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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. razzi

    King James Version = truth. I don't get mormonism, or any cult, but if your going to claim some a certain belief do it with conviction.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      Mormons read the KJV dummy. Oh and BTW the KJV is also a lie.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Jake

      KJV is truth? Really?!?! Burning bushes? Parting of seas? Bears coming out of the woods to slaughter children for calling an old man and prophet "bald head"? Wasn't Moses raised in the Pharaoh's house? Which would have made him educated. Do you think the Hebrew slaves were literate? Slaves in this country 150 years ago weren't literate. There are no other accounts of his story. So what makes you think Moses wasn't the creator of some religion just like Joseph Smith, only it was created so long ago no one can make a claim against it? It just survived. Like Mormonism has now and in 3,000 more years no one will know any difference.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Rei

      hmmm....the KJV is what accompanies my Book of Mormon.

      June 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • SCMorrell

      Is this a troll? Did you really mean that no slaves in America were literate? Granted, none of them ever became laywers until they had stopped being slaves, but not because they were illiterate! That has to be the most ignorant post I have seen, even for this story.

      June 22, 2011 at 1:22 am |
  2. Kamereon

    Nice try Jon, but we know you are a Mormon through and through and it's going to cost you the presidency.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • You're an idiot

      "Ignorance" is all I can say to you

      June 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      @You're an idiot : If that's all you can say that you my friend are the ignorant one.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  3. Clarke

    If you would like real information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Mormons)
    Visit the church's official website. http://www.lds.org

    June 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • george

      Yes. I'm sure they will give you their unbiased opinion.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      Oh and if you want to read pro-KKK propaganda I'm sure there's a site out there somewhere for that.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • NO-MORMONS

      Don't waste your time, it's nothing but lies. The Mormon church changes their beliefs whenever they become a problem and then lie about it ever being true. This has been undeniably proven time and time again.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      @NO-MORMONS 100% correct.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Jake

      I want to know if he can pull this country out of the economic trouble. I don't care about his religion. What are his policies?

      June 21, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Rei

      For those with doubts about lds.org...well why don't you visit one of our churches? Then you will be more qualified when you speak against Mormons...right? All the meetings combined are 3 hours long. yes, I know you are used to devoting no more than an hour or so a week to the Lord but think about it...3 hours and then you will definitely have good material for your bashing.

      June 21, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  4. A.Pal

    I grew up LDS and for the most part still consider myself a Mormon yet one of the things I have a difficult time with my church and all religions is how often the members put other faiths down. There are plenty of things about the LDS faith that I DO NOT agree with as well as plenty of things I do find that bring happiness into my life.

    One of the difficulties I find with all faiths is how often the founder is such a revolutionary for their time (in a social and spiritual way) yet often the followers try to implement the exact same teaching thousands of years later when the world has greatly changed. All faiths have messages of love that can enrich and enlighten. Does it really matter if there was an angel Moroni, if Jesus was the son of God, if Siddhartha Guatama reached enlightenment, if Muhammad communed with Moses and Allah? I argue that it does NOT. There is so much power in the more than historical meaning that can inspire and uplift. Instead of worrying about who hold the keys to heaven after we die let's instead focus on bringing the kingdom of heaven to Earth through peace, charity, compassion, understanding. After all there is no way any of us can know 100% what happens when you or I pass on but I can bet you if you sincerely live the golden rule and there actually is some kind of heaven not only will you have had a happy life but you'll be sitting pretty there as well.

    I am a Pro Barack Democrat and Huntsman is the only candidate from the GOP I can possibly see myself voting for. If he makes it through the primaries (highly unlikely as a moderate) he'll be great.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      Drop Mormonism and all political parties. Get a mind of your own once and for all.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Good point. Founders are innovators and followers tend to get stuck in the mud. Which leads to the question of what one should really emulate: the founder's last opinions on everything when s/he happened to depart the scene or his/her spirit of innovation and quest?

      June 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • A.Pal

      I definitely do think for myself which often puts me at odds with other Mormon members but as I said there is also so much that is positive from many faiths and philosophies that can make be a more intelligent, compassionate, accepting human being.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      @A.Pal Good for you. Now work on your family and friends.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • SCMorrell

      I intend to know 100% what happens when I pass on. Ask me again in 200 years from now. 🙂

      Seriously, I do find it ironic that Mormons are accused of not thinking for ourselves. I'm sure every Moromon has heard the "But I wanted to find out for myself!" at least once per month. We have a fairly repeatable method of finding out the truth, and the best thing is that it comes from within, instead of having to beleive what the SCMorrells say about it.

