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Is America ready for a Mormon president?
Mitt Romney announcing his presidential candidacy in New Hampshire on Thursday.
June 2nd, 2011
03:04 PM ET

Is America ready for a Mormon president?

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Mitt Romney’s campaign team knows that his Mormon faith scared off Republican voters the last time he ran for president.

But they believe a lot has changed in the last four years.

For starters, Romney is now much better known. The former Massachusetts governor campaigned hard in the 2008 primaries – even addressing his Mormonism head-on in a major speech — and has stayed in the public eye since, popping up on late-night talk shows and on cable news channels.

Romney’s Mormonism, the thinking goes, is less exotic than it was four years ago because the candidate is more familiar.

Plus, unlike in 2008, there’s a Democrat in the White House for Republican voters to unite against. The Romney camp hopes the Obama factor will boost support for a battle-tested candidate who’s shown he can raise the hundreds of millions of dollars White House bids require, regardless of the candidate’s religious affiliation.

And unlike the 2008 Republican primaries, when George W. Bush was in the White House and debate over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan loomed large, next year’s elections are poised to hang on the economy. Not a bad time, maybe, for a guy with a Harvard MBA and a career spent turning around financially troubled companies and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“The country’s really in a tough situation — the economy’s in a bad place and so people suddenly think that a guy with Mitt Romney’s capacity and experience looks a lot more attractive than he did four years ago,” says Mark DeMoss, a senior adviser to Romney’s campaign, which launched Thursday.

“That makes his faith much less of an issue than it was four years ago,” says DeMoss, who is tasked with helping Romney woo evangelical voters, a huge chunk of the GOP base and a constituency that’s historically been wary of Mormonism.

Whether DeMoss is right may make the difference in whether Romney, the current Republican frontrunner based on polls and fundraising, can actually win the Republican nomination and, ultimately, the White House.

But Romney may not be the only Mormon running for president. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is seriously flirting with a presidential bid.

Huntsman, Obama’s former ambassador to China, recently took a five-day swing through New Hampshire, site of the first-in-the-nation Republican primary, and has hired staff in South Carolina, another key primary state.

The prospect of a Huntsman campaign means the nation could see an unprecedented test of whether the GOP — and, perhaps, the rest of the country — is ready for a Mormon president in an era when candidates’ religious beliefs have become weighty campaign issues.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormon Church is officially known, certainly seems eager for Mormonism to be less an issue in the presidential race than it was for Romney in 2008

“Recent media coverage seems to lean toward the conclusion that among many Americans, faith will be less of an issue in this election than it was in 2008,” church spokesman Michael Purdy said in a statement to CNN. “But it’s really for others to speculate on this.”

Public opinion polls suggest a lingering bias against Mormon candidates. A survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center found that a quarter of American adults admit to being less likely to vote for a Mormon candidate for president.

The survey found that resistance to Mormon candidates was even higher among two groups: liberal Democrats and evangelicals, who overwhelmingly vote Republican. One in three white evangelicals said they were less likely to support a Mormon candidate.

That creates a stiff headwind for Romney and Huntsman, given evangelicals’ primary power. In 2008, evangelicals accounted for 60 percent of Republican voters in Iowa, home to the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, and in South Carolina, whose primaries come hard on the heels of New Hampshire’s.

In 2008, Romney’s Mormonism “was a real factor in Iowa and South Carolina that predisposed many potential voters to never to consider Romney or hear his message,” said Gary Marx, who directed conservative outreach for Romney the last time he ran.

That year, Romney placed second in Iowa and fourth in South Carolina behind then-frontrunner Mike Huckabee – a Baptist preacher who won major evangelical support.

Though Mormons consider themselves to be Christians, many evangelicals consider the Latter-day Saints to be a cult.

Evangelicals object to the Mormon belief that the Book of Mormon is the revealed word of God and to such Mormon practices as proxy baptisms for the dead. Evangelicals and Mormons also compete for converts.

Many evangelical leaders have discouraged their followers from translating such differences into opposition to Mormon candidates. But that message isn’t always heeded.

