By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Mitt Romney’s defeat appears to close out a years-long “Mormon moment,” a period of national fascination with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It has also provoked Mormon disappointment; Romney would have been first Latter-day Saint in the White House, culminating a decades-long process of growing Mormon acceptance and influence.
But prominent Mormons and religion experts say Mormons should be heartened that Romney’s candidacy appeared to help mainstream the relatively young faith, which was founded in 1830 in upstate New York.
“Part of the Mormon moment was curiosity and much of that curiosity has been satisfied,” said John Green, professor of political science at the University of Akron.
“There will always be people who disagree with them,” Green said, “but the sense is that this community is part of the broad middle of American society.”
As stories about the LDS Church graced the covers of magazines and front pages of newspapers, the church’s press office was working overtime to answer questions from around the globe. A church that prefers to keep private became very public.
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“Without question there has been an increase in interest in the Church over the past several years,” church spokesman Michael Purdy told CNN. “Although there have been exceptions, this attention has given people the opportunity to know who we are and what we believe.”
It also meant more publicity for aspects of the church that many Mormons would prefer not dwell on, like the church’s onetime practice of polygamy (the church banned the practice more than 100 years ago) and its denial of the priesthood to black members until the late 1970s.
But even the uncomfortable questions were good for the church, said Richard Bushman, a Mormon scholar who has served as a local Mormon leader.
“So long as those objections and criticisms were kept under wraps, they just sort of festered there,” Bushman said. “Getting them out in the open where people could speak candidly, that in a way clears the atmosphere.”
Coverage of Mormonism also led to some level of misinformation. One example: On the TV show “The View,” on October 18, 2012, Whoopi Goldberg asked Ann Romney, Mitt Romney’s wife, about how she would relate to soldiers.
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“As first lady, if you get the job, it’s going to entail a lot of things, and one of those things is going to be talking to the mothers whose children are coming home in bags, you know, from wars,” Goldberg said. “Now, I know - I believe that your religion doesn’t allow you to go fight.”
Goldberg was wrong. Mormons are actually known to enlist in the military at higher levels than others. “No, that's not correct,” Ann Romney told Goldberg. “We have many, many members of our faith that are serving in armed services.”
Purdy, the church spokesman, says such exchanges were ultimately beneficial.
“A good deal of misinformation has been replaced with a more accurate picture of the Church, its doctrines, and its members across the world,” Purdy said. “That is a good thing for all involved and we look forward to these opportunities continuing.”
But with Romney’s loss, interest in Mormonism is expected to dwindle. Joanna Brooks, a well known Mormon blogger and author says it’s only a matter of time until that interest returns.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
“There have been many Mormon moments, and there will be many more to come,” she said. “Mormonism remains a vibrant and distinctive force on the American religious landscape, and as a young religion with a new global reach, the Mormon story is still unfolding.”
The last Mormon moment, she said, was a good one: “This is a moment in which the nation proved that it was capable of having a discussion about candidates and platforms without openly subjecting either candidate to a religious test.”
Though Romney’s faith garnered plenty of coverage - from Time’s cover story “The Mormon Identity,” to New York Magazine’s “Where is the Mormonism in Mitt Romney?,” - neither the campaigns nor outside groups made much, if any, mention of it.
Romney’s bid seemed to improve relations between Mormons and evangelical Christians, many of whom have long seen the LDS Church as a cult. In May, Romney spoke at Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell.
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Weeks before the election, too, the Rev. Billy Graham met with Romney for the first time and removed “Mormonism” from a section of his website devoted to cults.
“The Billy Graham business, for me that was symbolic that evangelicals instead of just dismissing Mormonism, (they) now need to talk a little more about what they mean,” Bushman said.
According to exit polls on Tuesday, 79% of white evangelical Christians voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. That’s an even higher share of the white evangelical vote than John McCain got in 2008, when he was the Republican presidential nominee.
“From the point of view of religious tolerance and acceptance, there were some really positive trends,” Green said. “It does suggest that the path towards greater religious tolerance has continued.”
Green raised the subject with his students after Tuesday’s election. At the end of the conversation, Green said one non-Mormon student’s comment encapsulated the strides Mormonism made in the last year.
“They aren’t any stranger,” the student joked, “than anyone else.”
– CNN’s Allison Brennan contributed to this report.