      June 22, 2011 at 1:37 am |
  5. Esteban

    If a quarter of American adults admit to being less likely to vote for a Mormon candidate for president, I wonder what the percentage would be relative to Scientolgists? Both have their roots in science fiction, though Mormonism got a 132-year head start.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Jake

      Yeah!!! And Moses really did see a burning bush and it really did rain for 40 days and flood the Earth. You people calling these modern religions fiction and then believing in your story which cannot be scientifically proven, crack me up. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc have all relished under the veil of antiquity. The world was illiterate and information wasn't passed through the click of a button like it is now. Doesn't make things more true.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  6. joseph

    So Mormons doctrine is, the darker you are the more sinful you are!! They erased this doctrine from there books to enable them join the Union to get the tax breaks. So it's right to to conclude that, the Mormons have not changed their believes but are the same baby snakes ( Lucifer)

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • SCMorrell

      Joe, this is yet another authoritative statement about the LDS church from outside the LDS church that has no basis in fact. It is, at best a bad inference from a passage of the Book of Mormon taken out of context, which can be read elsewehere in this discussion. In the Book of Mormon itself, there was a rebelious group whose skin color changed so little that they had to distinguish themselves from the "true beleivers" by placing marks on themselves. Obviously, the rebelious group whose skin color _did_ change were not representative of any whole. Read the book and see! As Christians, which Mormons are, we beleive that man may judge by a person's countenance, but the Lord judges people by their hearts. In other words, it doesn't really matter what advantages or disadvantages you may have during mortality because of your skin color, because Christ will judge you by your intentions and deeds.

      June 22, 2011 at 2:32 am |
  7. Bill

    This cult stuff has gone on long enough. I can hardly belive what I read. Just how obvious does it have to get?

    June 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Jan

      You are, of course, including all forms of Christianity in your "cult stuff" comment, right?

      June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Jim

      Hate without basis lasts awhile apprantly...

      June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • albert

      I agree. There is something very wrong with a religion that claims to be Christian, and follows This Smith character instead. Very gullible people.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      I'm hoping having 2 morons in the race will get the real word out once and for all. Mormonism is NOT a good thing no matter how you try and package it.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Ben

      I think Mormonism is a great thing. People who strong morals and values. There is nothing wrong with that.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      @Ben : Morals in deed. Mormonism is responsible for more suffering than you will EVER be able to admit to. Look up

      June 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      @Ben : Morals in deed. Mormonism is responsible for more suffering than you will EVER be able to admit to.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  8. PDX_Atheist

    First of all there aren't different "brands" of Mormonism, if we are talking about the cult from SLC Utah. If you look at how the Mormon church handles even the slightest whiff of apostacy. Huntsman will NEVER deny his beliefs. He will only try and use fluffy language to minimize it. There is no difference in how Huntsman and Romney integrate Mormonism in their lives, if you think so, you don't know how the Mormon church works. If you doubt me you are either ignorant of this OR you are a Mormon apologist. Period.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Ryan

      Pretty definitive statement from someone that is an Atheist... if someone were to make statements about how morally corrupt atheism makes people and that they don't have any right being leaders simply because they have had bad experiences with them and that atheism has no basis other than not believing in a God – would that make their statement right... no. So lets be less definitive in our statements, otherwise you come off as someone that is simply full of anger or hate, rather than someone that has anything to say of worth.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Jake

      PDX atheist does seem a bit angry and dogmatic. Isn't Portland a happy, crunchy town full of organic produce, bicycles, dreadlocks and micro brews? What's to give?

      June 21, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • SCMorrell

      Of course, Mormon apologists do not exist by deifinition of "indefensible faith." So Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch also apply Mormonisim to the US Senate in exactly the same way? Personally, I'd vote for Huntsman over Romney any day. Jon Huntsman is a very difficult man to define by his associations, while Romney caved in on the immigration issue as soon as he thought it was cool to be conservative.

