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Poll: Faith important in 2012, but Mormon skepticism remains
November 8th, 2011
08:25 AM ET

Poll: Faith important in 2012, but Mormon skepticism remains

By Dan Merica, CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A poll released Tuesday painted a picture of a religious electorate that has a strong preference toward religious candidates.

According to the Public Religion Research Institute survey, two-thirds of voters (67%) said it is either very important or somewhat important for a presidential candidate to have strong religious beliefs.

"Among those who say it is important for a presidential candidate to have strong religious beliefs, most say that what matters is simply holding strong religious beliefs, rather than holding particular religious beliefs," the survey said.

Rick Perry's faith journey culminates in presidential run

At a press briefing about the survey, Washington College political scientist Melissa Deckman said that importance of candidates' religiosity "is a notion that... transcends party."

At the same time, the electorate is split over their comfort level with a specific religion, Mormonism, and the prospect of a Mormon serving as president.

A majority of voters (53%) said they were somewhat or very comfortable with a Mormon president, while 42% said a Mormon president would make them somewhat or very uncomfortable.

"These findings suggest that when voters report that it is important that a candidate have strong religious beliefs, they have certain types of religious beliefs in mind, and hold significant reservations about the beliefs of some minority religious groups," the study said.

How Mitt Romney's Mormonism shaped his life and politics

"Clearly, most Americans like political candidates to have some sort of general civil religious beliefs," Deckman said.

"The data shows clearly here a lot of Americans show discomfort with Mormons, 42% acknowledge that, but they express more discomfort with atheists and Muslims than they do with Mormons," Deckman added.

The level of comfort with a Mormon president has risen to importance in the 2012 nomination battle because there are two Mormon candidates in the race, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

In the most recent USA Today/ Gallup poll, Romney is tied with businessman Herman Cain at the top of the field, a position Romney has maintained throughout this race.

Though only around one-third of respondents said that Mormonism is not a Christian religion, two-thirds (66%) of voters said that the religious beliefs of Mormons are somewhat or very different from their own.

Additionally, 19% of voters identified they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who had strong religious beliefs other than their own.

Mormon Church aims to counter its lily-white image

According to the study, all the data, "reveals that a substantial number of voters (42%) express concern about a Mormon becoming president."

Robert P. Jones, the CEO of PRRI, noted at the briefing that other surveys have shown half of Americans know someone who is Mormon. "If there's a silver lining, it's that those opinions may not be strongly held," he said, adding the Romney could counter those loosely-held beliefs about Mormons on the campaign trail.

"There is no (religious) test for office. And yet it is one of the most important tests for office," said Jose Casanova, an expert in the sociology of religion at Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, who also spoke at the release of the survey results. "So no official test, yet it is crucial for most voters."

The survey also examined views of income inequality in America, an issue that has thrust to the forefront of public discourse by the Occupy protests going on in cities around the world.

"A strong majority (60%) of Americans agree that the country would be better off if the distribution of wealth was more equal," the study said. Thirty-nine percent of respondents disagreed.

That questions was largely partisan, with 78% of Democrats and 60% of independents agreeing the country would be better, compared to 63% of Republicans who disagreed with that sentiment.

Explain it to me: Mormonism

The American Values Survey was conducted between September 22 and October 2 over the telephone. The 1,505 respondent survey comes with a plus or minus 2.5 percent margin of error.

CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Faith • Politics • Polls

soundoff (803 Responses)
  1. Scott

    Reading these poll numbers makes me want to vote for Mitt Romney even more. 42% of Americans are against this guy just because of his religion, yet he is still a frontrunner for the Republican nomination? The guy must be doing something right as a politician. The guy pulled Massachusetts out of an awful deficit as governor, and Massachusetts ended up with a surplus at the end of his term as governor. He completely rejuvenated the 2002 SLC Winter Olympics after the bribery scandal, and he was obviously a brilliant financial guru in his professional career. Mitt in 2012!

    November 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • James

      If only he were running as the man you describe.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  2. Will

    That may be true, but 100% of Mormons are uncomfortable with a gay President, so tell me again why I should care?

