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. Dante

    I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a true Church here on earth. For more inforation please visit http://www.lds.org and it will answer all your questions. Thank you.

    October 10, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • Sircuts

      you should be embarrassed

      October 10, 2011 at 3:53 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Well .... he does use capital letters and punctuation. I think there is a English grammar teacher from your past that is probably ashamed right now. 🙂

      October 10, 2011 at 3:56 am |
    • Sircuts

      I cant type that thousands of times because I know each time I do more people read it and will see the truth Romney's Cult is as sick as people can get

      October 10, 2011 at 3:56 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"I cant type that thousands of times because I know each time I do more people read it and will see the truth Romney's Cult is as sick as people can get"

      The more people that read your post and see that you are against Romney.... I think by noon tomorrow Obama will be writing his concession speech to Romney. 🙂

      October 10, 2011 at 3:59 am |
    • thissalantine

      Just like I said, but changed because they are instructed not to say the "ONE true church' in front of non-believers.


      How many families cut off contact with someone who steps away from the 'ONE TRUE FAITH'?

      How many people have been murdered by their own family members in SLC alone in the last ten years for choosing to live outside the faith?


      October 10, 2011 at 4:28 am |
    • MikeyNYC

      Those who claim any universal truth with only their faith to provide as evidence is no one with whom I'd wish to have any discussion or debate. You can't argue faith and you can"t argue belief – its entirely personal opinion. Then we have the "my book/prophet/leader/pastor/minister is better than yours!" contest, which usually ends up with leaders of different groups claiming the other leaders are false prophets and then the name-calling begins. I want no part of any faith whose leaderships' examples boil down to name calling and baseless accusations. I don't care what someone believes as long as that faith (or lack of faith) doesn't cause them to demean, degrade, insult or commit violence against others. I've been the lucky recipient of evangelical christian hatred for my entire life, starting as a young child who was told by other children that if I didn't accept jesus, I'd burn in hell for all eternity. I want no part of any faith that would, by default, exclude all others who may believe differently. I'd rather burn in the christian hell for all eternity than spend five minutes in a "heaven" populated with ignorant, arrogant evangelical christians.

      October 10, 2011 at 4:39 am |
    • peter

      If youre going to be staright forward so will i! Mormonism is no more true than gum taking 7 years to digest. It doesnt matter what anyone believes it only matters what is. Why dont you go to exmormon.org or mrm.org and do some research? Feelings/testimonies dont dictate truth, if they do youd have to believe my sincere belief, that mormonis is nothing more than a system created and sustained by power hungry male chauvinist, based upon greed, malicious deception, an illusion of free thought only to realize you must submit to the leaders, polytheistic, pagan, racist, eternally polygamous cult! The End and thats an absolute

      October 10, 2011 at 4:45 am |
  2. Send in the Clowns

    Isn't is rich...

    Whenever there's an article on Mormons, Catholics or Muslims, the Christians align with the atheists and agnostics 🙂

    October 10, 2011 at 3:46 am |
    • tffl

      Pretty sure Catholics _are_ Christians (in fact, the original ones)...

      October 10, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • Send in the Clowns

      ttfl, yes, they are, but Christians don't consider them so.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:50 am |
    • tffl

      A bit confused then – if they _are_ Christians, and they consider themselves Christians, then...

      I think what you mean is some Protestants, specifically some Evangelical Protestants, don't consider Catholics to be Christian. But then, the reverse may also be true. In any case, some of the most extreme Evangelicals apparently don't consider anyone except those in their particular group that believe exactly as they do to be Christian. Not sure who let them make up the rules...

      October 10, 2011 at 4:29 am |
    • Jim

      At least Mormonism isn't just another snake cult!

      October 10, 2011 at 9:01 am |
  3. Capricorn

    All religions are cults.

    October 10, 2011 at 3:46 am |
    • A.B.

      Very compactly said. There is not much more to it. A religion is nothing more than a cult with a lot of followers.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:51 am |
    • peter

      what is a cult? Is aligning yourself that way with others make you a cultist? If cults are simply a belief system, then you "believing" that, doesnt that make your mindset cultish or belonging to that cult of like minded believers?

      October 10, 2011 at 4:30 am |
    • WTHH

      I am a fairly faithful Catholic, and I know this probably sounds hypercritical, but I have to agree with you.

