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October 9th, 2011
07:42 PM ET

My Take: This evangelical says Mormonism isn’t a cult

Editor’s note: Richard J. Mouw is President of Fuller Theological Seminary, an evangelical school in Pasadena, California.

By Richard J. Mouw, Special to CNN

Some prominent evangelical pastors have been telling their constituents not to support Mitt Romney’s bid for the presidential nomination. Because Romney is Mormon, they say, to cast a vote for him is to promote the cause of a cult.

I beg to differ.

For the past dozen years, I’ve been co-chairing, with Professor Robert Millet of Brigham Young University – the respected Mormon school - a behind-closed-doors dialogue between about a dozen evangelicals and an equal number of our Mormon counterparts.

We have talked for many hours about key theological issues: the authority of the Bible, the person and work of Christ, the Trinity, “continuing revelations” and the career of Joseph Smith, the 19th century founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), better known as the Mormon Church.

We evangelicals and our Mormon counterparts disagree about some important theological questions. But we have also found that on some matters we are not as far apart as we thought we were.

I know cults. I have studied them and taught about them for a long time. It’s worth noting that people have wondered whether I belong to a cult, with a reporter once asking me: “Evangelicalism, is that like Scientology and Hare Krishna?”

Religious cults are very much us-versus-them. Their adherents are taught to think that they are the only ones who benefit from divine approval. They don’t like to engage in serious, respectful give-and-take dialogue with people with whom they disagree.

Nor do they promote the kind of scholarship that works alongside others in pursuing the truth. Jehovah’s Witnesses, for instance, haven’t established a university. They don’t sponsor a law school or offer graduate-level courses in world religions. The same goes for Christian Science. If you want to call those groups cults I will not argue with you.

But Brigham Young University is a world-class educational institution, with professors who’ve earned doctorates from some of the best universities in the world. Several of the top leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have PhDs from Ivy League schools.

These folks talk admiringly of the evangelical Billy Graham and the Catholic Mother Teresa, and they enjoy reading the evangelical C.S. Lewis and Father Henri Nouwen, a Catholic. That is not the kind of thing you run into in anti-Christian cults.

So are Mormons Christians? For me, that’s a complicated question.

My Mormon friends and I disagree on enough subjects that I am not prepared to say that their theology falls within the scope of historic Christian teaching. But the important thing is that we continue to talk about these things, and with increasing candor and mutual openness to correction.

No one has shown any impulse to walk away from the table of dialogue. We do all of this with the blessing of many leaders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, some of whom have become good friends.

While I am not prepared to reclassify Mormonism as possessing undeniably Christian theology, I do accept many of my Mormon friends as genuine followers of the Jesus whom I worship as the divine Savior.

I find Mormons to be more Christ-centered than they have been in the past. I recently showed a video to my evangelical Fuller Seminary students of Mormon Elder Jeffrey Holland, one of the Twelve Apostles who help lead the LDS church. The video captures Holland speaking to thousands of Mormons about Christ’s death on the cross.

Several of my students remarked that if they had not known that he was a Mormon leader they would have guessed that he was an evangelical preacher.

The current criticisms of Mitt Romney’s religious affiliation recall for many of us the challenges John Kennedy faced when he was campaigning for the presidency in 1960.

Some well-known Protestant preachers (including Norman Vincent Peale) warned against putting a Catholic in the White House. Kennedy’s famous speech to Houston pastors clarifying his religious beliefs as they related to his political leadership helped his cause quite a bit.

But the real changes in popular attitudes toward Catholicism happened more slowly, as Catholic Church leaders and scholars engaged in a new kind of dialogue with each other and representatives of other faith groups, most dramatically at the Second Vatican Council during the early years of the 1960s.

Cults do not engage in those kinds of self-examining conversations. If they do, they do not remain cults.

Those of us who have made the effort to engage Mormons in friendly and sustained give-and-take conversations have come to see them as good citizens whose life of faith often exhibits qualities that are worthy of the Christian label, even as we continue to engage in friendly arguments with them about crucial theological issues.

