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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. jurichar

    Obviously Mitt Romney is a good man. He's made a lot of money, turned around a lot of business, staid faithful to his wife and family and what's more... he give's back. That's character and that's the type of person we need in the white house. I sure hope America is lucky enough to have him as their president.

    January 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I have to disagree on a few points jurichar. One point being that Mitt Romney turned around a lot of businesses. At times he states that he was indeed directly involved in these businesses, an others he states that he and his company merely invested money into them. These conflicting stories make me think there is more to the story than anyone says. Until I know more about his role in those things I can't make a real call on it.
      The next is that he gives back. While he does give a large amount of money to his church, it states within the very article that according to Mormon doctrine, all are REQUIRED to give at least 10% to the church. The amount he gives does indeeed show that he is faithful to his religion, but that's all it shows.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Sticking Out

      jurichar
      You know Mitt Romney? Where did you meet him? How long have you known him?

      January 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Freeman111

      HawaiiGuest, they are not required. People can do whatever they want.. he doesn't have to give 10% but he does.. and not only that.. he gives more then that. Obama? Newt? 1%, 2% respectively. Well, I respect Romney more.

      January 24, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • jeremy

      just fyi. he gave 6% above and beyond to other charities as well. also, it is not a requirement.

      January 25, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • dinabq

      Just because Mittens is faithful to his religion says nothing about representing ALL Americans. Who gives Mitt is temple recommend????? Please answer this!! I don't want any POTUS that has to get a piece of paper from a religious leader in order to be a member in good standing. I don't want a POTUS that can entry a religious building (temple) that non-members can not enter. I don't find secret handshakes and magical underwear to be important. I want a President that answers to the people and not a religious leader.

      January 25, 2012 at 3:22 am |
  2. Todd Morgan

    any person who is spiritual is perceived to be "mentally ill" by non-believers. but I could tell any person countless experiences of miracles, angels, visions, dreams, some I've had some from others in my family, congregation, etc.

    God is powerful, and the non-believer thinks God is not active, but the believer knows that God is active and powerful. Just because you don't see that just means that you are not looking for it.

    Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus and he fell off his horse. I God wants to manifest himself to you or any other person, he can and he will. God is more powerful than man.

    January 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • The Phist

      Incorrect.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Montanamormon

      phist: I understand that you are atheist. PLEASE stop stating your opinion as fact.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • c

      Tood , I disagree on one point- God is always available/revealed to everyone; it's up to the individual to exerise the "free will " God" grants and contunues to give all sinners. I don't believe He does not pick and choose whom He wants to make Himself known to. His Grace and Love is extended to humanity regardless of race or religion or country. Christians have to believe that the only time He ever "revealed Himself was through Jesus Christ". We cannot or should not judge any person for what that person believes- athiest or not. To do so would be to usurp God's authority for our own vain pridefull justifications. That's whats wrong with any religion which claims to speak for God. He speak to all of us; whether we listen or not. This does not mean that we cannot question or disagree with man centered religions or doctrines that may be different from our own understanding. God doesn't just pop stuff in your head, the sinners obligation is to listen & learn to be decerning. I don't believe God boots everybody downward if they don't understand the message; its the willfull disobedience that's the problem for unbelievers. Even then God will decide who is right and who is wrong.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  3. Tom

    @Texan

    Yes they did actually. Check *your* facts. The LDS Church donated to the political cause known as Proposition 8. Not only did the church encourage its members to support Prop 8, but some donations were made by the church itself. Look it up. Tax exempt, money grubbing, in-your-face, LDS Church. That's what it is, and I'm not even one of those biased people that think Mormons are not Christian. I'm just stating facts.

