With 'I'm a Mormon' campaign, church counters lily-white image
Ruth Williams passes out bulletins at the Third Ward in Washington, D.C., a diverse Mormon church.
November 2nd, 2011
11:32 AM ET

With 'I'm a Mormon' campaign, church counters lily-white image

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - The scene at a Mormon congregation here on a recent Sunday would surprise Americans who think of Mormons as young white missionaries in stiff white shirts, black ties and name tags.

Yes, there are white missionaries handing out bulletins at Washington’s Third Ward - what Mormons call their congregations - but there's also Ruth Williams, an elderly African-American woman, decked out in her Sunday best, doing the same.

White, black, Asian and Hispanic Mormons mingle before the service begins. As it gets under way, an African-American tween plays a video game on his smartphone in one pew as a 30-something white woman across the aisle taps away on her iPad.

How Mitt Romney's Mormon faith helped shape him

On this Sunday, the Sacrament - what Mormons call the remembrance of the Last Supper and what other Christians call Communion - is said in French, a nod to the area's burgeoning West African population.

It is not a special multicultural celebration Sunday. For this growing Mormon congregation in northeast Washington, it's just another weekend.

“It’s 30% Caucasian, 30% African-American, and the rest is a combination of first-generation immigrants from around the world,” says Bishop Robert Nelson, the lay leader of this congregation.

A diverse group of congregants from the Third Ward listens to a sermon.

Washington's Third Ward is a near mirror image of the diverse neighborhood it serves, jarring with the Mormon Church's image as a faith-based club for upper-class whites.

Explain it to me: What's Mormonism?

And the Mormon Church, officially called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says the ward represents the diverse face of modern Mormonism, a message it has been trying to spread as part of a yearlong nationwide push to counter its lily-white image.

Since January, the LDS Church has spent millions on an "I'm a Mormon" advertising campaign that features television commercials, billboards and bus signs with Mormons from African-American, Asian, Latino and other ethnic backgrounds. Just last month, the campaign entered 11 new major media markets in Texas, Indiana, Nebraska, Washington, Georgia and Arizona, hitting cities like Atlanta, Denver and Phoenix.

(You won't be seeing the ads in Iowa, South Carolina or Florida. With Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, both Mormon, competing in the Republican presidential primaries, the church says it wants to steer clear of politics.)

The Mormon Church even used the ad campaign to launch a shot across the bow of the hit Broadway musical "The Book of Mormon," buying a digital "I'm a Mormon" billboard just down the street from the theater where the show is playing.

The musical satire, co-produced by the creators of the television show "South Park," shows earnest white American Mormon missionaries and their misadventures in proselytization in Africa.

But the billboard shows a very different face of Mormons. There is an African-American couple playing Frisbee on the beach, a Latino grandfather and granddaughter, a goateed motorcycle sculptor.

Opinion: Who says Mormons aren't Christian?

An official church website, Mormon.org, lets those interested in the church search for Mormons from diverse ethnic backgrounds and features videos from the likes of black soul singer Gladys Knight and Brandon Flowers, frontman for the rock band The Killers.

"It's to say, 'We're like you,' " said Kathleen Flake, a religious scholar from Vanderbilt Divinity School. "It's an attempt to combat stereotypes so that absolutely people are more open to see the normalcy of Mormonism."

The LDS Church says its attempt at an image makeover is as much a reflection of demographic reality as it is a PR effort. While young white missionaries may still be Mormonism's public face in the United States, they are no longer fully representative of the Salt Lake City-based church.

“Our doctrine is we’re all sons and daughters of God," says Stephen Allen, managing director of the LDS Church's missionary department. "Skin color or anything else is not a significant issue to us.”

Video: Defining Mormonism

As head of global missions, Allen supervises the 52,000 19- to 25-year-old missionaries knocking on doors around the world.

He's also executive director of the “I’m a Mormon” campaign, which began in nine markets this year.

“In terms of targeting, we’re not specifically targeting or avoiding any particular group," Allen says. "We send our missionaries all over the world to anywhere people will listen.”

As the church’s efforts to win converts has expanded internationally, “following the American flag around the world,” as Flake puts it, the LDS Church has grown more diverse.

