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. Abinadi

    I just want to say that I am so grateful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has brought me and my family great happiness and stability. Life is full of disappointments and rejections. It is so nice to go to church every Sunday and feel the love and compassion of neighbors and friends and leaders who really care. Prayer has been my anchor and I always know that the Lord will help me out in any bind. Thank-you, oh Lord, for this gospel of Jesus Christ!

    November 2, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Brad

      Then, if you have found Christ, may you become mature in Christ. Stay close to him and only him. The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace."

      November 3, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  2. Reality

    Putting the final kibosh on religion to include Facebook Christianity in less than 300 words: Priceless!!!

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    A quick Google, Bing or Yahoo search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves religions.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    November 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  3. Jeremy

    This whole ad campaign sickens me. It is a pathetic attempt by the all wise leadership of this church to prove to the world they are something they are not – diverse. Mormonism is an exclusive club and there are stringent rules to being LDS and if you don't tow their line, you really are not welcome. If Mormonism is the way to heaven then I'd rather be in hell thanks anyway. I just cannot stand this religion. It's the wolf in sheep clothing of good, caring nature and a happy go-lucky lifestyle. The leaders are pompous arrogant asses who care little for the individual and more about the masses taking on the banner of Mormonism.
    And then there's THE PROPHET – that's right ladies and gentlemen – Joseph Smith. Our God anointed teenage girl molester man of God. One wife was never enough for him and he never knew a dollar he could keep a hold of. Joseph according to Mormonism is second only to Jesus Christ in the Great Human scheme of things. And I don't want hear any member deny that either. It’s part of the doctrine and is taught freely within the church. He is in fact so important that you cannot attain a life with God the Eternal Father without JOSEPH’S approval. And don’t try to denying that little fact either members.
    How self conceited are you when you build a religion and base every member’s salvation upon your acceptance of them. That is the true definition of narcissism. And how can “The love of God” abide in such self-aggrandizement. The real truth about Mormonism is the egomaniacal principles and ordinances that you must obey and subject yourself to in order to live in a Heaven that was really made for Mormons only anyway. That’s right folks; God is really just a prejudiced Mormon wondering when you will see the Mormon Light! Happy Times
    So this whole ad campaign of diversity is just a back-track of poor messaging and branding from the all smug/all knowing Mormon General Authorities. Had they put a little thought into their message beforehand they wouldn’t be in this “Lily-White Image” predicament.

    November 2, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Highside

      The ads are not about race, never have been, its about souls and helping people. The church is growing faster than it ever has, and if you ever met mormons, image means nothing. Our ancestors were murdered for what they believe, thanks to our Lord for the internet and communication so people see the TRUTH. You truly do ridicule a people who would do anything for you, the people who would help you when you need it, visit you often and truly care about you. More lives are blessed every day, and souls are closer to Jesus Christ and God due to these ads. If you truly knew the truth, you'd be flying your own banner! Find out the truth – mormon.org

      November 3, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Jeremy

      How about you start telling some truth. These ads are about the cultural and racial diversity in the mormon congregation. If you don’t have the courage or the sense enough to see that, then the problem is yours. I guess to know the truth doesn't always mean you'll have the courage to tell the truth. Highside? – Exactly what side you're high on is very apparent by the size of your own spiritual ego. The pretence of charity can never erase the true heart or intention of a religious organization. And no, I do not need to meet any more Mormons than I already have; both sides of my family are rooted in this particular faith, and even I at one time belonged to this vile pile of judgmental bigotry – but no more. I spewed it forth from my mouth like the lukewarm water spoken of in Revelations 3:16. I reiterate what I said in my original post – if Mormonism is the heavenly way – I'd rather be in HELL. I want nothing to do with Joseph Smith’s religion ever again. Your founding prophet was a filthy molester of young girls and an embezzler of his own congregation’s life savings. Some fruits! My own ancestors died for this man and his church and it sickens me. And yet mormons Hail this filthy man in a particular hymn as a prophet "who communed with Jehovah." I want no part of this wretched man, and no part of the church he founded. It doesn’t matter how fast the mormon church is growing. A lie is a lie, and I’ll fly that banner anytime.