    January 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Al

      Not so. The church purposely stayed out of such political fights. Although many other churches did not.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Al

      Where ever you GOT your facts, I would check THEM out. Just because it's on the internet, doesn't make it so. Just like people are beginning to check out Snopes.com, Hoaxes.com, etc.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Tom

      @Al
      Yes, so. I take it you did not look it up like I asked. That's what you churches do though; make stuff up and repeat it enough times so that it sticks.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Lisa

      @Al, the Church itself may not have technically actually given money, but they had strong influence in that particular campaign. When the Church tells you to do something, you do it. But the LDS is no different from the Catholic Church in this regard. Members vote as the Church says to vote; members donate as the Church says to donate. But as Tom says, you'd be wise to do a bit of research on this particular subject.

      January 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • JD

      I have never heard the LDS church tell me to do something political beyond being encouraged to participate in the political process as every good citizen should (http://newsroom.lds.org/official-statement/political-neutrality). There are many LDS members in both political parties (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Latter_Day_Saints#Politics)

      January 24, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Kurt

      Funny, I am Mormon and the Church has never told me how to vote. Just sayin'

      January 25, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • Brad

      Lisa, You hardly know what you're talking about. I know Mormons who want Obama, some who want Newt and others who support Romney. If you'd spent anytime around Mormons, you'd know this for yourself instead of making up blantant lies. I've NEVER in my entire life heard that we were supposed to vote a certain way. I would be hesitant to join any church that wouldn't let me vote for who I wanted.

      January 26, 2012 at 1:56 am |
  4. Tim

    @ todd morgan Yea, golden plates, angel moroni, blah, blah, Did you know Joseph Smith (before his epihany) was arrested for being a grifter & trying to sell people gold claims in rural New York. I guess he had a thing about gold, Ha!

    January 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Nathan

      His vision occured when he was 14 years old so I doubt that very much.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Todd Morgan

      Joseph Smith was arrested that but that is because he said that he saw angels and had visions, and he told his story to people and many started believing in him mainly because of the miracles, visions, and dreams, that they had concerning him

      His arrest was related to a son who I believe was concerned about losing his inheritance because his father became a believer. If MOSES were to show up today don't you think he would be locked up, arrested, tried, and put to death. He would be a heretic. People do not want to believe in a modern-day prophet, but they will gladly worship a dead one!

      All that your postiing shows is that you know nothing about Mormonism. People left family, homes, good jobs, to join a church that they believed in. Not because they wanted to believe in it, but because God witnessed to them that they needed to.

      If you would spend one day researching how this church grew from NOTHING to what it is today, it would certainly open your eyes to a different perspective.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • The Phist

      Todd, you know nothing about history.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Montanamormon

      phist: once again, for being an atheist, you seem to care quite a bit about religion.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Terri

      @ Todd Morgan – thank you for your insights on the Mormons. I have always wondered about this religion, and I think I might visit them here soon. Sounds like an excellent religion...not like a lot of these Satan worshipers who are bashing all religion here. Religions preach the love of Christ. These hate-mongers on this discussion board preach me, me, me.

      January 24, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  5. Catholic

    1. I think it's impressive and admirable that he gave 10% of his income to a church.

    2. I think it's impressive and admirable that he makes so much money.

    3. One day I hope I can do the same, and I love that I live in a country where that is allowed and encouraged.

    January 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Amber

      That was the most rational comment that I have ever read on a CNN message board.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • David in FL

      well said

      January 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Doug

      I'm glad that someone can look past theological differences and see that good deeds are good deeds.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Dawn

      completely agree!

      January 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Todd Morgan

      agreed. believing in something and following it is admirable. I am a Mormon, but I have friends from many different religions I admire my friends and I encourage them to be true to their religion. Mormons know what it is to be persecuted for their beliefs including many beliefs that are distorted or mis-represented.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Todd Morgan

      Amen to that

      January 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Feris

      I am Mormon and I admire anyone who speaks against religious bigotry. Thank you.

      January 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Ironicus

      lol

      January 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Amy

      I agree, Amber. Thank you Catholic, for being the only clear-headed contributor.

      January 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • wayne

      @Feris ....funny Mormons love people who are not bigots, but they are huge bigots towards the gay community. hypocrites.

      January 25, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • mel

      I'm going to Mass on Sunday...where's the like button for Catholic's comment?