      June 22, 2011 at 2:47 am |
  9. Lou

    I suppose that faith of any kind is determined by an individual's needs.
    I was brought up as a Roman Catholic, born in 1936, Brooklyn NY.
    We were taught the doctorine of the church....by wrote. It was what was taught to us by our catechism lessons. And we lived by it... hopefully forever.
    Changes in my life made me seek elsewhere for some kind of religious track to run on.
    At one point, I chose the Morman Church while living in California in the 1960s.
    After going through everything that they offered, I declined. Their religious beliefs were too over the top for me at that age. When they got into the doctorine regarding the different levels of the church, and they told me that there were those that were cast upon the earth with black skin....I yelled out>>>NO NO NO. and I walked out of the lessons. I am an Italian American and a combination of a German Mother. This is total BS

    June 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  10. Benjamin Washington

    I want to see this man's IQ test. Since he also was ambassador to China. I want to know if he's sympathetic to communism. He also wants to force everyday citizens to take random drug tests and tell us how to dress. How could he do this without dramaticly raising taxes.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  11. obseron

    if he can convince me that he can lead this country to a better economy, then he has my vote. i really don't care about a candidates religious background.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Mikky_H

      I would agree, with a proviso that their decision making process was not primarily faith-based.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Rosie_s

      My goodness people, do you honestly believe there would be half as many comments on the fact that Jon Huntsman is running if the headline read, "Understanding Jon Huntsman's distinct brand of catholicism." or Athiesm, or pentacostalism... ? Really? People pretend just to care about the issues at hand but don't give someone a chance based upon the religion they may or may not practice? Grow up people, make an educated decision, not one based upon the emotion with which you have responded to this article. The challenge these days seems to be to pick the candidate with the "lesser evil!" Study it out, make a real decision this time. America is counting on you! If the best candidate is Obama, vote for him.. If it is Gingrich, vote for him. Do your homework!

      June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      I disagree with you both and would wager you are both believers in one myth or another.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • NO-MORMONS

      You should care. All their decisions will be influenced by their belief in their religion. Not considering a candidates religious views is not very intelligent.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  12. Not Falling For It

    "there are Mormons of all ethnicities and from all walks of life."

    Yeah right, in general they're about as diverse as the Tea Party. So he adopted a couple of Asians. Big deal (Just light enough so you can still enter the church, right?) Utah ranks 39th of 51 in state diversity. Gotta love Repugs who believe they represent 'The American People'. Once again, about as diverse as a Tea Party Rally.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      You are correct.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Ben

      It's a worldwide church with members in almost every country, of almost every origin, race, background, skin color, hair color, you name it. You must be thinking of the Mormon Church circa 1850. Things have changed.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Trevor Rowe

      There's actually more Mormons outside the United States than within.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • dangee

      As a matter of fact, the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days living outside the United States out number those who live in the USA.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      @dangee So what?

      June 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • NO-MORMONS

      @dangee – That simply means there are stupid people everywhere.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • NO-ATHEIST........in the FOXHOLES

      @NO-MORMONS you said to dangee: "That simply means there are stupid people everywhere."
      You're absolutely right...and where ever you go, you're always on the top of the list.

      June 21, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • SCMorrell

      I can't vouch for .every. ethnicity, but there is a Hutu (I think) in my congregation. I found that a little jarring at first, because the only ones I had seen before him were on the news for perpetrating genocide in Rwanda. But, he's a good man with a good family and will probably make it to heaven before you and I.

      I'm sorry for being an apologist, but considering the weird ideas coming from people I would assume knew better, it seems to me like someone needs to be.

      June 22, 2011 at 3:02 am |
  13. Myfakename

    They should adopt a black kid and a couple of Hispanics too. It would be a good idea to raise the black kid as a Muslim just in case they needed those votes as well.

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

      I think he is Jewish and trying to get in with his Taiwanese Unorthodox Mormon Whatever!! just make up your mind................you should do a little survey first to see how you can gain more votes...........lets try with Jewish first and then Muslim and Mormon and bla bla bla bla...........................people like to see you simple not multi-Relgion.........this is not a round table pizza combination contest

      June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  14. teamroper

    In spite of being an old bag of worms...Jon's ole lady is still pretty hot!

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

      He's only 51 and he's not a bad looking man. But his beliefs, no matter how much he minimizes them are a deal closer for me.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  15. Alexandria

    I think if he gets the republican candidacy then Obama will have a real hard time winning.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  16. Dm1

    “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.”

