Understanding Jon Huntsman's distinct brand of Mormonism
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman before formally announcing his presidential campaign in Jersey City, New Jersey on Tuesday.
June 21st, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Understanding Jon Huntsman's distinct brand of Mormonism

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

How key is Jon Huntsman’s Mormonism to understanding him and his rise as a politician?

His grandfather was an apostle in the Mormon church, his father is a lay leader in the church, and Huntsman himself was a Mormon missionary to Taiwan, which gave him the language skills that helped land his last job, as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China.

On the other hand, Huntsman - who officially launched his presidential campaign Tuesday - has publicly distanced himself from his Mormon faith.

“I can’t say I’m overly religious,” he told Fortune magazine last year, when he was still ambassador. “I get satisfaction from many different types of religions and philosophies.”

It’s not the only move that serious Mormons would consider slightly unorthodox. Salt Lake Tribune Washington correspondent Thomas Burr notes that one of Huntsman’s daughters was married in an Episcopal church.

And a Huntsman spokesman, Tim Miller, says the Huntsmans are raising their adopted Indian daughter “to learn about and appreciate her native culture and the faiths associated with it.”

“Jon Huntsman's Mormon roots run deep,” said Burr, who has covered Huntsman since his days as Utah’s governor in the mid-2000s. “Personally, Huntsman says he considers himself a Mormon, but he's also stressed that he gets inspiration from many faiths.”

It’s a contrast to the way  the other Mormon candidate in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, has talked about his religious faith.

"Romney has not been shy about his love for his faith and gave a big speech in his 2008 campaign about it,” Burr said. “Those who know Huntsman and Romney would say that Romney is very active in his church, while Huntsman hasn't been as active."

A spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the official name of the Mormon church, would not comment on Huntsman's or Romney’s level of involvement in the church.

“We leave comment on the role of faith in an individual’s life to the individual,” said Michael Purdy, a church spokesman.

But the differences between Huntsman's and Romney’s orientations toward their religion may have as much to do with generational differences as with levels of religious observance.

Matthew Bowman, an editor at a Mormon studies journal called Dialogue, says  Romney appears to embody the Mormon retrenchment of the 1960s and 1970s, when the LDS church defined itself largely in opposition to the broader American culture, which was seeing cultural upheaval and the sexual revolution.

That attitude prevailed through the 1980s. “Leaders of the church were very pessimistic about the way they talked about American society, using apocalyptic rhetoric, framing America as the new Sodom and Gomorrah,” Bowman said. “There was this real attempt to tell Mormons that we need to distance ourselves from the country, to be different.”

Romney, 64, came of age during that era, which Bowman says explains why he appears defensive about his faith, seeming to see it as something that sets him apart.

There are some who “would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction or disavow one or another of its precepts,” Romney said in a 2007 speech in which he confronted the so-called Mormon question head-on. “That I will not do.”

It’s hard to imagine Huntsman, 51, making such a dramatic vow.

Bowman argues that that’s largely because Huntsman – who was born in 1960, 13 years after Romney – is part of a subsequent generation of Mormons who see themselves as quintessential Americans, not so different from their non-Mormon friends and neighbors.

That new attitude is evident in the LDS church’s current “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign, which emphasizes that there are Mormons of all ethnicities and from all walks of life.

“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,” Bowman said.

That’s not to say Huntsman is unobservant. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the newly minted presidential candidate occasionally attended LDS services both as governor and as ambassador.

A survey released this month 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.

Evangelicals form huge part of the GOP electorate in early primary states like Iowa and South Carolina.

If some GOP voters are more likely to vote for Huntsman because he seems less overtly Mormon, others may be less apt to because of his reputation as a moderate.

For instance, Huntsman signed a law that introduced civil unions for gay couples when he was governor of Utah, putting him at odds with his church, which strenuously opposes gay unions.