“I don’t think it’s much of an issue among the leadership in evangelical circles,” Michael Farris, an influential evangelical activist, says of Mormon candidates. “But I don’t know if that is always true at the grassroots level.”

Richard Land, who directs public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest evangelical denomination, says evangelicals could coalesce around Romney but that the conditions would have to be just right.

“If Southern Baptists have a choice between an evangelical candidate, a Catholic and a Mormon and all three appear to be equally conservative and equally likely to beat Barack Obama, they’ll vote for the evangelical,” says Land, who has informally advised Romney on how to deal with his faith on the campaign trail.

“If there’s no such evangelical [in the] race, they’ll vote for the Catholic,” he says, “But if there’s no other candidate who’s likely to beat Obama, they’ll vote for the Mormon.”

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, an evangelical, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Catholic, are running for the GOP nomination.

Beyond theological challenges, conservative activists like Land and Farris say Romney faces skepticism among religious conservatives because he once supported abortion rights and signed a healthcare law in Massachusetts that critics say represented a dramatic government overreach.

But those close to Romney argue that Huckabee’s decision not to enter the 2012 race creates an opportunity for Romney to pick up more evangelical support. Or, they say, it could wind up splitting evangelical voters among multiple primary candidates, making evangelicals a less potent force.

DeMoss, a Christian public relations executive who also helped Romney with evangelical outreach in 2008, says one of the victories from the last campaign was that no big-name evangelical came out against Romney over his Mormonism. This time, DeMoss is working to get some evangelical leaders to go a step further and publicly support Romney.

After Romney’s 2008 defeat, one nationally known evangelical leader privately told DeMoss that he’d voted for Romney in the primaries.

“I remember thinking, it would have been nice if somebody else knew that,” says DeMoss, who believes such revelations would have made more evangelicals comfortable supporting a Mormon candidate.

Huntsman’s entry into the presidential race could make Mormonism less of an issue if it has a mainstreaming effect. But the two candidates’ religious affiliations could play out quite differently.

Romney has long been active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), having occupied Mormon leadership positions like bishop (the rough equivalent of a lay pastor) and stake president (someone who oversees groups of Mormon congregations).

“I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it,” Romney said in a December 2007 speech in which he addressed his Mormonism. “My faith is the faith of my fathers — I will be true to them and to my beliefs.”

Huntsman, like Romney, spent two years abroad as a Mormon missionary but has kept some distance from the LDS church. As governor of Utah, he loosened liquor laws that had been inspired by Mormon orthodoxy and broke with his church in signing a law allowing civil unions for gay couples.

In a recent television interview, Huntsman affirmed his Mormon faith but added that Mormonism is “a very diverse and heterogeneous cross-section of people. ... I probably add to that diversity somewhat.”

A Huntsman adviser who often deals with the media declined to respond to requests for comment.

Matthew Bowman, an editor at a Mormon studies journal called Dialogue, says Huntsman hails from a slightly younger generation of Mormons who are less defensive about their Mormonism.

“Huntsman is a Mormon who thinks of his faith not as something that separates him from American culture or as something he has to defend or explain away, which is what Romney did,” says Bowman. “Romney is always hyperaware of his Mormonism.”

That means Huntsman may face fewer questions about his Mormonism should he run.

The LDS church, for its part, says its policy is to steer clear of electoral politics. Some church observers say the controversy the church generated by supporting California’s 2008 gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, exacerbated its political reticence.

At the same time, the church has capitalized on increased attention paid to Mormonism - provoked by everything from Romney’s 2008 campaign to the current hit Broadway musical, “Book of Mormon” - with a succession of public awareness campaigns.

The church website Mormon.org, for example, was recently revamped with an eye toward educating non-Mormons about the religion. The site features video profiles of Mormons from different walks of life.

“The message of these ads is that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are your friends and neighbors,” says Purdy, the church spokesman. “We are professionals and tradespeople, artists and teachers and everything in between.”

Put another way, the message is that Mormons are normal, everyday Americans.

