moron, go back and read history, there were no atheist scientists, music composers, artists, not even dogs.
I did not say religious people are unable to add and subtract, or read the treble clef. That does not mean they aren't ignorant. Like you.
@NR "You cannot be religious and claim at the same time you are intelligent." this is what you said, not me.
That is correct. You can read.
The knowledge those religious people discovered was not discovered using religion. Religious people use science, their religion was not needed.
Its hard to have this discussion. It depends on what is important to you and whether it really matters. As a Christian, myself, I think it is important that note that Mormon beliefs are quite the opposite as Christian beliefs. And that matters to me more than anything else. If Romney says he a Mormon I believe him. If Obama says he's a Christian I believe him also. Even if I disagree with what Obama does I support him. I don't agree with every Christian but I support them because we all part of the body of Christ. I don't dislike Romney but I can't support him because he is affiliated with a religion that makes God into being a liar. The deity of God is not to be taken lightly. To a person that isn't a Christian, or isn't a serious follower of Christ my may opinion matters very little or being totally false. Just remember you're not a Christian you have to see things outside that prism.
If you are a Christian, you are a slave. Choose freedom. No religion = free like me.
LESUN, why do you believe in your particular god? There isn't any incontrovertible evidence for it to go on, and Christian god has some pretty contradictory characteristics according to the bible. The bible also presents some pretty over-the-top eternal punishments for stuff you might have done wrong in a short life on earth. Maybe you should rethink your beliefs.
If you are voting for Romney you are voting for:
Hopefully he'll be soiling his Magic Underwear on election day.
Of course ! , as you voting for Obama "Evolving....."
I want magic underwear if it makes my butt look smaller
But I like them big.
Romney is going to go to Mormon HELL according to the Book of Mormons.. On the news they call lying shifting positions, so that makes lying okay. In my opinion, one should not judge Obama or Romney by what is written about them by the news media who rigs the facts. Only God knows what's in their hearts.
I don't think God cares much or thinks much about this election. I don't think that we are God's reality TV show, where he watches and then decides who won and who lost.
This is all nonsense! Romney has not lied a d neither has Obama. They are both good men. Half of the country are bigots and racist against Obama and the other half are bigots and discriminatory against Mormons"
THIS SHOULD BE THE LEAD ARTICLE NOT THE OBAMA STORY – the fact Romney is a MORMON – a de facto NON-CHRISTIAN faith is much more relevant to his political base – NOT THE OBAMA story – I think there is tremendous bias in how these two stories have been positioned in the news site – LDS folks are HERETICS of the first degree – adding non orthodox texts to the Bible – ignoring the NICENE CREED – I have no problems with the 'Church' as they call themselves – but they CANNOT CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIANS – this should bother many people...
This is a magnificent Church. Its organization, effectiveness, and sheer goodness are respected by all who sincerely seek to understand it. The Church has programs for children, youth, men, and women. It has beautiful meetinghouses that number more than 18,000. Majestic temples—now totaling 136—dot the earth, with another 30 under construction or announced. A full-time missionary force of over 56,000, comprised of the young and less so, are serving in 150 countries. The Church’s worldwide humanitarian work is a marvelous display of the generosity of our members. Our welfare system cares for our members and promotes self-reliance in a manner unduplicated anywhere. In this Church we have selfless lay leaders and a community of Saints who are willing to serve one another in a remarkable way. There is nothing like this Church in all the world. (2012 April General Conference, Converted to His Gospel through His Church, Sat. Morning Session – Donald L. Hallstrom)
It is very admirable – BUT NON-CHRISTIAN.
1. NO NICENE CREED.
2. Addition of non-Iraenian Text – the 'Book of Mormon' – it is a HERETICAL FAITH and as non-Christian as the Islamic faith – this should bother a lot of people – I suspect the racism factor overrides this all!
And we'll even wash your soiled Magic Underwear for you and your 8 wives and 24 kids. Righhhhttttt...notttttttt.
Abinadi, what's your role in the Mormon establishment?
The reason I ask is that you are so over the top that I'd guess that you are a paid fluffer for the Mormon cult.
Did the worst drought to hit The great US of A have anything to do with a Mormon running for Prezident? Just saying.
Maybe it had to do with a lack of belief in Flying Pasta.
Not only the drought but hurricane Sandy as well. The prophet Joseph Smith prophesied of all these things. We can escape the wrath of God if we repent, but otherwise we will all be destroyed!