Mitt Romney deserves what every politician running for office deserves: a careful examination of his views on policy and his philosophy of government. But he does not deserve to be labeled a cultist.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Richard J. Mouw.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Cults • Mitt Romney • Politics • Rick Perry

soundoff (2,721 Responses)
  1. KentAZ

    The author states:

    "Nor do [cults] promote the kind of scholarship that works alongside others in pursuing the truth. Jehovah’s Witnesses, for instance, haven’t established a university. They don’t sponsor a law school or offer graduate-level courses in world religions. The same goes for Christian Science. If you want to call those groups cults I will not argue with you."

    As one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and–like many if not most of my fellow Witnesses–an "unschooled and ordinary" Christian*, let me say that I am pleased to read this passage from Mr. Mouw's blog. The fact that he and many other mainstream nominal Christian religious leaders consider us to be a cult is reassuring. While not of itself verification of our belief system, such a view is an indication that we're on the right track. After all, the 1st century Christians of the New Testament were derided as a "sect" (Gr. hairesos) by the prestigious, accredited religious establishment of their day. (Acts 24:5)

    *Acts 4:13 (NIV)

    October 10, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • MarvinP

      I have friends that are Jehovahs Witnesses and I respect their dedication to there Religion. Having said that....people love to kick away at Mormonism and JW's but last time I checked they are the two fastest growing religions on this wicked earth. Mornos adn Jw's !! Thats right, so suck on that. These faiths offer great comfort to there followers that allows them to strive to be better individuals. What the heck is wrong with this??? Nothing.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • NewMexicoMan

      While I wouldn't define Mormon's as a cult, I wouldn't define them as Christians. Christian by definition means a follower of Christ. Jesus' apostle John wrote this in the Revelation 22:18-19 18 “I am bearing witness to everyone that hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone makes an addition to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this scroll; 19 and if anyone takes anything away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take his portion away from the trees of life and out of the holy city, things which are written about in this scroll. They decided to add to the Bible, so there you go.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • Don

      @NewMexicoMan
      I see your point but please do more research. That passage you cited has no reference to the Bible as a whole but merely that "scroll" or book of Revelations that he was writing....the Bible wasn't even compiled at that time

      October 10, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • Peytonator

      What a sad response. Those persecuted Muslims in Burma would say the same thing. Yet persecution or reviling is no ultimate validation of truth. JW's and Mormons have totally lost the plot with regard to the divinity of Jesus Christ (biblically and historically), as well as the all-sufficiency of his person and work, and yet think that they have marvellously discovered the truth some 170 years ago.

      Mat 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:48 am |
    • skytag

      @NewMexicoMan: "While I wouldn't define Mormon's as a cult, I wouldn't define them as Christians. Christian by definition means a follower of Christ."

      Mormons follow Christ.

      "Jesus' apostle John wrote this in the Revelation 22:18-19 18 “I am bearing witness to everyone that hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone makes an addition to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this scroll; 19 and if anyone takes anything away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take his portion away from the trees of life and out of the holy city, things which are written about in this scroll. They decided to add to the Bible, so there you go."

      The scripture you quote doesn't refer to the Bible, as the Bible is a compilation of writings created centuries after Revelations was written. So one could argue that adding the other books of the Bible to Revelations to create the Bible is no better than "adding" the Book of Mormon.

      Try a little humility. It's not your place to decide who is and isn't a Christian or a "real" Christian.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • skytag

      @Peytonator: "JW's and Mormons have totally lost the plot with regard to the divinity of Jesus Christ (biblically and historically), as well as the all-sufficiency of his person and work, and yet think that they have marvellously discovered the truth some 170 years ago."

      Exactly why should anyone believe that your beliefs in this matter are correct?

      "Mat 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many."

      The ability to quote scripture doesn't make you right.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • Truth Hurts

      @MarvinP – A test of whether or not a particular group is false teachers is not how popular they are. By the way, do you know the men who translated the New World Translation which you use had no knowledge whatsoever of Greek or Hebrew. If you want to follow the truth it is there, but if you want to keep following darkness because it is easier then nothing I say will probably matter. You aren't bad people, but you are following a false religion.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:01 am |
    • Know What

      Marvin P.

