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. Holly

    As a Mormon I definitely feel strong discrimination and it comes directly from the Evangelicals. The Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and amazingly enough Atheists are the ones who are kind and accepting, acting like the true Christians.

    January 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • max

      as an atheist i find nothing different between the various religions. im happy there is organized religion. helps keep a bunch of crazy people occupied....

      January 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Brad

      I'm a Lutheran. I don't really feel empowered to apologize on behalf of all Lutherans, but I do want to apologize for any feelings of discrimination I might be responsible for.

      January 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  2. empathy

    As a Muslim, I can relate to the sentiments of the Mormons on this thread. Islam has also been called a cult, and it has been around for 1400 years and has over a billion followers, so you really shouldn't feel too bad if folks have been nasty to you. That being said, I don't necessarily believe as you believe and pray for your guidance as I am sure you would pray for mine.

    January 14, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Abinadi

      I had several Muslim friends and felt we had more in common than I had with my evangelical friends – dedication and loyalty to our religion, fidelity to our wives and families, respect to God and to sacred things, a sense of honor. I am glad you are here because one thing bothers and concerns me as it does all Americans. If your Imam told you to strap a bomb on and go to a crowded place and kill Americans, would you do it? I know our prophet would never ask such a thing. This is a sincere question and I would be interested in your response.

      January 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  3. David

    I remember waiting to board an aircraft for a flight to my new home in Salt Lake City and having a great conversation with a Moron guy heading home. We had a great time until he asked me if I was a member of the church. I said no. He asked if my girlfriend was a member and I said no, she was catholic. End of conversation... I might as well have tossed a drink in his face.

    January 14, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • David

      Thats WAS a typo.

      January 14, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • lastomega

      Lived in Utah 20 years as a "Non-Mormon", what you described is very normal in Utah. The farther the LDS get away from Temple Square the friendlier they become to "non-mormons".

      January 14, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Abinadi

      He probably thought you were a member and just wanted to talk shop. When you said no, he was surprised and didn't know what to say. The church is the main thing in my family's life. We live around the church. We do our socializing there, we solve our problems there, we fulfill our spiritual needs there. I don't hate my non mormon neighbors. We just don't seem to have a lot in common. When I talk to my mormon neighbors, the main topic is the church. What am I going to talk about to people who don't think the church is a big deal?

      January 14, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  4. Voice of Reason

    How many Blacks, Asians or Hispanics does the Mormon church have in it's leadership? They my be surprised that they are discriminated against because of their own bigotry. Nevertheless, Momons should not be discriminated against or shoul they discriminate. Take the beam out of the Momon eye before you try to remove the speck from the eye of another.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • devonm

      Watch the next LDS general conference in April where the leaders of our church address the world and count how many for yourself. Or visit lds.org to see past conferences.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Abinadi

      Get the beam out of your own eye. All races are totally and completely accepted. I was in a temple service just a couple of days ago where a black brother officiated. We don't burn crosses on people's lawns or exclude people from riding buses and eating from restaurants here in Utah. Get down off your high horse and leave us alone!

      January 14, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Abinadi

      You can't get much "whiter" than me and my wife, we are blond, blue-eyed scandinvians, but we attend a hispanic branch, speak fluent spanish, and are proud of two hispanic sons in law. I resent your insinuations profoundly.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Holly

      There are quite a few actually. Some of the prominent LDS leaders, not from the United States are Dieter Uchtdorf, Silvia Henriquez Allred, Carlos Amado, Claudio Costa, Walter Gonzalez, Marcos Aidukaitis, and many many more. There are millions of hispanic Mormons, over 1 million in Mexico alone.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  5. Abinadi

    Usurpers and false prophets are always alone when they have their "visions". That is why the scriptures call for witnesses because the Lord knew that these things would occur. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13, "1 In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." That is why we have witnesses to Jesus Christ's resurrection. That is why there were witnesses to all that Joseph Smith said, "Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. "

    Three men saw an angel and the plates were laid before them!!!! Later, 8 more men saw the plates and handled them. This is the difference between Joseph Smith and the false teachers of the day. JOSEPH SMITH HAD WITNESSES!

    January 13, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Abinadi

      That is also why the Father has sent the Holy Ghost to bear witness to us individually, so that we will not be deceived! " 4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."

