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.

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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.

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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.

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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. Laurie

    I live in Utah where the state is run by the Mormon church. Women are second class citizens. Polygamy is not prosecuted here. The church leader conveniently had a revelation that polygamy was not to be practiced on earth when they found out that Utah would not be given statehood because of the people practicing polygamy. The church leader had a revelation that black people could hold the priesthood – this conveniently happened in the late 70's when the Civil Rights movement finally hit Utah. I believe that in the next century they will have another revelation stating that gay marriage is okay. They have their magic underwear that protects them from evil. If a married couples lives righteously, they can become Gods of their own planet in the celestial kingdom. This religion is crazy. I don't see how anybody could actually believe this crap. God help us if a Mormon is elected president.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Matt

      The ignorance of your comments has me literally laughing out loud. Enjoy wallowing in your own idiotic behavior.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Nat

      The Mormon church does not believe that women are less important than men. I don't know where you see this in Utah, but I can tell you that it's not because of the Mormon church.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • ehms

      "God help us if a Mormon is elected president."

      You're right Laurie, the current Senate Majority Leader is a Mormon and how's that working out for us???

      November 2, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Ute

      My father, an active Mormon, spent 5 years of his life prosecuting polygamy and protecting the rights of those women and children who were pushed into that culture. Utah prosecutes polygamy. I've seen it first hand, case after case.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Faith

      There are zero factual statements in your paragraph.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Norasusan

      What does it matter if we elect a Mormon? Is it any worse than electing a "Christian" who worshiped at a church where his pastor and spiritual adviser was hate-mongerer, racist, terrorist-sympathizer? Any one remember the "good" Rev. Wright? I'm not a Mormon, nor will I ever be one, but it certainly won't prevent me from voting for one. Get real Laurie!

      November 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • hephastia

      It is true that Utah could not become a state unless the Mormons renounced polygamy. It is true that black men could not hold the priesthood until the second half of the twentieth century. It is true that women of any color are denied the priesthood and that special relationship with God. It is true that if a couple meet stringent requirements, they can be sealed in the temple and enjoy an afterlife that others can't.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • G the Man

      calm down mormons the lady is right. I ex-converted bc of all the bs she is stating. you guys are still ignorant and searching for the 'truth' in the wrong areas

      November 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Lead-Eeyah

      @ hephastia: It is also true that the church teaches that women don't need the priesthood because they ALREADY have that relationship with God, inherent in their gender.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Melissa

      "Polygamy is not prosecuted" Give me a break. Why do you think the family from "Sister Wives" TV show fled to Nevada once Utah started looking to prosecute them. Utah is way tougher on polygamists than bordering states. Ask anyone. Do you even live in Utah? As a Mormon, I am appalled by the sheer number of false comments posted here. If this were an article about Jews or Muslims you all would be roasted by public opinion. Why is it OK to bash Mormons? Something is very wrong here.

      November 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • muucavwon

      There is a lot of confusing language surrounding gender in the Church. Men are counseled to "preside over their families", but at the same time are told "husbands and wives are equal partners". President Hinckley said things like, "Husbands, love and treasure your wives. They are your most precious possessions."

      November 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Lisa

      It is true that Utah was not allowed statehood until it renounced polygamy – you Momons on this thread need to do your historical state research and face some truth about this religion. "You can lead a Mormon to truth but you can't make him think."

      November 4, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Imbacnow

      Kudos Laurie! Finally, someone who speaks the truth. Mormons today try to deny the truth surrounding their religion. Most are not even aware of the teachings of their so-called prophets. Its a shame that they have to push the cultural "angle" instead of their true religious beliefs in order to recruit more naive citizens into their cult!

      November 4, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • somehow

      As a converted Mormon I request you get your facts straight. Women are NOT second class citizens but highly revered by men. Show me a man that treats his wife second class and he's NON-Mormon.

      November 6, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  2. RusTnuts

    With the likes of warren jeffs and some others associated with them...it"ll take a lot more than a few billboards to try and change their image. They're a closed society with extreme beliefs a this doesn't change that. Looks like they have lots of money to throw around though. Window dressing....nothing else!