With the Republican primary race finally starting in earnest, the nation is about get a major glimpse into whether GOP voters agree.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

soundoff (3,046 Responses)
  1. JacklynD

    Is America ready for a Mormon president, in short, no. Romney is not capable of telling the truth or making rational choices for our nation. He is a cuckold of the GOP and subject to manipulation from the fundamentalists and big business. He doesn't have an independent bone in his body or an original thought in his head.

    Even his speech announcing his candidacy was nothing but buzz words whose sole purpose was to create anger and fear. He offered nothing.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:48 am |
  2. yorkie

    Yorkie here again

    NO,NO,NO

    June 3, 2011 at 2:48 am |
  3. paco

    well they were ready for a Muslim president

    June 3, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • Norman

      nope-theres never been a muslim president-not educated, huh?

      June 3, 2011 at 2:59 am |
  4. morpunkt

    It's quite amusing to see all these "experts" of the Mormon faith. Can you imagine if these same bloggers posted the same thing about Jews?
    I am a convert to the Mormon faith. My mother came from a long line of wonderful Catholics, my father was a Protestant. I searched other religions on my own and found the Mormon faith, by listening to a very "wild" inactive Mormon at a party, who was having a conversation with another guy and telling him that even though he wasn't the best Mormon in the world, if he would seriously pray and ask God if the Book of Mormon was true, he would know it was true. He didn't. But I did, because that spoke volumes to me. He had no motives to sell anybody on a church. I got a strong inner conversion by doing so.
    That was 36 years ago. It changed my life for the better in many ways.
    Most of you bloggers have no idea who Mormons are and never met one.
    By the way, that "wild" inactive Mormon finally got his act together and even went on a mission and raised a wonderful family, like I did.
    Even if you don't agree with Mormonism, please don't knock it. Try to be more of a class act. The world has enough vitriol.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • Lee M

      What's amusing is that you do NOT deny ANY of what was said about mormonism, including how the prophet Joseph Smith, changed docrtine in favor of polygamy after being caught in adultery.... OR their beliefs that any one with darker skin (not just blacks) was punished by God, that Indians were really Jews etc. It's a fraud and parts of it can be directly disproved (like DNA of American Indians, for instance).

      June 3, 2011 at 2:48 am |
    • JacklynD

      You lost me at the word convert.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:50 am |
    • Pete

      You changed TO mormonism? Holy c$%^, so you admit a full lack of rationality, don't you?

      June 3, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • Chris

      @Lee M

      All religion is a fraud...get over it.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • Norman

      morpunkt-you also forgotthat joseph smith claimed to be a prophet and, as everyone knows, a prophet is supposed to be 100% accurate or they are a fraud. Joseph preditced teh south would win the civil war-when it was PROVEN he was a fraud, this prophecy was taken out of teh book of mormon-case closed-all religions are man made but Mormonism, because its so new, is easily debunked as a cult of lies

      June 3, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • jstsaying122

      @Norman Joseph Smith DID NOT prophesy that the south would win. There is no where in the Book of Mormon that there is such a prophesy, and I've read the Book of Mormon many times. Joseph Smith DID prophesy the civil war and that it would start in South Carolina.

      @Lee M Its been shown that somebody could be a biological descendant from a given area of the world and yet not have genetic matter showing that. With each preceding generation the genetic matter would halve till it became zero.

      @Pete Being Mormon doesn't mean lack of reason, although that seems to be the case with many. There are Mormons that are scientists, and others that disprove that I think.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  5. manda

    This nation still isn't ready for a black president...how could it be ready for a Mormon president?

    June 3, 2011 at 2:32 am |
  6. Granite

    I'm ready for a mormon president...I'm just not ready for a president that looks and sounds like a sleezy used car salesman

    June 3, 2011 at 2:27 am |
  7. God (the REAL one)

    Mitt Romney is a sleaze who broke up companies and sent jobs overseas.

    He is only interested in his money.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • Chris

      Yep, you're right...that's why he is spending millions of his own money so he can make $400,000 per year. Now that would be a stupid mistake if he is only "interested in his money."