88 And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.
89 For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.
90 And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.
91 And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 88)
Your cult never prophesied any of things accurately, Abinutty. Either present the exact dates as forecast in advance or we can safely dismiss your claims as B-S pretty much like the entire rest of your posts.
Blab might be over the top, but pretty much every cult has predictions of bad events. Enough bad stuff happens that it's a safe prediction to get away with, but without exact dates, as prophesy, sorry Abinadi but your claim has no credence whatsoever.
LDS "etch a sketch" candidate's predecessors fled to Mexico to continue polygamy. But, grandparents fled back to U.S.for safety during the Mexican revolution taking welfare to survive. Father, George, unlike Mitt, a progressive republican, made money and left Mitt financially sheltered. Mitt has 5 sons born from 1970 to 1981 – likewise sheltered with tax free financial trusts. And, neither Mitt nor any of his 5 sons has EVER served in the military. Mitt used a succession of student and extended ministerial deferments to avoid serving during in Vietnam – spending the war years in France – Who knows what his son's excuses are. LDS, is a cult, where women are subservient and can only serve in auxiliary positions/posts under priests, who can only be men. Men, on death, get their own planet with all their wifes. Further, the Book of Mormon, identifies blacks as descendents of Cain and the representatives of satan on earth – it says ". . . the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. And thus saith the Lord God; I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities." (2 Nephi 5:21).
So, identify with women, identify with minorites, NO. Identify with the 99%, NO. Identify with veterans, NO.
Vote for Romney, NO.
Mormonism is a cult. I was one
I used to be a mormon. It has different doctrines I can assure you.
I am a Mormon. Like Romney I come from a long line of Mormons. I love my faith, it leads & guides me through the hard times in life. I believe in Christ and his teachings. I am grateful to live in America where we have the freedom to practice what religion we choose. If you have questions about what we believe the best place for answers is to click on the link LDS church in the article which takes you to lds.org
God bless the people in the Eastern United States
Been reading these blogs for weeks. What is it about Mormons that are so afraid of their doctrine? Answers are always 1) that is a lie (to whatever post), 2) Mormons are good people, and 3) go to mormon.org or lds.org.
No. This is a chat. Chat. This is your big chance. I am serious, do some educating.
So Jen are you wife number 3? Better get on that Magic Underwear laundering -kid number 17 has the runs today.
At least Obama is a Christian. Romney is not.
Christians believe in the Trinity. Mormons do not.
Christians can recite the Nicene Creed with sincerity. Mormons cannot.
Christians believe that God is God. Mormons believe that God was once a man.
It is merely a coincidence that several of the Mormon gods have the same names as do Christian gods: Jesus, God, the Lord, Satan, the Holy Spirit/Ghost, the Archangel Michael, etc.
Some of the Mormon gods are not mentioned in Christian scriptures, like the Angel Moroni.
And you have just as much proof for your version of mythology as they do for theirs.....none.
Usted equivoca, Amigo. La Iglesia de Jesu Cristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias es una iglesia cristiana. Nosotros adoramos a Cristo y el es nuestro salvador. El Libro de Mormon es la historia de sus antepasados quienes eran tambien cristianos. La iglesia mormona es su iglesia, la iglesia de sus antepasados. Las otras iglesias son iglesias Europeas.
You are correct, El Flaco. Christians know these facts; non-Christians do not. Anyone questioning Christianity or who does not already know this, might want to consider doing some in-depth research on both sides because it is a huge distinction between Christian and non-christian theology.
Exactly what "facts" are you refering too that Chrstians know?
Theological 'facts' are not facts in the scientific, provable sense. Theological facts are the cornerstones of a religious belief.
For example, any good Christian can believe that the government should or should not provide food stamps to poor people.
No devout Christian can deny any sentence in the Nicene Creed, the Trinity, or the existence of Heaven and Hell.
OK well, the Trinity wasn't even codified in the Bible until hundreds of years after Christ. So non belief in the Trinity does not automatically disqualify one for Christianity. And frankly, not everyone can recite the Nicene Creed.
But the whole "evolution to godhood" idea is way way out of mainstream Christianity. Which is fine but I would say, the line is drawn if one does not really believe that God is the Alpha Omega in the way that the rest of us cannot be. Islam is closer to mainstream Christianity than Mormonism, in my opinion.
Now this is only based on what I have read. Mormons have a great aversion to discussing their faith. I am not sure what they do in Africa, tell people to go to mormon.org?
"Theological 'facts' are not facts in the scientific, provable sense. Theological facts are the cornerstones of a religious belief."
Then it is not a "fact", that is dogma.
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.