      Mormons, JWs and a few other sects are big into shunning - a hallmark of cultish behavior - and quite destructive (both to individuals and to families) behavior at that.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Know What

      Truth Hurts,

      There is no such thing as a "true" religion, but I'll just bet that you think that YOURS is it anyway, eh?

      October 10, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • KentAZ

      KnowWhat:

      "Mormons, JWs and a few other sects are big into shunning – a hallmark of cultish behavior – and quite destructive (both to individuals and to families) behavior at that."

      Were the 1st century Christians (who practiced shunning) a "cult"? (1 Cor. 5:11; 2 John 10)

      October 10, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • skytag

      @Truth Hurts: "@MarvinP – ...You aren't bad people, but you are following a false religion."

      MarvinP never actually identifies his religious beliefs, so I have to wonder how you can know this.

      Frankly, as far as I can tell all religions are false, so which particular set of myths you embrace is just a detail. I see nothing about Mitt Romney's religious beliefs that warrant concern about how he'd function as president. There is no evidence that other Mormons who have served in government positions at the national level have exhibited any issues related to their religion and I see no rational reason to believe Romney would be any different.

      Furthermore, I can't imagine what difference people think his religious beliefs would make in his governing. Why do you care what he believes? Do you think God will be mad at you if you vote for a Mormon? Where does the Bible say that?

      October 10, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • skytag

      @Know What: "Mormons, JWs and a few other sects are big into shunning – a hallmark of cultish behavior – and quite destructive (both to individuals and to families) behavior at that."

      What a crock. I've known a lot of Mormons in my life and they didn't practice "shunning" any more than many people in more mainstream Christian faiths. Of course I couldn't really blame Mormons if they did given how so many non-Mormons talk about them.

      Why would they want to spend lots of time around people who think they're a cult of people who should be condemned and shunned themselves? In my experience there's a bigger problem with non-Mormons shunning Mormons than the other way around.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:25 am |
    • andrew

      consider:
      1) if Jesus is God, who is he meant to be with in John 1:1? (check for alternative renderings)
      2) why did he say the father is greater than I in John 14:28?
      3) Why did he say nobody knows the day or hour except the father in Matt 24?
      4) Why did he say to the Jews that wanted to stone him in John 10 that he was only claiming to be ‘God's son’ not God?
      5) Why did he tell Satan in Matt 4 that it is YHWH alone you should worship?
      6) In prayer to his father; John 17:3, Jesus said ‘Now this is eternal life that they know you THE ONLY TRUE GOD & the one you sent Jesus Christ’. If the father to whom he prayed is the ‘only true God’ what sort of god is Jesus?? A false god? What then?
      7) How could Jesus be God if he was the firstborn of creation? (Col 1:15,16 compare Rev 3:14)
      8) Why did Jesus say in prayer to his father "Let not my will take place but your will" (Luke 22:42) Does this not show that Jesus & his father have different wills hence separate beings?
      9) Why is there no concept of a Trinity seen in the Torah or Hebrew scriptures (King David, Moses & "God's Friend” Abraham never knowingly worshipped a Trine God)
      10) Why does the entire context of the Greek scriptures center around Jesus being God's son?
      11) 1 Tim 2:6 tells us ‘Jesus gave himself a ransom for many’ The word for ‘ransom’ here is derived from the Greek word ‘antilutron’ in a good concordance you will find ‘anti’ means “corresponding to” & lytron: “ransom price” . Now since this shows the ransom price was meant to correspond to the perfect life Adam lost, how could it correspond if it was God who gave himself? (The ransom price would be infinitely higher than required) & it would mock the universal laws God has put in place!
      13) God loved the world so much he gave “his only begotten son” !! What does only begotten mean? From an unbiased point of view (with no presupposition) Begotten comes from beget : ‘to procreate or generate (offspring) & the ‘only’ part, because he was the only one created directly & only by God himself (Col 1:15)
      This is what makes the ransom so so special. God gave his special son – the very first born of creation – Not himself !! That would be mental ! I would gladly take a bullet for my own son! God loved the world so much he gave that son (that’s what it says!!)
      14) Claims that the holy spirit is a person is so baseless & so easily refuted I will not consider it here. Interesting one for you though- compare Luke's account Lu 11:20 with Matthew's account in 12:28 (notice in Luke's account he uses "God's Finger" instead of the expression "Holy Spirit" as used by Matthew) showing that the Holy Sprit is the same as God's metaphorical fingers or hands – an impersonal force that he uses to get things done like create for instance or in this case expel demons.

