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.
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“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.
Yet another make-believe fairy tale. When will humanity take full responsibility for their actions? Why must we cloak our fears and doubts in hocus-pocus nonsense? We have a long way to go I'm afraid...
I find it incredible that we have presidents that have to proclaim religious affiliation to run! Are most Americans really that dumb?
There are 2 types of religious tolerance. One is the tolerance of religion by all. The other is the tolerance of all by religions. The first type may have been positively impacted by Romney's run, in terms of people tolerating Mormons, as mentioned in the article. But the second type is not in much evidence among conservatives, which continues to help shrink the Republican's success overall. Ultimately the first type is impacted by the second type (you reap what you sow), so without greater tolerance by all on the part of religions, then religion as a whole will continue to shrink its influence on America. You can replace the word religion in the prior sentence with the word Republican to better understand that party's role in the nation and its current and future plight. I for one hope this does not change.
Since religion = stupidity, stupidity should never be tolerated, especially in a president!
I hate Mormon MORONS!!
Having a J wright meltdown?
With no record in American Indian lore of the north american presence of the morman "lost tribe" or the presence of Christ it is impossible to give any credence to the morman religion. The fact that the Book of Morman is written in the style of the King James bible makes it seem like a writing contrived by a human author using the only bible he had as the template. It is not beleivable. The only thing I gathered from reading it, is that the Morman faith is anti Black and anti Catholic. The Mormans weren't too kind to the American Indians either
Your assumptions are false.
You can't prove a negative. Archeologists are finding things all the time throughout the world. New discoveries are always being found.
"The only thing I gathered from reading it, is that the Morman faith is anti Black and anti Catholic."
I wouldn't say they're anti-Catholic. I'm Catholic and I married a Mormon. They all showed up for our Catholic wedding. They didn't object when I had our now 18-month old twins baptized Catholic either (we also had them blessed at the local LDS church).
Nowadays, the American Catholic Church and the Church of LDS are strong allies on social issues. Catholic bishops have spoken at BYU and a former bishop of Salt Lake City wrote in defense of Mormons in the wake of the prop 8 fallout against Mormons.
I need to go talk with our local Catholic seminary (again), but I think you're on the mark saying that the social agenda of the Mormons and Catholics is similar in some areas. Specifically, abortion. The Catholic Church is really fighting a losing battle there, and wants all the friends it can get. Moreover, it's relishing its relishing world role as a peacemaker, and to that end, it's talking with Muslims, etc.
But that should not be taken to mean the Catholic Church agrees with the doctrine of Islam or the Mormons!
Very true Name*penguin, very true.
I still believe Romney is a good man and could have been a good president. The major majority could not see it. Romney is 100 times smarter than Obama to handle this economy. Too bad America. You didn't have the brain to see it. In 4 years, if you don't see the gas price at $8 and a few more trillions of deficit, you are lucky. The problem is the ignorant majority won't see those numbers evolve until your childrens' children ends up on the street.
Useful idiots that vote so they keep getting free stuff from the government.
the price of gas first hit $4 under oilman Bush
Or the opposite of what you said.
Ah, so the MAJORITY of Americans are now lazy, stupid, crave/additcted to government handouts. Apparently, from what some conservatives are saying, America is dead.
I voted for Barack Obama. I am in the middle of working two full-time IT jobs....16 hours a day. I am neither stupid, nor lazy, nor do I want a government handout.
I'm a Mormon. Lots of funny comments here. I just thought I'd say that we're Christians. Hopefully no one gets too offended...
Sorry Christians follow the Bible it's the only word of God, not the book of mormons something wrote by an American after having a dream or just lied.
Yeah Linda, because Joseph Smith's story about golden plates is so much crazier than Moses going up a mountain and god giving him the 10 commandments to chisel onto stone tablets.
...uncomfortable questions were good for the church, said Richard Bushman, a Mormon scholar. Like a "Batman scholar" or "Snow White scholar" or a "Unicorn scholar"?
Faith is faith. Mormons don't seem too far fetched to me. Consider Moses parting the Red Sea, Noah and the Ark, etc. Not too unconceivable to believe someone could see God.
