Survey: U.S. Mormons feel discrimination, hope
The Mormon temple at church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.
January 12th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Survey: U.S. Mormons feel discrimination, hope

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – Nearly half of American Mormons say they face a lot of discrimination in the United States, though most also say that acceptance of their religion is on the rise, according to a major survey released Thursday.

The survey also found that a large majority of American Mormons think their countrymen are uninformed about their religion and don’t see Mormons as part of mainstream society, even as most Mormons also say the country is ready for a Mormon president.

“The survey creates a mixed picture for how Mormons see themselves,” said Greg Smith, senior researcher with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, which conducted the study. “On the one hand, many tell us they’re misunderstood and often discriminated against, recognizing the challenges of acceptance.

“But Mormons also seem to think that things are changing, that more Americans are coming to see Mormonism as mainstream,” he said.

The survey comes amid what has been called a “Mormon moment.”

Two of the Republican presidential candidates – Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman – attend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The religion has also cropped up in big ways in popular culture, from the hit Broadway play “Book of Mormon” to the recent HBO series “Big Love,” about a fundamentalist Mormon family.

Mormons constitute about 2% of the American population.

The Pew survey found that 46% of American Mormons say they face a lot of discrimination in the U.S. today, while six in 10 say their fellow Americans as a whole are uninformed about the LDS Church.

Two-thirds of Mormons say their fellow citizens do not view Mormonism as part of mainstream American society.

At the same time, 63% of Mormons say Americans are “becoming more likely to see Mormonism as part of mainstream society,” in the words of the survey report, while 56% say the country is ready for a Mormon president.

There are some surprising parallels between how Mormons feel about their place in American society and how Muslims do, according to an earlier Pew survey.

"We do see a remarkable degree of similarity about what it's like to be a minority in society," Smith said. "They are under no illusions" about how the broader public currently feels about them, and know their religions are not widely understood, but they remain optimistic at heart, he said.

They recognize the challenges, "but both groups are relentlessly positive about their future in the United States," said Luis Lugo, the director of the Pew Forum.

As Romney’s and Huntsman’s ability to win evangelical votes in the approaching South Carolina presidential primary has become a major question in the presidential campaign, the Pew survey finds that half of Mormons believe that evangelical Christians are unfriendly toward them.

In fact, Mormon and evangelical political opinions match closely on almost everything except immigration, the survey found. (Mormons are much more likely than evangelicals or the U.S. population overall to see immigrants as making a positive contribution to society, said David Campbell of the University of Notre Dame, who helped advise the Pew Forum on the survey.)

Mormons also subscribe to key tenets of mainstream Christianity, despite the sense many evangelicals have that Mormons are not Christians. Previous Pew surveys show that about half of white evangelicals say Mormonism is not a Christian faith.

"Nearly all Mormons say they believe Jesus rose from the dead and that Mormonism is a Christian religion," Smith said.

But the Mormon-evangelical divide is not simply one of theology, a leading evangelical said.

"Evangelicals are - famously or infamously, depending on your perspective - very evangelistic," said Richard Land  of the Southern Baptist Convention. "And so Mormons are out there going door-to-door trying to convince folks  to become Mormons, and evangelicals are out there going door-to-door trying to convince people to become evangelicals."

By comparison, most Mormons said that Americans who are not religious are either neutral or friendly toward them.

Mormons and evangelicals are politically similar, the survey found, with three-quarters of Mormons saying they identify with or lean toward the Republican Party.

And the survey showed that Mormons are more devout in their faith than evangelicals, who are more devout that the public at large.

Three-quarters of Mormons report attending religious services at least weekly, while eight in 10 pray daily and give 10% of their income to their church.

The Pew Forum says the nationwide survey, conducted in October and November, constitutes the biggest survey of American Mormons conducted by an organization that’s not connected to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Pew surveyed 1,019 self-identified Mormons for the project.

CNN's Richard Allen Greene and Emma Lacey-Bordeaux contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Mormonism • Politics • Polls

soundoff (1,639 Responses)
  1. Amber

    So many perfect examples of the kind of discrimination Mormons face on the internet! Beautifully done, everyone! ~applauds~

    I thank the writer of this article. Dan Gilgoff kept this very neutral, stating only the facts. Having grown up in the LDS faith, experiencing the general LDS culture from several different places in the US, this article is very accurate. Hats off to Mr. Gilgoff for simply stating things as they are, instead of trying to post hypothesis explaining the survey results.