      Remember, the same Councils (Nicea) that established what mainstream Christianity teach today also excepted idols in worship. From that time on it's Popes lived in shameless luxury while despite the suffering around them & many lived immoral lives. Millions lost their lives for so called heresy which was often for reading the bible! Do you really believe that these were the spiritual shepherds Jesus referred to or the ravenous wolves of Matt 7:15 that were inspired of demons (1 Tim 4)

      October 10, 2011 at 4:24 am |
  2. Robert

    Who cares what someone's religion is. What matters is if they adhere to the principles of that faith.

    Harry Reid is a Mormon and so is Steve Young. Who cares.

    Obama was a M uslim and then a black seperatist extreemist (Rev. Wright).

    October 10, 2011 at 2:14 am |
    • Central Scrutinizer

      Who cares? I care. A lot. Religion is counter productiive and we suffer for it.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • Lee M.

      Hey Robert, when was Obama a muslim?

      In your teabagger wet dreams perhaps!

      You are are truly VILE, Robert, and why do you right wingers just make stuff up and repeat it ad nauseum???

      Filthy! Obama's enemies are so VILE that he must be doing something right and he's get my vote over any Fox-News sponsored thug.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:27 am |
    • puresmokey

      "Who cares what someone's religion is. What matters is if they adhere to the principles of that faith."

      Are you kidding? What if your faith is radical Islam? Or Zen Buddhism? Or what if you're a snake handler? Man, oh man.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:29 am |
  3. KentAZ

    "Christianity is based upon the premise that Jesus is cosubstantial with God's nature, equal, is God."

    You are defining Christianity on the basis of a post-biblical amalgam of neo-platonic philosophy, pagan concepts, and elements of the N.T. As "puresmokey" notes, the concept that Jesus and God the Father shared the same 'substance' was the result of a council called by a pagan emperor for political purposes, a scenario which greatly influenced its outcome.

    Your definition would have been a foreign concept to the first century Christians who actually authored the N.T.

    October 10, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • puresmokey

      Wasn't the Council of Nicea also where the Bible as we know it was first compiled? Where they decided which books were in and out? Those Gnostic gospels are pretty wacky.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:24 am |
  4. hal9thou

    Didn't your mama ever tell you that you can't have your cake and eat it too?

    October 10, 2011 at 2:08 am |
  5. Mike

    As a Mormon, it's always so interesting to me to see how Mormon's, or member of the 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' are represented in the media. If anyone is curious as to what an everyday 'Mormon' feels about my religion and about Jesus,I have a sort a brief profile that addresses my beliefs. http://mormon.org/me/2G66/

    October 10, 2011 at 2:07 am |
  6. ComeAtMeBro

    All religions are cults. Some are just more popular than others.

    October 10, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • katie

      precisely.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • puresmokey

      Agreed. It's a question of dates too. Christianity was a "cult" to the Romans, until Constantine made it the official faith of the Empire. Religion is highly effective political tool. And speaking of political tools.... meet the candidates.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  7. Central Scrutinizer

    My fellow Americans! Take up the cause. Phuck the mormons and christians and Islaim, etc. Let truth guide you! We are running out of time. The country and the world is falling apart!! It is up to US!!