“We’re in most of the free world right now,” Allen says. "We have a presence in Russia and Ukraine and the Baltic countries. We have a growing presence in Africa ... Nigeria, Kenya … then we have, Japan, Korea, Taiwan. There are small congregations in India, and the church is growing in those places.”

The church's membership has doubled since 1988, to 14.1 million Mormons worldwide.  Six million Mormons live in the United States. Many of the church's members live in the American West and Northwest, in some of the whitest states in the country.

But like many other churches, there has been explosive growth in the LDS Church in Latin America. There are more than a million Mormons in both Mexico and Brazil. There are nearly a million Mormons in Asia and 300,000 in Africa, according to church statistics.

“This attempt to emphasize diversity and to emphasize a wide range of people who are Mormon does reflect, in a lot of ways, what’s been going on in reality for a while,” says Matthew Bowman, an editor at a Mormon studies journal called Dialogue.

Even in the United States, the perception of who Mormons are has changed.

“We’ve done a lot of research to see what people think of us and what their perception is,” Allen says. “Twenty-five or 30 years ago, if you said, ‘When you think of the word Mormon, what comes to mind?’ the answer would have been Mormon Tabernacle choir, polygamists, racists, the Osmonds [singers Donny and Marie].”

While that's less the case today, Allen says many people still don't know what a Mormon looks like - or don't know that there are Mormons from minority backgrounds.

A spokesman for the church said it doesn't keep statistics on members' race or ethnicity.

But “it’s no longer just a predominantly white church,” Allen says. “In our early history, you know, it was founded in upstate New York in the United States and was very much a white congregation, but today it’s very diverse.”

The complexion of the average Mormon ward reflects the neighborhood where the building resides. “Mormon wards are not self-selecting,” says Richard Bushman, a visiting professor at the School of Religion of Claremont Graduate University. “In Mormon congregations, they are just geographical boundaries, and wherever you live, you go to church.”

There is no church shopping. Congregants can’t go to another ward if they don’t like the music or the doughnuts at the social hour, as in many other faith traditions.

In Washington's Third Ward, two new converts who had recently been baptized were welcomed into the church on a recent Sunday. Both women were young African-Americans. The men who formed a circle around them and prayed over them were all white.

Unlike the ward, the church's global leadership in Salt Lake City is mostly white.

It was not until 1978 that African-Americans could serve in priesthood positions in the church, a prohibition that extended back to Mormon leader Brigham Young in the 1850s.

"When you see in that ad campaign Mormons, including African-Americans, they are trying to  communicate against that stereotype that Mormons are racist, there's no question about this," says Vanderbilt's Flake. "They are trying to say, 'That's not fair. That is not who we are. Even if we were, we are not now.' "

Allen says the "I'm a Mormon" campaign was designed to assist the small army of young Mormon missionaries out knocking on doors.

"Our feeling was anything we could do to help them was really important," he says. "And helping them means softening people’s hearts.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Jon Huntsman • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics • United States

soundoff (2,530 Responses)
  1. Brad Hall

    ... and again with the crazy mormon hating comments.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  2. person

    Any self hating Native Americans who used to be white but had their skin changed brownish because they disobeyed god? No? No one? Well, if you're Native American, you're inferior and should be white....THE PROPER SKIN COLOR. Joseph Smith said so...you know, because he spoke to that Indian guy that one night who told him so....whom no one else has ever communicated with.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Cory

      I think it's very interesting that some "no-account" Joseph Smith (a nondescript farmboy born in 1805) still has such influence as to make you (a non-member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) take the time to write a comment like this. Why do you suppose his name produces such fierce opposition, so many years after his death? Why do you suppose this church continues to be more and more relevant every year? Must be puzzling to you that a religion with such opposition could continue to flourish. If half of the junk said about the gospel was true, it would have failed decades ago. The Lord's work cannot be stopped. The Adversary has always been very busy stirring up people against this church. There's only one reason. Jesus Christ stands at the head of this work. The winds will blow and the ignorant will bash, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ will continue to fill the whole earth.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • person

      Cory, you do realize all you're doing is trying to justify mass delusion and lunacy, correct?


      November 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • person

      Actually I'm not done laughing at your insane world view yet


      November 2, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  3. Echo Rogers

    As an ex-Mormon, I find it both disturbing and entertaining that the LDS church has any reason for this extensive PR spin. You'd think they were a business trying to recruit new customers...