      January 25, 2012 at 5:17 am |
    • Brad

      Wayne,
      Bigots? I think not. I'm a Mormon and have several friends who are gay.

      January 26, 2012 at 2:08 am |
  6. Steve C.

    stupid

    January 24, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  7. Bruce

    Sorry dude Michael Jackson is not black.

    January 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  8. Jeff

    I would like anyone here on this discussion board to PROVE to me that all religions are fairy tales and a farce. Please...prove it. I am waiting....still waiting. Yup...I thought so. We can no sooner "prove" to you that religion is 100% true than you can "prove" that it is false. So, keep your athiest feelings to yourself please.

    January 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Ken J.

      What a moronic post... It is not about proving anything, why should atheists prove you are wrong when you can't even prove that you are right. It's faith, it should be personal, and should not be forced upon you – as it is when USA motto is "in God we trust" and such... Lots of people don't, and for good reasons.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • The Phist

      Take the bible for example. It's false. It contains enough contradictions to render itself void. There's one religion, completely debunked. Same for islam. There are the two largest religions on the planet. The very doctrine that outlines the rules of those religions prove those religions to be false. You can't use a bible to prove the existence of god, but you sure can use it to punch undeniably massive holes in christianity.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Todd Morgan

      Any believer of any religion could offer MILLIONS of examples to why their religion is true. when a person says that there is no EVIDENCE that a religion is true, that just means that they are not looking for it.

      In my life (an pretty normal one) I have witnessed many miracles, dreams, visions, and healings, and I have read first hand and second hand accounts of thousands. Any believer could easily tell you why they believe and it is rarely because they want to, but because God came into their life and showed them a better path.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Halfpatrick

      you do realize that the burden of proving something is on the person asserting that it is so not those questioning it's truth or validity. ie: innocent until proven guilty.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Jeff

      Actually, since it is you that is making an extraordinary claim, it is you who must supply the extraordinary evidence, that will convince me you are not simply deluded. This is the same as if I told you, that I have fairies living in my left shoe. It would be my burden to provide proof of my claim. If I could not, then you would be justified in rejecting my claim. It would not be your burden to prove my claim was untrue.

      In the real world, we reject many things without 100% proof that they don't exist. Examples: Santa, fairies, leprechauns. We reject these, because there is no evidence to support their existence. They don't fit in with the reality we see around us.

      I bet you would not argue with me, if I said Allah or Krishna are false. You wouldn't say I needed 100% proof, before I declared them to be a myth.

      The book of Mormon has a list of eyewitnesses stating that Smith's claims were true. There are no eyewitness accounts of Jesus. Yet, I doubt you feel this is adequate to embrace Mormonism. You would need more, better proof! Why? 'Cause it goes against your faith.

      Consider the Resurrection. If you were a Hindu, an outsider looking in, would you believe this tale? Would you accept Jesus was the Messiah based on the slim "evidence"? I bet you wouldn't.

      So, please provide extraordinary evidence to support your extraordinary claim(s).

      Cheers!

      January 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  9. GOP2012

    One thing to be concerned about this article is how it ever-so-carefully, dare I say 'sly', tries to place Mormonism in the same category as Christianity. If the author and others would take the time to study the actual doctrines between the two religions, they would see how vastly different they are. The God of the Bible is NOT the god the Mormons worship, or who joe smith claims to have worshiped. Naturally, this statement creates a major road block for the LDS. Thus, you will hear some say it's "bigotry" to say such a thing instead of actually engaging in a factual discussion. Please be vigilant of the wolf in lambs clothing. God Bless.

    January 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • jujitsu

      bigot in sheeps clothing. You going after any other religions that help out the poor next? Hope you feel good about that one later when you pat yourself on the back for learning to use the internet.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Amber

      Mitt Romney stated that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior (see the reference in this story on CNN: https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/18/evangelical-for-mitt-a-south-carolina-power-broker-promotes-the-frontrunner/) Isn't that what all Christians believe? Or am I missing something?