'Mormons don't seem too far fetched to me. Consider Moses parting the Red Sea, Noah and the Ark, '
those examples just reinforce how far fetched it all is.
Extremely unfortunately, many Americans paint "all those crackpot religions" with the same brush. And many Christians think that the Mormon cult is just another Christian denomination. It isn't. It's labeled as a cult by the Catholic Church, and many other organizations.
Unlike Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or Islam, which actively seek the oldest texts, the Mormons regularly and substantially update "The Book of Mormon". It's a cult, where whatever "inspiration" the leaders have, followers are required to believe. While the history of the Bible is regularly confirmed by some archeological findings, "The Book of Mormon" presents a version of history that they made up that has nothing to do with any provable archeology.
Most Mormons do not own a Bible, have never read a Bible. They don't even know what Jesus said, so it's impossible to call them Christians.
Nor do they act like Christians. They forbid their own people from drinking Coca-Cola, yet own a substantial part of the company. It's one set of rules for the Mormons, and another for everyone else.
Romney was a horrible, dangerous threat for the US, as polls everywhere in the world showed. Every single country wanted Obama, by a wide margin. They saw what many Americans could not: Electing a leader in a non-Christian cult to the highest office was basically admitting that the majority of Americans could not see right from wrong even in simple situations.
As the Pope said in a recent address, humanity is entering an age of great darkness, where they cannot tell right from wrong.
Wow! Guess you could use more than a "moment" to get Mormons right. The Book of Mormon has not been "updated". EVERY Mormon who owns any scriptures at all own a Bible and use the King James Version. The church's Sunday School curriculum rotates through the scriptures spending an entire year on each of the Old Testament, New Testament, and Book of Mormon. Not exactly given back seat status as you think. Several outside studies have shown that LDS people demonstrate a greater knowledge of the Bible than pretty much every other religion in the US. Please refrain from making statements you clearly have no knowledge about.
Your ignorance is showing...
Yeah Riddley, it looks like you need to do a little more research. You're way off and not contributing any useful information here.
souptwins, I confess that I have only my personal experience to go on. I lived with Mormons. They did not own or read a Bible, or know what it said.
As for "The Book of Mormon" not being updated, that's flat out, completely wrong. I don't keep a count, but the top site I just checked online says there have been over 3,000 changes since it was published in 1830.
You also ignored many of my other points, especially that practically everyone sees them as a cult. Or we could get into details, how the earliest transcription of "The Book of Mormon", when given to a university by Joseph Smith, was held to be an amateur and obvious fraud.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, when he said, "There are lies, damn lies and statistics" ... "There are liars, damned liars, and Mormons."
You sir, are deeply misguided. Not only do all mormons own bibles, they read from them and teach the bibles lessons every sunday. They know Jesus as the son of god and are intimately aware of his teachings.
Next time do some actual research before you spew hate towards others....otherwise you may be labeled an idiot.
My neighbors are Mormons. Was just in their home yesterday and saw a Holy Bible on the table. "They haven't read it?" Your wrong on that one Riddley. I'll take a Mormon neighbor over a lot of other options.
I do stand corrected about Mormons not being taught the Bible. But as I say, the ones I knew didn't own one, and didn't know much about it.
However, even on this point I'll quote the askamormon site: "Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. We use the King James Version of the Bible. They are all considered scripture and equal with each other."
So, in other words 3 out of 4 of the Mormon holy books, they wrote themselves.
What I don't know is whether the other two cult works are regularly rewritten, as "The Book of Mormon" is.
So I will stand corrected: Mormons follow a confusion of 2000 year old truths, and a lot of other stuff they made up since 1830, starting with that great citizen Joseph Smith, who was branded as liar in the community long before he found the golden tablets ... which ... conveniently ... since they would have been proof ... were lost.
So ... ultimately ... that Mormons mix outright lies with truth still doesn't make them anything more than cultists.
So sorry– my last response didn't address the last two points you make. Perhaps the reason the Pope made that statement is because it's true and Obama's policies are exhibit A to making the case. Reckless behavior will continue as long as people see there are no consequences or someone else will save them from them. We all can choose what we do but we can't separate the consequences for those choices.