      Please grow a brain.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • JacklynD

      @ Chris.

      Power and greed. Romney is not a visionary but an opportunist. Do you doubt that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are poorer for having been in the White House?

      June 3, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • Chris

      @JacklynD Actually, I DO think that both Bush and Cheney could have made much more money by NOT being in the presidency. I do agree that it is about power though, but I disagree that Romney is an opportunist. And even if he is but can still get our economy going I'd be OK with that. Obama is a visionary, but I detest his vision, so that can't be a qualifier for me.

      June 3, 2011 at 3:03 am |
  8. LOL

    Oh, he's Mormon? Going to have to make sure he doesnt get elected, I know. I'll just tell all my friends NOT to vote for him. XD

    June 3, 2011 at 2:18 am |
  9. Elvis

    Willard Romney belongs to an anti-gay cult that is headed by a group of wealthy old men. This is a "religion" like Scientology is a religion. Women are second-class citizens in this "religion."

    I went to a Mormon wedding. We could not even see the ceremony because it was held, in secret, in a secret room. Please spare us this pretty boy with an old man voice who will send us further down the toilet.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:17 am |
    • Rachel

      The "secret" room just has to do with the belief that marriage is sacred. And if that was the way the people getting married wanted it, I don't really understand why you have a problem with it

      June 3, 2011 at 2:23 am |
  10. rev

    This article is offensive to me...we've had nothing but morons in the white house for years...oh...wait it says morMon.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • JacklynD

      Funny

      June 3, 2011 at 2:53 am |
  11. MarkNS

    It's amusing to see the various brands of Christians mocking the beliefs of Mormons. This is pretty rich coming from people who believe in talking snakes, virgin births and dudes rising from the dead. Magic underwear is no crazier than that nonsense.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Chris

      – like – or should I say 'Amen'.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:17 am |
  12. Rachel

    Mormonisn i mainly just a more devout form of religon. It has strayed much over the years like other churches. Like keeping the sabbath day holy, which is a commandment, is observed in the mormon church, but somehow overlooked in other churches. The "underwear" are called garments and are just meant so you can realize if your clothing is modest. It's a church that hasn't changed much with the times, which I don't really understand why religon would, if it's based on the Bible. It's not like the Bible has somehow changed in the last thousand years.There is a prophet, but if you believe there were prophets in the Bible, which if you're Christian, you should, then why is it so hard to believe there's a prophet now? I would suggest researching the reasons behind certain things before judging them. And the Church doesn't support polygamy at all anymore and hasn't for a long time.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • Rachel

      hasn't*

      June 3, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • Lee M

      Please stop your distortions Rachel... It is based on some imaginary tablets "discovered" by a farmer in upstae New York less than 2 centuries ago and not the Bible. They paid lip service to Christianity because that's what Amnericans were used to, and that;s how you fool 'em. They go to temples, not churches.
      And Joseph Smith, the prophet, was seen as infallible and he proclaimed polygamy as the way to live AFTER he got caught shtupping the young hired help in his house by his first wife!!! They only stopped polygany after wars and violence (and massacres) between Mormons and other American settlers. To be accepted by the US, they gave it up as a political decision. It's a fraud.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:18 am |
    • Rachel

      "And Joseph Smith, the prophet, was seen as infallible and he proclaimed polygamy as the way to live AFTER he got caught shtupping the young hired help in his house by his first wife!!" And obviously you have proof to back that up? And temples and churches are two separate things, which you would know if you knew anything about Mormons

      June 3, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • Lee M

      Joseph Smith told his first wife, Emma, "God made me do it"... He was doing the young (very young) domestic servant in his house for a YEAR before he got caught and the "revelation" came to him.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • Lee M

      In the 1835 edition of the canonized Doctrine and Covenants, section 104 denounced polygamy:

      “Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the CRIME of fornication, and POLYGAMY: we declare that we believe, that ONE man should have ONE WIFE; and one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.”
      (D&C 104, until 1876 edition, when it was removed)