    November 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Scott

      I'm a Mormon and I'm not uncomfortable with a gay president. Guess that ruins your "100%" theory.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • James

      I second that and my wife thirds it.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Charlie

      I'm gay and I feel uncomfortable with a gay man as President.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  3. J.W

    I wonder if this is all the same person saying that Obama is Muslim.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • James

      It has got to be. I mean I really really hope it is. Otherwise this country is in a sorry state.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  4. Jim

    I love how CNN has posted several blogs about Mitt Romney and Mormonism and these discussion posts still say the same thing. We aren't getting anywhere. Its just a few people defending Mitt, some Mormons sharing what they believe in, other few Christians bashing on Mormonism, and the Atheists just bash on religion altogether. That gets us nowhere.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Jim

      Oh yeah there are some other uneducated people still saying that Obama is a Muslim and bashing on Muslims because of ignorance. I just can't wait till the next election when there is an actual Muslim candidate and we are focusing on facing America's prejudice against Muslims.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Nonimus

      And yet it stills seems to be an issue and related to belief... strange that it's on the Belief Blog.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  5. toomuchgovernment

    I would much rather have a mormon president than the muslim president we have now. No brainer.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Meki60

      right on!

      November 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • toomuchignorance

      What country are you from? The US president is Christian.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • mpouxesas

      Because you are clearly dumber than I, please, come next elections DO NOT vote.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • JohnRJ08

      It is sad that there are actually people as ignorant and hateful as you in this country.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • jack spratis

      Amen to that, this Pres was born and raised a muslim in his early years !

      November 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • SurelyUjest

      My relatives are mormon, my neighbors are mormon. My neighbors wife has been cheating on her husband for 3 yrs now and they keep it quiet and their divorce is hush hush living in the same house, my wifes mother is mormon (my wife bolted from the "a womans job is to serve men and have babies" religion at a young age) she has been divorced 3 times and doesn't have a clue about just about any subject. Though she is a dear woman and good to my son, now lastly the brother....he worships Glenn Beck. If you want to see an activist Mormon ideology you need look no further than the spitting ranting crying antics of Glenn Beck for an example.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • KJM1968

      OUR President is Christian.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • SurelyUjest

      Obama is the best president we have had since Clintons 1st term. America needs to wake up and see the real big picture. The GOP in general support only the 1% of America. They use fear. religion and slander to win elections not to mention the power of the media Rupert Murdoch in particular (we have all seen how ethically this man operates).

      November 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Zw9944

      Forget that he was muslim, when he became "Christian" he joined Michelle's wacky Jeremiah Wright led church. That wasn't even a church, just a hate group.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • nononsense

      jack spratis wrote: Amen to that, this Pres was born and raised a muslim in his early years !

      At the risk of repeating your assertion, may I inquire if this means you hold it against every born-again christian who ever came to the religion later in life? Kind of an odd logic, seems to me, but then again, I explore facts and reality; sounds like you stick to what you're fed.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • alan

      only red state chrisitians pit chrsitians against charisitians. I guess Obama saying he is a chrisitian is not enough for you. Typical uneducated red state idiots making nonsense out of nonsense.......

      November 8, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Therese

      jack spratis
      " this Pres was born and raised a muslim in his early years !"

      Obama attended a Muslim elementary school in Indonesia for 2 years or so.

      He also attended a Catholic elementary school for a couple of years.

      His father (who he briefly met only once or twice in his whole life) was born and raised Muslim, but became an atheist/agnostic as an adult.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  6. Meki60

    anybody, please anybody, even Clinton besides President Garbage

    November 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  7. mrk

    The Mormon faith bears scrutiny for several reasons – first, they alienate others by declaring them immoral, or evil, or just dismiss them. They absolutely shun members of their own faith for lapses in following their beliefs, and by shun I mean they turn their backs as though the person was dead, buried, and forgotten about – even if they knew the person for decades since they were born. There is a cruelty to the Mormon faith that I cannot tolerate. Someone of this belief structure is the last person we need running our country – there are good reasons to remain skeptical of Mormons, sorry for any offense to Mormons if they're not this way, but many ARE. I have friends who were shunned for minor offenses, and it was traumatizing for them. They are now happily married and have been for some time, with two beautiful children. It's sad to know just how cruel Mormons can be.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • George

      You are simply streotyping Mormons by saying that they are all, or mostly all, like this. The majority of people that I have met within the Mormon community are wonderful, kind and generous people who would never turn their backs on you. having a bad experience in one situation or even several does not justify in classifying all Mormons that way....