      October 10, 2011 at 7:22 am |
  4. T

    I read today where the Pope is going to announce the Catholic Church no longer supports the idea of Limbo. Limbo as you may or may not know is a place you go after you die that is not heaven and it is not hell, but somewhere in between. The idea was created by the church to put in children who were not baptized. You know how you got your child out of Limbo during the past 1200 years? By paying Indulgences to the church. These cash payments allowed your loved one's to go to heaven and gave money to church to build both the vatican and finance everything from the Crusades to church expansion overseas...... Now the church says "We changed our minds". What about the millions of people during the past 1200 years who lived their lives believing their kids were in Limbo.

    Religion was created by man to control man. In 2011 it has never been more abundantly clear.

    October 10, 2011 at 3:43 am |
    • Bilbo

      Talk about a can of worms....Hocus Pocus.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:47 am |
    • andrew

      the amazing thing is that most professed christians & mormons on this list follow teachings that ultimately have come from them!!!!! Trinity, hell fire etc etc.

      October 10, 2011 at 4:53 am |
  5. Sircuts

    funny how in 2010 they decided to revise The Book Of Mormon to edit out the racism....So after 170 years all of a suddon they re-wrote their own book....LOL right around when Romney announced candidacy for president...only a backwards cult would think they can erase 170 of racism in a few months....Just shows how deranged they are

    October 10, 2011 at 3:41 am |
    • Hater

      Was that around the same time you became obsessed with that religion?

      October 10, 2011 at 3:43 am |
    • Pin

      Mormonism racist past...

      October 10, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Brian

      Yes, because America and Christianity was free from racism before Mormonism came along. *eyeroll*

      October 10, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Chris

      Um, no. Reference please?

      October 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Joops

      And it shows just how uneducated you really are.

      October 10, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • MRFP

      Really I wasn't aware of any such revision. I have been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints my entire life. I read the Book of Mormon (and the Bible) every day, which are both witnesses of Jesus Christ. Can you point out the place where the Book of Mormon was revised? I'd love to see that. I know you cannot because your claim is false.

      October 11, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • Iowan

      I was ignoring your very negative comments about Mormonism being a cult or worse but this comment was too blatantly wrong to ignore. There was no 2010 revision of the Book of Mormon to edit out racism or anything else. I don't know where you got your information, but it was not an accurate source if there was even a source at all. Check the Library of Congress and see if there was a new copyright registered in 2010.

      October 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  6. Mirosal

    Joseph Smith as a child molester .... interesting angle, never thought of it like that before. You are correct. Any grown man wanting to marry a 14/15 year old girl needs to be castrated. And any followers of his need therapy. Can any Mormon refute the fact that Jopseph Smith did marry teenage girls? Your founder was a pedophile.

    October 10, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • Sircuts

      I am glad this article is shedding light on the truth

      October 10, 2011 at 3:42 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      ...and a few of the founders of the United States were owners and traders and ra'pers of slaves.

      Do we need to bring up the treatments of Native Americans? 🙁

      October 10, 2011 at 3:44 am |
    • Stupid

      I heard Mormons have horns too... This is stupid. I will never return to this blog. Peace.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:47 am |
    • nobody important

      Hate to break it to you, but if men marrying 14/15 year old girls in the early 19 century, especially in the American frontier, were all castrated, many of us today would never have been born,

      October 10, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • Joops

      I'm a converting catholic to the Mormon faith...It's not that different and if you pull apart the bible and take every word literally we would never get anywhere. As long as we believe in God the creator and Jesus Christ as our savior then who cares if about who married who when..sheesh...My grandparents married when she was 16!BTW..they are still going strong together at 94 and 96 years of age respectfully. Oh and another note...Joseph Smith married one girl only...Emma Smith...so do your homework! We are Christians and no less Christian than any other chruch! If anything we are more Christian because we are not the judges here..Not your place to do that! It's Gods!!

      October 10, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      It was normal for girls to marry at 14 in those days. Even Catholic and Protestant girls married that young.

      October 10, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
  7. freethinkers2011

    Any "religion" that relies on supernatural beliefs are frauds. ALL of them. But asking an adult that has lived all their lives to rethink their choice to believe in such things is nearly impossible. Most people are probably agnostic if they were really honest with their thoughts and without fear of persecution. Philosophy is fine but most religions are all lies, lies, lies.

    October 10, 2011 at 3:36 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Most people are probably agnostic if they were really honest with their thoughts and without fear of persecution."