    The survey reminds me of an experience I had in high school in the Bible Belt. During a group science assignment, the subject of Mormonism came up, and one member in my group said that she could never be friends with a Mormon. I looked right at her and said, "you mean you won't be friends with *me*?" I face no further discrimination than that. I was not treated differently, even though I associated most with evangelical kids who knew I was Mormon. Maybe they were just trying to save me by being my friend. I appreciate them ^_^

    I won't bother trying to answer comments that try to paint me and my faith as hateful and evil. Faithful Latter-day Saints are true examples of Christianity, knowing that they must do their best to be like their Savior, Jesus Christ, and that we must rely on Him for our salvation. They see every person on earth as a Child of God, someone who is their spiritual brother or sister. Everyone is welcome to come to our weekly services, to our bi-annual General Conferences, our monthly firesides, our mid-week activities (Mutual, Young Men, Young Women, Relief Society), our open houses. Everyone is welcome to read our literature, including our monthly magazines and our scriptures, all of it for free online at lds.org.

    Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. We are all children of our Heavenly Father. And He has given us the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and prophets both ancient and modern to guide us. His words never cease, and I accept all of His words.

    January 12, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • claybigsby

      "And He has given us the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and prophets both ancient and modern to guide us"

      Sorry but god didnt give us those things...people did.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Religious people are intellectual sleepwalkers

      Uh, you do know that Joseph Smith made it all up, don't you? Mormonism was his personal scam. Smith was the L. Ron Hubbard of the 1800s.

      You do know that there were no million man armies battling in the Americas with things like steel and horses and lots of other things that would not arrive in the Americas for CENTURIES, don't you? You do know that that sort of thing would necessarily leave massive archaeological traces, but there are none to be found? You do know that your undergarments are not magic, they are just weird? You do know that baptisms for the dead are totally absurd, don't you?

      How do you actually believe this stuff? I mean, beyond the fact that you were raised in a Mormon family, and you believe it because you were told it was true, despite the TOTAL lack of any supporting evidence. How can you believe in something with absolutely no evidence behind it?

      You conformed to the prevailing idea, only because your family did, and because you were heavily indoctrinated in it at your temple. But there is no evidence that any of it is true, and a lot of evidence that it is not.

      Obey obey obey, and do not ask for evidence. Obey obey obey, and let the old phony words of Joseph Smith blind you to the real world.

      Why do you believe it?

      January 12, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Jonesey

      I'm sure those in the LGBT community would beg to differ on your views. Religion is the true devil.

      January 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • SevenVeils

      The Mormons are HUGE descriminators of people. While Mormons may interact with outsiders (non-believers) they only socialize with like minded people – please no variance in the hive of thought, and no free thinking either. Mormon Church,Pfffffht

      January 12, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  2. hippypoet

    god is real, prove it otherwise!
    god is a unicorn, prove it otherwise!
    god is a gay man, prove it otherwise!
    god is a snail, prove it otherwise!
    god isn't real, prove it otherwise!

    science tells us that if no evidence of such creature is found, no impact or showing of having an existence once is found, no proof of creation by said being is found then one must come to the clear and obvious conclusion – there is no god or creator type being! deal with it. and move on... there is nothing wrong with being a fluke of nature... its called uncertainity, and its all found in science – down to the very atoms that make us up – thats called quantum uncertainity. Isn't learning fun! go grab a book and learn something other then biblical jibba jabba!

    January 12, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Real America

      god is a substance

      January 12, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • hippypoet

      like that of pi$$ or sh!t?

      January 12, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Said

      America is real but god isn't. The sooner Americans put god beliefs aside, the better.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • Real America

      The reference comes from 1920's coke fiends. But lets go with it. Spinoza claimed that God and Nature are one substance. Doesn't that mean that anything tangible is of God?

      January 12, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Agnostic about being Agnostic

      Liked what you tried to point out at first ... that people who try to prove God is real (or a unicorn) is as impossible to prove that God is not real.

      But then you clearly show that you believe an absence of proof of creation means that there is proof of no God ... which clearly contradicts the point of your initial comment!

      Faith in a religion (or faith in atheism) is fine ... telling others they MUST be wrong based on faith, or assumptions, or lack of proof is ridiculous.

      January 12, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • mfbeans191

      excellently put, "agnostic about being agnostic". It really is obnoxious being told you are wrong because you have no proof... and yet, there is no proof of really anything. better to just let people believe what they want, because there is no way to disprove anything.

      January 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Andrew

      Science also gives us a lot of theories that they just assume is right but cannot be proven...