      November 3, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  4. BW

    I continue to seek after good things – I believe I lived with God but exisited in a spirit form before I came to gain a body in this life. I believe I am here now being tested and proved as to whether or not I will once again live with Him. If I stumble and fall (which no doubt I have and will again) I am grateful for the gospel that teaches love, forgiveness and tolerance of others. I don't mind the rules that keep me on the right path. I have found that most people that are uncomfortable with other's beliefs being different from theirs, lack those three elements of life – love, forgiveness and tolerance of others. I pray they gain them – somewhere – anywhere. I found them in the Mormon church.

    November 2, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  5. tallulah13

    Until the day a middle-aged woman knocks on my door. sporting a name tag that says "Elder" and wanting to teach me about her faith, I will continue to believe that the mormon church is full of ugly biases. I've had far too many boys barely out of their teens knocking on my door, trying to convert me. A wise culture chooses it's elders by age and experience. A foolish religion chooses their elders by positioning of their reproductive organs.

    November 2, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  6. Bonnie

    All these comments about god make me want to puke. There is no god. So to state what your god believes is just plain silliness.

    Mormonism like every other religion is just one more man made group telling people how they should believe. All religions are just b.s.

    November 2, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  7. tnmtl

    They make me sick. All the PR in the world (and they are really good at it) will never change the fact they believe among other things: Native Americans are descendents of Jews, Native Americans are "dark" because their ancestors were punished for being bad, the garden of Eden was in Missouri, that temple-going Mormons will become gods, and that ALL other Christian denominations were/are inspired by Satan. And white Utah Mormons are some of the most racist people I've ever known, even going as far as believing people are born in Africa because they were bad spirits before they came into this life (and of course the "best" spirits are born in the church in Utah). Above all, the church is ultimately spending loads of money to get one of their own into the white house. Beware... Romney will be Mormon first and American second! (ps: i've been to the temple, on a mission, and graduated from BYU)

    November 2, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • ks

      you're bigotry makes me sick. Why don't you pray to your television to make Mormons go away.

      November 2, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Jeep

      "Christian denominations were/are inspired by Satan" False.
      Which BYU and Temple did you go to?? Mormons do NOT believe that all other churches come from Satan. They actually believe in tolerance and love of other religions. Mormons believe that there are many who are inspired and receive the light of Christ despite not being mormon. Get

      November 2, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  8. Dan Combs

    Here are the facts. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We believe in continuing revelation. We believe in the same organization as the primitive church. Apostles, and prophets, etc. The church today has a living prophet on the earth today, whom provides continuing revelation to lead, guide, and protect from the cunning and deceiving firery darts of the adversary. They also have 12 modern day apostles, whom lead, love, and provide service to their members and people around the world. With over 14 million members world wide. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints are usually the first ones on the ground when natural disasters occur, not because they want recognition, but because it is the nature of the church to do so. To serve our fellowman.

    November 2, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • BK

      @DanCombs, how can the LDS church reconcile the inaccuracies of the book of mormon and its theological/archelogical/scriptual errancy with God's holy word over the last 6000 yrs. It's an absurd story that the LDS promotes and people inherantly know its flawed. The only reason the LDS church has legs is because Joseph Smith plagiarized the holy scriptures and commited a horrible deception.

      November 2, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  9. BK

    Really, everytime someone disproves or disagrees with a mormon about some or all theological error on the part of LDS doctine it's bigotry? Really? Huh...Really? wow. Must be a new salt lake city headquarters mandate. Wow. Really? Bigots....Really?

    November 2, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • tnmtl

      Thank you!! They always cry fowl, but always fail to mention they believe ALL other Christian denominations were/are inspired by Satan. And they really need to look in their Utah back yard at the all the bigotry and discrimination that takes place (racial and religious). What a bunch of hypocrites!!!

      November 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • nathan

      Mormonism is from Satan. It belittles Jesus and puffs up Jo-Smith. Also it's a doctrine of works... yet some Christians believe that this is just another denomination

      November 2, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  10. Val John Jennings

    Brad wrote;
    Where is the complete confession of the Mormon faith to be found? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a church of modern revelation. Joseph Smith's 13 Articles of Faith are a good summary. Article 10 states that we believe all that God has revealed, al that He does now reveal, and that He will yet reveal many things..." One can keep up to date by visiting LDS.org and viewing the Ensign, the official church magazine, especially the May and November issues which contain the messages of God's special witnesses for Christ, the Apostles. Also the Standard Works which include the Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price can be read or listened to by accessing the Scriptures section. I do suggest the beginning inquirer to visit mormon.org for a basic overview of our faith. Also visit jesuschrist.lds.org.