      Yeah... I think you are wrong but since you didn't sign in with your given name it appears that you are living in fear.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:40 am |
  8. Mac

    The Pastor was clearly playing POLITICS with religion to prop up Perry's waning base.The same way Bush/Cheney used politics to defame Islam and galvanize support for military invasions. The bottom line is MONEY and profit for their cronies in the mega-industry of war manufacturing, nothing else matters to right-wingers.

    October 10, 2011 at 3:36 am |
  9. Sircuts

    boy you hate the truth .....Mitt Romney's "Cult" religion claims a child molester is a prophet of god....dont get more perverted then that and the more you defend it the more I will type it and the more people will read it and look it up and see I am correct...I am not Rick Perry I don't have to retract for fear of lost votes from a twisted cult...

    October 10, 2011 at 3:34 am |
    • Ashamed

      Please stop posting you are embarrassing all of us Christians....

      October 10, 2011 at 3:37 am |
    • Dave

      You have the right in America to say what you will, however, You my friend are exposing yourself as a bigot that literally hates others that don't agree with you. The more you sound off the way you do that more disrespect most of us have gained for your writings on this blog. However, for freedoms sake write on. If all Americians were like you then we would not have an America at all. Honestly examine yourself and change to allow freedom for all regarding religion and the Bill of Rights.

      October 11, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  10. Roger

    It's a bit like calling the kettle black. By definition, all religious groups are cults. They are a "group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc." The particularly narrow definition used by evangelicals–meaning having beliefs that don't align with ours–is not the common definition of the word. It is even more farcical to see two cults meeting together to see if they are close enough in beliefs to not be cults. Would make a good skit on Saturday night live.

    October 10, 2011 at 3:31 am |
    • Sircuts

      All religions are cult? You may be right but only one worships a child molester who claims to have talked to god

      October 10, 2011 at 3:36 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"They are a "group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc."

      Yeah, like Charles Darwin or maybe Christopher Hitchens. 🙂

      October 10, 2011 at 3:36 am |
    • peter

      by that broad defintion then everything is a cult lol

      October 10, 2011 at 3:37 am |
    • Betty

      It would make a bad skit on Saturday Night Live.
      You have obviously not been watching SNL. They make fun of Romney ALL the time!
      You also do not sound like you even believe in God in any way shape or form. So why bother to make a comment about a subject you know nothing about.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:37 am |
    • tffl

      Sircuts – as opposed to one that worships someone who claimed to _be_ god?

      October 10, 2011 at 3:47 am |
    • Sircuts

      Mitt Romey's religion claims a child molester was a prophet of god....thats all the country needs to know...he is just wasting his time and money from here out if he thinks he will gain any support...this is a hot potato no politician would touch he is done and you know it

      October 10, 2011 at 3:48 am |
    • Eviscerted

      Then, almost everyone in the early 1800's was a child molester by your defenition. Not sure how young Joseph Smith's youngest wife was, but it wasn't at all uncommon back then for girls to get married as young as 13, and to men 2x to 3x their age. It may be socially frowned upon today, but back then it wasn't. If your going to make judgements about someone, judge them based on the social standards of the time period they lived in.

      October 10, 2011 at 4:12 am |
  11. Betty

    I know Mormons, have read the Book of Mormon and discussed it and their real beliefs at length.
    The Mormon religion is a cult!
    It is a cult that treats its members well but it is still a cult!
    Christians will never vote for a Mormon President or Vice President!
    Mormons do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came in human form as their Savior who died, descended into hell and was resurrected on the third day to save then from their sins. They believe he was one on many teachers/leaders,prophets.
    I will not vote for any member of any cult like Mormons, Church Of Scientology,Christian Science,etc.!
    Neither will my friends, family or church.
    They are still members willingly of a cult and can not trusted.
    If they have been conned or grown up to be a member of a cult how can you trust they could not be trained,or conned,or told,or forced by their cult leaders how act,vote, etc like most cults do.
    They are usually very nice people.

    October 10, 2011 at 3:28 am |
    • Chris


      If Romney is the replublican nomination... you'll vote for Obama???