Back to planet Kolob and cult status, you Stepford weirdoes. And good riddance.
I think that if this church had been so easily pushed into the shadows, it would not be a 14 million world-wide membership church at this point in time which is 182 years old. Not that numbers equals truth... not trying to say that ... but then that is not the argument here. Mike clearly does not understand the trajectory of the LDS faith.
And back to living a life without purpose for you uneducated fool.
I'm an engineer / attorney, top-20 law school grad, lived all over the world, a modern woman, and I'm pretty sure there's nothing stepford about me. I'm also Mormon, Mike. I'm sure if you met me in real life you wouldn't act the way you're acting. Funny how the computer makes people rude.
Ha ha...face to face I'd dress any one of you down, and brutally. Your faith is lie, a blatant con job, and tainted by appalling racism, hypocrisy, and some incredibly bizarre beliefs. No amount of material success or butts in the pews will ever change that.
Mike D – Christianity has tenets of faith that contradict each other in the Bible, rituals that include metaphorically eating the body and blood of Christ, and celebrates the anniversary of His resurrection with a rabbit handing out candy. Tell me again about weird ideas?
All religions are someone else's cult. Christianity was a "cult" that was persecuted by the Romans until an Emperor converted and declared it the state faith.
It's not important tha you believe in their faith, but they have a right to it as Americans. Freedom of religion doesn't just mean yours
Rogue, you're assuming I'm religious.
Mike, you lying POS. You're azz would be beat brutally by now 10x over if you had "face to face" dressed down brutally everyone Mormon that you had come into contact with.
Krabz, there are people who are capable of sparring with me verbally, I'll grant you that. But I can give as good as I get. Judging by your writing, though, you're nowhere near in my league.
Your chair is behind you. That is all.
Mike – You're assuming my assumption. I guess that makes you an a$$ twice over.
"As stories about the LDS Church graced the covers of magazines and front pages of newspapers, the church’s press office was working overtime to answer questions from around the globe. A church that prefers to keep private became very public."
If the church prefers to keep private then ... why does it have a press office. Ohh and why does it broadcast semi annual general conferences over satellite and on the major networks that will pick it up... And why does it send tens of thousand of full-time missionaries worldwide.... and why does it send its helping hands everywhere to help folks in need to every natural disaster on the planet... The arguments here really only indicate that the writer does not understand the Mormon faith at all.. Rather challenge the stereotypical impression, the author adheres to them against the facts.
A question for Mormon parents:
What do you teach your children about Brigham Young? He appears to be much revered in the annals of the LDS, given that he has a University named after him, and yet in the Journal of Discourses, he spouted some of the most hateful, bigoted things I've ever read, like calling for the summary execution of interracial couples...
Brigham Young lived on this earth a long time ago... So did Andrew Jackson who was a slave owner.... So did the Apostle Paul who had much to say about the place for women within the church.... Yes, Brigham Young was a great man and prophet .. He was the American Moses if you will. Andrew Jackson was a great President and Paul was a great spiritual leader and prophet as well.
An interesting approach.
Brigham Young said " I have never given counsel that is wrong" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, p. 161).
Since he is "the American Moses", do Mormons believe that to be true?
I see a lot of postings here accusing Mormons of not being Christian becuase they reject the divinity of Christ. The most frequent reply from Mormons is flat denial of the allegation. And yet Brigham Young said "Now, remember from this time forth, and for ever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 51).
He also said: "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110).
Does that statement still hold true since The American Moses said that it would always be so?
What is taught to LDS kids about the Mountain Meadow Massacre?
Doc, not that I think you will care because all I ever see you do is try to spread prejudice and hate, but: 1. Stringing quotes together from statements made at different times and outside of their full context is never an honest way to sum up anyone's life or personal philosophy. Have you ever looked at any of his teachings on Christ, on charity, on faith in God, or do you just pluck out the ones that suit your purposes? 2. Mormons understand fully that there are times when church leaders give personal opinions which are just that–PERSONALare not doctrine. I have never agreed with the statements Young made and they
...are not doctrine. (computer glitched out there for a second) In my congregation, there are members from all over the world and there are mixed-race families and members of many races and ethnic backgrounds. 3. I was around 15 or 16 when I learned at church about Mountain Meadows. It was not glossed over or sugar-coated or mentioned cursorily, but described in very stark detail. What happened then was a horrible thing. No one tries to portray it otherwise or claim that what happened back then was justified in any way.