      November 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Perspective

      Interesting...most mormons I know won't stop trying to help (annoy) those who have "fallen" away.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • James

      You are just wrong. Mormons do not shun. Sure every religion has it's zealots but the church does not condone shunning or direct it's members to shun anyone. You are pretty mixed up there.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Objective in CA

      As a Mormon, I am truly sorry that you experienced cruelty from some members of the faith. We're all on a journey to improve, and I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive, just as you would have hoped to find that same forgiveness in the hearts of the Mormons you've dealt with. If you cannot do so, I'm sure you would not want the country to eliminate you as a potential candidate for office, would you?

      I have experienced several cases throughout my life in the Mormon church where a member was determined (even by their own admission) to be living outside the teachings of the church. Usually, they are not kicked out of the church but helped to come back. There is no thriving organization on earth that would work so hard at missionary service to recruit members, then look for minor offenses to kick them back out. Even when the offense is considered serious, the member may lose their membership for a time but a series of people are asked to help mentor and shepherd the person back into full membership. My experience is that it is typically done with love and compassion, not cruelty. I hope you see the "better" side of Mormons some day.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • SurelyUjest

      Can anyone say " Mountain Meadows Massacre"? The LDS have tried to distance themselves from this event but it was ordered from the highest level of the LDS church in that day. Namely Brigham Young and the other highest members. Utah was almost at war with the U.S. over this silly religion that claims Jesus rose from the cross came to America and found the lost tribe of israel in the Native population then wrote down new testament on "golden tablets". Which were then found by Joeseph Smith and strangley no one else has seen them......but the church still claims to have them in the Temple....what a sham...folks....this religion is more of a cult than mine....

      November 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • ptreadi

      I'm sorry to hear that your friend was shunned. As I have been thru the Church's excommunication prosess I can tell you that there was no shunning. I still was welcome to attened the Church, people still talked with me. But as it has been said, there are good and bad people in every group.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • nononsense

      Here's the thing – you can find any number of Stepford-esque church members who will attest that they and the folks they know are 'just good people', etc. (and I, too, know many very pleasant and admirable Mormons), but that doesn't address the creepy facts related to the administration of the overall organization (which is by no means a true non-profit, BTW). I could care less what individual people believe or practice within their own segment of society, but the LDS church is organized around a very well-enforced "church first" principle. Romney, as a bishop, could NEVER stray from that, which (if you have ever taken the time to read or learn anything at all about Mormons) means he would favor LDS interests above the rest of us. If you don't believe me, then you have never tried to live or work in a Mormon-dominated area – they have no compunction whatsoever against lying or by-passing laws to get ahead at the expense of what they refer to as 'gentiles' and shamelessly promote their own members (they literally keep a book of apostates and people like me who are unhireable, etc. once listed there). Read _Under the Banner of Heaven_ or _The Mormon Murders_ (if you can locate a copy that hasn't been bought up by church members). I wonder how long my comment will last before it gets flagged.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Scott

      Mrk, I'm a Mormon, and believe me, I've had lots of "lapses" when it comes to following my faith. During those "lapses," the LDS Church (Mormons) has always been there to reassure me with the teachings of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, grace, forgiveness, etc.). I realize that a lot of Mormons may seem judgmental–just like a lot of Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, etc. might seem judgmental. Shoot, there are still countries in the world where, under Sharia law, a person can be stoned to death for fornication! I realize people have different experiences (some probably were treated unfairly), but I can honestly say that the LDS Church, as an organization, does not turn its back on sinners.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • James

      @ Nonsense,
      Two of the main tenants (articles of faith) of our religion.
      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.

