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What would a Mormon White House look like?
If Mitt Romney is elected president, the White House will likely see some new traditions.
November 2nd, 2012
11:00 PM ET

What would a Mormon White House look like?

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Should Mitt Romney win the presidency next Tuesday, it will mark an historic first: a Mormon couple moving into the White House.

What would this mean and look like?

Would there be “dry” state dinners, since faithful Mormons don’t do alcohol? Would Secret Service tag along to sacred ceremonies only open to worthy church members? What book would a President Mitt Romney use to take his oath of office?

We can’t be absolutely sure about all the answers. But if the practices and homes of devout Mormons like the Romneys – not to mention his history as governor of Massachusetts – are any indication, we can begin to paint a picture of what a Romney-inhabited White House might look like.

First things first: About that oath

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the Bible is the word of God. But they also believe this about the Book of Mormon, which is subtitled “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”

Given the importance of the Book of Mormon, this question seemed worth asking: Any chance Romney would place his hand on a Book of Mormon at his swearing-in ceremony?

“No, no way Romney would do that,” Jana Riess, a religion scholar, co-author of “Mormonism for Dummies,” and blogger for Religion News Service, wrote in an e-mail message. “I’m not aware of any Mormon who has sworn on the Book of Mormon instead of the Bible for national office. (I’m not aware of any local officials who have done this either.)”

Most likely, Romney would go back to the Bible he used in 2003 when he was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts – the same one his father, George Romney, reportedly used when he was sworn in as Michigan’s governor in the 1960s.

Beyond paint and fabric swatches

Having never been invited over for a meal, we can’t pretend to know anything about the Romney aesthetic when it comes to home decoration. But we wondered and asked about specific items that tend to hang in Mormon households.

Randall Balmer, an award-winning historian, author and chair of the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College, speculated that the Romneys – like plenty of Mormons – might display artwork featuring a depiction of Jesus and a photograph of LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson, considered a “prophet, seer and revelator” by members of the church.

Another possibility, said Riess, would be a photo of the Salt Lake Temple where Mitt and Ann Romney were married and “sealed” for eternity in a sacred ceremony in 1969.

Then there’s something commonly known as the “Proclamation on the Family,” which is often framed and displayed in homes – though rarely in upper-class households, said Joanna Brooks, author of “The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American Faith.”

The proclamation features words set forth by LDS Church leadership in 1995, highlighting family and gender responsibilities. Among the points made: Marriage is between a man and woman; the primary responsibility of fathers is to oversee and provide for families; and mothers must first and foremost care for the children.

All of these items could show up in the White House, said Grant Bennett, an old Romney friend who spoke at the Republican National Convention and has known the Romney family since they met through church in 1978.

But he said, “the most quintessential Mormon item would be pictures of their family,” including those of ancestors, because “families are forever” and bound for eternity in the Mormon view.

Ann and Mitt Romney are surrounded by family before the October 22 presidential debate at Lynn University.

Bennett also suggested that a verse or two of Scripture that is particularly meaningful to the Romneys might be framed and on display.

If any of these things would hang in the White House, they would likely appear in the private quarters where first families are free to do what they please.

That doesn’t mean Romney wouldn’t be allowed to honor his faith in some way in the Oval Office, but decorative decisions in public rooms – the spaces visited on tours – are subject to committee discussions and advisers on historic preservation, explained Melissa Naulin, assistant curator in the Curator's Office of the White House Museum.

Can I get a cup of coffee? How about something stronger?

In accordance with a revelation received in 1833 by LDS Church founder Joseph Smith, something known as the “Word of Wisdom,” faithful Latter-day Saints abstain from coffee, tea and alcohol.

Does this mean a return to the days of “Lemonade Lucy,” the posthumous nickname given to the wife of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th U.S. president, who banned alcohol from the White House?

No, said Cabinet members from Romney’s gubernatorial era and a current top aide. They said this health-related observance is not one the Romneys would impose on or expect of others.

“As governor, when Mitt Romney entertained at official functions in the evening, alcohol was served along with soft beverages,” said a senior aide who asked not to be identified in stories about religion.

“There was always a healthy cup of coffee for anyone who wanted it,” said Renee Fry, a former Cabinet member.

“Cabinet dinner gatherings were not dry,” wrote Douglas Foy, who also served in Governor Romney’s Cabinet. “Although the governor and his wife did not partake – which the governor often joked about, since he sponsored the gatherings and paid for the wine!”