    November 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • RP

      Warren Jeffs nor his father before him were ever members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They created their own form of "religion" decades ago. This has nothing to do with the Mormon church today.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • jdls

      FLDS and LDS (mormons) are about as close as catholics and holy rollers.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  3. David J

    WHO CARES!?!?!?

    November 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Guitfiddel

      I'm so HAPPY NOW that I'm considered to be WORTHY!

      November 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  4. Affirmative Action is Dead

    "Lily-white?" That's a very racist description. Why didn't you also say "crap-brown" or "sludge-black?"

    November 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • queenbee

      Lily–is not a negative connotation but crap and sludge are–what you should ask is why "lily white" and not Maggot white? then sludge brown and crap black might also be appropos.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  5. Jo

    The Mormans like all religions need to take a serious look at what they are claiming as Truth!!! The more we put together their Stories the more they look like fairytales!!!!

    November 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • logan

      do you not believe in miracles? are the stories of jesus performing miracles fairy tales?

      November 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • getyrd

      Uh....yes, they ARE fairytales. Just like "prophets" living for 800 years, a man living in the belly of a whale, and "God" commanding genocide.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • logan

      You can interpret the bible literally or symbolically. Nonetheless, you can gain truth by faithfully searching for answers. I know you have not done this, and you know that as well. Try to learn the things of God from God. He is the ultimate source of knowledge. That is the Core doctrine of the Mormon church, that God is the ultimate source of knowledge and you can go to Him in faith and prayer to receive personal guidance.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • queenbee

      magic underwear....

      November 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Faith

      @queenbee....Unfortunately Bill Maher's attempt at humor has failed. There is no such thing as "Magic Underwear". I know, I don't wear any. It symbolized covenants and promises between myself and God. Nothing more, nothing less. Again, a false and inappropriate statement.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • queenbee

      Faith–what symbolizes covenants and promises? Underwear? And what about the certain levels of attainment? Is that also untrue?

      November 2, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Jeff

      It's fascinating that everything that I have ever learned about Mormons, from Mormons, and from Mormon literature, is so quickly denied by Mormons when people call them out for being "unusual" (to be kind). No magic underwear? Really? I'm sure you don't call it "magic", but the implication is still there. Joseph Smith wasn't a con man before he perpetrated his greatest scam? Come on people. Believe whatever nonsense you like, but acknowledge the truth...

      November 2, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • somehow

      Which would also show that every time a scientists disproves a theory once widely held as truth as a not so exact science. The earth was once scientifically proven to be flat.

      November 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • You don't know what "scientifically proven" means,

      do you? Imbecile.

      November 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  6. WalklikeMan

    Any religion that once taught that minorities were inferior will never work for me. Some of those people are still alive and flourishing in that church and they possibly hold tight to those values. I could never vote for this guy. Their change of heart was during my lifetime, if it had been 150 years ago, well, thats a different story. Same with Catholicism. Its ironic there has never been a colored pope. If there has been, it must have been a long time ago.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • logan

      there are many people of minority in the top leadership of the church, who were chosen by those you claim are "racist." You thoughts are complete speculation and you dont understand

      November 2, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • jdls

      Good luck with your pool of future employees, because of lot of people believed that minorities were infererior in their history.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • queenbee

      Well–how awkward...I'm about to defend the Mormons. Fact is until the late 1800s, Christianity also taught the same verses justified enslaving black people. The verses concerning Noah and his family and the biblical decree were trotted out to justify why slavery was ordained by God and the people doing that were the people keeping slaves.