      January 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Overheard often

      "You may not believe in Hell now,
      But you will when you get there."

      to quote the late Bishop Sheen

      January 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  3. SeanNJ

    Mormon: We believe that Jesus was the son of God, and was sent to earth to be crucified for our sins. He rose from the dead after three days and ascended into heaven.
    Christian: Perfectly reasonable.
    Mormon: But then Joseph Smith had a new revelation from God, and he translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates.
    Christian: How can you believe such batshit craziness?

    January 12, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • LDSinSC

      Like Steve Cobert said "We know that Moses received stone tablets from a burning bush". Yep, all religion is crazy when you really look at it....

      January 12, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Overheard often

      Joseph Smith wrote the Golden Plate story after his first wife caught him coveting his neighbor's wife and etc...

      January 12, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • LDSinSC

      Two problems with your theory, 1-Joseph Smith wasn't married when the Angel Moroni first told him about the plates. 2-Eight other people saw and held the plates.

      January 13, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  4. Rainer Braendlein

    Regarding slavery:

    It is not good to bring the Bible into discredit by mentioning slavery.

    The ancient Israelites had slaves, that is true. But what people had that been? These slaves were prisoners of war. God had commanded Israel to wipe out some other peoples of Palestine, which had become totally corrupt (I guess no current people on earth is so bad like one of this peoples). Obviously the Israelites had the possbility to be gracious and to take some human beings of the condemned peoples as slaves. Of course, slavery is not pleasant in itself, but better than death.

    It may have happened that some Israelites took other Israelites as slaves, but that was actually forbidden and God commanded them to release their Israeli slaves.

    Some of the leading 9/11 terrorists are still imprisoned at Guantanamo. Isn't it a grace for them that they are still alive, after they have murdered so many people. These terrorists you can compare with the people, which were slaves of Israel, except that they don't have to work.

    January 12, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Brad

      Morality and ethics that are derived from Christian thought and teachings form the basis of our current abhorrence of slavery

      January 12, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • momoya

      There's plenty of passages in the bible concerning slavery that show it as quite harsh, but if you want to ignore those, that's fine. Maybe you require a stronger dose; check out the many passages where god requires the israelites to slaughter every man, woman, child, and beast of a particular town... or for that matter consider that god built and sustains a lake of fire for those he prefers to send to it.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      The former slavery of some Western countries, which merely served economical interests, I strictly refuse.

      If the coloníal powers have reasoned their "economical" slavery by the Bible, it was an outrageous nonsense.

      The slaves of ancient Israel war prisoners of war, which really had deserved punishment. This had nothing to do with economical slavery. The 9/11 terrorists have deserved punishment, that is not to question. If they get life penalty instead of death sentence, it is a grace for them.

      Only on the condition that the slave is someone, who has deserved punishment, because he has committed a heavy crime, slavery is okay.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • ......

      "The slaves of ancient Israel war prisoners of war, which really had deserved punishment. This had nothing to do with economical slavery. "

      Wow the stupidity of christians is just amazing. There were economic slavery in ancient times, bankrupted and the poor became slaves and it had nothing to do with war.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Overheard often

      When are the American blacks going to acknowledge that Arab Muslims (like Obama's Arab ancestors) captured blacks and sold them into slavery back in the 1200s and still do in the 21st century??!!

      January 12, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  5. Doc Vestibule

    "The Juvenile Instructor" is an LDS tome used to indoctrinate children.
    Here is an excerpt from an early edition:
    "We will first inquire into the results of the approbation or displeasure of God upon a people, starting with the belief that a black skin is a mark of the curse of Heaven placed upon some portions of mankind. Some, however, will argue that a black skin is not a curse, nor a white skin a blessing. In fact, some have been so foolish as to believe and say that a black skin is a blessing, and that the ne.gro is the finest type of a perfect man that exists on the earth; but to us such teachings are foolishness.
    We understand that when God made man in his own image and pronounced him very good, that he made him white. We have no record of any of God's favored servants being of a black race...every angel who ever brought a message of God's mercy to man was beautiful to look upon, clad in the purest white and with a countenance bright as the noonday sun. (Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 3, page 157)
    100 years later, LDS followers became more "tolerant" and published statements like this:
    "I would not want you to believe that we bear any animosity toward the Neg.ro. Dar.kies are wonderful people, and they have their place in our church."
    – Joseph Fielding Smith, Look magazine, October 22, 1963, page 79
    Dr. Lowry Nelson – a Mormon himself – sent a letter to the Mormon First Presidency questioning the official racist doctrines.
    The reply he received said, in part:
    "From the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith even until now, it is has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by any of the Church leaders, that the Neg.roes are not ent.itled to the full blessings of the Gospel.
    "Furthermore your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Neg.ro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient partiarchs till now. God's rule for Israel, His Chosen People, has been endogamous."
    – George Albert Smith J. Reuben Clark, Jr. David O. McKay
    Finally, in 1978 the Mormons had a revelation allowing blacks into the priesthood – conveniently at the exact time that they were expanding into countries full of "cursed" people, like Brazil.
    Today, while there is no official policy of segregation, the old prejudices still exist.
    Black LDS church member Darron Smith wrote in 2003:
    "Even though the priesthood ban was repealed in 1978, the discourse that constructs what blackness means is still very much intact today. Under the direction of President Spencer W. Kimball, the First Presidency and the Twelve removed the policy that denied black people the priesthood but did very little to disrupt the multiple discourses that had fostered the policy in the first place. Hence there are Church members today who continue to summon and teach at every level of Church education the racial discourse that black people are descendants of Cain, that they merited lesser earthly privilege because they were "fence-sitters" in the War in Heaven, and that, science and climatic factors aside, there is a link between skin color and righteousness"