Storing – and refraining from – food

The LDS Church advises its members to store enough food to feed a family for a year.

Food storage is viewed as a practical measure, one that can come in handy during, say, a crippling superstorm, massive power outages or unforeseen financial hardships.

The practice is rooted in Mormon history. The church’s early pioneers, on their trek westward to what is now Utah, experienced great suffering and starvation. They also endured their share of persecution and couldn’t rely on the help of others. So having resources squirreled away became a collective comfort.

Any chance that the Romneys would institute White House food storage?

Not because they would need it for themselves or likely anyone else at the White House, but Riess said in these uncertain times, it could be a good lesson in preparedness to showcase to the nation.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see that,” she said.

Mitt Romney gathers donations in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Even if a family storing it doesn’t need the food, by having it available that family is poised to help others. Serving those less fortunate or in crisis is big in the LDS Church, and it is a part of another practice that may find its way into the White House if the Romneys move in.

The first Sunday of every month is Fast Sunday, when committed Mormons who are able forgo food and drink for about 24 hours. Coupled with prayer, it has spiritual meaning. It also serves to instill compassion for those who are in need, and to that end Mormons are encouraged to minimally donate what they would have spent on food to the church’s welfare fund.

Fast Sunday, or calls to fast at other times, can also bind Mormons together when they pray and fast for a common cause.

A Utah woman created buzz earlier this fall when an e-mail she sent out to friends and family, suggesting they fast to help Romney before the debates, began making the rounds in Mormon circles across the country. A new website, romneyfast.org, also the brainchild of private citizens – and not a church-sanctioned effort – asks people to fast and pray for Romney and his wife Ann this Sunday before America goes to the polls.

When he was governor of Massachusetts, and in general, Mitt and Ann Romney observed Fast Sunday and “always contributed very generously to the fast offering fund,” said Bennett, who held church leadership roles with Romney in the Boston area.

What’s more, Bennett said that when Romney served as their congregation's bishop – the equivalent of an unpaid pastor – it wasn’t uncommon for the two friends to fast more than once a month. At the time, Bennett was one of Romney's two counselors, or advisers.

“Occasionally he would invite me and the other counselor to join him in fasting on a weekday for a specific purpose,” Bennett wrote in an e-mail. “For example, one purpose would be to seek inspiration regarding an important decision, another purpose would be to express love, support and solidarity to someone who was ill or going through very difficult times.”

Whether Romney would maintain this observance from the nation’s highest office, we can’t know. But it looks like the White House kitchen staff may be in for a little downtime each month, if they’re lucky.

Honoring the Sabbath, going to church and other Mormon observances

Sunday is a holy day for active LDS Church members. It’s a time when Mormons attend their local congregation - it's known as a ward, which in Catholic-speak would be comparable to a parish - and worship with their families and community.

The ward closest to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and likely the one the Romneys would be assigned to, is the Washington D.C. 3rd Ward, which gathers in what Mormons call a “meetinghouse” or chapel on 16th Street NW. The Washington Post described this ward as consisting of mostly Democrats, half who are nonwhite (including plenty of Spanish speakers), and having openly gay members in its leadership.

Riess said while ward assignments are almost always determined geographically, sometimes there are exceptions. And the truth is there just isn’t any precedent for how this would be handled for a U.S. president.

With or without Romney, D.C. a surprising Mormon stronghold

How much of his Sundays a President Romney could set aside for his faith is obviously uncertain. We already know he’s been hard at work on the campaign trail, Sundays included – though the senior aide we spoke to said he makes efforts to get to church when he can.

One need only look at President Jimmy Carter, who went so far as to teach Sunday school at his local Baptist church, to see how a sitting president can make room for faith, said Balmer of Dartmouth, who counts among his many books “God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush.”

Romney faithfully showed up at church on Sundays while he was governor, unless an official function got in the way, Bennett said. And when Romney ran for U.S. Senate in 1994 against Ted Kennedy, Bennett – then the ward’s bishop – assigned Romney to teach the weekly adult Sunday school class.

“He was in church virtually every Sunday teaching this class throughout the campaign, only occasionally arranging for a substitute teacher,” his friend said.

Beyond church, Riess speculated about other observances Romney would uphold.

Mormons reserve Monday evenings for “family home evening,” a time when families pray, study and sing together.