      October 10, 2011 at 3:40 am |
    • Sircuts

      That would never happen ..his own party has already denounced him and I am glad.....check the polls he sunk like a lead weight after everyone googled Mormons and what their cult is built on

      October 10, 2011 at 3:44 am |
    • Lee

      About your statement "Christians will never vote for a Mormon President". If that doesn't make you a member of cult, who call themselves Christians, I don't know what does. All religions are cults.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:50 am |
    • Steve


      Those Mormons need to open the scriptures concerning the coming of Christ, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and that there could be no redemption for mankind save it were through the death and sufferings of Christ, and the atonement of his blood.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:58 am |
    • Sam

      You are completely wrong. You apparently can't tell the difference between Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses or Scientolotgists. Mormons believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, not just a prophet. The Book of Mormon says, "There is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ the Lord Omnipotent." If you you want to know what Mormons believe, go to mormon.org or talk to an actual Mormon instead of just repeating stuff from the internet. The Bible says "If ye have not charity, you are nothing" but apparently it's okay to trash the beliefs of others and still consider yourself "Christian." No individual has ever changed their beliefs or been saved or seen the light as a result of insults against their religion by those who disagree with them. What are the motives here?

      October 10, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • Daniel Peterson

      "Mormons do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came in human form as their Savior who died, descended into hell and was resurrected on the third day to save then from their sins."

      The claim above is flatly, and perhaps maliciously, false.

      Any Mormon who DENIED that Jesus is the Son of God who came in human form as his or her Savior, who died, descended into hell, and was resurrected on the third day to save humans from their sins would be a likely candidate for excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (i.e., the "Mormon" Church). If he or she PUBLICLY denied those propositions, excommunication would be a virtual certainty.

      As I believe Mark Twain said, you're free to have your own opinions, but you're not free to have your own FACTS.

      October 10, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • John

      Betty is lying. If she had really read the Book of Mormon she would know that on nearly every page is prophetic testimony of Jesus Christ as the son of God and savior of all mankind. That book is a magnificent and powerful testament of the Lord who Betty professes to adore. She dishonors Him by repeating malicious gossip and showing reckless disregard for the reputation of Mormons who are sincerely trying to be disciples of Jesus Christ.

      October 10, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Don Ormsby

      Jesus descended into Hell? If you believe that, I question your ability to judge the "Christian-ness" of LDS Christians.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Mike

      Betty, it is YOU who has been "conned" (not really a word in the way you used it). Your decisions are based on ignorance.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • DWG

      What a knothead you are Betty. You spout complete foolishness and nonsense. You say you have studied Mormonism? Perhaps...but only with other religion bashers in the room to influence your thoughts and conclusions. Baptists spout from the pulpit to NEVER pray about the Book of Mormon...that's how they get you! So the divine right of prayer for all issues that plague mankind is OK as long as you don't pray about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Betty...either learn it using your own conclusions...not books written by Mormon bashers...or hush...just hush!

      October 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • catbox clump

      You don't hate Mormons, but you have no problem barfing up your vitriol at their beliefs. Hate is hate. Take a pill woman.

      October 10, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • Megan

      I'm not sure what Mormons you were talking to, but I am a Mormon and I can tell you that I do believe that there have been many prophets on the earth from the time of Adam and Noah to today. But, I absolutely believe that Christ was more than any one of them. Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. He atoned for me so that I can be forgiven of my many sins. He is the Son of God who was born of the Virgin Mary as had been prophesied in the Old Testament. I have never, nor will I ever believe that any person on this planet is an equal to Him. I worship Christ, my church bears the name of Christ, I will ever be grateful to him for his love for me and for all of my brothers and sisters on this earth. I believe that our love and belief in Christ should bring us all closer, not tear us apart. Christ taught us in Mark Chapter 12 verses 30 and 31 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." I pray for a world in which all Christians and all people will learn to have Christ-like love. Where we will all treat each other with love and respect and not use hateful language for those we disagree with. Only then will we all truly be able to consider ourselves Christians.