    January 12, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      It is no question at all that the LDS are a damned cult, which has nothing to do with Christianity.

      I think the main question is the following: What is the religion of the true God, which has made heaven and earth.

      If we would follow the genuine religion, God would release us from all evil cults and we would be spared of any endeavour to abolish them.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Said

      Mormonism is a cult just like Christianity is. Christianity is merely more popular. Claims of both religions are false and silly.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Don't you find it a bit odd that God All Mighty – Shaper and Ruler of all the Universe – expects His creations to pick the One Truth out of countless possibilities using only faith?
      If He wanted us to know The Truth, He should have been a little less ambiguous!

      January 12, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Doc Vestibule

      In the person of Jesus God has personally visited good old earth, in order to insti-tute the real faith.

      What should he do more?

      Do you require him to come again every year or every two months?

      January 12, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • MarkinFL

      A 2000 year old fanciful story is not very compelling. A little actual evidence ( actually ANY ) would be reasonable. Even congress has a better track record than your god.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I guess God was a lot more demonstrative back when He flamboyantly parted the seas.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • inTheDogHouse

      "Doc Vestibule," don't you think you misunderstand things. The Bible says to ask God. If you ask God, it says in the Book of Mormon that the Holy Ghost will confirm the truth, and the one sin that cannot be repented is denying the Holy Ghost - something held by the Christian community, too.

      January 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  6. Puzzled

    "while six in 10 say their fellow Americans as a whole are uninformed about the LDS Church." How many Mormons are well-informed about the LDS church, its true history, and all of its teachings (much less orthodox Christianity).

    January 12, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Puzzled

      Sorry, that should be "?".

      January 12, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • LDSinSC

      You mean like the the Nicene Creed? How many Prodestants do you think really understand that doctorine? Let alone its history.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • CaptainObvious

      I can assure that there are at least twenty times more Mormons that know and understand the history of Mormonism (along with the both the positive and negative allegations and claims) than evangelicals who know anything about the histories of the early creeds or Christianity for that matter. I can also assure you there twenty Mormons who have read the bible cover to cover per evangelical who has done so. That is just fact.

      January 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  7. Rainer Braendlein

    @Doc Vestibule

    It may occure that the Western World abandons Christianity. But even if that happens, Christianity had already been the most acknowledged religion for about 2000 years.

    My worry: When the world abandons Christianity, will God have any reason to preserve the world any longer? A culture without true religion is totally worthless.

    January 12, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Oh well...

      January 12, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • tallulah13

      Since humanity has created, replaced and rejected thousands of gods throughout history, and since the success of christianity can be directly linked, not to any divine intervention, but to human migration, I not terribly worried about what your "god" might do. There's no evidence he's done anything before. Why would he start now?

      January 12, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Bob

      A culture without religion would be wonderful.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Be free of religion in 2012.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Bob

      And no, I don't mean communism. In communist countries, the state is the religion.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      No need to worry.
      According to the mythology, so long as there are rainbows, God won't wipe us out.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Puzzled

      Where is your evidence, Bob?

      January 12, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • claybigsby

      "Christianity had already been the most acknowledged religion for about 2000 years."

      Since archeologists estimate that modern humans have been on the Earth for about 200,000 years this would mean christianity has been around for 1% of the existence of humans. Dont act like it has been around all that long because it hasnt

      January 12, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Overheard often

      America has abandoned the ten Commandments and banned God from the public places. We have slaughtered millions of innocent babies in the name of choice. We have AIDS and syphilis running rampant because we think adultery is not a forbidden practice. Why do you think our Heavenly Father warned us not to do it. Look at the mess we have.... Unless we turn back to God very soon our Heavenly Father will cease his protection of the USA and destroy the country as we know it.
      Talk back in Jan 2013 if we have electricity or money to do so. The anti Christian and anti religion comments posted to the article about the Mormons are just examples of how far we have fallen away from God.

