January 24th, 2012
04:50 PM ET

Romney tax returns shine light on Mormon tithing

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Although many Americans may have wondered just how much money Mitt Romney makes and how much he pays in taxes in the lead-up to the release Tuesday of his tax documents, there was little suspense around how much he gives to his church.

That's because all Mormons in good standing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are required to give 10% of their salaries as a tithe.

"Mormon children are expected to begin tithing from their very first allowance," says Terryl Givens, an expert on Mormonism at the University of Richmond. "And there's never any variation on the 10%, whether you're on welfare or you're a millionaire."

Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, gave even more to their church last year. Tax documents released Tuesday show they gave $2.6 million, more than 12% of the roughly $21 million they earned. The Romneys also gave $1.4 million last year in cash and stock to their family foundation, which heavily supports the LDS Church.

In 2010, the other year for which the Romneys released a federal tax return, they gave $1.5 million to the LDS church, 7% of their earnings, plus $900,000 to their family foundation, called the Tyler Foundation.

The Tyler Foundation gave $145,000 to the LDS church in 2010, so the Romneys' church donations average out to 10% over the last two years.

Unlike in most Christian traditions, in which the decision about whether to tithe is made individually by each church member, giving to the LDS Church is enforced. Participation in important ceremonies at Mormon temples is contingent on being paid up.

"For Mormons, tithing is an article of faith, not an economic principal," said Givens, who is Mormon. "Some critics see it as tying worthiness to an economic contribution."

He calls it "an important differentiator between devout Mormons and nominal Mormons."

A survey of American Mormons released earlier this month by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that eight in 10 say they tithe to the church.

Tithing dates back to the earliest Mormons, with the LDS Church's 19th century founder, Joseph Smith, drawing on the Bible's Old Testament as precedent for 10% church support. Smith also wrote about tithing in the Doctrine and Covenants, a Mormon holy book comprising Smith's revelations from God.

For early Mormons, tithing was as much practical as theological. As the early Mormon community journeyed from state to state across America, often on the run from persecution, tithing was an important way for the community to sustain itself.

"Early Mormons were outcasts from society and suffered extreme deprivation and they needed to take care of themselves and take care of the church on a day-to-day basis," Givens said. "To this day, Mormons are known for taking care of their own."

Today, tithing finances the administration of the Salt Lake City, Utah-based LDS Church, the construction of Mormon temples - which are rapidly proliferating as Mormonism grows worldwide - and the church-owned Brigham Young University.

Mormons are also encouraged to give separately to their local congregations and to a church humanitarian fund that goes to international relief projects. The church urges Mormons to fast on the first Sunday of each month and to donate the cost of the food they would typically eat to the humanitarian fund.

An informal 2011 survey by the National Association of Evangelicals found that most evangelical leaders on its 100-person board of directors don't believe the Bible requires tithing. Just 42% of the board members said that is true.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Money & Faith • Mormonism • Politics

soundoff (1,579 Responses)
  1. heresy

    any sect that makes you give money does not sound like it in it for the message.

    January 28, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • inTheDogHouse

      Unlike some churches, the leadership isn't paid by the church. They give of their own time to run the church's affairs.

      January 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Vanka

      That is a lie. The top leaders of the LDS Church get a generous stipend, paid unlimited medical/healthcare expenses, travel allowances, and all kinds of compensation and benefits! Thousands of leaders are being compensated by this very wealthy cult, from the President down to regional representatives, mission and temple presidents for the hundreds of missions and temples throughout the world, and various other Church authorities. And this does not include the thousands of full time employees who work directly for the Church/ cult in its vast great and spacious office buildings in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as at many offices around the world!

      January 29, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Kman

      How generous is this stipend? Those leaders that are asked to work full-time for the church sacrifice A LOT in order to serve God and the church. I've never met or heard of anyone who was made wealthy by the Mormon church. Surely, their stipend is meager compared to what is required of them.