    Hmm, that sounds counterproductive. Get someone whose an extremist conservative, and you isolate the moderates and Independents, who are literally the deciding factors of elections. By all means, get a far right conservative candidate and guarantee Obama re-election. I mean, this guy has a right to follow his convictions... but in the end, hard right Republicans will vote Republican, because they perceive it as the lesser evil than voting Democrat. Get a moderate Republican, and you have a chance of winning with the Republican vote AND the clincher moderate vote. It's not rocket science. it's political trends.

    Moderates may be swing voters, but we are picky. It's time the two major parties realize that if they even hope to garner a moderate vote.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  17. Billy Davis

    Anytime you have a religion that incorporated into their doctrine that black people are not humans clearly through the 1970's and they can have multiple child brides is a questionable religion.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Dan

      bigot

      Want to provide evidence that either of the two Mormon canidates supported those positions?

      No? You say that just because they belong to a specific religion?

      Your a bigot.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • dallasfreeways

      @Billy Davis: I'm a lifelong Mormon and I can tell you that neither of your statements is correct.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Jake

      You seem quite ignorant on some simple facts. Official Mormons doctrine disavowed polygamy before Utah became a state. And blacks were never considered not human. They could, in fact, be church members in the 70's and even earlier. And since you're on an equality high horse, how many blacks do you typically see at a white Baptist church in the South or Catholic church in the Northeast?

      June 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      Billy Davis actually is sort of correct. The child bride thing is arguable and VERY old news but not incorrect, and the thing about Black people is sort of right accept they weren't considered non-human, just less "worth" to hold Mormon priesthood.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Kamereon

      @Dan: Journal of Discourses, v. 10, p. 110

      and "your" should be "you're"

      You have the internet right at your finger tips – dictionary.com, wikipedia, google....you don't have to be ingnorant any longer.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • myklds

      @Billy Davies...You're confused LDS as FLDS. FYI, your comment applies to the latter but NOT to the former where both Huntsman and Romney belong.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • myklds

      should be read, you confused*

      June 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • SCMorrell

      More inferences, folks! If you look what Billy really said, it doesn't even mention Mormons, and he is right that no one wants to join a religion that actually thinks that blacks are sub-human. Just becuase this happens to be a religious blog running a story on Mormons doesn't mean that you have to connect the dots. Technically, it's not lying then, is it Billy?

      June 22, 2011 at 3:10 am |
  18. J3sus Sandals

    You either wear the *garments* or you don't. If you do, you're as Mormon as the next. If you don't you're not accepted within the faith and you can't call yourself a Mormon. You can't have it both ways. You're either in or your out. I'm guessing they both wear the garments and in that case...it makes two rotten apples with a skewed agenda based on religious ideology. However, at least I can be more certain that Joseph Smith actually lived rather than the guy who everyone believes put his feet in my mouth.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      True, but there is no Jesus.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  19. Jim

    Mormonism is a cult – there's no denial in that. That's why he's using tricky language to try and make it look like it's not a big deal – BUT IT IS. Their CRaZy religion above all else – certainly the country.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Huh?

      Only a sad, ignorant, and hateful person would post such an uneducated thought. I suggest looking into the extent to which the people of Mormon faith support their country and those of other faiths throughout the world. It's astounding what they've accomplished.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      @Huh? : Huh? You are so wrong and obviously a Mormon apologist.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Could you explain for us what the differences are, exactly, among cults, a ("just plain") religion, and a crazy religion ?

      June 21, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Trevor Rowe

      How do you define cult? The Oxford dictionary says "a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister". There's over 13 million mormons. I wouldn't call that small.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • PDX_Atheist

      @Trevor Rowe Ever been to N Korea? Yeah um cults can be big indeed.

      June 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • SCMorrell

      Whereas your use of "cult" is not just tricky language to confuse people in to thinking we are an "occult"?

      I think that the word cult, while not rigorously defined as such, implies belief in the false tenants of a very charasmatic leader and has very little chance of surviving once the leader is gone. Joseph Smith has been dead for over 170 years, but the LDS church still seems to be growing. How long do we have to give it to dissolve before it can be called a religion?

      June 22, 2011 at 3:31 am |
  20. Marie Kidman

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig
    ,

    June 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
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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.