“I don’t know Huntsman at all, but his reputation is one of a moderate,” said Michael Farris, an influential evangelical activist. “If that’s justified, there’s no chance I’ll support him.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Jon Huntsman • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

soundoff (1,219 Responses)
  1. JEN


    June 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • pugs


      June 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  2. Harry

    Wow... a reasonable Republican. Which is why this guys campaign is going to tank IMHO. The Republican's won't give him a chance since he isn't foaming at the mouth.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Alex in NJ

      Oh quiet, he will have trouble in the primaries because primaries bring out the extremists in both parties. However, should he make it past those contests he will probably have the best shot of beating Obama by attracting more mainstream, typical Republicans as well as independents.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • DanoMcRoo

      What the media and other deranged liberals refuse to acknowledge is that conservative IS reasonable. It is also very mainstream.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Ray

      Gotta agree with Alex, but I think Obama will be tough to beat. Huntsman should have probably waited another 4 years

      June 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • AWMessenger

      Wait four more years' – nah! I think it will be MORE than easy to win over OB. The only strategy the GOP needs in the upcoming election (2012) is find someone decent who is willing to run (no good people want to be President anymore, it's too much of a hassle) ... bingo, that's all it is going to take. OB is a one-term president at best, if he isn't impeached and forced out of office for not following proper procedures.

      June 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Lindsay

      I agree with Alex AND Harry. I'm one of those independents (aren't we all, really?) and this is the only GOP candidate I've seen so far that could come within miles of my vote. It would restore my faith in that party a little if he did make it, but who can hear reason when crazy is so loud?

      June 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Lenny Pincus

      "Typical Republicans"? What is that? If 30% of the country regards itself as Republican, and 20% regards itself as Evangelical (or fundamentalist) then it would follow that close to 70% of Republicans are fundamentalists. Which means a typical Republican is actually pretty whacked. Huntsman is obviously a moderate Democrat, just like Obama.

      June 21, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  3. Patty

    OBAMA 2012!!!!!!!

    June 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Tim

      I don't think that'll be a problem.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  4. russ139

    Sounds like his "moderate" positions will be enough to make his candidacy for the GOP nomination... a short one. Ron Paul keeps winning the straw polls – which shows where the GOP faithful are, politically.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Alex in NJ

      Really, because all I hear on talk radio is how much they hate Ron Paul. Ron Paul is religious yes, but he is still socially pretty liberal. If you look at the way private religion has influenced our foreign policy Paul has clearly not let his Christianity and what the Bible says about Israel effect his public neutrality in that conflict.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • DanoMcRoo

      Ron Paul is the only candidate in this race that has any chance of pulling the US back from the abyss. Well, maybe Michelle Bachmann. But Paul would be preferable to Bachmann.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  5. Me

    Oh good Lord, who cares what religion anyone is, religion is a joke that isn't proven and if this sauve lookin' gent wants to claim he isn't as religious as he should be, then BFD.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  6. Nico

    Wait a minute.....the real news here is liberal democrats and evangelicals actually have something in common. HOORAY! Personally, I don't care if you worship care bears...just be smart, fix the economy, stay out of my bedroom as well as my girlfriend's uterus and you are all good to go.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Tim

      Fair comment, but don't you honestly think what someone believes/worships shows some sign of their intellectual level? I don't mean choosing a religion or a mainstream over some lesser known or followed one, but unless the guy is lying about his beliefs (a liar to get votes isn't a good thing anyway), then he's legitimately a follower, and anyone that follows the Mormon religion is a suspected fool, at best.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Children Count

      Stay out of your girlfriend uterus? Because it's "her" body, correct?

      – Will she stay out of her uterus when she gets pregnant and decides she'd rather not be pregnant after all? Someone has to stand up for the defenseless "burden" so many women chose to dispose of. You see those tiny bodies belong to the children themselves and NOT your girlfriend's or any other woman's uterus.

      PS. I'm a democrat but am fed up with my girlfriends using abortion rather than condoms. Yes, one of them 3 times in the last 5 years. Whenever we bring it up she always screams "it's my body", feminazism at it's worst. Those are the days I'm ashamed to be a woman.