      If you don't believe in Hell now, you will when you get there.
      Yes, there is Life after death with our Heavenly Father or eternal death after death if you so chose to deny Jesus Christ.
      God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
      that is John 3:16 in The Holy Bible

      January 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  8. hippypoet

    discrimination against womanizing racists – never, tell me its not so!

    January 12, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Amber

      Thank you for providing a perfect example of the kind of discrimination Mormons face. Name-calling and blatant misrepresentation is pretty commonplace here on the internet, as well as flat-out arguments. I hope you have a good day.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • hippypoet

      misrepresentation, what misrepresentation? you folks believe that if your good enough and believe in the power of jesus a black person can turn white thru faith – thats saying that being black is a curse – have you read your holy book lately? and the womanzing thing....the men hold the power in this belief system and the women do whats told , can women have more then one husband or is that just for the men, can women run for office or is that a mans job, can women do anything but maintain the house, nope...not in that world! you folks are child beaing tools who are best when quiet- but hey, you can lie to yourself all you want. its your life! loser thou you may be, you can still save yourself – first step is getting your head out of your @ss!

      January 12, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • hippypoet

      just good fun, whats up with the special underwear? do you folks fear the devil is going to get at your junk while you sleep?

      January 12, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • CaptainObvious

      Hippy Poet. NOthing you have said is accurate. I am sorry, but have you ever met a Mormon?

      January 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • inTheDogHouse

      Isn't it remarkable that it was the Mormon President who led America in giving women the right to vote. He came out in favor of it, Utah adopted it, and the rest of the country followed.

      January 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  9. Conyeah Wess

    Wayz duh wite wymins.

    January 12, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  10. Lay-Z

    Ize gun covuht to momun so I hab a bunch a bytches an ho's. YO!!

    January 12, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  11. Pops

    Feel free to discriminate against Mormons! They do not follow my One True Religion! Feel free to discriminate against anyone for any reason!
    Religious FREEDOM is HERE!!!
    Laws no longer matter! My religion says so! Mine is the ONE TRUE WAY!
    My GOD kicks the ASS of all those other gods because THEY are FAKE and MINE is REAL!

    January 12, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Those who deny the Truth of Quetzlcoatl shall suffer His serpentine wrath!

      January 12, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      It sounds so advanced, what you say, but it is rubbish.

      In all areas of life decisions are made Look at the American congress. At first they discuss some different proposals and then they make a decision. Finally one decision has to be accepted by all, even by the losers.

      The Christian Church was persecuted up to the end of the 3th century after Christ. The Christians used no violence, or political influence and nothing else to enforce their faith (consider that the Roman Empire, before it became Christian, was totally pagan and they adored God's like Jupiter and Mercury). The Christian faith prevailed just because of its intrinsic truth. The Church is built on the blood of the martyrs.

      The time or persecution is finished and the Christian Church got acknowledged as legitimate religion by the civilized world or Roman Empire (edict of Millano).

      Hence, Christianity is more than an ordinary belief. Christianity is the traditional belief of the Western World and belongs to the Western society. Without Christianity genuine Western society will perish.

      January 12, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Pops

      Your god is FAKE, Ranier! It has been proven by MY GOD to ME! Your religion is a false one. You do not follow what is True.

      Feel Free, Ranier! Ignore any law you like! When you do you will be proving MY GOD is REAL!
      Even your lame arguments prove me to be right! There is nothing you can do or say to prove me wrong because I am RIGHT!
      Your fake god never did anything. MY GOD does EVERYTHING! That's why you are stupid. It is your punishment.
      It doesn't matter what you say in protest against my True Words. I follow the One True Religion. You don't. You lose.

      Happy First Holy Day! Quit worrying about anything and PARTY! You cannot win against my One True GOD!