      In a January 21, 1838 letter, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith's right-hand man from the early beginnings of the church, accuses Joseph of having an illicit affair with Fanny Alger:

      “When he [Joseph Smith] was there we had some conversation in which in every instance I did not fail to affirm that what I had said was strictly true. A DIRTY, NASTY, FILTHY AFFAIR OF HIS AND FANNY ALGER'S was talked over in which I strictly declared that I had never deviated from the truth in the matter, and as I supposed was admitted by himself.”
      (Letter written by Oliver Cowdery and recorded by his brother Warren Cowdery; see photograph in The Mormon Kingdom, Vol. 1, page 27)

      Joseph Smith's scribe, William Clayton, related how Joseph tried to convince his wife Emma that God told him to have lots of women:

      “On the morning of the 12th of July, 1843; Joseph and Hyrum Smith came into the office... They were talking on the subject of plural marriage. Hyrum said to Joseph, 'If you will write the revelation on celestial marriage, I will take it and read it to Emma, and I believe I can convince her of its truth, and you will hereafter have peace.' Joseph smiled and remarked, 'YOU DO NOT KNOW EMMA AS WELL AS I DO.'... Joseph then said, 'Well, I will write the revelation and we shall see.'... Hyrum then took the revelation to read to Emma. Joseph remained with me in the office until Hyrum returned. When he came back, Joseph asked how he had succeeded. Hyrum replied that HE HAD NEVER RECEIVED A MORE SEVERE TALKING TO IN HIS LIFE,... “Joseph quietly remarked, 'I told you you did not know Emma as well as I did.' Joseph then put the revelation in his pocket, and they both left the office. “... Two or three days after the revelation was written Joseph related to me and several others that Emma had so teased, and urgently entreated him for the privilege of destroying it, that he became so weary of her teasing, and to get rid of her annoyance, he told her she might destroy it and she had done so, but he had consented to her wish in this matter to pacify her, realizing that he...could rewrite it at any time if necessary.”
      (History of the Church, by Joseph Smith, Introduction to Vol. 5)

      Brigham Young tells how incenced Joseph's wife Emma was about polygamy:

      Emma took that revelation, supposing she had all there was; but Joseph had wisdom enough to take care of it, and he had handed the revelation to Bishop Whitney, and he wrote it all off. After Joseph had been to Bishop Whitney's he went home, and Emma began to teasing for the revelation. Said she—'Joseph you promised me that revelation, and if you are a man of your word you will give it to me.' Joseph took it from his pocket and said— 'Take it.' She went to the fireplace and put it in, and put the candle under it and burnt it, and she thought that was the end of it, AND SHE WILL BE DAMNED as sure as she is a living woman. Joseph used to say that he would have her hereafter, IF HE HAD TO GO TO HELL FOR HER, AND HE WILL HAVE TO GO TO HELL FOR HER AS SURE AS HE EVER GETS HER.”
      (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 17, p. 159)

      June 3, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Shannon

      Hate to tell you, Lee, but Mormons do go to church buildings, or chapels, for service. Temples are not for Sunday services. This is just a minor thing you got wrong, if anyone took you seriously on the bigger things that you have gotten wrong then no wonder this world sucks as much as it does. I agree with Rachel, know what you're talking about before you open your mouth

      June 3, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Shannon

      Hey -Shannon...

      So, I'm curious... It seems that -Lee M has put out a fairly good amount of docu-mentation(relatively speaking for this blog)... and you claim he is still wrong...?

      What specifically is he wrong about...? Please cite your references. Thanx.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      June 3, 2011 at 2:49 am |
    • Shannon

      I'm not mormon, Romney hasn't won my vote yet, but I know enough about them to know they go to churches. There is a differences between their churches and temples. If Lee got that one big thing wrong, what else is he making up or going off of what someone told him? He's probably getting his info from a screwed up web site or a preacher who's power hungry. I'm sick of bigots. Seperation of church and state, everyone knows that. I'm only interested in him as far as what he will do for us if elected.