      Abortion should be legal but also extremely rare. Do you realize that abortion is one of the most commonly performed procedures by our Army docs for example? That despite the fact women are a minority in the military... So your girlfriend can keep her uterus to herself, as long as one day she respects the human being inside of it.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • pugs

      What? S your girlfriend is forcing you not to use condoms?!?! ... Yeah it's all the women who beg that condoms don't be used cause it feels better >.>

      June 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Tawanda

      Seriously? Believing in a religion is an indication of low intellect? I find it hysterical how many people think that Mormonism is any stranger than other religions. Ridiculous.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Lindsay

      I don't understand why you put "her" in quotation marks. It IS her body. And that's the end of the argument.

      June 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  7. Tim

    wow... diggin the blonde in the pink in the background.... who's that lol

    June 21, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  8. Brian, NJ

    This guy is the best of the lot of GOP candidates, and doesn't stand a chance. Both parties are being run by the zealots at this point. Obama and Boehner could work out a budget deal, but neither side will let them.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • That's What's Up

      I would totally tag that cutie in the purple dress. Heck, I may even double them up with the "Two Tons of Fun" in the pink dress. I'll show them just how immoral and un-Mormon a man can really be. Let me at them!

      June 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Jesus

      Huntsman is "Mormon-lite" as compared to Romney. Unlike Romney, he does not believe that word of Joseph Smith when Smith said that a truly righteous black man would turn white. Huntsman takes a more moderate position and believes that truly righteous blacks become mulatto or two shades lighter.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • SCMorrell

      @jesus: The sad part about this joke is that there are a lot of people who think this is what he really meant. Technically, Joseph Smith was fleshy pink like most of the rest of us Caucasians. We all have a long way to go. You can go ahead and cite the 2nd Nephi passages all you want, but when Jacob takes up the topic in the next book of the Book of Mormon, he makes it clear that this is about the afterlife and has no bearing on mortality.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • JEth33

      Brian, Get off your high horse. Obama is not a moderate. He represents the far left; just as Rick Santorum represents the far right. Obama would rather not work out a budget because he would be too afraid to step on the programs that his voters support. Half of the Democratic party is paid for their vote via varioius social programs, and another large portion of our country votes Dem because they feel sorry that these people are living only on the whelm of the government, yet they would prefer to retain them in this cycle of educational neglect and government dependence rather than try to help them get out of the mess that they are in now. These "liberals" have no desire to really do anything because another part of them likes the fact that welfare keeps the class structures such as they are. Most of these people would be uncomfortable to spend a day living and working and having meals/conversation with the other half of the Democratic party.

      June 22, 2011 at 1:07 am |
  9. awdam

    He he he a mooslim mormon!

    June 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Nico

      I demand to see his birth certificate!!!!! He Grew Up in China and he is not Christian! He must have been a socialist community organizer keen on killing off granny and giving my money to poor people the same way Sarah Palin did with the Alaska Permanent fund

      June 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  10. EddyL

    Are those all his wives in that picture?

    June 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Jane

      No he only has one wife but lots of sister and brother. Most likely a sister or sister in law. Huge family.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • sipi1

      If he is elected, how much money are taxpayers will pay for the whole bunch's protection and benefits in the White House? WOW!! We ought to elect president with maximum two kids only!

      June 21, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Marv Rippe

      I'm sure that was a joke, Jain.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  11. Anita Mann

    Never trust a man with a Stepford wife.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  12. mrjawbones

    I think it is disappointing (not to mention just plain silly) that we waste so much time and energy even talking about religion in the first place. Every bit of it is made up fiction from stem to stern regardless of what "faith" is the current topic.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Nico

      Well, very sadly, it is the candidates themselves who force us into this conversation. When the like sof Busgh, Bachman, Beck, Coulter, Palin...if they observed the consitution and a seperation of church and state we would not have to spend so much time worrying about religious zealot Politicians shoving their god down our throats by taking away civil rights and creating a legal preference for those of faith over anyone else. They are the greatest traitors to this country the devil could possibly muster up.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Bryan T

      How can a voter have any respect for some one who believes the whole golden tablets story? Or for that matter the white horse of the virgin birth/carpenter resurrection.