    November 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  11. Spencer Cooley

    Great! I can't wait for the IPO .. oh wait it is a church right?

    November 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Steve-in-MA

      I can't wait until they figure out that gay people have a much larger disposable income than most straight people. A week later their "Prophet" will announce that gays are actually welcome in their church and they will bend heaven and Earth to convince everyone that they didn't really _mean_ all those hateful things they used to say about gay people. Hypocrites!

      November 3, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  12. BYU Science Education

    I also decided that I couldn't continue to believe in Mormon theology after mulling over evolution for a few months. Someone stated that Christians should be asking why so many intelligent people believe in Mormonism. The answer that makes sense to me is that intelligent people can believe a wide array illogical, ridiculous, and contradictory things.

    November 2, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • Abinadi

      I don't know what your problem is. I believe in evolution – doesn't affect my faith at all. I am only interested that God created it all – doesn't matter how. I think you must have other issues. Am I right?

      November 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • Highside

      If you know the real abinadi, this one took it light on you 😉 We know from prophets and apostles in these days that the 7 days are 7 periods of time, who know how long they took or if God sped the process. Honestly it doesn't matter, when you know God is there, it all starts to make sense 🙂

      November 3, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  13. James

    Shut Up Yo Stupid Nefit's

    November 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  14. GodGirl37

    Do not forget about the new testament. Jesus Christ came and died on the cross for our sIns. That is why we no longer have to sacrifice animals, because Christ was the ultimate sacrifice and cleansed us of our sIns. And if you confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9)

    November 2, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • wait..

      I keep hearing that from everyone.. "You will be saved".. Exactly what am I supposed to be saved? why do I need to be saved? One would assume that if one is in trouble, they need to be saved.. Last I checked, I am not!

      November 2, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • scott

      GodGirl37 you are in danger of burning in Hell

      Jesus said to follow the law of the old testament ALL OF IT. He also said the most difficult path is the one that leads to heaven. Pretending that you are no longer bound by the law of the Old Testament is the easy path to hell

      “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."Matthew 5:17-19

      "Heaven and earth will disappear before the smallest letter of the Law does." Luke 16:17 (CEV)

      What part of “UNTIL HEAVEN AND EARTH DISAPPEAR” don’t you understand? That doesn’t mean just until the resurrection.

      November 2, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • BK

      @Scott, you read things into that text that don't exist. Pull back the reings a little and let God be God. Re-visit the fullfilled part of that. You will find great comfort in that truth.

      November 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • JohnR

      @BK Sorry, but it was AFTER Jesus said he came to fulfill the law that he clearly stated that people must continue to follow it. YOU are the one reading things that aren't there – and not reading things that are there. You are clearly destined for hell.

      November 3, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  15. Why are intelligent / educated people Mormons?

    Easy, the one's born into the church like myself were told to give my "testimony" that the church was True starting at age 4. You say that over and over enough, and of course you start to believe it. I didn't start questioning my faith until I went to BYU and studied microbiology. It was the DNA issue that brought me to light. Sorry gang, but Nephites, Lemanites, and Jordanites never existed. Furthermore, American Indians are not decendants from Isreal. The scientific knowledge I obtained was at odds with church teachings.

    November 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man To the Rescue!

      Why are "intelligent / educated" Mormons so megalomaniac and self-righteous??

      November 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man To the Rescue!

      blabber, blubber,

      ...I've been imbibing – dang it's fun to be a heathen!!

      November 2, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Aaron

      Here is a great website that goes into the reasons why "Jewish" DNA may not be found in American Indians. http://www.jefflindsay.com/bme13.shtml

      November 2, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  16. Magic Mormon Underwear Man To the Rescue!