      October 11, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Grinunbarrett

      Betty; You are so uninformed and are simply revealing that you are following the traditions of your family which is what you claim members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do. One could say if you were actually informed about the Latter-Day Saint faith that you are speaking with a forked tongue. I don't believe you are but I do know that you are uninformed just as a number of people are on this subject especially Sircut. I grew up in a community of Evangelical Christians and Catholics. and do know a good deal about those faiths having studied them. After a long period of distrust of those religious leaders of the two faiths in my hometown who were doing the very things that you and others claim the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have done or a now do, I decided to find out for myself and discovered the major majority were in fact, false accusations. I have now been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 35 years and during that time I have continued my studies of religion and have discovered that many who claim to be Christian have misaligned The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with such false information as you have included in your port. I as any dedicated latter-day saint would testify to you that you are so wrong for we believe and have faith in the one true and living God the Father of all and in His Son Jesus Christ. We do not believe that Jesus Christ is just a great teacher but that he came to this earth to take upon Himself the sins of all creation. We believe that He is the God of this land and is the Savior of the world. that it is through His precious blood that we maybe saved if we follow Him and endure to the end of our mortal lives, for we know that it is by the grace of the Father & the Son that man (male & female) maybe saved after all we can do in the service of our fellow beings and in obedience to the commandments of God, not the law presented to the saints by Moses. What you say we do not believe concerning Jesus Christ is in fact what we believe. What you say we believe is an outright lie, I do believe you are misrepresenting these things in ignorance based on what you have been taught. I have not been conned into anything because my choices have been made after 35 years of obtaining a knowledge of good & evil by the choices I have made in life. One of the most important things I have learned by those experiences is found in Matthew 12:36-37 and there are related verses in James and in 1 Peter as well. I would testify to you that Jesus is the Christ the Savior the Son of the Living God and is as I have said the God of this land and I repeat that I know that there is no other name given under heaven whereby man (male & female) maybe saved for that salvation may come only in and through Jesus Christ our Lord. You really should ask a latter-day saint what they believe not an Evangelical or a Catholic because what they have taught in the last almost 200 years about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has basically been false. I know this first hand. It is my prayer that the Lord may bless you with the truth pertaining to His great and marvelous plan of Salvation a plan for all of His children.

      October 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Iowan

      Daniel Peterson, well said! Active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "Mormons" as they are often called most certainly do believe that the Savior Jesus Christ came to the earth as a mortal man, set a perfect example for us to pattern our lives after, suffered for our sins and then was crucified and rose from the grave on the third day. I don't know how a religion that has over 14million members can be so misunderstood. Maybe people just don't reallly want to know the facts!

      October 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  12. T

    "Mormonism isn't a cult".

    I would agree. Mormonism is not a cult, all religions are cults in one form or another.....

    October 10, 2011 at 3:28 am |
    • Betty

      Are you an Atheist?

      October 10, 2011 at 3:30 am |
    • guitar monster

      @ T
      I agree

      October 10, 2011 at 3:40 am |
    • tffl

      Betty – you keep saying that like it's a bad thing...

      October 10, 2011 at 3:45 am |
  13. Sircuts

    anyone who supports the mormons supports a child molesting cult....

    October 10, 2011 at 3:24 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Anyone who supports Christianity is guilty of the same.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:25 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Let it go dude.... when you down to single sentence rants then you have lost and are lost.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • Sircuts

      boy you hate the truth .....Mitt Romney's "Cult" religion claims a child molester is a prophet of god....dont get more perverted then that and the more you defend it the more I will type it and the more people will read it and look it up and see I am correct...I am not Rick Perry I don't have to retract for fear of lost votes from a twisted cult...

      October 10, 2011 at 3:33 am |
    • Weird

      I'm glad Christ isn't as hateful as sircuts or we would all burn in hell.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:34 am |
    • Sircuts

      Only those who follow false prophets will burn in hell...Like Joseph Smith and his follower Mitt Romney

      October 10, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"boy you hate the truth .....Mitt Romney's "Cult" religion claims a child molester "

      And on the dollar bill is a slave owner. On the five dollar bill is a slave owner and a person who cheated on his wife with the same slaves.

      If you judge folks in the past by today's morals and standards you will have to shred most of the history books.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:50 am |
    • peter

      I have to say the George Washington and other examples you used were poor as it relates to mormonism. First those people never claimed to be anything more than just every day people. With mormonism that is different, they claim a heavenly visit that started their faith. They claim that their "prophets" were and still are receiving direct revelation from the almighty. mormonism claims it is true and that its directly guided by their god. If that is the case why do you have to change teachings? truth doesnt change like people do. When you look at their history you will also see that their teaching and "revelations" from god conveniently appear when those practices were scrutinized or in the case of utah, which was being denied statehood bc of polygamy and it was only under the threat of federal action that caused, conveniently for gods "revelation" to refrain from marriages that are contrary to the law of the land, it didnt end the belief in polygamy tho. As it pertains to the" black curse" that was the mark to identify unworthy people (blacks) to hold their priesthood, and once again under scrutiny and changing social practices they got another "revelation" saying blacks can hold the priesthood. However the curse remains, they are still cursed with the mark according to mormonism. Sounds like the church worships at the alter of public opinion rather than any form of truth. Thats why they have to be held to their past bc they say it came from god and god doesnt lie or get it wrong. If that was wrong then, than 20 years from now what mormons believe today could be wrong lol