      All politicians loose some of my respect as soon as the publicly epsouse a string religuous belief.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Bryan T

      ...they publicly epsouse a strong...

      June 21, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Adelina's Cruise Director


      June 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  13. John Richardson

    From what I've learned about Huntsman so far, he seems a reasonable fellow.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Just Saying

      Which is why he will not get the Republican nomination, at least not any time soon.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  14. Glenda

    It just shows the immorality of Democrats that won't support a Mormon. I will not support Huntsman because of his ties to Obama, BUT FOR SURE NOT BECAUSE HE IS MORMON. HOW MUCH STUPIERED CAN ONE GET.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Me

      Glenda, I'm an Episcopalian. The last thing I would do is vote for someone based on having a shared denomination

      June 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Far more evangelicals won't support him because of his theology: liberals don't generally support Mormons because of the hard-right social views most espouse, and the fact that Black men were not given the priesthood in the Church until 1978. Harry Reid is LDS, and I believe Senator Udall of CO is as well: I know his father was.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Me


      And that word means...

      June 21, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • NYCMovieFan

      The fact that he is running as a Republican means that any one who wants a just and healthy society will not pay any attention to him. Republicans love money, and if it means destroying Medicare, starting false wars that kill hundreds of thousands, running up debt to give buddies no-bid contracts, and leaving the helpless to die from floods and hurricanes, then that's what they do, cause money is more important than anything to them. Only a fool with a deathwish would ever vote for a Republican, regardless of what religion they claim. The only thing they worship is $$$.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • stejo

      Not sure what morality has to do with it. Odd thing to say...

      June 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Andrea M

      I don't know what "stupierd" is, let alone how to get much more stupierd. Personally, I'm a commie pinko lib so I'm not voting for either Mormon, but so far Huntsman is my favorite from the right. Probably because he's moderate and has the knowledge on where we need to keep our eyes next, China. However, he definitely won't get the nom since he's not foaming at the mouth nearly enough to whip up the base. His religion is not important to me, I have a bunch of LDS in laws and really, they aren't so bad.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Reality


      June 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  15. Glenda

    His connection with Obama is enough for me to put him in the back pasture.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • StoopidIzAzStoopidDuz

      I love closed minded people like you. Oh wait, you're an idiot. How do his "ties" to Obama disqualify him? You realize that the President is the chief diplomat, so experience like this is actually pretty good for a candidate. Heck, I'm a liberal and I'd vote for him over most of the other GOP hopefuls if I HAD to pick a Republican....Mormon or not...But of course, Obama 2012, baby!!!

      June 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Eric

      Glenda, When the President picks you for a position, you serve. It doesn't matter if you like the guy or not, out of respect for the office you comply. It doesn't matter if it was Bush, Nixon, Obama or Clinton, it is an honor for a citizen. Answering his country's call should not disqualify him no more than who or what he calls God no matter how silly it may seem. I'm not a Republican, Democrat or Christian and the fact that he is upfront about not being religious is refreshing as opposed to seeing non-religous candidates pandering for votes

      June 21, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Ever hear of the concept of service?

      I guess not. Good luck trying to get someone to help you.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    The period refered to as the " retrenchment" was also in part a reaction to Mormon historians like Fawn Brodie writing articles and books using material culled from the Church Archives. Access to the archives was eventually choked off entirely, except for those who would write what the Church regarded as ' faith-promoting" histories: in other words, propaganda. This kind of control was deemed necessary to combat what the author rightly describes as opposition to larger American culture. The Church has also had a long history of being actively involved in politics, at a regional and national level, contrary to what the public statements have been. Prop 8 is the latest and most blatant example since the Church's efforts to kill the ERA 35 years ago.

    I don't think the country is ready for an LDS president, because people have too many questions the Church is not prepared to answer.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • SCMorrell

      Two points: –Two campaigns in 35 years is politically active?! The official stance of the LDS church is that candidates are never supported but issues are, which may longer really be a distinction. But when it comes to voting, the Church sends out a letter evey election year encouraging its members to vote for candidates that they (the individual members) think would run the government in a wise and honest manner and leave it at that. The impression I get from each of these letters is, "You have a brain and live in a Democracy! Use them both!" If you see an LDS endorsement of either Jon or Mitt, I guarantee it is not authentic.