      January 12, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "Without Christianity genuine Western society will perish."
      That's what southern Americans used to say about slavery.
      Societies change with time. While it is foolish to deny our cultural roots, clinging to those roots in spite of the shifting zeitgeist is counterproductive. Cultures must adapt and change, lest they become stagnant and ultimately irrelevant.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein



      January 12, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Pops

      Yes, you are delusional, Ranier! I agree! You must accept this difficult and painful fact as you come to know the One True GOD.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  12. Doc Vestibule

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is all about the $$
    To make sure congregants are paying up, each year they must go before a Bishop for a Ti.thing Settlement.
    A member is questioned in a one-on-one interview with the Bishop to ensure the member is paying a full 10%.
    Those members who are not paying a full 10% lose their temple recommendations and therefore are in serious jeopardy of losing their Celestial blessings.
    If a member cannot get into the temple, they cannot learn the secret handshake, secret password, secret "new name" and special “sealings”.
    Without these, the member will be unable to pass Joseph Smith and the angels who guard the entrance to the Celestial Kingdom.
    Mormons are told: "if a dest.itute family is faced with the decision of paying their ti.thing or eating, they should pay their t.ithing." (Lynn Robbins, General Conference, April 2005).

    January 12, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • CaptainObvious

      All about the $$?? The LDS Church is now one of the single largest nongovernmental providers of worldwide disaster aid and poverty relief. The Church is the only Christian faith that believes in a nonpaid clergy. Ever seen president Monson's little dinky house? It is a far cry from the the Vatican. If they were all about the money, why spend all those billions of dollars on feeding the poor and the needy? Why waste resources operating the single largest charitable disribution center in the western hemisphere as well as one of the world's largest charitbale food bank operations?

      I don't think you have a clue what you are talking about.

      January 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      In Jan. 2006, the Church PR department, (Deseret News Publishing Company) said, “that since 1984, the LDS Church has donated nearly $750 million in cash and goods to people in need in more than 150 countries.”

      They are spending 15 times that amount (3 BILLION) on a mall in SLC.
      What do you think that says about the organization's priorities?

      January 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Sorry – not 15 times the amount donated (finger slip)
      That's still a pretty large disparity between total charity donations and a single business venture.

      January 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  13. Rainer Braendlein

    As for me I am a Lutheran (I guess the Lutherans belong to the mainline churches).

    I try to love everybody independent from belief, nationality, colour, social status, etc.. I think, that was commanded by Jesus Christ.

    I would even try to love my Mormon neighbour or workmate (in fact I know no Mormon personally).

    Nevertheless, the Mormons cannot require zero-discrimination from the society as a whole, because they themselves are absolutely exclusive like any other cult. The Mormons are a religious body, which lives at the very edge of society (that is their own will).

    Although I love my Mormon neighbour, I can never accept his "faith", which is in fact no faith but a supersti-tion.

    In his First Vision Jospeh Smith (the founder of the Mormons) was told the following: "all creeds of the current churches are an abomination in God's sight and he is not allowed to join one of the currently existing churches". Surely this Mormon tenet was never rejected by the LDS and thus is still valid. Hence, they discriminate themselves by that doctrine. It is clear that the traditional churches and their creeds have the roots in the Early Church, which was founded by Jesus. Somebody, who reject the traditional churches also rejects the Early Church and her founder Jesus Christ. The traditional churches belong do the Western society. Someone, who rejects the traditional churches, rejects the whole Western society.

    It is no question at all that the current mainline churches urgently need a new Reformation, but nevertheless they have good roots.

    We don't need the LDS, which are an evil cult, but a new Reformation of the mainline churches.

    January 12, 2012 at 6:54 am |
    • Reality

      Only for the "newbies":

      Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      January 12, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Normon

      Lutheran? Does that mean you follow Martin Luther, not Jesus Christ?

      January 12, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Brad

      "Lutheran" simply means that we agree with much of Martin Luther's theology. Luther himself was a flawed human being just as we all are. We do not follow him.

      January 12, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Reality

      Only for the "newbies":

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Pau (like the Lutherans) et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher man would do or say?

      January 12, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Religious people are intellectual sleepwalkers

      Rainer thinks that other religions are cults, but his is the real one. HILARIOUS!

      Your religion is a cult too, Rainer! You deserve the discrimination you think is appropriate for the Mormons, for the same reason.

      Wakey wakey, Rainer! Your myths are but a dream, nothing more.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • LDSinSC

      You bring up a very interesting point. But may I ask you something.
      Was not Catholicism considered an abomination in God’s sight? Isn’t that why God called Martin Luther for the reformation? If the Catholic Church had remained perfect, there would have been no need of a reformation. Then other churches obviously thought that this wasn’t enough to bring the church of Christ back to its original teachings, so they formed their own churches. And so on, and so on. The difference with us is we believe that something good can’t come from something bad. In other words, if the Catholic Church turned its teachings away from God, not maliciously, but just through the errors of men, could just “reforming” its teachings bring back the truth? Or would it take a complete restoration of the Gospel of Christ? I think of it as an old house. The foundation (teachings of Christ) are solid, but over time, people tried to change the house to modernize it. Instead, they changed the integrity of the house. To bring it back to its original, you can't just reform it, you would have to restore it. I hope I explained this instead of just being confusing!
      Side question: Wasn't the Lutheran Church considered a "cult" at its begining?