      October 10, 2011 at 4:24 am |
  14. Mirosal

    I cannot be a sinner, because there is no such thing as sin. There are laws, there are crmes, and ther are punishments for said crimes. I'll accept that. But as far as "sin" who are you sinning against? this "god" of yours? How can you sin against something that doesn't even exist? Oh, and before you start, do not tell me about "god's law" There is no god any more than there is a Flying Spaghetti Monster. So just who is issuing this "god's law"? Just another way for a group to control an even larger group through fear, terror, and intimidation.

    October 10, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • Betty

      You sound like an Atheist.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:31 am |
    • Astute

      Oh, that Betty, she's a sharpie, all right...

      October 10, 2011 at 3:44 am |
  15. Sircuts

    Joseph Smith would be in jail today for what he did...and did you see Brigham Young conducted the sermon when he Married a 14 year old girl....no sympathy for these freaks...they give the worst of "cults" a bad name

    October 10, 2011 at 3:19 am |
    • Sircuts

      i don't care what their beliefs are...their web site claims Joseph Smith is a prophet of god...So unless Romney denounces Smith as a prophit of god...he worships a child molester who had 29 wifes and practiced fraud....As far as the blasphemy ...I am sure he is in hell

      October 10, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Most of the characters in the Bible would likewise be in violation of a raft of modern laws. Do you have some kind of point?

      October 10, 2011 at 3:24 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Yep, and George Washington and his crew would have been called insurgents for their actions against the British. Also, Thomas Jefferson cheated on his wife with a few of his slaves. Ghandi's legal letters in support of Apartheid when he was working for the crown in South Africa...

      I am not Mormon but if you hold people from the past to the standards we would be demolishing a bunch of memorials.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:24 am |
    • ?

      Who hurt you, and why are you so angry? If you were confident in your own beliefs wouldn't you want to tell us why they are right and not why everyone eleses are wrong? What do you believe? Anything or just hatred?

      October 10, 2011 at 3:26 am |
    • Sircuts

      my point is...it is a cult has nothing to do with washington or the bible....a child molester is being worshiped as a profit by a candidate for presidency that is my point

      October 10, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • Sircuts

      defend him all you want it is what it is a cult

      October 10, 2011 at 3:29 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      It is not a thing of defending just pointing out that it is not Smith that is being worshiped... if it were it would be the Church of Joseph Smith..... I do believe it is not called that.

      Be careful, hate is a terrible thing..

      October 10, 2011 at 3:32 am |
  16. peter

    "Top Evangelical" Id question that. More like one of the few who doesnt take a stance on the subject of mormonism. Mouw is also a liberal scholar who has been ridculed by other Christians for his stances. He is liked by Mormon scholars bc he is more open to accepting their modern approach to this issue. This is very simple, if Christianity is just the use of words then mormonism would qualify as "Christian" If Christian words have substantive meanings then no, mormonism wouldnt be Christian. Mormonism is the polar opposite of Christianity and Biblical teachings at every angle. Hence the word "restoration" used by mormons. Can I be a mormon and reject all the things it teaches? Restoration, Priesthood, Prophets, the book or mormon, that men can become gods, that theres a plurality of gods, three glories of heaven, no hell, pre existence, jesus is the brother of lucifer, joseph was a prophet the first vision etc? Of course not, theyd never baptize me if i took that position. On the same token, mormonism rejects all the core tenants embraced by Christianity. So theres a huge chasm there. Several denominations, the catholic church, methodist, baptist, greek orthodox, presbyterians, lutherans have all declared it non Christian.Considering they are prominent members of the Christian community, that speaks volumes. What it boils down to is this: either mormonism is Christian and all other Churches arent or the the Christian churches are and mormonism is the impostor, you cant have it both ways. I also find the stance by the mormon church against gay marriage interesting. Stating that gay marriage "isnt marriage" or" unaccceptable" bc it doesnt meet the "criteria" or "qualifications" but yet theres no criteria or qualifications to Christianity? ( and i dont mean the generic use of jesus christ, remember that mormonisms jesus is the brother of lucifer and created, thats not the Jesus of Christianity)? So, we are suppose to believe, for their sake, and only their sake that anything and everything can be Christian? if that is true, and their definition is that anything can be, then theyd have to accept that kind of marriage. That stance would also destroy the purpose of the restoration as well. So I find that position a bit hypocrtical and self seving! A faith is defined by more than its image, it is defined by its beliefs not just the vocabularly used by Cristendom or any faith system.. So call it what you want: cult, new religous movement, unorthodox, pagan, a scam, non christian etc................but one thing is undoubtedly true, based on mormonisms history and theology it is more than safe to say that mormonism is NON Christian and its founder joseph smith was more than disingenuous. I love discussing this issue, if you want to chat more feel free to email plvasquez98@yahoo.com