    Now that mainstream Mormons can't legally own 3+ wives they must now resort to posthumous wife stealing to satiate their requirement of at least 3 wives to enter the celestial heavens and rule a planet (google "planet kolob"). 😮

    This amounts to the same ordeal as "posthumous baptism" (Google it too); which I believe is the prerequisite to posthumous marriage (Google "posthumous sealing").

    They're comin' for our wives in the afterlife!! 😉

    November 2, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  17. Magic Mormon Underwear Man To the Rescue!

    Find out more about Mitt Romney's beliefs, Google the following:

    "Mormon celestial polygamy"
    "the planet kolob" (Mormon males become planet rulers in heaven)
    "Mormon underwear"
    "posthumous Mormon sealing" (Marrying another man's wife through posthumous marriage.)
    "Mormon blood atonement"
    "posthumous baptism" (The Jews sued the Mormon church for secretly baptizing holocaust victims)
    "Mormon Insurrection" (The Mormon's war with the US Government)
    "Mountain Meadows Massacre"
    "Mormon 1978 Black people" (excluding people of color until IRS intervention in 1978)

    enjoy 😉

    November 2, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • Tina Harmon

      If you want to find out what Mitt believes, then ask Mitt himself or talk to someone who is LDS, such as missionaries. There are soo many false information on the internet that you can not believe what is really true or what is not true. Anyone who says look somewhere else then the actual source themselves is trying to deceive you.

      November 2, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man To the Rescue!

      Bishop Romney believes in celestial polygamy and he will be coming to take your late wife to Mormon heaven as his own. 😉

      They've already done it to millions of holocaust victims. Google "posthumous Mormon sealing" or "posthumous baptism".

      Creepy? ... 😉

      November 2, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Lloyd

      Mr Magic Mormon Underwear Man, You are a lying, blathering, ignorant, individual with way too little to do but publish b.s. and blarney. If you are such an intelligent educated, non-believer then why do you waste your time posting such tripe and do something really useful.

      November 2, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Ozymandias71

      Let's add something to that list, shall we?

      "LDS Involvement in misinformation campaign to demonize LGBT Californians to support Proposition H8"

      November 2, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Pedro

      @Lloyd. Are you then denying the LDS' racist roots, or the posthumous baptism. You know why not? Because you can't! It's true. If you're a Mormon blame your parents for trapping you in that BS thought up by a con man. They can blame their parents and so on.
      And if you converted by your own free will, then man, am I sorry for you.

      November 2, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Highside

      I spent two years talking to some of what I thought were the rudest people in backwoods america and never heard people say some of the things they say on here. I'd love for you to say some of those sentences and words to a real person. Someone who is loving and kind and trying to live the best way they can in this world and would never say such things back. I think uneducaton and depression of some of these people bring out the worst in our society.

      November 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  18. Chaps

    It always makes me chuckle to myself when I read these comment boards and see the comments about how dumb mormons must be to believe the things they believe. Stop and think about it for a minute. You hear people all the time saying how Mormons are really good people. You read articles about how their seems to be a lot really successful mormons. You see studies that show that in general Mormons tend to be more educated and know more about the Bible than other Christians. Yet some people assume that because they believe such ridiculous things they must be ignorant, brainwashed or dilusional. Does that really make sense to you? I have seen plenty in the media (and especially on comment boards) about the wierd things Mormons supposedly believe, so I can understand why many would think we are stupid. And believe me, most Mormons are well aware of all that stuff. But just ask yourself, "If this religious is so so ridiculous and obviously flawed, why are so many good, intelligent people joining to it?" Maybe...just maybe the way it is being portrayed by those who are "warning" about the dangers of Mormonism, or even by the media who like to sensationalize...maybe that isn't quite accurate. You may believe that we are all just really gullible or ignorant, but for me personally, the more I learn about the world around me and the world within me (science, my faith and spirituality, other religions and philosophies, etc.) the more I am excited to be a Mormon.

    November 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Magic Mormon Underwear Man To the Rescue!

      ...and a self-righteous, egotistical cult dope

      November 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Pedro

      whoa, really?!

      Honestly, why can't you just start a religion that excludes all of the ridiculous nonsense, but keeps all the good things like helping others, etc., etc.?