      January 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Todd Morgan

      nice bogotry in action. Now you are an expert on all world religions. God is the God of the whole earth. God is not just the God to a few. Mormon's believe in God, so do many other religions. To say that Christians "however you define that" have a monopoly on God is ludicrous.

      Mormons (I am one) believe in God but they also believe in defending any religion, even if it isn't their own. Mormons believe God is active across the world whether or not they are Mormon or not.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Todd Morgan

      Now you are an expert on all world religions. God is the God of the whole earth. God is not just the God to a few. Mormon's believe in God, so do many other religions. To say that Christians "however you define that" have a monopoly on God is ludicrous.

      Mormons (I am one) believe in God but they also believe in defending any religion, even if it isn't their own. Mormons believe God is active across the world whether or not they are Mormon or not.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Jack2012

      The only reason there are differences between Mormon teachings and those of other Christian churches is because early church leaders changed some of Christ's teachings after his death and resurrection. Jesus Christ is at the center of the Mormon Church. He is worshipped as the Creator of the earth, the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Savior of all mankind. Mormons believe He rules the universe as part of the Godhead, along with Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost. If those beliefs don't qualify Mormons as Christians, I don't know what does.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Reeses92

      Not sure where you got your sources GOP2012. Go attend a mormon church (an original source) and find out for yourself if they are Christian.

      January 24, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Bob

      Spoken like a true Baptist preacher who had many of his congregation members leave and join the Mormons! LOL.

      January 24, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • LDS=Cult=Deceivers

      Up until recent years, when everything under the sun is not considered PC to critisize, Mormonism has ALWAYS been considered a cult. Seriously people, use you heads! You honestly believe this guy joe, who was a child molestor and known for "scourcery" actually discoverd gold tablets that change the ancient 2,000 year old Holy Scriptures? How utterly nieve do you have to be...... nevermind.... that's why it's called a CULT!!!

      January 25, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  10. Bruce

    The Phist (sist) Worthless attempt of sarcasm. Building a structure that house those in need during a disaster regardless of religion even atheist is not worthless. Its awesome!

    January 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • The Phist

      There's no such thing as a useful church. Unless it's being used for demolition practice. What is this reference to "sist?"

      v. t. 1. (Scots Law) To stay, as judicial proceedings; to delay or suspend; to stop.
      2. To cause to take a place, as at the bar of a court; hence, to cite; to summon; to bring into court.
      Some, however, have preposterously sisted nature as the first or generative principle.
      – Sir W. Hamilton.
      n. 1. (Scots Law) A stay or suspension of proceedings; an order for a stay of proceedings.

      Or are you refering to the Samantha Inst!tute of Science and Technology?

      Wait, is it Summer Internships in Science and Technology?

      Please explain.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Montanamormon

      I think the Phist needs a hug.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  11. Nookster

    Fear of death fuels all these sad humans and their mythical beliefs. Their selfish belief that in the entire universe they are so all important that they will live forever. Lucky for them when they die it will be like before they were born. Absolute nothingness. Sparing them the ultimate disappointment.

    January 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Jo

      Quite the contrary, @Nookster. These faithful people have hope in a higher being and humanity, which is what fuels and motivates them. I wonder who will really be surprised to find out what happens after death.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Nookster: Pulitzer Prize winner Earnest Becker says you have it exactly backward – it's the denial of death that enslaves us in this life. Maybe worth checking his thesis...
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Denial_of_Death

      January 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • abcde

      What is sad to me is that you actually believe this. Why would God put us on earth if in the end we were nothing. Don't you think there is a purpose for being here? If there is no purpose then why go through this earthly state? We have all come to earth to be tested and tried and to prove ourselves and our worth before God, who will in the end give us eternal life if we prove ourselves before him.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Nookster

      @Russ Thankyou, looks very interesting and I look forward to the read.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  12. Texas Doc

    You need to take your name off of their 'baptism' list. That's right, the LDS is daily baptising you and your loved ones as members of their cult. They are even doing it to dead people. Its sick, and evil.