      January 12, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • nattie

      Didn't your faith's founder, Martin Luthor write a racist hate pamphlet called,"The Jews and their lies" that became the foundation of German hatred for Jews. Wasn't that pamphlet the foundation used to write the much better known Mein Kampf? That's more than a skeleton in the closet, that's a full fledged zombie! Look it up. There are copies all over the internet. Martin wrote it in his senior years. It's said he just lived too long. Before that he was a pretty decent fellow.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  14. Name*ezekiel m

    Who real knew the true church or religion on this earth?. It's only about your own personal believes even though some people think they are in right church it can not lat them passed through with their Sinn.

    January 12, 2012 at 3:16 am |
  15. Mormon perspectives requested

    Would a practicing Mormon please explain to me how you can possibly believe Joseph Smith's obviously invented con? So much of the Book Of Mormon is clearly wrong. Please explain how you can believe it, because to so many of us, Smith was just obviously half con man, half nut case, out for personal gain with his clumsy scam.

    Explain how baptizing the dead makes any sense to you. Explain how you accept really absurd ideas like million man armies battling away in the Americas with lots of things that were not in the Americas until many centuries later, and they left absolutely no trace of it.

    Explain the racism. Explain the sexism.

    It is unimaginable to me that anyone with an IQ higher than Gump could actually believe this, but I am willing to seriously listen if someone can actually make sense of this.

    January 12, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Funny, I feel the exact same way about Christianity ( as well as Muslim, etc.)

      January 12, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • JoeS

      Perhaps, you better ask himself of what you are saying is true and if you are sincere, He will tell you the truth.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Mike

      I personally would be very interested in hearing a practicing Mormon answer some of your questions and explain why they believe in some of these things (if they do, I'm not an expert on Mormons). However, you're unlikely to get an honest answer when you insult and belittle a person's faith. If you truly want to know the answer (as I do), then ask it in a less inflammatory way.

      January 12, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Matt

      IIt's not exactly word-for-word what you're looking for, but Richard Bushman, Professor at Columbia and member of the LDS church explained a fair amount of doctrine as it related to Mitt Romney and how his membership in the LDS church would affect him as a potential President. Hope it helps. http://www.pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/Mormonism-and-Politics-Are-They-Compatible.aspx

      January 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  16. WOT

    Mormons are people of their own belief system, are their an Black Mormon! Read the history of the Mormons and you will cringe.

    January 12, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • HellBent

      Read the history of just about any religion and you will cringe

      January 12, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • How embarassing for you...............

      People killed in the name of Mormonism: 0
      People killed in the name Christianity: 978,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
      People killed in the Name of Allah: 989,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

      *Please Note: Survey does NOT include people killed for being Mormon.

      January 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • CaptainObvious

      I am sorry, but the history of Mormon Christianity is beyond squeeky clean. If you want to really cringe, look at the history of so-called orthodox Christianity starting with the mass contentions, murders, bloodshed, and book burnings of the early "councils." It is laughable that some "Christians" will criticize the LDS for denying Black people to preisthood leadership until the 1900s, when the entire premise behind originally forming the Southern Baptist Convention was to support slavery and legal murder. Rediculous.

      January 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  17. Mormons Are Christian

    Mormons’ theology is based on New Testament Christianity, not Fourth Century Creeds. For example, the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views on Baptism, Lay Ministry, the Trinity, Theosis, Grace vs. Works, the Divinity of Jesus Christ comport more closely with Early Christianity than any other denomination. And Mormons’ teenagers have been judged to “top the charts” in Christian Characteristics by a UNC-Chapel Hill study. Read about it here:


    Those who question if the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is a Christian denomination usually are mis-informed because New Testament Christianity is closer to Jesus Christ’s teachings than Fourth Century Creeds. Mormons have a better understanding of Christianity than any other denomination, according to a 2010 Pew Forum poll:


    11 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence (including several presidents) were non-Trinitarian Christians. Those who now insist on their narrow Trinitarian and salvation only by grace definition of Christianity for candidates for public office are doing our Republic an injustice.

    January 12, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • just sayin

      Mormons are a lot of things Christian is not one of those things.

      January 12, 2012 at 4:53 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things

      January 12, 2012 at 4:59 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      It has been scientifically proven that prayer does indeed change things - or the worse.