      November 2, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Highside

      The earth being round was "rediculous non-sense". Some things are true if you believe them or not. find out the truth – mormon.org

      November 3, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  19. Snow

    Guide to being a good christian (every kind from catholic to mormon)..

    Now children.. here is a book.. As.sume and have faith that it is a book written by God.
    Now, since this is a book written by god, everything in this is true. So follow the teaching from it completely..

    .. except the old testement.. it has a bunch of things that make our religion look bad. So don't bring it up unless forced to.
    .. don't read the other interpretations of the Christ's teachings.. our interpretation is correct and perfect. as.sume that too..
    .. and if one verse says exactly opposite of some other verse, as.sume that it is god's way of teaching you two truths.
    .. and spread the word of god till people get tired and kick you.. which is good coz you can play the sympathy card then.
    .. better yet, spread the word to places where there is a culture already.. convert them to the good lord.. or kill them if they disagree.

    Ah we are so perfect.. it brings tears in my eyes when I think of all the good word we spread to uncivilized people.

    November 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You gave me a headache with the nonsense you posted.

      November 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • wait..

      Oh I am sorry.. I forgot that to be religious nut means you should be dumb (according to bible of course, which urges not to think).

      otherwise, what of the above is false?

      November 2, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
  20. hippypoet

    not sure if these were posted earlier or not but for all that may care, these are the articles of faith – basic foundations of mormonism

    We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
    2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.
    3. We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
    4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
    6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
    7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
    8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
    9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
    10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisaical glory.
    11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
    12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
    13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul–We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

    so just people can compare

    the nicene creed:

    We believe in one God,
    the Father, the Almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth,
    of all that is, seen and unseen.
    We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
    the only Son of God,
    eternally begotten of the Father,
    God from God, light from light,
    true God from true God,
    begotten, not made,
    of one Being with the Father;
    through him all things were made.
    For us and for our salvation
    he came down from heaven,
    was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
    and became truly human.
    For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
    he suffered death and was buried.
    On the third day he rose again
    in accordance with the Scriptures;
    he ascended into heaven
    and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
    and his kingdom will have no end.

    We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
    who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
    who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
    who has spoken through the prophets.
    We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
    We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
    We look for the resurrection of the dead,
    and the life of the world to come. Amen.

    November 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |


    now i have to do a quick bit on islam... i am fair! next will be judaism – the only one of the 3 main abrahamic beliefs i have respect for.

    the basic foundations and meaning of islam :

    Islam is the religion of truth. It is the embodiment of the code of life, which Allaah, the Creator and Lord of the Universe, has revealed for the guidance of mankind.

    The Meaning of Islam:

    Islam is an Arabic word which denotes submission, surrender and obedience. As a religion, Islam stands for complete submission and obedience to Allaah – that is why it is called Islam. The other literal meaning of the word Islam is “peace” and this signifies that one can achieve real peace of body and mind only through submission and obedience to Allaah. Such a life of obedience brings peace of the heart and establishes real peace in society.

    November 2, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |


    Principles of Judaism
    Rambam's thirteen principles of faith is the most widely-accepted list of Jewish beliefs.

    1. God exists.
    2. God is one and unique.
    3. God is incorporeal.
    4. God is eternal.
    5. Prayer is to be directed to God alone.
    6. The words of the prophets are true.
    7. Moses was the greatest prophet, and his prophecies are true.
    8. The Torah was given to Moses.
    9. There will be no other Torah.
    10. God knows the thoughts and deeds of men.
    11. God will reward the good and punish the wicked.
    12. The Messiah will come.
    13. The dead will be resurrected

    Jews learn from the Torah how to act, think and even feel about life and death. The stories in the Torah teach about God's relationship with the Jewish People. In addition, the Torah contains 613 commandments from God (mitzvot). The Ten Commandments are considered the most important commandments of the Torah.

    The Ten Commandments

    1. I am the Lord your God
    2. You shall not recognize the gods of others in My presence
    3. You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain
    4. Remember the day of shabbat to keep it holy
    5. Honor your father and your mother
    6. You shall not murder
    7. You shall not commit adultery
    8. You shall not steal
    9. Do not give false testimony against your neighbor
    10. You shall not covet your fellow's possessions

    now compare all this and see how true to anything mormonism truly is!

    November 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.