Someone serving in church leadership, who didn’t want to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject matter, said he doubted the Romneys would observe family home evening since their kids are grown and gone. But Riess suspected that Romney and his wife, especially given the size of their brood – five sons; 18 grandchildren – and the likelihood that family would be passing through, would honor the Monday tradition in some way, even if it was just the two of them.

There’s also a practice in LDS Church wards in which men who hold the priesthood – which means the authority, for example, to perform baptisms and offer sacramental blessings – are partnered up to visit other congregation members, ideally once a month, as home teachers.

The LDS Church does not have paid clergy, and this is one way that volunteer ward pastors, or the bishops, can make sure members get personal attention and lessons as needed.

So could home teachers come knocking on the White House doors?

It’s possible, said Riess, though obviously there’d be background checks and no unannounced knockings.

But a U.S. president couldn’t possibly be expected to regularly home teach others, right?

Probably not. But Romney did step up as governor, Bennett said.

“He both had home teachers, and he was assigned as a home teacher, when he was governor,” Bennett said. “He and Ann would ensure they were available for their home teachers to visit, and he was faithful in doing his home teaching.”

And then there’s the big question: What about the temple?

Many non-Mormons falsely assume the large and often magnificent white LDS temples they see in their cities are where Latter-day Saints go for church. But Mormons gather for Sunday services in meetinghouses or chapels, which are usually plain, unimpressive structures.

The Washington D.C. Temple, not too far from the White House, is considered by Mormons to be a house of the Lord.

The 140 temples currently in operation across the globe are actually closed on Sundays. Mormons view their temples as houses of the Lord, as Riess explained in her book, and they are not places for run-of-the-mill worship. Temples, instead, are reserved for the most sacred rituals – the details of which are not to be discussed outside temple walls.

The temples are so sacred that the doors are not even open for all Mormons; only those deemed sufficiently worthy by local church leadership are granted a “temple recommend” or an entry card.

While sacred ceremonies or “ordinances” for the living – such as weddings, during which couples are “sealed” for eternity – happen inside, there are also rituals performed by living substitutes or proxies for those who have died. These rituals include baptisms, which have been at times a subject of controversy for the LDS Church.

Romney, who long served in church leadership, surely has a temple recommend. But does that mean he’d actually go to the Washington D.C. Temple, which sits about 10 miles north of the White House in Kensington, Maryland?

“If I were him, I’d probably just not go while I was president, if only out of courtesy to other patrons,” said our source in church leadership who didn’t want to be named. “It’s not like it’s some kind of ‘go often or you’ll go to hell’ thing. It’s just a standard part of being a committed Mormon, which you do if you can find the time.”

And a President Romney couldn’t go there, let alone anywhere else, without Secret Service. So if he wanted to go, would he be able to? Even Secret Service agents would be turned away from the temple without the right access card.

Not a problem, speculated Balmer of Dartmouth. He said finding qualified agents, if Romney hasn’t found them already, would be easy.

It’s well-known that the CIA, FBI and, by extension, he said he assumes, the Secret Service recruit at LDS Church-run Brigham Young University. All these agencies, Balmer said, are “looking for people who are good, loyal, patriotic Americans,” and many Latter-day Saints, who believe in the divinity of the U.S. Constitution, fit that bill.

So if it would be important for Romney and the first lady to go to the temple, it should be possible.

And Riess said, given Romney's level of faith and church involvement over the years, she can’t imagine that he wouldn’t want to go. Minimally, she pointed out, there’s bound to be a family member’s wedding or “temple sealing” he’d want to attend.

“It would be a logistical problem,” she said. “But I’m pretty sure they’d find a way.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • DC • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

soundoff (2,237 Responses)
  1. tad

    That right1

    Let's gets Reverend Wright from Chicago with his anti American rhetoric in the White House. Now that's great Christian Behavior!!

    November 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Mormons are Christians?

      Yeah it's better if we all pray to the Mormon gods.

      November 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  2. daniel

    Dear editor,
    I have to say congratulations in this beautiful piece of work. I am of the lds faith and I believe in it. I am grateful there are people out there that have an open enough mind to set aside their own beliefs and look into someone else's faith and say it factually and not idealistically. I know that writers like you are the reason I like to read things such as this. It is not always about good and evil bit about truth and lies. Thank you for giving the world a honest and truthful outlook on the lives of the lds people.

    Sincerely Daniel smith

    November 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      Hahahahahahahah! You're an idiot!