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

      AMEN! Mormonism IS a cult – and if you just study what the Mormons believe TODAY, it is obvious that they are not Christian and do not believe that Jesus is their savior...

      October 10, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • andrew

      As Mormons have a proud tradtion of being first to conscript into national service they put themselves at odds with Christ's teachings. Jesus taught his followers would be 'no part of the world' (John 15&17) & said that you would know his disciples by ‘the love they have for one another’ (John 13:35) not by their patriotism! How can a Mormon preach on the streets of another country trying to find converts but then be willing to lift up arms against them should it be a call of duty???? Something doesn’t add up & this goes for any so called christian

      October 10, 2011 at 4:11 am |
  17. Apples2Cider

    I am really sorry to say this, but saying that Mormons follow Christ, even by an Evangelical christian is way off the mark. Being a nice, kind person who happens to accept and believe in the 'person' of Christ does not automatically qualify you as a Christian.

    Do the Mormons believe that as sinners, the ONLY way to redemption is to accept the blood of the lamb as a sacrifice for their sins and that there is no other ways of redemption?

    I don't think so and to say that there is enough 'common ground' to overlook the details is diabolical. In the article mentioned above, taking in consideration all the common things, if that was a criteria for deciding this argument then a majority of the so called cults can be considered "Christian" in nature.

    Please stop diluting the word of Christ to suit your own agenda and understand what it means when he says that the road to the Father is not as straight and narrow as everyone promotes it to be.

    October 10, 2011 at 3:15 am |
    • Eviscerted

      Actually, we absolutely believe the only way to return to our father in heaven, is through the sacrafice and attonement of Jesus Christ, and accepting him as our Savior and advocate to the Father.

      I'm curious what makes you think we didn't? I am 36yrs old, and I was taught this as far back as I can remember.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • peter

      you should never be sorry for a position you take. i do disagree with you tho. It sounds like you have watered down understanding of mormonism or the concept of salvation. To answer your questions, no mormonism doesnt teach that through christ you can get to heaven, he only offers physical ressurrection to us. His atonement was not on the cross but in the garden of getsethme and does not cover all sin or grant eternal life. exaltation the mormon equivelant of heave can only be reachedd by obedience to their teachings, going thru the temple and getting married, receiving the priesthood and many other things, its a works based system. And diluting the word of "christ" that should be paid very close attention to when looking at mormonism, their 'jesus' is the spirit brother of lucifer, was born of intercourse between god and mary, was created at some point, is one of many gods and the list goes on. if u really want to learn more go to mrm.org

      October 10, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • Apples2Cider

      Statement by Brigham Young, second prophet of the LDS church:

      "The Scripture says that He, the Lord, came walking in the Temple, with "HIS TRAIN; I do not know who they were, unless his wives and children;" (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13. page 309)

      I am sorry, if the Christ that you as a Mormon, is one that you believe had wives and a family of his own, then you do not believe in the Christ of the Bible, but of a notion a Christ that fulfills your will and purpose. This Christ, that is separate from the truth of the Gospels, is also highly venerated by the Muslims, Buddhists and hundred other cults who would like to hijack the message of the BIble.

      October 10, 2011 at 4:09 am |
    • Andrew H.