      Any member of the church that does not uphold these beliefs is not in line with their religion. Simple as that. Harry Reid is in good standing and I support him because of his political stance, not because of his religion. In that same vein I will not vote for Romney.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      I have been a Mormon all my life (over 50 years). I have seen countless efforts by Mormons to reach out to less active members and to non-Mormons. I have consistently seen countless efforts to help a member of the Church who is having difficulty whether in finances, marriage problems, or difficulty living the Churches standards, or whatever. This was done in a very loving and kind way.

      I have also seen people who turned away from the Church and/or broke a moral or ethical standard of the Church and they feel so guilty they think people in the Church are judging them when they are not. This guilt so clouds their thinking that the are convinced that the Church, or members in the Church, are being unkind to them when it is their imagination and when the people in the Church are reaching out to them the whole time.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  8. Meki60

    how can you knock Mormons when Obama is a muslim, the worst of the lot.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • toomuchignorance

      @MyIQ60,
      How you figure that?

      November 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Wyatt

      Obama is not muslim, never has been muslim, and never will be muslim. It's just as stupid as saying he was born outside the United States.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  9. Henry

    I would love a breakdown by party affiliation on that.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  10. ken845

    Mormonism is no more ridiculous than any of the other religions out there.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  11. bono

    The Mormon Church will always make evangelical pastors very nervous. Imagine their worry of the fastest growing church in America that has no paid ministry. It is going to take a lot of personal income away from the evangelical leaders so no doubt they are going to go out and scare their congregations with Mormon's are cults and not Christians. Truth is many evangelical preachers are involved in priestcraft which actually turns people so off of organized religion that they stop going to church and then stop believing in a higher power. Probably the number one reason why we are becoming a nation that is Godless in worship. The hypocrisy of evangelical leaders is greater than Obama's Hypocrisy.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  12. Richard Stevens

    I tend to vote for people with like POLITICAL views and will actually make the attempt to better the country with the bare minimum of the usual Partisan CRAP that has been going on .. sadly no ONE person has come out that foots this bill yet.. But I'm hoping Heck.. If it helps.. I will pray to whichever God will give me that

    November 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  13. Zw9944

    Ummm didn't we just vote in a president whose very own reverend is a hate spewing lunatic? Jeremiah Wright married Barack and Michelle and was their reverend for years, until Barack had to separate himself from Wright during his campaign cus the dude is off his rocker. Yet now people have a problem with Mormons? I'll be honest, I'm not big on religion, but most mormons I know are very good and nice people.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • JoPa

      What's this "We" crap. U idiots voted him in..........all he has done is excaerbate the recession and mortgage our future even more with 1-time spending gimmicks and Obamacare

      November 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • cyberhackster

      The morons in this country put the mus-slime in office - live with it-–

      November 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • toomuchignorance

      @Cyberhackster,
      Your wit is just too brilliant... mu-slime... oh that's wonderful
      / sarcasm

      November 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  14. Dave

    Mormons are certainly not perfect people and we have to rely on the atonement of Christ like everyone else. However, if you want to know what they believe see:

    http://lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2011/10?lang=eng

    November 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Mike

      You can also find information about Mormonism by watching this TV show, or reading a synopsis of their analysis here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_About_Mormons

      November 8, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • cyberhackster

      So who is one of the "perfect people" that one should vote for??? got any suggestions?? Jesus died a long time ago and unfortunately Yoda has movie contracts.....

      November 8, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • nononsense

      You can also poke around on your Nook or Kindle – there are e-books there written for the faithful that give a detailed insight into the cult-like thinking (well, poor choice of words, a favorite LDS saying is, 'the thinking is done', but you catch my drift) that's used to control their people from a very young age to find 'the world' unbearable and the church to be a haven, etc.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  15. Paul

    I tell these people to get off my porch all the time.. why would I want one as president?

    November 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Objective in CA

      Because, at some time, Paul, it is valuable to listen to other points of view.

      To continue your metaphor, though, consider this: Mitt Romney has not brought his Mormonism to your "door" (news source). It was brought to you by the MSM and fear-mongerers, anxious to make something out of nothing. Mitt is not trying to convert anyone to Mormonism by running for President. He simply wants to fix a broken system in our country by applying basic fiscal discipline and sound principles. He has done this many times in the past.