      November 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Day-O

      @NOOOOOOOOOOOOO – And you're ugly and your mother dresses you funny.

      November 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Bman

      OMFG you realize this article is a spoof? What a dunce!

      November 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  3. Mars

    I am not a Romney supporter, nor am I a Mormon. Romney was a governor. Look at what happened in the governor's mansion to predict what might happen in a Romney White House. The generalizations used in this article are just plain dumb.

    November 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • GAW

      Most of them are a kids having fun. I find it amusing.

      November 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  4. NorCalMojo

    Pretty ugly.

    Bigots on parade.

    November 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  5. Mormons are Christians?

    All hail elohim from the planet kolob.

    November 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Day-O

      You're not very bright, are you?

      November 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  6. Larry

    So, which would be better if the very worst happened and Romney asserted his religion upon our nation OR if Obama asserted his religion upon our nation? If you come down on the side of Obama then be prepared for sharia law in the U.S. with our court systems going along with it. That has already begun to happen in places like Dearborn, Michigan, and you already need to watch out what you say because of "political correctness" raising its ugly head against free speeck across our Nation.

    November 3, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Jesus freaker

      I bet you have a stockpile of weapons and ammo, don't you? Did you buy Glenn Beck's survival seeds?

      November 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • MCR

      I love how one half of the right-wing folks are arguing Obama's a socialist, gay agenda baby killer while the other half paints him as a conservative Muslim.

      November 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  7. kappello

    This same hoopla went on when Kennedy the first Catholic ran for President and it was all for nothing. Excuse me, there are other Mormons in government, so get over the the stupid Mormon fear America and kick the Islam terrorist tukkus kissing current Prez out.

    November 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  8. Kenneth

    I lived in a heavily Mormon area, and a lot of their "morality" is skin deep, especially where money is concerned. My Mormon vetrinarian charges about 20% more – to cover the tithe and the extra taxes. Most of the Mormon stores in the area did that. Apparently tithes are something you pass the buck on, instead of paying yourself.

    The vet regularly had his uncredentialed receptionist do exams while he was away golfing. The mormon restaurants were shut down for sanitation issue more often than then non-Mormon ones. Non-Mormons were always treated with a polite but very distant coldness. And that plastic Utah smile . . . why do they force their women to wear such phony smiles all the time?

    They always tried to convert my daughter, without asking or even letting me know, but if I even mentioned my beliefs, I was "shoving my beliefs down their throat."

    Had to suffer through a few Mormon shows, and their total lack of ability to start within 45 minutes of schedule, and absolutely incompetent production values (from all-over-the-place lighting to nobody-is-even-doing-the same-dance choreography). One show was this wonderous tale of a kid from another faith who leaves his old family behind and gets a new happy family in the Mormon faith. I'm not kidding.

    All of the girls were being socially conditioned to be nothing more than their biological function. Babymaking housewives. And they just accepted it, like cows.

    November 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • SadSadWorld

      Kenneth-
      Sounds like you need to get a new Vet

      November 3, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      THANK YOU! WE HAVE TO TELL PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE LIKE AND YOU DON'T KNOW IF YOU HAVEN'T LIVED IN A HEAVILY POPULATED MORMON AREA!

      THANK YOU - TRUTH ********************************************************OBAMA 2012*************************************************

      November 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Kev

      That's a shame. Maybe that Mormon veterinarian needs to be bought out by Bain Capital and get restructured.

      November 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Day-O

      @Kenneth – Wow, can anyone be so truly jealous as you are? Their lives work and yours doesn't. How pathetic is that.

      November 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  9. You_Forgot

    If you are voting for someone because of their religion, whether it be Catholic, Baptist, Mormon, Republican, or Democrat, you are a fool.

    November 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      I agree - only fools or people afraid of dying believe religious fairy tales

      November 3, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Mars

      NOOOOOOOOOOOO has it backwards. People with faith are NOT afraid of dying and are at peace with it. The ones without faith try to avoid it at all costs and are in a panic.

      November 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Mars,

      1. It's natural to be afraid of death, and the many who are religious and many who are nonreligious suffer from fear of it to varying degrees.
      2. It's stupid to be afraid of death because all the evidence points to a simple nonexistence, so there's no consciousness to sense anything at all. This view aligns with the atheists more closely than the believer's, so logically, less atheists are concerned with death than their believer counterparts, which, more often than not, incorporate some sort of "judgement" and possible "pain" after death for decisions made in life.
      3. I don't know of a single atheist who is afraid of dying, but most believers I've known are afraid of dying, and that is made clear by their behavior.