      January 30, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  2. Tim


    January 28, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  3. Brain Descrambler

    Ok. Im an athiest, plain and simple. I dont believe in God because of the simple fact that my brain has a wiring problem that makes me refuse to believe a being appeared from nowhere and was inntelligent enough and powerfull enough to create everything we see, hear and touch. He had the time and intelligence to continue to create millions of forms of life and millions of other planets and stars and yabba dabba doo. In the meantime, cultures across the globe, having the need to control one another found a way to scare the crap out of each other by inventing fokelore. The Greeks and Icelandic people were smart, they concieved the notion there were many Gods. The Aztecs and others of thier time found the sun, the American Indians dropped peyote and went thier own way. For some dammed reason, mercury in the water or whatever, an entire town of people believed John smith and that just freaks people like me out. I mean really, in todays world, that would go south real fast if I were to walk into town with no evidence and make the same claims. But my brain has a wiring problem because no matter what, no matter the church, it makes no sense.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Other-Other WhiteMeat

      God Is. Period. There is nothing that isn't God, nowhere, nobody. Because if there is something other than God, then God is finite, limited. God Is.

      No one ever 'finds' God, you wake up in God. A fish never 'finds' the water – it wakes up to the awareness that it has always been in the water.

      Hell is experienced only when one perceived one to be separate from God. Heaven is the awareness that one is in God. Again there is nothing BUT God – heaven and hell CANNOT be separate places, or else God is not infinite.

      Ego is the separation from God. Every religious tradition seeks unity with God. No one can do it for you. Books are not necessary, preachers and religions only get in the way, as they are invariably wanting to get something FROM you.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Pete

      Mormons believe that American Indians are a lost tribe of Israel. DNA testing has confirmed this is absolutely not the case, but scientific evidence means nothing if you have already disengaged your brain. It is so obvious that Joseph Smith was a con man, and it's embarrassing that we would elect, as leader of our country, somebody who believes in this fantasy.

      January 28, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Darrin Russell

      You're more than welcome to have a miss-wired brain and believe what you want but please don't disparage or discriminate against Latter-day Saints (Mormons). We all have the right to believe as we wish and we, as Mormons, do not go around telling Catholics it's silly to pray through the Virgin Mary or laugh at Baptists for believing that the Bible is the only writings of God or disparage any other religion. No, Joseph Smith was not a con man and neither was Moses, which many believe he was. Neither was Jesus of Nazareth, which even more believe was a con man, magician and dreamer. Study and pray for yourself.

      January 28, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Mom

      Dear Brain, If an intelligent Creator didn't create you, then how do you explain your existence? If you can look in the mirror or take an anatomy class and seriously believe that that incredibly complex creature "just appeared" from evolving cells, then you really do need your brain unscrambled. I mean, look at the vast display of fruits, veggies, plants, nuts, grains, meats, at the grocery store, or the mind-boggling variety of animals and critters at any zoo. How can you not see that "Someone" had to have the most amazing imagination ever to come up with them all. I think it takes FAR more faith to believe we just appeared out of nowhere than to believe in a Creator God.

      January 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Pilgrim1

      @Darrin Not only was Joseph Smith a con man, he was a h o r n y 14 year old who saw a "vision" that he could have multiple wives and thus lots of s e x! In fact he had over 30 wives and kept them secret from his first and real wife.

      The LDS fallacy has a well-oiled propaganda machine that attempts to legitimize the illegitimate. Don't be fooled people, research it for yourself!

      January 31, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
  4. yworry

    Korey, we all have free agency and can choose how we lead our lives.

    God has made it known the way that he would have us live in order to bless us and if we choose to live a different way, He is the only one who can pass judgement.