    January 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Jack2012

      Do your homework, Doc. The Mormon Church can't baptize you unless your dead. And if you're dead, they can't baptize you without the permission of your spouse or children if they are still alive. Just giving you the facts.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Dstern

      Do some research before you spout incorrect information. Your name is not on mormon records to do anything. Until.. you are dead. Then you will have the opportunity to be baptized (by proxy) and will have the opportunity to accept it or reject it.

      But why do you care? If you don't believe in it, and don't believe in life after death.. don't worry about it.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • jeremy

      hey Texas Doc- i just baptized your cnn user name. jk. God bless ya pal!

      January 25, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  13. American

    The bigoted electorate is the same as an obama supporter.... thanks for another four years of Socialism.

    January 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Ken J.

      American idiot...

      January 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  14. DD

    The mormons are building a mall in Salt Lake City with their member's monies. The mall is over the $4 BILLION mark at this point. I wonder if the higher ups are giving the construction bids to their own companies.

    Someone should investigate a story about this. If it's true – they're taking money from the members and passing it along to the owners of the construction companies.

    January 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Cllgestdnt

      I live in utah, the church is constantly building facilities that benefit its members. A for profit mall though? Have not heard or seen anything.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • David in FL

      actually they are building it with profits from their for profit businesses.. lets keep it to the facts, deal?

      January 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Doug

      Ridiculous claim.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Reload

      Here are a couple of facts for you:

      The church is putting $2 billion into renovating downtown Salt Lake City. The renovation includes all kinds of buildings, open space, and a downtown park with a creek running through it. Yes, these assets produce revenue and any profits are put back into the church funds. The Mormon church as no professional clergy, unlike most every other church. There are no individuals getting rich of of this. And it is the church's money and they can give the contracts for the renovation to anyone it pleases to.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • joe

      Actually the Mormon church originally owned all the property in the area they are renovating, and donated much of it for community use. They are rejuvinating downtown SLC-on their own property.

      January 25, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • James in UT

      I'm glad the church is renovating. Its providing JOBS. I work at that site

      January 26, 2012 at 1:45 am |
  15. Tim

    I don't know which is the most absurdly bizarre "religion". . . Mormonism or Scientology?

    January 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Marv

      Got news for you..they are ALL absurd.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Todd Morgan

      It's bizarre to you because you probably know nothing about it except the distorted lies of anti-mormons. Mormonism is a great religion with a truly unique history. For every negative, biased comment I could easily show 1,000 positive ones. A great family religion where family comes first and everything else is second.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • The Phist

      Todd, so you believe in the golden plates story, right?

      January 24, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Montanamormon

      I will proudly admit that I believe in the "Golden Plates" story.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  16. Pat

    PLEASE don't tell me that he got a tax deduction for this money and that the mormon church wax exempt from paying taxes on it!!!!!

    January 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Cynthia

      All religions do...including the really kooky ones like Scientology. If you don't know that already, that is the best indication of why our country is in the state that it is.
      Signed,
      All religions were created to control peasants

      January 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Alright...we won't tell you that. I'll write it down instead: He did. The church was.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  17. Bill

    Once a moron always a moron.

    January 24, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  18. Texas Doc

    How dare you question me. I'm a Cristian!

    January 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Todd Morgan

      you follow charlie crist? if you are a christian, then please learn some basic spelling! You can follow him but you can't spell his name?

      January 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • possum

      You need to learn how to spell.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • jeremy

      this just in- christians can't be questioned. why is that Texas Doc? can Christians question others though? I'm pretty sure nobody would back down from a dare to question you.

      January 25, 2012 at 12:31 am |
  19. G. Baez

    How could anyone with common sense follow most religions but especially the Mormon faith? A religion formed by a child molester, who lost some supposedly golden plates from God and believe they go to the planet Kobol when they die? The world is populated by idiots.

    January 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • abcde

      yeah and you're the biggest idiot of them all.