      The John Templeton Foundation funded a 10 year, $2.4 million dollar study involving 1,800 cardiac patients to measure the effectiveness of intecessory prayer.
      The patients were broken into three groups. Two were prayed for; the third was not. Half the patients who received the prayers were told that they were being prayed for; half were told that they might or might not receive prayers.
      Analyzing complications in the 30 days after the operations, the researchers found no differences between those patients who were prayed for and those who were not.
      Over the longer term, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested.
      A 1997 study at the University of New Mexico, involving 40 alcoholics in rehabilitation, found that the men and women who knew they were being prayed for actually fared worse.

      January 12, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @just sayin': They are as much christian as you are. To say they are not is the no true scotsman fallacy. Who are you to determine who is true christian? Do you have some divine knowledge that gives you the right to do so? As far as most Atheists are concerned, anyone who follows the buybull is a christian...this is one more area where christianity fails-not one of you agrees on who is right. Does your book of fables not teach you judge not, lest ye be judged? So by judging mormons makes you a sinner and a hypocrite in your god's eyes!

      January 12, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • HellBent

      @TruthPrevails – just sayin' was appointment by god herself to be the sole arbiter of who is and who is not a true christian. they converse daily so as to keep the criteria up-to-date

      January 12, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @HellBent: lol...I just wish their god would keep us up to date on which one has been given the divine knowledge daily...maybe then we'd know which one to steer clear of daily.

      January 12, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Heaven is for Presbyterians


      January 12, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  18. The Phist

    I don't know which is funnier.... mormonism or carrot top (yes, I'm aware that both are extremely lame).

    January 12, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Paul Brown

      No wonder Morons feel descriminated against in the USA. I can assure you Mormons do not ridiclue your religion or lack of it. Why do you feel inclined to ridicule the LDS faith just because you do not understand it?

      January 12, 2012 at 2:25 am |
  19. The Central Scrutinizer

    More Mormon Fun:

    4. Priesthood
    In the LDS religion any worthy male can be given the priesthood and is given specific duties. Black people were not allowed to have the priesthood until 1978. Females are not allowed to have the priesthood.
    D&C 107: 1-5
    1 There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood.
    2 Why the first is called the Melchizedek Priesthood is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest.
    3 Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God.
    4 But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repeti.tion of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood.
    5 All other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood.
    Official Declaration – 2, 1978
    Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God's eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.

    January 12, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Todd Morgan

      once again a bigoted remark by someone who obviously is an ANTI mormon. Mormons believe in the priesthood which is the authority to act in the name of God, but Mormons do NOT focus any time trying to disparage other religions, it is not something that even interests them.

      Any Mormon could give you many, many examples of how the priesthood has blessed their lives. In my personal life I have seen healing, dreams, protection, angelic visitations, and witness of the holy ghost. For the believer, God is more powerful than man. God is active in a spiritual person's life.

      Just because you don't believe that way or choose to learn about this religion, doesn't mean others don't want to. Mormons have hundreds of thousands of converts every year. Any religion attracts converts not because people are forced to join, but because God is more powerful than man, and if God wants to call a person out of the world, he can.

      Making fun of Mormons is not fair without examining the hundreds of thousands of testimonies, miracles, and events that have shaped the believers of the faith

      January 12, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • Wow, really?

      Todd – you are actually trying to tell us that you personally have experienced visits by angels, and have witnessed the holy ghost? Really? You must be commenting from a psych ward in Utah, because you are clinically insane if you actually believe that. Seriously. What you claim is literally nuts.

      January 12, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • Pops

      Mormons should be shunned and discriminated against because they are not following my One True Religion!
      They are a false offshoot of a false offshoot of a false offshoot!
      They are false three times three!
      It's a sign that they are especially false!
      My One True Religion is the Only True Religion! All others are fake nonsense! It has been proven by my GOD!

      January 12, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      Todd will be here all week! Ta da da.

      January 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  20. Reality

    To be fair:

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

    • There was 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.

    Added details available upon request-

    January 12, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • .........

      To be really fair hit report abuse on all reality repeat bull sh it

      January 12, 2012 at 4:54 am |
    • Pops

      Have you heard about the One True Religion, Reality? My GOD exists! It has been proven!
      It is nothing like all the other religions in the world, which are all fakeries of fakers! Mine is the Only Truth! It says so!
      Laws no longer matter in the USA! Feel Free! Be Free! Act Free!

      January 12, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Reality

      Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

      Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

      January 12, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • NCBI

      This link

      January 20, 2012 at 9:49 am |
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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.