    With that said, I believe that when we choose to live our life according to what God has taught, we will be blessed with greater happiness and peace in this life and in the life to come.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • yworry

      sorry, I meant to sent this as a reply to my last post.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Other-Other WhiteMeat

      Wrong: God Loves all, equally, without judgement. The Law of Sowing and Reaping is Justice without Judgement, it's Karma: If you sow hatred and violence, that's what you will reap. No judgement, just natural consequence.

      I feel deep sorrow for those who believe God created this wonderful world, created people, then set down a bunch of arbitrary rules just to mess with their heads, just to tempt them so he could love some and cast others to eternal damnation. Really? God is so vain, shallow and insecure that he would have to mess with us like this? Seems like the people selling this baloney are the ones who profit from it;s sale. Literally.

      God is. There isn't anything that isn't in God. God is Life, Love, Light. Period. The only darkness and evil is the concept that we are something less than, or other than 'in God.'

      God has no need to judge. Nature doesn't judge. Only people judge. got that? ONLY PEOPLE JUDGE.

      January 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • yworry

      I am sorry, It looks like what I said upset you.

      January 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  5. john soejanto


    January 27, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  6. yworry

    TO ALL THE ATHEISTS /RELIGION HATERS: skip this – you're going to have beef with whatever you read.

    TO ALL GOD-LOVING/CHRISTIANS: Jesus Christ is full of love and compassion. I don't believe he intended us to persecute those that are different from us, especially in His name, the name of Christianity. Let us not forget the second commandment, "... Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:31)

    Those that truly believe in Christ, will resist the temptation to judge and mock another for having different beliefs.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • tokencode

      Actually your post is one of the most logical posts I've seen made by someone with strong religous views. I am not really in favor of organized religion, regardless of the belief set, but I think there are some key principles regardless of your faith or lack there-of. Treating others as you would like to be treated is first and foremost. I do not understand why many religous people choose to focus the differences and disapproval of others (gays, athiests etc) and try ti impart their beliefs on them, rather than treating them as they would like to be treated themselves.

      Why is it not the focus to be accepting of all people, whether you agree with them or not?

      January 27, 2012 at 4:14 am |
    • gremlinus

      You DO realize that by insulting atheists and "religion haters" in your first sentence you completely negate your message, as you are downing atheists for their beliefs.

      January 27, 2012 at 7:04 am |
    • SPA Knight

      Gremlinus, what does an atheist believe that they would would feel downed by this comment?

      January 27, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Korey Christopher Brodzik

      I love God! and I LOVED this post. No matter your sins God is there for you. My Dad and I have been fornicating with one another for over 2 years while my mother is at work. I am so proud SOME Christians understand people have "preferences" that we choose to live with!!!!! God bless all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      January 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • yworry

      Gremlinus, I am sorry, I meant "atheists / religion haters" in a subjective way. Meaning, addressing those who are atheists and those who truly hate organized religion.

      I probably should have said it differently, I am sorry.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • yworry

      Korey, we all have free agency and can choose how we lead our lives.

      God has made it known the way that he would have us live in order to bless us and if we choose to live a different way, He is the only one who can pass judgement.

      With that said, I believe that when we choose to live our life according to what God has taught, we will be blessed with greater happiness and peace in this life and in the life to come.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Ral

      There are many paths to God.

      January 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  7. Dennis Pence

    Just like most panty waisted Americans these days – the airline has "no balls" – if people don"t want to read them – fine – but don't worry about offending someone if you do pass them out. I'm offended by Middle Easterners that bow in the streets to pray – but no one seems to give a damn what offends me – and I am fine with that too.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  8. Dano

    The center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Jesus Christ, and the principles and precepts that he taught. If this faith (my faith) is not a Christian religion, then how is it classified? By definition, EVERY religion is a cult, so let's throw that one out.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • SPA Knight

      I believe the Church of Latter Day Saints is considered a cult instead of mainline christian is because it was started by a man and not rooted in the original christian traditions and church that started with the Apostles. It may share common beliefs with christians but it does not have any roots in the church unless you consider only scripture. Other protestant churches evolved from the Catholic church and eventually cut ties with the central authority starting with "Protestant Reformation" starting with Martin Luther and subsequently others leading to the hundreds of denominations we have today. However, the roots of all these are common in the Judeo-Christian Tradition. The bible or scripture was originally given to us by the Catholic Church. Joesph Smith's personal revelation was completely outside of this tradition and many other teachings contradict main line christianity that is rooted in this tradition.