The other countries have to sound congratulatory because they will be working with Obama for the next 4 yrs. You can tell what other countries really think by looking at the value of the dollar immediately following the election– took a huge hit against the Euro. The stock market also responded showing investors concern for having a Pres. completely over their head on economics. You might want to stop digging now. Yikes!
Riddley, don't go to anti-Mormon sites for your information. There have been multiple editions of the Book of Mormon. That is true. Most of the "changes" you refer to include changes to punctuation, adding verse numbers and foot notes and an index, etc. The doctrine contained in the book of Mormon doesn't get changed or rewritten. Second, the Bible gets changed everyday. Heck if someone doesn't like how the Bible reads, they just go create a whole new edition. I can't even count how many editions there are now-a-days. Mormons use the King James version because it is one of the earliest English translations out of the original Greek. Third, Christians wrote their own Bible. Manuscripts were written by early Christians who believed in Christ. Most didn't even know him personally. The Bible itself is a collection of manuscripts that regular old human beings in the Catholic Church compiled. Heck, they had to vote what was even going to go into the book. I know you think it's self serving that Mormons have three books that we supposedly wrote ourselves, yet Christians did the exact same thing with the Bible you hold so dear. We as Mormons believe in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine in Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price on the same basis you believe in the Bible. It's all on faith. We believe the books were divinely inspired by God. Until you can prove the truthfullness of the Bible, don't question the validity of these other books. Believe me, it is a whole lot easier to disprove the Bible than it is to prove its true. I believe you are a genuinely good person. Do some serious research, then I would love to talk.
"Most Mormons do not own a Bible, have never read a Bible. They don't even know what Jesus said, so it's impossible to call them Christians."
Every Mormon I know has a bible and has to study it every Sunday (and on weekdays too). They're well versed in the King James bible. Every Mormon missionary has a copy of the Bible.
MORMONS NEED TO DIE OUT! What a sick philosophy, to make people slaves of 12 men, being forced to do whatever they say under threat of excommunication. Sick, sick, sick!!
Having a J Wright moment?
WOW... death wishes. How special.
No threat. Just don't join if it's not for you.
So you're advocating a Mormon genocide?
Learn more about Mormonism, but not from those Missionaries; they will obfuscate the truth.
Are you having a J Wright meltdown?
Yes, because the Mormon missionaries are out there to tell you lies just so you'll join there church. Then they bring out all the real weird stuff even though it will obviously scare you away and you'll go tell the whole world about it. I mean really?? Maybe all the weird stuff that is put out there comes from people who hate Mormons to begin with.
When Kennedy had his Catholic moment he acknowledged it, addressed it and explained how his faith would/would not guide his administration. Mitt never did that.
Yes, he did. Gave a very prominent speech about his religion during the '08 campaign in Dec. of '07 I believe. Sorry you missed it.
The Republicans had much more of an issue with Mitt Romney's Mormonism than anybody else.
I think the GOP had the wrong Mormon on the ballot.
I can agree with that but it wasn't up to the Mormons. Maybe Huntsman will run in '16. That would be great whether he were Mormon or not.
Younger people nowadays are more than smart enough to see that "being good" is a far better way tpo live life than "being godly". Especially when you read the various versions of the Bible and see what "being godly" actually awfully means.
I'd disagree. All religions are pretty silly, but LDS is Chirstianity + extra silly stuff. How is that not stranger than others?
I'm relieved that Obama won, and not this sick, delusional person Romey that believes that the American Indians are transplanted Jews (I guess it was the hook nose that gave them away! ;-)).
You probably didn't intend it that way, but your comment about the noses comes across as a racist insult.
To say that some one has a hook nose is a racist comment? You are brain dead! Is that a racist comment too?
Do not delude yourselves. Romney lost because he is a Mormon.
No, he lost because he is a Moron!
Do not delude yourselves. Romney lost because he is an idiot and a liar.
He lost because left-wing liberals painted him as something he is not. The perception is based on lies believed by uneducated, useful idiots.