      Unequivocally, we, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, believe in Jesus Christ as Savior of ALL mankind. He is the ONLY path that leads back to the Father. No other name , under heaven, is given for the redemption of man. We believe that a man is saved by grace. Unfortunately, our fellow Christian brethren of other faiths stop reading at this point and say,"You see, you are saved by grace, ONLY". Paul says (Eph 2:8-9) that you are "saved by grace, THROUGH FAITH...". We simply believe that Paul did declare a condition of receiving Christ's grace (atonement) and that is "THROUGH FAITH".
      James declared, "Faith without works is dead" just as the body without the spirit is dead. If Paul declared you are saved by grace, through FAITH, and if your FAITH hath no WORKS, has your FAITH any life? And if your FAITH id dead, what hope do you have that you should obtain the GRACE of Jesus Christ?

      Do you believe that you can return to the Father and not be obedient to His commandments? Can you serve two masters? Can you return to the Father and have NO love for Him? "If you love me, keep my commandments."

      When the destroying angel passed over Egypt, those of the covenant (Israel) were told to make a sacrifice. This sacrifice was symbolic of the eventual sacrifice of our savior, Jesus Christ. The Israelite's then had to apply that blood to their homes, in particular, the frame of the entrance door on 3 sides. Notice that it was not enough just to make a sacrifice to be saved from the destroying angel, but they had to APPLY the blood to the door frame. This is very symbolic for the eventual atonement of Christ, it was not enough that he just sacrificed himself, but that we should APPLY his blood on our homes or in our lives. How do we APPLY his atonement (sacrifice)? Through faith in Christ, as Paul declared, and to have true faith, we DO HIS WILL. What is His will? The first and greatest commandment is to LOVE thy God, with ALL thy might, mind and strength and the second is like unto it, LOVE thy neighbor. "If you love me, keep my commandments." That is how we APPLY the blood of the lamb and receive HIS grace, which is the ONLY way to return to the Father and receive eternal life.

      This has always been the doctrine of the church. Never at anytime has it taught that you are saved by "works" alone. As the Prophet Joseph Smith taught," You are saved by grace, after all you can do." Sounds pretty much like what Paul said, " You are saved by grace, through faith." True faith required the action of "do"-ing. It sounds pretty consistent with the doctrine taught by Paul in my opinion.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  18. KentAZ


    "What a sad response. Those persecuted Muslims in Burma would say the same thing. Yet persecution or reviling is no ultimate validation of truth."

    I alluded to that fact in my post. However, my point is that inclusion in mainstream academia is not, contrary to Mouw's contention, a litmus test for the veracity of a denomination's belief system.

    "JW's and Mormons have totally lost the plot with regard to the divinity of Jesus Christ (biblically and historically) [...]"

    Christ's divinity as revealed in the bible is at odds with the later, post-biblical definition inherent to 'historical' nominal Christianity. Not only that, but the concepts and doctrines surrounding the concept of Christ as Almighty God are the product of syncretism and political maneuverings. (For the record, JWs do not–as commonly and erroneously stated–deny the divinity of Christ. What we do deny is the contra-biblical definition of his divinity as co-equality with his Father).

    "[...] as well as the all-sufficiency of his person and work [...]"

    Are you a monergist? That too, is yet another contra-biblical notion.

    "[...] and yet think that they have marvellously discovered the truth some 170 years ago."

    It's more accurate to state that our beliefs represent a restoration of bible truth.

    October 10, 2011 at 3:12 am |
  19. Sircuts

    Daughter of Heber C. Kimball. At aged 14, Helen Mar Kimball wrote,[35]

    "[My father] asked me if I would be sealed to Joseph … [Smith] said to me, ‘If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father's household & all of your kindred.[‘] This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward. … [After the marriage] I felt quite sore over it … and thought myself an abused child, and that it was pardonable if I did murmur."

    October 10, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • Sircuts

      [At age 12 in 1831], [Smith] told me about his great vision concerning me. He said I was the first woman God commanded him to take as a plural wife. … In 1834 he was commanded to take me for a Wife … [In 1842 I] went forward and was sealed to him. Brigham Young performed the sealing … for time, and all Eternity. I did just as Joseph told me to do[.]

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

      Romney's "Profit"

      October 10, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Laugh

      "Mormon or moron" -sircuts.
      This guy is a credible source.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:13 am |
  20. Sircuts


    October 10, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Iowan

      Wikepedia is not a credible source. No credible college professor in the country will allow quotes from Wikepedia in a research paper. The reason, anyone can post anything in wikepedia. I will acknowledge, there is factual information in wikepedia but there is also alot of just plain lies. Ask you doctor or any other medical professional how accurate wikepedia is.

      October 12, 2011 at 3:25 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.