      January 27, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Ted

      are you saying that all protestant religions can claim authority through the catholic church? isnt that why the protestant reformation began? because they believed that the catholic church was corrupt? Martin Luther, never claimed authority, neither did any of the other reformation forefathers. Your statement was very contradicting in itself. made no sense. check your history and make sure your posts historically correct please. Thank you

      January 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Dave

      SPA Knight,

      Our view is that the church Christ established was weakened after Jesus' death and the murder of the apostles. Priesthood authority was lost and doctrines began to be changed. Eventhough Rome was responsible for this attack on the church, Constantine sought authority over the church. In about 300AD, the council of Nicea took place to discuss the nature of God. This lead to the creation of the concept of the Trinity which does not appear in the Bible. (For instance, Stephen saw a vision of God with Jesus standing on his right side Acts 7:55-56). The reformers noticed that some of the doctrine did not square with the original church and sought to make changes. Now we have thousands of different churches, with many variations on doctrine. What is interesting is that the Bible predicted both the apostasy and restoration. While I have no problem if you disagree with my beliefs, I would ask that you understand that they are rooted in the Bible. Just because some people assert that we are a cult and not Christian, that does not make it true.

      January 28, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Darrin Russell

      SPA Knight, you can't keep spewing the same old garbage and have an ounce of credibility. The Bible came to us from the Jews, not from the Catholics. Some Jews, some Catholics and others translated the writings from Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, etc. Also, the founder of the Catholic church was a man, Constantine, emperor and first pope of Rome, who lived three hundred years after Christ and his apostles had been killed. Protestantism was started by Martin Luther, John Calvin and others, all men, who started religions on their understandings of the Bible= cults in your view.

      January 28, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Mom

      The Jesus of the Mormon faith is not the same Jesus as the Christian faith. Mormon teachings say Jesus is not God; Christians believe Jesus is God come to earth, aka "Immanuel." Mormon's teach that Jesus became God after he was human. They also believe God is only the God of earth but that there are lots of other gods on lots of other planets and that we can become gods. There are huge differences between Bible-believing Christians and Book of Mormon-believing Mormons.

      January 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • MCSquared

      I remind you that the Baptist denomination was founded by John Smyth in the early 1500s during the reformation. Under your logic that makes the Southern Baptist Convention a cult as deviating from the mainstream church – in this case the Catholic Church. What you misunderstand is that certainly the Mormon Church is christian, but it is not protestant because LDS believe that it's foundation is Jesus Christ and in the order that Christ himself organized the faith during his mortal ministry. Therefore, they do not protect the Catholic Church which in principle came later.

      January 29, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  9. Jim

    How come so many people that don't "believe"(atheists) like to come on the "belief blog"?

    January 27, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  10. Jim

    I think that it is interesting how many atheists read and comment on the belief blog

    January 27, 2012 at 12:51 am |
  11. faithful

    People as so full of disrespect

    January 27, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  12. Wow

    Wow, I'm amazed at how much people who hate Mormons think they know about Mormons. If any of you are really interested in what Mormons believe and having some of your questions answered go to http://www.mormon.org
    Doesn't that make mores sense than listening to the rants of someone else telling you what they think the Mormons believe and practice?