Like I said, I only see you post things you want to use to paint Mormons as bad. I have never seen any indication that you are fair-minded enough to look for anything else, but here are my answers to your questions.
LDS (Mormon faith) = CULT
Joseph Smith = Con man who liked multiple partners
Lillybet=Someone who has probably never sate down and actually tried to understand or listen to a Mormon.
One might think so but them where did the Book of Mormon come from. And why is it such an amazing book of scripture. Its is real easy to just accept lies at face value but hard to dig a little deeper and understand.
Lillybet=someone who believes everything she reads on the Internet
Joseph Smith was a man who liked multiple partners? Who DOESN'T? C'mon now! Somebody back a brother up here!
Who knocked the smirk off Romney's face? WE THE PEOPLE! Hehe.
Well, more accurately half of "We the People."
Love your comment!
Actually, I don't even know if we can go with half the people. It was more like half the people of Ohio in the end.
Look, I seriously have no idea what is wrong with you people. I disagreed with most of his stances on issues and how evasive he was on issues ("You'll just have to trust me." 1) You are a politician... to quote House: You lie. , 2) I'm pretty sure if you gave me your numbers and assumptions, I could follow your reasoning... I might not agree, but I could follow it). It never had anything to do with his religion, and religion shouldn't matter.
However I may feel about religion as a whole, if it makes you feel better, if it makes you a better person and citizen, I could care less what faith you follow. I'm more concerned with the person you are and what you stand for than what you believe in.. and yes, they are sometimes one and the same, but no two people are the same, and everyone interprets their beliefs or scriptures differently. You can't paint a group like muslims or catholics or Mormons with a wide brush. You have to take them as they are as a person. My only real issue with Mormons is the perpetual attempts at converting they do on their mission work. And really, that's the same as almost all religious missionaries, so its not a slight to them.
I didn't vote for him, but that doesn't mean I thought any less of him as a person. By all accounts, Romney is a pretty good human being, a good father to his children, a good example of a husband. I just didn't agree with his stances on issues, so I didn't vote for him. It's that simple, and that's how it should be. There are more important things than whether a person prays the same way or has the same faith as you.
Try living in Arizona or Utah. You might have a different outlook.
Well said. A very mature, enlightened, tolerant viewpoint. I'm a non-Mormon who lives in Utah. From what I see, Mormons build strong families and have a huge sense of community service. High school kids in the neighborhood are always setting up service projects to collect food, clothing, toiletries for charity. In 2010 when we had flooding my elderly parents were helped with sand-bagging by the local church (even though they are not members). I was struggling with shoveling out from a heavy snowfall one evening and a 16-year-old boy stopped and asked me if I needed help. I have no desire to join the Mormon church, but fully respect their religious beliefs and culture.
The ONLY way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for our sins! Mormons dont belive that. I think it is a Cult. Nevertheless Obama doesn't believe right either and so to me both are athiest and one is a businessman and the other isn't
Heaven is an imaginary concept. Now you are adding crazy rules on how to get into this fairy tale land.
... and they say we lose the ability to pretend play as we get older. I say it just turns into religion.
Audra, we absolutely believe the only way to return to live in "Heaven" is by and through the Atonement of Jesus Crhist. It is the central tenant of the LDS faith.
The Good Lord don't need nobody's help in deciding who is or isn't a good person. Everyone should mind their own business and let other people mind theirs.
This isn't correct. There may be other reasons to think Mormonism is cult-like, but this is not one of them. Mormons, like other Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind, and (as you say) the only way to heaven.
Actually Mormons do believe that. See http://mormon.org/jesus-christ
Yes Audra, Mormons do believe that the only way to heaven is through the atonement of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Again, please educate yourself. See lds. org.
Get your facts straight before commenting Audra. Mormons have great faith in Christ and the atonement made for all mankind.
He is the center of who we are and what we believe.
You are so wrong. Mormons absolutely believe that the only way to heaven is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I know because I am one.
Uhh ... Mormons do believe that.