      Take a look beyond the "doorstep" and I think you may find some ideas you like... about Mitt's POLITICS.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  16. KZ

    If America can look beyond racial boundries, to vote for a President. then there should be no issues with America looking beyond religion to vote for another President. Feeling uneasy about a particular candidates religious background means that some Americans are still holding on to discriminative values. View these candidates for the moral of their character and actions. What have they accomplished in their lifetime? What qualities are needed to help bring stability to American way of life? What are their potential? Do you truly and whole heartedly see any of these candidates as the greatest American President of all time? As a proud American, I want my future generation to see that the choice that I made counted and is the sole reason for the opportunities that will be offered to them. Getting caught up in doubt and uneasiness about religion wont solve America's problems today, tomorrow or later on.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • JoPa

      If he were a Black Mormon on the Democrat line, it would be OK and no one would object

      November 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  17. marsmotel

    People are idiots! What does religion have to do with being a good president? You either believe in imaginary people or you don't. Religion nothing to do with any of the issues presented right now. Stop it!

    November 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Paul

      you seem like the real !diot here. Your OPINION about god is your first strike. What you are doing is forcing what you think in your little mind to be true (kinda what the christians do with their religion huh)?. Your not the smart one that figured out "life" and "religion". Your just a dumb kid with a dumb opinion. And personally id rather have a religious person in office because we atleast know they are not arrogant opinionated jagoffs like yourself

      November 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Godless

      Paul wrote:
      "Your just a dumb kid..."

      Irony, thy name is Paul.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Hear This

      Paul: ""Your just a dumb kid..."

      Bwhahahahaha! We learned the correct contraction of you are (you're) in 3rd grade! You?

      November 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  18. E.W. Swan

    I'm not exactly a person of faith. However, every now and then I see public service ads from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and these ads always stress honesty, compassion, and caring... a great deal like Christ's messages in the New Testament. (Much more so than I've seen from other so-called Christians in the United States, I might add.) Let's get beyond the bigotry and focus on the quality of the candidate instead.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • JoPa

      But it seems that a Kenyan Muslim as President is OK

      November 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Objective in CA

      @E.W. Swan: This is one of the best comments I've read in this blog today. It is proof-positive that we can respect each others beliefs and opinions, even if we do not agree. Thank you for your post!

      November 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      Yes. Consider this:

      In the year 2007 alone, the Church responded to major earthquakes in 5 countries, massive fires in 6 countries, hunger and famine in 18 countries, and flooding and severe storms in 34 countries. In total the Church and its members responded to 170 major events — nearly one every two days for the entire year. The motivation behind this vast global work centers on the simple charge given by Jesus so many years ago to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints conducts humanitarian activities worldwide. From 1985 to 2009 Humanitarian Services provided more than $1.2 billion in total assistance to needy individuals in 178 countries and territories. This church has 16 million members world-wide and five million in the United States. They were first at Katrina and brought food, clothing, and their hard backs and arms to help there.

      In 1996 the Church organized Latter-day Saint Charities as a non-governmental organization to facilitate humanitarian activities in selected countries.

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides relief and development projects for humanitarian purposes in countries all over the world. Projects operate without regard to the nationality or religion of the recipients.

      * Humanitarian service may include emergency response to natural disasters, such as an earthquake or a tsunami, or man-made disasters, such as the effects of war and famine. It may also be part of a longer-term effort to meet serious and more entrenched human needs, such as the need to alleviate disease.

      * Within hours of a disaster, the Church works with local government officials to determine what supplies and food are needed. Materials are then immediately sent to the area.

      * After urgent needs are met, the Church looks for additional ways to help with the long-term needs of the community. The Church’s approach is to help people become self-reliant by teaching skills and providing resources for a self-sustained life.

      * Donations, principally from Church members but also from people around the world, are used to make relief projects possible. One hundred percent of the donations given to the Church’s humanitarian services are used for relief efforts. The Church absorbs its own overhead costs.