    January 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  13. hemo

    dum dum dum dum dum dum

    January 26, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  14. Karin

    Germany has the same deal – if you are a member of the Church, the Govt helps by collecting the 10% and adding that to the 40% taxes you pay – separation of church/state is Not – but the Church gets funded

    January 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  15. The Woof

    The only things that confuses me about the Mormon church is why is there a Book of Mormon, wasn't the Bible enough? Why were Blacks not allowed into the Church for so many years until recently? If polygamy was taught to be righteous why was it abandoned or was abandoment nescessitated in Utah being allowed to become a state? Just curoius.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Ran

      Good questions. I think it's very sad that poeple will be decieved into thinking that God would change His mind after stating specific things in the original Bible and reveal Himself to Smith and say stuff that contradict His original Word. The Bible clearly states that" heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Word shall not." also, 'God is not a man that He shall lie' Need I say more?

      January 26, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The Mormons have "divine revelations" at very convenient times.
      Polygamy was eliminated as a church tenet shortly after teh US Government passed the various laws making it illegal through the territories. In 1871, Brigham Young was indicted for adultery.
      By 1904, LDS president Joseph F. Smith made polygamy an excommunicable offense.
      Utah would've been denied statehood had they not acquiesced.

      As for black folk in the church-

      Up until the late 70's, the Mormons had only opened temples in lily white countries like Canada, England and Switzerland.
      In 1978, the LDS were primed to open up their first Temple in a land full of "cursed" (read: dark skinned) people in Brazil.
      The official line up until then was that "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." ( – George Albert Smith J. Reuben Clark, Jr. David O. McKay, 1947)
      But hey! There was money to be made in Brazil!
      So another divine revelation came through to President Spencer Kimball wherein God told him that dark skinned folk could be clergy.
      But of course, the timing of those Divine Revelations was strictly coincidental *cuogh cough*

      January 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • abinadi

      Since the beginning, the Lord has lead his covenant people through his authorized representatives, the prophets. These prophets wrote new revelation as they were moved upon by the Holy Spirit. During the dark ages, the prophets were taken from the earth and no revelation was revealed because man was not sufficiently ready. With the great reformers leading, the way was prepared and Joseph Smith was called to restore the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth again in its fulness. During the dark ages uninspired men took some precious parts from the Bible, so the Book of Mormon was given to us to restore some of those precious parts because it was restored in its original text and contains the parts that were lost from the Bible. Some parts of Isaiah and other books can not be understood without the Book of Mormon.

      Finally, while the truths of the gospel are eternal, we still need revelation to interpret them and our age is not exactly like other ages. Technology has made alcohol much stronger than formerly, for example, and we have powerful drugs that were not known in other ages, so we still need a prophet to reveal God's will.

      January 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Jeff

      Regarding the need for the Book of Mormon when we already have a Bible. As you know, the Bible was a compolation of writings – from anxient Jewish scriptuure and writings collected and preserved from those who lived around time of Christ – that were brought together as a book. The Bible is only a part of what was written anxiently in the middle east – the part that was preserved. As Mormons, we believe the Book of Mormon is another volume of scripture of writtings that were preserved by prophets here in America. At a time when so many wonder if there really is a God, or if Jesus really was divine, the Book of Mormon comes along and says, "Yes, the Bible is true, God really does live and love us. Jesus really did do what the Bible says he did." Seems pretty important to me.

      January 26, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Mead is the oldest known alcoholic beverage.
      It's alcohol content ranges from about 10% – 20%
      Around the 12th century, hard liquor started to be distilled.
      Booze is no more potent than it ever was, sorry to say.
      Mead, wine and beer have all stayed pretty consistent in their strength.

      As for other drugs – mind altering substances have been used by humans since time immemorial.
      Peyote is the same as it ever was, not to mention hallucinogenic mushrooms, opium and other naturally occuring drugs.

      January 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Jeff

      Regarding polygamy, at times throughout history God has commanded individuals to have more than one wife (Jacob in the Bible with Rachel and Leah). We believe God commanded Joseph Smith and some of the early members of the church to have more than one wife. He later commanded it be stopped. One of the basic tenets of the Church is "we beleive in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law". (See the Church's "Articles of Faith") When the supreme court ruled it illegal, it stopped.