      5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may aknow the btruth of all things."

      You can read the witnesses accounts on the introduction page of the Book of Mormon. You can get a free Book of Mormon at mormon.org.

      January 13, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • David

      The whole debate is moot. Romney will win the nomination, go to the election and lose because the hard liners from other churches will stay home and watch him fall. Christians of all shades are some of the cruelest people Ive ever met when it comes to delighting in the misfortune of another.

      January 14, 2012 at 6:11 am |
    • Puzzled

      Joseph Smith had co-conspirators not witnesses.

      January 14, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Puzzled

      Aren't there samples of the "reformed Egyptian" this stuff was supposed to have been written in? Can't we subject it to an.alysis to see if there is actually any information content in the "writings"? What do linguistics experts have to say about "reformed Egyptian" ?

      January 14, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Abinadi

      Still looking for a sign? You are almost as bad as the people who called Christ a devil! Get a Book of Mormon, read it, and pray about it. If you are truly sincere, and you can't fool the Lord (he knows your heart), you will receive a witness from the Holy Ghost. There is no other way to know for sure! If the experts did read the writings, how do we know they have it all together and are reading it correctly? The experts don't know all they represent they know. I found that out about doctors. They are doing a lot of guessing.

      January 14, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Puzzled

      Ok, I have a Book of Mormon. So far it looks rather derivative of the King James Bible, but I'll give it a good read. Let's get back to "reformed Egyptian". The Mormon faith seems unique in that it is based on writings that are in an unknown language (or script). Why are you so cagey about examination of such writings?

      January 14, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Abinadi

      Ok, so what if those non lds "experts" decide the translations are not authentic? That directly contradicts what the spirit tells me every day. Why should I believe what the Taliban says about the United States and it's role in the middle east? Religion is a spiritual thing. Don't tell me that my beliefs are stupid. You have never felt the spirit and you have no idea what you are talking about.

      January 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Puzzled

      Well, if the translations are not authentic and the Holy Spirit is telling you something, perhaps you should discard the translations and go with what the Holy Spirit is telling you alone. BTW, I'm sorry if I gave you the impression that I think your beliefs are stupid. I think they are sincerely held and probably not without foundation.

      January 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Sorry, Puzzled. When I post, it is like I am speaking to everyone on this blog and I was anticipating what the atheists were going to say. You do seem like a sincere person. God bless you!

      January 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • just sayin

      The foundation of Mormonism is fraud. Mormons are not Christians, never have been and never will be. Since the founding by the proven con man Joseph Smith, Mormons have been identified by the true church as a cult.

      January 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  6. Kathleen

    There are many many lies in this article just like the Mormans tell many many lies about thier faith. Native Americans are the lost tribe of Isreal, Jesus visited the United States, when mormans die, the men become gods of their own planets, and black people are second class citizens because they have the mark of Cain. These dudes be crazy

    January 13, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • arizona

      I've been attending the LDS church for over twenty years and have never learned what you imply. This may help dispel some of your misunderstanding.
      We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
      We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
      We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
      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.
      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.
      We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
      We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
      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.
      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.
      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 paradisiacal glory.
      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.
      We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
      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.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Kathleen, you have been deceived by, let me guess, a minister who gets money from you and doesn't want to lose his livelyhood. Ron Hubbard was overheard to say that if he wanted to make an easy million dollars, he would start a church, and that is exactly what he eventually did! Your minister is in it for the money! The true Church of Jesus Christ doesn't sell the Lord's gospel for money. That is what is called priest craft. The clergy in the Church of Jesus Christ are unpaid and only motivated by a sincere desire to serve. The young men and women who are our missionaries are the same way. They serve at great sacrifices, often giving up college savings or lucrative sports and entertainment contracts so they can bring you the truth. Don't be doofed by the "grievous wolves" who "make war with the saints" and fight against God. I urge you to go to mormon.org where kind, dedicated, unpaid missionaries will answer any questions you have.

      January 14, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  7. Jack Kieser

    I'm going to put this as nicely as I can: **** them. Mormons have no idea what religious persecution is; how could they, when they've only existed since the 1800's? A mormon is poised to be a presidential nominee... tell me, how many Atheists have been able to say that?