      June 3, 2011 at 3:23 am |
  13. mommers

    Why is it that there are no articles about Harry Reid's Mormonism?

    June 3, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • Lee M

      Prob is in the state he represents – and in that state there are a lot of Mormons... But that's not the entire USA and a Single Senator is nothing compared to the President of the United States.

      But in any case, I knew he was a Mormon too, so it's been reported.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:12 am |
  14. Jerry

    For a politician in a free country to advocate discrimination in such an open and 'in your face' way as this man has, I am shocked he is even allowed to run for office. If 'Office' is a real 'office', it would not allow people like this man to run. Run yea. But 'RUN' because Lady Liberty is torching his behind right out of the country for being such a discriminative person.

    Personally, I would rather see him drowned in a gold fish tank. I know many of you will understand what I'm talking about based upon this person's comments against gay people.

    Look at his face. Could you see him dressed as a Nazi soldier? I could. In fact, he'd make a real good one on film. Let's just not vote him into office so we won't have to see him dressed like a Nazi in personality for real. Vote No On This man. Please!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • Lee M

      But jerry, that's just an issue that he was for (gay rights) before he was against it... He'll just say whatever it takes to win the repug nomination at the time... Many are like this to a degree, but this one is the absolute disgusting WORST on so many issues.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  15. Steven

    Mmm.....yeah.....no.......RON PAUL 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:06 am |
  16. Debbie H

    For the last four years I have worn my "Mitt 08" ball cap on my head waiting for day I could scratch out the "08" and write in "12". The day finally came. GO MITT! Please win, or four years from now I'll have to scratch out the "2" and replace it with a "6". I'd support you for President that long and with ball-capped head held high.

    June 3, 2011 at 1:58 am |
    • Lee M

      His name is Willard, not Mitt... Maybe by 2016 he'll be in favor of abortion (once again) or for mandated health coverage once again or whatever the political winds will tell him at that time.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:05 am |
  17. lazeroo7

    you have got to be jokeing me right?...people just keep getting deeper and deeper ..into crap and thay just cant stop..till thay have nothing at all.

    June 3, 2011 at 1:54 am |
  18. You

    Take note: just because you and your ancestors believe something does not make it true.

    June 3, 2011 at 1:53 am |
  19. GrowlerDriver

    It makes me sad to see so many people ridiculing the faith of others. Yes, I am a Mormon, but I'm an ordinary God fearing, America-loving citizen. As part of the US military I do my duties day in and day out so I can protect OUR freedoms, but it's disappointing to see so many people not fully understanding what precepts OUR nation was founded upon.

    June 3, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • Lee M

      You are free to be a mormon. You may continue to believe that American Indians came from the middle east and that dark skinned people were turned black or dark skinned as punishment from God. But other people are free to point out how silly it all is... Tis a shame but people believe all sorts of crazy things.

      June 3, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hey Lee... here yah go...i figured you missed the link.

      http://www.blacklds.org/

      June 3, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • GrowlerDriver

      Well I understand that people view our beliefs as strange. They definitely are unique and strange. However I was mostly referring to the fact that a persons religious preference has little effect on his/her ability to lead. I'm a pilot in the Navy and the commanding officer of the squadron I am currently attached to is of a different faith than my own. However it has zero effect on his ability to lead the squadron and I trust him with my life as he trusts me with his. I believe that the same thing is true for the president of the US. Mitt Romney's Mormon faith will have nothing to do with whether or not he has the ability to lead the nation in a positive direction.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • TBR

      To say that your faith has no bearing on your ability to lead may be true enough but to imply as you do that they are not even related is reckless and irresponsible. Romney's faith (and your own) shapes most every aspect of your world view and your world view certainly might come into play when you lead the world's most powerful nation. I am in no way implying that a Mormon could not do a superb job of leading, but how he leads WILL be shaped by what he has been taught by his church. I am an evangelical and not a day or decision goes by that is not influenced by my faith. If I were president my faith would come into play throughout my leadership. How could it not?