      January 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Like Jeff said, polygamy was not illegal when it was being practiced. My own belief is that persecution was so severe that many men were killed which left a lot of widows and fatherless families. God knew they were going to travel thousands of miles to Utah which would be, perhaps, impossible for women without a husband in those days. God came up with a very practical solution – polygamy. Once the saints were in Utah and established, it was no longer necessary.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I've no qualms with polygamy, polyandry, polyamoury or whatever else you'd like to call it.
      So far as I'm concerned, the purpose of marriage is to provide a safe, nurturing environment for children.
      So long as the kids are loved, healthy and educated, I couldn't care less what form the adult relationships take.
      Given a pioneering scenario in which pregnancy and birth are risky for both mother and child, it makes practical sense to have more females than males.
      How many times in a year can a male toss around his chromosomes as compared to a woman?
      The issue I have is when people try to justify their behaviour by appealing to divine interference.
      There are no "except when..." clauses in the Bible's commandments!
      Mormons in particular have a history of conveniently timed "inspirations" and exceptions to God's otherwise immutable laws.
      Joseph Smith was not the first or last person to claim divine dispensation from God's rules about s.ex.
      Warren Jeffs, David Koresh, Charles Manson, Peter Moses, David Berg etc. ad nauseum
      The ultimate irony (to me at least) is that a religion founded on alternative family structures is making such a stink about gay marriage!

      January 26, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • captain america

      Any qualms about keeping your bs opinion in canada where it belongs? Go pound salt There's your sign

      January 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Captain America
      C'mere Cap'n! Who wants a troll treat? Cappie wants a troll treat!
      There's a good troll.

      January 26, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Dangerous

      The Woof ,Ran, Doc

      Good questions/points. So simple, yet so true. God didn't just recently change his mind, rewrite scriptures, de-elevate Christ, and reveal himself to an American with gold spectacles, and encourage him to do things against God's own laws of morality. Craziness.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Listen


      January 27, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Listen

      in response to Wow,

      rather than encouraging people to go to the LDS website, which they have spent millions on as part of a continued effort to hide inconvenient truths about original mormon doctrine, encourage people to look at what Mormons actually believe. Mormons have many good moral beliefs and practices, no question. The issue most American's have is that Mormons want you to believe they are CHRISTIANS (and are spending millions/billions to propogate this). Nothing could be further from the truth. Not unless you believe that after 2000 years God revealed himself to an American, and "revelations" that are contrary to original scriptures, and contrary to God's own character, which also dramatically change the plan for salvation.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Listen

      response to wow cont...
      There is a reason why almost all Mormons have a glazed look in thier eyes, almost as if you can see the great deceiver's grasp on their lives. I saw it when touring the temple in Utah. Your heart just goes out to them, for they have been so deceived by the enemy. Please lift them up in prayer that their eyes might be opened.

      January 27, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • jeremy

      just to clarify, blacks have alway been allowed to be members of the Mormon faith. However, until 1978 black males in the church did not hold the priesthood. memership/priesthood – 2 different things.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • tokencode

      It seems no less logical that god revealed himself to an american than it does him revealing himself to an middleastern jewish person 2,000 years ago. It's funny how people believe one must have happened and the other could not possibly happen..........

      January 27, 2012 at 4:23 am |
    • Dave

      Easy answers: If the Bible was enough, we would only have one set of doctrines – not countless churches with differing opinions. Read 2 Nephi 26:33 if you want to see if Mormons really hate African Americans. In regards to Polygamy, Abraham also had many wives (read the Bible). Many bash Mormons for Polygamy (which was stopped), but they seem to ignore Abraham.