    Atheists are the most persecuted people in the USA, and I say that with confidence. The majority of southern states would directly and openly discriminate against Atheists, and the entire country does every single election cycle that an Atheist isn't on the ballot.

    **** mormons, they have nothing to complain about.

    January 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Actually

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha, good one! Oh.. You're serious? My bad, I forgot about the... ummm... Crap, forgot the name of that one time when a bunch of atheists died. Well, but there was that one law... something about the extermination of all atheists? Oh, but there are all those news articles about those ummm... teens or adults maybe... who I think might have been atheist... who might have had their cookies stolen or something.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Taylor

      "Atheists are the most persecuted people in the USA, and I say that with confidence"

      Ha ha, get off the internet.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • arizona

      NO one should be persecuted against because of their beliefs, of this I believe we can both agree. However, to claim Mormons have never been persecuted against is a little ignorant. Check the Missouri Executive Order 44, or extermination order made by Govenor Lilborn Boggs of Missouri that made it legal to kill Mormons. Persecution I would say so.

      January 13, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  8. Michael

    I dont think his religion is relevant. we should all look at his record. he is far from a conservative. he is a hypocrite and a lier. basically, he is just like obama.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  9. peick

    "Mormons also subscribe to key tenets of mainstream Christianity, despite the sense many evangelicals have that Mormons are not Christians."

    You have to define terms to be able to discuss this at all. I don't think most people want to do that hard work. Mormons and mainstream Christians have totally different meanings for the same religious terms. If you really care to know the difference, find out what each group means by the words it uses.

    January 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • truthiness

      I respect the right of anyone to choose his or her own religion. I count Mormons among my family and friends.

      However, as an evangelical, I object when people assume Mormons accept the key tenets of the Christian religion.

      Christians believe Jesus is THE son of God. Mormons believe Jesus is A son of God. Another son of God, according to Mormons, is Lucifer, whom you may know as Satan.
      The belief that Jesus is THE one and only Son of God, born of a virgin, is the most important tenet of the Christian religion.

      Mormons have other beliefs that are in direct contrast to Christian beliefs. Mormons believe that worthy Mormons will become gods and goddesses. Christians don't believe this at all. In fact, the idea of people becoming gods is a lie of Satan, in guise of the Serpent, when he tempted Eve in the Garden. By the way, Mormons believe the fall of Adam and Eve is a good thing.

      Christians believe God is a Spirit. Mormons believe God is in a human-like form.

      The list could go on and on. I refer you to the book, The Godmakers, for further examples.

      I respect the right of Mormons to have their beliefs. I just want them to stop trying to align them with mine.

      January 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Truthiness, you are referring to John 3:16 which reads, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only BEGOTTEN Son. You protestants changed it, didn't you? And, it changed the meaning of the scripture entirely! You thought no one would notice such a small, seemingly innocuous little change, but no blacker contrivance was ever concocted by Satan than to change the words of the Bible! That is heresy!

      January 14, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • truthiness

      You're doing a great job defending your religion on this thread, Abinadi. That doesn't make you correct.

      Here's another difference–Christians believe the Bible is the entire Word of God. We don't have another book, such as your Book of Mormon.

      By the way, you quote John 3:16 correctly. That doesn't mean you interpret it correctly.

      January 14, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • Mirosal

      telling us that your book is the word of a 'god' over and over doesn't make YOU correct either. Isn't logic a neat thing?

      January 14, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Abinadi

      We are lead by a prophet who has the right to interpret the scriptures, because it was a prophet who originally wrote them. Only a prophet knows the mind and will of the Lord. You are lead by an uninspired usurper who preaches for profit. He even may be sincere, but without the priesthood of God, he has no right! 2 Samuel 6:4, " 6 ¶And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it.

      7 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God." Your minister is lucky the Lord doesn't strike him down in like fashion!

      January 14, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Bizarre


      Prophet? Phooey.