      In your mind, why would an atheist who believes in no suffering after death be afraid o dying?

      November 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  10. D Renae

    @ Joyce1 – thank you

    November 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  11. Greta

    Mormons also believe that a women ascends to Heaven only through her husband with his blessing and he alone makes that decision. not Jesus but your husband. Scary. I've never read that in the new testament.

    November 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      It's part of the "temple marriage ritual," where the man is given a "heavenly name," as is his wife(s). The man knows the woman's "heavenly name," but the woman is NOT privy to her husband's "heavenly name," just in case he decides he doesn't want her on his planet!

      This "church" is unbelievable!

      November 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • dillet

      Not so–you've gotten a warped interpretation here. Christ is the judge of each person. Husbands merely assist in the resurrection moment.

      November 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Kev

      Where did you get that idea from?

      November 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Zero Cool

      And I hear they eat their young, too! And that's not in the Bible, either. Really scary!!

      November 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • End Religion

      Sounds like typical boy's club stuff. Just like the Little Rascals had the He-Man Women Haters Club with a special knock or password. Same guy but for adult men. And Mormon women, being the frail dependent creatures they are, can't think for themselves enough to avoid it.

      November 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  12. Rummy Pirate Times-Dispatch

    "In Greed We Trust"

    In 1994, Bain invested $27 million as part of a deal with other firms to acquire Dade International, a medical-diagnostics-equipment firm, from its parent company, Baxter International. Bain ultimately made nearly 10 times its money, getting back $230 million. But Dade wound up laying off more than 1,600 people and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002, amid crushing debt and rising interest rates. The company, with Bain in charge, had borrowed heavily to do acquisitions, accumulating $1.6 billion in debt by 2000. The company cut benefits for some workers at the acquired firms and laid off others. When it merged with Behring Diagnostics, a German company, Dade shut down three U.S. plants. At the same time, Dade paid out $421 million to Bain Capital’s investors and investing partners.

    For 15 years, Romney had been in the business of creative destruction and wealth creation. But what about his claims of job creation? Though Bain Capital surely helped expand some companies that had created jobs, the layoffs and closures at other firms would lead Romney’s political opponents to say that he had amassed a fortune in part by putting people out of work. The lucrative deals that made Romney wealthy could exact a cost. Maximizing financial return to investors could mean slashing jobs, closing plants, and moving production overseas. It could also mean clashing with union workers, serving on the board of a company that ran afoul of federal laws, and loading up already struggling companies with debt.

    Marc Wolpow, a former Bain partner who worked with Romney on many deals, said the discussion at buyout companies typically does not focus on whether jobs will be created. “It’s the opposite—what jobs we can cut,” Wolpow said. “Because you had to document how you were going to create value. Eliminating redundancy, or the elimination of people, is a very valid way."

    A couple of examples (it's pretty easy to find more):

    Bain closed GST Steel plant in 2001 laying off 750 workers.

    Controlling share owner Bain Capital closes BRP plant (Southern Illinois) so the 340 jobs there could be outsourced to Mexico.

    Also – this is disconcerting:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/mitt-romney-implicated-perjury-and-stock-fraud-made-millions-process
    http://globalgrind.com/news/mitt-romney-lied-perjury-under-oath-divorce-court-case-tom-stemberg-details

    November 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      Thank you for sharing the truth about Bain and its "capital investment." OBAMA 2012!!!!!

      November 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  13. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    Yes! You are so right!

    November 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  14. 1Joyce

    Well CNN, your article did exactly what you hoped it would do. Just listen to some of the idiotic remarks on here! The author of this article knows very well that Romney's faith will not affect his leading this country, they will not remake the White House, they will not force their beliefs on drinking on those attending dinners at the White House. I have to say that Obama has succeeded very well promoting his hate and dividing this country. And now he doesn't tell voters to vote for "love of country", but for "revenge" against Romney. Yep, I can do without a president like that any day. Hopefully Romney will win the next election!

    November 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      You've had too much Mormon Kool-Aid - you're misinformed!

      November 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Hans

      "... Romney's faith will not affect his leading this country,"

      Nonsense. Of course it will. His belief system dictates his core values, influences decisions, manipulates his thought process, just as it does with everyone else.