      January 28, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Mom

      God never commanded polygamy! Jacob took a second wife on his own. He'd originally wanted to marry Rachel but her father tricked him into marrying Leah. Abraham took a second wife, David had multiple wives. King Solomon outdid everyone by taking hundreds of wives. But God NEVER told them to. Read Genesis 2 and you will see God's perfect plan for marriage: one man and one woman. God created Eve and then BROUGHT her to Adam. No where did God ever tell someone to take extra wives.

      January 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Pilgrim1

      @Jeremy R a c i s t none the less!

      January 31, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  16. Reality

    Joseph Smith's Moroni con job simply initiated the spread of the Three B Syndrome i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in his idiotic schemes. As with many religions, it grew te-nta-cles like the required t-ithe, polygamy, an all-male hierarchy, a business empire, BYU, secret financing, magic underwear and gaudy temples.

    The con pulled by Paul, Mark, Matthew, Luke and John with the assistance of Constantine obviously was much more successful than Joseph Smith's.

    January 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • abinadi

      Unreality, go get a life, please.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Reality

      Obviously, some have more severe case of the Three B Syndrome !!!!

      January 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • lee

      Hey Reality- wait 2000 years and see if Mormonism is as sucessful as the "con job" of Paul, Mark, Matthew Luke, John, etc. By then you might see they are really one in the same.

      January 27, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians and Mormons from the Infamous Resurrection Con:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Dave

      I'm sad to see Reality question the resurrection. One of the central tenets of Christianity is the resurrection. Christ died and was raised from the tomb (which was empty). Many, including the apostles, saw Christ with a body. They ate with him and Thomas touched his hands and saw his body. This is just one reason why I believe in the restoration of the gospel.

      January 28, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  17. LT

    I am a Mormon. Love this country, grateful for freedom to worship how I choose. I thought about it and really don't care if someone thinks I'm a Christian. The funny thing is I have always had respect for evangelicals and have never hesitated to vote for them or any other solid candidate. Most Mormons I know feel very good about other religions and consider other Christians as very good people. I'm sure we have our share of bigots but we don't waste our time writing a bunch of anti material on other Christian religions. I've read a plethora of anti mormon material and find most of it is deceptively sensationalized and misleading. I get it if you don't like what we believe just try to get facts right. I had a minister try to deceive me in taking discussions when I was a missionary and wahoo he threw everything he had a us for 2 solid hours. I learned that you don't make up lies about someone or their beliefs even if you believe they are wrong. They did make 2 hungry missionaries a great thanksgiving dinner so I wasn't too upset lol even though he lied to us about who he was. I still believe. I read the Book of Mormon and it changed me to follow Christ. It is what it is. If you don't believe that is fine. That's what makes this country great. I do support Mitt as the candidate of my choice – although I personally disagree with some issues. But he is my first choice with Newt as second. I think the economy is the big issue and both candidates are qualified to fix it. Please no Obama!!!

    January 26, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Dangerous

      The reason you see so much ant-mormon sentiment, and the recent Gallop poll stating 1 in 4 do not trust nor will not vote for a Mormon, is in part because mormons are claiming to be CHRISTIANS. Anyone who takes just an hour to dig into LDS Doctrine and compare that of the Holy Bible and sound Biblical Doctrine will CLEARLY see the two are not the same. Absolutely worlds apart (no pun intended...lol).

      LDS would be better off to market themselves as it's own unique religion, vs. intentionally misleading followers of Christ by claiming to be Christians.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Just Me

      Please give at least one verse that quotes Jesus and how the LDS religion does not comply with what Jesus said. Otherwise you will be discounted by intelligent readers as just another troll.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Just Me

      Sorry, my last comment was @ Dangerous.