    November 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  4. Arturo Mahfouz

    The Mormons, by default, have never truly welcomed people of color.

    2 Nephi 5:21 "And he [God] had caused the cursing to come upon them ... wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."

    Moses 7:22 "And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them."

    Abraham 1:21-26 "Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth. From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land. The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden; When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land. Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal. Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessing of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  5. todd in DC

    Oh yeah? Well my invisible sky daddy can beat up your invisible sky daddy.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      Good thing the true God isn't an "invisible sky daddy".

      November 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  6. Julia Native American

    It's a free country, but I could never be a mormon, their belief that the only way a woman can go to heaven is thru the good works of her husband is not something I could tolerate, Wow, the only man I need to get into heaven is Jesus. Equal right for all women, men, all races and religions.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Wes

      Again, to find the truth visit mormon.org... you CAN get to heaven without the works of a man... it's all up to you.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • ehms

      Sorry Julia, but as a life-long Mormon of 40+ years I've never heard this doctrine.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  7. Randy

    As expected, the author needs to do more research to accurately portray Mormons. They aren't Christians, they are a cult. Christians (real ones) follow the Bible and Jesus the Son of God, not a single human who gets a book only he can decipher.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • LP

      While I don't agree defend Mormon beliefs (or any religious beliefs,for that matter), you need to check your facts as well. Mormons do believe the writings of the bible (King James version), and they do believe Jesus is the son of god. As for your criticism of their book, you are the pot calling the kettle black: the bible itself may have been inspired by belief in god, but it was written by humans and heavily edited before it became the book you know today.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  8. Tim

    I will always be suspect of the so-called church. They did not allow african-americans to serve in priesthood positions until 1978 and allow african-americans in their church (as members of the faith) until 1972!! That's 39 yrs which is a number smaller than my age. I belive the question is, "have they changed their doctrine to reflect inclusion of others who are not white?" This article mentions the congregation in NW Washington DC. Of course, this is the case. DC has one of the most diverse populations in the world! Travel to any city/town in Utah and I doubt you will find diversity! I am not a Religious Study's professor or any authority on the subject. Just one who has a vast interest in Race and Religion in the USA!

    November 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  9. Sarcasmo

    Sweet merciful crap this country is completely obsessed with what people are. White, black, Islamic, Mormon, gay, straight, Republican, Democrat, rich, poor, skinny, fat.

    United we stand my a**.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Thinkformyself

      The Mormons DIVIDE! They DO NOT UNITE! There is ZERO "United we Stand" in their dogma. They think that everyone else is doomed and lost. THAT is divise!

      November 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • LP

      @ThinkforMyself: The divisiveness you describe is true of nearly every religion; it is certainly not unique to the LDS church. Almost all the religions practiced by humankind purport to be the one true religion and that everyone who does not subscribe to its teachings is doomed.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Does It Matter?

      Sarcasmo, you are my hero!

      November 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • cgoodinworld

      I agree we should be united and be able to discuss these issues respectfully. I'm ok hearing both side we need to if we are to find truth! As for myself I have read the book of mormon and the bible and they both testify of christ if you read the book of mormon you will see it also testifies of christ! We should be united and build each other up and it is ok to have differences of opinions.

      November 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  10. Bill the Cat

    Wow... is that Brigham Young that they threw under the bus?

    “Our doctrine is we’re all sons and daughters of God," says Stephen Allen, managing director of the LDS Church's missionary department. "Skin color or anything else is not a significant issue to us.”

    “You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race–that they should be the ‘servant of servants;’ and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree. How long is that race to endure the dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof. Until the last ones of the residue of Adam’s children are brought up to that favorable position, the children of Cain cannot receive the first ordinances of the Priesthood.”–Brigham Young.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Dan

      Yeah. Plus, regardless of their campaign to show their inclusiveness, they think balck people are ugly and cursed to be ugly by God. "And [God] had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. And thus saith the Lord God; I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities." (2 Nephi 5:21)"

      November 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • BK

      And that is just ONE of many ignorant early mormonism's doctrine building processes.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Davis

      I'm pretty sure they don't adhere to that Young statement made a long time ago. Nice try.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Bill the Cat