      November 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  15. Willis

    How Many BLACK Elders can you fit in the Cult temple in Salt Lake???? 0, dey dont allow Brothers. This is a SEVERE Racist & Bigotry cult known as the Lds. REVOKE THEIR TAX EXEMPT STATUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      I agree!

      November 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Ellen

      That's not true... I go to the temple and see black, white, Chinese, Indian (etc) people all the time. Don't talk about what you don't know. It just makes you seem ridiculous.

      November 3, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • dillet

      Garbage. People of color participate fully and also officiate in all LDS practices, including within the Temples.

      November 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • MCR

      Actually, not only does the church allow black members but they have allowed black priests since '78. In fact, their fastest growing demographic is non-white. I find this pretty odd, and in line with non-Chinese joing Falun Gong, but people do things for all sorts of reasons and don't always read the history or fine print first.

      November 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Mormons are Christians?

      True. Black people are no longer considered the seed of Cain.

      November 3, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Mormons are Christians?

      Since 1978. Way to stay behind the times. And black men were allowed to become priests for tax reasons.

      November 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • MCR

      Willis, you might want to check your facts before making posts filled with caps and excess exclamation points. Yes, the Mormon church has a history of racism in letting men enter the priesthood, and they have a number of still current anti-gay beliefs. But currently they have no restrictions on membership or activity within the church ranks based on race, and globally their fastest growing demographics are non-white. Personally, I would rescind all religions tax-exempt status, but there's nothing in Mormon law that would justify that. The line in the Book of Mormon about being cursed with darkness of skin is another issue altogether, but if you look at that you also have to look at the line about all people being equal before the eyes of god. No, I'm not a Mormon and never have been, but I did take the time to read their book cover to cover. Plagiarism, yes, racism, a little. But no, not in the current church structure or policy.

      November 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Day-O

      Willis, you sound like a sad, angry black man who's oppressed because 150 years ago his ancestors were slaves and that makes it just SO HARD for him to get off his hiney and get a job. Blacks have been allowed to hold Mormon priesthood since 1976 or so, but I don't suppose you had anyone read that to you, did you? Oh, you're not illiterate? Just ignorant? You're a credit to your race, Willis. Quit blaming everyone else for your failures and take some personal responsibility for your own life. And quit drinking everyone else's Kool-Aid.

      November 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      The Mormon church will NOW allow anybody to join who has money! The church's "living prophet" had another revelation!

      November 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Day-O

      @NOOOOOOOOOOOOO – You'd agree with anything, so long as it was stupid, ignorant and bigoted.

      Did your parents have any children that lived?

      November 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  16. Larry

    We've already seen what a Muslim President means for Egypt. Wake up and smell the roses America.

    November 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  17. End Religion

    A glimpse at the Mormon White House...
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xg29DVQ5g7Q&w=640&h=390]

    November 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      That's the truth - thank you!

      November 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Day-O

      @NOOOOOOOOOOOOO – When you were born, you were so ugly the doctor slapped your mother. And by your comments we can see that you must have slipped out of his hands and bounced on your head a few times on the floor, before being accidentally (or purposely) stepped on a few times. You must be one of those people whose religion is Ignorance.

      November 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  18. D Renae

    Really people – Mormon's are a cult? Guess that is why their Church is called "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' (Jesus Christ....not Mormon which is a nickname that other religious sects have called them) My question is why do the Catholics then pray to many "Saints" and the "Blessed Mother", and for the Baptist – do they pray and honor John the Baptist, because that is what their Church is named after??? Just wondering....you are all stiring the pot here with negative, if you want to blast a Religion you might as well blast them all. I wash my hands of all of this -

    November 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      Religion is a fairytale and all churches are tax-exempt fairytale pushers who impose guilt to try to control you!

      November 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • The_Mick

      Catholics do NOT pray to saints as if they're gods, they pray to saints to INTERCEDE on their behalf with God. For example, the Hail Mary includes the words "pray for us sinners." Now, I don't know why God needs a human saint to tell him what he should do. But, I also don't know why you need to formally pray to God. Doesn't your prayer imply you do not believe God knows what you want or what trouble you're in – so you have to tell him? You've got one hell of a nerve suggesting that and God should therefore be pretty angry when you pray to Him. It's like interrupting Einstein and saying, "Hail Albert, E=mc2" – as if he didn't know that already.