      January 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • c

      No one is saying Mormans are not good people or they don't have the right to practice their religion. I have read the Book of Morman, many doctrinal Morman text i.e Pearls of Great price, Doctrines & Covenants etc, text by Brigham Young and numerous other Morman writer's. I have visited the official Morman web sites many times- read Joseph Smith Papers on the site. With all due respect ; anyone reading the Book of Morman and the Bible can easily see the misinterpretations, plagarisms and out right distortions in the book of Morman. For example, the names used for the different Morman chapters & verse book are totally different- in the Christian Bible there is no Alma, Mosiah, lehi , Nephi etc. mentioned as any book of the Bible. Smith said he translated the BOM from heiroglyphics, how is this possible when the Christian Bible was translated from several languages – Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin and so on, not Egyptian heiroglyphics.
      Those tales about South America, Babylon, the Jaredites, Lamanites etc are found nowhere in the annals of American history or world history and certainly not in any Bible I have ever read.
      That business about Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry receiving the Aaronic priesthood on May 15, 1829 directly from John the Baptist and confirmation into the Melchizidek priesthood from Peter, James and John is most puzzling ; especially when you consider they have been dead for 2000 years.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Dave

      I have read the Book of Mormon Dangerous. I believe it testifies of christ. If you read it, you might at least understand this.

      January 28, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  18. Doc Vestibule


    "Ti.thing is an important test of our personal righteousness. President Joseph F. Smith (1838-1918) said: “By this principle it shall be known who is for the kingdom of God and who is against it. … By it it shall be known whether we are faithful or unfaithful” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 276)."
    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).
    In Jan. 2006, theDeseret 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 have also spent more than $3 BILLION to date on the City Creek mall and condo project in SLC.
    So while there is no denying that the Mormon church gives to the needy, their primary motives are revealed in the disparity between charity and business investments.

    January 26, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • just wondering

      Is that Canadian Mormons you are on about?

      January 26, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Just sayin
      I know you're asking a rhetorical question to try and be cute, but really... SLC = Salt Lake City.
      The first LDS Temple built outside the US was in Cardston, Alberta in 1923.
      We haven't been able to get rid of them since...

      January 26, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • abinadi

      I am so grateful for the law of ti thing. It has blessed me and my family immeasurably through the years. It is the first check I write each month. Through this law the Lord opens the windows of heaven for us. I have never known anyone who pays an honest ti the that does not feel the same way. "Prove me now herewith, sayeth the Lord."

      January 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • just sayin

      you are investing in a cult if you are giving 10% to the LDS. The Kingdom of God is populated with Christians not Mormons.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • abinadi

      "2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

      3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

      4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

      5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

      6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

      7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

      8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

      9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

      10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

      January 26, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • bringoutyourdead

      demons quote scripture and fear

      January 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • jeremy

      all about the $$$. that's why we have lay (unpaid) ministry.

      January 27, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • Dave

      Just Saying – A Christian is anyone who believes in and follows Jesus Christ. Our doctrine allows everyone to be saved (please read about this for yourself). Yours condems me because I am Mormon.

      January 28, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Take time to get to know and talk with God today

    January 26, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • Nope

      We've been praying you would stop posting this crap, yet it continutes, proving prayer doesn't work.

      Oh, and how about all those prayers for world peace that go unanswered.

      Oh and then there's the prayers of starving people around the world whose prayers go unanswered, dying by the millions.

      January 26, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • just wondering

      Is Nope an obstructionist Republican?

      January 26, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • just sayin

      Nope is a Dope

      January 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  20. Emily Litella

    What's all this talk I keep hearing about Mormons and their titrings? Why do they all have to get titrings? Wasn't their special angel Macaroni not happy with the magic underwear requirement? And does it stop there? Do Mormon women have rings in their va-jay-jays? I think this terrible practice should stop right this moment! I got so mad when I heard about it that I accidentally flushed my cat down the . . .

    What? What's that? Tithing? Not titring? Having to give money to their church? Well, that's stupid too, but nevermind.

    January 26, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • YeahBut

      ROFLMAO!! Best post of the discussion!

      January 27, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • Dave

      This is really getting ridiculous with the false assertions. Rings? Really? That is a new one – I have never heard that about my church. FUNNY STUFF!

      January 28, 2012 at 9:03 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.