    Until such time as an Atheist, an Agnostic, an openly ho-mose-xual person, or any other minority can be seriously considered for political office, particularly the presidency, then I hang my head in shame as an American. Sure, Obama is half black and that is a step. But where are the Asians, Africans, Mexicans, Gays, Atheists, Agnostics and all other minorities? Scr-ew the Christians! Let some intelligent folks move the country forward for a change. The Christian Right are liars, cheats, thieves and charlatans. The Dems just lie to fit in. Americans, let’s take back our country! The time is now! Call out the politicians on their lies. Call out the banks on their thievery. Take Wall Street money away from the politicians. Smart people in Congress, that should be our mantra, Carry on with common sense or we are doo-med. It is up to us to remove them!

    October 10, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • jason

      do you seriously find your comments to be so important that you need to state them over and over again. Wow.. you must view yourself quite highly.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:11 am |
    • Central Scrutinizer

      @Jason
      Yes. And you will likely see more. If you are not part of the solution than you are part of the problem dik head.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:24 am |
  8. Z

    Yes it is a cult! He was a money fraud who was outlawed in my state of Illinois says it all. Move west with with your cult like the Waco folk. Gold tabs in the woods? Try golden shower on a young girl is what he wrote. Lots of gold!

    October 10, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • Milan

      Hes statement of planing to confirm US military power in the world if he gets elected was really scary. I just hope Americans are full of war, if not for the suffering of people being killed and left homeless by enforcing democracy around the globe (maybe people dont even know of this, or if know dont care), but for the lives of US soldiers lost by compelling democracy to people dont want it. How democratic that is? And it costs. Regular US people will pay for it not the rich. They always gain. Good luck to the future with this much ignorance.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:10 am |
    • MarvinP

      what a loser you are, and offensive. People like you are what truly whats wrong with our world today!!

      October 10, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  9. jon

    It's not Christianity. I am neither making a negative nor positive comment. Christianity is based upon the premise that Jesus is cosubstantial with God's nature, equal, is God.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • puresmokey

      The doctrine that states that Jesus and God are one and the same was reached in 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicea. If you look at Christian history, really look at it, you realize that Christianity has had hundreds of offshoots, both enduring and extinct. I believed a long time ago, until I started to see that the whole thing is made up by people. For various reasons, and in various historical contexts. It all amounts to the same thing, making up a story that will keep people in line.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • katie

      says who?

      October 10, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • puresmokey

      I made several points. To which are you referring with that startling rebuttal?

      October 10, 2011 at 2:12 am |
  10. CelticMoon

    Whatever it is, Mormanism is not some branch of Christianity, since the core belief of Christian faith is believing in the divinity of Jesus Christ, that he died to atone for humanity's sins and accepting this belief is the only route to acceptance into the Christian concept of heaven. Mormans seem to view Jesus as a nice guy,an enlightened man, along the lines of a prophet, and that by following the Morman faith, people eventually become gods themselves, in charge of their own planets....or at least the Mormans with penises. Wives are allowed on the personal planets of their husbands, who are also their priests, as long as they've been baptized, I guess. And it's okay to baptize dead ancestors so they can join in the celestial fun even if they've never heard of Joseph Smith, et al,, hence the great interest in geneology. If nothing else, Mormanism seems cult-like when considering the fact that it was started by a charismatic ex-convict who came up with a highly original story to get away with sleeping with other women, besides his wife, and that characteristic epitomizes virtually every cult leader I can list.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • Cole

      So...according to you...I believe that Christ was along the lines of a prophet? That's news to me. He is Jesus the Christ...Lord and Savior. Yes, Christ was also a great prophet, because he was a prophet unto himself...since Jesus is also the God of Israel. You should really learn how to spell Mormon too, it doesn't go so well in your apparent claim to know so much about my religion. I don't know where you are getting your information from, but you should honestly look at other sources, because they taught you wrong.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • Eviscerted

      It is apparent from your comments that you know very little about the Mormon faith. Christ is more than just a nice man and a prophet. We absolutely believe that he I our savior, through his attonement, and through him, is the only way to return to our Father in Heaven. I've never heard any of our leaders refer to us getting our own planet, but Revelations (which is in the New Testament) clearly states that those who are exalted, will share the throne an power of God. Perhaps that means the power of creation. I guess we'll find out in the life here after.