Audra... uhm Mormons do believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. You might want to do like 2 seconds of research before you type something down. What they believe in addition to that is that prophets exists today just as much as they did in the time of Jesus... Do you get the term "latter day saints" now? Just like the pope canonizes people... they do something a little similar 'cept they don't wait for death of miracles.
I don't really care to be Mormon or any other form of Christianity 'cept Catholic. But hey to each his own
Mormons are Christians...it's a fact. They believe in everything most Christians do. Read Mark 12:31 and tell me how Christian YOU are. It's in that big, black book at church that you've apparently never opened.
Now the beloved Rev. Billy Graham is saying that Mormonism is not a cult. He's now a hypocrite.
When attacking a minority, 60% of white people (especially the guys) will stick together come h e l l or high water. And God himself is placed on the shelf.
God is not mocked. Most white people are doomed to hell. And this is why he is causing the white race to become extinct, having them bred out of existence for their blasphemy.
Mormons Don't believe that Jesus is the Son of God. They think Jesus and Lucifer were Brothers and Jesus was chosen over Lucifer by a council and chose jesus because he Achieved Godness. Rediculous!!!!
As is your spelling. Your entire statement is inaccurate.
Audra, you are wrong. Please go to lds. org to see what the church really believes instead of posting based on your own misinformation.
We absolutely believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I would say most other Christians don't believe that. From other Christians I spend time talking to and listening to, it sounds like they believe Jesus is a part of God present in the flesh, not his actual Son.
The voter suppression campaign didn't work because it aint christian to suppress the will of the people.
Congratulations President Obama! Four more years!
Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth President and Prophet.
In 1963, Look magazine interviewed, at that time, the leader of the LDS Church; Joseph Fielding Smith. Concerning n e g r o e s, Smith stated:
I would not want you to believe that we bear any animosity toward the N e g r o. 'Darkies' are wonderful people, and they have their place in our church (Look magazine, October 22, 1963, 79; emphasis added).
Smith also taught that "N e g r o e s" were inferior to other races:
Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. A curse was place upon him and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures.
Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with b l a c k skin and have been denied the privilege of Priesthood and the fullness of the blessings of the Gospel. These are the descendants of Cain.
Moreover, they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning… we will also hope that blessings may eventually be given to our N e g r o brethren, for they are our brethren–children of God-notwithstanding their b l a c k covering emblematical of eternal darkness (The Way to Perfection, 101-02; emphasis added).
Source: http://christiandefense.o r g/mor_black.htm
Romney's loss has done one thing positive, it's keeping him out of public view.
Mormonism is still a cult. Evangelicals voted for Romney because they wanted that 'black guy' out of the White House. They will no more except the Mormon Religion into their Evangelical World than they would any other cult.
So is Atheism.
Shoshana, there are over 15 million Mormons in the world. One helluva big "cult." They're also one of the largest humanitarian contributors in terms of money and time and their members have been recognized repeatedly as volunteering / doing more community service than any other group. Pretty odd behavior for a cult. Just sayin. But you keep believing what you want...
And 600 years ago,, others called Evangelicals and reformers a cult. All that changed was that ime passed.
Yep – loads of humanitarian work.
According to the LDS propaganda department (Deseret News Agency) the Mormons gave some $750 million in international charity between 1984 and 2004.
But then again, they also spent 4 times that amount (3 BILLION) in 1/4 of the time to build a mall in Salt Lake City....
Doc–how much of YOUR time and money do you give to charity? Do you give the majority of your income? If not, I'm going to criticize you, because that's apparently the standard that you find appropriate to apply to the Mormon church.
Your numbers are wrong anyway. See the wiki page on LDS Humanitarian Services:
"From 1985 – 2009, $327.6 million in cash and $884.6 million in commodities of aid was given throughout 178 countries."
That's over a BILLION dollars!
Mormons are told: "if a dest.itute family is faced with the decision of paying their ti.thing or eating, they should pay their t.ithing." (Lynn Robbins, General Conference, April 2005).
To make sure congregants are paying up, each year they must go before a Bishop for a Ti.thing Settlement.
A member is questioned in a one-on-one interview with the Bishop to ensure they arepaying a full 10%.
Those who are not lose their temple recommendations and therefore are in serious jeopardy of losing their Celestial blessings.
If a member cannot get into the temple, they cannot learn the secret handshake, secret password, secret "new name" and special “sealings” required to pass Joseph Smith and the angels who guard the entrance to the Celestial Kingdom.