      No one noticed that Noah's sons would have been the same race (same mom and dad) and that the bible never stated what race the "accursed son " was. Nor did the bible ever account for the later enslavement (repeatedly) of Jews, nor the slaves of the Romans, Greeks, etc. Serfs were no more than slaves with not even rights over the virginity of their daughters (in feudal Europe the Laird, or Lord reserved the right to deflower all females prior to the husbands touching a wife) S0.. where were we? Oh yes–Christianity also indulged in justifying slavery and since the recent slaves were black–they got the stick–but prior to black slaves, Indian slaves were used (from India) and Native Americans were also enslaved–not to mention there were white slaves in America up until the late 1850s.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • LynnC

      How funny... lots of good Christian people also endorsed and wanted to maintain racial discrimination here in the U.S. just in the past 100 years. Go figure. Flawed reasoning, dude.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Tim Lister

      Any theistic religion will never work, period. It's too easy to come up with crazy bigoted rules that people will go along with because it's the "word of God". Before anyone says that religion has positive aspects, the truth is that what you're thinking of has nothing directly to do with religion. A sense of community and moral values, etc. can be achieved without the supernatural nonsense. In fact they already are; most theists just don't realize it. Just ask Thomas Jefferson. That's why he edited out all the fairy tales from his copy of the Bible. The best case scenario is that theistic religion is useless, so why bother with it?

      November 2, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Hmmm...

      Did you just use the term "colored." Wow! I am pretty sure that is offensive to people you are trying to defend.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  7. Brady

    WHen you really stop and think about it, what matters most in life is how we treat others and learning to love unconditionally. Mormon's aren't perfect, but as a whole they are some of the kindest people I know here in Phoenix. Can't we all just get along??... we are afterall, brothers and sisters.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Valentijn

      Their religion includes the belief that Native Americans were white folks that turned brown as punishment for betraying God or something. That does indicated a certain mindset about non-whites.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Stan

      Yeah... and Catholics used to behead people. Get over it. People change. Religions grow up. I for one, am greatful to live in a free society where I can worship God as I desire. Let them all worship as they see fit. I love America

      November 2, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • queenbee

      There is NO SUCH thing as unconditional love–even God does not love unconditionally, if he did he would not destroy certain people or condemn them to hell for failing to serve him or obey his commandments. Love is always conditional otherwise it is not love–it is just blind acceptance.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • somehow

      Valentijn–Where is your proof to that comment?

      November 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  8. Mike


    November 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • dan perry

      I'm sure you've heard guns don't kill people, people kill people. Religion is the same. It doesn't destroy anything. People who don't understand religion destroy things.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • jdls

      That's funny. Ever heard of "love thy neighbor", "do good to those who despitefully use you", "thou shalt not kill, steal, cheat, commit adultury", etc. etc.? That's some really destructive stuff.

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

      Monster world leaders who claimed to be Atheists and killed and tortured MILLIONS: Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Mao Tse Tung, The greatest Mass Murders in recent history.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • queenbee

      dan perry: actually, people who DO understand religion destroy things too. Religion is nothing more than men trying to find a way to pimp belief (make it a money making proposition ) God and Religion are 2 VERY different things. The problem with Religion is it is a vehicle–it can be driven to help people learn and find their way to God–but it also (and often) can be perverted and used to do evil in God's name for the personal power of who wields it: Consider the inquisitions and all the death in the name of God, the Crusades and almost any religious war–the cause is often greed–the rallying cry: " In the name of our faith" The DUPES: Always the faithful who failed to not put their trust in humans. (bible says to put your trust in NO MAN)

      November 2, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • guest

      Hilter was Christian... just saying

      November 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • queenbee

      guest–Hitler was NOT a christian, his mother was reportedly a Jew and Hitler was quoted as saying he had no religion except the Fatherland and that he did not believe in God. "God" was the term invoked by Goebbels to push the people together–Hitler was supposedly not religious at all. Which is probably why he could kill himself (bible teaches suicide is a sin)

      November 2, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • morpunkt

      Sorry to burst you're bubble, disciple of Bill Maher, but atheists have murdered more people, in the last century, than any religious organization in the entire history of mankind, with the names of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.

