home
RSS
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. God's Oldest Dreamer

    It is best for mankind to simmer in their juvenile pottages never rationalizingly 'assaying' one's diffuse detriments the very smallest of life's grains. As smitten breeds, our splendors reveal one's characters to be traitorous to one's analogous fold. Where then does Life end and living begin?

    November 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  2. melinda willis

    First of all this is not an unbiased article at all and most decidedly anti Mormon second Cnn needs to get some facts corrected and stop acting like Mormons are circus performers who live differently than any other American who cares how they decorate. Their houses seriously?!!!!!!

    November 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  3. Imminent

    @Matt. Touche.

    November 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  4. Mormons are Christians?

    Why is Mormon.org hiding all the things Mormons believe in?

    November 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • MikeB

      Seriously?
      Why are you not refraining from your evil ill will?

      November 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Doug

      This is a no brainer.. Because they are not Christians.. They are a cult.. a CULT !

      November 4, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  5. Tom

    Maybe the Miyans had a vision of our current selection of leaders and decided it was a good time to call it quits,,,,,,,after all something scared the living crap out of them.

    November 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  6. dezep

    Mitt Romney is a faithful Mormon Temple Recommend Card Holder. He, along with his wife Ann, have performed all of these Temple Ceremonies and Rituals on countless occasions over the years. They have dressed in their white temple robes, knelt with raised hands at temple altars and vowed strict obedience and secrecy to the Mormon church. They have sworn with a vow that they will sacrifice their own lives if necessary in defending the Church and these secret Temple Rituals.
    The unsuspecting American voters deserve to know the hidden truth that lurks behind these Mormon Temples. Their hard won freedoms that all Americans enjoy today, seriously depend on it.
    Here is another undercover video of a full Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony filmed secretly in another Mormon Temple in Utah, this year:

    This Mormon Temple Ceremony includes a film presentation interspersed with secret Signs, Tokens, and Oaths of Sacrifice and Consecration. All pertaining to the Mormon church and its hidden desire for a religious theocratical government of Mormons Laws and Commandments.

    November 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  7. realbuckyball

    Romney thinks we all suffer from Romnesia.

    November 3, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  8. NYer Living in Colorado

    Sometimes you just gotta ask yourself why weren't the romans more efficient in getting rid of the christians back in the day? If they had, we wouldn't have to deal with this christianity issue...it's so bloody annoying.

    November 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  9. Mormons are Christians?

    Mormon.org is a joke. It purposefully hides their true beliefs.
    Liars just like mitt.

    November 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Matt

      Mormon.org has been Mitt-washed.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  10. Tom

    If you had to pick the lesser of two evils to vote for,,,,,,,you still voted wrong.......are these two the best we as americans have to chose from? we are truly screwed now,,,,or are we? I hear the sound of a trumpet soon......the sixth one that is

    November 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Matt

      There are people you can talk to about that. Please see one of the immediately.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  11. pat

    And this is why Mittens will loose the election!

    November 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • NYer Living in Colorado

      I have a LOOSE bowel. Mittens will LOSE* the election! HEIL MITTLER!

      November 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  12. dezep

    Here is a short undercover video of a Mormon Temple Baptism for the Dead. These ritual are performed relentlessly in Mormon Temples every day. In this undercover video filmed in a Mormon Temple in Utah this year, children, some as young as 12 years old, perform these proxy baptisms for deceased non-mormons. Some children, especially young females, feel very uncomfortable having to perform these baptisms, but feel compelled to do so by their devout Mormon parents:

    November 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  13. thecatwhispererblog

    I'm tired of a president who has done more to divide American than any other; Romney loves America, which, of course, is supposedly anti-intellectual. You are only a real American when you hate everything about the founding fathers' beliefs, poke fun at the quaint tradition of patriotism, and ridicule others who aren't like you. You liberals talk a lot – in fact, that's all you really know how to do – but my point is that you talk so much about tolerance for others (gays, terrorists, serial killers, pedophiles, for example) but you can Christian bash all day long. I'm not even a Christian, and don't go to church, but I respect their beliefs, their innate mistrust of big government, and the deep love for a country that might have a lot of problems, but it's still the only one I know of that people risk their lives to escape whatever hellhole they live in to get to. So, you libs can pretend all you want about Obama and his "qualifications" to be president, can yak about warmonger Bush, and the mishandling of Katrina...but this president hasn't had any qualms about using violence to achieve results, we are still in Afghanistan, Gitmo is still running, and Obama has his own Katrina...that he ran like a girl from to get to Vegas and party with Jay-Z, while Americans died and still go without power and food and water. Since they are unlikely to vote, I guess they don't matter...

    November 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Matt

      I'm impressed your 8th grade education has prepared you to so successfully paraphrase the Fox talking point newsletter you subscribe to. Any other jabs at our Commander-in-Chief you feel necessary to add?

      November 3, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • NYer Living in Colorado

      I think that I'm in love with Matt. Keep up the great posts!

      November 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  14. diane

    Sophie, no way, Sophay. Obama scares me just as much as Romney. I'm a conservative thinker who translated the New Testament from Greek, and I do believe it is inerrant. Face it, your religion is based on what the snake told Eve, and rejects the Bible as the word of God. A liberal is someone who thinks that Jesus's brother was Satan, and every other crazed thing you believe in error. It's not about works, Sophie. Salvation is the gift of God, given through grace upon belief in his son Jesus. Everything you need is in the Bible. Your religion is a lie.