      –I never read the Fawn Brodie book, but I know a lot of books from that genre are copiously annotated with references to horribly obscure or non-existent 19th century texts. Opening up the archives for researchers without opening them to the general public would just exacerbate this problem. Since the LDS Church owns the archives, it's only fair that they should be able to release the texts own their own terms. The last few years there has been a lot of effort on this front with the Joseph Smith Papers project, which looks like it's honestly scholarly.

      June 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  17. J.W.

    The article says: "For instance, Huntsman signed a law that introduced civil unions for gay couples when he was governor of Utah, putting him at odds with his church, which strenuously opposes gay unions."

    I wouldn't say the LDS church opposes civil unions. The LDS church defines marriage as a legal and lawful union between a man and woman. The LDS church opposes a union between gay or lesbian couples being called marriage. There is a distinct difference there.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  18. Reality

    Bottom line: Mormonism is a business cult using religion as a front and charitable donations and volunteer work to advertise said business.

    When Romney or Huntsman or both communicate this to the electorate, then we might vote for one or both.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • SN

      Wow...denounce your faith and belief structure, then I'll vote for you! Let's do a quick "REALITY" check.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Reality

      Having a politician be honest for once would be a significant plus for said politician. Being honest about Mormonism:

      Mormonism: A business/religious cult based on Joseph Smith's "hallucinations" which has bought respectability with a $30 billion business empire, the BYU "mission matured" football team and a great choir.

      From: lds-mormon.com/time.shtml

      "The first divergence between Mormon economics and that of other denominations is the t-ithe. Most churches take in the greater part of their income through donations. Very few, however, impose a compulsory 10% income tax on their members. Ti-thes are collected locally, with much of the money pas-sed on informally to local lay leaders at Sunday services. "By Monday," says Elbert Peck, editor of Sunstone, an independent Mormon magazine, the church authorities in Salt Lake City "know every cent that's been collected and have made sure the money is deposited in banks." There is a lot to deposit. Last year $5.2 billion in t-ithes flowed into Salt Lake City, $4.9 billion of which came from American Mormons."
      "The Mormons are stewards of a different str-ipe. Their charitable spending and temple building are prodi-gious. But where other churches spend most of what they receive in a given year, the Latter-day Saints employ vast amounts of money in investments that TIME estimates to be at least $6 billion strong. Even more unusual, most of this money is not in bonds or stock in other peoples' companies but is invested directly in church-owned, for-profit concerns, the largest of which are in agribusiness, media, insurance, travel and real estate. Deseret Management Corp., the company through which the church holds almost all its commercial as-sets, is one of the largest owners of farm and ranchland in the country, including 49 for-profit parcels in addition to the Deseret Ranch. Besides the Bonneville International chain and Beneficial Life, the church owns a 52% holding in ZCMI, Utah's largest department-store chain.

      All told, TIME estimates that the Latter-day Saints farmland and financial investments total some $11 billion, and that the church's nont-ithe income from its investments exceeds $600 million. "

      "Members of the church celebrate the Lord's Supper with water rather than wine or gra-pe juice. They believe their President is a prophet who receives new revelations from God. These can supplant older revelations, as in the case of the church's historically most controversial doctrine: Smith himself received God's sanctioning of pol-ygamy in 1831, but 49 years later, the church's President announced its recision. Similarly, an explicit policy barring black men from holding even the lowest church offices was overturned by a new revelation in 1978, opening the way to huge missionary activity in Africa and Brazil. "

      Some Mormons say the leaders of the Mormon Church/"Cult" are not paid? Actually, they are paid via being executives of the large Mormon-owned businesses:


      "The Quorum of Twelve's president Ezra Taft Benson was a director of Beneficial Life Insurance Co. Apostle Howard W. Hunter was president of the Polynesian Cultural Center (Hawaii), and director of Beneficial Life Insurance Co., of Continental Western Life Insurance Co., of Deseret Federal Savings and Loan, of First Security Bank of Utah, of First Security Corp., of Heber J. Grant & Co., of PHA Life Insurance Co. (Oregon), of Watson Land Co. (Los Angeles), and of Western American Life Insurance Co. Apostle Thomas S. Monson was president and chairman of the board of Deseret News Publishing Co., vice-president of LDS Social Services and of Newspaper Agency Corp, and director of Beneficial Life Insurance Co., of Commercial Security Bank, of Commercial Security Bankcorporation, of Continental Western Life Insurance Co. (Iowa), of Deseret Management Corp., of IHC Hospitals, Inc., of Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Co., of Murdock Travel, of PHA Life Insurance Co. (Oregon), of Pioneer Memorial Theater, and of Western American Life Insurance Co. Apostle Boyd K. Packer was chairman of the board of Utah Home Fire Insurance Co., while also director of Murdock Travel and of Zion's First National Bank. Apostle Marvin J. Ashton was president of Deseret Book Co., chairman of the board of ZCMI, and director of Beneficial Development Co., of First Security Bank of Utah, of First Security Corporation, of Laie Resorts (Hawaii), and of Zion's Securities Corporation. Apostle L. Tom Perry was director of American Stores Co. (which operated Skaggs Drugs and Alpha Beta supermarkets), of ZCMI, of Zion's First National Bank, and of Jewel Companies, Inc. (Chicago), and trustee of LDS Social Services and of Nauvoo Restoration. Apostle David B. Haight was director of Bonneville International Corporation, of Deseret Management Corporation, of First Security Bank of Utah, of First Security Corporation, and of Valtek, Inc., while also a trustee of Deseret Management Corporation Foundation. Apostle James E. Faust was vice-president of Deseret News Publishing Co., director of Commercial Security Bank, and of Commercial Security Bank Corporation, while also a trustee of Ballet West and of LDS Social Services. Apostle Neal A. Maxwell was director of Mountain Fuel Resources, Inc., of Mountain Fuel Supply Co., and of Deseret News Publishing Co. Apostle Russell M. Nelson was director of Zion's First National Bank. Apostle Dallin H. Oaks was chairman of the Public Broadcasting System (national), while also director of O.C. Tanner Jewelry Co. and of Union Pacific Railroad."

      June 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • SCMorrell

      You may want to note, too, that all of the businesses in the last paragraph are not tax exempt. Most of the money that goes into the church coffers is used for building construction, maintenance, missionary work, feeding the poor, humanitarian work, and other similar charitible efforts, or into investments so that they can be used for these efforts later. And you can bet your sweet Time magazine article that nobody in the last paragraph gets ANY of that money - that's exactly WHY they are given directorships and what-not from these corporations, so they aren't a burden to the general population.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • Reality

      SC Morrell,

      You have been conned just like a few billion other brainwashed humans.

      To wit:

      It is called the Great Angelic Con:

      Joe Smith had his Moroni.

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith.


      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."

      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."
      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."
      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      June 21, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  19. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Most Democrats will not support a Mormon candidate because, with the exception of Harry Reid, every prominent Mormon politician is a Republican. So it is more of a matter of politics than religion. Fundamentalists will not support Mormon candidates because they believe them to be cultists. At the same time, Fundamentalists rarely support anyone but other Fundamentalist and, to a lesser extent, Roman Catholics.

    Since the days of Al Smith's campaign Roman Catholics have had an easier time, and can be found on both sides of the aisle. The same with Jewish candidates. Mainstream Protestants (Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, UCC members) also enjoy easy political popularity. Fundamentalist/Evangelical candidates less so, due to their focus on one or two issues that usually do not represent the majority view in their geographic areas. When there are large numbers of Evangelicals in an area, Mainstream Protestant and Mormon candidates usually do not do well.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • StoopidIzAzStoopidDuz

      Well said.

      June 21, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  20. Marie Kidman


    June 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Your point is...

      ok, why the butterfly>?

      June 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
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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.