      January 24, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Jesus

      Why doesn't some courageous reporter ask Willard about whether he really believs that Jesus visited the USA not so far from Branson, Mo. or that there are golden tablets buried in NY State around 1820s that came from God, or that Willard';s God lives on another planet or that he wears "magic Mormon underwear".? His taxes from plundering the system bothers me a lot less than his adhering to a bizarre belief system.....a system which said that Bklack people could only get into Heaven if they turned white (until 1978 when the Head PooBah of the Mormon Church attended a Michael Jackson Concert and decided that Black people were OK in God's eyes...the Moon dancing got him).

      January 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • DrK

      C'mon man, check your facts and get them straight. Your "rumors" are way off.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Jeff

      Dude – I feel sorry for you if that is what you believe the Mormon church is all about. LOL

      January 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Spencer

      http://famousmormons.net/ There are a lot of smart people with common sense who are Mormon. You can't just go online and read a bunch of anti-mormon articles, and think you understand both sides to the story.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • The Phist

      Why do mormons always claim that your facts are wrong when you state publicly known facts about their religion?

      January 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Cynthia

      Sure, let's see if he went to Missouri...then lets see if there was really a long haired white brunette with blue eyes born of Joseph and Mary (WASP marketing) running around the middle east 2000+ years ago. All of you need to seriously stop being so gullible. It really is possible to be a good and decent person without being a stupid sheeple....and as long as we are talking pedo's lets not forget the most heinous pedo of all Allaha (or whatever).

      January 24, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Todd Morgan

      Great bigoted response which shows that you know nothing about the Mormon religion. there are 14 million mormons. To discuss all the great things about this religion would take days and months. To simply discount a religion that you know nothing about just shows bigotry.

      Te recount the hundred of thousands of revelations, dreams, miracles, and spiritual events that have caused the church to grow from nothing to a major religion would take years. As a member of 40 years, I can tell you it is one great religion. focused on service, charity, strong families, and a spiritual way of life,

      Have you ever been to a church meeting? Have you ever really talked to a member of the church in detail and let them explain what the church believes?...I highly doubt it, because any member could easily explain their religion.

      Mormons will stand up for ANY religion, they do not believe in defending any person to worship how, where, or what they may.

      All religions have detractors who want to distort info for their own purposes. The LDS church does not do thiis. They never disparage other peoples religions in public or private.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • The Phist

      Todd, ever read the leaked church doctrine that the church got really angry about being made public? If not, I highly recommend giving it a look. That's the truth about the mormon cult.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Kurt

      Everyone call Mormonism a cult. The only difference between Mormons and the rest of evangelical christianity is about 600 years. Remember, the Catholic church didn't take so kindly to the reformation either. I think they called members of your so called "Christianity" heretics.

      January 25, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  20. Texan

    Here is a link to the humanitarian efforts of the church. http://mormon.org/humanitarian-aid/

    January 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • DrBoaz

      "In addition to small, personal acts of service, Mormons give large, organized assistance to areas in need. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has donated more than $1 billion in cash and material assistance to 167 different countries in need of humanitarian aid since it started keeping track in 1985."
      How much humanitarian aid did the atheist give? I wonder...

      We are “to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to provide for the widow, to dry up the tear of the orphan, to comfort the afflicted, whether in this church, or in any other, or in no church at all…” Joseph Smith, “Times and Seasons,” March 15, 1842

      After Katrina and after the tornadoes hit the Midwest 2 years ago, our small Mormon congregation of ~200 volunteered to help and sent 27 men to assist in the clean-up effort for a week. Giving money and service to aid our fellowman is an essential part of who we are as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints- if you believe Christ- you follow Him.

      The haters will continue to hate and mock those that actually give more than lip-service.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • The Phist

      Now that you're done bragging...

      Are you on medication for the mental illness you have that causes you to believe in having an imaginary friend?

      January 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Reload

      The Phist is Phact Phree. He is just phull of phicus.

      January 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • dinabq

      Who gives Mitt his temple recommend??? PLEASE ANSWER THIS!!!! Why woud I want a President that has to get a piece of paper from any religious leader to be a member in good standing? http://www.exmormon.org

      January 25, 2012 at 3:30 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.