      November 3, 2011 at 1:46 am |
  9. cardoorcar

    I think we have to remember to treat each other with respect. Every human being deserves that no matter the color, race, religion, or based on what foods you like to eat. We are all individuals trying to have a good life while here on earth. Lets make the best of it.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Jeff


      November 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
  10. WillH85

    Funny how many mormons there are that aren't white when the religion used to preach against them and say that they were marked or something because they didn't fight against Satan. But I guess if they want to follow some cult nobody can stop them.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Zack Nelson

      I'm mormon and I've never been taught that people of a different color were marked because they didn't fight against Satan...kind of sounds like something you'd learn in a cult...

      November 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • jdls

      The reason there are a lot of Mormons who aren't white, is that they studied the history, doctrine, and beliefs in depth. As opposed to so many people who comment here, whose belief is built on sound bites.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Moira

      Zack, I hate to burst your bubble but as a young Mormon in the 60's, I was DEFINITELY taught in Sunday School that in the Great War in Heaven (you know, when Jesus and Lucifer, had different ideas of how to get all of us back from our "mortal" lives on Earth) the spirits who were on Jesus' side were able to come to Earth with bodies (Us), spirits who were on Lucifer's side are now his minions and without bodies (Evil Spirits) and those who were "fence sitters" accepted inferior bodies so they could come and have a body (Blacks). I must admit, though, I don't remember anything said about Asians. But Native Americans were definitely cursed with the dark skin because of Laman and Lemuel.

      November 3, 2011 at 12:38 am |
  11. Washingtonian

    There's a reason there are so few black Mormons. Mormon 'theology' teaches that people with black skin bear the 'mark of Cain' and are inferior. It's a false religion that does not resemble Biblical Christianity whatsoever.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • logan

      that doctrine comes from the old testament... nice try.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Scott Hill

      Sure, but everybody knows Jesus was probably black. You all know that right?

      November 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • JSA

      True, Jesus must have had very, very dark skin. I can see all the Mormons cringe thinking about that.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • rich

      Actually, the black = mark-of-cain theory originated in protestant churches as justification for discrimination. Although some mormon members might have incorrectly believed this and perhaps even mistakenly taught it, the church leadership has indicated that this is COMPLETELY FALSE. It is absolutely not church doctrine.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Jeff

      Rich: Any more.

      November 2, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  12. Mom

    Black people weren't allowed to be mormons until 1976

    November 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • UTJoe

      This is true. LDS only allowed Blacks into the religion because the US gov't was going to take away their religious tax-exemption status for discriminating.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • logan

      Thats not correct. Black werent allowed to hold the priesthood. But some of the first members of the church were black.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:14 pm |

      If you believe the Mormon religion is so racially integrated then take a look at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on YouTube and see how many blacks are in the choir…..

      November 2, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Ashley

      You have to live within a certain number of miles of Salt Lake City to be in the choir because of rehearsal schedules, etc. Look at the ethnic make-up of Utah and you'll understand why the choir looks the way it does. It has nothing to do with the religion and everything to do with the people who happen to live in the state.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Collin

      There are several african americans in the choir.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  13. independentlyowned

    Once a religion has to have ad campaigns to defend their racial diversity, you know it's bad. If they really were diverse, people would know. You wouldn't need billboards. Showing your token handful of blacks and Latinos as poster children doesn't actually mean you're diverse, especially seeing as the religion blatantly discriminated against other races until only very recently.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • logan

      you are wrong. more than half of the population of the church is outside of the u.s. Obviously the church is very diverse. I lived in Chile for two years as a missionary and served with 12 different companions. only one of them was from the states.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Kenn

      You realize that there are 14 million Mormons in the world and only 6 million in the US right? 3 million are in Central and South America... which would make them pretty much not white. So about 1/4 of the Mormon population is of Latin American ethnicity. Not mention all the Mormons in Asia and India.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • JSA

      The Mormon church had to go out to third world countries to get members. Why? Maybe because they speak very little English and were told great things and never told the history of what the church really is and where it comes from.

      November 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  14. Ray

    whacky...yes they are nice while they try to recruit you. once you tell them you have no interest....not so nice!