This amounts to spiritual blackmail.
Pay up, or you'll have a shi/tty afterlife.
"Ti.thing is an important test of our personal righteousness. President Joseph F. Smith (1838-1918) said: “By this principle it shall be known who is for the kingdom of God and who is against it. … By it it shall be known whether we are faithful or unfaithful” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith , 276)."
There it is!!!
You forgot "Whoomp".
The Mormon Helping Hands program brings together members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their neighbors to provide community service. These volunteers in their trademark yellow shirts help people whose lives have been affected by natural disasters and other emergencies. Mormon Helping Hands volunteers also partner with government and nonprofit organizations to support and improve the communities where they live.
The Helping Hands program reflects the desire of Mormons to follow the example of Jesus Christ by serving others. The effort receives resources from Church humanitarian services, and the projects are coordinated by local Church leaders.
That's great! I'm all for charity. Just remember... it doesn't add one bit of lagitimacy to this (or any other) religion's veracity.
The same charity work can be, and is done in totally secular ways.
Mormon.org, one of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' official websites, helps those unfamiliar with the Church become acquainted with the faith's basic beliefs and everyday members.
Wow, you people need to get your facts straight. You lose all credibility when you shout lies over and over. Has America gotten this dumb to where we believe every lie that comes out of people's mouths?
SALT LAKE CITY —
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued the following statement in the aftermath of Sandy:
Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by post-tropical storm Sandy. Local Church leaders along the eastern coast of the United States have made preparations for the storm. Church representatives are in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), The American Red Cross, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and other relief agencies to coordinate response efforts. Forty-two LDS volunteers are supporting Red Cross shelter operations in New Jersey and neighboring areas. The Church is working closely with the Red Cross to identify additional shelter locations if needed.
The Church stands ready to assist affected communities. Emergency Response resources have been pre-positioned in Bishops Storehouses in the area. These resources include items such as food, water, blankets, hygiene supplies, tarps, cleaning supplies, chain saws and shovels.
Local Church leaders will make assessments in the coming days and coordinate with response partners to determine further relief efforts.
Mission presidents have taken precautions to protect the safety and well-being of missionaries.
A mission in our church is to help others and usually they are high school age kids who do this. LDS boys and girls going out at age 18 and 19 trying to convert others to the LDS faith is NOT A MISSION. Have these kids (yes, they are still kids at this age) do something positive and help people who are in dire straits would make God proud.
To Marietta. I served a 2 year mission for my church (LDS) and I spent about 40% of my time serving others, helping out the poor, and giving assistance in whatever way I could. I also spent 40% of the time preaching what I believe to be true (the Bible talks about Christians doing this) and the other 20% of the time improving myself as a person. I think that this makes God proud serving him and others.
any explanation of Romney buying supplies for random people to hand in during a "non political' photo op? another Mormon hypocrisy. can't be a state? no more polygamy. civil rights are in vogue? forget 130 years of "blacks gonna be our servants when i become god with on my own planet?" People travelling down your road? murder them steal their children. secret ceremonies only Mormons can see. gotta have i.d to get in church? Mormons will help another Mormon. so they're looking out for the local missionaries. how awesome. maybe they have a magic rock to pinpoint where not to go. I always wondered where the satanists The Process Church of the Final Judgement got the Jesus and Satan were brothers. Curiously enough they now live on the Utah border in Kanab as The Best Friend Animal Society.
Hey, Billy Graham: Does this mean Mormonism is a cult again?
I had no problem with Romney's faith. I did have a problem with his lies. I had a very big problem with the attempt to smear the President character & the lunatic fringe calling him a Muslim. The so called self proclaimed Christians once again proved themselves to be the most unchristian of all. Disgusting.
Linda, If you haven't vote for him it's ok. But don't discribe him as a liar and even the chistians as inchristian. Overall as Americans we have to preserve our values and keep our Great Nation going!!! Our fundantion must be the prior thing right now.
Yet probably the Bengazi deceptions don't bother you a bit. ?
There is no Bengazi gate William (Nov 9 10:02 am) so quit spreading your hate. & get a life. Your one of the ones I was referring to. Shame on you and your kind. You belong grouped with the Donald & that is not a compliment.
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.