      I wouldn't presume to pray to God. Not to mention I have a slight problem believing in an invisible all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful guy who would stick his children in a world full of famine, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, pestilence, disease, etc. For example, how does anyone all-loving create flesh-eating bacteria. If a human did so just for the purpose of letting it loose on earth, he would be sentenced to death in many countries.

      But I can see the Sun. I studied a "Teach Yourself Hieroglyphics) book before going to Egypt, copying a cheat sheet to take with me. On the pillars of the Temple of Luxor is a group of three-hieroglyphs (a squiggly line, an ankh, and a triangle in a triangle) that say, "given life forever." As you walk around the pillar you see that message over and over, a little higher each time until you're looking at....The Sun! So, since a priest of Amun-Re in Egypt 3300 years ago left a message to me that made me look at what he claims had "given life forever," maybe I'll worship the Sun. At least I can see it.

      November 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Day-O

      @The_Mick – Why do they need to pray to saints to intercede for them? Isn't God all-knowing and all-powerful? Does he need a bunch of yes-men and yes-women to tell him what he should and shouldn't do or whom to be helping? Sounds like a pretty impotent god Catholics worship. Even Santa doesn't need anyone to tell him who's naughty and nice.

      November 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  19. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    REPOSTING BECAUSE IT'S SO IMPORTANT:

    Can we please have some separation of church and state in this country? The right to religious freedom includes the right to not believe the fairy tale and this Ohio state native lived in Utah for almost 20 years and I'm telling you, my fellow Americans, you DO NOT WANT a Mormon in the White House, even if you are also a religious nut.

    I moved to Utah thinking I would be amidst good people with high morals and boy, was I WRONG! Mormons are the weirdest sect of religious people you will ever meet – they lie, cheat, steal and swear to God they don't do any of that! Romney lies regularly – the news reports his lies as lies and he just keeps on telling them! What more do you need to convince you that he's a LIAR? Mormons are intolerant of anybody who is NOT a "member" and they will go out of their way to let you know you are not in the clique. They even teach their children to discriminate against non-members and my young son suffered permanent emotional damage inflicted upon him by little Mormon boys (who picked on and bullied my son in our neighborhood) who think they're going to be Gods with their own planets some day! You can't get any more warped than that and THAT is the crux of the Mormon dogma. Well, that AND polygamy! These people are ridiculously discriminatory and they are brainwashed beyond belief!!

    Even you religious people would be shocked at the practices of this church and its "members." And a Mormon 'member" you may know who lives in Michigan is not the same as a Mormon living in Utah or any of the surrounding states in which they are a MAJORITY – these people (who believe they are saints, by the way) are out to take over this country the way they have taken over (AND RUINED ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST BEAUTIFUL STATES) – UTAH!

    ***********************************************************OBAMA 2012**************************************************************************

    November 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • 1Joyce

      I'm not a Mormom, and I have a hard time believing you actually know any Mormoms personally. I know a few and they are the nicest, most giving people I have ever met.

      November 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Dymas

      I'm pretty sure the mormons were in Utah before Utah was a state... So its not like they took it over... They always controlled it. Either way, basing your bad experiences with some religious people in Utah and applying it to everyone is no different than a racist remark that everyone of a certain ethnicity must be bad because of the bad experiences you had.

      November 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      I lived in Utah for 20 years, woman! Did you read my post? Or are you distracted with the Kool-Aid? And you other guy, do you know of any other state in the United States that's controlled by a church?

      I don't and I don't want anymore! Utah is beautiful except for the damn Mormons - if you don't live there, you do not know what you're talking about!

      READ SOMETHING THAT TELLS THE TRUTH ABOUT THESE PEOPLE!

      November 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Day-O

      @NOOOOOOOOOOOOO – You're so blinded by hate you can't even see the good they do. If you don't like it in Utah, why do you stick around? Oh, yeah, you're probably sucking at the teat of Mormon generosity. You bigots are all alike.

      November 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  20. ron

    Very interesting, informative article. Nothing stated in this article would cause me not to vote for a Mormon. I won't be voting for Romney because my vision for America is different than his vision. But I have no problem with a Mormon, or a member of any other religion, or someone who has no religion, being President of the United States. I vote based on values and policy issues.

    November 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

      Even Brigham Young said the Mormons are the biggest and best LIARS in the world. Research the Mountain Meadows Massacre in southern Utah - LIARS ALL OF THEM!

      November 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.