      Doesn't matter to m if you think I'm not a Christian. I know I am. My Savior Jesus Christ knows I am a follower of his, and God the Father knows I am. That's all that maters to me.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • laurence frogswain

      I grew up Mormon, was active in Church all my life and even served an LDS mission. I am no longer involved in the church for personal reasons. I respect this article because I feel that this minister is being honest and fair. But I must dispute you when you say Mormon's aren't Christians. Mormons absolutely, unequivocally, without hesitation believe that JESUS is the CHRIST, equal with GOD in every respect, that he died and atoned for the sins of all who have faith in his name and that he is the only way to Salvation. How could that be any less christian that the rest of you? ARE YOU LISTENING? JESUS is the very foundation of the Mormon church. They don't view him as just a prophet or a "nice guy." They view him as the Son of God, divine, the Savior of Mankind. If you still gon't believe me after I have been so plain, than I am afraid nothing will convince you.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • Som

      "Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Son of God. He is our Redeemer."

      "Jesus suffered and was crucified for the sins of the world, giving each of God’s children the gift of repentance and forgiveness. Only by His mercy and grace can anyone be saved. His subsequent resurrection prepared the way for every person to overcome physical death as well. These events are called the Atonement. In short, Jesus Christ saves us from sin and death. For that, he is very literally our Savior and Redeemer." – mormon.org/jesus-christ/

      October 10, 2011 at 2:18 am |
    • CelticMoon

      Oops, you oh-so correct: I spelled Mormon wrong. Doesn't change the fact that it's a kooky cult whose faithful members wear wierd underwear & it was started by a convicted fraud and misogynist. Every time Mitt Romney screws up, and he will, we'll wonder if it's because he belongs to such a silly group.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:27 am |
    • Eviscerted

      So, because we wear "weird underwear" we are not Christians? That shouldn't have anything to do with it. Not that it matters, but they are symbolic, and a reminder of our promise to God to keep our minds and bodies physically and spiritualy clean. They are no more "weird" than Jewish prayer shawls and Yamicas (probably spelled that wrong), or Catholic Rosary beads, or the ceremonial outfits the Pope, Cardinals and other Catholic leaders wear. Nor is it any more weird than the countless out ceremonial or symbolic clothing and objects employed throughout jus about every faith.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:37 am |
  11. James Robertson

    I appreciate Mr. Mouw's comments. I was raised in a Mormon familiy. We attended weekly Sunday School and as a young child I was in the Junior Sunday School. On Easter Sunday when I was five years old, the teacher was telling about about Jesus' resurrection. She told about Mary Magdalene coming to the tomb and not finding Jesus, and she told how Mary then saw him and supposed him to be the gardener. She told how he called her name, "Mary.' Then she said, "I can't say it the way He would have, but maybe you children can hear in your minds the way He would have said it." And I realized that I could hear it in my mind, penetrating and infinitely loving, and I had a an inward sense that He was real, that he knew me also, and could call my name with that same penetrating love and tenderness. I have never fogotten it, and I can never read or reflect on that passage without hearing it in my mind again and having that sense renewed.

    I was five years old. I still believe in Christ as the only begottens Son of God, who came to earth to teach his gospel and to work out redemption for mankind from sin and death. I accept Him as my personal saviour, and His name as the only means whereby salvation can come.

    I've heard a lot of argument about whether Mormons are Christians. I've been asked to defend my beliefs as Christian in various contexts throughout my career. I realize that scholars can have discussions about what points of theology make one's beliefs Christian. But as a five-year-old, I didn't know any of that. I just felt that Jesus was real and that he knew my name and loved me. My faith and understanding have grown since then, just as I have. But I'm still the same person I was then, and my faith is still anchored in that same foundation. I believe in Christ, and I believe that Christ belives in me, and knows that I beleive in Him.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:51 am |
  12. puresmokey

    "Faith is something you believe that no one in his right mind would believe."
    -Archie Bunker.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • Eviscerted

      Yep, If Archie Bunker says it, it must be true! I love how people pull quotes from famous people to make their point. Especially when they quote someone who isn't renown for his phylosophical prowess, or his great wisdom.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • puresmokey

      Um, I am aware of the limited mental prowess of Archie Bunker. The writers of the show, however, were brilliant. And speaking of people who "quote famous people" to get their point across, isn't that precisely what religious people do in order to convince us to see the light?