      January 14, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  10. SCFan

    Its wonderful reading all of these peoples comments about the LDS church when they absolutely know nothing about its members or the principles taught their. I am so proud to be an American and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. I am grateful to live in a country that allows me to worship freely. Fact... about 150 years ago there was an extermination order place on all Mormons heads by supposed christian men. They could kill a Mormon for no reason but being a mormon right here in this country. Joseph Smith wrote a letter to James Buchannon who was the president of this country, and pleaded for help as the Mormons were being slaughtered and killed by fellow christian men. Buchannon said sorry we cant help you. I become ashamed when I read all of this bigotry and absolute falsehoods that are being spread by my fellow countrymen when they dont know the least bit about what Mormons went through and suffered just to be recgonized as human beings. For all of you who stand for religious freedom and the ablitiy to worship how you please...Thank you! You are why this country is so amazing.

    January 13, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      I know enough about Mormons because I watch South Park! 😉

      January 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • jcraig1957

      After what the LDS did to the gay community in California by backing Prop H8, I have NOTHING nice to say about your "religion" You think YOU have been persecuted, buddy? Pardon me if I don't stop laughing......

      January 13, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Red

      James Buchanan wasn't president when Joseph Smith was alive buddy. Like many LDS, you are apparently mostly oblivious about church history beyond the whitewashed version taught by the church.

      January 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Believer

      do you believe in blood atonement?

      January 14, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • welll

      It is embarrassing when people say they are providing facts, but get them wrong. Joseph Smith was murdered 13 years before James Buchanan became president. It is unlikely that information from the LDS Church would make such a silly error. The Church employs historians.

      January 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  11. Red

    Mormons are generally nice, decent people. However, any church that proclaims to be God's "one and only true religion" is bound to be obnoxious on some level. Also, unlike many other churches, the Mormon church keeps its finances a secret, which I think is a huge red flag.

    January 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Abinadi

      So, do you think Paul was abnoxious? He said, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." You are in direct contradiction to all the holy prophets since the world began!

      January 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Red

      I don't take divisive religious rhetoric seriously, whatever the source.

      January 16, 2012 at 2:35 am |
  12. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    I know what will happen next! It will either take until NASA sends its first manned mission to Mars, or perhaps one of the rovers will make the discovery first....I prophesy that there will be some even BETTER golden tablets, or some other written form of "Christian" testament on Mars! Because Judaism, in all its variations, wasn't good enough. Christianity, in all its variations, wasn't good enough. Islam in all its variations wasn't good enough, Moronism in all its variations wasn't good enough, Christian Science wasn't good enough. NOPE, the only way to be a "perfected Christian" is to adhere to the most recent made-up religion that is based on the "original" Judaism....but then as I have pointed out previously on this page, Judaism is NOT ORIGINAL anyway! G0DD@MN, RELIGIONS SUCK!!!

    January 13, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  13. SeanNJ

    I think what Mormons are missing is their own representative character in the WWE.

    He could be a masked guy named "The Stormin' Mormon," and across the seat of his white trunks he could have the word "MAGIC" all glittery-and-rhinestoney-like. His finisher could be the "Ordinance of Ordnance."

    January 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Sid

      ROFL. Hilarious suggestion.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  14. Reality


    A business/religious cult based on Joseph Smith's hallucinations which has bought respectability with a $30 billion business empire, the BYU "mission matured" football team and a great choir.

    Well, the Mormon Church, aka the business c-ult fronting as a religion founded by one of the great con artists of all time, Joseph Smith, can surely afford it based on the following review:

    From: lds-mormon.com/time.shtml

    "The first divergence between Mormon economics and that of other denominations is the t-ithe. Most churches take in the greater part of their income through donations. Very few, however, impose a compulsory 10% income tax on their members. Ti-thes are collected locally, with much of the money pas-sed on informally to local lay leaders at Sunday services. "By Monday," says Elbert Peck, editor of Sunstone, an independent Mormon magazine, the church authorities in Salt Lake City "know every cent that's been collected and have made sure the money is deposited in banks." There is a lot to deposit. Last year $5.2 billion in t-ithes flowed into Salt Lake City, $4.9 billion of which came from American Mormons."
    "The Mormons are stewards of a different str-ipe. Their charitable spending and temple building are prodi-gious. But where other churches spend most of what they receive in a given year, the Latter-day Saints employ vast amounts of money in investments that TIME estimates to be at least $6 billion strong. Even more unusual, most of this money is not in bonds or stock in other peoples' companies but is invested directly in church-owned, for-profit concerns, the largest of which are in agribusiness, media, insurance, travel and real estate. Deseret Management Corp., the company through which the church holds almost all its commercial as-sets, is one of the largest owners of farm and ranchland in the country, including 49 for-profit parcels in addition to the Deseret Ranch. Besides the Bonneville International chain and Beneficial Life, the church owns a 52% holding in ZCMI, Utah's largest department-store chain.