    November 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Matt

      Please tell me you are just messing around, because here's what your post sounds like to me and most rational thinkers:

      Yeti believer tells Bigfoot believer that their belief in Bigfoot is a lie.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • sharon09

      I find your comment very demeaning. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe that, I have always believed that. The Bible is true, as far as it is translated correctly, having undergone many translations. As Sophie attests to having translated the New Testament from Greek, can she assure anyone that her translation is 100% correct? Don't think so. Perhaps we all need to believe that we are children of a God who loves all of us no matter the color of our skin, the religion we chose to believe and the place where we live. What a great world this would be if we could abide by those principals.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Matt

      "Perhaps we all need to believe that we are children of a God..."
      And THAT is EXACTLY why the world needs to be rid of your mythologies. It's not enough for you to be satisfied in your own delusion. Your silly books tell you to spread this infection to others. And if people resist strongly enough, your natural urge is to kill them because the existence of a happy non-believer is anathema to the "logic" of your beliefs.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  15. Tom

    I Was actualy raised in the mormon faith up till the age of 16,,and am well aware of the traditions and values,,,,,,most of them are good moral traits and values, yet to depart from the original context of the Bible and create your own version of teaching such as the book of Mormon is like saying you can do it better then the plan God has .I feel the KJV Bible is good enough for me to learn by. verse by verse,,,,chapter by chapter,,,,

    November 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Mormons are Christians?

      Amen.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • diane

      Tom, you have escaped one of the most insidious groups I've ever come across (and that's saying alot.) Joseph Smith is a false prophet, sent to decieve the very elect of God. Good thinking.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Matt

      Is that why Evangelical Christians consider Mormonism a cult?

      November 3, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  16. If I had a penny for every stupid Republican I'd be rich!

    Wishful thinking...it ain't gonna happen. So tell us how the next four years under Obama are going to unfold.

    November 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  17. karenjay

    Wow-CNN is making quite the focus of Romney's faith. Maybe they should direct readers to the LDS web-site.

    November 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Mormons are Christians?

      Don't bother with that propaganda. Go to Mormonwiki.org
      The LDS are hiding their true beliefs.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Matt

      Or they can go to the LDS site and enjoy reading the Presidential-level whitewash version.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  18. cantilever

    The only real question, here, is the color and the flavor of the Koolaid.

    November 3, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      The sweets are either false or nutrasweet or the real thing sugar,,,,

      November 3, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  19. Rogue351

    It is also possible that Mitt could take more wives and the White House would have to be outfitted for that. Multiple wives are not the modern Mormon norm. However there are off shoots of the Mormon religion that claim to stay with the traditional teachings that still believe in the practice. Mitt and his Wife could also sponsor baptism for the dead which is a popular temple past time. Baptizing people who died with out hearing the word of the church. The Mormons assume if they had been offered the word the would have converted. Abortion laws will most certainly change. There will be NO gay marriage if he takes off that is for sure. And because he believes everyone should be a Mormon he is more than likely going to offend a lot of people and other nations and not care. And the one very popular religious item that no one has mentioned or really cared about is that Mormons often seek advice from the higher up members of the church. So the question is. Will Mitt Romney be running the country or will the elite high up members of the Mormon church being pulling his strings ? Since he can never answer a question the same way I am going to guess the church will be running the nation.

    November 3, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • If I had a penny for every stupid Republican I'd be rich!

      When JFK ran for the presidency much of the country was consumed about the influence the pope would have on his administration. A much bigger concern would be if Romney won the White House, fortunately that is not going to happen, but if it did it would reasonable to assume the LDS elders would be telling Romney what to do.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  20. Tom

    given the amount of attention put on the faith of our president and possible new president ,,,,,,may I remind you that our consttution reads,,,,,,One nation UNDER GOD,,,,,,,and on our currency IN GOD we trust. Why is it then that our current president wants to make gay marriage legal ,,,,completly against the Christian bible teaching,,,,and Mr Romney holds the book of mormon in high regard instead of the bible,,,,,,,,No wonder SuperStorm Sandy took aim at washington ....For me I only have one saying,,,,,,,VOTE FOR AND ELECT JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR PRESIDENT,,,,,after all he is King of KIngs and your Lord and Saviour

    November 3, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Todd in DC

      So, vote for Obama? He is a Christian

      November 3, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Matt

      I sincerely hope you are troll, because I just have a difficult time believing there Americans out there as stupid as you. If I thought it would do any good I'd dispossess you of some of your notions, but if you're actually going to bring up the currency thing, you are beyond hope.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      I will I will Vote Him in as a write in,,,,,Christ Jesus is THE ONE!

      November 3, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Derak

      Ha, if 0bama is Christian, then I'm a Jamaican.

      He's a Christian of the Malcom X variety, according to his pastor of 20 years, Mr. GD America, Rev. Wright, himself.

      Wasn't Malcom converted to Islam, not the normal type, but the type that certain people convert to in prison? Well, Wright seems to share many of the same sentiments, whether he calls God Christ instead of Allah or not.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
About this blog

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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.