      Of course they don't. Too bad Young was the Prophet, and was claiming to speak for God at the time. It's common knowledge that the early Mormon doctrines are thrown under the bus by modern "revelation" when political pressure is applied. The Polygamy ban was only in response to the US denying Utah statehood if they continued the practice.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  11. noemi

    In 1978 there leader had a vision to allow blacks to hold the preist hood.this ONLY happened because the blacks were going to sue there cult for not allowing them in.yes they have a lot of only due to the fact that if u don't pay your 10 percent they well come after u like a credit or bank comp.would. For payment.now they marry all kind of races due to the fact there kids were all being born with some form of mongelisum.or special needs.there a sick cult.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • RP

      Sorry Noemi you have been grossly misinformed by someone with bad intent. No one will come and collect 10% like a credit company would do. All donations are offered without any threat of retribution. As for children born with special needs, I would guess that these cases are about the same as those of any other group in this country.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  12. The Mormon Truth

    What about the Mormon seminaries built on public high school campuses in Utah, Idaho and Arizona?

    Does Mitt support other churches on public school grounds too?

    November 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Bob

      You are misinformed. Mormon seminaries are not built on school property and are typically separated from schools by a fence. Students may attend seminary classes during release time from high school (time given to all students), but they are not required to do so. Attending a seminary class does not appear on a high school transcript and does not figure into a grade point average. The only reason seminary buildings are built close to high schools in the intermountain west is because there are so many Latter-day Saint students. In areas where there are fewer LDS students, they may take seminary classes in their local church buildings or at home. Seminary is separate and distinct from public education and is optional for LDS students.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  13. BK

    Truth is that Mormon theology is a fabrication. It's the elephant in the room for people who have an inkling of understanding of what the Bible says. Those who are religiously ignorant of religion should keep thier mouth shut cause they formulate opinions based on worldviews that are built on foudations of subjective amoral relativity and not on historical written manuscripts that have stood the test of time backed with cultural and oral traditions. Some idots on here act like "God" is a newly made up paradigm. Point is, the church of LDS is a THEOLOGICAL CULT. Take the top theological scholar from each side (Bible vs Book of mormon), and the LDS church loses everytime. Everytime.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • sceptic

      Just like christianity in general.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What makes the Mormon's Book III of the Bible any less credible than Book II?

      November 2, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Davis

      Truly ignorant statement by you, BK. Since you are talking about a book wherein the books were not put into a chronological order by men. Also, one in which men were abridging it and trying to revise it. Kind of fitting it to their own views.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • BK

      @sceptic, u see, you just proved my point. This is not an argument based on genralities and subjective ideas. These are specifics the refute and disassemble the mormon faith. Dont be ignorant of religion and afraid of formulationg a world view that has substance. you do yourself a diservice.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • TheTruth

      People believe in those books because of tradition and their weakness to seek the truth or question their reality. Take a physics and/or Chemistry class and you will learn more about life then you ever could from a 2000 year old book...

      November 2, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  14. Marti

    sad how evangelical biggots forget to mention that catholiocs cut off heads, baptists wore white hoods, illinois crazies murderded joe smith and his brother, etc etc etc. Every religion has their skeletons... only the radicals think they are the Lord's annointed... the Mormon's c ertainly don't. Great Article CNN.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      If you think that Mormons don't think they have the most truth, and that only they will receive exaltation to godhood, you are a liar.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • sarah

      Don't believe that some evangelical leaders would hesitate to call Catholics "un-christian". It just didn't come up.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • ehms

      Bill, Mormons believe that all mankind has the opportunity to salvation through Jesus Christ. The pathway to salvation is that you start with a foundational belief in Jesus Christ and his role as your Savior. You are then baptized by a person authorized by Him to perform the baptism as a sign that you will follow Christ and His teachings. Essentially, the baptism is the execution of a covenant between you and Christ that you will follow Him and in return He will apply his atoning sacrifice for your salvation. You also receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (often referred to as the Holy Spirit) to sustain you in a life of faith and to guide and protect you on your life's journey. You then live your life in accordance with the commandments. When you mess up you repent. The LDS church claims to be the only church that the authority to baptize in Christ's, and thus enter this pathway to salvation. But membership in the church is not the key to salvation. It is the exercise of faith in Christ. Again, that is available to all mankind, not just Mormons.