      June 3, 2011 at 2:25 am |
    • glippy

      If someone truly believes that Jews built temples in Mexico a thousand years ago, then I don't see how they could possibly be an effective world leader. If you are willing to believe a guy from Rochester, NY who claims he read about history from god in a secret language on gold tablets that no one can seem to find, over all archaeological, anthropological and historical evidence, then you may be able to fly a helicopter, but you're unfit to lead a nation.

      What else are you willing to believe against all logic and evidence?

      June 3, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • Peace2All

      @TBR

      Some of us agnostics and atheists have been saying those very same things. That is truly, one of only a few times I have ever seen a
      'believer' actually say that here on the blogs, let alone out in society.

      Beautiful... Well Said.

      Peace...

      June 3, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Diane

      @ Lee M

      Oh, sweetness, what's up with you? You're so nasty and off-topic. i'm new here and maybe I'll just visit for awhile but it seems that you're just trying to pick a fight. Is that true?

      June 3, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • Pete

      Come on now, you're saying you accept ALL the things the Mormon Church says are true? Being a member of the LDS is ridiculous.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • GrowlerDriver

      @TBR – You are correct sir. I wasn't trying to imply that they were uncorrelated. I apologize if it seemed so. I simply meant that religion doesn't make a person more or less effective as a leader. It will shape their views yes, but how they lead in accordance to their beliefs is shaped by leadership experience and skill.

      @ everyone else – I fail to understand the point of criticizing my beliefs, or anyone else's for that matter. It's simply unbridled bigotry and shows a great deal of ignorance and disrespect to your fellow human beings not to mention your fellow Americans. I can't believe that I put my life on the line every day so some of you can say the hateful things that you do.

      June 3, 2011 at 4:07 am |
    • Reality Bites

      @ Lee M and @ glippy: I don't understand what drives you to tear down the beliefs of others. You've got the right, of course, to say whatever you want and I support that right without equivocation. Feel free to use it. But I don't understand your motive. You have argued that the faith is irrational or unreasonable given archeological evidence or perhaps other forms of scientific evidence that counter belief. But the fact is that you don't know who was building what in Mexico or anywhere else several centuries ago. You can place your faith in archeology or whatever field of scientific reasoning you choose, but don't forget that the brightest minds on the planet once firmly believed that this earth is flat. Science also has its limits, and scientific truths revered today will be dismissed in the future. Historical evidence leads the rational and honest mind to that conclusion. Paradigm shifts in human understanding are a past and future reality. So place your faith in what archeologists and other scientists have concluded is true, but recognize that even you are relying to some degree on faith in a vehicle of truth that has proven less than completely reliable over time.

      More to glippy's point: many leaders of nations and business who have been effective (with effectiveness measured any rational way you want to measure it–results, popularity, courage in crisis, etc.) have also believed in deity, a resurrected Savior, divine scripture, prophets, etc. They have lived private lives of faith. Our nation's earliest "founding fathers" are an example. So for you to say that people who believe things that can't be proven by archeological evidence–such as writing on sacred tablets–aren't fit to be good leaders ignores historical evidence to the contrary. Your position is therefore untenable–and even irrational and unreasonable. You cannot deny that past and present leaders devoted to Christian faith (for example, though Christianity is just one of many examples) are effective, even if you think their faith is irrational. So for you to argue that a Mormon cannot lead effectively because he believes in miracles or scripture or whatever is a baseless claim.

      June 3, 2011 at 5:24 am |
  20. Lee M

    One of Romney's grandparents kept up polygamy after most Utah Mormons swore it off and moved to MEXICO for a while to keep that practice up since it became illegal in Utah and the rest of the USA.... Perhaps he's now an expert on immigration across the Mexican border.

    June 3, 2011 at 1:47 am |
    • Rachel

      so obviously he's just like his ancestors... it's ridiculous to judge someone on their grandparents.

      June 3, 2011 at 1:55 am |
    • Diane

      Lee M, do you really want to hold somebody accountable for what their family did two generations earlier? Or are you just being inflammatory because you're a liberal?

      June 3, 2011 at 2:50 am |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.