      October 10, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Eviscerted

      I guess it depends on the motivation of the person doing the quoting. If your intent is to belittle a person's beliefs, then yes, there is a difference. If your purpose is because you genuinly believe there is no creator (or god, if you will), and your attempt is to prove your point in a curteous and compassionate manor, then no, there is no difference. I will accept your opinion, and Archie Bunker quote, if your purpose was the latter.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:52 am |
  13. RangerDOS

    I don't care if Romney is the Pope – the man's a dope and the last thing we need in the office of presidency He;s warmed over Texas good old boy just like Bush was. Republicans, is that the best you can do?

    October 10, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • john

      not sure why you're talking about Texas.. Rick Perry is from Texas and he is a dope.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:24 am |
  14. Jackson Baer

    So are we quick to judge and slow to love now?

    Why do we ignore James 4 and Matthew 22 where we are told God will judge and we are to love? We can disagree, state why we disagree, and still walk in love.

    http://www.whatthehellbook.com

    October 10, 2011 at 1:49 am |
  15. Central Scrutinizer

    My fellow Americans, until such time as an Atheist, an Agnostic, an openly ho-mose-xual person, or any other minority can be seriously considered for political office, particularly the presidency, then I hang my head in shame as an American. Sure, Obama is half black and that is a step. But where are the Asians, Africans, Mexicans, Gays, Atheists, Agnostics and all other minorities? Scr-ew the Christians! Let some intelligent folks move the country forward for a change. The Christian Right are liars, cheats, thieves and charlatans. The Dems just lie to fit in. Americans, let’s take back our country! The time is now! Call out the politicians on their lies. Call out the banks on their thievery. Take Wall Street money away from the politicians. Smart people in Congress, that should be our mantra, Carry on with common sense or we are doo-ed. It is up to us to remove them!

    October 10, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • puresmokey

      Tall order. I wish you luck with that. I really do.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • MarvinP

      hey there you winner, dont you belong down on Wallstreet camping out with all your other loser hippies, communists, gays, unions, radical left wing idiots??? Answer is YES!!!

      October 10, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • Central Scrutinizer

      @marvin
      I am sorry for your loss. I guess you must have had a head injury as a child.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:28 am |
  16. n3kit

    Joseph Smith, polygamist, loved young virgins, cultist. Mitt Romney, follower, cultist.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • Jovan Bregu

      All I can say is that you are a closed-minded person and have no tolerance, neither knowledge.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • MarvinP

      onde day you'll meet up with Smith and Romney after this life and face up to your slanderous ridiculous comments, and you know what?? They both forgive you without a seconds hesitiation. You dont deserve to even be in the same sentenence of the great and wonderful Joseph Smith Jr!!!!

      October 10, 2011 at 2:27 am |
  17. nate

    The trouble with all belief systems is that believing in the one truth means that everyone else must be following in a heretical cult. Since there are more than two belief systems that have this perception, that means by definition all of us are heretical cultists.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  18. Marcia

    “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”

    October 10, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • Alan

      What is the saying about copying and pasting other people's thoughts like Xerox?
      Couldn't you think you own thoughts against Religion

      October 10, 2011 at 1:51 am |
  19. Marcia

    Christianity is a Religious cult, so is Islam, and every organized religion on the face of mother earth. The dropping of the word cult happens when there is enough of the population following them. Dropping a word does not change it though. Religion and Religious cult are the same thing.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • n3kit

      marcia: Christ said, no man hath greather love than this, that a man lay down his life for a friend, and He did lay down his life for his friends. If that's what you call religious cult, I wanna be a part of that cult. Would love to have a friend like that.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:54 am |
  20. fistface

    Church State

    October 10, 2011 at 1:38 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.