      * The humanitarian services arm of the Church sponsors five ongoing global projects to help people become more self-reliant. Initiatives include neonatal resuscitation training, clean water projects, wheelchair distribution, vision treatment and measles vaccinations.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  19. Tevii

    I want to vote for people more intelligent than myself. I would not be doing that by voting for anyone that follows a religion made up by a known and convicted con man.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • JeramieH

      And the other religions weren't?

      November 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Derek

      Don't you have to have a trial to be convicted. Check your facts genius

      November 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Sue

      Exactly, of the mainstream religions, Mormonism is pretty new, and the founder, Joseph Smith was a known con man.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Derek,
      I thought he was convicted by a court in New York. Is that incorrect?

      November 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • StanPark

      I haven't heard this before. What was he convicted of?

      November 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • George

      Yes, what exactly was he convicted of? Do explain. From what I recall, he was persecuted and forced out of New York, and various other places because of his religious beliefs...

      November 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Scott

      StanPark, Joseph Smith was arrested and brought up on charges as a "glass looker" by a justice of the peace in Bainbridge, New York, on March 20, 1826. Joseph was employed by Josiah Stowel to find hidden treasures in the ground by gazing into a stone. He led his employer to believe that he could find buried treasure by looking into a stone placed in a hat. Joseph was apparently found guilty and fined $2.68 for the offense. The judge may have let him go if he agreed to leave the state because of his age.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Objective in CA

      Convicted as a "glass looker?!" OMG, absolutely nothing he ever said or did from that point forward could possibly be true, or of any value, right? Really? Is this the absurdity of logic that we have come to? Although not in the same league, another great man was tried, and convicted, on trumped-up charges. He was nailed to a cross for his "great crimes."

      As has been pointed out, we could go back into the past of nearly ALL religions (and their derivatives) and find faults in the people that originally founded them. This has absolutely nothing to do with Mitt Romney's political views (why not the same judgments about Harry Reid, BTW? He's Mormon).

      Mitt fixes things that are broken financially. That's where we are as a nation right now. If you have clogged pipes, you call a plumber. If you have wiring problems, you call an electrician. If you have a broken economy, exacerbated by a broken government, you call Mitt.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Scott

      Objective in CA, First off, Joseph's Smith's conviction for "glass-looking" wasn't a "trumped-up charge." It was exactly what he was doing. He even admitted to the judge that he did it, but said he stopped because "it hurt his eyes." Read "The Joseph Smith Papers" that were recently put out through a joint collaboration that involved the LDS Church. Finally, isn't it a little blasphemous to compare the trial of Christ, who was crucified, to the glass-looking trial of Joseph Smith? Seems like crucifixion versus a $2.68 fine is pretty unfair comparison for a man as objective as you.

      November 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Objective...,
      Not to mention that isn't "glass looking" exactly the method Smith used to "translate" the golden tablets that no one else ever saw.

      November 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  20. LIsaM

    I'm happy about a black person being president. Color is not the same as a religious background.

    Someone from a Mormon background would not get my vote. Why? Because I lived in Utah for several years and found that the majority of Mormons I met were absolutely clueless as to how the rest of the world and the U.S. in particular operated. They simply thought of anything beyond Utah (and mostly Mormon sections of the west) were EVIL and they were GOOD...

    I know Mormons outside of the "Holy Land" are not quite this bad, but it DOES make me uncomfortable to have a president come from this type of background.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Scott

      You do know that Mitt Romney grew up in Michigan, right? He also spent nearly his entire adult life living in Massachusetts.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Jim

      Romney isn't from Utah, he only went to school there. He did his mission trip in France for two years, I think he has more perspective than any other candidate.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • James

      Because of their political views, I will not vote for Romney or huntsman but your comment that you wouldn't vote for a Mormon because they are shut in's doesn't seem to apply to either Romney or Huntsman. In fact I would say Huntsman probably has a better foreign perspective than any other candidate, being the ambassador to China and speaking fluent Mandarin. If only Huntsman understood that lack of bank regulations is what is killing our economy.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Charlie

      Your right Huntsman does have more foreign perspective, a lot of times I over look him.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Jim

      I guess

      November 8, 2011 at 4:17 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.