    November 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Eric

      Mormons should love everyone, even people like you who exagerate and speak untruths.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Ashley

      I apologize if you were ever treated unkindly by a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints simply because you don't have an interest in converting to our faith.

      I grew up in Los Angeles as the only member of the church in my high school, had very few LDS friends and many friends of other faiths I loved and respected. I served a mission for the Church and met many good people I had much respect for who had no interest in joining our church. I now live in a neighborhood in San Diego filled with people not of my faith who I care for and treasure as friends and neighbors.

      I hope you will forgive one unkind person's actions and that you will soon have the opportunity to meet a Mormon who lives by his or her beliefs of loving and respecting all mankind.

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

      Interesting Ray...I actually know some Mormons (not one myself) and my experience is that they are very kind. I know "Family Guy" probably doesn't tell you about kindness. So, get out...talk to a Mormon and find out for yourself.

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

      How kind is it to not allow non-members to attend weddings inside your temple? In my church all are welcome.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Tabiltha

      Exactly Ray......that is exactly what happened to my daughter. After she decided against being baptized the missionaries harrassed her with late night phone calls and they were not nice.

      November 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  15. DivineChef

    Who cares?

    November 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  16. Sybaris

    Yeah, I've kinda noticed a deluge of Mormon ads on TV ever since.......................... Romney started to be the GOP frontrunner, duh.

    Regardless, religion can't be taken seriously much less one that believes American Indians are Jews

    November 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • lee

      Romney has been the Republican front-runner since the day McCain lost. This add campaing has only been going on less than a year, not the past 3.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • jdls

      Mormons don't believe american indians are jews.

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

      The timing of these ads is meant to help Romney's campaign. It's not religion, it's politics.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  17. Hahaha

    I guess I'm glad they got away from the scary old white guy image. It was scary.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  18. Aleece M.

    I'm happy to see some fair and honest reporting of who Mormons really are... honest, hard working, family oriented, and very Christian. Thanks CNN.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Ray

      THEY ARE NOT CHRISTIAN. Christians don't believe that a once human god lives on planet Kolob with his wives... Mormons do.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • logan

      Im sorry Ray, but it sounds like you are mixed up in your understanding of mormon doctrine.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Sam

      Ray, I've been attending 5-10 hours of church a week, plus taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ 24×7 for 2 years as a missionary, and I've never heard a sentence that Ray wrote. Find out the truth – mormon.org

      November 2, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • JSA

      Ok, Then explain how Christians believe in Jesus having been to this part of the world.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  19. worldwidet

    CNN is really going after the religions; yesterday CNN ragged on the Amish, today its Mormons and the Catholics have been news fodder for a while....What other religions can be picked on...oh yeah, Muslim and Islam...those are always easy pickins'...

    November 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Mac

      This report didn't come off to me as picking on anyone.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • cardoorcar

      Agreed. They do it on purpose to stir the pot and MAKE the news not report it.

      November 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Monica

      Well, this is the Belief Blog...

      November 2, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Lin

      I don't think it is CNN that has been doing the majority of the "picking on". It's mostly the commentators who get on here and vent their hate and/or ignorance. Mostly hate.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  20. WhackyWaco

    Mormons are some of the nicest and best people with very good work ethics that I have ever met.

    November 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Ashley

      I'm so glad to see SOMEONE has had a good experience with mormons they have met! It makes me so sad when I see how many people have been offended by people of my faith.

      November 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Joseph Smith was a con man - read about the Kirtland Bank failure

      I agree...most of my in-laws are LDS, and I love them, and they're mostly good people. However, they also live in SLC and are so encapsulated by the church, have never known anything different, yet still have a testimony...hogwash!

      It still amazes me how people can believe that a plain and simple con man named Joseph Smith was given the "new" holy scripture for the people in the Americas. So foolish...but of course they don't tell you all of the outlandish stuff up front (i.e. multiple wives in heaven). They say you're not ready for that at the beginning. So you only hear the beautiful things at first...they call it "meat before milk." WHAT A CROCK!

      November 2, 2011 at 3:35 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.