      If you don't have an opportunity to enter this pathway during your lifetime, then our Savior has provided a way that you can still enter this pathway and receive His salvation. Some people derisively call this posthumous baptism. In the church (and in the Bible) this is called baptism for the dead. If you think about it, it make sense that everyone will eventually have the opportunity to be saved through the same method. Through the same authority. That is what Paul meant when he told the Ephesians that there salvation comes through "One lord, one faith, one baptism." (Ephesian 4:5) See also 1 Corinthians 14:33 ... "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace ...."

      November 2, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      ehms, in LDS thought, salvation and exaltation are two COMPLETELY different subjects with the latter requiring many additional acts

      November 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      Oh, and as to post-mortem salvation...

      Luke 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’

      Once you are in your destination after death, there is no chance to cross over to the other side.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  15. Frank

    Oh look, it's a 501(c)(3) cult's political campaign.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  16. Reality

    The bulletin that should be passed out at all churches, mosques, temples and synagogues !

    WARNING- Don't Become Victims of the Infamous Angelic Con:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  17. Olypoly

    Although I'm not American, I am a member of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. I have been following the Republican presidential campaigns with some regularity and noting all the offbase commentary regarding the church. So I want to add some of my own comments:

    1. I believe in an all knowing, all powerful, all loving God who is the creator of this world and the human family. He is my Heavenly Father. As a father I love my children without reservation, as does my Heavenly Father love me. He wants me to return home to live with Him, along with all of his children. I believe that my Heavenly Father has provided, and continues to provide, instruction and revelation to his children here on earth to guide them on their way back home. Why does he do this? Because he loves all of us. For those who say there is no more revelation, there can be no more revelation, deny the ultimate power and glory that is due to our Father in Heaven. If he wants to talk with us, he can and will!!

    2. Many religious denominations have symbolic and sacred ceremonial clothing (Muslim, Hindu, Catholic, Jewish). The difference between these religions and the LDS church is that other religions wear their's on the outside. I have never understood the non-LDS fascination with the underwear I wear. I am not flaunting it to anybody, it is sacred to me and serves as a reminder of sacred promises made between me and my Father in Heaven. If people want to bash a faith because of it's apparel, why are all other religious denominations off limits.

    3. While the global economy is tanking and has been for a couple years now, and American can no longer boast at being the super power it once was, I am astonished that perhaps the most qualified economic candidate running for the U.S. presidency was overlooked three years ago, and looks like he may face the same fate in 2012, because people can't get over the own ignorance and misunderstanding of the religion he belongs to.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Frank


      November 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Reality

      This prayer should help:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


      November 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  18. Jay

    sub-cult of a larger cult. that's it.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  19. Dallas

    I believe that one of the greatest things taught in The Book of Mormon is that contention does not come from Jesus Christ but from the devil. Please do not allow Satan to win over your hearts by stirring people up to anger towards one another, fighting about a religion or a people you do not fully understand. Most of the comments are filled with hate and ignorance. Most of the comments I have read tell of things that are obvious misconceptions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. No matter what religion you belong to or if you do not belong to one at all, freedom of religion should not be attacked because you do not agree with or understand why people choose to believe the things they do. Your time need not be wasted on letting Satan take away your happiness or the happiness of someone else. If you truly want to find out for yourselves what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believe, you should visit http://www.lds.org, http://www.mormon.org, or visit with a member or missionary from that church.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Frank

      Go away, cult boy.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  20. Must be something to It

    There is obviously something resonating with diverse people from all over the world for them to choose Mormonism as their religion. Growth of 14 million people in 33 years cannot be glossed over. That is a lot of people believing what Mormons are teaching about Jesus Christ, the atonement, and their other doctrines. What's right with Mormons must outweigh what's wrong.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • dave

      I don't care if the lds get 30 million new converts this year. Doesn't change the fact that the book of mormon is a fabrication.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Thinkformyself

      NOT TRUE! The Mormon church is having A VERY HARD TIME CONVERTING PEOPLE and MOST that join QUIT! MY nephew is on a Mormon mission in Italy and he hasn't been able to brainwash one single person! They are CLOSING down missions all over the world.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:07 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.