    All told, TIME estimates that the Latter-day Saints farmland and financial investments total some $11 billion, and that the church's nont-ithe income from its investments exceeds $600 million. "

    "Members of the church celebrate the Lord's Supper with water rather than wine or gra-pe juice. They believe their President is a prophet who receives new revelations from God. These can supplant older revelations, as in the case of the church's historically most controversial doctrine: Smith himself received God's sanctioning of pol-ygamy in 1831, but 49 years later, the church's President announced its recision. Similarly, an explicit policy barring black men from holding even the lowest church offices was overturned by a new revelation in 1978, opening the way to huge missionary activity in Africa and Brazil. "

    January 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Taylor

      Too long; didn't read version:

      "I'm mad because the Mormon Church has good financial habits"

      January 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  15. peace89

    mormons view immigrants favorably, not true! mitt romney would veto the dream act and has no viable plan for illegals already in this country.

    January 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  16. como1

    Based upon much of the trash printed by CNN and other liberal biased media it is no wonder that Mormons feel abused. Look at the liberal garbage printed and spoken in the 2008 Romney run for the Republican nomination for examples if you liberals want a good feel for what your "news" and propaganda sources spout.

    January 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Sid

      Care to provide an example? I think you are biased, not the media.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  17. jd

    If Mormonism is such a hoax, why is it one of the fastest growing religions in America? People arn't stupid, and if it was a scam, people wouldn't join. People find actual happiness in it. Why does everyone on here attack that?

    January 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Ricky Bobby

      Actually, there are stupid people out there! But...this is a religion that teaches good principles, from what I understand. I agree with you in not seeing the point for attacking that. If people attack, it's probably because they're insecure or choose not to try to understand.

      January 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Mike

      People join Scientology too, not to mention numerous other religions, but that doesn't make their truth claims valid. Mormons get plenty of new members, but only about 10% of them actually stay. The claim of 14 million members worldwide is hugely inflated since no more than 30% of them actually go to church or even consider themselves Mormon. The fastest growing religious movement worldwide is actually the Pentacostals, so maybe you should join up!

      January 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • peick

      It grows quickly because Mormons tend to marry early and have a lot of children.

      January 13, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post by jd is an instance of the ad populum fallacy.


      January 13, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • midleclssfan

      People join and drank the kool aid of Jim Jones. It may look right but is it really?

      January 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • welll

      Doesn't everyone have the right to believe whatever helps them live a good life and take care of their families?

      January 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • FormerMormon

      Erm... really? Why are they one of the fastest growing religions in America? Hellloooo - it's not the conversion rate, which has actually gone down while the recidivism rate as done likewise.... it's like asking why Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic group in the US (here's a little hint: birthrate!).

      January 15, 2012 at 1:34 am |
  18. Ricky Bobby

    Why Greg Smith from this Pew Forum can't seem to understand why many Mormons both feel their religion is misunderstood and also seems to becoming more mainstream baffles me. It is a religion that clearly has received more exposure, which can lead to a lot more misunderstanding (there's a lot of misinformation out there, including some which could be perceived from this article) and which also lends to it being seen as more mainstream (more people hear about it). These aren't either/or things Greg.

    January 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  19. MetheBLKman

    LMBAO................................so they feel "discrimination" from other Americans? WOW does this mean they would stop discriminating to persons-of-color? NOT.

    January 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      They do "allow" persons of color, but only in their college sports, right?

      January 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  20. Mike

    Joseph Smith secretly married women who were married to other men.

    January 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Toddles

      And he did it so secretly that you got the 411, you must be related to him or have his personal journal. Lucky guy!

      January 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Mike

      No it's well doc-umented. Check out the book "Rough Stone Rolling" by Richard Bushman, a faithful Mormon. Or you can Google it if you wish. No need to remain ignorant.

      January 13, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
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About this blog

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