'He lost because left-wing liberals painted him as something he is not. '
@cedar rapids... they painted him as an uncaring, greedy man. Does this CBS News video look like a man who doesn't care? http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505267_162-57415081/supporters-seek-to-define-the-real-mitt-romney/
You my friend are as ignorant as they come. You must have us confused with the Muslim in office. It is thier faith that beilevs in more than one wife, Mormons do not. The Warren Jeffs clan is not Mormon. they were kicked out of the church many many years ago. Maybe you should come out of your cave and read real news and you would know that.
Stating that the president is a Muslim only demonstrates your astounding level of ignorance.
Mormons don't PRACTICE polygamy, because it was outlawed solely to gain statehood. They do STILL however teach and believe in it.
It's interesting that all Mormons writhe and squirm and keep trying to distance themselves from Warren Jeffs when they and everybody they know that aside from practicing polygamy and raping children, there isn't a single difference between the beliefs of Warren Jeffs and their own beliefs. Heck, there isn't even a difference between Warrn Jeff's beliefs and those of Joseph Smith's beliefs including the polygamy and raping children stuff. Sorry Mormons – you are a weird cult and it's as simple as that. if you weren't raised in it, you'd be able to see it.
Honey, does your mommy know you're on the computer?
No – polygamy is central to Mormon theology. It is part of their scripture (Doctrines and Covenants #132) and was established by their founding "prophet" Joseph Smith. It was dropped later under military threat.
Mormons don't believe in more than one wife? Gimme a break, huh!!? I was stationed at Hill AFB, in Utah, and I can tell you directly that mormons are murders, thieves, drunkards, and everything else that is included in regular society-they hold no special talent for better or more strict self regulation than any other religion. And there are lots of mormon men who have more than one wife, even here in Utah, even on base!!!!!!!!! I know a couple of them, and while they surely don't advertise their martial situation, they drink and curse like any catholic I know. Mormonism? A clever euphemism for polygamy.
If Obama were a Muslim, it wouldn't bother me. But he isn't and I wonder why the rumor persists. His father was Muslim, but wasn't in his life. His stepfather, I think, was Muslim but was only in his life for a few years. His mother and grandparents were Christian, he has long attended a Christian church, he worships with a Baptist minister at Camp David. Many people these days have a mixed background: race, ethnicity, religion. Like the rest of us, they choose their beliefs. Obama chose Christianity.
A civil marriage is on the books, marriage as a religious rite is not, you may indulge in as many as you can find partners for. No lawbreaking there.
Ok stationedathill, I think you might be the only drunkard and liar on here. Mormons don't still practice polygamy. Even if someone who is Mormon wanted to start the practice, they would be immediately excommunicated from the Church. Eigentor, Mormons don't still teach about polygamy. You could go to a Mormon Church a thousand times, and you will never here anyone tell you that we should be secretly practicing polygamy. Do Momons believe polygamy is wrong right now? Yes, because it is against the law. Do we necissarily believe polygamy itself is an immoral practice? Not necissarily when it is practiced in God's way. If you are Christian, read the bible. Polygamy is present throughout. Polygamy is still practiced in other parts of the world. If you aren't Christian then you probably think Gay marriage is ok. If you believe that, why is Polygamy any weirder?
eigentor, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior and the Savior of the world is what is central to my theology.
Next step for Obama: LET THE BUSH TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH EXPIRE!!!! Keep you promise, Obama. Don't cave in to the obstructionist GOP. The people have given you the mandate. USE IT IF NECESSARY!!! The people will punish the GOP in 2014 and turn the House Democratic if GOP send the nation over the fiscal cliff. They no longer have the threat of a one-term president to hold over you so they HAVE to deal.
Why? Why do the tax cuts have to expire? Why is it so important (when most experts recognize that the tax increase will not solve the deficit problem) that we take money that someone else earned and give it to someone who didn't earn it. I have nothing to gain by a tax increase or decrease on the wealthiest few–but I find it morally repugnant for everyone to jump up and down and demand that "they" pay their fair share, when, in total dollars, they already pay more than most.
So, "Moron" religion is now mainstream. What a relief! At least now we know what to call it.
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.